What I’m Lovin’ Right Now | The V-Day Edition

As I think about it, there are several stages to the Valentine’s Day experience I believe many women go through. As a kid, you were forced encouraged to swap Valentine’s with your classmates, literally walking home with tons of cards and heart-shaped candy (along with the biggest sugar rush ever to your parent’s delight). In middle school, you sent candy grams to all your girlfriends, and they to you, as a mark of solidarity. In high school, somehow that all changed and you watched with disdain that only the popular girls somehow now got all the candy grams delivered right in the middle of English class. In college, you were just plain bummed to be single and/or annoyed by all the hoop-la so you holed up in your dorm room watching movies until this ridiculous excuse for a holiday was over. In your early twenties, Valentine’s Day became “Single’s Appreciation Day,” and you were as Destiny’s Child once said, an “Independent Woman” so you’d grab your single girlfriends and make your own rules (I don’t need no man!). And then one day, whatever day or age it may be, you meet your Valentine.

From there, it may revert back to the early twenties stage where you find yourself celebrating Single’s Appreciation Day again after a break-up; or perhaps after years in a relationship, it just becomes another day.

I think I’ve gone through almost (almost) every iteration of the typical women’s Valentine’s Day experience. This year, I happen to be on the team that has a Valentine and he’s always good about making it special.

While I’m aware, and in complete agreement with those that think, that love (and flowers, and chocolate, and kind words) should come more than once a year on a consumerist driven holiday, I couldn’t help but dedicate a little space to that thing we call love and all the hoop-la surrounding it.

Here’s what I’m lovin’ right now…the Valentine’s Day edition…

V-Day WILRN

  1. SAY | 30 Ways to Say “I Love You” | Huffington Post.
  2. BAKE | Skinny Pink Champagne Cupcakes  | The Skinny Fork.
  3. UNWIND | Jo Malone “Red Roses” Bath Oil | Nordstrom.
  4. WEAR | Pink Knot Front Dress | Victoria’s Secret.
  5. PAINT | Festive Valentine’s Day Mani.
  6. COOK | 15 Creative Dinner Ideas for Celebrating Valentine’s Day | All Yummy Recipes.
  7. CREATE | Personalized M&M’s | My M&M’s
  8. CRAFT | D.I.Y. Frosted Vase |  A Beautiful Mess.
  9. BRIGHTEN | Pure Color Cheek Rush in X-Pose Rose | Estee Lauder.
  10. SMEAR | The Kiss Lip Balm | Lush.
  11. BUY |  Handmade Valentine’s Day Cards | Sew Colorful Designs.
  12. WATCH | The Top Romantic Movies for Valentine’s Day | Better Homes and Gardens.

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What I’m Lovin’ Right Now

Six random things that made me smile, think, dream, or stand up and cheer. Life is good boys and girls. And if you need an affirmation, check out Ultrahome.org’s 20 Most Beautiful Living Spaces (#1 below). I dare you to not be completely mesmerized. Here’s what I’m lovin’ right now…

Blend

  1. Insert me here: The Firefly ski chalet in Zermatt, Switzerland from the Top 20 World’s Most Beautiful Living Spaces by Ultrahome.org.
  2. A guiding motto for life.
  3. SOSK Design’s Fruit Slide.
  4. Looking ahead to fall with MAC’s vampy Dark Side lipstick.
  5. Sugar & Spice By Celeste’s Lemon Coconut Cake. YUM!
  6. Michael Kors’ Spring 2013 Collection camel colored leather jacket. To die for! Similar here.

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Sprinkles Ice Cream

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Where: Sprinkles Ice Cream

Location: 9631 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills

It’s the battle of the ice cream gods and I, for one, love some healthy competition! Not too long ago, I made the small trek over to the 90210 to check out the Ice Cream Lab, the newest addition to the South Santa Monica Boulevard family. This futuristic inspired ice cream parlor had the balls courage to open its doors down the street from the famed Sprinkles Cupcakes empire, that also opened a counterpart ice cream shop next door last spring. What better excuse to add a little ice cream to my beloved Sprinkles cupcake this time around to compare and contrast who does it best when it comes to a proper brain freeze? (The things I do in the name of blogging!)

