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!

 

Fourth of July

Fourth of July is a national holiday that celebrates the day Americans gained independence from the British. This holiday means barbecue and red, white, and blue everything! Here are my Fourth of July must-haves for 2016.

Starting with the nails, I am a huge girly girl when it comes to having mani and pedi's done, and there is no better excuse than holidays. Starting with clean nails before each manicure is important not only for appearances but also to keep your nails healthy. My Fourth of July set started with a top coat of clear polish, then a classic cobalt blue color. I then used a nail art pen to make the lines and stars on my other nails. The pen is essentially a sharpie with nail polish in it, so makes it much easier for doing fun designs than using a brush. It's also water soluble so if you make a mistake (which I did many times) just wipe off with water.  Then when you have the design you're happy with, let it dry and then set with clear nail polish.  Buy the pen here.   For more nail inspo, check out my Pinterest board dedicated to nails here.

The white ruffle top from Tibi is subtle yet shows your festive side. I like having pieces like this in my wardrobe because I could wear this top to any fête this summer and depending on whether I dress it up or dress it down it can go with anything. This top paired with the Frame Denim distressed cutoffs will show your casual yet flirty side. Off the shoulder tops are big this summer, and that along with some stretch in the shorts will keep you coolon such a hot day of the year.

A holiday would not be complete without your Janna Conner jewels! To keep up the patriotic theme, my Tilda ring features a beautiful clover shaped lapis lazuli stone. I love lapis because of all the natural inclusions within the stone and how nice it looks against the gold. Sporting this will give you a subtle hint of beauty and sparkle for your hand. This ring will pair nicely with the blue hues in your outfit without being overpowering.

Now for the red! July's birthstone is Ruby so we have to have something to celebrate both July babies and America's birthday!. These ruby quartz earrings are lightweight yet have a big impact. They're easy to throw on and won't over power your look. The faceting of the stones add a subtle sparkle and will be on heavy rotation from your jewelry box. Find more jewels on my website.

The Montauk Roundie designed by The Beach People

The Montauk Roundie designed by The Beach People

If you're hitting the beach this Fourth of July, a beach towel is a must. Instead of bringing along your old ratty towel like you'd usually do, step up your game this summer and shop at The Beach People. The company started just in 2013 by a pair of sisters in Australia and are creators of luxury beach essentials, in particular their signature Roundie towels. The Montauk Roundie is one of my favorite patterns produced by them! This Roundie is made from super soft cotton and features a velour top for comfortable lounging and a terry reverse side that quickly absorbs water. This pattern reminds me of the stripes found on the American flag, so this will definitely up your Fourth of July game in a big way! Find more patterns and products here.

 

 

Star Cookie Cutter from Sur La Table

Star Cookie Cutter from Sur La Table

Last year I attended a friend's party and was in charge of bringing dessert. Instead of making cupcakes or brownies which are very heavy on a hot summer day, I decided to go a healthier route with fresh fruit. Not only is this super refreshing, but also keeps with the same patriotic vibe that embodies the Fourth of July. Plus, this is ridiculously easy to do and is a big hit with kids! All you need is a cookie cutter (I got mine from Sur La Table) and some watermelon and blueberries from your grocery store or local farmer's market. Cut the watermelon into slabs that aren't too thick, probably about an inch or two for the best results. I look forward to making this again this year!

Green-Chile Chicken Burgers from Martha Stewart

Green-Chile Chicken Burgers from Martha Stewart

This chicken burger recipe from Martha Stewart is a lean alternative to a beef patty and really packs in a punch of flavor from the cilantro and juiciness from the chiles. If you plan on making this for the holiday, a fun idea is to make a variety of sauces for people to top their burgers with, I like to add in a chipotle sauce to make mine a little spicier for example! Find more delicious ideas here.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) diced green chiles, drained 
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves, chopped, plus sprigs for serving 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • Neutral oil, such as safflower, for brushing 
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, cut crosswise into 4 slices (each about 1/2 inch thick) 
  • 4 sesame buns, split 
  • Sour cream, green-leaf lettuce, and Dijon mustard (optional), for serving

INSTRUCTIONS 

  1. Heat grill to medium-high. Combine chicken, cumin, chiles, chopped cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Divide mixture into 4 patties. Brush grates with oil and grill burgers, flipping once, until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into thickest parts registers 165 degrees, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  2. Lightly brush tomato slices with oil; grill, flipping once, until charred, 2 minutes. Season with salt. Grill buns, cut-sides down, just until toasted, about 1 minute. Serve burgers on grilled buns with tomato slices, cilantro sprigs, sour cream, lettuce, and mustard.

Non-Alcoholic Pineapple Mojito by Watch What U Eat

Non-Alcoholic Pineapple Mojito by Watch What U Eat

This non-alcoholic pineapple mojito is a great recipe if you want something refreshing but without the heavy calories that come with alcohol. If you like the recipe but want alcohol included, I suggest adding in white rum! If you have kids at your barbecue, make sure to have labels for a non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions if you will be making both Find more great recipes from Watch What U Eat.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-5 pieces of 1-2" pineapple pieces
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ cup chilled grape juice (if possible, freshly prepared at home)
  • ½ chilled sparkling water or soda
  • 1 tsp agave (optional to adjust sweetness)
  • ice cubes to serve
  • few lime slices to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a small mixing bowl, add pineapple pieces and muddle them using the back of a wooden spatula for couple of min or until all pineapple pieces have broken into small pieces. Then, add mint leaves and again muddle for a few seconds to just bruise the leaves and release the essential flavors.
  • Transfer the muddled mixture into a serving glass. Add ice cubes followed by grape juice, lime juice, sparkling water or soda.
  • Adjust sweetener if necessary. Give it a gentle mix, add couple of lime slices and enjoy a glass of pineapple mojito this summer

White Out

When I think of summer, I think of crisp white everything and lustrous pearls. How appropriate then that June's birthstone is Pearl?!  That being said, it isn't always easy to transform your house or style to overnight white. Keep reading for my June must haves for white out success!

