SLO Stills

“Remember back when we were in college…?”

We can say that now.. when we take long weekends and vacation time to escape from our grown-up jobs. We’re those people who go back to the same restaurants in town and tell the waitress “this is our favorite little spot” (like she gives a shiz) then proceed to relive every memory we ever made in that location. Those people who talk about “voting on the rec center during freshman year then never getting to use it” and say things like “you don’t really appreciate it here until you leave.” Yeah- I think that means we’re OLD. SLO, on the other hand, is just as we left it…

xx, Victoria


Fell. Fall. Falling.

It’s taken a while for California to catch up, but it FINALLY feels like fall- which really only means it’s now a tad too cold to wear tank tops and cut-offs. In any case- I’ll take it. The past 5 years I spent fall in SLO and I miss the wine tasting, apple picking and crisp weather dearly. Until we can make it back up that way to enjoy the season, I’ll soak up the best of fall in LA…

1. Layers. I can camouflage those extra lbs for at least 3 more months. (since I really am going to lose that 10 now…). Oh, and boots, boots and more boots! Sole Society’s are the best!

2. Soup. Especially when Adam makes it and I don’t have to do anything.

3. Snuggling with a good book, a board game ( shameless Scrabble player), a cup of comfort and joy tea, a glass bottle of wine, etc.

4. Baking- the only time of the year when it is 100% acceptable to bake every single day. Heaven on earth? I think so.

5. Ugly sweater parties. Cocktail parties. Holiday parties. PARTIES.

6. Family. Decorations. Christmas lights. And soon enough…pine trees!

…Did I mention I love the holidays? Let the countdown begin!

xx, Victoria

And now it’s time for Christmas.

So it’s September? Which basically means December in my book…so let’s start celebrating the holiday season already!

But for real…I can’t believe summer is over. Finished. Not to be seen for another 9 months or so. 3 weddings, a food fest, some weekend getaways, a new job, and a 3-year anniversary…summer 2012, I’d say you were a success.

Conveniently planned 3 years ago (yeah…right)- Adam and my anniversary generally comes right around Labor Day. Translation: the perfect excuse to do some weekend getaway-ing. Though our bucket list of must-visit locations is quite extensive, we opted for a quick trip to Palm Springs (it’s been an expensive summer, okay?).

It was hotter than hell (for real…115), so while we were actually in Palm Springs we did a lot of drinking. Which then lead to a lot of eating. Which in turn meant a lot of sleeping. Therefore, we limited our time baking in the desert.

Sunday we took the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to the San Jacinto Mountains National Monument: EPIC. If you go to Palm Springs DO THIS. The view from the top is killer, but what’s even better than that? It’s also a solid 30 degrees cooler than Palm Springs is…#winning. Bring snacks though…hiking makes you me real hungry (good thing my live-in-lover knows me so well and plans accordingly).

Throw in a stop at the outlets, some labor day sales, an awesome deal on a Kate Spade bag, and the perfect anniversary present from Adam and you’ve got a pretty solid view of my lovely weekend.

Annnnnd then came the realization that we have no “real” reason to celebrate for a few months. Cue the fall diet and exercise plan…Sean T, go easy on me.

xx, Victoria

That time my sister got married.

It finally happened: we lost a Zabel to married life (though it was a long time coming). My sister got hitched on Saturday to Mr. Wayne Shaw and it was absolutely perfect. The dress fit, she looked stunning, everyone showed up, I cried, we all danced, I didn’t throw up, Katie and I were the best MOH’s ever…all in all I’d say it was a big, flipping success. Only downside? In all the wedding bliss and celebration I ate myself into many a food coma (and might or might not have just finished a hefty slab of wedding cake). What can I say…when I’m happy, I celebrate with food!

I love you Mr. and Mrs. Zabel Shaw…couldn’t be happier for you two!