Hands down, Sprinkles Ice Cream blows the Ice Cream Lab out of the water!

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While the Ice Cream Lab relies on the unique power to instantly create your frozen treat using liquid nitrogen machines right in front of you;  ultimately, it’s the limitations in their menu that weaken their panache for me. Sprinkles does what I think always works best: keep it simple, and keep it customizable. Not only do you have a large selection of ice cream flavors to choose from, your frosty delicacy is served in a myriad of ways: in a red velvet waffle cone, as a sundae, between cupcake tops or cookies for a sandwich, or just keep it basic and in a cup with toppings galore. Bonus points in my book for the option to also create a milkshake, malt, or even a float if the mood strikes you. The fun with Sprinkles Ice Cream is that the options are endless.

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On this particular Saturday afternoon visit, I stopped into the two-tone red and white parlor and indulged in a Sprinkles sundae (first pictured above for your viewing pleasure). It’s a scoop of ice cream with one cupcake of your choice. I had to go with their famous red velvet cupcake and the vanilla bean ice cream. The taste and texture of the slow churned ice cream with the moist fluffy cake covered with thick frosting was pure heaven (and yes, I was on a sugar high for the next three hours).

Admittedly, it’s a pricey treat, but one that I am a-okay to give in to occasionally.  It’s no secret that I am a fan of Sprinkles cupcakes and when paired together with their fresh gourmet ice cream…there are no words. Summer is in 3 days gang – and I plan to spend a few of them with a quick stop here after hitting the gym twice a day, of course! (yeah right). Hope to see you there! xx

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|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

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I am what you call a late bloomer. Suffice to say that I’ve always been this way across many areas of my life. What someone accomplished at age 16, I didn’t until 18. What someone achieved at 28, I probably won’t until…well, I couldn’t say. The one area it seems I crossed the finish line “on time” or before many others, was that I graduated from college (cum laude!) with my Bachelor’s Degree at age 22 and had a full-time job offered to me as soon as I walked off the stage practically (but even this began another 2 year journey toward finding my dream job in the industry). The point being that blooming later in life can be disappointing or liberating depending on what subject we’re talking about at the time.

What I find most fascinating as I get older, is how much more I find myself embracing my femininity. This could open a world of debate about what is defined as “feminine” and whether or not women should even be boxed into such stereotypical terms. So for the sake of opening that can of worms, I’ll acknowledge this off the bat and share my story anyway.

While I’ve always managed to keep myself looking presentable when it came to style (though mine was of the jeans, t-shirts, and even overalls variety in college), I wasn’t one of the first girls to embrace bras, make-up, and dresses as some of my peers were during my developmental years. While yes, I eventually was forced learned to become friends with bras (and now consider them BFFs, in fact), my relationship with dresses didn’t really take off until recently. Unless there was a special celebration (or I was 5 with pigtails) you wouldn’t catch me in a dress too often.

Somehow, very likely due to mass media, fashion blogs, magazines, films, TV…Society…The Man!…I feel like I’m finally embracing a new style and it’s turning out to be much more feminine that I’ve ever experienced personally. There were a lot of reasons looking back that it took awhile for me to be comfortable enough in a casual dress while running errands or getting to a place where I even wanted to wear a polished dress to the office.  That’s another post, for another time. The interesting thing is that while I have grown of love the perfect summer dress or a great skirt, I find that I’m still slightly more conscious of myself than if I were in a pair of jeans. Perhaps there is still part of me fighting “The Man.” This means, you likely won’t ever see me go full Zooey Deschanel – though she totally rocks that look.