 

The quickest home transformation to complete is bedding. Update your drab winter flannels to lightweight white. This linen duvet from Anthropologie is the perfect home makeover; Not only is it incredibly soft and comfy, but this is actually machine washable which is really nice as opposed to having to take this to be dry-cleaned. That is definitely something I look for in bedding- having a young son means messes happen, so being able to wash this at home and not wait for it to be cleaned is key. I definitely gravitate towards Scandinavian chic. My great-grandfather was from Copenhagen after all! I personally have a white bed and white walls throughout my home. It's a great background to make neutrals and colors pop. To keep white from looking too sterile, be sure to throw in some natural elements and textures. The linen has more texture than straight cotton and I love to throw in lambskins or a textured throw. Natural birch accents help warm up the look and also pairs well with black.  Usually I am not a fan of anything that wrinkles easily such as linen can, but I think in this case, this duvet shows off a casual, relaxed vibe. Plus, who doesn't want to jump into all that fluffiness? Anthropologie also has the pillows for sale too for a complete look, find them here.

Crinkle Bag Vase by Makoto Komatsu

Crinkle Bag Vase by Makoto Komatsu

I love this crinkle bag vase by Makoto Komatsu. I bought similar paper lanterns years back at Merci in Paris, but those were made of actual paper. I love that these are ceramic and designed back in 1975 but are still just as fresh looking today. That's the secret to great design, after all! I love them with white peonies but think they would make a chic statement with colored flowers as well.

In spirit with the tradition for Scandinavian simplicity, Danish firm Norm architects strives to find the simplest shape for a given task without forgetting the beauty of the shape and the details. In order to reach a point where there is nothing to add and nothing to take away that can make the product better. I love marble and that the only other design element are the brass hands. Gorgeous!

Flora Borsi Dove-Animeyed, 2016

Flora Borsi Dove-Animeyed, 2016

Flora Borsi is a young Hungarian artist that I discovered on Instagram. I love Instagram for its ability to act as an online portfolio, and I've discovered many exciting emerging artists because of it. Flora Borsi uses photo manipulation to create surreal works of art. I just love her uniquely female voice.

White can extend to your artwork as well. I love neon anything and I just love Robert Irwin. He's an American installation artist, calling San Diego home. I love his amazing neon installations, they become interactive as the shadows play against the walls. He's done a lot of colorful neons, but one of my favorites is LIght and Space, shown above. He's currently in the process of creating an installation in Marfa — a U-shape construction about 10,000 square feet — will be completed and open to the public later this year. He's also know for his landscaping work; most notably Central Garden at the Getty Center and primordial palm garden at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Summer is quickly approaching - if you live in Southern California like I do, you understand what I'm talking about! The June gloom has left the building and it's been as high as 106 degrees! To help beat the heat are my white out essentials.

Starting with the Birkenstocks, these shoes made a huge comeback in the past few years and I'm so glad they did. Having flat feet makes shoes with no support in them unbearable to walk in, so I am rarely without my Birks. What I love about this pair is that the sandal strap is actually made with a high gloss shine complete with a felt liner to keep your foot comfortable. The high gloss really steps the sandals up and looks nice contrasted with the black accents. Find more colors here.

The Sam Sunglasses by J. Crew are a perfectly milky white color that will not disappoint. This particular style is the J. Crew take on the classic round shape that have UV protected lenses. Sunnies are really important to wear for eye protection against the harsh rays of the sun and can help to prevent wrinkles around your eyes. Discover more shapes and colors on their website.

When it's hot out, I turn to the most comfortable and airy clothing I own. These Vince shorts and sweater will be in heavy rotation in my wardrobe this season! Anything that breathes is a friend of mine. I like that the sweater is airy yet covered up and adds some nice texture play to the rest of the look.

Marble nails

Marble nails

Shimmery opalescent eyeshadow stick

Shimmery opalescent eyeshadow stick

 

This white out doesn't have to stop with your makeup. White can be brightening on your lashline or waterline. During the hotter summer months, I almost never wear eye shadow. I prefer to use shadow sticks, which are like a giant crayon for your eyes. I find they are quick to apply, less messy since there's no fallout under your eyes to have to clean up, and long lasting. They can easily build from a minimal look to a smoky dramatic eye with the number of times you swipe them on. I use one almost everyday. This shimmery opal color is by Estee Edit, but other favorite brands of mine are Laura Mercier and Makeup for Ever. They're both the creamiest and longest lasting brands I've found.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a little kooky about nails and nail polish. I have probably 100 bottles and I'm always on the lookout for more. I've been known to change my manicure 1-2x a week. I always do my own nails though, as I find it therapeutic, kind of like knitting (which I also used to do). And when I get a chip, forget about it. All the polish has to come off, almost immediately. Chipped nail polish is my version of nails on a chalkboard.  My husband on the other hand, thinks its incredibly annoying!  It probably has something to do with the fact that I grew up a nail biter with terrible nails. That and the fact that and being a jewelry designer means that I'm constantly trying on rings and modeling jewelry. A perfect picture can be ruined instantly with a scraggly mani. White nail polish is a great look for summer because it pops against darker skin tones and even works for pale skin tones like mine. It just looks so clean and crisp! A new take on a white mani is this marbleized one. Trust me, It's easier than it looks. It just involves a thin striping brush and a steady hand. See OPI tutorial and video here.

