Inspired.

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A door was opened a few days ago that could potentially change things for the better! Now for the task of walking through the damn door (always easier said, than done). The caveat I’m realizing as I think about this new possible opportunity in my life, is not only being mindful to get very clear about what I want and to stand firm in that truth, but to manage my expectations. There’s only so much you can do before you have to simply let go and let the chips fall where they may, but not before you put up a good fight…and I intend to.

Almost as if the universe were speaking directly to me, not long after that door opened, I came across the quote above on Instagram and instantly felt more energized about this new venture.

It’s been awhile since my last Inspired post. It’s time. A few other words of wisdom keeping things in perspective as of late. Perhaps something will resonate with you, too. x

Inspired_March 2015_ATG FINAL (2){Click image to enlarge.}

Have a lovely rest of the week and weekend ahead!

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Collage: created by blogger via various images sourced from Pinterest.com.

Highlights

On the move_ATG FINAL_Highlights{On the move.}

It’s been a whirlwind of a week. Whew. I’m happy to say I pushed through.

I’ve mentioned quite a few times on the blog about not feeling so great lately. Though I’d been to see my doctor a few weeks back, what she suggested wasn’t helping matters. At. All. I finally got to a place where I had to breakdown and see a rather pricey specialist. Turns out, what I thought a little rest, a few OTC meds, and some small lifestyle changes might fix, is a pretty nasty sinus infection. Ugh. This is actually good news though. I’m not at all happy about the amount of medication I’m on at the moment to treat it, but after months of wondering what the heck is going on with me, it’s nice to have a firm diagnosis and a plan of action.

Admittedly, I’m one of those people who starts Google-ing symptoms if something amiss sticks around for more than a few days. Unfortunately, this tends to lead down a rabbit hole where it’s not insane to start wondering if you have cancer at some point because, “Yes, I’ve been having a persistent sore throat, too!” (Do yourself a favor, and don’t do this.) I’m not at all trying to self-diagnosis, but because outside of my gnarly seasonal/dander-inducing allergies, I’m a healthy person. It bugs me to no end when I’m not feeling my best, so much so, that I have this need to at least have some idea of what might be going on.

Though I know I should take it easy for the next few weeks (and certainly will), I was excited to finally try out a new dance class to get some exercise. I’ve had such a lack of energy and my mood has been less than stellar. I’m sure this is because of my sinus troubles, but also because I stopped working out. I found a great new studio through Groupon and needed to get started on using my class passes before they expire. I had the time of my life! It certainly was one of the highlights of my week. The music was loud and the instructor was a ball of energy – her stamina was inspiring! For one-hour, while attempting to not overdo it, I could feel part of me wake up again. It’s so true boys and girls, there’s something about exercise that just works. I can’t wait until I’m feeling better so I can really “shake a tail feather” in class next time.

All this to say, another weekend ahead that will entail lots of rest. Rain is on the horizon in L.A., and I have to say, there’s no better way to enjoy that kind of weather than staying in bed with a cup of tea and marathon through House of Cards anyway (season 3 releases today!). Since the sun won’t shine and I’m on meds (boo!), I’ll take the wet weekend – seems like I won’t miss too much. There’s only one reason to venture out, and that’s to catch the Light & Noir exhibition at the Skirball, closing March 1st. Aside from this, I’m placing myself on strict bed rest.

Have a wonderful, wet weekend! x

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Highlights

LV_3D_ATG FINAL{A 3-D silhouette selfie at the Louis Vuitton “series 2” exhibition.}

Knock on wood, things have been going well. It feels like for the first time in a long time, I get to play and have some fun! The only major hiccup is that I haven’t been feeling so great on-and-off lately, a sign I need to spend some time taking care of myself. That’s the goal this weekend. There’s still one film I want to see before the Oscars on Sunday, and that’s Julianne Moore’s highly-praised performance in Still Alice. Otherwise, I plan to delve more into Diane Von Furstenberg’s memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be, flip through the stack of back issue magazine subscriptions currently overwhelming my coffee tableand wait with bated breath for the Oscars on Sunday.

Have a great weekend! x

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{The sweetest gift basket with some of my favorite things from my Valentine.}

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{Taking myself to brunch.}

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{Playing festive for our Fifty Shades of Grey girl’s movie night out.}

Rants & Raves: Volume 2

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I was fascinated to learn not too long ago, that statistics show, on average, a person has around 50,000 thoughts a day. Some argue that the amount of mental chatter in our minds is even higher than that, at an upwards of 70,000!

