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5.29.2014

Summer Plans {Part One}


With summer lurking around the bend and a season that's never been one that I look forward to mainly because I don't enjoy the uncomfortably intense sun singeing the hair on my arms, skin or sweat in general for that matter. However, being on the west coast this summer where it doesn't get too unbearably hot (as long as you stay out of the direct sunlight), I'm hoping the hubby and I can finally have the chance to do a lot of the things we've been wanting to see and experience while we're here and out of the busy work season. It's easy to get discouraged if you don't have anything to focus on or look forward to, so I decided it would help to put together a list of some of our intended plans for this season, which honestly kind of have me looking forward to this summer apart from the celebration of our wedding anniversary. I'm hoping by having definitive plans of what to do already laid out instead of the last minute "hey, let's do this today or that this weekend..." might revive my love for summer plans from now on instead of dreading it. Now, I have to amp up my barely there summer wardrobe for this season's excursions.

1. Check out the LACMA Museum that I've heard so much about.

2. Make a day trip to Heisler Park and eat at Las Brisas while taking in the ocean views.

3. Discover some of the top hiking trails where I can have an aerial view of the valley. That's why I'm a little excited about #6 on the list.

4. Hoping to cross off a long-time goal from the wish list by going to Yosemite National Park.

5. Since high tea is one of my favorite things to enjoy - I definitely want to treat myself to some afternoon tea at Hotel Bel Air, The Montage Beverly Hills, and The Peninsula Beverly Hills


7. Go treasure hunting at Olvera Street. I've been told that I would find it interesting, so it's a must-see on my list.

8. Delve into making strawberry jam to give to friends as an "I appreciate you" surprise gift.

9. Check out quaint Larchmont Village and compare the Dyptique store there to my usual one on the upper east side of Manhattan.

10. Discover eateries {especially a good Chinese food restaurant}with outdoor seating overflowing with delicious treats.

11. Make a trek to the famous rose bowl flea market that's constantly being mentioned as one of the places for vintage finds, which is right up my alley.

12. Malibu country mart that a friend told us about - sounds like a lovely place to pass a Sunday afternoon.

13. Take time to really explore downtown a little bit more than the couple of streets we drove through when we first arrived here.

14. Definitely excited to go back to Solstice Canyon in Malibu.

15. Strawberry picking is also a must on the list, so I can get to be with nature and of course stock up for plan #8.

What is your typical summer like? What are you favorite summer activities here in Southern California? Can you suggest where I can find a great Chinese food restaurant, the best spots for cronuts, and pizza?



5.27.2014

Catalina Island and Ensenada Mexico


Growing up traveling all the time I think has on some level conditioned me to get antsy after any prolonged time without taking a breather from my daily routine. Lately especially, I find that to keep motivated, or keep my brain engaged, it's crucial that I get away from the every day norm. Last week we took advantage of being close to the Port of Los Angeles and decided to take a spur of the moment cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada Mexico just to get away a bit. Every time I travel, I never fail to appreciate the opportunity it gives you to get acquainted with people from other places, learn about their customs and their way of life which often times can correct misconceptions and allay any prejudices if we let it. Additionally, traveling in countries that have living standards lower than our own definitely teaches us to be grateful for what we have, but also awakens in us feelings of empathy for people less fortunate than ourselves, especially living in a world where sometimes most aren't in touch with reality. The ability to travel is certainly one of those experiences/privileges in life that I find eye-opening and enriching.




There were a couple of highlights from this quick getaway, but the one that I can't stop thinking and smiling about was riding around town in our rental golf cart and exploring the island's stunning harbor views from the hilltop. Definitely, an indelibly marked moment that we'll never forget. 





Fun fact: Catalina island is roughly the size of Manhattan Island (New York City),which gives you an idea of how small Manhattan really is. Also, not all New Yorkers are from NYC by the way. New York State is huge and Manhattan is but a speck (in fact, it can't even be seen on the map) compared to it.

Ensenada, Mexico


Gap shorts and tee, Mirrored aviators (seen here), Gifted necklace, Steven Madden wedges, Michael Kors bracelet, Dream bracelet, Floppy hat (similar here, here and here)


5.26.2014

Sounds of Summer 2014


There are occasions that tend to flood me with fond memories from a certain time period of my life. Memorial weekend is one of those for sure. As a teenager, I vividly remember the excitement of anticipating being picked up by my friends and we would then take a very fun car ride out east to one of our friend's house in Dix Hills, New York for her annual 'start of summer' pool opening party, which was always the day that catapulted her summer long parties of graduations, bridal showers, baby showers, engagement parties, barbecues and seriously, 'just because' parties simply because most of my friends on Long Island loved having a good time, not to mention most of Long Island is a party town. As you probably can imagine, our drives to those events were never void of blasting our favorite sounds, from boy bands to rocking out to house music. Some of us would be balancing the act of a steady hand as we'd be polishing our toes while actually having meaningful conversations with each other without any cellphones in hand, laughing our hearts out, feeling a sense of freedom having a moment away from any overly strict parents or guardians peering over our shoulders. Aah, memories are such a lovely gift. Writing this alone brings me back to those fun times. And at that time we didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. In honor of my past fun summer days, I've compiled a list of a few favorite sounds that I've been loving lately to keep me in a happy mood this summer (as the temperatures rise to uncomfortable levels) while I cruise around exploring several exciting activities that I've been planning for this summer (which I'll share with you soon). In the meantime, I hope you find this playlist upbeat and it helps keep you grooving as you go through your daily routine this summer season.