Now, continuing the white out...what better way to accessorize than with lustrous pearls? They're a classic for a reason. They go with everything and flatter any skin tone. New to my website is this freshwater pearl ring, bracelet and ears.  I tried to take a classic and make it a little more modern by using irregular shaped pearls and with creating a cross between a stud and a hoop. For a long time pearls got a bad rap as being conservative and uptight. These are definitely not your mother's pearls! I like to wear this ring on my index finger, layered with other rings. Same goes with this bracelet, it looks great stacked with other cuffs or bangles. Another reason for loving pearls is their I close association with the ocean and thus a relaxed state of mind. I had a favorite pearl ring growing up that I wore constantly; so much that it gave me a tan line one summer from never taking it off!

These are great pieces to bring with you on your vacations because they are lightweight and small so they are easily tucked away in a jewelry pouch into your luggage. Sport my jewels while strolling along the waters edge and watch the gold catch the light of the sun! Pairing these with and all over white look will guarantee fashion forward success. Find more styles on my website.

Whoever said beauty is pain had no concept of the joys of self pampering. Exfoliating and moisturizing are the two big targets for great skin. The thing about summer is that when the sun comes out to play, our skin can be left feeling dry, so I have included two really great beauty products to help out.

The hand cream and nail oil from L'Occitane is not only a favorite of mine but I also love gifting them to friends and family. Both are made with delicious smelling Shea Butter for extreme nourishment. The hand cream leaves hands feeling soft and not oily; something I dislike with other hand creams I've had in the past. The nail oil strengthens nails while softening your cuticles, so using this before a manicure is basically my ritual. Find more on the website.

The butterball bath bomb from Lush has a great vanilla scent to it complete with chunks of creamy coco butter that will melt into your skin. The coco butter will leave your skin feeling smooth and moisturized and your skin will smell amazing too! One of my favorite things to do is draw a bath, sip some good wine and read a book on the weekends. It is so relaxing and always a great way to wind down! If vanilla isn't your thing, check out Lush's other great products here!

 

If you are as serious about this white out as I am, you'll be giving this tart boozy lemon slush a try this summer! I love lemon and vodka, it's such a refreshing combination.  This recipe is ridiculously easy, only takes five minutes and will soon become your go-to. It's like dessert and a drink all in one! This is created by Mandy Kellogg Rye from the blog Waiting On Martha.

All you need is:

  1. 3/4 cup Vodka
  2. 1 pint Lemon Sorbet (I used Haagen Dazs)

Then just blend everything together, pour and enjoy! Something I like to do with my drinks is find crazy straws or glasses to drink out of. If you're hosting friends, this can be a great way to differentiate drinks. Happy sipping!

Father's Day

Father's Day is just around the corner- stuck on gifts for dad or hubby?

A great site for shopping for men's fashion and accessories is Mr. Porter. It's the newer male counterpart to Net-a-Porter, which we all know is amazing. When shopping for my husband, this is usually the first place I will go. They carry over 300 of the leading international retailers for men's fashion, including brands like Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, and Raf Simons. They also bring new products to their website every Tuesday and Friday, so the style is always new and trending. Mr. Porter also has what they call "The Daily" which are bite sized style tips of the day, and they have a blog updated weekly called "The Journal."

Father's Day happens to be two days before the first day of summer, so the first gift idea to think about are the Hartford paisley print swim shorts. Growing up in Manhattan Beach meant many holidays spent outside with my family, and anything related to the beach was always a good gift. The nice thing about these swim shorts is that the pattern can be passed off as regular shorts, so it won't be obvious that he is sporting swim attire while perusing shops along the beach or having a nice lunch.

If you're following the summer theme, you can never go wrong with a pair of Ray-Bans. The Clubmaster pair exudes a classic and cool vibe. My husband Raf actually has an original pair from the 80's that used to belong to his mother! The tortoise shell acetate gives an interesting pattern when seen in the light and the gold metal accents it nicely. I love seeing how some classics never go out of style!

Denim everything is a huge trend for this year, so the espadrilles by Folk will definitely be a successful present. Espadrilles and summer foot wear isn't just for women. Although to be honest, I can't personally condone Mandals. But hey, men's feet get hot too! Men's toes can be safely stowed in a lightweight but sturdy pair of summer footwear. I love the detail of the rugged stitched sole that contrasting with the denim.

