|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

Exactly one week ago, it was raining here in L.A. I had my heater on curled up with a warm cup of coffee slightly bummed that it had the audacity to actually rain during most of my stay-cation. Two days ago, I walked outside headed to see Iron Man 3 and nearly melted at the nearly 100 degree temperature. I know compared to some parts of the world, we’re very blessed when it comes to weather and I won’t argue that. I learned what COLD was when I walked outside my cozy hotel room in Boston one week before Christmas a few years ago. I can still feel the prickles on my skin just thinking about it and have such deep respect for those that aren’t complete weather wusses like I am.

Aside from the fact that our electricity bills hit their peak in the coming months, gas usage seemingly goes the opposite in my experience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used the “it’s too hot to cook” excuse and promptly took myself out to eat out of  fear of turning on the oven. Seeing as how I’m now older (and ideally wiser) this won’t be an excuse for me anymore. When I stumbled across 20 Nutrition Experts’ Favorite 5-Minute Meals from Shape.com, I knew there were some real treasures to keep in mind; and while some of these recipes do call for oven use, The Everygirl’s 12 Simple Breakfast Recipes was a welcomed find. The point being, if in the near future you see me consistently using said excuse above as a reason not to cook (and I’m sure I’ll do it because I did last weekend), please feel free to forward this link to me as a gentle reminder.


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


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||Santa Fe Salad // Full recipe here.||

Toss together 3/4 cup organic greens, 1/4 cup pico de gallo, and 1/2 cup each rinsed and drained canned black beans and thawed frozen organic corn. Top with 1/4 sliced avocado.


1-TheEverygirl_EasyBreakfast3||Baked Oatmeal //Full recipe here.||

Ingredients
1 -1 ½ cups of rolled oats
¼ cup of chopped raw pecans or walnuts/combination of both
¼ cup raisins, soaked in water for a couple minutes until plump
1 cup of Granny Smith Apples, cored and diced into ½ inch pieces
1 egg
1 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt
Substitute various fruits and nuts based on preference

 


||Something to think about.||

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||Where I wouldn’t mind being at this exact moment.||62102e39d88a001fb44beabf83778f04


||Sole Society – Cassidy Medium Weekender// Deets here.||c8d3ee5b9bd7e960e0e9a7fc40238722


||Bistro Electric French Press Coffeemaker. // Deets here.||

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Highlights

1-IMG_20130421_195717_856{An early birthday present.}

It has definitely been a more lively week than usual on my end. I’m trying to wrap up some loose ends at work before I take a much needed vacay the first week in May. The good news is that while it’s been busy, I always sort of revel in the challenge in the end. Somehow getting the things you need to get done are all the sweeter when you realize that if you just do it and push through, you can do anything. You just have to take the first step, then the next.

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Outside the office, I had a happy week. I met a friend at one of my favorite places to splurge every blue moon, Rock Sugar in Century City for dinner to kick-off my weekend last Friday night. While it was a fantastic Pan Asian feast, I think in the future I’ll skip dinner and head there for their delicious Lychee Blossom cocktail and their AMAZING warm coconut donuts served with a passion fruit dipping sauce. Yes, it is as good as it sounds and looks. Go!

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When thinking about small pleasures this week, a trip to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market on a sunny Sunday morning, then sitting on the Manhattan Beach Pier with my boyfriend gazing out at the ocean with an ice cream cone on that same afternoon come to mind and make me smile. And every time I head home, I smile even bigger when I see my new artwork hanging on my wall (pictured above). A few months back, I was with my boyfriend admiring it (because, hey – it’s “me” in a ball-gown and chic haircut starting out my window at the Hollywood Sign :)) and as an early birthday present he surprised me with it. What a guy, huh?

I’m not sure where this weekend will take me, but I know that I’ll be at the ArcLight opening night for the highly anticipated new film, Mud. Since this gorgeous weather is expected to continue over the next few days, the plan is to find some time to be outdoors (rocking my new maxi dress). And the soundtrack of my life lately that will certainly continue into the weekend has been the soundtrack from Celeste & Jesse Forever. I can’t. stop. listening to it.

Have an amazing final April weekend, guys! Things only get better from here! xx

|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

To be perfectly honest, I’m struggling a lot lately with the concept of perfect timing. There are three big things in my life that I know without a doubt that I want to do right this exact moment, but somehow keep putting off for the proverbial “right time.” As they say, “there’s never going to be a right time.” The conflict I have is also thinking about the proverbial saying “that everything is as it should be.” So I ask you: if there’s never going to be a right time to chase your dreams and goals, yet everything is as it should be, which philosophy do you subscribe to?

