|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

Ladies, we all know and can agree that being “female” certainly has its perks (hands down, when it comes to shopping we got it made – have you ever gone shopping with a guy? It’s literally the exact same shirt in different colors?) but in all seriousness, its challenges. Pressures to fit into picture-perfect airbrushed magazine standards of beauty being arguably the greatest of them if you ask many of us.  I won’t go into a rant about my personal thoughts about the challenges of being a woman in today’s world; but I will share something that resonated with me, perhaps because it’s from a male point of view literally stepping into a woman’s shoes. I came across this clip yesterday afternoon after I’d seen it posted a few times in my Facebook feed and watched it wanting to know what was causing a mini viral craze. It warmed my heart to see such vulnerability and compassion from a man, and not just any man, a “Hollywood” man. Dustin Hoffman said it best. Now if only we could somehow manage as both women and men to collectively shift our perspectives on how we value people. Honestly, I really couldn’t begin to even say how. The conundrum we’ve gotten ourselves into is pretty complicated.


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


|| Highexistence.com’s 30 Challenges of 30 Days.|| e51a8fa3b6d820267c804d87bc7a4824


 ||Cream on cream with a splash of gold. Perfect for Summer.||

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773b274289cc1e23ed45c75377d81de9||Mod Cloth’s A Dot a Day Flats.||


 ||Holy sugar rush! Birthday Cake Pancakes. // full recipe here.||

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||10 Fabulous Scotch Tape Manicures.||6bc9534699fb6ffea1a5fc1b5182999c


|| Kitchen.com’s Cabinet Cookware Organizer. Love this idea! ||

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||Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad. // Recipe here.||

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*click photos for image sources.

A Place at the Table

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Film: A Place at the Table

Location: The Nuart Theatre

Address: 11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles

I learned something earlier this week that once I really internalized it became completely bewildered then saddened. Apparently, the fact that I can walk into any major grocery store in Los Angeles, California and readily purchase an abundance and plentiful selection of fresh fruits and vegetables is a privilege. Yes, a privilege. And not compared to what one might think in an unfortunate, but obvious third world country sense; but compared to neighboring states in the United States of America.

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Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush take a bleak look at hunger in arguably the wealthiest country in the world in their documentary, A Place at the Table“Food insecurity” or the consistent condition of not knowing where your next meal comes from affects nearly 50 million Americans currently. As told through the eyes of seemingly “normal looking” people you might pass on the street, I really comprehended the efficacy in the statement that everyone has a story, everyone has a struggle, and this struggle is wildly affecting our youth. 

Did I know that people go hungry in this country? Yes, of course I did. Did I know that a large number of people that deal with food insecurity many times have full-time employment, yet cannot feed their families due to poor wages and the harsh economic climate? Sadly, yes. Did I know that people who live in lower socioeconomic parts of this country have to drive upwards of 30 miles round trip to even access fresh produce because it’s not readily available at their local grocery store (even if you live in an urban populated city?). Not fully. Did I know and truly understand the correlation that while Mississippi has the highest rates of obesity in this country, it also has the highest hunger rate? No. 

This is the power of documentary film making.

The film delves into the cause and effect of food insecurity, while linking this growing problem to largely financial, social, and political connotations. This exploration ranges from families that don’t readily live in moderately affluent areas, and therefore, don’t have easy access to healthy food options; to how funding for food assistance programs is being cut at many levels by the Federal Government; to the increase of food banks and charity work to assist the hungry; to how education and political awareness is the answer.

The takeaway from this well-executed and enlightening film is that there is more than enough resources to feed every single person in this country. In fact, America encountered a similar problem 4 decades ago and with the aid of the Federal Government, found concrete solutions to hunger. It’s time to make the underfed our priority again. I would venture to say that the common person (like myself) knows about American hunger, but does not fathom the depth of the issue.

What I take for granted walking into any grocery store, others lack in basic resource. The next time I head for the produce section, I will surely do so with equal parts gratitude and disgust that every American cannot access the sweetness of a strawberry, or the crisp crunch of a bed of lettuce to make a salad.

Please see their website if you’d like to join in on being the change. I encourage everyone to see this moving yet disturbing film. It will surely spark conversation.