Most men love a good drink and for that drink they need somewhere to put it in their man cave or library.  Not only are they pretty to look at but they will help your furniture from getting water marks, no one likes those. Why get boring coasters when you could have intricately natural ones? All are made from slivers of agate and have been gold plated along the edges for a luxe sheen. There are sets of four like the earth toned coasters, or you can purchase them singularly like the purple coaster. I love these because they feature a classic like agate with it's unique banding patterns and elevated it with the gold rims. They don't have to be a lover of geology or nature to enjoy using these. The natural variations in each slab are also very intriguing to look at, as each are unique and different. I gave a set to my brother who usually isn't the easiest to choose gifts for and he loved them! I myself use these in my office daily and at home.  Ladies, you can even borrow them back from your hubs and use them as a display for rings or earrings.  There are more colors are options on my website here.

Selle San Marco Regal in black perforated leather

Selle San Marco Regal in black perforated leather

My father's day gift for my husband this year is this San Marco Regal saddle in black perforated leather. It is always important to be comfortable and stylish. We like to take bike rides as a family so it is important to be comfortable.

Not only is this saddle affordably priced but it is a great alternative to the leather Brooks Saddles as is doesn't need nearly as much break in time. It so comfortable that despite being out of production for several years it could still be seen gracing the bikes of many pro riders on the Tour de France and other big races. Form and function are both important, and I like the detail of the rivets at the back for an added design element.

If you want your dad, boyfriend or husband to ride in style, we recommend this saddle! Find more accessories from Selle San Marco here.

Such a cool texture on the Utility Daypack by Killspencer.

Such a cool texture on the Utility Daypack by Killspencer.

Utility Daypack by Killspencer has a ton of pockets for organizing!

Utility Daypack by Killspencer has a ton of pockets for organizing!

Killspencer is a brand created by Spencer Nikosey that is designed and manufactured in Los Angeles, California. Nikosey started the brand on a personal search for the perfect backpack that was sustainable and waterproof to keep up with his active lifestyle. This is a great gift for any man who loves the outdoors, traveling and being active. The Utility Daypack has a ton of storage options including a passport pouch, a large slip pocket and two smaller ones. The backpack is leather and the bottom is suede, giving a nice texture combination which I am a huge fan of. There is even a separate pouch for your laptop which I know my husband definitely looks for in a backpack. you can get a lot of the products monogrammed, and right now they are offering $50 off orders with a monogrammed product for Father's Day with the code: DAD2016. Shop the website here!

Converse is an iconic sneaker brand recognized worldwide for their uniquely designed sole. Their newest collaboration with Nike yielded these shoes called All Star Modern HTM. HTM is an acronym for the three people who worked on the design of the shoe from Nikelab. The shoe combines iconic pieces of the Converse style with new technologies developed by Nike; it is always interesting to see two huge brands combining creativity to spawn something new. These just launched and I'm sure they'll be sold out soon. My husband is greatly looking forward to purchasing a pair of these, so I know these will be in heavy rotation all summer!

Find it here.

 

Last but not least here is our cocktail recipe for Father's Day, the original Daiquiri.

Daiquiri

Daiquiri

It is the quintessential rum cocktail and one of the easiest, freshest drinks you can make. Great for the upcoming summer days with its refreshing finish.

The Daiquiri :

Mix the lime juice and sugar in a mixing glass or shaker

Add ice cubes and rum

Shake well

Strain in chilled cocktail glass

N.b.  to chill glass, add ice cubes to the glass while preparing your drink and discard ice just before pouring

Cheers!

 

Memorial Day

Do Not Disturb by Eugenia Kim Photo by Gary Pepper

Do Not Disturb by Eugenia Kim Photo by Gary Pepper

This upcoming Monday is Memorial Day! I would like to acknowledge and thank all who serve this beautiful country and those who have laid down their lives for us to continue to live freely. If you're like me and have a barbecue to attend, I have some tips on how to stay poolside stylish!

This hat really says it all. Designed by Eugenia Kim, the wide brim will not only protect your face from the sun, but is also ridiculously cute and silly. Sporting this during your weekend will definitely show off your style. Plus look how nicely it photographs; an Instagram post with this on will have everyone asking you where you got your hat from! It is hard to tell from this photo, but the calligraphy is actually sequined, adding some sparkle to your look. The black band adds that classic beauty touch. Eugenia Kim has this hat and more styles on her website- check it out here. (She also designs shoes!)

Accessorizing is a girl's true best friend. These three pieces are my go-to poolside looks.

For starters, my Bena in the upper left is the ultimate Boho necklace. The bar style is on trend, and turquoise is always good to have on hand (it completes any outfit, especially when going to the beach or pool party).

My Bahati earrings on the right are truly meant for water. Since the ear post is elongated, you wont have to worry about these babies coming off or getting lost. They are shown in chrysoprase but are also available in pearl.

My Wiley ring to the left is a great statement ring for staying golden. The sun will reflect nicely off it and catch everyone's attention!

Find more gems and jewels here.

Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50

Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50

Speaking of being out in the sun, here are two of my favorite products to use when out and about in the heat. Both products are from Supergoop!, a skincare brand dedicated to being free of parabens, oxybenzone, or synthetic fragrances. They make it their mission to have lightweight and easily absorbed products that can be used with any skin type.

The Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 pictured on the left is one of my favorites. I use it all the time, and even carry a travel size in my purse. Skin cancer runs in my family so I'm always trying to find different ways of protecting my skin.  One can never be too vigilant in safeguarding against the aging effects of the sun! To be truly sun safe, one should reapply sunscreen every two hours while out in the direct sun. If you're like me and put your sunscreen on under your makeup every morning, the last thing you want to do is to reapply all of it a few hours later. This eliminates that problem because all you have to do is spray it on top of your makeup. Genius! The mist is hydrating which definitely makes this product a 2-in-1 as it doubles as finishing spray and a sunscreen. It smells great and has a cooling effect as two ingredients include rosemary and peppermint for improving overall complexion. Living in sunny Southern California, this is one of my favorite products and I never leave home without it! Find it here.

