19 Crimes: The New Way to UnWine

Hey, yall! So sorry I have been soooo MIA lately but it has been for a good reason. DRUMROLL PLEASE: WE ARE MOVING TO NYC! Ahhh, I can not wait to bring you guys along with us for the ride, but to say its been a crazy AF time, would be an understatement!

Between all the recent travels back and forth plus our weekend work trips, a bish was in need to UNWINE… (get it?) Long overdue, tbh! My fave lately has been this 19 Crimes Cabernet. I can’t even remember the last time I just simply sat and sipped on a glass of wine… sans emails, sans WORK. Thankfully 19 Crimes saved the day.

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The traveling and the frenzy surrounding our move have really taken a toll on me and she knows no self care these days…le sigh.

I will say the few times we have planned for a good night in, Netflix and a wine sesh, we literally fall asleep on our couch within minutes… make-up on and all, yikes! So this time, we both said no more.  I grabbed my gratitude journal, actually sat down and simply chilled tf out.

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For some time now, our friends have suggested some wines to try, but as ya’ll know, two sips of alcohol and I’m out! AHAHA, so it’s been harder to find a wine that I can enjoy and actualllly finish. And when I say enjoy, I mean, thoroughly enjoy every sip. Many wines (to me) taste very alcohol-y and aren’t that pleasant.

But after some digging, bae and I found a bunch of reviews online about an interactive wine to sit, listen (I did just say listen, I know, weird, right? Just read on…), and unwind with. At first, the name didn’t register all that well and it wasn’t until we actually brought some home when it all came together. 19 Crimes, sounds a bit more like a novel and less like a wine brand, but it’s actually a bit of both, in a sense.

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Playing on the name, it really is criminal to taste that good, LOL… it definitely made me feel relaxed yet NOT sleepy.

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Maybe it was deep red blend of strong fruit flavors or the sweet blackberry hint, but it def had a nice balance on the taste buds. Smooth AF!

Bae was also loving it, and especially with the AR app, it really made for a fun night.

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Once you download The Living Wine Labels app, you get to scan the criminal on the front label and get to hear them tell their story about these 19 real world crimes that they partook in.

As the name suggests, 19 Crimes is really all about these short stories from prisoners who were sent to Australia. I don’t know about ya’ll, but I live for true crime, mysteries and cliffhangers, so as soon as bae and I heard the first story, we were so freaking hooked: such a fun spin on your classic glass of wine.

A message in a bottle so to speak…but these aren’t necessarily left in the past. Like I don’t geek out over many things, but this ingenious AR experience really makes that concept come to life. If you are having a bad day, escape reality for a bit, grab a 19 Crimes bottle, and hear stories that will make you want to pop open the next one.

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I know, right now, I’m like the last person to be talking about taking the time to simply pause and unwind, but I cannot stress enough just how much joy this little game/wine sesh brought. It really is the simple things.

Sometimes traditional escapism doesn’t cut it and we have to try new things that can come in different mediums, or in this case, experiences. At the moment, the whole move to the Big Apple has brought on so many doubts and anxieties but I am so excited…well, exhausted…but excited.

With so dang much to prepare and with such little time, I need to remind myself to let my hair down, more than once in a while and UNWINE. But this time, with 19 Crimes. Here’s to getting through stressful times, in the best ways we know how ❤

Although this post is sponsored by 19 Crimes, all opinions are my own. @19Crimes #LiveInfamously #19Crimes

The Ultimate LA Day Date: Universal Studios Hollywood Edition

Whether you’re a LA native or visitor of Hollywood, Universal Studios Hollywood is an immersive experience all of it’s own. Beyond it’s iconic red carpet entrance, this movie-based theme park and active studio lot puts you in the center of the action where your fav blockbusters come to life. Experience movie magic in multi-dimensional thrill rides, special effects, and re-created signature environments.

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After much FOMO of this magical land, we finally got to experience the enchantment of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” for ourselves. The entire land is so masterfully curated, you truly feel as though you were transported into the big screen. From the snow-capped roofs to the cobblestone walk ways, this quant village of wizardry is one unforgettable experience!

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If you’re a HP fan, you can appreciate how closely the park referred to the books for inspiration in creating these environments. We were so enthralled during our strolls throughout Hogsmeade Village.

Next, we walked around the the recreated streets of  New York.

