Los Angeles CA, Jewelry, Fashion

Happy Halloweenie

Rainbow pumpkin varietals at Live Oak pumpkin patch

Rainbow pumpkin varietals at Live Oak pumpkin patch

I love Autumn. Autumn for me means, baking, crafting and holiday decorating. Usually when Fall rolls around I'm so over summer and the oppressive SoCal heat that I'm actually excited to turn my oven on again. This year's Hotumn lasted way longer than most would have liked. It was 103 last week but I'm thrilled to say that it's beginning to feel like fall with a slight chill in the air the past two days. I even was able to put on a sweater! (With my shorts 😝)

Being the hip parents that we are, we've been dressing up the past few years for Halloween.  Last year I was Princess Leia, the year before that, a teenage mutant ninja turtle. We're usually the only parents dressed up so I can't say that I'm that disappointed that my son forgot to include us in his Halloween costume plans this year.  I'll still be in the spirit of Halloween of course.  I'll be wearing my favorite skull print sweatshirt along with my Halloween nails! And I may do skull face makeup, tbd.

I used Nars in Venomous and Sally Hansen Dream Sequins to do a coppery glittery fade effect.  With all this Halloween flair, it's best to keep the accessories subtle so I paired it with my rose gold Sidwell ring stacks and my Zig Zag ear crawlers.

Since Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year we had all weekend prior to celebrate fun Halloween themed events. We took our mini dachshund Junior to a Dog Costume Contest.  I thought we had it in the bag for the small dog category with Jr's jockey costume and then I saw Einstein, the ghost buster dog. His owner had constructed a full ghost buster mobile with flashing lights, ghosts and projectile silly string.

Junior the Jockey @jrtheseniorwiener

Junior the Jockey @jrtheseniorwiener

Some of my favorites from the dog costume contest at Three Dog Bakery.

My favorite piece of Halloween decor : my dachshund skeleton

My favorite piece of Halloween decor : my dachshund skeleton

After the dog contest we walked down the street to One Colorado for their annual pumpkin decorating. One Colorado has the best kids activities. They're never overly crowded, they're easy to park and walk to and best of all they're free and rotate seasonally. They've had face painting and pumpkin decorating, to interactive performances such as Bob Baker's Marionette, balloon art and magic shows. This year inspired me to decorate my pumpkin instead of carving. That way the pumpkin doesn't deteriorate as quickly and can be enjoyed for longer. Plus, I don't have to clean up all that gooey mess.

I took a leaf stamp, stamped it on and then painted it in with white acrylic paint. When I made a mistake I could just clean up uneven edges with the side of my nail. It took a while but it was enjoyable, sort in the same vein as coloring books for adults. If I had planned ahead I would have used a stencil and a stamping tool with paint to make it go faster. Maybe next year!

Pumpkin decorating at One Colorado, Pasadena

Pumpkin decorating at One Colorado, Pasadena

Leaf stamp, then free painted with white acrylic paint

Leaf stamp, then free painted with white acrylic paint

My Halloween music of choice as of late has been

Bernard Herrmann who did all of my favorite

Hitchcock film scores like Psycho, Vertigo, North

by Northwest and Rod Serling's The Twilight

Zone. This version is played by

and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

 

 

 

 

WISHING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY A SAFE AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Beauty

Pink Hair Don't Care

Pastel pink hair using Overtone

Pastel pink hair using Overtone

Brown, Blonde, Blackish, Red, Orange, Pink I've always played with my hair color.  It started in high school when my friend and I were experimenting with a home kit in her bathroom. She had decided I would look good as a coppery red head so we tried it out and this started my love affair with changing my hair.

Coloring your hair color can be drying and damaging so I always make sure to use sulfate free products, wash infrequently, use dry shampoo and apply dry oil as a leave in treatment, and use a deep conditioner weekly.  I was thrilled when I found Overtone, a color depositing conditioner that can enhance your color without damaging it. It's the ultimate fun, no commitment hair color. Since it's conditioner, it's hydrating and won't ruin your hair. Plus,  it's vegan and sulfate free so what are you waiting for?!

I'm naturally strawberry blonde, although my hair has naturally darkened with age.  I've been using the pastel pink and vibrant pink for a few years now as it enhances the strawberry tones and is flattering with my skin tone. Since I'm so pale and freckled, I find that tones that aren't too overpowering while not being so pale that they wash me out are best.  With the ginger tones in my hair the pink turns rose gold on me. Rose gold and pastel pinks are universally flattering as they warm up any complexion. I've never received as many complements as I do when I have pink hair. People are always puzzled when I tell them it's color conditioner and easy to diy so I wanted to share my hair color secrets here. This is not a paid post btw, I just want to support a fellow female run business and a product I believe in.

I use a hair color application brush, you can get them cheap on Amazon here. I find that it helps give better control over where the color goes and makes for a more even result. I also like to do it on the lightest part first and often not on my roots at all because it makes the color there darker. I've used it in the shower but then missed sections and I'm too much of a perfectionist for that. I wash my hands immediately but you can wear gloves. I'm a little too lazy for that but would definitely recommend if you are using the extreme color or darker shades.

Overtone sells three levels of pigmented conditioner: pastel, vibrant and extreme with daily conditioners or weekly deep conditioners. Daily versions have less pigment than weekly. I use mine every few weeks and then let it wash out so that i can enjoy the different colors as it washes and fades out. They have so many fun colors, teal, lavender, silver, peach, rose gold. With 24 colors in all, the sky's the limit.

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There's one caveat, it will show up better on bleached hair. I get my hair balayaged a few times a year and then paint on the conditioner onto my highlighted hair. I then let it sit for various times depending on the intensity of color I want to achieve, up to 30 minutes or so and then wash it out and occasionally shampoo and then air dry. Overtone helps to make it fool proof by showing a color swatch of how the various colors turn out on lighter to darker hair.

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I like to wear bold statement earrings with my pink hair. Gold brings out the warmth in the color and silvers and grays pair nicely as well. You would be surprised just how versatile pink hair can be!

Shown: Janna Conner Evelina earrings

Try it yourself! I'm giving one Overtone Pastel Pink Complete Set of : Daily Conditioner, Deep Treatment and travel size conditioner. Enter on my Instagram @jannaconner to win!

Los Angeles CA, Jewelry, Fashion

A Day at the Los Angeles Opera with Carmen

My first memories of opera, take me back to grammar school.  My mother had briefly trained to be an opera singer before abandoning it in pursuit of becoming a doctor. Of the two, she found medicine to be the lesser difficult discipline even though she was one of only three women in her USC medical school class. Whenever she picked me up from school I was greeted with Die Zauberflüte or another one of her favorites blasting out of her car, announcing her arrival in the carpool lane.  Despite enjoying opera, I'd actually never been to see one before.  Truth be told I think I was a little intimidated. Going to the opera was for aficionados, people who knew every aria and composer by heart.  Nevertheless, I was excited when my mom asked me to join her to see Carmen at the LA Opera.

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On the left, the original Carmen, Célestine Galli-Marié in Carmen, by Henri Lucien Doucet (1884), musée de Marseille.

Above illustration of Carmen by Luc for Journal Amusant 1875, a french satirical weekly magazine.

 

Before every performance, the conductor, James Conlon, gives an hour long introduction. He is also the music director and has quite an impressive career, conducting at La Scala in Milan and over 270 times at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in addition to serving as the director of the Paris National Opera.  He's a great speaker, very informative and I appreciated the backstory of Carmen that he gave while dropping little fun facts and juicy tidbits about its inception. The orchestra is below the stage so you can't see the musicians during the performance but you can see Conlon with his hair whipping back and forth as he waves his baton energetically.  Mozart in the Jungle was in the back of my mind as I watched him conduct.

Ana Maria Martinez as Carmen. Photo by Ken Howard / LA Opera

Ana Maria Martinez as Carmen. Photo by Ken Howard / LA Opera

I had always thought of Carmen as a Spanish opera. I was partially right, it takes place in Spain, but is sung in French (Bizet was French). Since I speak French, it was fun trying to decipher some of the arias as they were sung and not solely relying on the subtitle teleprompter that hangs above the stage. It was adapted from the novella by Prosper Mérimée, that came out in 1845.  Georges Bizet adapted the story of Carmen into his opera and died three months after it debuted in march of 1875,  at the age of only 36! Similar to Mozart who died at 35. It's remarkable to think what both of them could have achieved if they had only lived longer.

In the 19th century, Spain seemed like an exotic and distant backdrop for the story of a Roma femme fatale whose magnetic charisma and sultriness captivated every man she encountered. Carmen is on her work break from the local factory when she meets Don José, a naive soldier who is the only man in the square oblivious to her charms. She is intrigued by this challenge and sets her sights on acquiring his affections. After a factory dispute ensues, Don José is ordered to question and imprison her but she escapes with his help, he is then put in jail and reconnects with her upon his release. After a scuffle with his commanding officer, Don José is forced to desert the military and his mother and her wishes for him to marry the girl next door. He joins Carmen's gang of smugglers but becomes jealous that meanwhile Carmen's feelings have shifted to a well known matador named Escamillo. Incensed, Don José kills Carmen in a fit of rage outside the arena.

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With all this melodrama, I was surprised to learn that Carmen is considered Opéra Comique. Essentially that means to separate musical numbers with dialogue. Carmen is a feminist prototype, she is unapologetically in control of her own destiny. She is completely transparent about her motives both to do what she wants and to love freely. "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" She does what she wants when she wants, sometimes rather capriciously. The opera's depiction of lawlessness, immorality, and the murder of the main character made for a bold subject matter both at the time of its writing and even today. Carmen has become one of the most popular operas thanks in part to its many well known arias such as Habanera and Toreador.