Sun protection shouldn't just apply to your face & body while your lips are overlooked. Most lipsticks don't include sun protection and traditional lip stick and glosses can actually magnify UV rays. A new product that I'm excited to try is called Lip Screen. It can be used on top of any lipstick or gloss to make it shield against damaging sun rays. With an SPF of 50, this product is guaranteed to keep you protected and moisturized. Instead of having to find lipsticks that have SPF in them and worrying about whether or not they're expired or not, you can just swipe this on top of your favorite lipsticks and glosses. That way if the SPF expires, you only have to replace one item instead of all of them. Another great, multi tasking product. Find it here.

Osprey of the Sea in Coral

Osprey of the Sea in Coral

Osprey of the Sea in Anemone

Osprey of the Sea in Anemone

Osprey of the Sea in Sea Grass

Osprey of the Sea in Sea Grass

Legend of Lido is a new brand that specializes in making these canvas pouches now available on my website. They come in different sizes and tons of cute patterns to choose from. The prints are actually one-of-a-kind that are inspired by a love of travel. The top zipper closure features a genuine leather pull, opening to a lined, cotton canvas interior with a zipper pocket. The Osprey of the Sea pouches from The Wanderer collection are a perfect accessory for your Memorial Day weekend style because of the unique pattern and bold colors. These will pair nicely with jean shorts and a white blouse or your favorite bikini and kimono. My favorite is the Osprey of the Sea in Coral! Great for casual days and dressy nights. Ideal for: travel, beach reads, and cosmetics. Check out their other patterns here.

Love the idea of keeping the bevvie in the watermelon.

Love the idea of keeping the bevvie in the watermelon.

Watermelon Margaritas - Yummy!

Watermelon Margaritas - Yummy!

What better way to stay refreshed than with watermelon and booze? This recipe for Watermelon Margaritas is so simple and only takes about 10 minutes to make.

Ingredients :

  • 4 1/2 cups seedless watermelon cut into rough 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 pounds cubed fruit)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) fresh juice from 5 to 6 limes
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) silver tequila (100 agave)

Directions :

1.

Add watermelon, salt, lime juice, St. Germain, and tequila to a blender. Puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher, using the bottom of a ladle or a rubber spatula to press liquid through strainer.

2.

Mixture can be served immediately or sealed and chilled for up to five hours in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, fill three serving glasses with ice, re-stir mixture, and and divide evenly between glasses. Serve immediately.

 

Ps : if you don't have St Germain liqueur just add 1/2 cup of boiling water to 1/2 cup of sugar and stir in to taste. ( skip the tequila for a great virgin margarita option ! )

 

This is a great idea if you need to bring something to your family Memorial Day celebration, or just fill up your cooler and hit the beach. I personally love watermelon; the taste of course is amazing, but the rich pink color is always a reminder that summer is just around the corner!

If you want to be extra fresh, there are step by step instructions from Instructables on how to use the watermelon as a dispenser, like shown in the picture. They also give instructions on how to carve designs into the rind. If you want to show off your patriotism, try carving an American flag!

Mother's Day

As Mother's Day is rapidly approaching, it's time to start gathering ideas on how to celebrate your wonderful mom, wife, girlfriend, or treat yourself! Start the day off right with this Rosé Slushy recipe from Style Me Pretty. All you need is a bottle of rosé, some lemonade, ice cubes and a sprig of lavender for decoration. A very simple yet deliciously refreshing drink that anyone would enjoy; plus it's pink!

Rosé Slushy recipe here.

Rosé Slushy recipe here.

Enjoying a fun day with my son Dries, age 4.

Enjoying a fun day with my son Dries, age 4.

Some of the best gifts (a drawing, an extra long cuddle, coffee in bed) are free but if you feel so inclined to want to purchase something, here are a few suggestions that can please even the pickiest of mothers. Perfect style additions for a mom on-the-go; This Zara bomber jacket is a nice way to keep comfortable and warm but also keep up with current trends as it is designed with a beautiful Asian motif. This can be dressed casually with jeans, or dressed up with some jewelry for a night out! Suede slides are on every Fashion It girl these days and these cute ones by Mango are actually something I purchased about a week ago, and they are beyond comfy yet super stylish. They have a 3 " stacked heel yet I wore them all day and was able to accomplish running errands and then go grab a bite to eat later. I ended up with a lot of compliments so I highly recommend them! The other shoes from Gucci are something I am secretly hoping to receive on Mothers Day (hint, hint family). The subtle pattern will go with everything in your wardrobe and the slipper/mule style is very trendy this year. Flats are essential for any mom, and these have a leather sole that will ensure comfort.

She can never have too much jewelry! My Aliya rose quartz earrings are a great gift for their soft color and daintiness. They complement any skin tone and also be a great gift for moms with young kids who love yanking everything. This is also a best seller item so you really can't go wrong.