This does not imply that I think you should just sit back and let life happen because that’s how it should be. Nor does it imply that I think forging ahead and ignoring the pace of the universe is the answer either. I suppose the bigger philosophical understanding is knowing when to stop waiting for the perfect moment because that’s how it should be. Perhaps it’s as simple as when these two universal truths intersect that you have your answer. Aside from the realization that I believe my “intersection” has come and big changes are on the horizon for me, I’ve also been having other philosophical understandings… in many not so deep nor complicated ways.


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


|| Wise words. ||

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|| The perfect casual LBD. // American Vintage Jacksonville Dress. ||

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|| 50 Shades Wall Art. // Christian Grey. // Anatasia Steele. ||

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|| Ice Cube Tray Sushi. // Homemade & no rolling required. // Recipe here. ||

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|| Urban Outfitters’ Gallery Coffee Table. // Deets here. ||

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|| 17 Apps You Can’t Live Without. // Deets here. ||

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|| Restoration Hardware iPhone Gramophone. // Deets here. ||

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Highlights

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The weather continues to play tricks on us. Warm one day, cool the next, then dreary for the last 3. It was such a sleepy week with plenty of days where I would’ve rather slept in, made a late breakfast, then curled up with a book and a stack of movies. I have to say that before the weather turned ugly on us, I spent quite a few memorable days outside that made me grateful for the simplicity of hanging out by the water. There’s something so comforting in that, that I never get tired of.

I found myself around a lot of small gems that made this otherwise sleepy week a bit more happy. I don’t really have anything major planned this weekend, but would very much like to spend it roaming around a museum with my boyfriend. We’ll see what happens. Have an amazing weekend guys, and thanks for reading!

Here are this week’s highlights…


EAT| the melt

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I’m always game for grilled cheese and was happy to spend an evening at The Melt trying out the new spot that recently opened in Hollywood. (Shhh – don’t tell anyone, but I still prefer Heywood for my fix.)


WORDS| jonathan adler

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I loved reading the manifesto while browsing Jonathan Adler on Melrose.  Number 2 stood out to me most (as well as the slogan pictured at the top of this post.)


VISIT| manhattan beach pier

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Watching the sunset and passer-bys on a perfect Saturday afternoon at the beach. I was happy when I took it and I am happy every time I look at it.


EAT| cupcakes

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I can never resist a cupcake and tried Cupcake Couture’s S’mores flavor. 🙂


SEE| a place at the table

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A significant night this week was at The Nuart Theatre (the front window cardboard cutout gets me everytime!) to see A Place at the Table. It’s a new eye-opening documentary about hunger in America. Please see my full review here. And please see this film.


READ| the host

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I’m finally getting around to reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer, a book I purchased LAST YEAR to read during Christmas that I’ve neglected far too long. I have the resolve to finish before the film opens at the end of the month and it’s really getting good!


Highlights

It’s been a rough week where I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting – something I think we all need to do every once and awhile. Aside from the realization that it’s time to make some major changes, I had moments to smile about as well. After all, there’s always something to be grateful for. Here are a few of them.

Have a nice weekend. 🙂


TEA| jin patisserie1-2013-02-11_08-42-48_927

Purchasing my favorite loose leaf green tea from Jin Patisserie to take home to make a soothing cup anytime I want.


WATCH| downton abbey season one

1-2013-02-11_08-40-24_516Finally joined the Downton Abbey fan club. I sat on my couch for 2 days straight absorbing the complicated lives of a 20th Century British aristocratic family and their mischievous house staff.


VIEW| clear skies

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A few rainy days yielded fresh air and a clear, blue, beautiful L.A. sky which I happily appreciated on the way to yoga class.


DVD| celeste & jesse forever

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A very thoughtful gift that made me super happy – my favorite film of 2012, Celeste & Jesse Forever is now apart of my DVD collection!


EAT| breakfast for dinner

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Sometimes you just need a movie, a magazine, and breakfast for dinner to make an ordinary Monday night, something special.


VALENTINE’S DAY| gift

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A little something I gave to my valentine.


Cupcakes and L.A. Hipsters

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Location: 3337 West Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake

I love when cupcakes just appear out of nowhere, when you least expect it, and didn’t even know you wanted needed it. My rendezvous in Silver Lake to try out the grilled cheese place getting a lot of buzz continued when I noticed between bites of my sandwich over lunch the number of people walking in and out of the shop next door. Most importantly, they were exiting with cupcakes boxes in hand. Talk about the universe always working on your behalf!

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Simply put, I LOVE cupcakes (you can read my thoughts on some of my favorite L.A. places herehere, and here) and this couldn’t be a coincidence that Lark Silver Lake Cake Shop happened to be a mere 15 steps away. After devouring the best grilled cheese sandwich I think I’ve ever had, we headed over for an impromptu dessert fix.

Lark Silver Lake Cake Shop has all the fixings for a great experience. They display a large selection of cupcakes, cakes, cookies and goodies (even gluten free and vegan options) inside an inviting and charming establishment. In fact, it was so welcoming (and to be quite honest we were just dying to eat dessert by that point) that we sat in the well-dressed interior space and devoured our frosted covered carbs right there.