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Then, we made way towards the famous Studio Tour — Behind-the-Scenes Tram Ride. Aside from working soundstages and filming lots, there are a variety of special effects rides along the way.  It is recognizable by the landmark buildings and star-covered sidewalks. Some of our fave cult-films took place here! In addition to the soundstage recreation experiences, we encountered War of the Worlds and other famous movie sets. Pure Hollywood magic!

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As the afternoon warmed up, we knew the perfect way to cool down would be to head to the lower lot and experience the mega attraction, Jurassic World– The Ride, ft dinosaurs from the film, lush interactive designs, and the rollercoaster drop made for thrill-seekers like us.

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We finished the day by enjoying a European vacation in the heart of Los Angeles, Bienvenue!  We walked around this Parisian Courtyard with all the Euro Nostalgia.

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What a day! 10/10 recommend if you’re wanting to spend a day with bae or even feel like a kid again. Growing up, it was a family tradition of ours for us to make our way down south to Universal Studios Hollywood. Some of my best childhood memories are associated with this park and it’s pretty amazeee to be continuing that tradition. And, for my IG babes, content galore!

Our Road Trip to Solvang

It is no secret that the boo and I love exploring nearby towns! We try our best to jam pack our weekends with road trips, site seeing, and of course a good time! This week we decided on Solvang, CA. We both went to college nearby but surprisingly, I had never visited this quaint town during my time in the Central Coast.

Abundantly rich in the culture of the Danish settlers, this village is historically preserved with gorgeous architecture, tasty bakeries, authentic restaurants, wine rooms, flowers galore, and some of the warmest people I have ever met! It was truly a utopia of its own.

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We ventured for the day but with so many activities to enjoy, we decided to plan for a weekend getaway in the near future!

I had always heard great things about Solvang and now I know why! I would definitely  suggest planning a trip to this picturesque historic village as soon as possible! Xo

 

Frolicking in the Flower Fields

For my 25th birthday, I wanted to celebrate in a setting that exuded beauty and tranquility.

Naturally, the besties and I took a mini road trip to The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

An Instagrammer’s dream really, this place was pure perfection! The fields spread across farther than the eye could see and the aroma was to die for!

Prior to frolicking around, we brought some picnic food, bubbly, laid out a huge blanket on the grass and soaked up the sun!

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I would definitely recommend this gem to anyone who is looking for a cute day trip, ideal photo op, date idea, etc. You can literally wear any color outfit because there are an array of colorful flowers for your liking! The fields are open for only one more month so go out and experience this beauty for yourself ❤ Xo

Los Angeles Travel Guide

Ahhh, Los Angeles, The City of Angels! When I first moved to LA, I arrived on a Friday. On that following Monday, I began my first day of work. SOOO needless to say, I definitely did not have the knowledge of the “must-go” places within the city.

Now almost three years later, I’ve ventured to what seems like every corner of the city, but in all honesty, I have barely scratched the surface. There are thousands upon thousands of yummy eateries, numerous beaches, hipster cafes, bars, scenic hang outs…the list goes on and on! To help narrow down that list, I have compiled my top go-to hot spots within the city.

 

Brunch:

 

Blu Jam Café: I heard only rave reviews about this place, so naturally I had it give it a go! Let me tell you, it did not disappoint! Crunchy French Toast is the way to go! If you have a larger appetite this place is for you (:

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Mocafe: Variety. Variety. Variety!! Huge portions, fresh ingredients, lovely service and a great location. My favorite dishes are the Nutella Waffles and The Protein Scramble! P.S. their potatoes are to die for!

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Restaurants:

 

Bambou Le Pho: I’ve tried probably 30 Pho restaurants in my life and after trying this place on a whim, I’d say it would make it to the top of my list! There are so many dishes I’d recommend but my favorites item is their fried egg rolls… OH MY LORD! YUM.

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Sunset Thai: Massive portions and super yummy dishes! I’m very particular about my Thai Food but this place is spot on! I’d recommend their Pad Thai and Orange Chicken.

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Clifton’s: This place is truly a gem! Considered the largest public cafeteria in the world, this multi-level building serves some of the best hearty food I’ve ever had, has the coolest decor and vintage bar around AND  is a swing dance venue on the upper level as well. I’ve enjoyed live jazz and swing classes here as well! This place is definitely an experience to have.

