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6.27.2014

Grateful Moments

{A set of this beauty must come join my barely there champagne flute collection of 4!}

Happy Friday! Can you believe June is pretty much done already?! I hope your summer started on the right foot. My summer thus far has been filled with non-stop events and many a rendez-vous, including a quick getaway this weekend for a three day event. The only consolation is that it's going to be by the beach, hopefully it'll be breezy and not humid. As I leave you to enjoy your weekend, here are some of the things I enjoyed this week.

{I've been enjoying making my way to the Grove every now and again}

{Stylish lighting fixtures in restaurants add so much to my dining experience and just inspire me}

{Not a fan of pancakes, but these have been my favorite to make lately - will be posting the recipe soon}

{An afternoon spent on a rooftop while enjoying the beautiful weather with a great drink and a touch of leopard sunnies (similar)}



6.26.2014

Black Evening Gown {Option 2} Sophisticated Glam


I'm still searching for that perfect black gown for my friend's upcoming black tie wedding that I'm in. Though I really like the modern romance look, I'm still interested in a few other options before settling on the final purchase. When I came upon this dress, I immediately had a "this is the one" feeling about it. The empire waist silhouette combined with the seductive strategic cut-outs, and the touch of leather trimming undeniably give this dress a flattering sophistication that makes the whole outfit option intriguingly glamorous.

1. Rhinestones Crystal Evening Handbag $169.12
2. Giuseppe Zanotti Alien Suede Sandals $1266.34 (totally dreaming on this one. Yikes!)
3. Catherine Deane Long-Sleeve Gown $381
4. Jet Stone And Crystal Drop Earrings $45
5. Curved Gold Cuff $45



6.25.2014

Lemonade Mojito


Now that the bright Summer days have arrived to kiss our skin with its glorious glow, it's time for endless casual dinners and backyard barbecues with friends. One of the best ways to welcome guests at a get-together on a sultry summer day is by handing them a refreshing glass of a nice cold beverage. It just lets your guests know that you are one of the most thoughtful hosts they've ever known. And what better way to properly welcome the start of the season than with a festive drink inspired by the color of the sun - lemonade. With the exception that this isn't your typical ordinary lemonade that you'd expect. Revamping this most beloved classic into an all grown up bevvy brought it up a couple of notches. I simply married the lemonade with another well known favorite cocktail in an exquisitely delightful kind of way - and that would be the Mojito. What makes this Mojito version even better (besides the alcohol of course) is because while enjoying the drink, you don't have to stop to yank chunks of mint leaves out of your teeth or straw. Want to know how I made it?! Well, my dear lovely readers, here's how I did it the last time I entertained at home.


Ingredients*

2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 12 lemons)
2 cups fresh lime juice (about 12-16 limes)
2 cups fresh mint leaves
2 1/2 cups rum
1 cup Cointreau (optional)
1/4 cup agave syrup (you can either use simple syrup or 1/3 cup raw sugar...the choice is yours)
Lime wedges and mint leaves, for garnish


Directions:

1. Place lemon, lime juice, sugar and 2 cups of mint in a blender. Blend on high until mint leaves are crushed.
2. Pour in a pitcher the blended mixture and slowly stir in your cans limonata, Rum and Cointreau.
3. Pour drink over large ice cubes (or crushed ice - your preference) and garnish with mint leaves and lime wedges.







*This recipe makes a pitcher for 11 people or so depending on the sizes of your goblets. I wish you all an amazing fun-filled summer!

Xo,
Rebecca



6.24.2014

Entertaining at Home

Forever21 Blouse (old), Yumi Leather Skirt (styled here), Steve Madden Shoes (styled here), Feather Earrings (styled here and here)

For as long as I can remember, I used to prefer playing high tea party with my dolls (who were dressed to the nines I might add) under my bunk bed instead of playing outside with other children, though most times that wasn't really an option due to having a controlling tyrannical father. {By the way, I may or may not have had full on conversations with my dolls - imagining what each one was saying as they "entered the party"...saying: Hello, dah-ling as they unwrapped their boa-like fur scarves from their necks...Um yes, I've always had an overactive imagination}. One thing I quickly discovered at a very young age was that no matter what craziness was going on in my household, I found my place of solitude and happiness in entertaining, fashion and decor. Although as a child it was a life of pretending, it gave me peace of mind. As I got older, that love for those things only amplified. I love cooking and entertaining so much that I remember at the age of 15, I planned an elaborate dinner party for out-of-town friends at the home of my best friend's mom. And ever since that dinner, it seems that on the majority of occasions, I would always be summoned to be the chef and decorator of the events, which I thoroughly enjoyed and still do to this day.