When I came across these awesome looks above*, it got me to thinking more about how to incorporate my new evolving style as we move into the warmer season where dresses are a great piece to have handy. My number one rule in anything I purchase moving forward is function and comfort.

Cheers to embracing whatever your definition of femininity is (or is not) while still managing to fight “The Man.”

And to all you late bloomers out there, our time will come. xx


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


|| ShoeMint’s Lindsey Heels. Though I, personally, could never walk in them.||

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||Being you.||


|| PopSugar Fitness’ Lightened-up 7 Layer Dip.|| cf202f84c3870fc5895c6a52feec4f02


a5045eaf81108dece7a04f52372063f7||A clever and easy way to store reading glasses or your favorite sunnies.||


||Daily Candy’s 19 Books That Celebrate L.A.||e13b06087dd777f3209308075df7f6f6


||Martha Stewart’s Italian Fries.||9b8dde564653afb92f9e647a5c1b251e


|| Intricate pink manicures.|| 6d600fbdf189afe8b3eb23e76e64b88b


*sources to dress images: out & about, office, beach, brunch.

|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

Collage

As a gal who had a birthday recently, I was bummed that I didn’t come up with the awesome idea myself to incorporate my love of donuts into the celebration! Now that I think about it, I haven’t even had a big birthday cake, donut-inspired or otherwise, on my actual birthday since I was a kid. But don’t feel sorry for me, I make it a point to enjoy frosted covered carbs more often than I probably should – and this is a year-round phenomenon. When stumbling across this super cool concept, I looked up other donut cakes (oh, the joys of being unproductive on Pinterest) and made a collage of ideas before instantly experiencing the worst donut craving of my life. (It was a rough half hour!) Suffice to say, I’ve decided what I want to see next year on my birthday (candles and all) and it fits somewhere in the range above to give you a visual reference. Who says birthday cakes are just for kids? I’m going with the argument that if they are, I’m one at heart…and that counts. So there!


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


|| Everything about this room…even though I tend to lean more toward dark, dramatic spaces.||

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||Looking ahead to better things c/o C.S. Lewis.|| cbdc5f2d0bad0e9bfe514e19424c0917


500944ea09c7dbd8be01060f8b21741e|| Essentials for a relaxing Saturday afternoon.||


||An awesome DIY storage solution for small bathrooms. All you need is a “shadow box” from a craft store, some paint, and nails. Full details here.||

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9c909be3d0525fdc601759f9a721cb90||Coralia Leets’ White Drusy Stone Post Earrings. Details here.||


||Maple Bacon Pancakes from blogger, Laicie, over at A Thousand Threads. Yummy details here.||

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|| 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

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Another busy but great week under my belt. Although, I feel like I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath lately and I’m exhausted. I’ve been getting to bed at decent times, eating well, and did stick to my yoga class this week, but I am in total need of a B.R.E.A.K.

The good news is that I am beyond excited for my mini-vacay next week. I really want to use the time to recharge and reflect on my next steps personally and professionally. I’ve even decided to write a list of goals (big and small) that I want to accomplish over the next year, something that I want to do in celebration of my upcoming milestone and to appease my “love-to-cross-things-off-my-list” O.C.D. personality.

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One big highlight within this week of complete chaos, was spending a quiet afternoon in the 90210 (window shopping only, of course). My boyfriend had never been and we wanted to check out the new ice cream craze so we rolled it into a short trip. Rodeo is such a fun street to stroll down and analyze: 1) who in the world can actually afford this stuff? 2) given the limited number of people who can, how do these businesses manage stay open and survive recessions? and 3) if I had the money, would I really spend $5,000 on a handbag? (If I were totally loaded – I could see I probably would, but would find it pretty surreal and strange when that day comes). My first purchase would be the classic Chanel Quilted Calfskin. The one thing we actually could afford was the ice cream and you can read more of my thoughts on the new Ice-Cream Lab here. I give it a year….tops.

