Complaints About Living in Los Angeles

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


There are days when I can't wait to get out of Los Angeles, and there are days when I couldn't imagine ever being anywhere else. There's a reason that LA is at the top of the list for many people when it comes to deciding on a place to live, but I'm here to tell you that it's not all sunshine and rainbows 365 days out of the year...its only like that 364 days (just kidding, sort of). I've got a few complaints about our bustling city, and I'm here to share them with all of you. Please, prepare your tiny violins.


The Traffic. This is hands down my biggest complaint about living in LA. I commute to school five days out of the week and realistically my school is only about 40 miles away from my apartment. But, our roads are a tad overcrowded here in Los Angeles and I usually feel like a sitting duck once I hit the 405.

The Weather. Okay, I can see you rolling your eyes from here. It's not really the weather that I have a problem with because duh, 75 on any given day is not something to complain about. It's more the lack of weather. No changes in weather equals no changes in seasons, or at least that's how it feels anyway. There's just something weird about being able to go to the beach on Christmas day or to go skiing in the middle of Summer at places with pretend snow. I'd honestly be happy if I found an orange leaf in the fall.

Am I making sense here?


Everything is Far Away. Yes, there is tons to do here.  But you are not twenty minutes away from everything as so many California ads claim that you are. Technically, you might be that far away distance wise, but did I mention the traffic? Let me refresh your memory, 20 minutes is never 20 minutes if you're going somewhere in the city. If you visit here, prepare to leave at least an hour before you're supposed to be somewhere.

Tourism. When your city is on the list of most desired places to live, you can expect that there's going to be a lot of people visiting here. And you can expect to be waiting forever if you're trying to do anything in a heavily tourist area. Want to take a trip to Disneyland over spring break? Forget about it. Thank god for the banning of selfie sticks.


It's Always Bikini Season. Half the benefit of having an actual winter is that you get to hide under big sweaters. When you live in a place with little to no cold days you have to be prepared for bikini season all year round. I love my bikinis but have you ever tried to find one in November? Not good times, my friends.


Speaking of Bikini Season, Have You Heard About the Next Diet Fad? Because if you haven't, there will be someone telling how you what you should or should not be eating. Los Angelinos are the first to make up know the latest diet trends, and expect you to jump on the bandwagon. Everyone's over here drinking their juice for dinner and I'm like...can you pass me another slice of pizza? 

I have a love/hate relationship with Los Angeles in that I usually love to hate it. If you've ever experienced LA outside of your TV or movie screens, than I'm sure there's at least something you can relate to in this post. If not, I recommend experiencing it first hand and then coming back here so you can agree with me about all the things, but please, leave the selfie sticks at home. 

Making a Meaningful Life

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


"Assume a long life where you die in bed at one hundred years old, at your death you say, 'my life was meaningful because'..."

How would you respond to this?

That question is the prompt to my end-of-semester philosophy project, and I would be lying if I said it didn't make me pause for a second after reading it. When I'm at that point in my life, not that I ever really want to reach 100 years old, will the things I'm doing today be something I can look back on and think that I was doing something meaningful?

The truth is that right now, yes. I am two weeks away from college graduation and it is definitely a point of my life that I'll look back on and say that it did make my life meaningful. But what's next?

Sometimes I think that my life will be meaningful because I will work hard, and establish myself in a career that I am passionate about.

Other times, the thought of a career isn't appealing to me at all. Instead, I can't wait to be a mom and I picture myself putting all of my energy into being the best wife and mother that I can be for my future little ones.

And I think I would find meaning in either one of these things, but what does that mean for today?

Today, I find meaning in my life because I am kind to others and I do what I can to help those who need it. I work hard and I support myself. My life is meaningful because I love fully and completely in all of my relationships, and I am a loyal friend. And even if later down the road, I'm still all of these things but I haven't established myself in any formal career, or haven't yet had any kids, I still think that it would be enough for me to feel as though I've had a meaningful life.

