Anatomy of a Do: Braving White

Anatomy of a Do_March 2015_Spring WhiteSpring officially begins next week, but in LA you wouldn’t know it. Ninety degree weather accompanied by the lingering scent of wisteria in the air, find us channeling Spring slightly ahead of schedule. And I couldn’t be more excited!

This season, I’m eager to incorporate more light and airy clothing into my personal style. When I came across this look (at left) while killing some time on Pinterest, I immediately got inspired. I hardly ever wear white. Outside of the fact that it’s an incredibly difficult color to keep clean, it’s also a very hard color to pull off, highlighting every flaw imaginable (unlike my BFF, the color black). Not only am I always concerned about spilling something on myself, I also can’t stand how that once crisp white blouse inevitably starts to look dingy, with those not-so-attractive yellowing armpit stains.

It’s a new season, and with it, time to take more chances…even if it’s just confronting the color white. The model here does everything right, perfectly showcasing everything I’m loving at the moment: dark aviators, layered gold jewelry, strategically ripped boyfriend jeans, and strappy heels. It’s an impeccable blend of polished set against casual, the archetype for California chic in my book. What unarguably brings this ensemble together is the fresh, structured white blazer, an item that could easily be dry cleaned. This should help with my aversion to wearing/caring for a light color. A white blazer just officially made my closet must-have list for Spring.

The takeaway from killing a little time on Pinterest? This Spring, conquer your fears and brave white.

Previous posts
Anatomy of a Do: The Overall Comeback
Anatomy of a Do: Carla’s Denim on Denim
Anatomy of a Do: Wendy’s Color Love

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*Unaltered original image via Pinterest.*

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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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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What I’m Lovin’ Right Now

Blend 3What I'm Lovin Right Now_Feb2015_ATG FINAL

1. My current nail polish obsession. | Cement the deal by OPI (image via.)

2. Footwear that’s comfortable, stylish, and for a good cause. | Tom’s Black Women Diamond Women’s Classics.

3. The ergonomic hair brush worth the recent splurge. | Olivia Garden’s DV-3 Divine Dry Detangler.

4. A case for H20. | The Top 10 Things I Learned Drinking Only Water For A Month.

5. What a butternut squash and a can of black beans can do together. | Butternut Black Bean Burgers.

6. The comfortable dress I swear every woman should have (because I have 2). | Old Navy’s Women’s Sleeveless Jersey Dress.

7. Why coconut oil seems to be everywhere lately. | 14 Ways To Use Coconut Oil At Home.

8. The clever way to organize that burgeoning jewelry collection. | Wall Mounted Jewelry Organizer Photo Frame.

9. A timely article since watching Advanced Style. | 50 Ways to Break Out of a Style Rut & Feel Inspired Again.

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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

V-Day Gift basket ATG FINAL

{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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5 Reasons This Week Will Rock!

5 Reasons This Week Will Rock_ATG FINAL

I think a big redeeming quality about the week ahead, is that everyone will feel the undercurrent of l.o.v.e. as we make our way toward Valentine’s Day on Saturday. Hopefully, this means that most people you encounter this week in particular, will be in a pretty chipper mood. Then again, perhaps the undercurrent will feel quite the opposite for those of us who choose to reject the Hallmark holiday altogether and celebrate Single’s Appreciation Day instead (trust me, I’ve been there). I don’t know what the plan for Valentine’s Day is as of writing time, but when I asked my boyfriend what we were doing for V-Day yesterday, he looked at me blankly and said, “I don’t know…bring you flowers?”

I made a deal with myself at the start of the New Year that I would have something to look forward to every single day. Most days find me looking forward to small pleasures: a morning latte, a night solo in with Netflix over a homemade meal, or simply excited to start a new read on my Kindle. It’s made 2015 a great start so far and the perfect excuse to continue with this series, which tends to share the slightly bigger highlights of the coming week, building excitement along with it. Essentially, it was designed to trick myself out of the Monday blues…and it does.

With that, my 5 reasons this week will rock!