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George’s Greek Grill: I saw a friend post a photo of their meal from this place and I just had to try it! The dishes here are fresh and very authentic! Their Grilled Chicken Entrée is bomb.com!

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The Albright: If you’re in the heart of Santa Monica and looking for some fresh seafood and beer, this place is for you! I’m pretty surprised how in such a prime location, there is hardly ever a wait. My favorite dishes are the Clam Chowder Bowls (OMG) and the Chips and Guac!

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Eataly:  Great ambiance and tasty food! I love the Eataly concept in general. It is like a Costco for Italian foods, wines, spices, etc.  You can buy pre-maid or dried foods (as you would in any super market). The restaurant inside the giant market is worth the wait! Of course, my favorite items of the menu are the Margarita Pizza, Cacio e Pepe, and Cannolis.

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Nightlife:

Harlowe Bar:  In love with their Old Hollywood feel! It is close to being a full-on club but yet somehow remains true to its chill cocktail bar vibe. There is a DJ on site playing almost every genre in mind.

 

Adults Only: This dive bar is tucked away in a pocket of a strip mall. The aesthetic of this gem is of a classic video store, when you first walk through the entrance, you pass the “adult section”. There is a pool room in the very back and not to mention, their drinks are pretty good!

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The Misfit Restaurant + Bar: Walking distance from the pier, this bar is literally such a fun & affordable time! A perfect spot for day drinking, with one of the best happy hours this city has to offer! From 12-7pm they serve $6 cocktails! Like heller, this place is a must!

 

The Edison: This renovated power plant, serves absinthe, some of the strongest craft cocktails, a burlesque show & live music! The Edison’s prohibition feel, is one to experience for yourself!

 

Ace Hotel: When I first moved to LA, I was introduced to this rooftop bar, and let me tell you, I was a weekend regular for much after that! The views are stunning, the laid back vibes are contagious, and the pool is so nice to dip your feet into, especially during those warmer Summer nights. I would suggest however, to arrive earlier in the night, as the line does get long.

 

Places to go: 

Runyon Canyon: The various routes of this hike, make it suitable for just about everybody! There are extremely steep paths as well as lighter ones, perfect for striking up a conversation. I’ve met countless of celebrities on the trails and the views of LA are pretty amazing! There is free street parking nearby as well!

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Museums: Whether it be, LACMA, The Getty, The Broad, Museum of Broken Relationships, the list goes on and on – you are sure to have a pleasant time and (some pretty cool IG pics) from your visit.

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Melrose Avenue:  LA’s trendiest hub filled with funky stores and cafes… great for people-watching and getting some cool IG shots. I personally love the painted walls on the buildings which are always changing.

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The Global Angel Wings Project Wall

 

Bike Ride from Venice Beach to Santa Monica:  One of the most relaxing ways to get around in LA! Enjoy one of the most beautiful and interesting urban bike paths in the World! This is Coastal California at it’s finest! I have found BOGO coupons online so this is def a fun and cheap adventure to share with a loved one! Once you arrive in SM, you can lock up your bike and walk the pier 🙂

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*As you can see, the possibilities to explore are endless. Because of that, I am seriously so in love with this city. I grew up in the Bay Area and I thought no where could compare to San Francisco, but boy was I in for a treat! Xo *

 

 

Boozy Brunch at Home

I don’t really have a reason for this post other than it’s #NationalPancakeDay and we’re hungry! Lol, just kidding. But no really, I’m obsessed with breakfast food, especially pancakes! I’m a regular Saturday and Sunday bruncher…like to the point where my local spots, know me by name! But let’s be honest, brunch can add up very quickly, especially when you throw mimosas into the mix!

So this past weekend, we decided to cut the lines and make our own boozy brunch in the comfort of our home. This upcoming weekend, I challenge you to do the same!

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup Krusteaz Honey Wheat Pancake Mix (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Steel Cut Oatmeal (for pancake mix)
  • 1 Banana (for pancake mix)
  • 1 tspn Cinnamon (for pancake mix)
  • 1 handful Blueberries
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Bell Peppers
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 handful Spinach
  • 1 Russet Potato
  • Orange Juice
  • Andre Champagne

Directions: 

Pancakes

  1. Mash banana with fork to a liquid consistency or goopy mush. Next, mix in oats, pancake mix, and cinnamon with a splash of water. You want to make sure that your mix has the consistency of pancake batter, thin enough to stir but thick enough to cook evenly.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled NON-STICK griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.
  3. Pour the batter onto the pan, using approximately half of the mix for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot and add blueberries.