Flamenco in Carmen. Photo by Ken Howard / LA Opera

Flamenco in Carmen. Photo by Ken Howard / LA Opera

Not only are there wonderful singers in Carmen,  there are also talented flamenco dancers. They give a physical expression to Bizet's dialogue and assist in the telling of Carmen's story. They are led by Spanish choreographer Nuria Castejón,  a dancer with the Ballet Nacional de España and choreographer for Pénelope Cruz in Pedro Almadovor's Volver.  Their costumes are magical as they stomp, heels clicking with fringe flying. The toreador's costumes were also fantastic with satisfying detail all the way down to the pink socks!

If I were dressing Carmen, I would pair my Hazel tassel earrings in Onyx and this embroidered tulle dress by Needle and Thread

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Taking a bow at the end of Carmen

Taking a bow at the end of Carmen

Such a revered opera calls for an impressive setting and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center does not disappoint. It's hard to believe that once upon a time, this center did not exist. In fact, it's only 53 years old. Dorothy, the wife of the former LA Times publisher Norman Chandler, spearheaded the fundraising efforts to get the center made. At the time, the Philharmonic was sharing a performance space with a local church since the early 20's, and Dorothy Buffum Chandler thought that Los Angeles deserved something a little more dignified in stature. The center was built by Seattle transplant architect Welton Becket and Associates, responsible for iconic Angeleno buildings such as the Capitol Building, the Beverly Hilton (the home of the Golden Globes), Pan Pacific Auditorium, Cinerama dome and LAX Theme building to name a few. Built from 1964-1967, becoming at the time the nation's second biggest music center after Lincoln Center in New York.

Photos from Top to Bottom, Dorothy Chandler at the opening in 1964.  Zubin Mehta, left, Dorothy Buffum Chandler and architect Welton Becket. Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall with lattice windows. One of many chandeliers in the grand staircase.

Gustavo Dudamel isn't the only young music director that the Los Angeles Philharmonic has had. Bombay, India born Zubin Mehta, was only 28 when he became the music director at the time of the opening! He was known as Zubie Baby and the Swinging Symphonist. The ushers were dressed in raspberry and orange red Nehru collared jackets in tribute to his heritage.

Architectural drawing of the orchestra foyer by Welton Becket and Associates. The foyer today.

The philharmonic played at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion until 2003 when it moved down the street to Disney Hall. The building while not overly impressive from the outside is quite grand on the inside. It houses large lattice like windows and countless chandeliers from the sixties.  Upstairs where the talk is given prior to the opera, there is a bar with a large Frank Stella painting and an adjoining nook with Chinese wood screens that make you want to curl up with a whisky cocktail and a cozy conversation. It's like entering a time warp but in the very best way. All the decor appears to be original, from the pea green carpet and dark paneled walls to the ornate chandeliers. This is an impressive feat in a city like Los Angeles that loves to tear down or remodel anything that is remotely past its prime.

Frank Stella Irregular Polygons, 1966. Champs baby! One must have champers at the Opera. Pictured in front of one of many gold mosaic tiled columns. Gilded swallows swoop around the mezzanine bar, Chinoiserie in the mezzanine.

You can see Carmen this Saturday, September 23rd as it's simulcast live in Santa Monica (for more SM info click here) and Exposition Park. Admission is free, doors open at 5 pm and show starts at 7 with a running time of 3 hours 25 minutes with 2 intermissions. Bring your chairs and blankets and picnic under the stars. Los Angeles magazine is even hosting a Wine Terrace on the pier. Sadly, no alcohol is permitted at Exposition Park. For more info on Exposition Park, click here.

Opera under the stars in Santa Monica. Photo by Craig T. Matthew

Opera under the stars in Santa Monica. Photo by Craig T. Matthew

Travel

Why everyone should see a Total Solar Eclipse

The Solar Eclipse was an important event this summer, it was hard to escape. Every magazine, newspaper, or local tv show was talking about it and the fanfare leading up to it. I had never seen a total one, only a partial one and that was cool enough for me to want to see more. It was August 1999 and I was in Paris with my family on summer holiday. I remember it was raining that day, as it often does in Paris. We were in the Marais and everyone came out of the shops and bistros and was just standing in the streets, gawking at the sky. Since you can't look at the sun directly, I took a picture of the reflection of the eclipse in one of the rain puddles on the ground. This was back when you took pictures on a camera and waited weeks to develop them, unsure if you would actually get the image you wanted to take, with no second chances.

Partial solar eclipse in the Marais. Paris, August 11, 1999.

Partial solar eclipse in the Marais. Paris, August 11, 1999.

Marlborough girls are exceptional women: Class of '92, '94 and 2021. Photo by Matthew Clark.

Marlborough girls are exceptional women: Class of '92, '94 and 2021. Photo by Matthew Clark.

My husband, who grew up in Paris, set out on a week long bike trip to the countryside of France with his uncle, father and cousins to see the total eclipse, unencumbered by all the lights, noises and pollution of the city. He enjoyed it so much and has talked about it many times over the years, so he began preparations for our trip about nine months prior and was really anxious that we had to be in just the right spot. Over the course of 1 hour and 32 minutes, the Great American Solar Eclipse would move from west to east in a path of totality across 14 states before ending near Charleston, South Carolina. We were originally going to go to Oregon, the longest of the totality and the initial starting off point, but that booked up too quickly and even a motel 6 there was $1000 a night! Next we looked at Nashville, to stay with friends, when that fell through we debated Nebraska. My mom is originally from there and we thought it might be interesting for Dries to experience some real Americana. We decided on Sun Valley, Idaho, a close family friend had moved there a few years back and had just moved into a house with plenty of room for all.

Hiking up the mountain to see the eclipse in Hulen meadows Sun Valley, Idaho.

After much anticipation, the day of the eclipse arrived and we were ready for it! We packed picnic blankets, chairs,  warm sweaters (the temperature dropped about 20 degrees within minutes) and festive drinks and snacks along with our all important eclipse viewing glasses. We hiked up through the meadow and up a nearby mountain to enjoy an impressive view of the total eclipse. If you need to brush up on your astronomy,  a total eclipse is when the moon lines up with the sun and Earth, briefly blocking the sun and creating a momentary impressive darkness. Only the sun's radiant atmosphere (known as the corona) can be seen during this short time. 

Selfie time! Dries is focusing on the partial eclipse phase that lasted over an hour.  Eclipse sun bathing

Approximately 71.45 miles at its widest point, totality lasts longer towards the center of the path, so the closer you are to the center line of the moon's shadow, the more time you'll have to experience. I spoke with some other eclipsers who were closer to the center of the path in nearby Stanley and they saw over 2 minutes of totality. The longest duration of totality was in Carbondale, Illinois with 2 minutes 40 seconds! In Hulen meadows, we were just at the edge of totality, with the partial phase beginning at 10:12:39 AM, and totality beginning at 11:29:38 AM for a duration of 1 minute 4 seconds.

Temperatures dropped fast, Dries and Ashley watching the partial eclipse. Photo by Matthew Clark.

Temperatures dropped fast, Dries and Ashley watching the partial eclipse. Photo by Matthew Clark.

Of course, we have mother nature to thank for this total unobstructed view. After a preliminary meteorological report predicted clouds, we were fortunate enough to have perfect weather.  Not everyone was that lucky. My sister went to Nashville and right at the moment of totality, a big cloud moved in the way and partially blocked the view! Thankfully not the whole time but for at least half. There was another eclipser at our vantage point that told us that this was his 12th total eclipse trip with only 2 actual sightings due to tempermental weather conditions. Now that's dedication.

Total Eclipse photo by Ryan Gates.

Total Eclipse photo by Ryan Gates.

A total eclipse is truly something special to behold. There were around 30 of us, several families, dogs, kids, grandparents up on the mountain all experiencing this cosmic event together. The magic lies in that for a few minutes, everyone stops what they're doing and looks up to the sky to marvel at the beauty of nature, remembering that there is more than just us. Forgetting about the negativity we are bombarded with on a daily basis and instead reveling in this ethereal, transient beauty. Providing the hope for a mental shift or transfer of energy as it passes and our routine lives resume. To possibly be kinder to one another or just a little more patient. To be present in the moment and thankful for the limited time we have here on this planet and with each other. To be with family and friends at this significant moment in time, creating an enduring memory to cherish.

Group photo by Matthew Clark.

According to NASA, since 1503, there have been 15 total solar eclipse paths that have crossed the path of this Great American Solar Eclipse. The next total solar eclipse that will cross the US will be in 2024, crossing south to north. Time to start making travel plans!

Food, Los Angeles CA, Travel

How to do Catalina Island like a native

Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island. Boats, paddle boarders and swimmers abound!

Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island. Boats, paddle boarders and swimmers abound!

This summer I'm all about weekend trips and short getaways.   My next door neighbor, now friend, grew up on Catalina, and invited me home with her to experience another side to the island. Previously, I had only thought of it as a summer tourist destination or for sleep away camp.  I hadn't visited Catalina Island since ninth grade on a sleep away trip with high school and my husband and son had never been so it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Catalina Express ferry from Long Beach, CA to Avalon, Catalina

Catalina Express ferry from Long Beach, CA to Avalon, Catalina

To get to Catalina, you take an hour long ferry ride from several ports in LA. The closest one for us was Long Beach so we departed from there on a Friday afternoon. Cars are restricted on Catalina, with a wait list as long as 20 years +!  So the ferry is only for people and dogs (either caged or in muzzles). We took our dachshund Junior with us, he didn't love the ferry but he did pretty well overall. Once there, you can walk around the main city part of Avalon on foot or rent a golf cart or bike.

