Highlights

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{Day 8: The sun, the clouds, blue skies, and fresh clean air after an unexpected overnight rainfall.}

I can’t believe I’m already penning another Highlights post – this week flew by! And what a week it was. Knock on wood, things are going well in life. I can’t complain (well, I can always find something to complain about – ha!).

I think what has been a fun addition to life lately, is partaking in the 100 Happy Days Challenge. I’m on day 11 today, posting the challenge exclusively to Twitter and I’m adoring it. Not only for the challenge of completing 100 straight days of posting (because we all know I love a challenge), but because it forces me to find something happy to post about. It’s pretty funny, how I stop a few times a day and ask myself what my “#100happydays” post will be for that day.

I’m not too surprised at how easy it is to find one thing a day that brings a smile to my face. In part, this is why I started blogging to begin with. As a blogger, you’re always looking for inspiration and ideas for posts, forcing you to pay attention to the world around you, go out and interact with said world, look for what speaks to you, and write about it. It’s also specifically why I started the “Highlights” series, where I share the highlights of my week. So the idea of joining this challenge is icing on the cake. While blogging forces perspective, it doesn’t have to always be in the good or the positive necessarily, you can write about something that gets under your skin or you disagree with altogether, and that’s awesome too.

However, this challenge is strictly in the happy only. So the last 11 days find me constantly looking for what that might be, snapping a quick photo (sometimes slapping a sexy filter over it), and sharing it with people from all over the world.

It’s also fascinating to follow the “#100happydays” posts on Twitter and Instagram to see what others are posting. As expected, it’s usually in the small things: indulging in ice cream, appreciating a cup of tea, spending time with a loved one, starting a new book, going jogging (though I don’t personally see anything happy about that!); or a little bigger: booking travel, dyeing your hair pink and green (no joke), and I even saw someone post a picture of an ice pack after some sort of mishap (still, no joke).

In effect, it’s nice to see people from all walks of life looking for the good, capturing it, and spreading the joy. It’s quite infectious.

You’ll likely start seeing many of my “#100happydays” posts as apart of my Highlights blog posts because some of the moments captured will likely also be Highlights of my week, naturally. As I move toward my 3rd week on the challenge, I thought I would share my top 5 “#100happydays” photos thus far.

Have a great weekend! And do let me know if you’re taking the challenge, I’d love to follow you.

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{Day #1: Just because flowers from my guy are always the best kind of flowers.}

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{Day #9: Still loving my  single initial delicate necklace, a little gift to myself earlier this year. It’s one of my favorite pieces.}

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{Day 4: A memorable afternoon spent visiting the Journey of a Dress exhibition, celebrating 40 years of DVF’s iconic wrap-dress. Full post to come next week – this was too much fun! Stay tuned.}

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{Day 10: All about these tofu soft tacos (and I don’t even eat tofu).}

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What I’m Lovin’ Right Now

Last week, I was driving down Ventura Boulevard  blasting responsibly listening to Daft Punk’s recent release, Random Access Memories, when suddenly my eye was drawn to the person in the car to my immediate right. She was bouncing around uncontrollably, shouting in the driver’s seat. When I realized she was okay and wasn’t suffering from a seizure, a huge smile swept across my face. This lady was hardcore rockin’ out in her car. Is that what I look like when I’m alone in my car with the music blasting at an appropriate driving level, totally lost in that jammin’ feeling?

I’m a HUGE fan of the right tunes always around you in life, but especially when on the road. I highly recommend it as the best way to deal with the oh-so-awesome LA traffic, or to quickly bounce back after that a-hole cut you off on the 405. It seems with the right music anything that’s wrong in the world is instantly right…at least for those 4 minutes.

The best part of my little story while driving along Ventura Blvd. last week? When we finally hit a red light, I turned down my music dying to know what this lady was rockin’ out so hard to. It was Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. She was two tracks ahead of me. 


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


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1. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.

2. Chunky side french braid for an instant good summer hair day.

3. White tulips poised in a clear square vase.

4. H&M Sandals.

5. Mango Drop Waist Swallow Print Dress.

6. Essie Nail polish in Smokin’ Hot.

7. House of Harlow 1960 Medallion Locket Pendant Necklace.

8. Michael Kors Berkeley Clutch.

9. Someecards.com’s No Issues Today.

10. Baked Bree’s Baked Chicken Tacos.


Results: The Spring Project

The last day of spring has arrived and I cannot believe how quickly the time passed us by. In retrospect, Spring was kind to me. Afternoons perusing museums, feeling the lightness after a good spring cleaning, celebrating a milestone birthday, and enjoying a final cup of tea at my favorite spot were just a few of the highlights. I’m pretty happy to be leaving the “June gloom” behind and head toward pure summer sunshine. As I look back over my goals to celebrate the freshness of spring, which I cheesily dubbed The Spring Project – I see areas where I excelled and others, well, let’s just say there was room for improvement.


