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7.31.2013

Aquazzura Gladiator Lace Up Sandals


As appealing as these sexy Aquazzura lace up heels are to me, just looking at the lacing makes me anxious. My impatience would not be able to tolerate donning these amazing sandals on. On the other hand, the Arieli by Schutz are just as edgy with a seemingly less fussy lacing AND at a much better price point. Wouldn't you agree?

7.29.2013

Comfort: Reach Out To Others


About two months ago, I made a quick simple project for the sake of comforting a friend who unexpectedly, lost her twenty-seven year old son. Usually, when such tragedies strike, most often we may feel helpless not knowing what to say or do. Also, in the beginning of such tragic situations, everyone rallies around to support or help where possible. But as a person who's had my measure of loss, I know that after the dust settles everyone goes back to their routine leaving the one with the loss alone with their own thoughts and sorrows. And let me tell you, it's during those moments that you wish someone would call or stop by. 

Being cognizant of that, that's when I normally take the time to send a card, write a letter, bring flowers or in this case, I decided to give something that I thought would continually bring comfort by tailoring an encouraging poem suited to my dear friend's needs. After typing out the poem. I printed it on high quality sage colored parchment paper, embellished the sides of the poem with orange striped and old world stamp tapes, then layered a few florets in yellow, blue and green...all of her favorite colors. I chose a white frame so the words and the colorful decorations could pop out cheerfully. Once I was all done with the frame, I thought of course, I'd present it as a gift all wrapped in bright silver paper - finished with a sparkly gold bow and orange ribbons affixed on top. I mean c'mon, what girl doesn't like shiny sparkly things?! All this was done with the aim to make her smile and bring joy to her heart perhaps during her lowest silent moments.

Never underestimate the value of such a simple, yet thoughtful gift like this. Its advantage? It can be propped on a desk or hung on a wall and could be read over and over again for encouragement, thus bringing a smile and comfort to someone. Knowing that my little effort can do that for someone else, brings me so much pleasure that is indescribable.

The pearls were keeping the frame from closing, so I had to remove them...(sad face)


However, lets not forget that people need comfort all the time. Grieving is not limited to people who have lost someone in death. Life has its ups and downs. Even the people we might think are okay...making us believe that they're okay, might not be most of the time. They might need strength from comforting words just to deal with a stressful job, a challenging marriage, economic pressure, depression, a divorce that might be lingering in the heart and mind, someone who can't have a child, health crisis...I mean, the list can go on and on. Are we aware of what's happening in the lives of our dear ones, or even a neighbor? Why not surprise someone with a thoughtful card "just because" to let them know they're thought of. Imagine if everyone did that for someone else on a regular basis - how many lives would we save from committing suicide? Sometimes, it's the ones that we think are doing superb that could be superficially happy while battling some deep inner problems.

I figured I'd share this with you because I had promised here that I would, but most importantly, I'm hoping that it will at least inspire you to do the same for someone in your life. Maybe you happen to be in a situation right now, wanting to help and not knowing exactly what to do...well, this is definitely an idea that will go a long way.

  

7.26.2013

Grateful Moments

Want to know what I've been up to?

{Spumoni treat straight from Italy at Bistro of Santa Monica: a necessary refresher on the occasional hot humid days}

I'm still unpacking! The at-home office hasn't been unpacked yet, which is totally giving me daily anxiety but a jammed packed schedule as a volunteer (that I don't talk much on here about) and running the office for my hubby's business (this has been our busiest season keeping me barely eating - although you wouldn't be able to tell...) has kept me from getting my life totally in order.  Anyone that knows me will tell you that I don't do well with disorganization, so that's why my poor little website has been a bit abandoned lately. But I'm working on getting life squared away soon, so I can share with you some ideas I've been working on, and a few interesting DIYs that I've managed to squeeze in. Just need the time to outline it all to post on the blog.

In the meantime, I've been enjoying the milder weather of California with the exception of a few humid days, (but compared to East Coast humidity it's nothing). At any rate, hope you have enjoyable summer weekend plans.

