Family Hike in Malibu

One of me and Paul’s favorite hikes in LA has become a hike through Mandeville Canyon. Technically, there are several canyons in the Santa Monica mountains - and the most popular - Runyon Canyon or Temescal Canyons are great too. We really like Mandeville because it’s rarely crowded and is a pretty moderate hike. We did about 5 miles- but it was SO hot - like over 85 degrees and little Riley was getting tired, so we decided to call it a day. We got lots of sunshine and great views and were saved by our Camelbacks (thanks Mom + Dad) which kept us hydrated in the mid-day heat. 

Now our Sunday’s are spent watching football outside :)

Labor Day and Karyn’s LA Visit

My beautiful sister Karyn texted me about a month ago to tell me that she would be coming to visit - for the 2nd time this year (she is too good to me). Since Karyn has been to visit probably almost a dozen times at this point since we moved here in 2006, I wanted to make this trip a bit more memorable. We had a fair amount of pool/beach time, ventured to Manhattan Beach and Venice for drinks - and hung out with lots of fun friends. I think it was one of Karyn’s best visits yet and a restful and incredibly fun way to spend the long weekend! 

180la Bike Brigade

Every year, Paul’s company 180la hosts what I think is pretty much one of the best team bonding events around. Called Bike Brigade, taking place at 5-6 different apartments and houses around Venice, the team bikes from place to place to enjoy themed drinks, games and other debauchery. Paul and I have always been out of town, so we’ve always missed it - but this year we were finally able to go! At our first stop, we arrived to whiskey and In and Out - so I was happy immediately. This photo is of this girl who had these amazing bike lights that I want to buy - for biking at night! It was a great time all around and I’m glad we got to make it this year. 

4 Year Wedding Anniversary 

Each year, we try to find something memorable and fun to do for our wedding anniversary. And true to form this year, we ended up driving up to Malibu to have lunch and drinks at Nobu Malibu. It was an absolutely perfect day - the weather was beautiful and we ate sushi on couches literally feet from the ocean. We drove back down to Playa del Rey to relax and watch classic movies. It was a great, relaxing day, quite time together - and another awesome anniversary.

As I said, I was itching for and getting ready for another trip and fortunately - it worked out! This past Thursday night, we first went to see Eminem + Rhianna at the Rose Bowl. We had never been to the Rose Bowl, an absolutely massive outdoor amphitheater located in Old Town Pasadena. We’ve mostly never been because it’s about an hour (sometimes more) away from our house, just north of Downtown LA. But - we knew immediately that we wanted to get tickets for this show; so we did. They put on an amazing concert and we were home at almost 2am… for a NAP. Because we were going to Chicago on a 7am flight the next morning (or the same morning). 

We landed in Chicago at about 1pm local time, met up with the rest of the Kinsella clan for a brief hello in the airport. About an hour later, we arrived in what I later found out is called Old Town Chicago at our hotel Public Hotel. A very cool, chic, boutique hotel (my style of course) located on a treelined street with lots of what seemed to be historic brownstones and townhouses. We grabbed a quick bite to eat, rushed to get ready to head down to Navy Pier for Wes + Cassie’s rehearsal dinner. 

The dinner was hosted on a boat which took us around the harbor so we could get great views of both the lake and the Downtown Chicago skyline. We sat outside in the sunshine, which was great - we got gorgeous weather and had some time to catch-up with our Kinsella fam. 

The next day, we slept as late as possible- and were off to have breakfast at one of my favorite spots to eat in Chicago - the Publican. I had a very impressive Bloody Mary, Paul and I enjoyed brunch and went to meet Matt and Gina to do the Architecture Tour. I’ve done the tour before and have heard - from a good friend - that the best tour to do in the city is the Chicago Architecture Foundation Tour. We found seats on the bow of the boat in the sunshine and wove our way through the rivers of Chicago. I loved the tour the first time and it definitely disappoint this time. It was so cool to hear all about the history of the architecture and so interesting to hear about the huge lapses in time in development - buildings from the 80s next to buildings from the 20s; so lots of crazy visual juxtapositions that I thought were nice to see so close together. 

I love Chicago - it’s such a cute walkable city, kind of like a baby New York or slightly larger Boston. It’s so accessible and easy; but also exceptionally dangerous, spread out, pretty segregated (like Boston) and FREEEEZING. It’s likely for that reason alone that we would never live there; because we could both easily work there - but negative temperatures really aren’t our thing.

After the architecture tour, I suggested that we go to the Chicago Hotdog Fest. I had seen a poster over lunch the day before and thought it sounded like fun. I always love a good food festival. 

So we made our way to a park - I’m not sure what the name was; it was setup like a traditional fair, a band playing on the MainStage and about a half a dozen tents where you could go get sample hotdogs. We immediately spotted deep dish pizza, so we got pizza, hot dogs and these giant things called Elephant Ears, which basically looked like a thin crust pizza covered in sugar and cinnamon. It was delicious. Top this off with some local IPA and everyone was happy. 

After the park, we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for the main event - the wedding. Both dressed and dapper in deep nautical blue - we made our way to the Columbia Boat Yard for the wedding, dinner drinks and dancing. It was a beautiful wedding and reception, great dinner - interesting concept of family style dining at long, long tables. It was a wonderful (but late) night. 

On Sunday, we were up early again - this time for brunch hosted by the parents of the Groom - with family friends. We had time to play with the kids which was lots of fun. And time for a nap (yes!). After our nap, Paul and I split up. We were both there for work - which unfortunately for Paul, started on Sunday evening. He was off to dinner/drinks with co-workers following a meeting and I was off to have dinner with the Kinsella “kids.” We had an awesome dinner at another one of my favorite spots, Siena Tavern - lots of delicious Italian food and then walked over to explore Eataly where Kristin, Tim, Matt and Gina had never been. 

Eataly, for those who don’t know, is essentially a collection of Italian markets in one place. In Italy - and actually pretty common in Europe in general - you don’t go to a “supermarket” - you go to all of the individual stores where you need to buy things. Produce, meat, fish, cheese, wine, etc. all in different markets. So Eataly is like that - specialty shops all in one place, on 2 floors. It was originally launched about 3 years ago in New York by chef’s Mario Batali (most should  know him) and Lydia Bastianisch (yes I know this offhand); they are both Chicago natives, and opened their 2nd location in Chicago. Rumor has it - they are coming to LA next year… but no official dates are out. ANYWAY - so we went to Eataly, mostly because they have a Nutella bar. It’s basically just lots of dessert options, including crepes - with nutella. Kristin’s eyes almost bugged out of her head, so we had to go :)

We wandered the 2nd floor for a while, looking at the incredible selections of meat, cheese and fish. It is really pretty overwhelming going there, you definitely need to take advantage of the friendly staff as there are easily over 50 kinds of cheese there. There is a fresh pasta bar, bread bar, two restaurants… it really is a food lovers paradise. 

After exploring with a glass of wine, we made our way downstairs for dessert. I think everyone was happy :) 

The next day, we were all headed in different directions. We went out to Oak Park to visit with the Walker and Hartung kids and family’s for lunch and then unfortunately most of us had to get back to work. For dinner, Paul and I met up with one of our closest friends for deep dish pizza and Tuesday, we knew would be a 100% work day. 

I spent Tuesday as a continuation of Monday, running all around Chicago - from agency to agency meeting with partners. Paul spent the day shooting a commercial. Tuesday evening, I met up with my best friend for dinner - seafood and oysters (yum!) and then today we were both on our way back to LA!

Another great, quick and busy trip. We’ll be in LA for a while - but have a few exciting things coming up; my sister coming to visit for Labor Day and our 4 Year Wedding Anniversary, amongst other things. September will bring more travel and more adventures - which I’m always secretly looking forward to.