It prompted me to create a new series, “Rants & Raves,” sharing arbitrary thoughts that are on the mind as of writing time, or reflections I’ve been collecting to share that would tie in nicely. (You can read more about why I was so drawn to the idea of the human thought process on a more philosophical level, by visiting my Volume 1 post from last fall.)

Writing is typically such a cathartic experience because in many ways, it naturally helps to process the overwhelming volume of chatter going on in the mind, much of which, has no real purpose other than just being there. Sometimes a gal just needs to rant…and rave. A few random, compulsive, completely unproductive, not-so-deep thoughts as of late…

Rants & Raves: Volume #2


–>Rant
To every salesperson working in retail: I do appreciate your asking if I need help the moment I walk through the door as a form of greeting. However, if I politely say: “no thank you, I’m just looking,” this doesn’t mean that you can now stalk me around the store, talking up the merchandise, telling me how cute everything I touch is. It further doesn’t help that once I finally get you off my back, that your colleague then hones in on me. Being asked by SIX different people in a Banana Republic if I need help within a 10 minute span of time is ridiculous and only makes me want to leave. You’re harassing your customers. Trust me, if I need help with anything, I know exactly where to find you. And P.S.: I don’t need you to ask me (repeatedly) if I’m “aware of your current promotion” if the signage posted on EVERY blank wall in the store tells me that all items are 40% off. I can read, thank you.

–>Rave 
It’s 86° degrees today, hitting a high of 90° by Friday. God, I love L.A. Now my pedicure won’t go to waste.

–>Rant
Scandal has gone off the deep end. (Warning: spoiler alert ahead if you’re not caught up.) This season hasn’t been strong in general, but this new story-line where we kidnap Olivia Pope and hold her ransom so that the Vice President can get his war with West Angola, is stupid for so many reasons I can’t begin count. But let’s try anyway:

  1. The writers managed to skim over an important plot point: HOW a V.P. can take over a sitting U.S. President’s Secret Service and turn his entire team against him. Hello?
  2. Who in their right mind would actually declare war risking THOUSANDS of lives, to save ONE? No President would ever do this (I don’t care if he is, was, is, (oh, who the hell knows at this point?) hittin’ it.
  3. Olivia convinces her captor to “sell” her to the highest bidder, prompting him not to give it much thought, but to actually take her out of her holding cell and give in to her “suggestion.” Really?
  4. Oh, and JUST as the D.E.A. determines her location and comes to save her – she’s already on a plane, presumably to be put on the market for ransom (again). Hmmm.
  5. This means they’re dragging this story line out even longer!

If Scandal doesn’t get it together, I’m skipping the rest of this season. Yes, I guess this means I’m no longer a Gladiator. White hat gone. Whatever.

–>Rave 
God bless the beautiful soul who had the final say on the operating hours for Yogurtlands everywhere. Because of them, I can get into my sweat pants at 10:30pm on a Sunday night and haul ass to the land of unlimited fro-yo and cookie dough toppings.

–>Rant
I have a love-hate relationship with online ordering. On the one hand, I love the ease and often less expensive cost of items. On the other hand, I have no patience and absolutely hate waiting for things to ship. I’m usually so excited, I want it now! I don’t care if it’s Amazon’s super efficient 2-day shipping. Sometimes even this feels too long. I might not have such a problem with waiting overnight for a package. That seems much more reasonable. The caveat is that I refuse to ever “overnight” anything…or pay for shipping in general. I do whatever I have to, to avoid paying for shipping. Yes, I’m one of those annoying people that will Google: “(insert store name/website here) free shipping code.” I also have a huge grievance when something costs more to ship than the actual item I ordered. In what world is this okay?

–>Rave  
I realize this is now the second time I’m mentioning Fifty Shades this week (pardon me). Spotify took it upon itself to alert me that the soundtrack, released yesterday, was available for streaming. I had some time to kill while I got some work done. Dammit, if I didn’t love the hell out of it. Like. Every. Single. Song. From Frank Sinatra to Beyoncé, it’s got a fresh, passionate sound. I found myself grooving along more than I expected to. It actually has me excited for the movie now in a way that makes me uncomfortable to admit to anyone. Ugh. So I’ll just do it on my blog and if it gets backs to me…at least I’ll know who reads it.

