Hello, 2011!

Dear 2010,

Okay, I admit it. I completely failed at accomplishing anything from my 2010 To-Do List. I have no excuse other than I am a master of procrastination. That, and I realized getting married actually takes a lot more time than one ever expected. So to make up for it, I’ll try to make this year and beyond a better version of you. I’ll try to post more than once a month, no matter how big or small the topic. I’ll take more photos of the places (both near and far) while still enjoying the moment. I was once told by a wise friend: It’s not that you don’t have time — It’s that you don’t make time…And with this in mind, I will make the most of my time by planning it better (read: less procrastinating!). I’m not promising to be perfect, only aiming to be better.

With that, here’s my Best-Of list (because no year-end wrap-up would be complete without one!):

The south side of the Orcutt Ranch house in Canoga Park. The property also includes a rose garden and walking trails.

1. Getting married in the beautiful Orcutt Ranch in Canoga Park. The 1920’s-built home and rose garden of oilman William Orcutt is now a historical landmark, open free to the public.  We seriously visited the city-owned property at least once a month, and the staff couldn’t be more helpful, friendly and wonderful to work with.

Hearst Castle - Neptune Pool
The Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle has a beautiful view.

2. Exploring Paso Robles and its surroundings as our mini-honeymoon (the real one is in Italy this March!). We toured the luxurious Hearst Castle (above), went hiking in Morro Bay, hung out with sea lions in Avila Beach and best of all, dined at as many restaurants as possible with a $$$$-rating on Yelp (trust me, it’s a rare treat for us lazy frozen-dinner connoisseurs).

L.A. Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon
Running into downtown L.A. during the Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon in October. The route began in Griffith Park, passed through Echo Park and ending in downtown.

3. Running my first half-marathon in the streets (plus a bit of a freeway) of Los Angeles. It was challenging, and yet relaxing, to run in the middle of streets like Silverlake, Sunset and Glendale Boulevards where traffic and behind-the-wheel stress doesn’t allow for much appreciation of the urban landscape.  The race was also exactly one month after my Lola (grandmother) passed away, and running in her honor was only encouraged by the cheering crowds and helpful honks of cars driving on the 5 and 101 along the way. I finished in 2:47 – Not as fast as I could have pushed, but better than I expected.

The Grilled Cheese Truck
The Grilled Cheese Truck serves the lunch crowd in Culver City.

4. Riding along with the drool-inducing Grilled Cheese Truck as part of a story for LAist. My day began at the truck’s home parking lot (where lots of other gourmet food trucks spend the night!) near downtown, where I met the staff to get a feel of how they start off their typical day.  I rode along  to see the Grilled Cheese Truck’s secret kitchen (I’ll never tell!), then to the west side to see the Culver City lunch crowd get fed, next to the KCET website launch party in Hollywood, and finally back to West L.A. to serve liquor lovers at martini bar Liquid Kitty.  And I still love the smell of melted fromage!

Malibu Creek State Park

5. Among all of the hikes we took this year, one of my favorites included Malibu Creek State Park with Hollywood History Tours.  Eric Gardner took us through the film locations of M*A*S*H, Planet of the Apes and more throughout the mountains of Malibu last March.  The roughly four-hour hike ended at the park’s Rock Pool, and the perfect, crystal-clear weather made us wish we hadn’t forgotten our bathing suits to jump into the water.

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