So what are you doing today to make your life meaningful? 

Big or small, anything you do is so important.

The Problem With Trying to Find Yourself

Monday, April 25, 2016


On any given day my social media feed is filled with images of friends in faraway countries. It seems as though everyone is looking for the next big adventure, booking tickets on the fly and spending all of their money on trips around the world; constantly in search of something they hope they'll find along the way, themselves. 

To me, the notion of 'finding yourself' is one that implies that we're all walking around lost. Like our day-to-day isn't significant enough to have any actual impact on the people that we are supposed to be, but I think it's the opposite. I don't think we find ourselves, I think we create ourselves; through our decisions and relationships our lives are built little by little until we ultimately become the people we're going to be. 

One thing I've noticed about the generation of people trying to find themselves is that in the constant search for the next adventure, it actually hinders a persons ability to create lasting relationships. Not that I think everyone should go out and get married right away, or ever in some cases, but I do think it's possible to learn about yourself alongside someone else. The marriage rate is lower than it's ever been, and of course I understand that being married at twenty-three is not the norm. But I do wonder if everyone is so desperately trying to make sense out of their lives as an individual, so focused on soul searching, that they're actually missing out on meaningful relationships. 

This isn't to say that I don't think experiencing other places is important to our growth as people, because I absolutely do. And I myself can't wait to have the opportunity to travel, and learn about other cultures and lifestyles. But I don't find think it's possible to have everything about our own lives figured out right away, simply because we took a year off to "find ourselves". We're constantly changing and adapting based on our experiences. I think that travel specifically is more about learning as much as we can about others, more so the way others live and how different and the same people are in other parts of the world compared to our own lives. But, as much as travel is a great tool to learning things about ourselves, and the people we want to be, I don't think it is the end all be all in deciding who someone is going to be. 

I don't think that the people we're meant to be are out there hiding from us somewhere waiting to be found. I think that our experiences and relationships help us become those people, but I think that by actively searching, and always looking for the next best thing hiding around the corner we're actually missing out on the most important things that would help us to understand who we want to be. It's so important to take advantage of the day-to-day, and to not miss out on the small things because you're always looking for something better. 

So start today by creating yourself and the person you want to be. Don't waste your time searching for the person you think you might eventually be, because sooner or later you'll become the person you were always meant to be.

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Thursday, April 21, 2016


I am the biggest mama's girl. I don't care how old I get, and i'll try to deny it. Every time a holiday comes around with an excuse to spoil my mom, I take it. Even when there's no excuse I usually try to do small things to remind her how much she means to me, and to thank her for everything she's done for me. 

Mother's Day is two and a half weeks away and I've already started thinking about what I can get my mom. She's a very hands-on creative person. She makes her living as a magazine editor and is constantly creating. As easy as it would be to run out and grab a candle or a piece of jewelry for her, I thought it would be more fun to get her something that would allow her to express her creativity in a different way, and I wanted it to be something we could do together. Here are a few idea's I've come up with for gifts for the creative mom in your life. 

Wine and Paint: In the past few years wine and paint locations have been popping up all over the place and they look so fun! They even hold some at Mexican restaurants if margaritas and paint are more your thing. Usually they provide all the paint supplies and you provide your own alcohol, or they offer drinks for purchase. Most locations post their calendars a month in advance so start looking now. 

Pottery Class: Recently near our house they opened a new shopping center with a place called Bitter Root Pottery. Bitter root offers 2-hour pottery classes that include making a piece out of clay, firing and glazing the piece as well. You can make things like coffee cups, bowls and vases. 

Flower Studio: At the same shopping center they opened another fun and creative store that offers classes in flower arrangements. You choose the arrangement you would like to make out of a group of pre-selected options that they switch out seasonally and you reserve your spot at the flower bar. If you're looking for something similar to this, I suggest checking out local flower shops to see if they offer anything like this. 