 Do you have any rants or raves to share? I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for indulging me! x

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Highlights

Laguna Beach_ ATG FINAL2{Laguna Beach, January 2015.}

2015 thus far has been kind to me. I’ve spent the last few weeks tackling little projects that I’d put off for far too long. It’s made all the difference, making the new year feel quite productive. Two big things I’ve crossed off my to-do list: de-cluttering/reorganizing my pantry, and finally backing-up all the data from a former laptop that gave out on me (over a year ago!).

That being said, I encourage you NOT to wait until your pantry gets so out of hand that you didn’t notice food that expired a year ago (yuck!) happily stored on your shelves. I would also encourage you to back-up your computer…regularly. Naturally, this is a pretty “duh!” statement. And yet, I didn’t. If you recall, my laptop of 7 fruitful years broke up with me in the Fall of 2013. Let’s just say that it took until January 2015, to finally haul ass to Fry’s to have them extract the data from it. I can now officially move forward from that relationship, the baggage from it (the kind you actually need) in hand.

Then there are those projects that I thought I’d channel my inner “D.I.Y. Martha Stewart” side that went totally awry, not making me feel the least bit productive. Case and point: I have an old-ish vase that currently holds a bamboo plant in my apartment that needed a little sprucing up. I won’t go into too much detail so as to not completely embarrass myself, but I thought the vase would look amazeballs in metallic gold. I was right. The color was/is gorgeous. However, I should’ve practiced my spray painting skills on something beside the actual vase first. I clearly used way too much paint, that effectively dripped liked crazy and dried as such. Needless to say, Martha Stewart would be extremely disappointed in me. I did everything but spruce the vase up.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a Highlights post and there have been quite a few memorable happenings since we last caught up. Three of which definitely deserve a shout-out:

  1. I finally made it to the Hollywood Costume Exhibition in the old May Co. Building on Wilshire (the same place that hosted the DVF show last year). Movie costumes galore! It couldn’t have been a better way to spend New Year’s Day.
  2. I struck gold when I came upon a new spot for my caffeine fix, that will undoubtedly double as my go-to brunch spot in the Valley, Sweet Butter. As trivial as this “highlight” likely sounds, yes, it makes me giddy. Extremely.
  3. It was my boyfriend and I’s 4-year anniversary last weekend, which found us hanging out in Laguna Beach on a day so perfect it was insane. I highly recommend Nick’s if you ever find yourself hungry in the O.C.

Full posts to come fleshing out both the costume exhibit and Sweet Butter in the coming weeks on the blog. As you know, it’s my happiness in life to explore new places, try new things…and then give my two cents.

Another weekend is upon us. I hope yours is just fabulous.

See you next week! x

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MLK

MLK Quote_ATG FINAL

One of my favorite quotes in the world comes from the man who was likely never at a loss for the right words. They hang in my apartment, framed over my bed. They are words that I stop and meditate on should my eye ever be drawn to that particular part of the room. They are words that speak volumes, even if that volume is only 5 sentences.

If you’re familiar with this famous quote from the prolific M.L.K., you might notice that the last line is not apart of the original quote as you’re used to seeing it. That’s because I actually combined two separate quotes from MLK into one. I found one quote (compromised of the first 4 lines) and then saw the other quote (the last line) and fused them together when researching some of his famous words a few years ago. For whatever reason, it really was the last line the cements the message in such a way that crystallizes the relationship between love and hate; and ultimately, why we must practice forgiveness as human beings. It comes down to not even allowing yourself to move into spaces that do not serve you, that are beneath you.

I do hope Dr. King will forgive me for massaging his words, though together, I truly believe they create one of the most powerful declarations I’ve ever come across.

Today, let us stop and remember how far we’ve come, yet how far we still have to go.

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Best of Everything 2014

1-Happy-New-Year

New Year’s Eve, 2014. Where did the time go?

I distinctly remember where I was this very day last year. In bed. Sick. I had caught some sort of horrible stomach virus that literally took months into 2014 to fully recover from. I was so disappointed because my boyfriend and I had made reservations for dinner at a quaint little Italian restaurant that I was beyond excited for. At the time, however, food and I weren’t on speaking terms. He ended up ordering a pizza that I basically watched him eat. What a bummer…and a terrible way to ring in the new year.

