Highlights: The 4th


{Greetings after a relaxing and happy 4th of July weekend!}

It’s been a few days since I’ve last caught up with you after my mini-summer holiday vacation, so I thought I would share the highlights of my 4-day-weekend before returning to our regularly scheduled (blog) programming.

The plan for this year’s 4th of July festivities came together at nearly the last minute. I knew I wanted to be at the beach, to indulge in a celebratory cocktail, sit up close to fireworks, and aim to get as much rest as possible. So I thought it would be the perfect weekend to kick-off beach season in Malibu, our first trip this year. This time of year finds me longing to be near the water with a book, some magazines, lights snacks, and good company as much as possible. After a lazy beach day, we’d head to Paradise Cove for a late lunch before heading home to freshen up for a night of fireworks. Ah, don’t you just love when you know that you have the perfect day planned?

Until, it’s not…so perfect.

Long story short, Paradise Cove didn’t work out (despite our reservation) so we made our way down P.C.H. looking for an alternative and landed at Duke’s. I want to keep things positive here, so I’ll just put it this way and move on – AVOID THIS PLACE AT ALL COSTS. I can’t think of a more terrible restaurant experience I’ve had in my entire life. Ever. The service was absolutely horrible, to put it mildly. What should have tipped us off was that this restaurant, located in gorgeous Malibu + right off the water + on a holiday = no wait time? The only redeeming quality was that my cocktail was divine.

Despite this hiccup, the rest of the weekend was magical – full of lounging, reading, hanging out with Ryan, funnel cakes, fireworks, and sunshine. Not a bad start to summer.

1-2013-07-04 12.51.22

{Celebrating America’s Birthday on the gorgeous beaches of Malibu, California.}


{That redeeming cocktail by the beach I mentioned.}


{Mexican Food at my favorite place.}


{Seeing The Way, Way Back on a gorgeous Sunday Morning. A great film, by the way!}


|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||


I cannot tell you how excited I am for the 4th of July weekend. I think of it as the epitome of summer: being around good food and good company, with a vibe of casual laziness in the air that’s completely acceptable. Personally, that’s how I intend to enjoy the festivities.

It’s going to be low-key on my end with a pretty consistent relaxation theme happening over the next 4 days. There will be lots of time on the beach with a good book in hand and I’m very much looking forward to a cocktail, followed by plenty of time on the couch sifting through my Netflix queue. There’s also been a jewelry project that I’ve been wanting to make that’s been sitting on my desk for 2 weeks now that I am resolving to finally finish.

I expect it to be very busy around town all weekend – people out and about enjoying the sunshine, fireworks, and all the holiday sales, so once the necessary celebrations are over and I’ve gotten my vitamin-D fix, I plan to hibernate a bit. To further enhance my lazy/relaxation themed plans, I’m taking some time off from blogging, so this will be my last post for the week.

Wherever you find yourself and whatever find yourself doing this holiday weekend – play safe and play happy.

Everything I’m lovin’ right now involves all things 4th of July. This week’s list was curated with a nod toward all things nostalgic to summer holidays. I’ll see you next week! xx

here’s what i’m lovin’ right now

|| Homemade Honey Peach Frozen Yogurt / Recipe Here.||

Honey Peach Frozen Yogurt

 ||BCBGeneration Bright Red Multicolor Print Open-Back Romper.|| 3fe74418369542b584a54a3f1d7466e2

 ||Cost Plus’ Retro Popcorn Maker.||


||Helen Kaminki’s Provence 12 Raffia Straw Hat. Expensive, but fab!||


eee1f9a7e0c981a2097fd0f7153c597a||Oprah.com’s 11 Ways to Have Your Best Summer Yet. ||

||Grilled Lemon Chicken, Berries, and Feta Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing //

Full recipe here. ||


||Straw Studios Straw Woven Tote.|| 1-_7530532

|| This stunning villa in Oia, Santorini just made my bucket list.||


Up-3 ||Paradise Inspired Cocktails (with an umbrella, of course).||

*click photos for image sources.