Lovely bougainvillea, quaint beach cottages, license plate birdhouses, colorful murals, proud Democrat (not too many of those on Catalina), and Casino at night on Avalon, Catalina

I had never driven a golf cart before and was surprised to find it was a blast! My son loved it too and would tell me to "Hit it!" and we would blast down the road. A golf cart's engine is similar to a lawnmower so by blast I mean when we were chugging up the hill, you could probably run alongside us.

Thierry Lasry Sunglasses, Zara beach cover up, Zara kids t shirt. Janna Conner Amina hoop earrings, Catori cuff bracelet

Thierry Lasry Sunglasses, Zara beach cover up, Zara kids t shirt. Janna Conner Amina hoop earrings, Catori cuff bracelet

Avalon Casino, Junior the island dog, stairs at Casino Point Dive Park

One of my favorite things we did was swim at Lover's Cove. Dries had fallen asleep and Raf and I snuck out for an hour to tool around in the golf cart, exploring the city and to take a dip in the water. It's been so hot lately, it felt great! The water was a little cold at first but instantly warmed up. Catalina's rocky coastline reminded me of Sardinia where we honeymooned because it too is mostly rocky beaches. Pro tip: Don't forget the water shoes, you will want them! The current was pretty strong the weekend we were there and some of the beaches (Descanso) had sharp rocks but Lover's Cove had really smooth ones which also made them a bit slippery. My friend Katie prefers Pebbly Beach, but there was a construction site nearby to it so we opted for Lover's Cove. You be the judge!

My plastic Eva birkenstocks were no match for the rocks at Lover's Cove!

The next day we did Descanso Beach Club, which is Catalina's version of a family friendly Miami Beach. They have a DJ on the weekends, and a section that has cabanas and beach chairs for day rental and an outdoor café & bar (that will also serve on the beach), a smoothie & ice cream shop, and a shop that sells pool floaties, paddle ball racquets, hats, umbrellas and all with decent prices. The day we were there, the private section was sold out so we just sat on the public beach part, immediately adjacent to it. It was just fine, the restaurant brought us our fish tacos, fries and margies and everything was alright with the world. 

 Descanso Beach Club. Janna Conner Aleeza rock crystal ring, Catori brass cuff, 14k gold initial bracelet.

There are a lot of boats docked in the harbor and you can swim up in one section, another is reserved for kayaks, jet skis and paddle boards. Dries wanted to kayak so we rented a two person one with Dries sitting in the middle for an hour. Once he got over screaming "Oh nooooooooo, we're going to die, this was a terrrrrrrible idea!" he actually enjoyed the last 15 minutes or so. It was lovely out on the water, sunny but not too hot and with no waves.

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The next day we headed into the hills, which requires a car (no golf carts there!). We winded our way up and around, passing the zip line station that goes all the way down to Descanso and then paused for a moment to admire some bison and heron at Haypress reservoir. The bison were brought to the island in the 1920's for a movie, but were never used and then left on the island because they didn't want to deal with taking them back. Not very nice. Now they casually wander the island. We saw one just chilling on the side of the road, minding his own business.

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We stopped at the Airport for lunch at DC-3 café and gift shop. It's very scenic high up with all the little planes flying in and out. Some of the famous pilots that have flown in include Angelina Jolie and Harrison Ford. It's not for the weak of heart, the runway is only 3000 feet! I think I'll stick to driving up for the food, I had a great salad and Raf had a buffalo burger. No meal is complete without one of their killer homemade cookies, the oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip are delicious. They also sell Rusack wine, wish I had a bought a bottle because it seemed a good price at $30 since Rusack isn't that easy to find, at least in LA. I didn't though because we were on our way to do the Trans Catalina trail and didn't think it was a great idea to keep the wine in the car. Oh well, next time!

Airport in the Sky, Catalina Island

With full bellies, we continued on our way to Little Harbor, the starting point for our afternoon hike along the Trans Catalina Trail. Little Harbor was largely deserted except for a few campers, (there's a nearby campground) it was perfectly peaceful. The Trans Catalina Trail stretches 37.2 miles across the island, seemingly never ending but we did just a portion of it since we had Dries and Junior, our mini dachshund with us and we wanted to get some beach time in. It wasn't difficult, and provided lovely vistas along the soapstone path with striking red flowers.

Trans Catalina Trail from Little Harbor and Whale's Tail Catalina Island.  Unusual red flowers everywhere along with cacti.

Catalina makes for a great weekend trip, or longer. They have great camps for kids and many scenic options for both the casual traveler and camping options for the outdoorsman. Now that I've done part of the TCT, I think I would like to try doing the whole trail!

Art, Los Angeles CA, Travel

14th Factory Tour: 10 reasons you need to go now!

I had seen a lot of images of 14th Factory popping up on my Instagram feed when it opened in Spring. For one reason or another, I wasn't able to make it until earlier this month. Since it was late in its run, I wondered if it would be worth it or if it was another Museum of Ice Cream type of expensive selfie photo op. I decided to go and I'm so glad I did. It's closing at the end of July, so make your way there as soon as you can!

The outside of the factory is painted black with giant Chinese characters and black and white flags hanging outside the entrance, imparting the foreboding feel of a pirate ship. (I have a 5 year old son, so we see Pirates everywhere these days) I love that it's in Lincoln Heights, a peaceful, industrial neighborhood I often drive through on my way home. Once inside, there are 14 rooms showcasing mainly Simon Birch's work, the British born, Hong Kong based artist who is the founder/creator of the 14th factory. I spent my Junior year abroad in Hong Kong, and haven't been back since so was excited to see this little bit of Hong Kong brought to LA.

Los Angeles was not the first city envisioned to be the home of 14th factory. 5 other cities were previously in the works, the most recent, New York City, but with all other cities, the project was about to open to the public and they either lost their funding, permitting etc, so this installation has been years in the making and very much a labor of love. Supposedly two of the pieces in the factory were sold to LACMA, so it seems that there really was a happy ending after all.

The site selected for 14th factory LA is huge; 3 acres in total in a former warehouse, making it the largest experiential art project in LA. When I visited, they were in the process of filming a documentary for the BBC, and hoping to have the next site take place in London. This whole project is like a rotating mini museum that is entirely funded by ticket sales and donations. There is no guided tour as you walk through the space, and because of its size it can be a little confusing and overwhelming at times. Birch's intention was that it be an informal space for viewing art in a casual setting rather than the conventional museum going experience. He often gives talks on site and has other collaborative, interactive events with artists on the weekends.

What was the most famous room in the factory (that is until the crown room selfie fiasco) is a replica of the room from the last scene in Stanley Kubrick's 2001. The light up floor emanates a lot of heat, each group of 4 or so has 2 minute to walk through, without shoes on and experience it. It's gimmicky for sure but still pretty cool to experience.

The Barmecide Feast by Simon Birch and KplusK associates

Garlands by Simon Birch, Lily Kwong and KplusK associates.

Garlands by Simon Birch, Lily Kwong and KplusK associates.

Next up is an interior courtyard, filled with grass. They had just replaced it the evening before. Even though the ceiling is perforated, with the extreme heat of LA summers, the grass just couldn't survive very long. There were a few swings scattered throughout but we were told not to step on the grass because it had just been put down. With nobody on the grass it seemed like a haunted idyllic playground.

In the Garlands hall there are 10 photographs by Li Wei with various people suspended in mid air. They were shot with the subjects on cranes and in some you can see the expression of the crowd as they look at the people flying in front of them.

Upclose of The Crusher by Simon Birch, 300 wood and steel painted pitchforks suspended from the ceiling. Acrylic paintings by Dominique Fung, The Inhabitants. Closeups of vegetables in various stages of decay.

One way we've found to keep our son actively engaged while looking at artwork is to give him a camera to record his own view of the art. It's fascinating to see the angles and compositions he comes up with. We also discuss what's going on in the piece, be it the subject matter, technique employed, setting or materials involved.

Closeup of the audience watching of The Inevitable By Eric Hu and Simon Birch.

Closeup of the audience watching of The Inevitable By Eric Hu and Simon Birch.

The video of a vintage Ferrari speeding and crashing, flipping over and over until it's destroyed feels hypnotic and voyeuristic, it's hard to look away from. I'm not personally a big car fan, but I can imagine that this video is upsetting for any car aficionado. My son was incredulous that anyone would willing destroy a car. (Again 5 year old here) Various pieces of the car wreckage are displayed on a long table in the adjoining room like archaeological finds.

Hypercaine by Simon Birch, Gloria Yu, Gabriel Chan, and Jacob Blitzer.

Sometimes you experience an emotional reaction just from simply looking at a piece of art, and with others the story behind it makes it much more impactful.  At first glance, this room had simplistic crowns made out of various stones and metal juxtaposed with more intricate Alexander Mc Queen like head pieces and some metal fragments. When chatting with the security guard, he explained that various pieces throughout the exhibit detailed the emotional journey that Birch embarked up on after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Some pieces represent the chaos and turmoil of receiving such a grim prognosis. Others are more hopeful. The metal fragments and some of the metal cages were made from Birch's actual brain scans. This is also the room where a girl attempting to take a selfie recently fell backwards, knocking several of the pedestals down in a domino effect and causing $200,000 worth of damage. Its great when people can get right up close to enjoy and experience the artwork but it's a shame when people are careless and inconsiderate. Just because it's not a conventional museum viewing experience doesn't mean that the artwork shouldn't be treated with the same respect.