Scrapbooking Day: This one is so simple and fun! Get a bunch of photos printed out of you and your mom, or your whole family. Head to Michael's and purchase a scrapbook, some fun paper, stickers and anything else you think you might want to use and head somewhere for a fun filled day of reminiscing. 

Even if it's only something small, spoil your mom a little this Mother's Day. She deserves it! 

Lemon Caper Chicken in Lemon Cream Sauce

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


After last weekend when Daniel and I got a little reality check about how much we had been spending on eating out for breakfasts, lunch, and dinner, we made a choice to try and be much more conscious about where our money was going. This is our second week of planning out our lunches and dinners for the week ahead of time, and it's already going so well. We've only been buying ingredients that we actually plan to use, and we've been using up the stuff that we have before it goes bad. We had a slip up or two last week where one of us forgot our lunch for the day, but even then we tried to buy something cheap so as not to go crazy with our spending. 

On our grocery trip this week we found two packs of chicken (normally $12 each) on sale for $3.50 and couldn't pass up on the deal. We got a couple of packs and split them to have them in the freezer for later use. Yesterday we thawed one out and then forgot to plan any actual recipe for how to cook it, so I decided to wing it a little bit. 

The recipe turned out so good that I forgot to take any pictures since I ate it so fast, but it was so easy to make that I think I can still share it here with you and you shouldn't have any trouble following it. I served it on the side with rice and roasted up some sweet onions and squash in the oven for 30 minutes with olive oil and seasoning to taste. 

All you need is: 

Chicken *we used four chicken thighs but you could use breasts or drumsticks as well if you adjusted your cook time a little bit. 
2 Lemons 
3/4 cup Heavy Cream 
1 jar Capers
1 cup Chicken Broth 
Olive Oil 

1. Preheat your oven to 350. 
2. Wash and dry your chicken. Place on a cutting board and salt and pepper chicken on both sides.
3. Heat a cast iron on medium-low heat (or other oven safe skillet) on the stove with about two tablespoons of olive oil. 
4. While your oil is heating, slice on lemon on another cutting board and set aside. 
5. Once the skillet is hot (but not smoking) place chicken skin side down into the skillet. Watch out for this step, the oil will probably pop out and could burn you. 
6. Cook the chicken about 5-6 minutes on it's skin side and then flip it over. Cook for the same length on the bottom. 
7. Put your heat on low and add one cup chicken broth, 3/4 cup heavy cream, the juice of half a lemon, and your entire jar of capers and bring sauce to a boil. At this point you could also add a little salt and pepper to the sauce as well. Continue to let the chicken cook directly in the cream sauce. 
8. Once it reaches a rolling boil, flip the chicken skin side down once again and place the entire skillet into the over. Set timer for 20 minutes. 
9. After 20 minutes, take skillet out of the oven, flip the chicken back to skin side up and place your pre-sliced lemon around the chicken in the skillet. Place back into the oven and cook for another 20-25 minutes. 
10. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of your chicken and make sure it is fully cooked through. 

Serve over rice, spoon the sauce on top and make some veggies to have on the side. 

This takes a lot of time, but it requires hardly any work at all. Once all of the ingredients are in the skillet the hardest part is waiting for it to be finished cooking.

Happy Wednesday! 

Books I'm Dying to Read After Graduation

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


After five years of required reading in college, it's safe to say that I've gotten a little burned out on reading. Which is so, so sad. But as graduation approaches I've started compiling a list of books that I absolutely can't wait to read once I have a few minutes to myself. So, I thought I'd share a few with you today. 


Soon to be a movie staring the love of my life, Leonardo DiCaprio, this book focuses on the life of H.H. Holmes, one of the world's first known serial killers. I want to read it before it becomes a movie, although I'm sure both will be great. 

2. The BFG: Roald Dahl
I am fully and completely aware that this is a children's book, and no, I don't care. I have memories of my fifth grade teacher reading this to us in class, and now Disney is coming out with the movie so I want to refresh myself before I go see it. No shame. 