Until the next wedding…

xx- Victoria

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And I’ve been on a diet for years because…

I like to eat. I can admit it. All the health articles, nutrition lectures and medical advice in the world will never change that. I also like food you aren’t supposed to eat. Like the Grilled Cheese Food Truck and deep-fried sausage and cheese balls and Nutella covered waffles…

Fortunately, I usually keep a pretty good handle on my love of unhealthy food. Consumption of the above named treats is fairly rare not because I don’t want [insert fatty food here], but because it’s already hard to look at myself naked…I need not make it any more difficult.

Thus, food and drink tasting events are my ultimate splurge because I can revel in uninhibited and shameless appreciation of what I’ll call a dieters “don’t eat” list. And, being that I currently have a strange love for food trucks, the LA Street Food Fest was my match made in heaven. $45 and a growling belly were all I needed to taste unlimited amounts of food last weekend…and, taste I did. Tacos, french fries, grilled cheese, sliders, ice cream, churros, donuts… Though at the time it was glorious, it was not glorious being in actual physical pain from over consumption (yes, this is what the bible would call gluttony). Food coma for hours. When I recovered enough to roll myself to the car I was pretty sure I’d never eat again….

But then I thought, “who starts a diet on a Sunday?”…not this lady! So I topped the weekend off with a bottomless champagne brunch Sunday (which I justified because I was catching up with the lovely Rachel VanHorn, who I hadn’t seen in 5 years).

And now, here I am, writing this from the gym. In the heat of my weekend-binging-bender last weekend I lost track of my goal: looking good in my bridesmaid dress in less than 2 weeks. Well shit, detox plan…let’s dance.

xx, Victoria










LA is pretty cool, too…

I cannot believe I was in New York 1 year ago…the last 12 months have flown by! I absolutely loved summer in NYC, and was completely floored by all the summer activities and events there (many of them free!). Rather than spend the next 3 months reminiscing and wishing I could move to the East Coast, I took to the ever-trusty ‘GOOGLE’ and vowed to find just as many things to do in good ole’ sunny California. Check out my summer 2012 bucket list…and let me know if you have any additional recommendations!

1: LA Street Food Fest: in case you hadn’t caught on yet, I love to eat…and I currently have an odd fascination with food trucks. This event was made for me.

2: Chinatown Summer Nights: An event with food, film and culture? Okay, Los Angeles, I’m in.

3: Movies in the Park: Just like Bryant Park in NYC! I love this kind of thing…and I love it even more when the venue is walking distance to home. Wine for everyone!

4: Rooftop bar in Venice: When it’s sunny and warm is there anything better than getting tipsy overlooking the ocean? The answer: not really.

5: Venice Beach Music Festival:Will we fit in at this event? Absolutely not. Do I care? Not at all.

xx- Victoria

Party planning and bridal showers

If you didn’t know, my older sister- Liz- is getting married in August. It’s pretty freaking crazy to think about, and it still blows my mind we are old enough to be having this happen. In any case, it’s been a blast to be a part of the process, and we (my sister and co-maid of honor, Katie, and I) hosted our bridal shower in Liz’s honor this past weekend.

Now I must say, arts and crafts have never really been a forte of the Zabel family. Generally, we are much more practical than we are creative. But, in the case of the bridal shower we KILLED IT… Martha Stewart status. Our decorations and decor came out perfectly, the games were fun (and most importantly, they were minimal), the food was tasty, and champagne was pouring all day. Oh, and I got a job offer in the morning– so Saturday was epic!

Happy last 2 months as a single woman, [future] Liz  Shaw!

xx- Victoria

Is it too late to say Happy Memorial Day?

I realize I am behind, but Happy Memorial Day (better late than never…?). As much as I freaking love weekday holidays (and appreciate the significance of them, too)- the week following them kicks my ass big time. But, my Memorial weekend in SLO was worth the sensation of drowning I felt all week.

I consider both Adam and I pretty efficient people. After realizing how bad we are at time estimating, getting out of the house on time and overpacking I am quickly becoming aware of how wrong that self portrait is. We planned to leave LA by 7 to get to SLO by 10.. We pulled up at 11:30. Solid start, but at least we were there! My wonderful prior-roommates, current-lovelies- heather and courtney- graciously shared their home with us, which was awesome not only because I got to finally spend time with them again, but also because they are literally in downtown SLO (thanks again!)