{Desert sunset skies always make my heart glad!}
{Some of the boots came out of the box looking like they saw a ghost!}
  
{These limited edition vehicles around town remind me of the Hamptons...people take pride in their joy rides here in Cali}

{At Buddha's Belly serves the best vegetable fried rice I've ever tasted!}



7.25.2013

Pre-Friday Pinspiration No. 2: Ten Most Clever DIY's


Whenever my days are gray, I can always count on pinterest to put a smile on my face, especially every time I stumble upon ingenious DIY's. I think it's just so great to be able to get the instant gratification and be amongst a bunch of talented like-minded people at the touch of button. I'm most grateful for it, because without beautiful décor, design, stylish fashion, and my handsome husband of course;) I'm afraid my life would have been extremely dreadful. So without further ado, I'd like to share with you (in case you haven't already seen these) my picks of the ten most clever DIY's I've been inspired by lately on pinterest.

I have plenty of these inexpensive trays...this is one diy that's on my immediate to-do-list. So practical!



 
 
 
 
 

*Image: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 (or you can click each photo for full link details) 

You can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram Twitter, and bloglovin'.

Xx,
Rebecca

 

7.23.2013

The Hunt For: The Perfect Boyfriend Denim Shorts

 
My hunt for the perfect fitting summer shorts is an ongoing one that seems to have lasted for years. Many of the styles that I'm drawn to never seem to fall right on my petite frame - when the waist fits right, then the back might look unflattering or the leg openings are too tight or boxy. Being that I didn't always fancy jeans/denim (I've always been a slacks kind of girl), I only have two pairs of jeans in my closet, so it's not like I could grab an old pair and create my own DIY cut-offs. Oddly enough, my aversion of ripped up jeans has suddenly turned into a strong attraction, as I like the rolled up cuffs, or even the un-cuffed styles this season. It might be because the trend seems to have stuck around a little longer that I thought it would. Then like anything else, it's all in the way you style an item and wearing the right style for your age. I definitely would feel much more comfortable wearing these Bermuda ones than the average short shorts where others could possibly see my tonsils. At the moment, I'm really liking the longer boyfriend style shorts cuffed and/or un-cuffed.

 
1. KUT from the Kloth boyfriend dark denim shorts $54.50 (Nordstrom.com)
 
2. KUT from the Kloth boyfriend washed denim shorts $59.50 (Nordstrom.com)
 
3.  KUT from the Kloth boyfriend denim shorts $59.50 (Nordstrom.com)
 
 
5. True Religion downtown cool Jayde cut-off boyfriend shorts $178 (Bloomingdale's.com)
 
6. Koral Los Angeles super destroyed boyfriend shorts $195 (Piperlime.com)
 
Other favorites not featured here:
 


 
 

7.22.2013

Life's Bitter Moments

Hello everybody! Just taking a quick second to say that I'm still here. Don't abandon BSI yet.

Image: via

From the start of 2013, I've lost about four close friends in death. I haven't really mentioned it here because for the most part I want this blog to be inspirational and I want to spread positivity. However, there are moments that we need to take for a reality check too, and that's why I felt it was necessary to share what kept me from blogging for over a week or so.

About two weeks ago, right in the middle of my exhaustive move, I got the worst news possible. The death of a very dear one - and this one hits closer to home. You see, no matter how "common" death seems to be these days, it still isn't a normal thing to accept especially when it's a premature loss. Having tasted the bitter shock of losing my mother at the tender age of 12, when I hear the news of someone who dies young and leaves children behind, it always leave me feeling like the rug got ripped from underneath me. Needless to say, ever since receiving that news, I haven't been able to rid my mind of the devastating report and it has sent me into somewhat of a seclusion. Unexpected tragedies such as these always seem to make such an impact on our lives and force us to reexamine what truly is important and what really matters in life doesn't it?

In today's society, most people think money, possessions and high-paying jobs provide security and happiness. I'm not going to deny that at times having such things might take the bite off of life's reality and may seem to afford certain advantages. However, when you think about it - what do they deliver when health fails, when the economy crumbles, or when a natural disaster strikes? What do they deliver when people feel empty inside, in need of purpose, direction, and answers to life? We all can agree nothing!

Take it from me - someone who lost a mother (she was only at the age of thirty-four years) within less than twenty-four hours. As a child, I always thought mom was going to be with me forever and took her presence for granted, and now how I WISH she was still here with me to experience the nurturing, her hugs, her words of reassurance, hearing the soft simple words 'I love you' knowing that she really means it with all the fiber of her soul, or experience the bonding moments that daughters usually have with their moms by chatting about life's issues, decisions and happy moments.