Results: The Spring Project


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closet purge

Goal: Out with the Old, in with New

Result: Pass

Spring cleaning went off without a hitch. My entire apartment got the complete scrub down (and that was a looooong day). I went through my DVD collection and traded in those purchases that at the time sounded good, but I knew I’d never watch again. And my wardrobe got a great sift through and my closets and drawers are now roomy and ready for all the great new purchases to come.


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an instagrammed memorable day – manhattan beach, ca

Goal: Be Outdoors

Result: Semi-Fail

This is an admitted semi-fail. I did hit gorgeous Balboa Lake, Manhattan Beach, and strolled many a boulevards on a Saturday afternoon (Rodeo counts even though I was eating ice cream at the time), but I didn’t take one hike the entire season. No bueno. 😦


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my first spring bouquet

Goal: Flower Friendly

Result: Pass

I’m happy to report that bright flowers were around me much of the season. I’m a huge believer (if you have the extra funds) to keep fresh flowers around your home when you can. Trader Joe’s is an excellent source to get this scented fix on the cheap. This tradition will continue well into summer!


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off to yoga

Goal: Fitness

Result: Fail

The long and short of it: I’m still really consistent with my yoga practice (and being mindful of my diet) but I’ve been terrible at making time to hit the gym to work on a more solid cardio and weightlifting routine. Something to work on this summer…I know, I know.


Goal: Fruit Inspired Recipes

Result: Fail

Yes, I’ve been eating a lot of fruit. No, I didn’t personally make any of these recipes. Total FAIL.

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1. Spring Fruit Pizza

2. Fruit Pizza

3. Strawberry Basil Moscato Lemonade

4. Peanut butter, Strawberries, Bananas and Granola Wrap

5. Sparkling White Peach Sangria


Making Arrangements // Part 2

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Where: Moe’s Flowers

Location: 8101 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood

Floral arrangements make me happy. I’ve been doing well with keeping a pretty consistent presence of fresh flowers around my home to keep the goal of my Spring Project festive and alive. Admission: 99% of the flowers in my home are from Trader Joe’s (you can read about my success with TJ’s flower arrangements here) and I usually don’t spend more than $6.00 or $7.00 ($8.00 max if I’m feeling frisky) for a bouquet at any given time. I’m more than okay with this, especially when I recently learned just how expensive making a hand-picked bouquet of flowers can be. After all, while they do make me happy, they do just die.

One of the cool things that I’ve always wanted to do and that I actually got to do for my birthday last week was custom-design my own bouquet. It was a very sweet surprise from my boyfriend so that I could have them to enjoy during my stay-cation.

We headed over to Moe’s Flowers in West Hollywood and I was in heaven the moment we walked into the shop. The scent drew me in immediately as I saw basket after basket of roses, lilies, peonies, and everything else you could image in many colors for the choosing.

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{Interior – Moe’s.}

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{My pickings.}

There really is an art to making arrangements that in retrospect, I would do differently in the future. While I did think about how the final product would look once I placed everything in a vase, next time I would pay more attention to the art of hand-picking flowers that compliment each other a bit better. Placing a dahlia among some roses wasn’t terrible, but because of how a dahlia sits facing forward, it took some fussing around before I could get it how I liked (which meant splitting my bouquet into 2 different vases). Further, grouping extremely long stemmed larkspur with a full and bushy hydrangea flower is probably something I might also pass on doing in the future as well.

Two interesting things I learned when asking advice of the florist as she assembled my bouquet that I thought I would share with floral lovers alike that I never knew:

1. Flower food doesn’t extend the life of flowers. In fact, she assured me that many professional florists don’t use it! It’s a gimmick.

2. What IS more important to extending the life of flowers is changing the water and re-clipping the stems (at a slanted angle) DAILY, if possible.

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{One of the 2 vases of fresh flowers that I got to look at all week!}

Highlights

This week has been all about the finishing touches, those small details that make the WORLD of difference. In retrospect, these little details and finishing touches hit nearly every area of my life and lead to one of the best, most productive, and happiest weeks I feel like I’ve had in quite a while.

From returning to yoga practice (after missing two weeks), checking out the Silver Lake Farmers’ Market for the first time for fresh strawberries; frolicking around Universal City Walk in search of the best popcorn ever (see my new favorite flavor here), finally giving in to the use of a make-up primer, to a few sweet surprises from a sweet guy, and stopping to enjoy a small treat a friend brought back from Paris – it’s been a week full of finishing touches, little details, and small pleasures. It’s making the world of difference.

Have a great weekend! xx

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Highlights

Happy Good Friday and a good Friday it will be.