For some reason Adam and I refused to acknowledge the weather forecast for the weekend. Even though we both checked before we left and we clearly saw the “chilly and overcast” predictions, we both brought summer clothes. Oh, and Saturday was winter season cold. This ended up being an excuse to shop…(which i was obviously devastated by). We spent the day catching up with friends, eating at our favorite spots, hiking, and hitting the bars (you know how carazay DT SLO is…)

Sunday was perfect and we decided to take advantage of the weather, the wine and Adam’s scooter (which I have named Carol). Mr. Scott Ender has a bitchin bike as well, so our little scooter gang putted to Avila and drank wine at Kelsey winery while peacocks wandered around us (literally). After our adventure we ate some more local cuisine (aka Gus’ deli) then made our way to a BBQ with Adam’s friends from college.

Monday we took off and sat in traffic all damn day. The frustration, coupled with the elation we each felt from our trip back to our good ole stomping grounds, drove us to eat. All.Day.Long. Seriously. Therefore, on the way home we vowed to “cleanse” for 3 days, which was quite possibly one of the worst decisions I have ever made (more on that at a later time).

Most importantly, perhaps, Memorial weekend highlighted I am old. I am that person that comes back and goes to my favorite haunts, tells everyone my favorite dish and restaurant (like anyone cares), and talks about ‘when we were in college…’. Oh, and Adam and I can officially say we met in school? Yeah…I’m ready to use my senior citizen discount any day now.

We are off to Dallas for the weekend for Will and Carla’s wedding…check back soon for more thought-gems :).

xx- Victoria

Cal Poly-ers in the real world?

I met my college roommate from FRESHMAN year for dinner and drinks tonight after work. The fact that I can even say that means I am officially old.

Have one of those friends you can go months without seeing, then when you get together you’re able to pick up where you left off? I have Ms. Kelsey Magnusen :)….love you, lady!

I wish all weeks started with a wonderful catch up session, tacos and $4 margaritas. (new recommendation: fishbar in manhattan beach)

xx- Victoria


You can call me Betty Crocker

Since Adam and I have a special love for sweet treats and delicacies in life, we have to find ways to hold one another accountable for what we eat. It’s not easy, and we are not perfect at it (yes, we did go to the food trucks and we will probably drink a bottle or 3 of wine this weekend). I prefer to focus on the positives, though (HA! right)…so here is a recipe I tried today that was different and healthy. If we hadn’t given up sweets for Lent (damn it) I would have felt zero guilt indulging in dessert afterwards. Originally I pinterested/stumbled upon the recipe here, but I tweaked it a bit to suit our likes.

Easy Sweet Potato/Black Bean Veggie Burgers:


Ingredients we used:

1 can black beans, drained
2 small sweet potatoes, boiled/peeled/mashed (about 2 cups)
Saracha (as much as we can stand
Red pepper, garlic, seasoning salt
2 tablespoons Chipotle cream cheese

burgers: avocado, chipotle cream cheese (for spread), pepperjack cheese, soft roll, romaine, onion, tomato

Side: asparagus


Boil your potatoes until they are soft and you can peel the skin off of them. Warning: they have been sitting in boiling water for 30+ minutes…they are flipping hot. Yes, they will burn your fingers and no, the pain is not quick (not that I know from experience or anything).


Mash the potatoes and the can of beans together in a large bowl. Add your seasonings and [if you used it] cream cheese.


Form your mix into patties and spritz with olive oil. Make sure the oil gets on both sides so your patty maintains some sort of shape when flipped.


Fix your burger however you like. Avocado is an excellent addition in this case, if I do say so myself.


Enjoy :)!

Oh, and we finally finished our tables tonight…the first project to be 100% complete in our home! Check back tomorrow for pictures.

xx- Victoria