Tannhauser by Simon Birch

Tannhauser by Simon Birch

One of my strongest memories living in Hong Kong was how crowded it was, with people and buildings.  It made New York City look like a suburb. I was there in 1997 so I can only imagine what its like now, with the rapid pace of development. Hong Kong has so many of these drab high rise buildings shooting everywhere out of the ground up to the sky everywhere as far as the eye could see.  Tannhauser gives the experience of riding upwards in a glass elevator outside these buildings as it goes from the ground floor up. Dizzying and electrifying, I really enjoyed it and you can see from the face of my son above, he did too!

Clear Air Turbulence by Simon Birch

The last piece of the show is Clear Air Turbulence, which is comprised of salvaged airplane tails submerged in a steel frame pool.  The shadows reflecting in the still water create a peaceful calm while the eeriness of the subject matter makes it slightly unsettling. The airplane tails seem like a scene of a giant plane crash. With the deck chairs circling one end its like pulling up a chair to a car crash. Voyeurism on steroids.

14th Factory closes July 30 with special events until then. A panel on the Art Experience and the age of Social Media is this Saturday, July 22 and Simon Birch will be tattooing various limited edition designs all day Saturday as well.

Tickets are $18 online, $22 at the door with residents of Lincoln Heights entering for free with valid license.

440 North Ave. 19
Los Angeles, CA 90031

Food

My Must Have's for 4th of July

This year the 4th falls on a Tuesday so it's a particularly long weekend.  That means lots of bbqs, parties and socializing with friends. I've been watching my calories lately, trying to lose the last of my baby weight and I've switched it up from my usual wine to tequila. The reason why is that tequila has fewer calories (64 per ounce), is naturally sweet (since it comes from agave) and has a lower glycemic impact and no hangover! This makes it one of the healthiest options for alcohol around. I usually drink mine with a few limes squeezed and a dash of sparkling water but for the holiday weekend I may splurge and throw in a splash of fresh squeezed grapefruit!

The Paloma

Picture by Sam Linsell (Drizzle & Dips)

Picture by Sam Linsell (Drizzle & Dips)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 ounces of reposado tequila (or a good quality blanco)
  • juice of half a ruby grapefruit
  • 0.5 ounces of agave syrup or simple syrup
  • 2.5 ounces of club soda
  • a dash of fresh lime juice (optional)
  • Ice cubes

 

Instructions

  • Mix the grapefruit juice, tequila and agave syrup until well mixed.
  • Pour over a tall glass filled with ice and top with soda water.

 

Options

  • Add a dash of lime juice
  • Rim the glass with salt
  • Leave the sugar out, it won't be sweet but it's still delicious!

What do I intend to be doing this weekend whilst sipping my tequila you ask? I grew up in Manhattan Beach and my parents still live there so summer weekends often include a little beach time. I like to keep things simple when beach bound. My favorite accessories I'll be rocking will definitely include some festive shades of blue!

I first learned about Teixits Vicens from a friend of mine who has a vacation home in Mallorca, Spain. I've never been to Mallorca, (or Spain for that matter) but am dying to go. Teixits Vicens is a family owned and operated textile company that hails back all the way to 1854! They use all natural fibers like cotton and linen and they make all their patterns in house. There are so many beautiful colors and designs to choose from it's hard to pick just one. I ultimately chose the Petate beach bag in blue ikat. It's huge and fits everything (I"m a bit of a pack rat, I like to be prepared for anything) They also make home accessories, clothing, shoes and bags even chairs. In this day and age when it's increasingly difficult to find items that are not mass produced, it's so special to find something unique and hand made.

Anyone who is familiar with my jewelry line, knows I LOVE lapis. I love it's rich vivid blue hue, reminiscent of an Yves Klein painting. I use lapis a lot in my pieces, both in my fashion and fine collection. One of my favorite fashion lapis styles are these elongated Sarotte drops. I purchased these lapis stones on one of my annual trips to the Tucson Gem Show and then electroformed 18k gold on them to make a minimal bezel. I really wanted the emphasis to be on the beauty of the lapis rather than a flashy setting, which is why I often opt for a minimalist clean setting when making my jewelry.

I hope whatever you're doing this holiday weekend, you're having fun and staying safe! Cheers!

Photo with flag: Kim Myers Robertson / Trunk Archive

Jewelry, Los Angeles CA

Come visit our POP-UP in Culver City - Saturday 06/10/17 from 12 to 6pm

Our pop-up is part of This Modern Life a the Helms Bakery in Culver City, CA and is curated by Local Mercato

A campus-wide day of design celebrating the Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi, the art of recognizing beauty in imperfection. There will be workshops, demonstrations, tastings, sweepstakes and tasty bites.

Music by KCRW

Free Valet Parking by the Rejuvenation showroom at Helms and Venice.

Fashion, Beauty, Jewelry, Travel, Skin Care, Los Angeles CA

10 things you need this Memorial Day Weekend

It's Memorial Day Weekend! Where has the time gone? I can't believe we're already on the cusp of summer. Now that the Pasadena Showcase House of Design is over (more on this in an upcoming post), things are slowly returning to normal chez JC. Looking forward to some R&R with friends this weekend... got a birthday and a few BBQ's on tap. Nothing fancy just relaxed fun but that doesn't have to mean jean shorts and thongs.  Here are some of my current faves that have been on heavy rotation. Enjoy!

I go to Paris almost every year to visit family, when I'm there one of my favorite places to shop is Monoprix. In case you are unfamiliar, it's the french version of Target. I started shopping there when I had my son 5 years ago because their kids clothing is so cute and well priced. The kids designer used to be the designer for Bonpoint, a brand that I love but don't love the price point so much! Dries is so rough on his clothing that Bonpoint is only for special occasions, or a gift from grandma. But Monoprix, on the other hand, is for every day. One stop shopping with really good clothes at amazing price points. This cotton dress is only $50 and I can guarantee nobody else will have it! Since we're saving money on the dress, we can splurge on the accessories. Sticking with the neutral palette, are my Adeline earrings in Natural mother of pearl, mother of pearl and howlite. They make a statement without being too overpowering. Très chic!

Panama Hat by Scala, Le Specs No Smirking Sunglasses, Loeffler Randall Kiki Flat SlideEssie Fifth Avenue nail polish

I'm crazy about sun protection as you all know. I am always shielding my face from dangerous rays with a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. No early crow's feet for me! Since it's hotter out now, I've made the switch to a straw hat which keeps my head cool. I like this Panama from Scala because it goes with everything and it can even be packed or crushed. (Very necessary with a 5 year old in the house) Since I often have pink hair, I like to keep my sunglasses neutral and let my hair and jewelry be the star of the show. I chose these Le Specs No Smirking sunglasses because they pair well with gold, my preferred metal of choice. I've been lusting after these flats by Loeffler Randall since last summer, Jessie Randall's shoes are well made and last forever. I have several pairs and they're comfortable and stylish at the same time and look great season after season. After becoming a parent, I decided it was better for my lifestyle to splurge on cute flats as opposed to heels because that's what I wear about 99.9% of the time. No more heels for me! And lastly, with all these neutrals I love a pop of color. This Essie nail polish in Fifth Avenue, is a bright and cheery orangey red, while still being elegant and sophisticated. It looks great for a pedicure when paired with the gold sandal. Pro tip: Use the Essie Gel Setter top coat with it and it will last chip free one week! It makes such a difference, I'm really hard on my nails, using wire and pliers and it prolongs the wear considerably.

I've been looking for a good one piece for a while and when Shopbop had their recent 20% off sale, I splurged on this striped one by Solid & Striped. I love the unique colors in the stripe pattern and wanted something more fun than my old black one piece. It's a bold pattern yet slimming since they're vertical stripes and it could be cute worn as a bodysuit with shorts or a skirt even. I typically gravitate towards blues and greens but since having my hair pastel pink for the past few years I've been finding myself wearing a lot more corals and pink hues.

For sun protection, I always love Supergoop because it's cruelty free of parabens, pthlates etc and immediately absorbs without any sticky residue. Sunscreen is a pain so I like to make it as enjoyable a process as possible and Supergoop Body Butter definitely fits the bill. You can even reapply throughout the day without it pilling on your skin or getting gummy. If you are an avid sunscreener, you know what I'm talking about!

Now for jewels, this summer I'm re-launching a classic style, my lace filigree earrings. They're on the large side but they're lightweight so you can wear them all day. The lacy filigree gives it that boho feeling perfect for summer. Pair that with a chunky dome bangle and hat and sunnies and you're good to go!

Now, one of the things I look forward to most about the weekend, is relaxing with a drink in hand. I drink mostly white wine and rosé but have been lately trying to cut down on my alcohol intake as a way of reducing sugar and calories. I just can't get behind pouring soda water in my wine, it seems criminal to me to ruin a good glass of wine. I just try to alternate between each glass of wine with one glass of sparking water. However, I am always looking to liven up my non alcoholic libations so I'm excited to try this Rosemary, Honey and Grapefruit Spritzer recipe, courtesy of Tending the Table. It's refreshingly tart, not too sweet yet herbacious, what more can you ask for?! Cheers!

Rosemary, Honey and  Grapefruit Spritzer

Recipe by Tending the Table :   Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup honey

4  sprigs rosemary

1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (from about 5 grapefruit)

crushed ice

soda water

rosemary sprigs and grapefruit wedges to garnish

PROCEDURE

Combine the honey and rosemary in a small pot and gently heat over medium-low until the honey just begins to bubble around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile fill 4 glasses with crushed ice. Once the honey has cooled slightly, remove the sprigs of rosemary and transfer 1/4 cup of the infused honey to a jar with a tight fitting lid, add the grapefruit juice and shake vigorously until combined and frothy. Divide the mixture between the glasses and top with soda water. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and grapefruit wedges.

