Out Sick

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I’ve been sick most of the week, spending lots of time resting at home. I had a fancy idea for a blog post today, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’ve literally been in bed with my Kindle and the appropriate food items for almost 2 days.

I did drag my corpse out of bed (okay, it wasn’t that dramatic, I don’t have the flu or anything, but it just sounds more fun put that way) and went into the office yesterday for a few hours – because, OF COURSE, I’d get sick right in the middle of an important project.

Full disclosure here: I’m a HUGE believer in staying home and resting when one is sick because don’t you just HATE when people come into work sick hacking everywhere? You spend most of the day freaking out, washing your hands like crazy, avoiding interaction as much as possible, and downing Emergen-C like it’s water praying you don’t catch whatever they’ve got. There’s nothing worse. However, since I wasn’t hacking everywhere, felt much better than I did on Monday, and could work quietly on what I needed to do away from everyone for a few hours, I broke my rule.

Hopefully, I’ll be at 90% by the time you read this, back into the swing of things. I’ve had plenty of time to think over the last few days, about life, the people in it, my growing to-do list, and how much I’ve enjoyed being somewhat lazy (which is not easy for me to do).

I’m not at all prepared to get into anything deep today. In fact, I want to give a shout out to the superficial little things that got me through my short, unexpected, bed-ridden, staycation:

1. My Kindle. I never get an entire day to myself to just sit and read from the time I wake up, until I go to bed in between nose blows. (I finished a 600 page book! Not bad.)

2. The large bag of M&M’s I bought for my boyfriend, but accidentally managed to eat most of said bag by myself. (I’m not proud of this – well…)

3. God bless the Target that’s 0.5 miles from my house for that one time I did need to brave the outdoors for medical supplies (okay, again not that dramatic, I went and got some cough drops for my sore throat…and that bag of aforementioned M&Ms).

4. The comfy-iest bed ever.

5.  I ordered take out for myself last night and happily devoured it over old episodes of Ally McBeal on Netflix (because hey – I was waaay to weak to cook or microwave anything). :)

 Stay healthy, guys! I think something is going around…

 

 

Mixtape Monday

Though she’s been on the scene for a few years now, I recently spent an entire day finally getting acquainted with Lana Del Rey. Last Friday, when I was in a particularly “off” mood, her ethereal voice seemed to be one of the few things that spoke to me. It’s unique, haunting, powerful, and beyond the cliché description of beautiful. I spent several hours drowning into her music. I couldn’t exactly say if her voice was pulling me out of my funk-like state, or pushed me further into it in such a way that simply made it okay to be a little “off.”

What I can commit to saying, was that in exploring her music, I felt more at ease despite the myriad of things that were bugging that day. In effect, what I love about her voice is its ability to calm, providing a place to literally zone out, and just breathe.

And so, we find ourselves visited by that illustrious thing we call “Monday.”

I’m a believer that making the transition back into the routine of the week always helps with good music. I’ve curated a short playlist of those songs that gave me chills in such a way that helped create that much-needed breathing space I needed recently.

So log in to your Spotify account, hit play, sit back and get to work on those Monday to-do lists and emails with a little Lana Del Rey in background perfect for vibin’ out and working through those infamous Monday blues if they’ve happened to pay you a visit.  It’s what I’m likely doing myself as you read this.

Have a great week. Enjoy!


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Highlights

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{Day 21: A year old & still going strong. My version of those elusive ruby-red slippers, circa 2014.}

TGIF! This has been a long week. There’s much going on as of late, particularly on the career-front and I’m loving the challenge. I get bored rather easily, so it’s always nice when a change of pace is in the works. I’m being pushed to think more creativity and critically about the process of storytelling, while brushing up on some of my post-production skills, and learning about a whole new subject matter. Needless to say, it’s going to be a busy next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I haven’t been feeling too great over the last couple of days so I know it’s the universe’s way of telling me to slow down and get some rest. This is exactly what I intend to do this weekend. I don’t have any plans and that’s precisely how it’s going to stay.

It’s now day 25 on the 100 Happy Days challenge. Here are my favorite images/moments since we last caught-up.

Have a nice weekend.

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{Day 18: A rare Friday out attending the L.A. Theatre Works performance of Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People.” It was fantastic.}

p.s. The L.A. Theatre Works hold lives performances in front of an audience of top-notch actors dramatically performing some of the most renowned plays ever written.  They are audio recorded and made available online for download or you can tune in every Thursday night on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles. See full schedule for times in your area. I encourage you to check them out. It’s pretty cool.

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{Day 19: The LA Times Festival of Books. Read more here.}

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{Day 24: Ready for the Scandal season finale last night!}

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{Day 23: My first ever Naked Juice green protein smoothie in an effort to combat how not so great I was feeling this week. It’s quite yummy. I could feel the health flowing through me!}

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{Day 22: Indie films on Tuesdays nights. Recently saw David Gordon Green’s new film, Joe. It won’t make my top 10 of the year, but interesting nonetheless.}

 

 

Birchbox All-Stars

Birchbox All-Stars Final

I’ve reviewed over 70 beauty and lifestyle products since joining the Birchbox family just over a year ago. Aside from the alluring monthly surprise to myself – I really have discovered and incorporated many new finds into my routine because of Birchbox’s rather genius, yet simple idea: sending high-quality samples, from high-profile brands to experiment with before taking your next big beauty plunge.