Potatoes

  1. Dice up potato into small cubed pieces. Place potatoes and bell peppers into a oiled medium sized skillet. Season with the herbs of your choice. Cover with a lid, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently until brown and crisp on all sides.

Eggs

  1. Spray skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium-high and crack open eggs. Add bell peppers and spinach for taste. Top with avocado once cooked.

*Now, all your hard work in the kitchen, deserves a drink! Fill up your glass with champagne and a splash of OJ, and Voilà!!

Happy eating! XO

 

 

Valentine’s/Galentine’s Date Ideas

Valentine’s Day (or its alternative Galentine’s Day), is literally hours away! Whether you are hoping for a hot date with your boo or sipping on mimosas with your girls, I’ve compiled a list of cheap date ideas you can try!

Valentine’s Date Ideas:

  1. A Boozy Picnic in the Park
    • Hit up your local market and pick up some wine, cheese, crackers, and chocolate, and Voilà! You’ve got yourself a $20 picnic date in the park! It’s thoughtful, intimate, and romantic!
  2. A Night at a Jazz Club 
    • If you google Jazz Clubs in your areas, they are sure to be a few just a drive away! Reservations are usually not required and cover charges range between $15-30. If you are from the Los Angeles area, I would recommend The Bluewhale. They have amazing live performances, great drinks, and a cozy atmosphere. You are sure to impress your date with this kind of a venue!
  3. A Romantic Night In 
    • Choose a theme and center everything you do around it. For example, if you choose an Italian theme, you could have all the ingredients ready for hand-tossed pizza and pasta ($20-30), then watch a movie like Life is Beautiful or Under the Tuscan Sun. You can also have Italian Jazz playing in the background or sing karaoke, finding the lyrics on YouTube. In my opinion, this is the most romantic yet easiest night to plan!
  4.  Whale Watching
    • Take a half day at work and drive your date to the closest coastal town! Groupon has deals for as low as $6 per person. My personal fave is in Newport Beach, California. Kick back and sip some wine while enjoying first-class views to marine life! Same day tickets are available. This is a great way to get some fresh air and experience something different!
  5. Arcade Date Night 
    • Hit up your local arcade or even Dave & Buster’s and have a go at good ol competitive fun! Play the particular games your date gets nostalgic about. $20-30 can get you a solid hour of games! *Bonus* win that teddy bear for her!

 

Galentine’s Date Ideas:

  1. Boozy Brunch
    • Grab your girls, put your Freakum Dress on, and hit the town! Whether you are getting together for brunch or a nice dinner, nothing beats sharing a laugh with your tribe.
    • Last year, (when we were all single), we dressed to the nines, went to this hole in the wall Chinese restaurant, came back home, had some bubbly and just danced around the house for hours. It was hella fun and easy!
  2. Slumber Party
    • Turn up in the comfort of your own home! Add some decor to your living room and cute ballons! Order heart shaped pizza and some board games! Ask that each friend bring over their favorite sweet treat or preferred bottle of wine. Make sure everyone packs their comfiest PJs and favorite playlist. Play games, pamper yourselves, and wind down with a classic chick flick.
  3. Paint & Sip
    •  Sip your favorite beverage and dance to the music while you and your friends enjoy a step-by-step instructional experience with local artists as they help you re-create a featured painting of the night. There are bound to be plenty of local studios in your area, most of which host private parties. I looked around my local studios and still found open availability ranging from $30-$40.
  4. Succulent Extravaganza   
    • Head to your local succulent nursery and enjoy some plant therapy! Grab a glass of wine and start mixing and matching your cart…or consider starting your own collections. My friend and I spent our Sunday there and it was quite peaceful. Smaller succulents start at about $1.50
  5. Collage the Friendship
    • Stop to your local craft store, grab some blank photo books and the works and make actual collages of you and your friends…you know instead of using an app on your phone! Over some wine, these photos are bound to spark up some really good memories! The best part, you can exchange your books with each other once it is complete! $20-$30.

 

*Just remember, the sole purpose of Feb 14th, is to be around the people you love!