I’m determined to get 2015 off on the right foot. Essentially, the plan is to finally get to that dinner reservation, one year later – and I have absolutely no intention of watching him eat. I plan to dig in with the best of them at that quaint little Italian restaurant tonight, but not before heading out to catch, A Most Violent Year, opening today. It’s the last film of the year that I want to see before I officially write my top films of 2014 post, forthcoming. As such, this post won’t go into narrative or feature-length documentary films.

The last day of the year is perfect for reflecting back on where you’ve been and where you’d like to go as the year comes to a close. Today, I want to reflect on where I’ve been with a look back at a little bit of everything that made 2014 memorable. From books I’ve read, to music I’ve rocked out to, to products, and experiences – here are new discoveries, things that stuck, and lessons learned worth mentioning.

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L.A. Discovery: Bottega Louie.
{Perfect for brunch or dinner…and macaroons.}

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Only in L.A. Experience: Broadway Theatre District Walking Tour.

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Thing I Did For Myself: Recommitted to a consistent yoga practice…though admittedly I’m currently on the market for a new studio.


Beauty Find: Mullein & Sparrow’s Facial Detox Kit. It’s giving yourself the spa experience at home, on a budget. I discovered this small Brooklyn-based herbal apothecary just weeks ago and if I could, I’d buy everything! Love them.


New Addition to the Hair Regimen That I Can’t Live Without: Macadamia Healing Oil Spray.


New Addition to the Skincare Regimen That I Can’t Live Without: Clarisonic Mia.

Clarasonic Arrives ATG FINAL


Indulgence: Iced vanilla lattes from The Sycamore Kitchen (or Hot Tamales).

Sycamore Kitchen Latte ATG FINAL


Accessory: Gosia Meyer’s 14K Gold Filled Initial Necklace.

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Guilty Pleasure: The Wendy Williams Show.


Splurge: Madewell’s Transport Tote in Saddle.


Travel Experience: My Birthday in Ojai.

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Fiction Read: We Are Water by Wally Lamb.


Non-Fiction Read: MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche.


Lesson Learned: Be extra cautious when driving down a windy road just after a fresh rain or you’ll lose control and your car will swerve and hit a curb so hard it takes weeks to fix! This isn’t rocket-science but for some reason I still managed to screw up majorly…and it cost me thousands. Ugh.


Gadget: Kindle Paperwhite.

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Blog Post: Journey of a Dress: From Princess to Fashion Legend.

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Tune to Rock Out to: Defeated No More by Disclosure.


Album: It came out a few years ago, but “4” by Beyoncé was in heavy rotation this year after I finally sat down and actually listened to the whole LP. Fantastic.


Discovered Artist: Lana del Rey.


YouTube Video: Taylor Swift’s incredibly contagious “Shake it Off” song synced to the 1988 National Aerobic Championship Opening Number.


TV Addiction: Scandal.


Addition to The Home: Paper Source’s Foil Desk Calendar. It dresses up your desk space with subtle elegance. (2105 is now available!)


Wardrobe Piece: A classic dark washed denim jacket, it’s my go-to year round staple for instant California casual chic.


Image Featured on the Blog: The moment I captured the sunrise over the ocean as I geared up for a long day of shooting in San Francisco.Srunrise ATG FINAL


Memorable Day: Taking myself to the LA Times Festival of Books Fair at USC. It was the perfect day: sunshine, books galore, great music, and the grilled cheese truck responsible for the photo below. Fun fact: it was my most successful blog post of 2014!

Grilled Cheese ATG


Biggest “Ah-ha” Moment: Reading The Daily Love’s beautiful post in the wake of Robin’s Williams untimely passing. As I read it, I had the biggest “ah-ha” moment, and wrote the following post, Words that Gave Me Pause, to share it.


The moment I Saw Growth in Myself: When I got my first parking ticket in years and rather than get upset, I laughed with the universe. Full story here.

Life Lately ATG FINAL


Biggest Blogging Achievement: Completing the 100 Happy Days Challenge. It was a powerful reminder to always look for the beauty in your day and I went strong for 100 consecutive days. Statistics show 70% don’t complete the challenge. I was in the 30% who made it to the finish line!

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Words: This piece of poetry by William Henry Channing.

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Thank you for reading along with me this year. Cheers to a 2015 lived beyond our wildest dreams! x

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