1. Girl’s Night Out: I can’t wait to unwind with a classic G.N.O. later this week, hitting the equally classic dinner and a movie circuit. I was simply going to leave it at that, omitting the part about what movie we’ll be seeing so as to not embarrass myself completely. But what the hell! The movie, good or bad, is going to blow the box office out of the water this weekend…and I’m curious. So yes, you’ll find me and a gal pal at the Arclight ready to enter Christian Grey’s red room of pain, a.k.a. Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ll further stand in my truth by adding that yes, I read the book; yes, it was an annihilation of the English language; and yes, I continued reading it despite this. It was a book club selection chosen by one of the members some years ago. I had no idea what it was about when I first started reading it; so let’s just say, it caught me totally off-guard…and was “eye-opening,” for lack of a better word. My expectations for the film are pretty low, but it should be a fun way to kick-off the weekend.


2. Both Sides Now: I’ve seen Love, Actually almost every Christmas in recent years as a tradition to get into the holiday spirit. I was always struck by the scene where Emma Thompson’s character receives a Joni Mitchell CD from her husband as an early Christmas gift. There’s a line where she states that Joni Mitchell “taught her how to feel.” I’ve been on the prowl for something new, and for whatever reason, that line came to me when logging on to Spotify, looking for something to zone out to while I got some work done. Joni Mitchell’s 2000 album, Both Sides Now is my current life soundtrack and will be in heavy rotation this week. Her voice is mesmerizing on this album. It’s not usually what I find myself listening to day-to-day at all, but I guess that’s the funny thing about getting older, your taste evolves.


3. “The Theater” (in my best British accent):  To balance out my slightly more exhibitionist,”overly-romantic?” theater-going experience at the movies, I feel good that I’ll be going to a more traditional theater-going experience to keep my street cred. My boyfriend and I are off to see a friend in her new play. I’m looking forward to the drive out to Pacific Palisades and a matinee performance.


4. “The Woman I Wanted to Be:” I’m in the middle of Landline (Goodreads winner for best fiction novel of 2014). Though I’m enjoying the book, I cannot wait to get through it so that I can get to Diane von Furstenberg’s new memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be. I’m anxious to hear more about the life of the iconic designer in her own words. I admit, I have a bit of an obsession with DVF since visiting her Journey of  a Dress exhibition last year. I hear she’s led quite the life. Then again, as a princess turned fashion designer, you’d have to. I’ll keep you posted on if it’s worth the read.


5. V-Day: While I got that aforementioned blank stare from my guy when probing about V-Day plans, I know I don’t have anything to worry about. He always makes holidays special, even if it’s just a simple night in with pizza and a movie. I’m not expecting anything over the top, I just look forward to spending the day hanging out together.

 Wishing you a week of l.o.v.e.! 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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What I’m Lovin’ Right Now

Blend{Click image to enlarge.}

I know some people don’t like to fall into the trap of or even believe in New Year’s resolutions; but I’ve always liked the idea of working toward goals. And yet, I haven’t taken the time to sit down and formally write my list of resolutions for 2015. I can’t say that I will at this point either.

Admittedly, I meant to do this over my holiday vacation, but other things got in the way. Rather than beat myself up about it, I came up with a very simple idea for how I wanted to approach 2015 in such a way that negated the need to write this long list of things that I would likely never get to because…you got it…life got in the way. Instead, I simply told myself that I wanted to have something to look forward to every day. I think this is a much more realistic and manageable way to deal with life at the moment. The great news is that it doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, it will likely be the small things most days: a latte from my favorite café, heading home to binge watch Girls (my current obsession), meeting a friend for lunch, or curling up with a good book and my favorite candle burning nearby (see #3 below).

I haven’t sworn off New Year’s resolutions entirely – but I’m giving it a break this year. I will share that there is one main area of my life that I am aiming to make a big change at this year, that will require some thought and course of action; but really, I just want to spend more time being present, enjoying the little things.

As such, I’m lovin’ things that embrace small pleasures, things that aid in my goal to have something to look forward to each day. Below you’ll find a few ideas that I have in mind – be it the perfect bath after a long day (#7); a DIY project to sink my teeth into (#6); trying a new, healthier recipe (#8); planning a date night with my guy (#2); or treating myself to a little bling (#9). There’s always something to look forward to, and for once, I want to take it day by day.