3. Rainwater: Sandra Brown 
This is one that I already started about three months ago and sadly have had to put it to the side to get my other stuff done first. But I'm so in love with her writing and this will be the first one that I finish when I can. 


Because, duh. It's another Harry Potter book and I couldn't stop myself from reading it even if I wanted to. 

5. Go Set a Watchman: Harper Lee 
From what I understand, this book was a bit of a disappointment after To Kill a Mockingbird, but there's something drawing me to it and I just have to decide for myself. 

Another YA, I picked this book up at a Barnes and Noble one day because it was sitting on a table and had pictures. Really creepy, but kind of cool pictures. And I decided I needed it. Then life got in the way and I never got around to reading it, surprise surprise, and now it's becoming a Tim Burton movie. So it's high on my list of must reads. 

What books are you dying to read right now, or have you read any great ones recently? I'd love to hear your suggestions! 

To The Girl I Thought I'd Be Friends With Forever

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Dear you,

As I get closer to another major life event, I think back on how I've gotten here. I think about the years that have passed and the people that have made an impact on where I am today, and I always think of you. 

You were more than a friend, we welcomed you into the family. My parents loved you, and when you no longer came around you didn't just hurt me, but them as well. With no warning you no longer wanted us to be your family and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't go over the situation in my head trying to figure out what we did wrong. 

What I remember most were our nights spent laughing and planning. We planned for our futures, and for all of the experiences that we couldn't wait to have together. And three years ago when I got married I couldn't believe that we were at a place in our friendship where I couldn't come to you in excitement because I knew you wouldn't understand, and how could I expect you to? You'd never even met the love of my life, the person I now consider my best friend. 

It's been nearly six years since the days when we were inseparable. I'm not mad anymore about how everything turned out but I'm still saddened by the possibility of the life long friendship we could have had. 

I want to thank you. Out of the hurt, I grew to be a stronger person. I don't take any friendship for granted anymore and I'm so thankful for the people I do have in my life. I don't believe you ended our friendship because you were trying to hurt me. I think that if anything you saw before I did that we were both headed in different directions and rather than embrace the new people we were becoming, you took the easy route and went your own way. 

I believe that people come into your life for a reason and you were one of my greatest lessons thus far. I'm at a place where I can look back at our friendship and be grateful for the time that we did have together and all of the support you provided me during some of my most influential years. 

As time goes by I'll look back at pictures of the two of us and remember. When my future little ones point you out in a photo, I'll laugh and share happy memories of the adventures we once had. 

Thank you for being such an influential person in my life in both good ways and bad. I hope that today and every day you're happy, and that you knofw that in fleeting moments I'll always remember the friendship we once had. 

Sincerely, 
Me 

"I've learned that who doesn't look for you, doesn't miss you and who doesn't miss you doesn't care for you...that destiny determines who enters your life but you decide who stays...that the truth hurts only once and a lie every time you remember it. There are three things in life that leave and never return: words, time and opportunities...therefore, value whoever values you and don't treat as a priority whoever treats you as an option." 

If you could write an open letter to an old friend, what would you say? 

Sixteen and Other Important Numbers Affecting My Life Today

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

89.16...the amount of money I've spent on coffee (i.e. starbucks, coffee bean, etc.) in the past month alone. Talk about a reality check. After spending this weekend taking a look at our spending habits it's clear Daniel and I have got some serious work to do when it comes to being smarter about our finances.

16...number of school days until graduation, have any advice for me as graduation day approaches? Let me know, here.


20...weeks until I'm off to Daytona and then Cancun! Paradise, I'm coming for you.

4...more papers I have to write before college is a thing of my past.

1...the number of books I've had the time to read for fun in the past month. This makes me so sad.



99...the amount of money I spent on my brand new Keurig. It's blue and on sale at Target right now, I'm obsessed and I'm hoping it will deter me from going to a coffee shop every morning. Justifying spending in order to stop spending...No, YOU have a problem. 


