Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Journey Down

Today marks exactly one month since I started my career. In celebration, thought I should share some of my photos and experiences from my road trip down here.  


I was at my mom's casa the last night in WA and that was the second day of the Seattle snow storm. It had snowed all day and I had cleaned off the car a couple hours before going to bed and once again right before bed at 10 PM. Nevertheless, mother nature continued to battle against me and I awoke to this:

Mom and I barely made it down the pass before it closed and it took a solid three hours battling snow traffic to just reach Olympia. This was our longest day of driving and we battled snow most of the way, stopping for the night in Southern Oregon. Our town of rest was Ashland - where they have a huge Shakespeare festival every summer!

The town is rather touristy, but in a fitting way (like Leavenworth). Very quaint and full of Shakespearean and Elizabethan art and culture. We stayed at the Historic Ashland Hotel as shown below. We got the room for a steal and the hotel was beautiful. Pictured below is the lobby and part of our hotel room. The hotel was full of pictures of birds and dead leaves. That doesn't sound attractive...but trust me it worked.... 

Day Two
We weren't out of the snow yet and barely made it through another mountain pass before they closed it.

By the time we reached the town of Weed, the snow was finally clear

After another long day of driving we arrived in Napa and stayed in my favorite Hyatt so far, the Avia! This hotel was so welcoming. I truly loved this hotel and would highly recommend it. 
Mom and I arrived in the afternoon and were able to squeeze in three quick tastings before the wineries closed down. We went to Mum's, Silver Oak and Black Stallion! Black Stallion was okay, Silver Oak was absolutely amazing, but Mum's was my favorite because I love champagne.

Day Three

This was the day with the shortest drive. Napa to Monterey! The hotel in Monterey was not impressive though and I was actually really disappointed. The aquarium was awesome though and mom and I met up with distant relatives for dinner!

Day Four

On the out of Monterey I took Sarah, Trafton and my relative's recommendation to check out 17 mile drive through the Pebble Beach resorts and country clubs! The drive was long, but stunning. Well worth it. 

 This night we stopped in Santa Barbara - which I seem to be lacking photos of. I'm also missing pictures of the elephant seals we saw on the way down. They were hilarious! A beach had thousands of them - they were barking a lot and just looking nasty. Elephant seals are awesome. 

Anyway we stayed this night in gorgeous Santa Barbara. Loved it. 

Day Five
Home Sweet Home. Arrived to the Palm Springs area and my resort.  My HR manager welcomed me with a lovely amenity in my room!

The trip down was awesome. I'm so glad my mom came with me and we saw so many beautiful sites! Missing the north already.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentines Day

Just a note of appreciation to my mom and grandma for the Valentine's Day cards and care packages. Mom sent me Boehms and grandma sent me french cookbooks!

Grandma also folded up a bunch of recipe clippings in my cookbook - can't wait to make the  French Lemon Tart !

Happy Valentine's Day - I'll be working in the restaurant at my hotel!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rock Climber Paradise

After eating my big bowl of Irish Oats Saturday morning I set out to Joshua Tree State Park to meet up with my friend Ashlyn.

The last time I saw Ashlyn was in Denali National Park - so strange to now be meeting up with her in a completely different park.  Ashlyn is living in 29 Palms, about an hour and fifteen minutes away from me.
Good to see a friendly face!

I met her and her friend Gina at the north visitor's center and we set out on a flat 7 mi (round trip) walk into the desert. It was very flat, but the deep sand made it a good workout by the end. The photo at the top of my blog depicts the view from where or journey finally ended. It was so beautiful - and epic in comparison with the beginning of the trail.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Irish Oatmeal

My budget has significantly limited my cooking hobby. It makes me a little sad, but I figure I am spending my money on better things (like trips to San Diego!!).

The other day I did purchase Irish Oatmeal purely by accident. I didn't notice it when I checked out, but this was twice as expensive as steel cut oats (which is what I thought I was getting!). Oops.
Irish oats are even less processed than steel cut oats because they are not rolled. The outer husk is removed and then the oat is chopped, leaving it chewier and nuttier (also significantly more nutritious).