After a rather hectic week of “fighting the man” in various areas of my life, I’m so looking forward to the next three days off to recharge. I’m the kind of person that will fight when things need to get done and I won’t let it go until it is (I don’t care if it’s over a dollar – it’s the principle!). While I always try to retain a level of diplomacy and politeness – I have no problem calling, emailing, stalking, and generally speaking my mind when something needs to be addressed. One of my pet peeves in life is when another’s personality is quite opposite to this and they’re not being responsive. I like people who get *crap* done! (I really wanted to use the other word, but want to keep things PG here). 🙂

As cliché as this statement has become, I’m a spiritual rather than religious person. Easter as a young child usually involved a huge Easter basket and a special homemade dinner where preparations started earlier in the day. I also recall watching parts of  “The Ten Commandments” on afternoon TV – not fully understanding what the heck I was watching because it was so long and they “spoke funny.”

Sadly, as an adult, I don’t have a ritual for this weekend, but totally respect those who do. It’s always nice to take time out to celebrate and reflect on what you believe in. If I had a choice, perhaps I would tackle watching “The Ten Commandments” again (with the subtitles on for clarity) after a leisurely Easter Brunch at Cafe Midi.

Have a great weekend and whatever your beliefs, I think this is a good time, as ever, to reflect on them.

My week’s highlights as we bid goodbye to March…


TREAT| gelato

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{Indulging in a few bites of my guy’s gelato. You get the treat without the guilt!}


EAT| cafe midi

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{Finally, I had brunch at Cafe Midi – it’s my favorite new place.}


SPRING| flowers

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{My first floral purchase for Spring  // The Spring Project is now underway.}


SHOP| farmer’s market

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{I’ve been on a serious farmer’s market kick lately. I enjoy starting out my Sunday mornings visiting a local farmer’s market and stocking up on fresh produce for the week.}

(This week: Studio City.}


EAT| lunch

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{I was so proud of my homemade lunch concoctions this week (lots of salads), thanks to my farmer’s market visit.}


SHOES| sandals

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{So my Audrey Brooke Wedges were too narrow for my feet (the risks of online shopping).  I went in-store to exchange them for these adorable Unisa Lenni Glitter Sandals.}


DVD| zero dark thirty

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{A sweet gift for my DVD collection from the BF and one of my favorite movies of 2012.}



The Spring Project

I love a good project! And it’s extra fun when there’s a focused theme surrounding it to help you get the most out of what you hope to accomplish. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than making a list and crossing things off as you go. It’s so satisfying, in fact, that sometimes when making a list, I add things that I’ve already completed, just so I can have the feeling of crossing it off. (I can’t be the only person that does this? Bueller?)

You can see my recent holiday themed projects for Halloween and Christmas here and here to give you idea of how much I love goal-oriented ventures.

In celebration of the changing of seasons making its official appearance on Wednesday, The Spring Project is a short list of must-do’s that I’ve created to get the most out of the longer sunshine filled days and the renewing feeling that Spring inevitably brings.

I’ll report back as we make our way toward the heated depths of summer. Here’s to Spring and accomplishing your goals.


The Spring Project


// OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW //

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Of course, one of the first things to do is a little spring cleaning. My goal is to finally get into my closet and toss those things that need to go. Next up, to go through my DVD library, pull those “what was I thinking?” purchases and head to Amoeba for a trade-in. Am I EVER going to watch Crossroads again? Yes, I actually own that on DVD, but to my credit I was just a kid college student (in film school, no less!) 🙂


// BE OUTDOORS //

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Naturally, the perfect temperatures and near constant L.A. sunshine make for the perfect recipe to spend as much time outdoors as possible. This Spring trips to Lake Balboa, lounging on the beach, hiking in Griffith Park and to the Hollywood Sign are on the agenda during most weekends.


// FLOWER FRIENDLY //

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I love flowers, plants, any sort of perennial – and try to have their beauty around me as much as I can. Unfortunately, whenever I cut back on spending – this is one of the first things to go, though it’s something that I am always happy to see when I walk into my apartment or sit at my desk at work. Spring makes me want to see blooming vivid colors and inhale the sweet fragrance of flowers, a must have to enjoy the riches of the season and the one thing that I hope to have more of.


// FITNESS //

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There’s no excuse not to get back into a more consistent workout schedule and now that there’s extra sunshine after work, I’ll be more motivated to hit the gym (rather than the couch). Even more motivating, Spring means dresses and shorts as fashion staples. It’s time to shed those winter developed pounds that can be hidden under a sweater no longer. While I’m a big fan of yoga, I need to incorporate more cardio and weightlifting into the routine.


// FRUIT INSPIRED RECIPES //

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Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve been curating lots of yummy recipe ideas using fresh fruit. Here are just a few that I want to indulge in on a lazy sunny weekend afternoon.

1. Spring Fruit Pizza

2. Fruit Pizza

3. Strawberry Basil Moscato Lemonade

4. Peanut butter, Strawberries, Bananas and Granola Wrap

5. Sparkling White Peach Sangria