7 (months)...the age of our kitten. He's getting so big already!

1000...number of times I've checked the Ellen Show website to see if they've announced who we'll be seeing when we go to the show. Nothing announced yet.

3...weeks until we head off to Vegas for an adventure filled weekend getaway.

24...the age Daniel will be on the 28th of the month.

5...birthday celebrations we were invited to this month. April is so busy.

8...number of tickets I picked up today for the commencement ceremony. One step closer, yay!

As much as I'm not a numbers person, it's amazing how much they have an impact on my life. Which numbers are affecting you today?

Getting Serious About Finances After College

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Daniel and I sat down and had a long talk about our financial situation this weekend. By no means are we in a bad position. We are both working, and we have plenty of savings. In many ways from the outside it looks as though we have everything together. But both of us are so guilty. We indulge in things that we don't really need and sometimes it comes out of laziness. Both of us have noticed, particularly in the past month, that we've been using every excuse to eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In all fairness, both of us go from school to work and we're lucky to be home by 8 at night which isn't exactly an ideal time to cook a full meal and plan for breakfasts and lunch for the next day. 

But it's gotten to a point where its out of control, I'm talking 985.00 out of control. Before you go back and check, yes, you did read that right. In the past month alone Daniel and I have spent almost 1000 dollars on eating out for almost all of our meals. And that kills me. 

That number is more than half of our rent each month. That number is big, and dramatic and a huge problem. Honestly, it's embarrassing to even share here. But we have to start somewhere if we're going to start holding ourselves accountable for lowering this number. 

With graduation around the corner, and no official full-time job lined up after college, numbers like this are so scary. Not to mention that I'll be leaving school with student loans up to my ears, we have to start being more careful when it comes to money spending. 

After being slapped by financial reality, Daniel and I took a few steps towards figuring out how we were going to handle this. First, we agreed that we would start small and for the next week we won't be eating out. We made a list of groceries to buy for the week which included things like eggs that we could hard boil and make egg salad with, packs of chicken that we can use for so many different things, and fruits and veggies that would make easy snacks. 

We planned out every day for the next week for breakfasts, lunch and dinner and we wrote that terrible number on a notecard and put it on the fridge as a reminder. And after going to three different groceries stores I think we spent maybe $110 dollars on food for the next week, plus some. If we spent that much every week we still wouldn't even reach half of what we spent on eating out in the past month. 

I have a few other bad spending habits as well, but I think if you want to see any kind of serious impact on your finances it's important to start at one place and work your way through without overwhelming yourself. 

If you want to start getting serious about your finances, as you're on your way to becoming independently financially stable, I think you should start by adding up what you've spent recently on non-essential things. It's amazing how much so many little purchases add up to something so big. And it's a way for you to hold yourself accountable. 

Everything will play out the way it's supposed to, but if you want to be in a good position I think you can help it along. It's so important to be aware of your financial situation if you want to make any changes. 

Six Eighties Movies That Give Me Life

Sunday, April 10, 2016


There's not much I love more than a good 80's movie marathon. Even though I wasn't alive in the 80's there's something about the fact that no matter what age you are, they're totally relatable and still relevant to many of the problems we all face today. My parents always watched these movies with me, my dad could probably act out each one line by line, and I just never grew out of loving them. The movie Easy A kind of perfectly describes my attitude towards 80's movies. I'm pretty sure at least half of my top 10 favorites come from that decade. John Hughes was the man. 


In case you've been living under a rock and somehow haven't seen one or all of these movies, here's a list of my favorites. Do yourself a favor, get in your most comfy pj's on this Monday and marathon it out. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you could teleport back to the 80's. Believe me, you won't regret it. 


One// The Breakfast Club

Favorite Quote: "We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all."


Two// Sixteen Candles 

Favorite Quote: "That's why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they'd call them something else." 