Like anything, Birchbox can be a total hit or a total miss (case and point: last month’s box), but I can’t help but look back and smile at my experience in general.

I received my most recent box just this past weekend, and I can already tell April is going to be all the more glamorous for it. It got me to thinking about what my favorite products have been since joining the Birchbox family 14 months ago.

And so, I’m feeling a little nostalgic today. It’s a good time to pause and reflect on my favorite discoveries, my top 10 out of them all. These are products that I now use with regularity, with a couple that I will be adding to my routine in the very near future. These are my Birchbox all-stars.

  1. Lancôme’s La Base Pro Primer - Full review here and here.
  2. Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser  - Full review here.
  3. Color Club® Harlem Lights Collection in “Baldwin Blues” – Full review here. (Available for purchase here.)
  4. ChapStick® Hydration Lock - Full review here.
  5. Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo &  Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner - Full review here.
  6. Harvey Prince Hello Perfume - Full review here.
  7. Serious Skincare® Glycolic Gommage Extreme Renewal - Full review - here.
  8. Mally Beauty Evercolor Starlight Watercolor Eye Liner in “Sailor (Blue)” – Full review here.
  9. Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy - Full review here.
  10. Coastal Scents® Neutral Mirage Palette Set - Full review here. (Cheaper here!)

Stay tuned for the full review of April’s products coming at the end of this month! Happy primping, ladies!

Join the Birchbox! Pick up your subscription here:

https://www.birchbox.com/invite/ATG

(I’m not affiliated with Birchbox outside of just being a fan…with an opinion.)


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Where Bookworms Go To Party

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What: The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Where: University of Southern California


While it seems nearly everyone left the city over the weekend and migrated to the scorching Indio desert for the annual Coachella music festival, I stayed in town and partied at the other one…the festival where bookworms go. Yes, I’m a total nerd (and proud of it).

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The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is an accomplished mixture of live music, art, food, and of course, all things books. Its goal is to unite authors and readers, those with pure love for the written word together in one venue for a two-day celebration. Approximately 150,000 people make their way to the esteemed USC campus to hear talks with authors; attend poetry readings while lying on the warm grass; rock out to up-and-coming bands; indulge in food trucks galore; and walk booth after booth of local merchants, organizations, and booksellers.

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{People everywhere!}

And so, this past Saturday afternoon found me making the trek East to the other side of town to finally see what all the fuss is about. After a not so happy $10 parking fee (ugh), I quickly perked up at the sight of food everywhere as soon as I stepped out of my car, particularly when I saw the elusive Grilled Cheese Food Truck (that’s been on my list of places to try forever). I perked up some more when I saw the sign for funnel cakes, and full-blown elation hit me when I saw Lindes Almonds and fresh kettle corn one booth over. Yes, this was going to be a special Saturday, indeed.

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{The Grilled Cheese Truck.}

As I walked away from the food trucks (making a mental note to return later), I soon noticed myself grooving to the melody of soulful R&B music, looked up and joined the crowd in front of a large stage and listened to a band that I instantly fell in love with, Idesia. Their sound was fresh, their vibe contagious – the audience clearly feeling the tune to their song and I was one of them. I ended up staying through their entire set.

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{Idesia.}

Having had a feel for what was going on on the food and music front, I turned toward books. I strolled along lanes consumed with booths full of works covering every genre imaginable. I smiled to myself often, thinking about how much I’d always loved being around books, something that stems from my childhood (that I’ve fondly written about before here).

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{Books, books, books!}

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{Again, people everywhere!}

The afternoon found me wandering, people watching, then joining a poetry reading by Douglas Kearney from his collection of poems in Patter. I sat on the grass listening as he lyrically emoted his personal account of struggling with infertility with his wife.

poetryATG{Douglas Kearney poetry reading.}

I browsed the endless rows of booths throughout the day, particularly impressed with Yes & Yes Designs, a company that designs jewelry exclusively made from books! Pretty cool, huh?

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{Yes & Yes Designs jewelry booth.}

As the sun started to set later in the day, I made my way back to the food trucks and finally stopped at that elusive Grilled Cheese Truck, but not before a visit to the Lindes booth to gather those famous glazed almonds and a bag of fresh kettle corn to-go. It was almost a 20 minute wait, but as I bit into my Cheesy Mac Melt, a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with country-style mac and cheese – it was worth the wait (and the calories).

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{Grilled cheese heaven.}

I made my way back to the car, relaxed and happy – high off that first bite of my grilled cheese sandwich. I had sweet treats to indulge in at home, a couple of books in my bag, a new band that I was excited about, and one memorable Saturday afternoon under my belt.

The LA Times Festival of Books just might become an annual party.

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{I loved this saying.}

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights

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{ #1 - Day 13: Farmers’ market happy.}

One of the things that I love about this time of year, is how much I look forward to being outdoors. One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend afternoon is a walk along the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica (frozen yogurt in hand, of course) while window shopping, people watching, and gazing at the ocean in the distance.

And when I can muster up the strength to get out of bed early enough before it gets too hot outside and the trails too crowded, a hike is always something I like doing that I wish I did more of, but find myself preferring to sleep in, taking a more leisurely approach to my weekend mornings.  And yet, when the beach is involved (my absolute favorite thing to do on warm weekends) it seems much easier to get out of bed bright and early to grab a good spot on the sand. Somehow that whole exercise part of hiking hinders me more than lazily sitting on the beach with a book. (Hey, it’s the California girl in me.)

A ritual that seems to reoccur around this time of year and through the summer months is finding myself on Sunday mornings even doing my grocery shopping outdoors for the week’s produce at the local farmers’ market. Though the farmers’ market goes on all year, there’s something about the next few months that find me particularly more excited to stock-up on fresh strawberries, lettuce, and my other addiction (besides lattes and Hot Tamales) freshly made, still warm in the bag kettle corn.

Last Sunday found me at the farmers’ market for the first time in months not only due to the amazing weather, but because this is the time of year when strawberries and other types of produce taste better. It’s certainly more of a process gathering groceries for the week at the farmers’ market than making my structured weekly trip to Trader Joe’s, but I like the atmosphere that comes with buying from local merchants – there’s a relaxation to it that you just don’t find walking the aisles of the grocery store.

Reflecting back on this week, the highlights were largely based off that one trip to the farmers’ market. I smiled to myself often as I chopped up my salads, made smoothies for breakfast using fresh strawberries, and happily snacked on Kettle corn while blogging or watching TV. It’s something that I hope to continue to do.

It’s supposed to be another sunny, but more temperate weekend ahead. There’s plenty going on around town this weekend, but I have a rather long to-do list, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to squeeze in. The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books event starts tomorrow through Sunday at USC and the bookworm in me has always wanted to go and check out the festivities: exhibits, talks, poetry readings, live music, and of course be around books for an entire afternoon!

I’m starting the weekend with a very rare visit to (*in my best British accent*) “The Theater.” My boyfriend scored free tickets to a play in Westwood tonight, making it a welcome change of pace to our otherwise more typical boring Friday nights in watching Shark Tank.

I’m now on day 18 of the 100 Happy Days Challenge still going strong. My top 5 favorite photos since we last talked are also other random highlights of life lately.

I hope you all have a good weekend!

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{#2 - Day 16: I’m becoming fast friends with the Barista at my go to morning coffee spot. My iced latte was served more decoratively than usual, much to my delight.}

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{#3 - Day 14: I finally bought a new fun polka dot notebook to keep handy to jot down blogging ideas no matter where I am!}

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{#4 - Day 17:  A new straw clutch for spring. And it doubles as a cross-body. Win, Win.}

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{#5 -Day 15: Fresh farmers’ market strawberries. Smoothies and Belgian waffles were especially delish this week.}


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What I’m Lovin’ Right Now

It’s 87 degrees outside as I write this. My home air-conditioning unit has gotten light usage as of late. The birds are chirping in full effect, leaving “bodily surprises” all over my car once again (boy, do I miss parking in a garage!). And trips to Yogurtland are happening with more regularity. On more than one occasion, I’ve stepped outside, greeted by our trademark LA sunshine and smiled to myself as the warm heat hits my face. Aah, do I love this weather!

It’s no secret that I’m usually a much happier person when the world outside my door is circa 80-85 degrees. This is the time of year when the balance is just right. Warm, sunny, gorgeous…but manageable. I’m realizing as I write this that all too soon a huge transition will take place and I’ll be melting in 101 degree weather – cursing the electric company when I get my bill in the dead of summer because the A/C usage becomes anything but “light.”

Until that day comes, I’ll continue to enjoy the sun on my face, less expensive electric bills, and even try to enjoy the song-like chirping of the birds despite their nasty behavior. Because, hey, we all have “bodily surprises”…I just wish it wasn’t all over my freshly washed car.

Here are a few things making me smile a bit bigger about the warmer weather. Here’s what I’m lovin’ right now…

…and p.s. – if anyone ever asked me to describe myself in just three words, it would be #1 below. xx


WILRN

1. She Loves Adventure | LoveLustFashionBeautyRomance

2.  Parmesan Cauliflower Bites | Damn Delicious

3.  Sassy Tank Top | Etsy

4. 5 Steps to Melt-Proof Make-up | Lauren Conrad

5. Report Simba Flats | DSW

6. Life is like a Box of Chocolates Contact Lens Case | Etsy

(Yes, I still actually wear contacts in the 21st century. I’m working my way to the whole Lasik thing.)

7. Stella McCartney Lucite Clutch | Media Cache

8. Old Fashioned Georgia Peach Lemonade/Ice Tea | The Gaia Health Blog

9. Gold Knuckle Rings, Black Manicure | Sarah Sarna

10. My Dream Kitchen Inspiration: bright, airy, spacious, sleek and modern | Media cache


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