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.

Idesia Collage

{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?

Yes & Yes Designs

{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


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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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Journey of a Dress: From Princess to Fashion Legend

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What: Journey of a Dress

$: Free

Where: Wilshire May Company Building

Location: 6067 Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile

 


D.V.F. 

You know someone has made their mark in the world when you refer to them with just three single letters. Without question, Diane von Furstenberg, is and will leave this world, a fashion legend.

Once, a real life princess in the early 70s wanted to be more than just someone’s glamorous wife and decided to start a fashion career shortly after marrying a real life prince. Unlike most fairy-tales filled with princes and princesses, theirs wasn’t a happy ending. Luckily, this isn’t the end of her story. In fact, it was just the beginning.

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{DVF, 1972.}

DVF’s claim to fame came in 1974 when creatively taking an everyday piece of clothing, the woman’s dress, and revamping its design to harmonize with the changing of times for the then modern-day female.

It was the wrap dress. A cotton jersey knit, drip-dry dress that typically hit just above the knee, conveniently wrapped in front and tied ever-so-chicly at the waist. It came in vibrant colors and eclectic patterns. It signified independence, playfulness, sophistication, confidence, and sexual liberation – while catering to practicality, comfort, and femininity.

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{The tag that started it all.}

Women no longer needed their significant others to help them in or out of dresses that had tricky buttons or hard to reach zippers down the back. They could easily dress (or undress) themselves in no time at all. DVF’s ever popular design worn by millions, could easily take a woman from the rigors of the boardroom to a night out on the town. In effect, the 1st generation wrap dress revolutionized fashion and womanhood during the frenetic energy that was the 1970s.

And it turns 40 in 2014.

DVF thew it a big 40th birthday bash and invited us all to the party.

Thus, the phenomenal exhibition, Journey of a Dress.

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{Exterior – Wilshire May Company Building, today.}

Just adjacent to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), resides the historic May Company Building on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax Boulevard. Once home to one of the finest department stores on the legendary Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, the Art Deco inspired building is now an LA landmark due to its streamline moderne architectural design. The building itself is nostalgic to fine retail, high fashion, conservation, and permanence in Los Angeles culture. Most appropriately, it’s the site for our “Journey of a Dress.”

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{Exterior – Wilshire May Company Building, today.}

The moment you walk into the space, you realize very quickly that the theme and intention of the exhibition is to remain true to the spirit of her iconic wrap dresses. The ambience is fun, feminine, and vibrant.

The first gallery pulsates with upbeat music, bright pink walls, neon writing, and her famous signature chain link dress print creatively used as treatment on the floor. Picture after picture of Ms. DVF herself and the impact of her dress across fashion, film, politics, and the everyday woman is showcased in a visually enthralling timeline format.

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{Timeline gallery.}

As you take in the large photos of everyone from Cybill Sheperd in Taxi Driver in 1976, to Michelle Obama on current political business, each donning the wrap dress as they move through their endeavors, you grasp the lingering impact of what really is just a simple idea. From Studio 54 to the White House, the wrap dress, which epitomized versatility in design, was and is versatility itself. And though it’s turning 40, the age where women might start to feel less than youthful, the wrap dress is proving to be otherwise. It’s proving to be timeless.

Wrap-Dress Gallery #1

{Madonna, Michelle Obama, Penelope Cruz among others to rock the iconic wrap-dress.}

Suddenly, you’re in the next gallery. The music a touch louder, the floors (and now walls) all covered in DVF’s vibrant signature dress prints.

And then, there they are – hundreds of mannequins inside a large spacious showroom, decked in all things DVF over her incredible career. Vintage wrap dresses, contemporary wrap dresses, special collection/anniversary items, and jumpsuits surround you, treating your eyes to a fashion feast and the ultimate closet.

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{Wrap dress gallery, first display.}

5 Favorite Looks

{Five of my favorite looks from the collection.}

Of course, it’s not over yet. The exhibition also makes it a point to take a moment to reflect on the woman herself in a section just off the main galleries that is more calm, intimate, and modern in atmosphere. The final gallery finds you enveloped around stark white walls filled with portraits, where legends of the art world take center stage: paintings of DVF by Andy Warhol, photographs of our heroine by Peter Lindbergh and Annie Leibovitz to name a few. There’s such a sense of history to the work that graces the walls in various forms of artistic expression and it’s quite fascinating to see how each artist captures the spirit of the exact same woman in different phases of her life.

