|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

There was a time when this week meant something more than work deadlines, trying to get to the gym, the grocery store, getting my laundry done, and a car wash. Spring break always sounded so exotic to me. In part, because I would hear the plans of my peers for their week of unadulterated freedom that included short road trips or jet-setting to Cabo for some fun in the sun.

In college, spring break was always the first week in March, but we would also get a few extra days off around Easter. I went to school with a lot of wealthy students whose parents paid their way for everything. Spring break for me was looking forward to some time off from my classes, but I would still work and might drive home to Orange County to see my family for a few days. Unfortunately, I never could afford to do much more than that.

I remember the times I used to watch T.R.L. on  MTV during spring break wondering what that experience would be like – where you pack your bags, hang out at a gorgeous resort, and live in a bikini for a whole week. In retrospect, I might have hated consistently being around a bunch of drunk people and would have much rather been at home taking naps, working, and reading (as was my typical experience). Then again, had I been able to afford those cliché spring break beach getaways, I imagine it would’ve been a lot of sleeping, partying, flirting with cute guys from different schools, lounging, and laughing mixed in with lots of unnecessary drunken drama. I’ll suppose I’ll never be 21 again to find out.

What I am looking forward to is the day that I can actually take myself on an extended vacation to an exotic resort and sip margaritas all day minus the annoying drunk college students. The best part will be that I paid for it all on my own and, as such, it would be a much richer and well-deserved experience.


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


|| Vacay inspired accessories. ||

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|| Banishing doubt.||

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|| Strawberries & cream crepes // recipe here. ||

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|| Corner nightstands. ||

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|| Prada arm candy. ||

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|| A little Easter bunny humor. ||

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|| How to decorate a cupcake by Stephanie Franz, pastry chef at my favorite cupcake shop – Cupcakes Couture. ||



Highlights

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The weather continues to play tricks on us. Warm one day, cool the next, then dreary for the last 3. It was such a sleepy week with plenty of days where I would’ve rather slept in, made a late breakfast, then curled up with a book and a stack of movies. I have to say that before the weather turned ugly on us, I spent quite a few memorable days outside that made me grateful for the simplicity of hanging out by the water. There’s something so comforting in that, that I never get tired of.

I found myself around a lot of small gems that made this otherwise sleepy week a bit more happy. I don’t really have anything major planned this weekend, but would very much like to spend it roaming around a museum with my boyfriend. We’ll see what happens. Have an amazing weekend guys, and thanks for reading!

Here are this week’s highlights…


EAT| the melt

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I’m always game for grilled cheese and was happy to spend an evening at The Melt trying out the new spot that recently opened in Hollywood. (Shhh – don’t tell anyone, but I still prefer Heywood for my fix.)


WORDS| jonathan adler

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I loved reading the manifesto while browsing Jonathan Adler on Melrose.  Number 2 stood out to me most (as well as the slogan pictured at the top of this post.)


VISIT| manhattan beach pier

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Watching the sunset and passer-bys on a perfect Saturday afternoon at the beach. I was happy when I took it and I am happy every time I look at it.


EAT| cupcakes

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I can never resist a cupcake and tried Cupcake Couture’s S’mores flavor. 🙂


SEE| a place at the table

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A significant night this week was at The Nuart Theatre (the front window cardboard cutout gets me everytime!) to see A Place at the Table. It’s a new eye-opening documentary about hunger in America. Please see my full review here. And please see this film.


READ| the host

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I’m finally getting around to reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer, a book I purchased LAST YEAR to read during Christmas that I’ve neglected far too long. I have the resolve to finish before the film opens at the end of the month and it’s really getting good!


Georgetown Cupcake Comes To L.A.

Location: 143 South Robertson Boulevard, Mid-City West

The opening of a new cupcake shop is almost (read: almost) as exciting as opening a Christmas present. What will the store look like? What flavors do they have? How well dressed (read: decorative) will the tiny cakes be? More importantly, how awesome will the experience be when you take that first bite?  Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed.

Georgetown Cupcake couldn’t have picked a better location to open its doors a little over a week ago. The shop sits on the very trendy, very busy, and VERY expensive Robertson Boulevard shopping district (read: rich people’s playground), Beverly Hills adjacent.