Three// Say Anything

Favorite Quote: "She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, and she gave me a pen." 


Four// Pretty in Pink

Favorite quote: "You said you couldn't be with someone who didn't believe in you. Well I believed in you, I just didn't believe in me."


Five// Some Kind of Wonderful

Favorite Quote: "You look good wearing my future." 

Six// St. Elmo's Fire

Favorite Quote: "Love is an illusion. It's the only illusion that counts, my friend." 

Do any of these make your list of favorite movies? Which would you add? 

Asking for a Friend // What's Your Best Graduation Advice?

Thursday, April 07, 2016

photo via etsy

I am nineteen school days away from being finished with college. I've officially hit the teens and on most days I'm ready to throw a party about it. 


But as graduation gets closer, my anxiety about no longer being in school is starting to hit me full force. Especially as my laundry list of things to do before the end of the semester continues to grow. 


After five years of college you would think that I'd be ready to jump into the "real world" head first. 


I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, and that's where you all come in. 

I'm looking for the best advice you have for soon-to-be college graduates. If you have any serious, funny, helpful or just in general advice for someone who's about to graduate please email me at abbeyperalta@gmail.com as I would like to compile all of the advice into one post to share with other fellow almost graduates.

Happy Thursday, everyone! 

Baked Salmon With Tomato Garlic Butter Sauce

Monday, April 04, 2016

Last night I wanted to cook something easy, but I was also in the mood for something a little more fancy. This was the perfect in between because it didn't take a lot of work, but it sure tastes like it does. I made baked salmon, with a garlic-butter sauce that had tomatoes, capers, green onions, and a little bit of lime and herbs. I cooked some rice on the side and it was so filling and good. 

All you need is: 

Salmon: I got a little over a pound so Daniel and I can have some as leftovers.
2 Tomatoes
Butter
Chopped Garlic 
1 Lime 
Basil 
Green Onions
Capers 
Rice 





For the Salmon: 

1. Turn the oven on to 350.
2. Salt and pepper the salmon, I also used a little bit of garlic salt.
3. Place some aluminum foil in a glass dish, place the salmon on the aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until flaky.


For the Sauce: 
1. Melt some butter in a pot.
2. Add the tomatoes and garlic and simmer until fragrant.
3. Add the capers, basil, black pepper and green onions.
4. Squeeze one half-a whole lime into the sauce. Try half first and taste it to decide if it needs the other half.
5. Turn the stove onto low and continue simmering until the salmon and rice have finished cooking. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it becomes.
6. Make sure to test the flavor to see if it needs anything else! The capers give the sauce enough salty flavor that you probably won't need any other seasonings.


To Serve: 
Cook the rice according to package directions. Serve rice, salmon and sauce in a bowl and enjoy!

This is so good as leftovers and would taste great as a pasta sauce. It would also be so good with shrimp instead of salmon.

Happy Monday, all!

Before and After: Ikea Home Makeover

Friday, April 01, 2016


As Daniel and I have been collecting furniture over the past three years, things have gotten a little out of hand. We decided this year to splurge by using our tax refund to go to Ikea and get a fresh start by buying all new furniture and it's safe to say that I'm obsessed. Like, I don't to leave my apartment anymore kind of obsessed. We got a new couch, media set, coffee table, dining room table, curtains and more. We donated our old furniture to Goodwill some I'm hoping that it will all go to a home that needs it. Daniel's worked extremely hard over the past week to get the walls painted and put everything together for me so I thought I'd share a few before and after photos of what our place looks like now.

Please ignore the mess of the before photos. We had already begun the moving process when I remembered to take before pictures and made Daniel stop everything he was doing. 

Before: 





After: 







All of our new furniture was purchased at Ikea. 

My project for this weekend is finishing up the final living room touches and beginning on our bedroom. We've already purchased a new bed frame so now it's time to organize and make everything pretty. 

Happy Friday! 
DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS