Tag Archives: Friends

The Best of 2014

Two Thousand & Fourteen- Thank you for all the wonderful memories.



 

January:
-Kicked off my final season of college rugby.

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-Roadtripped to Arizona to see Gina and Eric in their new place.
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February:
-Completed my GRE with a personal best.
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-Celebrated Valentine’s Day with the traditional homemade gift exchange

March:
-Rang in my birthday with some of my favorite people around.
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-Celebrated my improv team’s three year anniversary! What a ride it’s been.
-Coordinated one of the largest high school rugby tournaments in the nation.
-Celebrated “two weeks” of Spring Break when Maddy came home.
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April:
-Relaxed during my last spring break of undergrad.

May:
-Celebrated Alexa’s birthday
-Graduated from University with my degree in Communications.
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June:
-Officially purchased my new domain for Under The Sticks! What started out as an outlet to share recipes and my travels with friends and family has grown into so much more!
-Celebrated our recent graduations with Maddy.
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-Found my fur baby, Bijou, after he went missing. I’ve never felt more relieved in my entire life.

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-Celebrated J’s birthday downtown, then…
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-Threw J a surprise birthday party in Palm Springs. One of the best weekends of the year, by far!
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July:
-Began the best job I have ever had. I will forever be grateful for all that I have learned.
-Attended the USA v. Japan game with the wonderful people.
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-Played in the Sunsplash 7s, where my team placed first.
-Celebrated my two year anniversary with J.
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August
-Attended the Orange Food Fair.

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September:
-Hosted a large number of BBQs and dinners, all of which were complete with good home cooking.
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October:
-Traveled down to San Diego to see the Mexico U-19 team play USD.
-Celebrated Natalie’s birthday and Halloween in Gaslamp
-Partnered with one of my favorite companies, Serevi, for a massive USA Eagles giveaway.

November:
-Attended SleekHair’s OC Beauty Inspo, where I met talented bloggers, fashionistas, and entrepreneurs.
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-Hosted a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with my small family.

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December:
-Stayed at Dockside Boat & Bed for a wonderful mini vacation.
-Celebrated Christmas with my family.
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-Adventured with all my family and friends who came home for Christmas, including Maddy and Nicole.
-Visited snow…in Orange County!
-Rang in the New Year with Gina, Eric, and J.

 

 

 

Holidays: Part I

“It’s not what’s under the tree. It’s who’s around it.”

 

As I get older and older, the holidays begin to mean something different to me. A holiday that once focused on receiving gifts, now means so much more to me. The holidays are now about giving back and spending time with my loved ones. Presents are just an added bonus! All my best friends have flown back for the holidays, which  means there are shenanigans a plenty! It’s often hard because my best friends live all over the country; having them home makes my heart so full.

We got in the Christmas spirit by taking Bijou out to see Christmas lights over the weekend. Luckily he behaved himself, because he got to meet a look-a-like! ;)

Bijou and his twin.
Bijou and his twin.

My last day of work was the Tuesday before Christmas; I absolutely love my job, but I was happy to have time off to spend with my best friends who all had flown home for the winter. I went out to sushi with Maddy on Tuesday night; we hung out with her younger sister, Ali, afterwards and caught up on life. Their family is my second family, so it’s always great to have them home.

I was bad about gifts and had to finish up shopping on Christmas Eve. J and I grabbed In-N-Out for lunch and managed to get home in time to get ready for dinner.

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Josh’s Double-Double with grilled onions & animal fries in back!

 

In N Out Under The Sticks
My grilled cheese with grilled onions.

 

My family, J, and my brother’s girlfriend Amanda went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner on Christmas Eve. We didn’t end up going to church like we had planned because my dad wasn’t feeling well, but we watched one of my favorite holiday movies, Love Actually, at home. Growing up, we would go to the 11p.m. candlelight service at church and come home a little bit after midnight, which meant it was officially Christmas. I liked the idea of waiting a couple less hours to open gifts when I was younger, but now I love waking up on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought! There’s something more exciting about it for me.

J certainly delivered by gifting me a Kitchenaid mixer. I was so excited that I started looking up new baking recipes right away.

Kitchenaid Mixer Under The Sticks
My new baby!

 

Stay tuned for those! I bought J a gold watch from Fossil (similar to this one, which he already has) , some accessories, and a gift card to start his PS4 fund. I also got some gift cards and kitchen accessories from my family. Overall, it was a fantastic Christmas and I was so happy to be with my loved ones.
I am happy to have any excuse to cook for large groups, so J and I volunteered to cook Christmas dinner. We went a bit nontraditional and made chicken enchiladas. The recipe will be up soon!

I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with friends and family, so I do apologize for the delay on updates! As everyone flies home, I’ll have more time to post new recipes and giveaways. I hope you all are enjoying your time with your loved ones!

 

Arizona Road Trip

Reposted from January 2014:

One of my best friends, Gina, and her boyfriend, Eric, moved to Arizona a couple months ago. Gina is my other best friend, Maddy’s, cousin, which makes things quite convenient for family gatherings! Gina and Eric were set to move into their new place over the weekend, so J and I decided to make a road trip out of our first off weekend and headed out to Scottsdale, Arizona. I was especially excited to have some time to relax with my favorite people and to visit Arizona for the first time.
Road trips can be great, or a drag. It’s all about preparing for comfort and making the best out of the time you have. The furthest I’ve ever driven by myself is a measly two hours, so luckily I had my travel companion for the 6 hour road trip. It’s easy to pack unhealthy snacks on road trips-chips, candies, and chocolates are easy to eat and conveniently packaged. However, with a bit of planning, it’s easy to make smart, healthy choices with the foods you take. J and I packed about three small coolers of food and drinks to take with us for the trip there, some lunches in Arizona, and the trip back. I will post a blog about healthy road trip snacking, soon, so stay tuned!
J and I inevitably got caught to Friday night traffic as the freeway links up to Las Vegas. We couldn’t leave until we were both done with work, but there was no choice but to drive out Friday. J brought Chipotle for dinner and we packed enough snacks that we only needed to stop for gas/stretch breaks twice. After a long, seven hour drive, we ended up getting to Scottsdale around 2A.M. It was so great to see Eric and Gina again, but we hit the hay as soon as we got there!
We went ‘sight seeing’ around Scottsdale and helped Gina and Eric move into their new (adorable!) place. I seem to keep other people’s spaces tidier than my own and find that unpacking and organizing their belongings is much more fun than doing it for myself! Gina headed the production of delicious chicken and avocado enchiladas for dinner! I will have to beg her for that recipe. ;) After dinner, we somehow convinced our boyfriends to do our makeup. Although I’m not a makeup user, it was fun to see the boys try to figure out how to use mascara, blush, lipstick, etc. Needless to say, looking like a geisha just doesn’t suit me. I’ll stick to au naturale!
Sunday evening was spent on the lake. It was beautiful, relaxing, and the time with my best friends was much needed.

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The weather was absolutely perfect on the lake. Thank you, Eric, for being such a great fishing teacher!
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  The drive back home was much quicker, of course, due to the fact that we left Monday morning. I made it back in time for the first rugby practice of the season and right after that was improv practice. I’m so glad I was able to refuel this weekend with the greatest of company. Although I probably won’t drive to Arizona during the summer, we already have plans to fly back and visit! And next time, I promise to take more pictures! : )

USA Rugby v Japan

As someone who’s been involved in the rugby community for more than fourteen years, nothing gets me more excited than seeing professional rugby being played in my own backyard. USA played Japan last night in a night of big hits, crisp passes, and a beautiful hat trick by Blaine Scully.
We headed to the venue about half an hour before kick off to meet up with friends and teammates. I’ve grown up in such a tight-knit rugby community that it’s hard to go to a game without running into someone you know. Personally, I love it! It certainly gives a “family” feel to the sport. We become more than just spectators watching a game together because we can all experience it.
Last year’s game against Tonga in the same venue didn’t sell as well as expected, so I was pleased to see more tickets were sold for this match. Rugby is growing at such a fast pace, it’s incredible! I love sharing my passion and love for the sport and seeing a professional game is a great way for newbies to get their feet wet.
Many people were tailgating in the parking lot, some repping USA jerseys, others decked out in red, white, and blue, and some even in sumo outfits. Needless to say, it sure is a party at rugby games. The girls and I dressed as patriotically as we could and the boys wore jerseys.

 

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 I spent the first half of the game at the 50 meter line and spent the second half behind the try zone. Having never seen Japan play rugby before, I was impressed with their caliber of play. Although they were smaller than USA, their technique was spot on. They hit rucks quickly and efficiently. They also had incredibly crisp passes and were able to place their kicks tactically. They qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup, so it’ll be great to see how they progress this year. 
   USA was filled with a good mix of players I’ve seen throughout the years and new players. I’ve grown up watching Todd Clever and Chris Wyles (who captained the match) and am always impressed by their hard work ethic as a forward and back, respectively. USA players made some great hits and an early on interception set the stage for the match, certainly exciting the home crowd. The game was pretty back and forth, with strength being shown on USA’s wings, who had solid breakaways throughout the match. 
   Japan was able to capitalize on breakaways in the scrum, and in my opinion, there was too much hesitation in kicking. I’ve been taught that missed tackles lose games, but a golden rule that’s just as important is that poor kicks can cost you. For professional players who should be used to kicking under pressure and clearing the ball from their “red zone”, there was a little too much hesitation and delay. There was quite a bit of kicking from both sides. 
   The game was fairly close throughout the entirety of the game, and USA fans tried hard to pump the home team up with chants and yells. (Maybe a few fans were a bit drunk..? ;)). Things got quite exciting at the end. With just about ten minutes to go, the score was just 34-29, with Japan only a try away.  USA gave away a penalty right in front of the posts, which was successfully kicked, giving Japan a lead of 37-24. While the crowd was hopeful that in ten minutes USA could score, convert, and make a penalty kick, unfortunately the cards didn’t get played that way. 
   I have a habit of sticking behind my camera during big events and missing out on the fun, so I didn’t snap many pictures. However, you can find some at the USA Rugby Facebook
   Overall, the game was much more successful than last year. Although the seats in the pictures are fully open, the sides we were sitting on were packed, which is great. One can only hope that with more of a marketing push, the stadium will be packed next year, for whichever team comes our way!
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