Highlights: Wrapping up the Holidays

Mid-way through January already…geesh! It’s been so much fun reminiscing about a very memorable holiday season with you! I’ll be wrapping up my winter adventures with a few fun extra highlights gathered during my Christmas vacation. Next week, I’m looking forward to officially wrapping up the entire 2012 calendar year with a look back at all my favorites in film, leading up to my top 10 personal favorite blog posts of the year! Enjoy the long weekend gang! Here are this week’s final highlights from the holidays:

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{My new earrings worn on New Year’s Eve. LOVE.}

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{New year, new way to make breakfast. While I’m no stranger to making breakfast on a Saturday morning, I have to say it was a nice change of pace on a Thursday morning over the long vacation to get up and try something new. Rather than scrambling plain eggs, I decided to punch things up and add some bacon and spinach and opted to make roasted potatoes and toast on the side. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to start a Thursday.}

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{Making my first cup of tea in my new tea kettle that I got as a Christmas gift. There’s something so ritualistic and cozy about making tea the old fashioned way on a hot stove.}

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{As a stocking stuffer, I received this awesome sweet treat from Baked By Melissa. 3 mini cupcakes dipped in chocolate. What a great idea! I found out that you too, can have these bite sized goodies delivered right to your door step from their New York based shop. Check out their website for details.}

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{Baby it’s cold outside. Luckily, this new super soft scarf from The Gap helps.}

New Year’s Eve with Señor Fred

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Location: 13730 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks

With the Christmas season and our Carmel getaway behind me, one last important celebratory holiday milestone to go – New Year’s Eve. My boyfriend and I decided to keep it very low key this year, with an intimate dinner at Señor Fred Restaurant in Sherman Oaks; followed by a casual movie night at home with a Martinelli’s Apple Cider toast at midnight.

Señor Fred offers a perfect dark sexy ambiance, balanced with delectable Mexican cuisine. Since it was New Year’s Eve, the expectation was that every restaurant in town was going to be pretty packed. God bless Open Table! We put in for an 8:00pm reservation and when I called the restaurant to check to see if they were only serving a prix-fixe menu or if patrons could order from the regular menu as well, I was less than enthused by the guy who answered the phone. He wasn’t rude exactly, but told me that he thought he had blocked off all Open Table reservations during the 8 o’clock hour, so that people entering after 9:00pm would be charged the $10 cover for the night.

I almost wanted to cancel my reservation altogether when he told me that as long as we were done between 9:30pm-10:00pm it should be fine. While this seemed like plenty of time to finish our meal, the fact that he even communicated a time limit made me nervous. The idea of being rushed to accommodate the fact that he screwed up with the reservation system should not have even come up in the conversation.  Bottom line: that was between him, Señor Fred, and Opentable.com.

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{Margarita selection.}

While Señor Fred certainly didn’t make the best first impression, or second for that matter when there was a slight mix-up in where to seat us, by the third impression – once the chips and guacamole came out, Señor Fred had begun to redeem himself. From there, the night went flawlessly (minus some service issues from a seemingly distracted, but pleasant waiter).

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{Chips and guacamole. Divine.}

I went with the Grilled Salmon infused with Mexican flair served in a roasted chile cilantro sauce, over sweet corn, shrimp picadillos and mashed potatoes. For dessert, I splurged on the Chanpurrado con Churros (translation: churros served with Mexican Hot Chocolate). Fabulous! 🙂

Needless to say, this gal was more than impressed with the food and the ambiance for her last meal of 2012; but service, service, service always brings the dining experience to absolute perfection. Senor Fred can cook, but he seriously needs some help on his people skills.

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{Dinner: Grilled Salmon.}

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{Dessert: Mexican Hot Chocolate and Churros.}

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{Back at home – N.Y.E. toast.}

2012: How Pinterest Made Me Cooler

March 5, 2012. The day I joined Pinterest, the latest social media craze that spawned yet another online addiction that I probably didn’t really need, but am more than happy with having. Once I figured out what the heck it was (and how to pronounce it), 2012 was never the same.

Pinterest appeals to my deeply visual side, my organizational side; and that side of me that loves to learn something new, how to do it better, or when I just need a little inspiration to change things up.

Pinterest has made me cooler. How, you ask? Let’s just say that thanks to the ideas curated onto my pretty awesome profile (if I do say so myself :)), I cook better, dress better, and my apartment has benefited from a few ideas sparked from a simple photo.

As of writing this post, I’ve pinned 643 images. Of those 643 images, I’ve managed to put a handful into action. In the spirit of looking back over the year, I thought it would be fun to share the recipes, tips, and products that I now treasure. Here’s how Pinterest made me cooler this year:

HOW I COOKED BETTER: Easy Garlic Chicken

1-68719933196_dlrL9hCf_c{Photo source}

Without a doubt this very popular brown sugar and garlic chicken recipe pin turned me into a mini-rock star in the kitchen and was my first ever Pinterest experiment. It’s super easy to make, and only takes a few ingredients: chicken breast, garlic, olive oil, and brown sugar. I like to add a bit more garlic to the mixture to give it a little more punch against the brown sugar and top it off with a few dashes of salt and pepper for more flavor.

HOW I ACCESSORIZED BETTER: Kaela Designs Cheryl Katch Hobo Bag

Cheryl Katch Hobo Bag w/ Acrylic Ring Handle

I stumbled across this unique and trendy bag on Pinterest from Kaela Designs earlier this summer. Aside from the shape and pattern of the handbag, I fell in love with the ring style handles. It really makes it stand out. To read about this addition to my collection from earlier this year, please see my blog post.

