Highlights

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree ATG FINAL 3{My little ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas tree courtesy of my boyfriend. It makes me smile.}

Quite honestly, I don’t really have much more to say other than…

HAPPY 1st DAY OF VACATION TO ME!

I’ll leave it at that…and perhaps mention that I think I’ll take myself to a matinee to see Wild today, that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and here are a few other highlights from the week.

Have a nice weekend! x

Love Actually ATG FINAL 2

{It’s not officially Christmas-feeling until I’ve watched Love Actually. Done!}

Mixtape Stocking Stuffer ATG FINAL

{Putting together a little stocking stuffer for a friend.}

Christmas Cards ATG FINAL

{People don’t get enough handwritten notes in the mail. I decided to send Christmas cards this year.}

Substantial Coffee Quote ATG FINAL

{Stopping in for coffee at Zeli’s in Pasadena. If I ever needed an excuse to keep that coffee addiction alive…}

Blog Signature Official_FINAL


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Making Progress: A Graffiti Coffee Update

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To all my decaf-soy-2 shot-vanilla-mocha-frappuccino-no whip-latte lovin’ readers:

Ask and you shall receive! I won’t take full credit for this, but apparently the right people over at Graffiti  read my post last August (and probably all of the complaints feedback on Yelp) and made some major improvements to how they do things. I stopped in for a pre-Superbowl party caffeine fix this past Sunday and was pleasantly surprised when I was….

1) …asked for my milk choice!?! And not just your typical 1% or 2% options, they even offered me almond milk (which I jumped on and thoroughly enjoyed)!

2) That cash only nonsense? Gone. They take debit, baby! Something that shouldn’t have ever been an issue in the first place and I knew wouldn’t last long anyway.

3) I’ve been here a handful of times in recent months and the very unnecessary valet parking service is seemingly kaput. Thank goodness. I’m all for high glam, but there is a fine line and this totally pushed it.

4) It also looks like we’ve hired an interior decorator, somewhat. It’s still very much a completely stark white and black palette with a minimalist flair; but I had to admit, I loved the new addition to a wall that just needed something. It’s become my new personal motto:

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Graffiti went from a B- to a B+ in my book thanks to the improvements, but because 1) I don’t get the really random, huge, and completely misplaced painted portrait of Anne Hathaway on the wall; and 2) I’m noticing in the attire section on Yelp, apparently Graffiti has gone formal and a jacket is required? I’m assuming this is a joke, but if it’s not it’s a step back. Even the baristas are in jeans. Come on.

Now if I can just get them to re-think the name or work with it in a more concrete way – you can’t have a business called “Graffiti” with not one iota of color in the place besides the pastry case.

We’re making progress, people. But as they say, there’s always room for improvement. I’ll keep you guys posted (as I’m finishing my no fuss decaf vanilla latte from Coffee Bean).

2012 Best in Blogging: My Favorite Posts

One of the best things I did last year was start All That Glitters. I think of it as a mixture of both a guide to and celebration of life in Los Angeles. I love this city and while I am always struggling with what’s next and how to get there, I love my life too. I love this blog. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

Today, as we enter the last week of January 2013 (which is pretty hard to believe), I want to take a step back and officially close out all things 2012 with my top 10 personal favorite blog posts from the year. Each of these were not only fun to write, but I was also happy with how they turned out both in content and my somewhat mediocre photography skills. Within each of the ten posts also lies some my happiest memories of 2012.

{TEN.} Graffiti Coffee Bar – Perhaps it’s a sentimental choice because this was my first real blog post, but I think it’s also because this set the tone for how I wanted my blog to be: topical, sharply written, while saluting and celebrating my love of all things L.A.. However, even I found it completely ridiculous to even think lattes and valet parking should ever go in the same sentence. (Oh! A latte sounds so good right now! I’ll be right back…)

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{NINE.}  Making Arrangements  Me as Martha Stewart for a day (okay, maybe more like 30 minutes) trying to make my own floral arrangement with a little help from Lauren Conrad (of all people). My favorite D.I.Y. post of 2012. I was so proud of my little creation.