Girl’s Night Out (in the Shade)

Location: 1221 North Valley Drive, Manhattan Beach

Labor Day weekend officially kicked-off with a much-needed girl’s night out! Thanks to my successful girl night in the night before, I was excited and beyond ready to blow off some steam. I’m always up for trying new places and/or hot spots around LA.The night’s venue at a friend’s suggestion: Zinc Lounge at Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach.

I walked into the well-designed ultra blue lit location, looking forward to catching-up with a new circle of friends of mine. In many ways Zinc didn’t disappoint. The drinks were fabulous, the DJ kept us smiling, and as the night progressed the lounge got darker and the music louder. I didn’t order any food, but some of the other girls did and you couldn’t ask for better presentation.  A special highlight? I had my first sub zero martini. It’s a cocktail served in a glass made of ice. I went with the “Honey Money.” Ingredients: ketel one, strawberries, honey syrup, and lemonade. Très sexy!

However, as the night wore on, the DJ lost his touch (and actually played “Sexual Healing” at one point?) and I began to realize that Zinc wouldn’t be somewhere I would frequent very often, but wouldn’t mind meeting a friend for a quick drink or to have dinner. The vibe in Manhattan Beach, as opposed to say, Hollywood, is super relaxed (and I mean relaxed). While many of the ladies brought out the high heels and sexy party dresses, the men looked like they just got back from golfing. Understandably, it was a hotel lounge and Shade caters to a wealthy, older crowd (of which I’m neither). Think “Real Housewives” of (enter any city here). We even had a spotting from a real “Real Housewives” cast member in Adrienne Maloof’s soon to be ex, Dr. Paul Nassif.

Either way, it was a fun night filled with chatting, dancing, and lots of laughter. I even did the running man in heels when the DJ had the audacity to put on “Poison” by Bell, Biv, DeVoe. Hello 1990! It felt great to put on a dress, my favorite purple booties and breakout the more dramatic eyeliner. As always, and regardless of the venue or even the people around you (sun visors, polo shirts and all), it’s about the people you’re with and I couldn’t have asked for better company as we spent a night out in the Shade.

Weekend Cocktails

While I like cocktails as much as the next girl, it turns out I’m not a big drinker on the day-to-day. Sure, I’ll have a glass of wine with dinner every once and awhile, sip a midori sour during girls night out, or grab a margarita over Mexican food; but ice tea is my liquid of choice (passion-fruit iced tea if I’m feeling especially feisty).

Fun fact: this past weekend is the first weekend I can recall in quite some time having a cocktail on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday.  What a lush I’m turning into! Perhaps it’s the vibe of the season and cradling a sweet drink in your hand makes the days of summer all the more sweeter.

It all started at happy hour with the gang from work on Friday evening. Followed by two super delicious and well-presented homemade concoctions that I can’t take credit for (thanks Ryan!) other than the bellini peach-raspberry syrup that I buy by the bottle every time I hit the Olive Garden to add to my iced tea because I’m obsessed with it. Don’t laugh,  I admit I have a very strong affinity for the Olive Garden.

If you’re looking for a good summer cocktail,  I just had to share the deliciousness I experienced every single day of the weekend with you. Try it at home yourself! While you do, I’ll be seriously rethinking the frequency of my cocktail intake!

Friday Night 
White Tea Cooler

Ingredients: wild tea vodka, st. germain, mint, fresh lime juice, luxardo maraschino cherries, soda water.

Saturday Evening

Homemade Concoction #1

Ingredients: Olive Garden’s bellini peach-raspberry syrup, vodka, club soda

Sunday Afternoon
Homemade Concoction #2

Ingredients: Olive Garden’s bellini peach-raspberry syrup, vodka, 7-UP, sugar-coated rimmed glass