How much better it is to live with the consciousness that happiness isn't a mere pleasure that comes simply through the acquisition of things and constant work while our loved ones left on the back burner so-to-speak, for "when we have time..." Life is fleeting - tomorrow isn't promised. The cherishing of our loved ones begin now, right this second, they should be first and foremost more than anything else that might appear important.

A few simple things that we can do now that may seem trivial, but necessary are these:

1. Listen to your loved ones with empathy
2. Reassure them that they are wanted, valued and loved
3. Encourage, motivate and support where necessary
4. Give the gift of time. Spend quality time with your loved ones
5. Say I love you and mean it
6. Give small unexpected thoughtful gifts throughout the year
7. Tell them why they're appreciated
8. Give hugs often...you'd be surprised how much power a hug has
9. Speak kindly to them with kind words
10. Build up don't tear down. When angry leave to cool down first before speaking


7.12.2013

Grateful Moments: 'Never Say Never'

{I love old keys: they're always on my décor wish list. The feathers are very Vegas...}

I remember when Kristan Cunningham used to be on Design on a Dime. Do you remember that show? I used to drool over the different salvage yards she would go to in California to pick up reasonably priced one of a kind accessory pieces for her room décor projects, such as old doors that she would turn into a headboard, or antique mirrors, old door knobs etc... I used to wish that I could shop at those places. And as life would have it - the hubby and I are now here in California for business reasons (the nicer weather almost all year round might also play a big part). Seriously, I've been feeling like a little kid in a candy store seeing all these little bric-à-brac stores all over the place. Each street has its own kind of vibe with its own type of store filled to the brim with unique pieces to decorate your indoor or outdoor space. I mean, I can find some old Hollywood type mirrors, vanities, old bar carts, reclaimed wood benches, chairs, desks...all at a great price points. Truly a decorator's paradise. I couldn't be any more grateful to have an opportunity that many years ago seemed so unattainable. Who knew?! These are a few of the window vignettes that put a smile on my face this week. What brought a smile on your face this week?



{Imagine this lamp in the corner of perhaps an entryway - talk about a conversation piece...}
 
*{photos via: my iPhone cam}
 
Pretty funky right? I just LOVE it! 
 
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
- Andre Gide
 
Happy Friday!
 
 
 

7.11.2013

LA's Restaurants vs NY's

Being complete foodies, the first thing the hubby and I enjoy doing when we're in a new area is to explore the city by doing a culinary tour. There's hardly a better way to experience a new city and its vibe then through its food. When it comes to dining out we are particularly fastidious and have certain expectations. Within the short time we've been exploring the Los Angeles area and trying out different restaurants, we're pleasantly surprised to find that for the most part, they are of equal footing as those in NY. The only downside is that most places close down early.

We found out from our real estate lady that West 3rd street nestled in between 'The Grove and The Beverly Center' (both places we've yet to explore...have heard a lot about them, especially The Grove's farmer's market) is apparently LA's happening place - a little strip lined with all types of restaurants. I was happy to see a familiar place that made me feel at home and that's the Magnolia Bakery. Have to go check it out one day. We have already eliminated quite a few places that we wouldn't go back to - that said, however, there are more winners then losers. So when our friends (who normally hold our recommendations in high regard) visit we won't be hesitant to bring them to the following new few favorite spots (like Cecconi's for one...) : 


Little Next Door...
We happened to find this place after a late night meeting and needed something to eat. It was one of the few places that was opened past 9:30pm. The moody ambiance of the patio lit by strings of light drew us in. The setting was pleasant - starting with the French baguettes/pastries in glass encasing inside the restaurant, to the warm colors and décor; being served by an actual French waiter on a breezy  summer night transported us straight to Paris.  And I'm pretty sure that the glass of Moscato may or may not have also contributed to that feeling as well. If you're looking for a romantic spot for a low-key anniversary celebration or date night, I'd definitely recommend this place.


This is another restaurant we accidentally found while driving on Culver Blvd (which happens to have a happening little strip of restaurants in the center of town).  If you're a ceviche lover as I am, you won't be disappointed with their version as seen here. As simple as you'd think ceviche would be to make, I've noticed that it's one of the hardest dishes for restaurants to get right. Kay 'n' Dave's version may not be the best, but it is good and better than most other places. Now, it's not fine dining, but a good place to chill outside for lunch. Their margarita options list is endless and loaded with tequila, so if you like strong drinks, you'll love it here. On Mondays they have $3 margaritas all day!  Oh, their fried ice cream isn't too shabby either.