Art, Los Angeles CA, Travel, Fashion

Desert X: 6 must sees in Palm Springs

I love Palm Springs. I love that it's far enough from LA that it seems like a getaway while being close enough that you could go for a day if you wanted. I love the dry heat, the mountain views and the hot air blowing through the palm trees at night. I love the desert landscape, the modern architecture with its relaxed California lifestyle. Palm Springs enjoys a history of being both a past favorite for Hollywood's glamorous like Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope back in the late 1930's yet is still relevant today.

I gave up on going to Coachella years ago, love the music but didn't love the crowds, dust and traffic. Now that I'm a parent, kid friendly adult activities are what I'm all about. When Desert X popped up on my radar, it seemed like the perfect combination of all things I enjoy most: art, nature, discovery and travel. I was not disappointed. I loved it and hope it becomes a yearly recurrence!

Jeffrey Gibson - Alive! Location: Palm Springs Art Museum

Desert X is a two month long, interactive outdoor art installation located throughout the Coachella Valley. Its like a modern day treasure hunt! Not only did it expose me to some new artist's work that I wasn't previously familiar with but it introduced me to some parts of the Coachella Valley I didn't know very well either. When I come to Palm Springs, I usually rent a house or stay in a hotel and spend the entire time poolside with drink in hand. Desert X encouraged me to venture out and explore Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert and other cities that I had been so close to all these years but had never seen. Desert X is also free to the public, so there is no barrier to entry. It was great seeing entire families out with their kids enjoying and interacting with the art.

First stop on Desert X, checking in at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. Grab a program guide here and get on your way! There were 16 installations in all, both from local and internationally acclaimed artists. Ideally we would have been able to see them all but we had our son with us, and only 24 hours to do it in, so realistically we knew we had to be strategic before burning out. We started with the Jeffrey Gibson wind turbine at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Any visitor to Palm Springs is familiar with the famous drive in surrounded by all the wind turbines. A ready made object, the turbine is covered with the words: I AM ALIVE! YOU ARE ALIVE! THEY ARE ALIVE! WE ARE LIVING! It also has opalescent paint that shimmers in the sun and looks quite pretty with the palm tree background.

Doug Aitken - Mirage        Location: 1111 West Racquet Club Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Zara bomber, Goyard St Louis purse

If you've seen an image of Desert X, it was most likely Doug Aitken's Mirage. It is the longest running of all the installations and the most permanent structure. It is a completely mirrored house, both interior and exterior.  You simultaneously see your reflection along with the surrounding mountains sky and desert landscape. It's pretty incredible. As you walk through the maze like interior you see yourself and the other visitors and surrounding landscape from all angles, which is both an exhilarating and disorienting experience. The home is a suburban ranch style without any doors or windows, providing a seamless transition between interior and exterior. I went when it first opened at opens at 3 pm and there was a line snaking through the door. Because it reflects the surrounding landscape, its appearance changes depending on what time of day it is. I would love to go back at night and see it in the dark with all the lights twinkling on the valley below. While the rest of Desert X closes April 30, Mirage will remain open until October 31, 2017 so go!!!!!

Next up, Swiss artist, Claudia Comte's Curves and Zigzags, is the third in a series of black and white optical painting walls. The lines start out angular and morph into a curvilinear pattern reminiscent of a Bridget Riley painting. As a kid, I was always drawn to black and white op art, getting lost in deciphering where the graphic pattern changed and evolved into something else entirely. The Homme Adams park is the perfect location for this undulating wall. It houses trails that lead to a vista where you can look down on the sculpture. Desert X also coordinated a walk with the artist herself, on the morning I was there. Dries had fun running around it and looking at the giant ants that were on the ground.

Desert X is such a unique experience because it completely turns on its head the traditional notion of how one views art. It allows complete interaction between the viewer and the subject. I marveled at the lack of security, for the most part there were no guards securing the pieces with the exception of Mirage. The Richard Prince house was vandalized and subsequently closed which is a shame but I suspect that had more to do with the animosity towards his appropriation of other artists work for his own profit rather than general vandalism.  I was impressed that there was no graffiti or trash surrounding the works. I did notice the influx of bloggers that were posing with the wall, some even by putting their feet up on the walls they leaned back on it.  I wonder, why shouldn't the same rules of decorum apply to an outdoor work as would a piece of art hanging in a museum? Just because someone isn't standing there to tell you not to do it doesn't mean you should. It made me think, is this the new way we interact with art?  I do see the value in as many people interacting with art in their daily lives but fear people ruining art installations with their own curiosity and desire to touch.

Aerial photo of I am by David Blank.

Last up for day 1 was Bahamian artist Tavares Strachan's piece I am. Unlike the other daytime installations, it's only open at night Weds-Sat from 7-10 pm. We visited at closing time and it was a surreal experience. You drive down a dirt road out in the middle of nowhere, turning into a dark field. You then wander down a longish path and see in the distance neon lights embedded in metal shapes cordoned off in a field. You have to sign a waiver to go in, since it is so dark you can hardly see anything except for the neon lights, adding to the element of anticipation and spookiness. The shapes spell out "I am" scattered throughout the desert floor spanning two American football fields.  Meandering through the cutouts in the dark night with only the glow of neon and the desert wind blowing was pretty incredible. It creates a spiritual experience that is truly unlike anything I've ever seen. 

Phillip K. Smith III - The Circle of Land and Sky

After a little time in the pool, we set off the next day for Phillip K Smith - The Circle of Land and Sky. Comprised of 300 polished stainless steel rods they are inserted into the sand at 10 degree angles in the shape of a circle. Reflecting the land and sky and the interplay of light and shadow, the resulting colors never look the same depending on the time of day and the angle of the sun. Like Mirage, it's fascinating to see the interaction of mirrored image with the Sonoran landscape. The reflectors bring the sky to the ground and the desert floor to the sky, creating a unique perspective.  The Los Angeles born artist began the installation with a 1/4 mile arc in Laguna Beach in this past November and then continued the theme for Desert X.

Raf Conner Desert X (131 of 132).jpg

Will Boone - Monument    Enter at your own risk!

Last stop before heading back to LA, was Will Boone - Monument. It was out in the middle of a field, again usually easy to spot the Desert X installations by a swarm of people milling around in the middle of nowhere. We parked and waited in a short line to go down the bunker where JFK was waiting for us. I was surprised at how many people I had overheard the day previously at the other Desert X sites and this one who didn't know who it was! What I liked about this work was that it was more of a private moment than the other pieces and that it was meant to be experienced alone. If you were the first one to arrive on site and it was closed, you texted or emailed for the pass code to the lock to the bunker, then swing open the hatch and down the stairs to a mini tunnel. JFK is a bronze statue painted in the style of a hobby kit. Hailing from Texas, Boone said he has always felt a connection to JFK being that was where he died. The bunker also touches upon the fear of nuclear attack and invasion of the other, something we as a society seem to be grappling with even in 2017.

Desert X was such a memorable event, I really hope that it will become a recurring exhibition.  Even if most of the installations close today, Doug Aitken's Mirage is open until the end of October so you still have time to have some of the Desert X experience!

Travel, Los Angeles CA

how to do the poppy field superbloom with a 5 year old: Warning there may be whining!

I had heard about the super bloom of wildflowers in the California desert over the years but never thought much of it. Most likely because we have been experiencing a serious drought and for years there hasn't been much to see except brown, dry brush. This year though, we finally got some much needed rain, and lots of it (at least for us). Spring came early for Southern California, the wildflowers have been exploding all over the place. I see them allover on my hikes and daily errands in the car along the roadside.

I had heard reports from friends who had visited Anza Borrego and the Poppy Reserve that it was packed with people and traffic with long waits in the car. Neither are ideal if you are traveling with a 5 year old! I was looking for a little less of a commitment than A.B. or Death Valley since it was going to be just me and my son. My husband was off skiing for the day in Big Bear and I had a restless boy to entertain.  I decided to chance it and set off early in the am, by 8 after an initial travel delay. After a 70 mile drive, (5 fwy to the 14 fwy) we arrived a little past 10 am, and already the line of cars was snaking down and out of the Poppy reserve half a mile down. I would recommend setting out by 7 am for a 9 am arrival for less traffic and best light. I had heard that wildflower gazing was best accessed from the side of the road and not actually from the reserve itself. Because the reserve is protected land, visitors need to stick to trails and not wander off into the fields. I decided to pull over and bypass all the people crowding at the road side and wander through into the fields and low and behold Dries and I were alone with the poppies. It was magical, a perfect day with perfect weather. The sky was blue, there was a little crisp chill in the air with a slight breeze and the sun was shining bright. We took care where we walked and were careful not to trample or pick any flowers.

State flower of California: the Poppy

State flower of California: the Poppy

Dries took this of me, not bad for a 5 year old!

Dries took this of me, not bad for a 5 year old!

Dries watches my husband Raf and I take a lot of pictures, either of jewelry or travel or daily life. We gave Dries one of our old cameras and he likes to practice along with us. This trip seemed like a great opportunity for a beginner photography lesson. We practiced composition, how to hold a camera and how to find your light source.  He was so proud and it helped him learned to look more critically at the scenery.   He took the picture of me above and the one below is his holding the flowers. Love the macro perspective with his little fingers!

Had to take a ring selfie! Shown L-R my Sidewell ring, Diamond Bar ring, and my Diamond starburst ring.

Had to take a ring selfie! Shown L-R my Sidewell ring, Diamond Bar ring, and my Diamond starburst ring.

We found a farmhouse and a ramshackle old trailer that made for some good exploring. For the video, scroll down to the end!

Dries was ready to get on the road at this point so we decided to head back to LA. As we walked back to our car, we saw even more cars had joined the line to get in the reserve and there was a line to head back to LA! I had noticed patches of yellow flowers on the way in so I wanted to make sure to check them out on the way back. I'm so glad I did, they were really stunning with views of the snow covered mountains in the distance.