All my questions were finally answered a few days ago after a long anticipated wait, when we stopped in for an afternoon treat and unwrapped Georgetown’s sweet present. The store was very simplistic and welcoming in design; lots of white walls, with minimal artwork (all pictures of cupcakes, of course), hardwood floors with only a few tables in-store to sit and enjoy your frosted covered carb.

My favorite thing about Georgetown was the display of cupcakes sitting right in front of you, fully stocked, and perfectly organized in a way that made you want each and every one of them. One of my pet peeves with Sprinkles and other major cupcakeries in town is when you walk into the store and the bakery display is nearly empty, instantaneously making you feel like the flavors you want are already out of stock for the day (many times they are, other times they haven’t replaced stock yet). Not at Georgetown, they didn’t even grab our order from the counter display as they had tons of cupcakes sitting on racks behind the counter. Cupcakes everywhere! This made me happy. 🙂

{Cupcakes everywhere!}

Since I was between pumpkin pie feedings left over from Thanksgiving, with more than half a pie to still get through, I splurged on just one cupcake this time around – the lemon blossom. This cupcake was amazing; moist, flavorful, and my favorite part, lemony.

{Lemon Blossom.}

{First bite.}

I will add for my wheat intolerant friends, that my boyfriend didn’t seemed as impressed with his gluten-free lava fudge cupcake. He had issue with the frosting, and while saying that he would come again, he left Georgetown still a loyal fan of Cupcakes Couture in not so close-by Manhattan Beach for his wheat-free fix. I, on the other hand, literally had an internal dialogue in my head talking myself out of buying another.

When I’m done digesting all of the food I ate over the long holiday weekend, and detox all of the pumpkin pie still sitting in my body right now (too much info?), I’ll be back.

Welcome to L.A. Georgetown! I’m sure you’ll like the weather.

Cupcakes Couture

{Old store front and new.}

New Location: 1120 Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan Beach

When heading over to my favorite cup-cakery to grab treats for an upcoming birthday a few days ago; I was excited, then bummed, then excited again, then nostalgic. Explanation?

Excitement: sneaking to Manhattan Beach to grab surprise gluten-free birthday treats for my boyfriend. Bummed: a “we’ve moved” sign greets me. Excitement: reading the rest of the sign, “…down the street.” Nostalgia: missing the charm of the old shop I’ve come to love.

Cupcakes Couture, the bake shop that I rave about to all of you, has moved. Luckily, it’s only down the street and into the Manhattan Beach Creamery. I’m sure such a move will be great for business because it’s in a prime location to attract tourists strolling the beautiful sidewalks of Manhattan Beach Boulevard.

{Cupcakes Couture’s gorgeous new view from the store front.}

{Likes: these super cool chairs and this eclectic chandelier.}

For an old fan like me, there was something so charming about that little shop that I’ll miss. As you would enter the store, directly to your right was a large glass window, where you could see the pastry chefs working magically to create the most gorgeous cakes. To your left, a large glass display filled with a variety of the best dressed cupcakes in town would welcome you. There was such a fun, flirty design to the store that made it a great place to visit.

I can certainly understand why the owner, who recently blogged about her change of venue, was excited about the upgrade in light of her growing family (and let’s be honest, a scoop of ice cream while enjoying a cupcake is never a bad idea), but moving into The Creamery lost a touch of that charm I loved about the original location.

I later learned that the move was on November 1st. Perhaps since I visited the new set-up only 9 days later attributes to some of my unhappiness with the new location. The counter didn’t feel put together, boxes were strangely arranged in random places, the sign hadn’t even been put up over the booth, and the decor felt cluttered. I’m sure once the team settles in, that fun and flirty nature will return to Cupcakes Couture’s new spot in The Creamery. Hopefully, this was just a visual glitch. Otherwise, the rest of The Creamery, housing a gourmet ice cream station, specialty desserts section, and candy racks everywhere has a unique vibe that works – those awesome chairs and that chandelier were my favorites.

{Cupcakes Couture’s new station.}

{The Creamery store view.}

The most important fact of all, and what will keep me coming back for more, are that the cupcakes are still some of the best I’ve ever had; great tasting, moist, with a flair in design. The executive pastry chef duo that creates and bakes is the same, so what is ultimately special about the best cupcakes in Los Angeles remains untouched. This makes me happy.