Santa Monica:


If you're looking for that beach town mom and pop place to enjoy some good fresh seafood with great service you will not be disappointed. I highly recommend the lobster mac 'n' cheese. Very cheesy, full of big chunks of lobster drizzled in truffle oil...super yummy. The lobster roll is also amazing, and the Blue Point or Komodo oysters are fabulous. It's casual dining with a view of the ocean across the street. The décor is a mixed of quirk and beachy. If you don't mind close table seating, then you'll enjoy it. We often go for a late lunch right before dinner and totally avoid the wait and crowd.


I'm not big on steak, but BOA really cooks their filet mignon so good that it melts in your mouth. Their sides are so delish and pretty sizable. It's a romantic place where you get top-notch service. However, if you suffer with back pain, make sure to avoid sitting on those long bench seats they have against the walls...I find them very uncomfortable. But the overall experience is a great one.


Café Montana...
Now this café, is our ultimate favorite. We practically eat there almost every other day. The photos don't do the place justice. It's a must-see in person spot for sure. From the modern chic elegant décor, to the friendly service, it all contributes to the welcoming atmosphere transforming your dining experience from ordinary to extraordinary. I recommend the pumpkin ravioli. It's creamy, tasty and very filling. The food thus far has been consistent every time we've gone there. The owner is very accommodating and welcoming which makes the experience even much more pleasant.

After all, this is a big city...we still have to make our rounds and learn what the locals' favorites are.  I am sure there are plenty of hidden gems out there besides all the other top-notch restaurants on our list that we're still to hit. We'll update you  as we continue discovering these great places one week at a time. If you're a local Californian, please feel free to suggest your top spots on the blog.


7.09.2013

It's All Clear Now


Who knew the clear heels I purchased 14 years ago for a wedding just because I thought they were different and blingy (worn here on my last anniversary) would be the "it" trend right now. I remember all the attention my feet got wearing those heels because no one was wearing this style back then, which of course made them more appealing to me as I like being unique.

Had I known they'd make a strong fashion comeback, I wouldn't have parted with a pair of clear top open back sandals with black rosettes on each side. However, it was for a good cause as I donated them to charity. As much as I'm attracted to the trend, especially these slingback ones, I'm not sure how I feel about this (also these here and here) and does this one come with a diamond ring in it? Why the hefty price tag?


 

7.08.2013

Necessities for Hot Summer Days

 
It's so ridiculous how sultry summer days tend to somehow always sneak up on me every year when I'm totally unprepared, such as when my jeans stuck to me like a piece of saran wrap as I was cleaning our new place on a hot 4th of July. Life keeps me so busy that I haven't had the time to go shopping for some summer necessities like, shorts, breezy dresses, maxis, comfy booties and some summer scents. I had no choice but to take an inventory of what my immediate must-buy items are, and for the moment, these are what I'd like....and hoping to get in the mail by the end of the week before I completely melt into a petite puddle of brown sugar syrup...if you know what I mean. {Insert a wink here}.

1. Joe's jeans bermuda shorts $138 {Shopbob.com}

2. Jo Malone 6 sampler vial set $29.99 {Beautyencounter.com}

3. Striped Asymmetrical top $68 {Anthropologie}

4. Marc by Marc Jacobs ID bracelet $128 {Shopbob.com}

5. Summer pastel Aldo McEnroe crossbody bag $67.88 {Asos.com}

6. AllSaints Perry leather shorts $181 {AllSaints.com}

7. MOTO ripped denim boy shorts $68 {Topshop.com}

8. DV by Dolce Vita Taupe booties $77.13 {6pm.com}


 

7.06.2013

Sorting Through It {Part 1}: Home Office/Library


Ever since I had a mishap and accidentally deleted over 2000+ pictures from an almost brand new external drive that decided to get corrupted, I have become a photo hoarder on an unprecedented scale. This goes to show that certain experiences in life whether good or bad, always leave a behavioral repercussion that could either be positive or negative. In my case, it has made me keep every single picture on my computer even after I have used them in posts. Then I back them up on at least three different external drives (besides using three different online photo archive sites), AND I have the hubby back one of my main flash drives on his portable backup drive as well. I know that sounds a little bit overboard, but I've learned that it's better to err on the side of caution than to be a sobbing mess later (YUP! This was totally me when it happened)...