Snow covered mountains in the distance. The colors of all the wildflowers are just incredible. All the photos published here are all #nofilter and not retouched!

Snow covered mountains in the distance. The colors of all the wildflowers are just incredible. All the photos published here are all #nofilter and not retouched!

Check out the video of our wildflower adventures!

Hope you go out and have your own adventure and of course, remember to treat the wildflowers with care and not leave any garbage. It is a tricky thing to experience being in nature without affecting it at all in any negative capacity. Car exhaust, touching or trampling plants, garbage and human negligence all take their toll on the landscape. Instead of only viewing nature through the lens of a screen it's crucial to go have the physical experience of sight, sound and smell. How else can we teach our kids to care about the environment if they never experience it firsthand? Being a native of California, I love that within one hour, you can be swimming at the beach, skiing in the mountains or walking in the desert. We truly are so lucky to have such a varied landscape. Go out and explore, I'd love to hear what you find!

Travel, Food

A Day in Solvang

Solvang, California

Solvang, California

The Landsby

My curiosity in the Landsby was piqued by an article in Travel and Leisure. It's located in Solvang, a unique little town that looks like a Danish village in the middle of California.  I visited many years back but was intrigued by the photos of the addition of the new Scandinavian chic boutique hotel.  My great grandfather was from Copenhagen, and I would love to visit there one day.  Traveling with a toddler is tricky, so for now this is a lot closer!

Dining room at Mad + Vin (food and wine in Danish)

Dining room at Mad + Vin (food and wine in Danish)

Janna Conner Jewelry-10.jpg

Charcuterie plate at Succulent Cafe. Hands down the best charcuterie plate I've ever had. Great selection of meats and loved the picked vegetable garnishes. They also have a great wine list, which is always important! We chose to sit outside on the patio and enjoy the nice weather. It's also conveniently located directly across the street from the Landsby.

A trip to the Santa Ynez Valley wouldn't be complete without a little wine tasting! First stop: Lucas and Llewellyn tasting room. We weren't initially familiar with their wine but decided to check it out while waiting for our room to be ready.  It was conveniently located just a block from our hotel and provided the convenience of trying great, new wines without having to make the trek to individual wineries. We had their white wine tasting, and liked their chardonnay and viognier the best. We bought a few bottles to take home and enjoy later. It's always fun to drink a wine that conjures up a memory of a great trip!

The sunlit lobby facing Mission Drive at the Landsby

The sunlit lobby facing Mission Drive at the Landsby

I love the natural wood and neutral color palette with pops of yellow. I also appreciate the unexpected detail of the tiling on the underside of the stairway.  Santa Monica design firm, Studio Collective did a great job of creating a chic yet relaxed, and understated vibe. The Scandinavian chic look is on trend for decor, because it follows not only form but function as well. It's my style of choice for my downtown LA office and personal residence.

Raf standing with Sherry by Rachel Brown.

Raf standing with Sherry by Rachel Brown.

Tina by Rachel Brown in the Landsby Lobby.

Tina by Rachel Brown in the Landsby Lobby.

One of my favorite design elements of the Landsby are the paintings by Rachel Brown that are in the lobby and in most rooms. She is a Misssouri native, now calling West Los Angeles home. Rachel comes from a long line of artists, both her mother and grandmother are painters and she picked it up at a young age. Growing up on a farm and being a lover of travel and adventure, one can easily see both of these influences on her work. I personally enjoy the whimsical spirit of her paintings. She even teaches workshops in the LA area,  I may have to take one myself!

    Aebleskivers at Solvang Restaurant.

    Aebleskivers at Solvang Restaurant.

After lunch we walked over to the Solvang restaurant to try Aebleskivers (jam filled pancakes in ball form) Something you have to try while in town, as it is a quintessentially Danish treat.

We had so many recommendations for food in Santa Ynez but decided for dinner to go with one that was a true favorite of local residents. We heard countless recommendations for Industrial Eats in nearby Buellton, and it did not dissappoint. It's a short drive from Solvang, and as the name attests it's located in an industrial area.   Despite it's spare surroundings, it has an inviting interior with large shared tables and the restaurant and butcher shop features food sourced from the Central Coast. We enjoyed the mussels, oysters, zucchini accented pizza and shrimp & pancetta toast. Delicious! They also offer butchering workshops if you are keen to get your hands dirty and fresh preserves, pâtés, cheese and handmade bacon to go.

Winding down after a fun filled day.  Unpacking, never leave home without my Bottega Veneta travel duffle bag or my Valextra travel jewelry pouch to house all my many jewelry options! Also, shown Janna Conner Dome cuff bangle and Arria Amazonite Beaded Necklace. I spy Sherry peeking out behind me on the wall!

 I recently cut my hair and have been using Sachajuan to enhance natural waves. The Sisley Suprema Yeux eye cream is an indulgence, love the gold packaging and that it's a pump and not a pot so keeps product fresher longer. The Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse oil is great for cuticles, body, face and I even use it on my hair. Love multi functional products since I feel like it makes me a tiny bit faster in my constant struggle against the clock.  Love how my jewelry matches the decor! Shown Janna Conner Evita Crystal Point Necklace, mother of pearl tala ring, and 14k gold ear cuff.

The King bedroom with Patio, love the Goodnight on the wall. Such a sweet touch!

The King bedroom with Patio, love the Goodnight on the wall. Such a sweet touch!

Bottega Veneta sandals, Janna Conner dome cuff & pearl Gilda ring.

Bottega Veneta sandals, Janna Conner dome cuff & pearl Gilda ring.

Time for bed! Janna Conner diamond ear crawler, diamond disc, and pyramid stud.

Time for bed! Janna Conner diamond ear crawler, diamond disc, and pyramid stud.

What a fun day of food, wine, design and décor! I know we'll be back soon Till next time!

Place de la Pétanque

My family and I had the pleasure of spending three glorious weeks in France this summer. Half of that time was spent in Provence. We go to France to visit family almost every year (my husband grew up there) but I had never been to Provence before and was eager to see firsthand what I had heard so much about. As you can imagine, we took about a thousand photos from our meanderings from Paris to Arles, to Avignon to Beaume de Venise and I will be sharing my travel journal from these jaunts in upcoming posts.

The amazing house that we stayed in Beaumes de Venise came equipped with a Pétanque court. I am familiar with the Italian game Bocce, it has taken over a lot of hipster bars and restaurants in the past few years and I have friends that are on bocce leagues. However, I wasn't as familiar with Pétanque (pron. "pay-tonk") .  There were 14 of us on our trip so needless to say a lot of time was spent enjoying the court.

Pétanque is more of a tossing game, like horseshoes whereas traditional bocce is more of a bowling game. Bocce players take steps before throwing, pétanque players stand still. Bocce balls are usually rolled palm up, pétanque balls tossed palm down, so they get backspin upon release.

When playing Pétanque, one typically drinks Pastis, an anise flavored liquor popular in the south of France. It's a milky white spirit, similar to absinthe, but in fact, Pastis is a "liqueur", which means it is always bottled with sugar. Pastis is normally diluted with water before drinking, but often neat pastis is served together with a jug of water for the drinker to blend together according to preference. The addition of water changes the liqueur's appearance from dark transparent yellow to milky soft yellow. I personally am not a fan of Pastis, but it's de rigeur if you're playing Pétanque so à votre santé!

Another name for Pétanque is Boules, referencing the hollow steel balls that are used to play. Most people have their own set.  My husband's family all travelled down from Belgium with their personal sets!   Each player gets three balls and the goal is to toss or roll steel balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet ("piglet"). 

After deciding who goes first, a player throws the cochonnet—the target players aim for—from a designated throwing spot. The rest of the game is spent trying to throw your boules closer to the jack than the other team does.

There are two different throwing techniques :

_"pointer" (pointing) to throw one's boule with the intent of stopping near the cochonet (also known as placing).

_"tirer" (shooting) to throw one's boule at one of the opponent's boules to knock it out of play. This is often done when the opponent has pointed his/her boule very close to the cochonnet.

After all the boules are thrown, the team with the closest boule receives a point for each boule that is closer to the cochonnet than their opponents. A game consists ofseveral mènes (rounds). The first team to earn 13 points wins the game. The team with the closest boule receives one point for each of its boules that is closer to the jack than other team's closest boule.Young and old love this game, even my 4 year old got in on the action with his water filled plastic rainbow colored boules. So cute!

When a player loses 13 to 0, he is said to fanny ("il est fanny", he's fanny, or "il a fait fanny", he made fanny) and must kiss the bottom of a girl named Fanny. Virtually everywhere in Provence where pétanque is played, you will find a picture, woodcarving, or pottery figure of a bare-bottomed lass named Fanny. Often, the team that made "fanny" has to buy a round of drinks for the winning team ("Fanny paie à boire!", "the fanny pays for the drinks!").

September Calendar

Summer may be over but there are still many good times to be had. Here are some of the fun things going on in the month of September from music & comedy to fairs and festivals. In particular, I'm looking forward to Local Natives at the Greek Theatre, one of the best outdoor live music venues out there. My other pick is to see DJ Dan Wilcox at KCRW Summer nights, I love his blend of chilled out favorites. Grab your bag and get going!

Beauty, Skin Care, Travel

Travel Beauty Essentials

Summer time is a great time to for travel, whether that means local trips or to far away locales. My husband was born in Belgium but grew up in Paris so we make a trip back to both countries to visit family every year.  I love to travel but I hate to pack all my toiletries! I'm a total beauty junkie so it's very hard to narrow down my daily arsenal to pack for a trip. (I've never been accused of being a light packer...Just ask my husband!) Now that I have a child whose stuff I have to lug along as well, I've been forced to pare down to the essentials. Here are my tips for making your toiletries bag a little lighter!