This weekend will be all about celebration: prepping for my little b-day getaway and treating myself to a few splurges here and there that I’m still trying to decide upon. And in honor of Cinco De Mayo, at least one margarita and a trip to my favorite Mexican restaurant is in order.

Since next week will undoubtedly be a bit chaotic with birthday stuff and the fact that I’m giving myself some much-need relaxation time, you might not see me post everyday as usual. Rest assured, I’ll be back with lots to share with you!

Have a great weekend! xx

|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

Happy May! Sweeter (and cheaper) fruit, BBQs, birthdays, and blockbuster flicks are here! Of course, I’ll maintain my film school cred and squeeze in a good indie here and there, but this time of year brings big budget movies and I’m not ashamed to say that I totally buy into them (well, sometimes). While I’m very much looking forward to Richard Linklater’s return to Jesse and Celine’s romantic journey in Before Midnight; I’m beyond stoked for Iron Man 3 this weekend, Star Trek: Into Darkness a few weeks later, and my personal CANNOT-wait-to-find-my-booty-in-a-theater-seat-cradling-the-largest-tub-of-popcorn-ever: Fast & Furious 6 (yes, you read that right!). Memorial day weekend is going to rule!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The perks of spring conditions and impending summer life bring me to what should be an important reminder to all of us: sunscreen. I thought I would kick-off May’s love fest with a little video I came across discussing 5 myths about sunscreen and SPF protection. Apparently, that expiration date I keep ignoring on my can of Aveeno sunscreen sitting in my cabinet right now is legit. So while I’ll be tossing that out, now having yet another excuse to hit Target (and walk out with 6 other random things I really didn’t need)…


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


 || 5 Surprising Myths About Sunscreen and SPF. ||


Recently Updated

|| 56 Books to Add to Your Must Read List // Full list here. ||

 


Grilled-Nectarine-Bowls

|| Grilled Nectarine Bowls with Vanilla Ice Cream // Details here. ||


|| How to Get More Done in Less Time as a Blogger (Part 1) // Full post here. ||

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 || Gorjana Alphabet Necklace // Details here. ||

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|| Miss Selfridge Tribal Printed Playsuit // Details here. ||

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Champagne Wishes, Caviar Dreams and Blue Velvet Ice Cream

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Where: Ice-Cream Lab

Location: 9461 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills

Welcome to the land of champagne wishes and caviar dreams! Ice-Cream Lab recently opened its doors just down the street from famed Sprinkles Cupcakes on Little (South) Santa Monica Boulevard in the 90210. Its shtick? Creating freshly-made organic ice cream to order using futuristic liquid nitrogen machines to freeze your treat right in front of you.

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We headed down to Beverly Hills for the afternoon to walk around and check out the newest addition to the boulevard. I have to say that overall, the experience was just okay. I very much enjoyed their approach in using fresh ingredients, and the liquid nitrogen gimmick was cool…for about 5 minutes. While they all sounded yummy, I was not happy that essentially you’re limited to choosing from only 6 pre-designed lab creations. It seems in this day and age, the way to go is by offering customization in my humble opinion – especially, when it comes to ice cream.  Didn’t anyone get the memo? At $5.00 for a small (5 ounce) and $7.00 for a large (7 ounce) cup of ice cream, it was a pricey treat – but this wasn’t a huge surprise.

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I went with a small Blue Velvet ice cream: blue velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting (pictured above). It was a delicious way to spend 20 minutes on a Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, beyond the made to order gimmick, I wasn’t terribly impressed and didn’t have that “I’ll be back” feeling. Ice-Cream Lab is going to have to beef up their menu options and/or offer customization for its patrons. I’m not saying it was “never again” awful, but with Sprinkles just down the street, you’ll likely find me there. I not 100% sure Ice-Cream Lab has staying power.

PROS: Awesome location, hip decor, organic and fresh ingredients, serves Intelligentsia coffee.

CONS: Non-customization available, pricey (not surprising), not a lot of seating, and a very limited menu.

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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