My Berget locket necklaces are a new favorite of mine. Shown here in rose cut white topaz, I love how the stones dance and shake. I chose clear to go with everything but they also can be personalized by adding in photos or with different birthstones or her favorite color. What better way to show your love than with a photo of you or your siblings?

Stack rings are always a great gift because they can be worn together, separate, on both hands, or any way you like. The Marlien ring set. in dark blue opal and pearl is a great option for a woman who likes having variety in her jewelry. Set of 2 cabochons and a diamond cut band. This is also offered in chrysoprase, find that set here.

Initial jewelry is a simple accessory that is fun to wear. Whether it's the letter of her first name or of her children's names, she is sure to cherish it. It is very lightweight, and the thin chain makes for better comfort and fit on the wrist. The chain is also adjustable so you don't have to worry about fit. Available in any letter in 14k yellow gold or 14k white gold. I love to wear mine layered with a bunch of bracelets, like I did here.

Any one who knows me knows I'm a beauty product junkie. I'm always looking for a new favorite. This Tom Ford lipstick has been in heavy rotation since I got it.  This one is more expensive then I would usually choose, but I love the chic packaging, smooth application, and lasting pigment that's not drying. I chose Forbidden Pink which is one of their best selling shades for good reason. The creamy rose color brightens up my complexion when I'm tired and just makes me feel a little more pulled together. The pleasing scent is a bonus, (I'm a sucker for a good scent!) Find this or other shades from Nordstrom here!

What I love about the Tata Harper body oil is that it is 100% natural and free of synthetics, toxins, artificial fragrance, artificial colors and is not tested on animals. Everything is made on her farm in Vermont. The vibrant scent comes from the flowers and grapefruit used to make the oil. This product is great for moms on the go as it is fast-absorbing and extremely hydrating. Infused with essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients for soft, silky and rejuvenated skin! She's also offering 15% off with code: THXMOM for mother's day, to use click here

Ole Henriksen Spa in West Hollywood

Ole Henriksen Spa in West Hollywood

Hydrotherapy tubs!

Hydrotherapy tubs!

Who doesn't love a good spa day? Moms deserve to be pampered, and the Ole Henriksen Spa is just the place to do it. His products have been featured in magazines like Vanity Fair, Elle, and Marie Claire. It's a celebrity favorite spot, Charlize is one of their regulars. If I can look a little more like Charlize, well then it's worth it, right? Trust me,  I've had a lot of facials in my day, and this place is by far the best. I've been going here for years because unlike some spas that just rub cream on your face and call it a day, at Ole they are utilizing the latest technology to give you more long term benefits than just a nice smelling face cream. I've had facials in spas, and in a dermatologist's office and this is a nice combination of both. Usually the spa experience is a little too frou frou without much actual science behind it, and the dermatologists can be a little too functional without any of the soothing relaxing qualities. This combines the best of both. My favorite treatment is the advanced HydraFacial because let's face it, after becoming a mother you're always looking to hide lack of sleep and a tired complexion.  The facial will leave you glowing, and the hydrotherapy soak lets you unwind with lit candles and soothing aromatherapy. I like to read a book when I'm in there while sipping on a glass of champers. I highly recommend the Champagne Relaxation package: which includes a facial, a massage, a salt scrub, a hydrotherapy soak and a glass of champagne. Perfection! I think I may just be treating myself to one of these!  Treat yourself or your mom by going on to Gilt.com and take advantage of their Ole Henriksen Spa promotion up until the end on July; check them out here!

Travel, Art

The Broad

The Broad Museum - Downtown Los Angeles

The Broad Museum - Downtown Los Angeles

Detail of the honeycomb lattice exterior.

Detail of the honeycomb lattice exterior.

The newest addition to the burgeoning LA art scene is the Broad Museum. It truly is an impressive site to behold! I love passing by it and Disney Hall every day on my commute. It's such a welcome addition to the neighborhood. It's across from MOCA, now making it a mini museum row of two impressive collections. The Broad was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, it's a 120,000 square feet example of the "veil and vault' concept. Home to almost 2,000 works of art, there are two stories of gallery space combining public exhibition space with collection storage. The vault which houses the art storage defines the user experience throughout the museum.  It's heavy mass is visible from underneath on the ground floor and on the top level when you are walking on it.

Arriving at The Broad, going up the elevator through the vault to the top level..

Arriving at The Broad, going up the elevator through the vault to the top level..

 John Baldessari - Tips for Artists Who Want To Sell, 1966-68 Getting tips to make some money!  

 John Baldessari - Tips for Artists Who Want To Sell, 1966-68

Getting tips to make some money!

 

Jeff Koons - Tulips, 1999-2004. Background: Christopher Wool - Untitled, 1990

Jeff Koons - Tulips, 1999-2004. Background: Christopher Wool - Untitled, 1990

I never thought I was that much of a Jeff Koons fan but there are several works of his on display at the Broad. He's apparently one of their favorite artists to collect. The way the Tulips are displayed is pretty incredible. Light floods in from every angle from the honeycomb "veil" which forms the ceiling. On a sunny day, (of which there are no shortage of in LA) it's breathtaking. With all the light, the colors are brighter, and the reflections of the metal really standout.  There is another Koons Tulips, at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas. See here what a difference light can make! Behind the Tulips, is a work by Christoper Wool, an artist I wasn't that familiar with but have since come to enjoy. i love how the two works of art complement each other in the space.