When choosing items for traveling, focus on two things: size and durability. The smaller the better and nothing that is delicate. Leave your fabulous eye shadow palettes at home, they will most likely crumble and make a mess of your cosmetic bag. When I travel I love to use my makeup in stick form. Summer is all about easy beauty and I love that with sticks you can just swipe and go. I like the Smashbox Studios blendable lip and cheek color in L.A. Lights /Silver Lake Sunset. One because the name is great, (I love LA!) and two because it has a mini sponge that you can use to blend the stick into your face for a seamless application.  It's a pretty, natural color great for a flushed glow, (it's a little too pale for lips though so I don't use it for that).

I also love Bite Beauty for it's natural products and creamy lipsticks. They make all their products to be food grade because the average woman consumes 7 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. Yikes! Each Bite lipstick is infused with the age-fighting antioxidant resveratrol — the equivalent of five glasses of wine. I've always liked to drink my wine but now I can wear it/eat it too! What's great about this Bite Beauty mini stick is that it's small and can fit in your pocket and has 2 different colors, one lighter for day and more dramatic for night. In the summer I get shiny, especially with all that sunscreen. I like to carry this mini Make Up For Ever setting powder. It's so small and I just shake out a teeny bit to tone down any unwanted t-zone shine.

My daily routine would not be complete without a highlighting product and this one by RMS Beauty is great for traveling. All natural and made with coconut oil, this travels very well because it's hardened in a pot and not like liquid tubes which can explode or get punctured and spilled. I've had this happen and it's a b*@#% to clean up! Apply this to the inner corners of your eyes, under the brow bone, the cupid's bow of your lips, bridge of nose, middle of forehead, chin, and top of cheekbones and blend. It will give your skin a dewy, radiant not shiny or glittery appearance. Love!

Last but not least, the Clé de Peau concealer can hide a multitude of sins, from jet lag to blemishes. I had a bit of sticker shock with regards to the price, but I have to admit that it's the best I've used. It's creamy and blendable and very long lasting. Some concealers slide right off or if they're long wearing can be too drying or cakey but this one is the perfect consistency. Love the stick formulation, it's perfect for traveling because it won't spill all over your bag.

Flawless makeup doesn't happen without a great base of healthy skin. I like to wear less makeup in the summertime so I try to make sure to take extra good care of my skin. Since I'm a beauty addict, I have a lot of samples that I've accumulated over the years. These used to pile up but I realized that they make great travel partners. That way I can take everything I want face masks, face wash, oils, shampoo etc. without taking up tons of space and it actually makes your bag smaller by the end of your trip because you throw things away as you finish them! It's also a great way to try out new products and see if you like them.  Plane rides can be extremely dehydrating to your skin so I use this Sisley Black Rose Cream Face Mask on any long flight and made sure to drink a ton of water. One sample has quite a bit in it, enough for probably 1-2 applications depending on how much you apply but I just use the extras on my neck and on the back of my hands, and since it's so dry on the plane they both were absorbed pretty quickly.  This rose mask applies more like a heavy lotion, don't rinse or tissue it off just leave it on. I also wouldn't normally recommend carrying a bottle of oil but I absolutely love this almond oil from L'Occitane. I first used this when I was pregnant to prevent stretch marks (which it did) but still use it to moisturize all over my skin and even the tips of my hair and cuticles. I love a multi-use product!

I typically use an anti-oxidant serum before my sunscreen everyday so I love that this Anthelios AOX by La Roche Posay has a SPF 50 and a built in serum. It eliminates an extra step and an extra bottle in your bag. The sunscreen has a great consistency and blends well and isn't tacky to the touch. It's also priced very well at under $40 which often serums alone would cost at least that alone and usually more. To touch up my sunscreen during the day, I love to use Supergoop Setting Mist in SPF 50, I just spray it on and it sets makeup a a bonus. I love the travel size, I just throw it in my purse so I'm never without sunscreen. 

I love to wear fragrance and if I'm not going on a long trip I take travel perfume bottles from Sephora. They work great and you can just spray in any one of your favorite fragrances. I was gone for 3 weeks though so I needed something a little bigger. My current fave is Jo Malone Mimosa and Cardomom and I love that it comes in a small bottle! I used to always buy big bottles of perfume but found that when you buy the smaller sizes you end up using them up quicker before they expire and are free to experiment more with different scent combinations.

Reception at You Doll You

Reception at You Doll You

I first got eyelash extensions 10 years ago for my wedding. In the years since, I've done it off and on. A few years back I started using Latisse which works great for lengthening your lashes but doesn't do much for making them fuller or darker. (At least for me) I am very zealous with washing all my makeup off every night but no matter how many cleanses I do (micellar water + cleansing product) I still wake up with some kind of mascara remnant under my eyes which I really can't stand. I knew I was going to be in the pool on vacation and thought I would go get lash extensions again. What's great about them is that you don't really need to wear much makeup at all with them because they really define your eyes. No eye shadow, liner or mascara. I just used a bit of blush and lip gloss, highlighter and was done.

Chinese character Zen, which is how you will feel

Chinese character Zen, which is how you will feel

The treatment rooms

The treatment rooms

Eye lash selections

Eye lash selections

When I started going to Kiyomi at You Doll You, she was doing eyelashes out of her house. Since then she has moved to a few different locations, the most recent is this lovely soothing atmosphere in Beverly Hills. I chose the Silk Premium lashes, which I had last for 3 weeks with no problem. Last time I went back for a refill they told me that they will be discontinuing the silk as of this fall and only going to have the Mink which is a bit more expensive but supposedly lasts even longer. My silk premium was $85 and $50 for touch ups within 3 weeks. You doll you is the best deal in town when it comes to lashes!  I had a friend who went elsewhere and paid double and all her lashes had fallen out within a week.  It takes about an hour to have it done. I fell asleep both time, the aestheticians are so gentle, that it just feels like light feathery strokes around your eyes. To preserve the lashes, they advise against, hot showers (steam) hot ovens (cooking- which I wasn't going to do on my travels anyways and is a great excuse not to cook in the summer! ) and to not use oily products around the eye, and basically try to keep them as dry as possible. You can't take a shower within 24 hours of application because the steam will cause the eyelashes to go straight.  I waited as long as I could and took cold showers (which also makes your hair shinier) and didn't cook and was very careful about washing my face and didn't apply any makeup or oily products around my eyes and when I swam I kept my face out of the water. I typically do this anyways because chlorine is terrible for your hair anyways. So for me it wasn't a big deal but if you love to cook and take long hot showers then this might not be the ideal solution for you.  I included some before and after pictures below...

Before

Before

After!!!!

After!!!!

After 3 Weeks before refill

After 3 Weeks before refill

After refill

After refill

Art, Fashion, Los Angeles CA

FIDM Museum Visit

Mood boards for some of the shows featured like Wallander, Man in the HIgh Castle and Mercy Street.

Mood boards for some of the shows featured like Wallander, Man in the HIgh Castle and Mercy Street.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the LA campus of Fashion Institute Design and Merchandising (FIDM for short) to talk to their Honor society, Phi Theta Kappa. We chatted about the pleasures and pitfalls of owning your own business, the importance of social media, trend forecasting and networking with other like minded entrepreneurs. I love meeting young people, interacting with them helps me to stay current with today's trends and tomorrow's customers. After my talk,  I checked out the TV costume design exhibit next door at the FIDM Museum, which to my delight had costumes from many of the shows that I love to watch. Costumes range from period to contemporary and include Wallander, Downtown Abbey, Roots, Sherlock Holmes, Mercy Street, The Man in the High Castle, Game of Thrones, Empire, Veep, American Horror Story, Transparent, Jane the Virgin, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Scream Queens. This exhibit is free to the public and open Tuesday-Saturday 10 am -5 pm until October 15.

Love Downtown Abbey, so of course I made a beeline for these dresses, immediately upon entering the exhibit. Love the signature twenties era stying of the drop waists for Lady Rose on the front rightand flapper sequin beading and long necklace for Lady Mary in the back. I remember her wearing this dress!

Winter is coming! I look forward to watching G.O.T. every season for the amazing sets and locations. It was fun to get a chance to witness the elaborate beading, incredible attention to detail and substantial costumes up close in person. 

I was late to the game on Veep but once I checked it out, it quickly became one of my favorites. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a comic genius and the rest of the cast is equally talented. I like that it's similar to House of Cards in that you feel like you are getting an accurate portrayal of what life in politics entails but it does it with humor instead of shock value. There are so many heavy dramas out there right now that it's refreshing to watch a light one without all the angst and turmoil.

I'm a bit of a scaredy cat so I will admit that I don't personally watch American Horror Story but my husband does so I will see snippets here and there. I love that the most recent season was filmed at Cicada in downtown Los Angeles, in the historic 1928 Oviatt building which I walk by every time I'm running errands in dtla. My best friend got married there so every time I would see episodes of AMHS, it would bring back happy memories. In my opinion, the costumes, and locations are the best part of AMHS. I love the dark moody vibe of the show, and in particular Lady Gaga's wardrobe. Divine!

Love the color of this pink faux fur jacket, it would go great with my rose gold hair! Haven't seen either Scream Queens or Empire but liked what I saw costume-wise!

Love me some Benedict Cumberbatch, and love even more that his fans are called Cumberbitches. (I will neither confirm nor deny that I might be one). I wish Benedict would give the movies a rest (I did like Imitation Game though) and return to filming this great show.

Talking at FIDM

Talking at FIDM

That's me!

That's me!