{The best dressed cupcakes in L.A.}

I’ll keep you posted on how things finally turn out once we give Cupcakes Couture some time to settle into The Creamery. I know I’d be disappointed if someone reviewed my apartment after just moving in! Stay tuned…

{Sunday Mimosa cupcake.}

Cupcakes (no Cashmere)

In celebration of tiny cakes everywhere and one of my favorite blogs, after having spent lots of time researching my passion for carbs topped with icing and taste testing my behind off; here are my thoughts based on my quest to uncover some of LA’s best cupcakes. Clearly, I haven’t tried every single cupcake in this great land, so I’m basing this list off of the places I’ve personally frequented.

Cupcakes Couture
Location: 916 Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan Beach
BY FAR the most delicious and best dressed cupcakes in LA!  I stumbled into
this oasis of sweetness when hanging out on the Manhattan Beach Strand one Saturday afternoon nearly a year ago. It’s a trek to get down to the South bay for me, but MY GOODNESS, it’s worth every traffic light and hassle to get there. The shop is well designed, the girls that work the counter are sweet, and the concoctions are the best. Nearly every cupcake has a sweet filling in the center, always tastes fresh, and NEVER disappoints. This place also has THE BEST gluten-free selection (which makes my boyfriend very happy) that I’ve come across if you struggle with an intolerance to wheat. My favorites are the Cupcake Wars reality TV show winning Lemon Blueberry, Strawberry Cheesecake, and the Sunday Mimosa (only served on Sundays, get it!?!) 
Sprinkles
Location: 9635 Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills

THE place that started it all, well, at least in my opinion. This is what I think of as the originator of the cupcake craze in Los Angeles – like how Pinkberry spawned the frozen yogurt movement. I can’t recall how I first heard of this place, but it remains an oldie but a goodie in my book. Sprinkles’ forte has always been location, location, location; oh and the cupcakes are moist and delicious! They have one the largest selections of flavors but rotate them out depending on the day, as seems to be the case with all places. Beware the place is small and the line LONG. Their best invention yet? The cupcake ATM if you want to grab a cupcake at 2:00am. Great ones to try: Lemon Coconut, Red Velvet, Strawberry, and Pumpkin.

Frosted Cupcakery
Location: 1200 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood

If I can’t make the trip to Manhattan Beach or Beverly Hills, Frosted comes in a close third. The cupcakes more than cover it in a pinch, but I so desperately wish that Frosted would catch up on the flavor selections! They stick with pretty safe choices. Their shop seems to run of cupcakes quicker in my experience than with other places, and the treats themselves are very good, but I find they don’t have quite the same punch. The best thing about this place? The price! These guys run under $3.00 each, which is a steal! What scores additional brownie points? Their awesome ice cream cupcakes. I’m a huge fan of their red velvet and cream cheese cupcake filled with vanilla bean ice cream!

Vanilla Bake Shop
Location: 10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Century City

My latest taste test on the cupcake front comes from Vanilla Bake Shop. I’ve noticed the shop for a while now when checking out a movie or shopping at the Westfield center; and have been in before a few times to check out the place, but had never purchased anything (which is so unlike me.) I have to say this place is aptly named, it was a very “vanilla” experience. I hate to call this out, but the person working the counter was pretty dismissive (coloring in fact) when I walked-in recently. Further to that, they only have 6 flavors to choose from on any given day. I went with a safe Vanilla Bean and did enjoy the cupcake. It satisfied my sweet tooth but they lose points for not much variety on any given day and poor service. Perhaps it was an off day. I was also told that a gluten-free selection was in the works and would debut in May of this year, but nothing yet.

Crumbs
Location: 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood

Love the name, pretty blah when it comes to the cupcakes. I do like how decorative these guys are, but for some reason, I get a “straight out of a box” taste from them. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you just want sugar, and you don’t really care how or in what format, so these will more than handle your needs, but the fresh taste wasn’t quite there for me. Dare I say they were a bit too sweet as well?  I love that they have multiple locations around the city. I count 6! Then again, because they have so many locations, maybe this alludes to why quality lacks in their cupcakes. It seems they’re more into design, which is super important, but I’m also about my tongue doing the happy dance on contact.

With that, I’m now seriously craving a cupcake and I don’t care which location it comes from! If you have a hidden treasure on the tiny cake front that is missing from my list, please do let me know! I’m always looking to gain 5 pounds (said no one ever!)