Julie Mehretu - Cairo,2013

Julie Mehretu - Cairo,2013

Just on the side of the Tulips is another giant piece by Julie Mehretu.  Her painting juxtaposes precise technical architectural drawing with the chaos of a windstorm blowing through the city of Cairo. It's a subtle yet impactful piece. I love the little pops of neon color peppered throughout the delicate drawings.  Mehretu, born in Ethiopia,  is one of the many female and various ethnicities represented throughout the Broad. I appreciate the cultural diversity of its collection. Touring through the space I felt that they tried and succeeded in the effort to represent male and female artists from all over the world. Sure, there are the usual who's who of contemporary art like Koons, Hirst, Burden but there is also Kara Walker, Yayoi Kusama, Glenn Ligon, and Barbara Kruger to name a few.

The Vault

The Vault

If you take the elevator down from the top level, you will miss one of the most interesting parts of the Broad. The vault, where they store all of the art that is either not in use or on loan, can be seen from the small stairway that leads down to the ground floor.  The Broad Art Foundation purchases fifty works of art annually, that's almost one a week! With all that art, not all can be on display at once so they have to rotate. This is the case in most museums just you never get to see behind the curtain into how or where they store all the unused artwork. The viewing windows are a clever addition to the building, offering this permanent behind the scenes view.

Yayoi Kusama - Infinity Mirrored Room - The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013

Yayoi Kusama - Infinity Mirrored Room - The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013

A trip to the Broad would not be complete without a visit to the Infinity Mirrored Room. The wait can run hours long for the room, an experience that only lasts approximately three minutes. My recommendation is to sign up on the queue immediately upon entering the museum. The day I went the wait was two hours but I went and toured the museum and had lunch and by the time I was done, I received my text to line up. At that point, I only had to wait 10 minutes in line. Once allowed in, the room is quite small with a central bridge that juts out over water. There are hanging lights everywhere and they are reflected on the mirrors surrounding you. Unlike with LACMA's Rain Room (which is awesome by the way) you get to enter with only your party so you can take photos with abandon and not have random people in your shot. Something I wished they did a better job of at the Rain Room but that's another story...

Ragnar Kjartansson - The Visitors 2012

Ragnar Kjartansson - The Visitors 2012

One of my very favorite pieces at the Broad is The Visitors by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. It's an hour long video shot featuring nine musicians playing the same song in several rooms of a decrepit house in upstate New York. The viewer is omnipresent, being able to view the musicians walk from one room to the next, and engage with each other or remain solitary in their chosen room. Kjartansson himself plays the guitar in a bathtub throughout the piece. The musicians are playing the same piece of music over and over for the entire hour. What seems like would become maddeningly repetitive, is actually quite beautiful.  The Visitors explores how the same lyrics performed by different musicians transform from poignant to transcendent. I've seen this piece on several visits to the museum, and since it is an hour long, it's understandable that it can be challenging to see the entire piece from start to finish.  I've noticed that for people to really get it, it's helpful to see it from the beginning to see them setup in each room, interact with each other and then check back in at the end when they unplug and all leave the house together. Hurry and go see this piece before it and other pieces from the inaugural collection are taken down Sunday, May 1.  In order to prepare for a special exhibit with Cindy Sherman, opening June 12, The Visitors and other pieces on the ground floor innaugural collection will be taken down.  Hurry up and go already!

The bar. Interior shot by Otium.

The bar. Interior shot by Otium.

You might be hungry after seeing all those amazing works of art. You're in luck, because Otium, the new restaurant from French Laundry alum Timothy Hollingsworth and restaurateur Bill Chait ( of Bestia, Petty Cash, République and Sotto) is now open.  Hollingsworth, only 36, is a James Beard Rising Star Chef of the year recipient. A recent downtown Angeleno transplant, he describes his cuisine at Otium as "sophisticated rusticity with approachable elegance".  Otium makes the most of local talent with the vertical gardens that it cooks with by LA Urban Farms, furniture by LA furniture designer Chris Earl, staff aprons by Hedley & Bennett,  outdoor design by South Pasadena's House of Honey, and ceramics by Heath and Irving Place Studio.

Stefan Sagmeister - Inside Out and Outside in. photo by Cassia C. Borges.

Stefan Sagmeister - Inside Out and Outside in. photo by Cassia C. Borges.

I love this hand painted wall of thicket of branches spelling "Inside Out and Outside In" by Stefan Sagmeister. He's an Austrian born, New York based graphic designer and typographer, renowned for album covers for Lou Reed, David Byrne and the Rolling Stones.

Courtyard by House of Honey

Courtyard by House of Honey

Damien Hirst Isolated Elements. Large scale photographic mural on the exterior wall of Otium.

Damien Hirst Isolated Elements. Large scale photographic mural on the exterior wall of Otium.

Los Angeles CA, Art, Food

An afternoon in Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the mural capital of the world! I love murals and think they are a great way for art to be shown on the streets of any city. Downtown LA especially has a lot of murals and graffiti, I notice new ones popping up all the time. Since they are out in the open, you can really interact with them in a different way than art in a museum. You can get close up and touch it or even take an obligatory selfie. Natural sunlight and shadow change how they look depending on the time of day and how they age with weathering. They are like living pieces interacting within their community. This was created by artist Teddy Kelly whose mantra is to "follow the bliss" which is something we can all try to live by. The bold colors, shapes and the use of line really mesh together to create something beautiful! To think this was tagged over! Thankfully it was recently restored to its original beauty.