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The Berry Shortcake Cupcake hit my tongue 30 seconds later and my mouth did the happy dance. Let’s just say it was a sexy experience: white cake filled with “Crème Patisserie” topped with a whip creme frosting and a strawberry.

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{Berry Shortcake Cupcake – before.}

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{After.}

The City of Silver Lake and its small business owners are going to love me because not only am I fully endorsing that you get over to Heywood for the best grilled cheese in town, you have to complete that experience with a trip next door to Lark for dessert.

Here’s to killing two birds with one stone!

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Grilled Cheese and L.A. Hipsters

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Location: 3337 West Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake

The one part of town that I can’t say I spend much time in is with my east side L.A. hipsters (shout out to my friends in Silver Lake and Loz Feliz!). Admittedly, if I’m writing a blog about life in L.A., they should get more of a representation, especially since this side of town is really on the up-and-up and driving a lot of the trends. Luckily, my boyfriend heard through the grapevine about Heywood: A Grilled Cheese Shoppe and we happily crossed through Hollywood-land into Silver Lake territory. What better reason to leave our neck of the woods than to sit outside on a sunny afternoon and indulge in the comfort of a good grilled cheese sandwich? I couldn’t think of one. And the following snapshot of my meal confirmed I made the right decision:

(Feel free to click the picture to see the awesomeness up close and personal). 🙂

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{Caprese:  mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, roma tomatoes and a light walnut pesto spread on sourdough bread. Hello! Yummy!}

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What Pinkberry did for frozen yogurt, Umami did for burgers, and Sprinkles did for cupcakes, Heywood is doing for the universally loved grilled cheese sandwich. You can custom make your own cheesy number or order from the fixed menu. Since grilled cheese and tomato soup are like peanut better and jelly (well – close enough), I thought the spiced tomato soup dipper (delish!) and the spring mix salad rounded out the components for an amazing meal. I have nothing but great things to say about this place (other than the water is clearly not filtered, so prepare for that awesome tap water taste – yuck!).

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{Interior.}

Finally, good news for my wheat intolerant and vegan friends, Heywood thought of you too with gluten free bread and vegan cheese and butter options. Even better news for late night partiers, those leaving that poetry reading with nowhere to go, the girl who didn’t want to eat on her first date in front of the man of her dreams, or those who just need some comfort food, Heywood is open until 3am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I’ll see you there!

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New Year’s Eve with Señor Fred

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Location: 13730 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks

With the Christmas season and our Carmel getaway behind me, one last important celebratory holiday milestone to go – New Year’s Eve. My boyfriend and I decided to keep it very low key this year, with an intimate dinner at Señor Fred Restaurant in Sherman Oaks; followed by a casual movie night at home with a Martinelli’s Apple Cider toast at midnight.

Señor Fred offers a perfect dark sexy ambiance, balanced with delectable Mexican cuisine. Since it was New Year’s Eve, the expectation was that every restaurant in town was going to be pretty packed. God bless Open Table! We put in for an 8:00pm reservation and when I called the restaurant to check to see if they were only serving a prix-fixe menu or if patrons could order from the regular menu as well, I was less than enthused by the guy who answered the phone. He wasn’t rude exactly, but told me that he thought he had blocked off all Open Table reservations during the 8 o’clock hour, so that people entering after 9:00pm would be charged the $10 cover for the night.

I almost wanted to cancel my reservation altogether when he told me that as long as we were done between 9:30pm-10:00pm it should be fine. While this seemed like plenty of time to finish our meal, the fact that he even communicated a time limit made me nervous. The idea of being rushed to accommodate the fact that he screwed up with the reservation system should not have even come up in the conversation.  Bottom line: that was between him, Señor Fred, and Opentable.com.

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{Margarita selection.}

While Señor Fred certainly didn’t make the best first impression, or second for that matter when there was a slight mix-up in where to seat us, by the third impression – once the chips and guacamole came out, Señor Fred had begun to redeem himself. From there, the night went flawlessly (minus some service issues from a seemingly distracted, but pleasant waiter).

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{Chips and guacamole. Divine.}

I went with the Grilled Salmon infused with Mexican flair served in a roasted chile cilantro sauce, over sweet corn, shrimp picadillos and mashed potatoes. For dessert, I splurged on the Chanpurrado con Churros (translation: churros served with Mexican Hot Chocolate). Fabulous! 🙂

Needless to say, this gal was more than impressed with the food and the ambiance for her last meal of 2012; but service, service, service always brings the dining experience to absolute perfection. Senor Fred can cook, but he seriously needs some help on his people skills.

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{Dinner: Grilled Salmon.}

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{Dessert: Mexican Hot Chocolate and Churros.}

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{Back at home – N.Y.E. toast.}

Highlights: Carmel

After a very happy Christmas Day and once I had gotten over the initial shock of such a thoughtful and extravagant gift, we headed out to enjoy the surprise Christmas trip from my boyfriend, a 3 (that turned into 4 – long story) night stay in Carmel!

I had never been to Carmel-by-the-Sea (which I learned is the city’s official full name), and honestly, had only heard of it because of Clint Eastwood. (How cultured of me, I know). As a lover of travel, good hotels, dining out, and sight seeing, I knew I was in for a real treat. Better yet, I was going to get 4 full uninterrupted days of adventure with my favorite person! 🙂

It was the prefect mixture of relaxation (i.e. spending lots of time lounging in our hotel room watching Saturday Night Live re-runs on VH1) and exploration (i.e. getting to know the city of Carmel).

Random fact: I just visited the city’s Wikipedia page and apparently there’s a law that prohibits the use of high heels without a permit due to uneven pavement throughout the town. Thank god I wore my Converse and didn’t get rock my 4 inch heels – it seems that would’ve been illegal!

Here are a few highlights from our Carmel-by-the-Sea adventure:

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{Our hotel, Carmel Mission Inn.}

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{Loved the beach-y inspired flair to the room with this cool electric blue lighting over the bed!}

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{Nothing like starting the day with room service.}

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{Exploring The Crossroads shops across the street from our hotel on a beautiful rainy day.}

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{This is by far the coolest way I’ve ever been served a vanilla latte! Nothing but nice things to say about our breakfast experience at “From Scratch Restaurant.”}

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{Exploring the shopping and dining places on the other side of our hotel, The Barnyard.}

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{View from our 4th floor hotel room. I loved all the trees, so much greenery.}

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{Roaming Downtown Carmel. Very quaint. Very expensive.}

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{400 Degrees Gourmet Burgers & Fries. This place was super cool! You placed and paid for your custom made burger order on the device at your table and your hot food came directly to you when ready. I predict we’ll be seeing this in L.A. very soon.}

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{Finally, I made a wish and threw a penny into this fountain in a park in Downtown Carmel. Here’s to hoping it comes true.}

Highlights: Christmas Road Trip

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{Let’s go!}

I was ready for a change of scene! Don’t get me wrong, I’m an L.A. girl at heart, but I was definitely happy to leave the City of Angels and spend some time absorbing the very different Northern California air. I was going to spend Christmas in Santa Cruz with my boyfriend’s family this year. And p.s. – I literally envy the fresh, clean, crisp air up there. You can actually breathe! Not exactly a forte in smog-filled, rains twice a year, L.A.

While completely exhausted from the events over the last month, I was slowly getting excited. Before we’d even hit our final destination, I was very much looking forward to the experience of our mini road trip journey ahead. Six hours of chatting with my guy; staring out the window at endless fields, grass, and smelly cow farms (just typing that brings the smell to life. ugh.) thinking about whatever came to mind; stopping for gas and praying that the restrooms were decent to use; and realizing that no matter where you go, it’s true, you can’t escape McDonald’s because I saw one at EVERY exit off the I-5.

What I’ve come to discover, truly believe, and even like about myself is that I’m happiest when I’m exploring anything new; be it here in L.A. at new restaurant or museum, or off the side of a highway in the middle of nowhere. I’m most alive when I’m traveling! If there’s any one thing that I know I need to do more of is chase adventure.

I don’t know what it is exactly that makes me this way, perhaps it’s the fact that I love doing something new and exploring places outside what I know, and I’m sure it has much to do with the fact that I get bored easily and need to be stimulated, away from the mundane often, and always learning.

It was Saturday, December 22nd, a rainy day as we took off for the latest adventure.  Here are a few highlights from our mini Christmas road-trip:

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{Taking one last look at all the wrapped gifts I would be giving out this Christmas right before packing them away for the trip. I love buying presents and coming up with creative presentation.}

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{Pretty much what most of the I-5 drive looked like out my window.}

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{Part of the fun of road trips? Snacks! Though I resisted and went for the oh so healthy Taco Bell instead.}

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{Taken outside our stop at the TA (Travel Centers of America) in Wheeler Ridge for a restroom break and food. I loved this view and BY far one of the cleanest bathroom facilities you’ll see on the road here. Make a note of this. Especially for us ladies!}

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{This was supposed to be my road trip read, but admittedly, I don’t think I read more than 5 pages of this book the entire time I was on vacation. So this is what I’ll be working on now – but the highlight being I bought it as my holiday read.}

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{Once we made it into town, I wanted a really good, HEALTHY meal. We stopped at Mimi’s Cafe where I enjoyed chicken and veggies for dinner, then ruined it with this yummy triple chocolate brownie sundae. Oh well, I was on vacation, right!?!}