Sadly, my dilemma is that after taking all these extra precautionary measures, I now have so many pictures that my hard drive is overloaded and its hard to track which pictures I can delete to free up space and which ones I need to keep for my posts. It's also downright crazy (not to mention time consuming/unproductive) trying to organize all my photos when they are everywhere in cyberspace! Imagine my frustration as I am an extremely organized person who despises disorder. The worst part is that I want to get all this done before 2013 bids us farewell. Also having this on my to-do list (for a long time now) has been weighing on my mind so much that when I involuntarily wake up in the middle of the night, all I can think about is how I need to just get it done already...meaning posting them on the blog where I know exactly where they are and able to reference back for inspiration when needed. So for the sake of sorting some of them out, please indulge me as I randomly post these pictures according to categories up on my website. I promise you, they aren't repeat photos... some of them have been there way before the launch of this blog and still inspire me.

I will start with a few of the home office/library photos I have collected over the years.  For the most part I don't remember what website I've saved them from, so if you recognize any photos, please notify me so I can properly credit the web page.


  


I've even started to scan some favorite design photos out of magazines instead of dealing with what I used to as previously mentioned here. I hope you too, are inspired by these photos and feel motivated to get organized and live clutter-free and pretty.



7.05.2013

The Ultimate Grateful Moment: A Second Place To Call Home

{A great escape from all the rainy grey skies and the muggy summer days}
 
After a month of living in hotels and an exhaustive search for the right apartment on the west coast, we finally found a place to call home! This will cut down on our traveling madness from the east coast to the west coast every other month. We're so grateful and thrilled to have found a quaint apartment full of the typical Californian 1940s charm that I'd hoped for in a city that is now going to be our second home away from home. So my weekend will involve unpacking. What are you doing this weekend?


 

7.04.2013

Arm Candy


I totally believe that when it comes to bags, shoes and outerwear, like a trench coat or leather jacket, say, it's worth the investment as long as they are classic pieces that bring an outfit to another level. And this particular Smythson Colorblock cooper orange tote is definitely a bag that I think is worth the money (currently on sale!). Its shape and style are totally classic, and the orange adds that pop!


7.03.2013

Favorite Links

 
1. I'm a big spritzer fan. It's been one of my go-to summer beverages for years now, and this berry and citrus spritzer recipe looks amazing! How visually pleasing is that pitcher? Can't wait to try it.
 
2. I really have no excuse why I shouldn't stick to an exercise routine at least three times a week... (*sigh*)...here are nine reasons/benefits why we should. Who's with me?
 
3. How uniquely pretty is this handmade placemat? They come in two to three different colors. I just love the texture, style and color. I can even see using them as wall decorations as well.
 
4. I'm dying to get shorts, but haven't been able to find the right fit or style for me, and my skinnies are starting to stick to my legs (eek!). These DIY's shorts are so innovative, they inspire me to making my own cut-offs. I'm swooning over each and everyone of them. Even if I don't get around to trying this DIY this year, it's definitely a must-try for next summer.
 
5. This story serves as a great example of why we should never let a day go by without counting our blessings. I was heartbroken when I read it. If you're emotional right now, it might not be a good read for you, but one that should be kept close for when we're feeling fed up with our loved ones.
 
 
 

7.01.2013

Washi: TapeSentional Stripes and Polka-dots


I love it when inspiration comes from the most unexpected simplest things. Take these pretty masking tapes for instance. Back in April I was browsing through the Madewell store in Santa Monica and as I was on my way out, I accidentally stumbled upon a small section of office supplies that included an array of striped and polka-dotted masking tapes in a host of different colors that completely brightened my day. The moment I saw them, I instantly started thinking of the many ways that these pretty little rolls can enliven things like...

~ Using them as borders on hand-made cards - putting your own touch to stationery making them prettier.

~ Think of how much life that plain lampshade would have by trimming the top and/or bottom rims with these fun tapes. The bonus: the option to change them with another colorful design when you get bored.

~ Adding interest to a white photo mat by running it around the inside frame - coordinating it with a colorful picture or a black and white photo. I actually did that a month ago which I'll share with you in another post.

~ In lieu of picture frames, you can also use the tape to "frame" loose photos and create a collage of various sizes on a bland wall. The tape's ability to be removed and repositioned without leaving any mark make them ideal for that, especially if you're renting.

Seriously, the possibilities are endless! They may be "tiny" but they pack a decorative punch!