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{Andy Warhol, Diane von Furstenberg, 1974.}

While the exhibition celebrates the “Journey of a Dress,” it’s really also a salute to a woman who somehow managed to one-up herself. What might have been thought to be the end of the fairy tale once the princess leaves her prince, turns into a testament of how the (now former) princess did even better. She built an empire estimated at $1.2 billion, eventually found a new prince, and re-wrote her fairy tale.

It’s quite inspiring to see, experience, and celebrate DVF’s achievements up-close and personal through the Journey of a Dress exhibition. And though the perks were likely nice, it’s also beyond inspiring to see what a strong-willed, confident, and creative woman can do when she’s no longer a just a princess, but a woman with a vision. It’s almost as if the show is really about the “Journey of an Icon.”

The exhibition runs until May 1st.

It’s art. It’s fashion. It’s vibrant, feminine, inspiring, refreshing, and just plain fun.

It’s one hell of a party. Make sure you RSVP.


Wrap Dress Showroom


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The DVF Art Salon


 

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{Interior. DVF art salon.}

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{Andy Warhol, Diane von Furstenberg, 1973.}

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{Zhang Huan, Diane, 2011.}

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{Annie Leibovitz, Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, ca. 1990.}

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{Peter Lindbergh, Diane, 2009.}


Signing Off


Blend me and book

{Signing off, but not before signing the guest book. Good times!}


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Highlights

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{Day 8: The sun, the clouds, blue skies, and fresh clean air after an unexpected overnight rainfall.}

I can’t believe I’m already penning another Highlights post – this week flew by! And what a week it was. Knock on wood, things are going well in life. I can’t complain (well, I can always find something to complain about – ha!).

I think what has been a fun addition to life lately, is partaking in the 100 Happy Days Challenge. I’m on day 11 today, posting the challenge exclusively to Twitter and I’m adoring it. Not only for the challenge of completing 100 straight days of posting (because we all know I love a challenge), but because it forces me to find something happy to post about. It’s pretty funny, how I stop a few times a day and ask myself what my “#100happydays” post will be for that day.

I’m not too surprised at how easy it is to find one thing a day that brings a smile to my face. In part, this is why I started blogging to begin with. As a blogger, you’re always looking for inspiration and ideas for posts, forcing you to pay attention to the world around you, go out and interact with said world, look for what speaks to you, and write about it. It’s also specifically why I started the “Highlights” series, where I share the highlights of my week. So the idea of joining this challenge is icing on the cake. While blogging forces perspective, it doesn’t have to always be in the good or the positive necessarily, you can write about something that gets under your skin or you disagree with altogether, and that’s awesome too.

However, this challenge is strictly in the happy only. So the last 11 days find me constantly looking for what that might be, snapping a quick photo (sometimes slapping a sexy filter over it), and sharing it with people from all over the world.

It’s also fascinating to follow the “#100happydays” posts on Twitter and Instagram to see what others are posting. As expected, it’s usually in the small things: indulging in ice cream, appreciating a cup of tea, spending time with a loved one, starting a new book, going jogging (though I don’t personally see anything happy about that!); or a little bigger: booking travel, dyeing your hair pink and green (no joke), and I even saw someone post a picture of an ice pack after some sort of mishap (still, no joke).

In effect, it’s nice to see people from all walks of life looking for the good, capturing it, and spreading the joy. It’s quite infectious.

You’ll likely start seeing many of my “#100happydays” posts as apart of my Highlights blog posts because some of the moments captured will likely also be Highlights of my week, naturally. As I move toward my 3rd week on the challenge, I thought I would share my top 5 “#100happydays” photos thus far.

Have a great weekend! And do let me know if you’re taking the challenge, I’d love to follow you.

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{Day #1: Just because flowers from my guy are always the best kind of flowers.}

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{Day #9: Still loving my  single initial delicate necklace, a little gift to myself earlier this year. It’s one of my favorite pieces.}

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{Day 4: A memorable afternoon spent visiting the Journey of a Dress exhibition, celebrating 40 years of DVF’s iconic wrap-dress. Full post to come next week – this was too much fun! Stay tuned.}

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{Day 10: All about these tofu soft tacos (and I don’t even eat tofu).}