Here’s to small pleasures and that one big change in 2015. I’ll keep you posted on how things come along. Here’s…

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 1. A fresh take on why we’ve got “happiness” backwards. | Enlarge to See Full Quote.

2. Where to go when you need a date night. | The 13 Best Date Spots in LA.

3.  The best smell in my apartment as I type this. | Bella’s “Midnight Orchid” Soy Candle.

4.  In case you thought you were doing everything right on the skin front. |  20 Skincare Mistakes That Are Damaging Your Face.

5. A quick reminder of your birth-given power. | 7 Things You Don’t Know About the Power You’ve Always Had.

6. Inspiration for what to do with all those damn coffee mugs taking up unnecessary cabinet space. | DIY Pallet Coffee Cup Holder.

7.  Everything you need to turn into a prune from the comfort of your own home. | Crafting the Perfect Bath at Home.

8. What to do when you perpetually have avocados and tomatoes ripening faster than you can eat them. | Avocado Quesadillas.

9. Feeding your minimalist jewelry binge. | Bar Drop Necklace.

10. Because winter reeks havoc on your skin…and it won’t win.  | Eau Roma Water (a personal favorite at the moment).

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Highlights

Road Trip Home ATG FINAL{California, through a car window.}

It occurred to me just as I sat down to write this, that though I’ve had the pleasure of technically being on vacation for just over a week now, it feels as if it officially starts right this moment. Christmas has come and gone, along with all the craze (but fun!) that comes with it; the road trip to and from Santa Cruz is behind me; my gifts are safely stored in their new homes; my laundry is done; my fridge is stocked; a new book is on my Kindle ready to be devoured; I just put on a pot of coconut vanilla tea (my current obsession); and my mind is slowing. In other words, I can physically feel myself relaxing some – finally!

I suspect that while I adore the time spent looking out a car window at the many facets of California for 6 straight hours, spending time with my boyfriend’s family for Christmas, then taking a day trip into San Francisco, it’s hard to truly decompress when you’re not in your own surroundings. At least, it is for me. Though I always love travel, a change of scenery, a hiatus from the day-to-day, I always seem to miss home. I’m happy to be back in La-La-Land!

I smile often as I look back over this first week of my vacation and Christmas Day. “Santa” was extremely kind this year and I’m happy to have gotten to spend some time getting to know my boyfriend’s family more. Yet, I’m reminded about why one must be careful over the holidays. It’s easy to get caught up in the “stuff” and forget that all the build-up, while delightful, can often lead to a sense of….what’s the right word? Disappointment? Sadness? People spend weeks and weeks gearing up for one day. I’ve often heard that once the gifts are opened, you’ve gained a few pounds thanks to the amount of food readily available, and your loved ones head home and back to their lives, there’s a bit of a deflation in spirit the day after, which is understandable.

Perhaps it’s because I knew I was coming home to 2 more weeks of restfulness, doing nothing, tackling little projects around the house, thinking about my goals for 2015, and spending time with friends and family in-between, I wasn’t completely deflated in spirit, but looking forward to why I took an extended holiday this year: a chance to recharge after an exhausting 2014. And that’s exactly what I intend to do…

…but not before sharing the highlights of life lately! x

Packed for XMAS Vacation ATG FINAL

{road trip ready.}

Blogging in Hotel ATG FINAL

{A little Christmas Eve blogging from our hotel room.}

Ipod Nano Xmas 2014 ATG FINAL

{You guys – Santa gave me the gift of music this year! I’ve been DYING without my old nano since it broke up with me last summer and this made me SO happy! Those CDs that have been collecting in my car for half the year have met their match…once again.}

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream ATG FINAL

{A day in SF found me back at The Marketplace Ferry Building enjoying Humphry Slocombe’s Malted Milk Chocolate ice cream w/ hot fudge.}

{p.s. It was as good as it looks!}

Scarlet Mare Earrings ATG FINAL

{The gift of bling from Scarlet Mare Studio won’t go to waste.}

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