{ #1 Day 13: Farmers’ market happy.}

One of the things that I love about this time of year, is how much I look forward to being outdoors. One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend afternoon is a walk along the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica (frozen yogurt in hand, of course) while window shopping, people watching, and gazing at the ocean in the distance.

And when I can muster up the strength to get out of bed early enough before it gets too hot outside and the trails too crowded, a hike is always something I like doing that I wish I did more of, but find myself preferring to sleep in, taking a more leisurely approach to my weekend mornings.  And yet, when the beach is involved (my absolute favorite thing to do on warm weekends) it seems much easier to get out of bed bright and early to grab a good spot on the sand. Somehow that whole exercise part of hiking hinders me more than lazily sitting on the beach with a book. (Hey, it’s the California girl in me.)

A ritual that seems to reoccur around this time of year and through the summer months is finding myself on Sunday mornings even doing my grocery shopping outdoors for the week’s produce at the local farmers’ market. Though the farmers’ market goes on all year, there’s something about the next few months that find me particularly more excited to stock-up on fresh strawberries, lettuce, and my other addiction (besides lattes and Hot Tamales) freshly made, still warm in the bag kettle corn.

Last Sunday found me at the farmers’ market for the first time in months not only due to the amazing weather, but because this is the time of year when strawberries and other types of produce taste better. It’s certainly more of a process gathering groceries for the week at the farmers’ market than making my structured weekly trip to Trader Joe’s, but I like the atmosphere that comes with buying from local merchants – there’s a relaxation to it that you just don’t find walking the aisles of the grocery store.

Reflecting back on this week, the highlights were largely based off that one trip to the farmers’ market. I smiled to myself often as I chopped up my salads, made smoothies for breakfast using fresh strawberries, and happily snacked on Kettle corn while blogging or watching TV. It’s something that I hope to continue to do.

It’s supposed to be another sunny, but more temperate weekend ahead. There’s plenty going on around town this weekend, but I have a rather long to-do list, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to squeeze in. The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books event starts tomorrow through Sunday at USC and the bookworm in me has always wanted to go and check out the festivities: exhibits, talks, poetry readings, live music, and of course be around books for an entire afternoon!

I’m starting the weekend with a very rare visit to (*in my best British accent*) “The Theater.” My boyfriend scored free tickets to a play in Westwood tonight, making it a welcome change of pace to our otherwise more typical boring Friday nights in watching Shark Tank.

I’m now on day 18 of the 100 Happy Days Challenge still going strong. My top 5 favorite photos since we last talked are also other random highlights of life lately.

I hope you all have a good weekend!


{#2 – Day 16: I’m becoming fast friends with the Barista at my go to morning coffee spot. My iced latte was served more decoratively than usual, much to my delight.}


{#3 – Day 14: I finally bought a new fun polka dot notebook to keep handy to jot down blogging ideas no matter where I am!}


{#4 – Day 17:  A new straw clutch for spring. And it doubles as a cross-body. Win, Win.}


{#5 -Day 15: Fresh farmers’ market strawberries. Smoothies and Belgian waffles were especially delish this week.}

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Fresh Basil

To help get through all of the goodies sprouting from her home garden, a friend of mine has been sharing the fruits of her labor with me recently. Last week, the most delicious and sweetest bowl of cherry tomatoes came my way that I sliced up and enjoyed with dinner two nights in a row. Earlier this week, fresh basil came next.

Cooking for one presents its challenges. I find that I’m not home a lot and end up throwing out food more often than I’d like to admit. Since there’s produce that I have to buy fresh and needs to used within a short window of time, I resort to buying certain things in dried or canned form to avoid having to feel the pressure to eat it right away.

Of course, I immediately got the speech that nothing is better than fresh basil straight from a garden.  I was excited to experiment with it and came home one night deciding to use it in a quick pasta dish.

While boiling noodles; I sautéed some garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil, adding lots of sliced chicken breast, tomatoes, black olives, and the fresh basil to the skillet. To give the dish a bit more punch, I then added 1 tablespoon of Marie Calendar’s Italian Dressing (this stuff is amazing in salads by the way).

I’m certainly not opposed to working with fresh ingredients, but admit that I would need to plan ahead more often that I do. The ease of working with dried herbs is the spontaneity you get in creating meals.

As for dinner, after placing the chicken sauté over the noodles and adding some parmesan cheese, dinner was served!