Verve Coffee Roasters off of Spring Street. @vervecoffee

Verve Coffee Roasters off of Spring Street. @vervecoffee

The outdoor space at Verve Coffee Roasters.

The outdoor space at Verve Coffee Roasters.

Next stop: Verve Coffee Roasters for a little afternoon pick me up. I'm a coffee drinker through and through. I have to have it first thing in the morning; my husband can verify I'm a grouch without it! When I'm lagging in the afternoon, its aroma perks me right up. Verve originated in Santa Cruz before making its way to Los Angeles. The goal of their company is to bridge the gap from what they call "Farmlevel to Streetlevel," which provides open communication between growers and consumers. I love a hanging garden, so I especially enjoy their outdoor seating area. Besides being a cool space to hang out, they actually roast their own coffee!

Walking by the French band Wall of Death's album cover.

Walking by the French band Wall of Death's album cover.

I'm not familiar with Wall of Death, but the vibrant colors in the album cover definitely stand out to me. You can watch their video Loveland here.

The Wings by Colette Miller.   I'm wearing Thierry Lasry Sunglasses, Frame Denim jeans, Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, Ba&sh top

The Wings by Colette Miller.   I'm wearing Thierry Lasry Sunglasses, Frame Denim jeans, Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, Ba&sh top

Colette Miller created the Global Angel Wings Project in 2012 to "remind humanity that we are the Angels of this Earth."  She started painting her wings in downtown Los Angeles and has branched out to other parts of the world. This particular one was painted in 2013. I love the way the paint is cracking and beginning to show signs of age, giving it even more character. Miller has painted wings in locations including Africa, Australia, Turkey and Cuba. She even gave a TEDx talk to discuss how her Global Angel Wings Project expanded into a social phenomenon. Visit her website for more information.

One of three distinct lighting sculptures; this one really caught my eye. Love the massive arched windows!

One of three distinct lighting sculptures; this one really caught my eye. Love the massive arched windows!

Waiting for my food!

Waiting for my food!

The kitchen staging area. Love the chevron design in the wood!

The kitchen staging area. Love the chevron design in the wood!

Terroni was originally founded in Toronto, Canada, and Los Angeles houses their only American locations. The space was first used as the National City Bank in 1924 in the Historic Core District before becoming the restaurant in 2013. The building is actually 6,ooo square feet, which is huge! It was designed by Giannone Petricone Associates. They definitely embraced a more is more philosophy when building the space. There's a lot going on; chevron marble and wood cutouts, curvilinear chandeliers, varying furniture from table to table but somehow it just works. I especially love the white marble used throughout the restaurant and under the bar, cut and adhered in a chevron pattern. The play of light and shadow make the marble look like alternating bands of black and white. Same with the wood under the kitchen staging area, pictured above. It is a very contemporary Italian space full of wit and whimsy. Everything on the menu is so delicious, you can't go wrong. On this particular visit, I ordered the special which was duck ragu' pappardelle, quattro stagioni pizza, and the ricchia salad. Delish!

Los Angeles CA, Jewelry, Fashion

A Current Affair

Raf Niclaes (4 of 36) (1).jpg

Last weekend I visited A Current Affair, Pop Up Vintage Marketplace in the Cooper building in downtown Los Angeles.  What a great idea, tons of vintage clothing and jewelry shops under one roof! This event takes place triennially in Los Angeles and biannually New York. This particular one was hosted by Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoes and jewelry blogger extraordinaire Danielle Miele of Gem Gossip. Some of the stores featured were Desert Vintage in Tuscon, Arizona, Charm School Vintage in Austin, Texas, and Arrow and Anchor in Nashville, Tennessee. For future events, visit A Current Affair.

Ba&ash top, Thierry Lasry sunglasses, Mansur Gavriel bag.

Ba&ash top, Thierry Lasry sunglasses, Mansur Gavriel bag.

Browsing through some great pieces. Some dating back to 1860! Vintage is a major source of inspiration for most designers. Decades that inspire me are the 70s and 80s for the heavy use of yellow gold and over the top opulence. I grew up with an affinity for French brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Charles Jourdan from spending afternoons shopping with my mom. I remember after school outings at Chanel in Beverly Hills sipping mini glass bottles of Coca-Cola while my mom tried on suits paired with jewelry. I definitely gained my love of fashion from my mother; she even wore Chanel haute couture to my wedding in Paris!

Shot of the Cooper Building in downtown LA. What a great space! The open floor plan and high ceilings allow for a unique viewing experience. With over sixty vendors, it was a nice way to incorporate so many boutiques under one roof.

Danielle Miele and I have been Instagram friends for so long, it was so great to finally meet her in person! She runs the jewelry blog Gem Gossip which is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Check out the interview we did at gemgossip.com

My office!

I can see my office from the window of the Cooper Building! I love all the historic buildings of downtown la. My office building is definitely a quirky style of architecturewith turrets on top, dating back to 1924.

Since Danielle is famous for her tagline #showmeyourrings, I was excited at the opportunity to pose with her! She specializes in blogging about jewelry trends, vintage and period jewelry and also has a fine jewelry line of her own. I love the large opal ring she is wearing with its ombré hues. I am wearing the Pearl Corrie Ring, the Diamond Bar Ring, and the Petite Cubist Ring in white topaz.