Summer Reading List

I don't know about you but I'm a total bookworm.  I just love the feeling of getting lost in a book... becoming immersed in a really great story that once it grabs your attention, won't let go.  Summer is one of my favorite seasons because it's a time for travel and sun/surf, which means more time for lounging and reading! Whether you're poolside or at your favorite coffee shop, my summer reading list has all the books that should be on your radar right now.

I have heard a lot about Isabel Allende over the years but for one reason or another never picked up one of her books. I'm so glad I finally did! She has been likened to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, employing a broad cast of characters and magical realism in her stories.  My inner history buff really enjoys a sweeping saga with historical details, and to be sure I'm a sucker for anything that has World War II as a backdrop. Admittedly,  I was a little put off by the title, fearing that it was going to be nothing more than a tawdry, romance novel. I am pleased to say, I couldn't have been more wrong. Yes, there is the backdrop of the underlying love story but the overlying themes are much more interesting than that.  What struck me was that it didn't shy away from discussing in sometimes horrific detail what it was like to be Japanese in the United States after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. How poorly underfunded and maintained the US Japanese Internment camps were and how they ripped apart the lives of so many for seemingly no reason at all. It really is a topic that rarely comes into conversation, perhaps because it is so hard to fathom that it actually occurred in our recent history.  In today's ever so fast spaced society, we are constantly bombarded by all kinds of stimuli and ways to be more productive. What I really responded to was the quiet pace of this book, being that its two main characters are in their 80s with one living in a nursing home. It may sound morbid but it was anything but.  In fact it was quite the opposite. I found it quite life affirming as it explored the enduring and everlasting bonds of friendship both with family and friends and what it means to grow old and voluntarily and sometimes non voluntarily choose a slower paced existence. I was eager to find out what ultimately happened to the protagonists, was sad when I finished it and have thought about it often since which is for me the true sign of a really good book.

Unfortunately this summer seems like it's been a hot bed of turmoil regarding race relations in the US.  Anyone who thinks that we live in a post racial society, definitely needs to read this book and reconsider. Written as a series of letters to his teenage son, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores what it's like to be a black man in America. Widely acclaimed, Between the World and Me is a National Book Award winner, NAACP Image Award Winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist.  At times, heartbreakingly poignant and other timesangry and insightful, this book is not an easy read but an important one. It truly helps to bridge the gap in understanding what its like to step outside your own personal upbringing and to experience what it's like to be a black man and to be a parent to a black man in America. It really drove home for me the fear that both people of color and parents of people of color live with on a daily basis when interacting with law enforcement. My heart broke when he described overhearing his son crying alone in his room after the acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case. I do wish Coates had offered more solutions to how to change these dire circumstances, but this book is a start in furthering the conversation.

I love a good debut novel from a young writer! Angela Fluornoy's novel centers on the Turner family of 13 growing up in Detroit's east side and how the house has been in the family for 50 years but after the passing of father Francis, is now worth less than its mortgage.  The house sits unoccupied as the children decide what to do with it. Fluornoy is interested in the meaning of inheritance and legacy and how a house is usually a source of wealth passed down from generation to generation, at least for white Americans. For black Americans who have been systematically discriminated against when it comes to housing--racial covenants (deeds preventing blacks from owning houses), red-lining (mortgages denied to those who lived in red-lined, aka black, neighborhoods), and mortgage fraud (subprime mortgages disproportionately victimized people of color)--the house becomes a legacy of loss. I enjoyed the discussion of the importance in birth order and how it plays out in family dynamics. Being a middle child in my own family, I think it's so telling to see how birth order can affect one's place in this world.  I can only imagine how that plays out in a family of 13! I also thought the supernatural element of ghosts and the role they played in this now decrepit home was really interesting. The spirits appear in the Detroit house as a physical reminder that while the patriarch of the family, Francis may have left the rural south for a better life in the urban north, the legacy of discrimination is inescapable.

Another exciting debut novel, The Girls by Emma Cline is everywhere these days. I'm excited to read it, and just started it. I've heard rave reviews and hope it lives up to the hype! Set in Northern California during the turbulent 60's, it's a tale of an awkward adolescent girl's introduction and subsequent immersion into a Charlie Manson like cult. Creepy! Can't wait to get into it!

And last but not least I decided to throw in an oldie but goodie. Originally published in 1955, The Talented Mr. Ripley feels just as fresh today as it was then. Ripley is Highsmith's most famous character, and is the first of three in a series. She also wrote Strangers on a Train (as made famous by the Hitchcock film of the same name) and The Price of Salt, or Carol which was also just made into a film this past year.  It follows the path of unctuous grifter Tom Ripley from an inauspicious beginning in New York across the Atlantic to Italy where he befriends the wealthy Dickie Greenleaf and his girlfriend Marge.  A study into the psyche of a sociopath, Ripley convinces the reader to feel sorry for him despite his heinous crimes. Looking forward to reading the next two in this thriller series!

Weekend Style

Something my family and I love to do is bike together on the weekends. Driving and parking can be a real hassle, so we all love to take our bikes out for a spin! It's fun, we get some exercise in and it's better for the environment as well. For serious rides I take my road bike but for fun around town, I just recently purchased a new city bike from Just Ride L.A. called the Beaumont.

The company who designed the bike is called Critical Cycles. A great thing about them is that they are located and operate out of Los Angeles (just like me!). They construct each bike by hand, complete with superior components and sell directly to consumers. I love the retro styling and vintage look to the bike.  It's a typical Dutch style of bike and I had admired several on my trip to Amsterdam many years back. This style comes in other colors, which you can find here. A great thing about this bike is that it comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and fork, and has two different sizes for height if you are under 5'4 or over.

Running errands around town calls for a sturdy bag that won't fall off your bike. Enter the Market Bag by Linus. It can attach to your bike with the clasps or you can carry it on your shoulder and keep it rolled up when not in use. The sides expand to ensure all of your goods intact. It also comes with a lock so you can leave it with your bike and know it will remain safe while you continue shopping! My husband and I love how hands free this bag is especially when keeping an eye on our son. This also comes in other colors, check out the website here for more fun products.

Even running errands calls for some Janna Conner jewels in your outfit. The necklace and bracelet both have clasps so they'll keep up with you all day. The ear threaders are comfy and lightweight and will add the right amount of flair to your outfit.

My Shada Necklace has a rectangular rose quartz pendant and is accented by a coral bead. This pairs nicely with a blouse or tee shirt. While it may look simple, the chain is a diamond cut ball chain, which makes it better than your ordinary basic.

My Selda Bracelet is a pink mother of pearl that has been hand carved in the shape of a rose. The rest of the bracelet is accented with baby moonstones. The pink and glossy colors look great with any skin tone.

My Farih Threaders are so lightweight they feel like air! A great addition to your outfit if you're a gal looking for simplicity. A great feature on these threaders it that you don't have to worry about them falling off due to stubborn ear backs, as they just thread right through your ear and stay there.

If you live in the Los Angeles area like I do, you know you should always be stepping out in a great outfit anywhere you go (you never know who you'll run into!). I put together a great look that is perfect for running errands and keeping up with kids without sacrificing style.

Everyone needs a classic cotton black t-shirt in their wardrobe. Get yours from Net-A-Porter, a website I love to use for one stop shopping. They carry almost every designer brand you could imagine! This scoop tee by Splendid will not only keep you comfortable, but will go great with the Dolce & Gabbana scarf. The scarf will add some color into your look and the gold in the tulips will look great with my jewelry! If you are not into scarfs, choose to wear this outfit with my Shada necklace instead! Find more great items from Net-A-Porter here.

A great denim brand I have found is 3x1. In the pair I chose, the fringe adds a relaxed vibe to this denim, and your weekend style shouldn't be anything but just that! This is also a huge trend in denim this year, so be on the lookout for your next pair for summer. You can wear these jeans in many different looks, varying from boho chic to punk. You can purchase them from Shopbop here.

A weekend of running errands means having shoes that are supportive and can keep up with you. Sneakers are the best choice especially if you will be biking or doing a lot of walking. Thus, the Adidas sneaker is the perfect shoe for the job. The best feature about these shoes is that they are perforated which helps to keep your feet cool and get some air. I love the additional design element that the perforations form an interesting geometric pattern as well! A lot more interesting than a basic white sneaker. Find similar shoes at Asos.

Dries loves the balloon man who makes intricate balloon animals like this pig.

Dries loves the balloon man who makes intricate balloon animals like this pig.

Something that always brings me joy is the smell of fresh produce in my home. My family and I love to hit up farmers markets for locally grown veggies and fruits. A go-to favorite of ours is the South Pasadena Farmer's Market. There are both great prepared food vendors and fruit vendors. We often buy fresh bread there, one of our favorites is a Cheese Jalapeno bread, yum! I'm also an ice cream lover so I always have to visit local Pasadena creamery Carmela. They have so many delicious flavors, Strawberry Buttermilk and Brown Sugar Vanilla are my two favorites. They also teach ice cream making classes, which would make a great gift for the ice cream lover in your life! I even have a friend that loves their ice cream so much that she had them at her wedding instead of a traditional wedding cake. What a fun and unique idea!

Since summer is here, I love adding fresh fruit into everything. Apples, strawberries and peaches are some of my favorites to add some great color and flavor to my meal. Lately I've been eating sliced peaches with Greek Yogurt, toasted walnuts and a honey drizzle for breakfast every morning. It's great for hot summer mornings since it's light but satisfies my sweet tooth without doing too much damage. I like to use Fage 2% Plain Greek Yogurt because it's high in protein and the fat will help keep you satiated. Walnuts not only taste great but are a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and an excellent source of those hard to find omega-3 fatty acids. Leave the skin on your peaches and you get a little fiber in there too. Overall a great way to start your day!