HOW I HOME DECORATED BETTER: Flower Arrangements 101

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I love flowers. I them so much I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to them! Awhile back, I found Lauren Conrad’s “how-to” for flower arrangements via a pin. Above were my results! They added such a great touch of brightness and liveliness to my home for a week straight. I wrote a blog about making this simple and affordable flower arrangement courtesy of L.C. here.

HOW I BECAME CRAFTIER: D.I.Y. MAKEUP BRUSH HOLDER

1-203013895672305780_T2g7vbgw_c{Photo source}

The first image above was a pin I came across that made me want to combine my love of candles (but not the left over jars), organization, and presentation into one. This photo led me to try re-purposing an old candle jar that turned into the photo below complete with an organized make-up brush holder on my new antique vanity tray. I’ll eventually upgrade to a nicer candle jar, but liked how it turned out! To see how I did mine, please visit my post.

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These are just a few ideas learned from my online passion, pinning images! I look forward to 2013 where I’m sure a new resolve to make it the best year yet, with Pinterest’s help, will spark new ideas and motivation from a simple image and I’ll be cooler than ever! Happy Pinning!

Highlights

Can you believe that we’re halfway through September already? I could have sworn I just paid rent! My goodness, how time flies. Thankfully, there were a few moments from this week that made an ordinary day, pretty extraordinary:

{FOOD.}

Is it me or does pasta taste better on the second or even third day? Monday night’s dinner was a huge highlight and success, in part because I dined on leftovers from my recent visit to Osteria Coppola. I warmed up the chicken lasagna in the oven, as opposed to throwing it in the microwave, to let it cook slowly and develop a bit of a crunch to the top layer. Things always taste better from the oven. I must remember this mantra when I don’t have the patience to wait. A quick homemade side salad and a glass of ice tea and I swear I was in Italy in my own house.

{FILM.}

By far, one of the greatest experiences this week was seeing Celeste and Jesse Forever. It’s an awesome off-beat dramedy, with a nice salute to Los Angeles. Rashida Jones (could she be anymore gorgeous?) and Andy Samberg do a superb job bringing the highs and lows of a complicated and deteriorating relationship, but an everlasting friendship to the screen. I LOL’d, felt my eyes water, and had a smile on my face the whole time. I also fell in LOVE with the music in this film and was on Amazon.com within an hour of getting home looking to purchase the soundtrack. Unfortunately, no soundtrack exists, but thanks to another fellow blogger I was directed to a playlist created on Spotify with all the film’s songs. “Drifting In and Out” by Porcelain Raft is my new chill out song. This will be added to my collection later this year when it’s released on DVD for sure!

{FUN.}

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this week, which is a nerdy love of mine. I’m currently reading The Cider House Rules by John Irving. I still have quite a way to go before my next book club meeting. I’m very much enjoying it, but it’s 561 densely packed pages!

Have a great weekend!

Labor Day Bloom

Location: 5544 Pico Boulevard

It’s funny how different your days feel when you aren’t in the throws of the normal work week. I wrapped up a well-rounded Labor Day Weekend spending last Monday (which felt like a Sunday and nothing like a day in the office) doing two of my favorite things: going out for breakfast and catching an early flick.

My boyfriend and I headed over to the much buzzed about Sycamore Kitchen to start-off a relaxing day; but unfortunately, management decided to give their staff the day off too. The cafe was closed. Kudos to them, not so great for us. Not to worry, we had an excellent back-up in my guy’s next suggestion. A short drive down La Brea, a right on Pico, and half a mile later we made it to Bloom Cafe.

I was happy within 15 minutes of grabbing a seat outside. First, parking was a breeze, which automatically makes me like any establishment ten times better than I normally would. Second, I had a latte in front of me that looked like this:

I was disappointed that they didn’t offer flavored lattes (what cafe doesn’t have vanilla syrup in stock – hello?) but adding a touch of agave nectar with a stir or two put me in a happier place. I went with a simple bacon, egg, pancake combo that came with a small salad lightly brushed with a lemon vinaigrette dressing. I enjoyed it immensely and almost forgave them for that whole vanilla syrup mess. Almost.

An hour and a latte later, we made our way to the movies. This Labor Day’s flick: Lawless. Not much to say, other than I was entertained and thrilled to have been born during a time where showers are more of a priority. This would be a good DVD rental if you can wait a few months, but a great time in the theater as well if you’re looking to kill some time with mindless entertainment.

All in all, a solid, fun-filled and memorable 2012 Labor Day Weekend. All you need is a little pampering, some time with the girls, an evening in the cemetery, a night at the Bowl, and breakfast with your guy!