Newport Beach Recap

This pristine town by the sea is the ideal weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city! Nearly perfect weather, endless eateries, shops galore, and not to mention, Newport Harbor: the largest recreational boat harbor on the west coast. Unique to other seaside cities, (aside from fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, etc.); Newport is home to daily commercial maritime operations, including Catalina Flyer Ferry and whale watching charters. In addition, families can utilize Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort. This RV park and marina consists of a mile-long beach front property with access to the water park, pool, inflatable water obstacle course, etc.

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With so many attractions at your fingertips, Newport is surely a destination for everyone! This town is close to my heart as I’ve had literally made some of the best memories here. There is simply a special vitality to this town. One that can only be experienced for itself.

For me, the main attraction is Davey’s Locker Whale Watching. On their website you can purchase a ticket for $36. But, I found a sweet deal on Groupon for only $10!

This charter provides first-class views to marine life! I’ve gone home with tons of footage of these ocean giants each and every time (this was my third time aboard)! Davey’s Locker provides year round tours: view the gray whale migration during the winter and the blue and finback whales during the spring! The staff is very knowledgeable annddd there’s a food and drink bar on the boat.

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Once the charter docks back into shore, you’d be in the heart of Balboa Village. Balboa Village is quaint and charming. This area is so beautifully maintained! There is a plethora of dining options, dive bars, and boutiques to check out including the Fun Zone!

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For lunch, we walked (literally feet away) to Balboa Lily’sEnjoy the zest of flavors all while relaxing over the view of historic main street Balboa.

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There is a real hipster vibe to this eatery!

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Our post-meal walk consisted of wandering along the water front homes and taking the pup out to the Balboa Pier. You can also rent beach cruisers for you and the family or enjoy a stroll down the boardwalk.

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Btw, these waters are spectacular to photograph!

To catch the sunset, we headed a few minutes down to Newport Pier. You can also walk the short ~3 mile distance on the ocean front sidewalk.

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Here was a little more crowded than Balboa, but still nothing in comparison to more concentrated areas likes Santa Monica or Venice Beach.

For dinner we sat down at the Urban Cup Restaurant. This beach front eatery had some of the best Vietnamese cuisine I have ever had (and that says a lot as I eat an unhealthy amount of Vietnamese on the weekly)!!

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Soon after, we literally walked along the sidewalk for hours, just admiring the massive homes.

We stayed the night at the Newport Channel Inn. We were extremely pleased with the size of our standard room plus the short three minute drive from the pier, didn’t hurt :)!

For breakfast we headed back to Balboa Pier and ate at the Orange Blossom Cafe.

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LITERALLY THE PERFECT BEACHSIDE CAFE. Everything was made to order and extremely yummy… (the view was pretty grand too)!

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Long story long, Newport should be on your top, “must visit destinations” this year! Whether you’re looking for a quick day-trip or relaxing weekend getaway, there is something for just about everyone here! Xoxo

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Oh, and @troytheshihtzu agrees too 🙂

DIY Wine and Cheese Date

Not too long ago, my girlfriends and I headed to our local winery in hopes of unwinding over a few glasses of wine. Turns out, everyone else in LA had the same exact idea! There was a wait of over 2 hours long with a minimum purchase of two bottles per group. This seemed pretty ridiculous to us so we decided to create our own picnic by the beach.

We stopped by Trader Joe’s and picked up a ton of finger foods and of course, WINE.

What we bought:

Cheese: Brie, Blueberry Goat Cheese, Cheddar, and Gouda

Fresh Fruit: Strawberries & Grapes

Carbs: Crackers, Pita Chips, & a Baguette

Meats: Calabrese Salami & Italian Dry Salami

Sweets: Chocolate Almonds

Wine: Red (Merlot) & White (Pinot Grigio)

[Previously to heading out, we packed our own cutting board, utensils, napkins, cups, and plates]

We drove around until we found the ultimate spot to set-up shop.

We parked our car in a turnout road which overlooked the surrounding mountains and ocean. It was literally an ideal place for taking photos plus we were also able to get away from all the crowds. We opened the doors, blasted some music, and feasted!

This was the perfect alternative to wine and cheese tasting, at a fraction of the cost. If you’re indecisive on what to do with your weekends, I hope this date idea comes in handy!

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*Malibu, CA*