Ingredients for traditional Irish Oat Meal

Since I accidentally purchased the oats I decided to make it the traditional way following the recipe on the back. These oats took a longer time to cook and are served with buttermilk. I added blueberries and maple syrup and this was one of THE BEST breakfasts I have ever had!

Irish Oats For One

1) Bring 1 C of water to a boil and add 1/4 C oats.
2) Stir until the oats thicken and reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes
3) Serve with 1/4 C buttermilk, 1 T maple Syrup and 1/4 C blueberries

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Dear Family and Facebook Friends -

At the urging of my mother, brother and a couple other people I have decided to start a new blog! I also decided emailing everyone pictures is too time consuming - this way all of you who aren't on facebook can see what I'm up to.

Life here in the desert has been great thus far! I am making the most out of my free time and going for hikes, weekend adventures and whatever free entertainment I can find. Work is keeping me busy and due to that I will not be posting nearly as much as when I was in France. I also used wordpress for previous blogs and as blogspot is new to me, bear with my wierd layouts and errors as I make sense of it.

Although it would likely be wisest to start my blog at the very beginning of my adventures, but I had a great time in San Diego this weekend, so I really feel I need to share that first!

I have spent both my "weekends" In the Manchester of San Diego with the other management trainee of my hotel. The first time we went on our own dime so we could experience the downtown nightlife of San Diego. We stayed at the hotel for a discounted rate, but with food and gasoline it ended up being a fairly pricey getaway. This time my room and food was paid for by my HR department because I went for a meet and greet with other management trainees! It was so nice to be able to spend the night there and eat without worrying about the cost! The other management trainees were nice and boy there are A LOT at the Manchester!!! There are so many some even thought I was from their property. It makes me thankful to work at a resort small enough I can get to know everyone by name.

After our meet-and-greet the group went out to a restaurant/bar in the gaslamp district called "La Puerta".

(Margot and I showed up a bit late because I wanted to go have a drink and dessert at the top of the restaurant in a bar on the 40th floor!)

The view is beautiful and the drinks are good too = ) I would have loved to be up there at sunset, but on future trips to San Diego I anticipate staying at other hotels in the city, so you should go see that for me one day!

Margot and I then socialized at La Puerta for an hour or two before going to find Double Deuces a western bar I had seen previously with a mechanical bull. We were derailed on the way by an Irish Pub with Swing Dancing blasting through the street! Of course I had to go in for several dances - gosh it was fun -I need to find a dancing place in Palm Desert!

(Thankfully no pictures of my rusty dancing were taken)

After I got my dancing fix we did go to the western bar and I rode the bull twice! At this point in the recap, I would like to let you know I was sober the whole time. Which really didn't provide an excuse when I saw ghiradellis and we went in for hot cookie sundaes on the way home! They were so damn good. No pictures were taken sadly, but it sure hit the spot!

The following day Lauren hooked me up with a free ticket to the oh-so-expensive San Diego Zoo!!! Our concierge also gave Margot and I his VIP pass for being employees and we got to go on a trolley tour all around the city for free. Margot explored the town while I got off at Balboa Park and went to the zoo to use my free day pass.

The aviaries were my favorite places! This bottom picture shows a Victorian Crowned Pigeon!!! THEY ARE HUGE!

Some other awesome animals:

After my zoo time I caught the trolley Margot was on and we briefly stopped in Old Town to walk around, eat some hot homeade tortillas and soak up the culture of San Diego! We only were there for half an hour, but we did walk over to the Whaley House. This place is deemed one of the most haunted places in the US. A man named Whaley bought this for a steal a couple hundred years ago. He ended up finding out why he got such a good deal on the property his first night there. The house is built where Spanish gallows used to be.

And that was my second trip to Sunny San Diego! Write more soon - thanks for reading!