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{EIGHT.}  Dirty Dancing in the Cemetery – A look at my first time experiencing the super popular young L.A. thing to do on a hot summer Saturday night, a Cinespia film screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This post reflects on how I had the time of my life and the first time I’d ever seen a shooting star in the night sky. Hey, like the post says – I live in L.A.! Shout out to myself on what has to be my most cleverly titled post.

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{SEVEN.} How I Spent 100 Years in Hollywood – My night at the Hollywood Bowl celebrating Paramount Studios 100 years in the movie making  business, told with the help of George Costanza and the most notable movie music in all of cinema. A night to remember and a post that I always look back on fondly.

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{SIX.} Farmers For A Day – The day I left the city behind and headed out to the country (ok, not literally the country but it wasn’t too far from it) and spent some time on an apple farm picking fruit and hanging with the native country folk. This was a day of trying something new and it being oh so fun!

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{FIVE.} Food To Die For: El Coyote Mexican Cafe – My account of what happens when you eat at my favorite Mexican Restaurant in L.A., El Coyote. Please read carefully, you’ve been warned of the side effects of food consumption on these premises. Oh! And God bless re-fried beans!

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{FOUR.} Snow in L.A. – Psst! Hey you. Yeah, you! I’ve got a little secret to tell you. It snows in Los Angeles. No, really. Seriously! It snows right in the middle of LA and I’m letting the cat out of the bag. I loved this post because it meant that festive time of year was finally here. It was officially Christmas!

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{THREE.} Cupcakes and Cashmere L.A. Book Signing – A treat to stop by and say hello to my favorite blogger, Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere fame, at her L.A. book signing. Cheers to the art of blogging!

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{TWO.}  2012: Best in Books, Guilty Pleasure – My delicious account of the book(s) that rocked my world during the summer of 2012. It was so much fun writing this post and reliving all the delectable moments between Anastasia Steele and our dark friend, Christian Grey. (Insert mischievousness voice here) Happy reading and laters baby!

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{ONE.} Mission San Juan Capistrano – Admittedly, I like this post more because of the crisp stunning images that bring me back to such a relaxing and happy day spent on boyfriend’s birthday. This is not my wittiest post when it comes to writing (see #2 and #4 above for that fix) but I think of this day as my most memorable from 2012 and in the end, it’s these types of posts that stick with you.

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Thank you for reading All That Glitters!  I hope you enjoy the posts as much I enjoy writing them. I promise you 2013 will be filled with even more sparkle! 🙂

Cafecito Orgánico, Malibu

Location: 29169 Heathercliff Road, Malibu

Two exciting ways to start a weekend?
1). Trying out a new coffee spot for the first time.
2). Trying out a new coffee spot for the first time while on the way to hang out with your favorite person at the beach all day!

Cafecito Orgánico sits in a small shopping center in Malibu just off PCH. Of course, what drew little ol’ me towards the small cafe was the fancy schmansy name and the fact that I desperately wanted a latte next to me on the beach.

I have to say, I got a bit of the Graffiti Coffee Bar vibe from here. Again, a very simple (though not nearly as dramatic) interior are about all you get visually – but the awesome coffee art they draw in your latte makes up for the lack of punch in the store design. They’re proud to boast that they, too, use only the finest of beans (which reads awesome coffee, but expensive).

I had no huge issues in particular, just a few slight annoyances that came up that put this place in the blah category. Cafecito Orgánico is yet another establishment that doesn’t offer vanilla syrup (which is a sin in my book). The menu lists random drink names that I’ve never heard of and doesn’t offer a description which prompts you to have to bug the poor Barista about what the heck a “global warming” is?

In the end, I went with a “cafecito” at their suggestion. Boy, was it strong! This is in large part because I’m sure my 5 year association with Starbucks and their infamously so-so espresso has likely ruined me in truly appreciating the delicacies of fine Central American artisan coffee, and very much because I’m a girl that has to have some flavor in her latte (hence my annoyance with no vanilla syrup in-house).

A cool thing that makes this place stand out is in their use of modern technology. Upon ordering my super duper small beverage for a mere $4.00; an iPad screen was flipped my way that gave me the total, asked if I wanted to include a tip, and if I wanted the receipt emailed, texted, or printed out for me. Pretty neat.

In the end, I can’t say I’d make it a point to have to stop here on the way to the beach in the future. Nothing against Cafecito Orgánico, but I like my syrup in addition to saying I’m drinking high quality coffee beans. I’d rather head over to Graffiti Coffee Bar where at least I’m paying an arm and a leg for a latte, but I also get my vanilla flavoring AND an always much needed opportunity to enjoy the warmth and gaze longingly at the fireplace…in 90 degree weather.

Blu Jam Cafe

Location: 7371 Melrose Avenue, Mid-City

Blu Jam is an awesome place for breakfast if you have some time on a leisurely Saturday to wait up to an hour for a table during their busiest time, but I was in a rush on my way to the office and decided to perk up my Monday morning not too long ago with a quick stop here for the best latte fix on Melrose! I don’t know what it is that they do differently to their caffeinated beverages, but I suspect is has something to do with that blender behind the counter. It’s the last place the mixture of espresso beans, milk, and vanilla powder meet before the perfect shade of tan hits my not so eco-friendly plastic cup. Rich in taste, creamy, and cool. $4.50 well spent. And while not much cheaper in theory, a superior alternative to those who are currently pissed upset with Starbucks for screwing over disappointing their Gold Rewards members last week by removing soy milk and syrup on the house to its most loyal caffeine addicts. Here’s to supporting local small businesses and sticking it to “the man.” 🙂

(Shhh – don’t tell “The Bucks” but Blu Jam’s coffee is better anyway).

T’was a happy dance on a Monday. Well, as happy as you can be for a Monday morning (strike 1); sitting in traffic (strike 2); contemplating what you want to do for the weekend, but realize you still have 5 days to go (strike 3).

Have a great week and may it be full of caffeine!

Graffiti Coffee Bar

Location: 180 S La Brea Avenue, Mid-City

Welcome the City of Angels! The place where even making a quick stop to grab an iced latte on a warm Sunday afternoon between errands necessitates valet parking. The first 20 minutes free, of course.

Anytime I see the word coffee, cafe, latte, or any iteration of the espresso bean posted around town, it makes my heart flutter with pure joy. I picked up my now ever-present coffee addiction (or daily treat as I like to say) when I first started working in “the industry” and was charged with the glamorous task of taking everyone’s Starbucks order. Outside of that cliché fact, you can’t help but notice when a brand new, blinding, stark white building pops up while driving down the in-progress revamping that has become La Brea Avenue. A street that while trendy in its own right, sticks to a more common opaque color scheme.

Enter Graffiti Coffee Bar. Strangely named given that there isn’t much chromatism to the two-story black and white interior space. You feel like you’re about to walk into a Hollywood nightclub with the door entry selectively located on the side of the building, only to feel like you are actually in a nightclub with the thumping music and fireplace greeting you as you walk in. The Intelligentsia brewed coffee is delish (I smiled with every sip) but given that I spent $6 on an iced vanilla latte, it’ll be more of an indulgence than a regular neighborhood coffee spot.

Beware, they’re cash only (unbelievable and quite unacceptable in this day and age) and only serve whole or soy milk options, but were super friendly. I don’t see myself stopping in to sit and blog with my laptop anytime soon, I like a more quaint atmosphere where you can sit in your sweats and zone out for a couple of hours with your typical soft guitar music lacing the background; but I would make the trek here to meet a friend to catch up over coffee or if I’m feeling exceptionally rich and want to splurge on my caffeine fix.

All in all, a bit of a dramatic experience just to grab a latte, but it gave some spunk to an otherwise lazy Sunday last weekend. Then again, would it be Los Angeles if there weren’t some form of drama attached to it?