On rare occasions, I encounter some that will say to me, "you must have a lot of energy to do that stuff..." Honestly, it's not because I have a lot of energy - "that stuff" consisting of interior design, organizing, fashion styling, prepping for a party, and entertaining at home are the things that actually fuel me and give me energy. The key to life really is to find what it is that drives you and makes you want to wake up in the morning. Whatever that thing is, it's best not to quickly shove it aside as a far-fetched dream. Rather, focus on it and give it your all. Find a way to make it part of what you do every day and you'll experience this inner contentment that will impel you to be kind, happy, thoughtful, selfless and inspire you on a level that you never thought possible. Because when we do what we love, it relaxes our heart and quenches any lingering inner turmoil, making us be the best that we can be in society. As for me, I derive true contentment and joy in anything that can transform someones life, whether it be through food, decor or planning the event of their life. Making others feel good, makes me feel good. That is why I especially love to entertain at home which I do often because food is a way to most people's hearts and what greater happiness can be had then with the pleasure of good camaraderie, sharing delicious meals with friends where laughter, good conversation and great flavors all meld together in a wonderful ambient setting.


Any clue as to what I was preparing here for my guests recently? Well, keep your eye out this week for the recipe of what I was making in these photos. It's my new summer go-to beverage. It's a twist on another traditional favorite. So come back soon!



6.21.2014

Summer Ready Bedding


I'm not really one who follows traditions, but if I were to claim one as my own, it would be during this part of the year. The transition from Spring to Summer is often the time I get my home Summer ready by switching out all heavy blankets and throws from the bed and sofas. This year I've decided to keep my bedding real light so as to avoid using the A/C much in the room. Instead of covering the bed with a heavy coverlet, I opted to use my flat crisp white linen sheets that I rarely ever use. Since the plain bed sheet felt kind of flat {no pun intended} in character, I chose to give it some by adding a delicate black satin trim alongside the top of the sheet on both sides. That effortless touch instantly transformed both the bedding and room quickly while adding a luxurious hotel feel to the bed. Between the headboard makeover, lighter weight bedding and this little touch of trim, our bedroom feels very summer ready.


Things You'll Need...

* Flat sheet(s)
* Ribbon of choice (6mm wide) 4.5 yards is enough to trim both front and back of the bedsheet.
Fabric Glue
* A little patience and 10 minutes of your time.



I simply placed the ribbon over the stitching seams of the bedsheet. Spread a decent amount of the fabric glue in a zigzag pattern on the back of the ribbon and gently press down on the sheet for a couple of seconds. Continue with the same steps all along both sides of the sheet. I chose to cover the front and back of the flat bedsheet so both sides can have a finished look whether I opt to fold down or not. As you can see I didn't iron the sheet. As "OCD" as I am about having my bedsheets looking crisp at all times, I forewent ironing the flat sheet simply because I kind of like the rumpled soft look after washing it (which by the way, feels like butter). Personally, I think it makes the bed look comforting, inviting - beckoning me to lie down on it for dreamy relaxation.


P.S. You can also check out my 5 must-haves for a good dose of bedroom therapy.



6.20.2014

Grateful Moments

{One of the best afternoons spent at home}

Immersing myself in planning a bridal party for a friend these past few weeks has reawakened my love for planning events for others (other than entertaining at home which I wanted to post about this past week, but didn't have time to. Boo). I haven't been involved in event planning and catering for over four years now, due to the high stress of it. I also tend to lean towards perfectionism which we all know adds more stress, but the high you get upon seeing the reactions of your clients when they finally see the final design and vision concept come together is beyond exhilarating. So between today and tomorrow, I'll be kitchen bound prepping the meal for her surprise shower this Sunday. I really can't wait to finally see all the hard work come to fruition! Wish me the best!

{Spent an afternoon shopping at Malibu Country Mart with some girlfriends. This outdoor fish tank with the pretty blue and yellow fish was a nice unexpected treat for the eyes.}

{Finally made our way to Hollywood to this recommended spot}

{Wishing for days of just this}

{Made time for tea at home with friends amidst the chaotic schedule}


Hope you have planned something fun for this weekend!



6.19.2014

Black Evening Gown {Option 1} Modern Romantic


As thrilling and exciting it is to be part of a wedding bridal party, I'm much happier being a guest at a wedding than being part of the actual event. Though I felt honored to be considered and selected to be part of a friend's upcoming wedding as previously mentioned here, I must admit that it's also a rather challenging responsibility - dare I say even stressful when it comes to finding that perfect dress. Especially when every girl in the bridal party is given the option to wear whatever black gown they want. Can you imagine the different types of dresses everyone will have as they select something that fits their personal style and shape? But a great girlfriend is always there when her friend needs her. Right? Granted, I'm not the one getting married, so I don't have to worry about looking just as gorgeous as the bride so savvy shopping comes into play. The key is to buy a practical gown that doesn't scream bridesmaid and can be used again for other occasions. Besides, you never want to outshine a bride on her wedding day regardless if that person is a close friend or not. Having that in the back of mind is making my search a tad more challenging as well - apart from the fact that I'd prefer a gown with long sleeves (for some reason most evening gowns are off-the-shoulders or strapless, and that's not going to really work for my needs) as this will be an evening wedding on a lake. I'm a chilly willy and would hate to be the bridesmaid with the chattering teeth. Thus far, this is one of my black gown options, spiced up with a little touch of metallic to keep things from veering towards boring.

1. Ralph Lauren Black Gown With Lace Top And Sleeves $74.99
3. Glamorous Crystal Drop Earrings $32
4. Jessica McClintock Mesh Minaudi Box Clutch $43.99
5. Bebe Floral And Stone Bracelet $29.99 (I love an unexpected touch)



6.18.2014

Red White And Blue Salad


It's no secret that my most pleasant moments and memories in the kitchen are during Autumn as I prefer the creaminess and warmth the cooking of this season offers compared to Summer. I naturally, dread the heat of Summer let alone having a desire to enter a kitchen and cook at all. With that said however, it recently dawned on me that I've been feeling somewhat okay being in my kitchen putting together meals not only for guests but for the hubby and I. (Perhaps it's the constant daily sunbeams cascading into my kitchen in SoCal that's influencing me in some way. Who knows. Whatever it is, let's just say I much prefer this feeling better than the alternative and I won't go there;). Granted, generally as soon as Spring and Summer emerge my no brainer go-to meals are often an invention of different salad varietals in our household. This recipe (a little bit more vibrant in flavor compared to this one) that I'm sharing with you was a last minute 'thrown together using whatever ingredients I had on hand' kind of salad. I'm very pleased with my mini milestone - embracing the fact that the Summer season does offer its own kind of joy by enabling me to create certain meals on the fly that are colorfully delightful, tasty, yet simple. More importantly, those meals are not only fresh and nutritious but they leave you without feeling the guilt of over indulging afterwards. Bonus: I get more time to spend outdoors. Here are the ingredients that I tossed together.


Ingredients

1 small watermelon cubed
A handful of mint chopped
1 pint blueberries washed
8 oz. Fresh mozzarella pearls
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Cracked black pepper
Dash of red pepper flakes for a little kick (optional)


Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the watermelon cubes, blueberries, and mozzarella pearls. Drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil over the fruits adding a pinch of salt, black pepper and mint. Toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Enjoy!




6.16.2014

West Elm Headboard Makeover


In fashion as well as in design when it comes to accessorizing, it is my firm belief that it is an integral step to making a room or an outfit look pulled-together. A room or an outfit without accessories just makes you feel blah. I know it has that effect on me. It's almost like when you're all dressed up, and haven't put lipstick on. But once you put on your favorite lip color, don't you find that it's almost as if it has this super power that instantly gives you better posture? I'm always amazed at how such a small finishing touch can infuse one with just the right amount of confidence needed to say 'now, I feel like I can take on the world!'

Small finishing details are like that finishing touch of  lipstick on a woman. Though simple at times, details can give a room confidence in a way that adds life, warmth, personality and style. Take my West Elm headboard for instance which has been in my possession close to four years. For the longest time, I have been itching to do something that would bring some kind of life to it. Several weeks ago, I finally put my foot down and headed to my local craft store for some nail heads. My initial desire was to add the silver nail heads around the edges of the headboard as a way to glam it up. Sadly as I started nailing them in, I soon realized that the little nails were too short to penetrate the thick foam of the upholstery - between the humidity and my disappointing failed attempt at my grandiose idea that day, I quickly shifted gear to the second option that I wasn't really completely sold on, but it was the only option I had left - and that was to nail the tacks inside the tufted indentations instead.  Surprisingly, just adding that small simple easy detail took the headboard  to center stage as those silver nail heads served as a glistening accent against the neutral cashmere wall color in the room. Accessories are essential to adding importance to a room.








Things you'll need:

* Headboard (that needs a face lift)
* Silver nail tacks
* Hammer
*Time and elbow grease



6.13.2014

Grateful Moments

{How lovely is this! I want every one of those lighting pendants}

During the last few weeks, my daily schedule went from well-paced to a high octane one seemingly overnight and there's no down time in sight. I've been helping a friend plan a surprise bridal shower that is arriving quickly next weekend and also going around town helping the bride-to-be find a gown (which she finally did). Phew. One thing off the agenda done. Check. And now I have a bridesmaid dress to find as I've been privileged to be asked to be part of the wedding party. What?! Suffice it to say, I've been perusing every store to find that perfect black dress/gown for this black and white with yellow accents wedding coming up in August which so happens to be the same month as our anniversary (hello, insomnia...brain can't shut down!). I often say that when it rains it pours. In my case, it always seems that most times I go through a dry spell of just hanging out with the hubby and working with not much going on. However, the arrival of the feast where everything's happening at once is now here. Apart from all this event planning, there were also quite a few afternoon luncheon dates (wedged in between appointments) with friends for some morale boosting. Tonight my goal is to squeeze in some down time for sure. Shhhh.... We won't let anyone know. How about you? What's on your agenda for this weekend?

{Nothing's like an afternoon chat over a glass of bubbly and sushi}

{My new summer companions. Get a similar one on the left here and the one on right here

{My last stop before I go out and face the world on a daily basis}

{Food presentation is one of the biggest draws for me at a restaurant}



6.11.2014

45 Lessons In Life


Over the course of our lives some of us wished for that wise grandma, grandpa, aunt or uncle that could have given us a good dose of advice on what we were going to face when we grew up (unfortunately, not all of us were so fortunate to have had that). That invaluable wisdom from such dear ones often builds strong character traits in us and serves as an anchor when dealing with real-life challenges. As we inevitably face those difficulties wading through life's journey, it would be nice to be able to draw up strength from those words of wisdom echoing in our minds. During those times when we feel as if we're losing our footing and sense of direction not knowing where to go, what to do, what to think, how to feel or how long we're going to stay in that state of wander, I find it important to create and keep a checklist of great words of wisdom to ponder over that can help stabilize shaky emotions and thus keep balanced thinking.

Here's a compilation of 45 lessons in life that I peruse through every once in a while on the days that I need a little mental redirect. It's such a good one because it has some things on there that just make me laugh and laughter is such a great way to lighten any mood. Since sharing is caring, I wanted to share it with you my dear readers. If nothing else, I hope these small lessons will at least give you some things to think about and somehow become helpful in your daily living. 

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you're sick. Your parents and friends will. Stay in touch.
5. What you vow pay. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. Haven't you seen Ramona Singer?
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's ok to ask God questions. He has all the answers.
9. Learn and practice kindness.
10. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
11. It's ok to let your children see you cry.
12. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
13. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry, God never blinks.
14. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
15. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
16. Whatever doesn't kill really does make you stronger.
17. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
18. The most important sex organ is the brain.
19. No one is in charge of your happiness, but you.
20. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
21. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
22. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
23. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
24. Burn the candle, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today 
      is special.
25. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else really does.
33. Don't let jealousy and envy stop you from supporting a friend.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
37. Your children only get one childhood, so don't deny them of it.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
43. Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves. So choose wisely.
44. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
45. The best is yet to come.




6.10.2014

Leather Cut-Out


Yumi leather skirt, Lace Turtleneck Bodysuit Top (old), Jessica Simpson Heels, Whiting And Davis Silver Mesh Clutch (also liking this one), Michael Kors Bracelet (loving this one), Red Sammy Dress Faux Leather Jacket c/o

During my high school years, I'd say I went through a few awkward fashion moments or what I guess some would consider awkward after hearing about them (let's face it, who didn't?!) For instance, I went through a phase of dressing like George Michael (even going as far as wearing one gold cross earring in the same ear that he used to wear his). I just thought he was the most handsome man on planet earth and was convinced we'd get married some day. Yes, I suppose you'd call me a very naive teenager. Then I went through my other phase of dressing like Michael Jackson, perhaps because I somehow got my hands on a red jacket similar to his famous red leather jacket at the time. I now realize that I must have had a special place in my heart for Michaels (and no, I did not end up marrying a Michael). What made that fashion phase even more awkward was the fact that I proudly sported my MJ style with an El DeBarge's mullet haircut. (Insert giggling here) I guess, I've always fancied an eclectic flair of style. That was the only time I remember ever wearing a red and black mini skater skirt paired with that red "Michael Jackson" jacket, which I'm pretty sure was handed down to me from somebody. In fact, it was the only time I ever dressed like a girl and wore anything other than slacks to school apart from those noise-making nylon tracksuits that screamed 'I just landed from the moon!'. Please tell me that one trend will not ever come back.



When I was sent this red faux leather jacket, it immediately brought me back to that time period in my young adult life. As an ode to that moment in time, I decided to recreate the look with a much more refined sense of style by pairing it with my skater leather skirt , lace turtle neck bodysuit, a shimmery two toned pair of heels and I rounded out the look with a sparkly silver mesh clutch. Who says you are supposed to don shimmery bling only at night time? What I really like about this red jacket besides its shape is all the lovely multi-zipper details, plus the color is a nice cheery red - not a shocking fire engine tone like the one I used to own. Over all it's an adorable looking jacket (with a pretty print satin lining) in a very light weight material making it a perfect choice for summer nights, and you can't beat the price. The only thing I would recommend when purchasing this jacket is to go up a size especially if you have wide shoulders as the jacket runs on the small/slim side.