Have you made your summer playlist yet? What are your favorite tunes right now? I'd love to know. Share in the comment below or on twitter with the hashtag #SoundsofSummer2014.



5.23.2014

Grateful Moments

{One of the items on my summer fashion wish list}

Happy Friday! I'm back from our quick vacation which I'll be sharing with you soon. I meant/wanted to share snippets on IG with you but the internet service wasn't cooperating, so I totally unplugged as it should be when you go on a vacation in the first place, right? And you know what? It felt so good to not have my phone in hand the whole time I was away. But now, that I'm back to reality with a level of renewed energy, I'm hoping it lasts a while so I can get around to finally posting a few drafts of some great topics I've been wanting to share. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to attending a little shindig at a friend's penthouse this weekend. Wishing you a safe and relaxing weekend.

{A sneak peak of one the posts coming up...}

{If we ever invest in another house purchase - this chevron wood floor pattern is a must-have in this kind of wood}

{I do not discriminate when it comes to a mousse - it's that light creaminess that always gets me}

{I was instantly drawn to this industrial fun sconce}



5.19.2014

Caprese Open Sandwich


When I dine out, I rarely order salads on the menu. Most of the time I find the choices to be boring and unappealing, not to mention our weekly menu at home consists of mainly salads. However, every now and then, when I find a restaurant that has caprese salad on the menu - a favorite of mine, I sometimes just have that as my meal and on occasions have them add grilled shrimp to it. Hmm, yum-o! It's definitely a salad that I never tire of. And since it's a favorite, I recently tried adapting all of its lovely ingredients into an open face sandwich (something I like to refer to as one of "my inventos") and was pleasantly pleased how it turned out. Bonus: it's quick and easy to pull together, especially if you wash and slice all your ingredients as soon as you get home from the grocery store. The components can be stored in the fridge, ready to assemble at a moments notice. It sure adds another variety to my afternoon lunch options that is fresh and tasty. Here's how I went about making it...




Ingredients

4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
Sandwich Thins whole grain sliced breads
Fresh basil leaves (washed and spun dry)
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Salt (I use coarse sea salt)
Fresh cracked black pepper

Directions

Preheat your toaster oven on broil at 350 degrees

Separate the already sliced sandwich thins. Drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive on top of each slice. Then layer each slice of bread with one piece of sliced tomato, 1 basil leaf, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, then place one slice of cheese on top.

Place all your layered sandwich slices inside the toaster oven. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the cheese gets fully melted and turns golden brown, not burned. Serve and enjoy with your favorite beverage or you can try this refreshing zingy cranberry spritzer.




5.16.2014

Grateful Moments

{One of the most elegant rope ceiling/room I have ever seen. Love it!}

Sometimes when life's overwhelming days turn into weeks or even months, you just have to change the pace and routine for good mental health. In my case, it calls for going on a vacation away from the mundane day-to-day rut where I can just mentally purge and get some fresh air with the goal of returning with renewed energy and possibly new ideas. I'll be sharing a few snippets of my quick getaway via Instagram, so go over and follow me there. I wish you all a fantastic stress-free weekend!

{Beautiful tulips from a friend gracing my office's "craft service" tray}

{Hosted a simple Sunday dinner this past weekend}

{Cafe nestled in a paradise jungle in the middle of the city}

{Relaxing patio brunch under the trees next to the fish pond}


5.15.2014

Thursday Inspiration {Paris}


Between the unbearably scorching torrid sun keeping me uncomfortably hot (or should I say 'dewy' in all the wrong places) and trying to find my place in unfamiliar territory, I am left me feeling depleted and uninspired lately. I had to step back and take a breather for a minute in order to refresh and regain some mental balance. While I took these past few days to simmer down a tad - for some inexplicable reason, I just could not get Paris out of my head. Could it be because of the springtime in Paris playlist I made, or because the city of light is on our short list of places to travel to soon? It might be I'm imagining it being a lot cooler than the unexpected heat wave that we're currently experiencing here on the west coast of the states. Possibly. Whatever the case maybe, I thought if anything was going to aid me in rekindling the dying embers within me it would have to be Paris {besides NY of course;}. Thanks to Pinterest and the internet these days we can take a trip right from the comfort of our home sans a passport to any country in the world. And I'd like to share some of my favorite images that inspired/moved me through my web travel.




















Paris is undeniably visually exhilarating and totally reflects the lifestyle that I aspire to live. Could it have something to do with the fact that I had a French "father."? Qui sait! At any rate, I hope these photos inspire you as much as they've inspired me.

*Images: 1// 2// 3// 4// 5// 6// 7// 8// 9// 10//11//12//13//14//15//16//17//18//19//20



5.09.2014

Grateful Moments

{The coziest new wine bar in the neighborhood to sip wine al fresco}

Happy Friday! I wish you all have a great weekend. Out of this whole week, what and/or who have you been inspired by? I'm curious and would love to hear. Please share in the comment box below. For me, I always find Kelly Ripa inspiring - that's a given. LOVE HER! But lately, I'm also inspired by Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban on American Idol. Their enthusiasm about music is contagious, it makes me feel alive, happy and not so out there for gesturing a lot {including my whole body sometimes} when I speak. I just think it means you're passionate about what you're talking about. Anyhow, here are some other things that energized me this week.

{Watched this and thought: what an amazingly bittersweet concept}

{Love the homie feel of this place}

{This image made me envisioned how lovely it would be to live in such an enchanting little town like this - image via: @NatGeoPix}

{Seating on this patio always means a relaxing afternoon lunch, plus the chic ceiling fixtures are lovely to look at}