Sweet Butter

Sweet Butter ATG FINAL


Where: Sweet Butter
Location: 13824 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks
Cost: $$


What is it about seeing a line hanging out of a restaurant that instantly makes you feel like you’re missing out? I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but in L.A., anytime you see a group of people congregated outside a dining venue, it’s usually a place you want to be. Aside from word of mouth, it also happens to be the best form of free marketing for an establishment. I cannot tell you how many places I’ve frequented based merely on “line hanging out of the door” advertising. And 9 times out of 10, I can understand the hype. That 1 other time, well

Whenever I find myself driving down Ventura Boulevard on a sunny weekend morning or early afternoon (moon roof open and iPod on shuffle), inevitably, my eye would be drawn to the crowd of people just outside a little yellow building that channels a rustic, welcoming feeling. My eye would then look up and smile at the charming marquee. Sweet Butter. Something in the name just grabs you.

I don’t think there’s anything that I enjoy more than kicking-off a weekend by going out to breakfast. Sadly, it’s not something I get to do as often as I’d like, so I’m particularly picky when choosing a place. I’m all about the food (of course!) but I admit that I’m a sucker for good ambiance. I trust that when my fellow Angelenos feel the need to wait on the sidewalk for a table, it must be for something pretty special. Angelenos don’t typically have the patience to just stand around…especially when you can walk 2 minutes in either direction to find somewhere else to eat.

Sweet Butter Seating _ATG FINAL

{Exterior/The best seats in the house.}

After hitting Yelp to ensure legitimacy, Sweet Butter became the next place to conquer. Though I can appreciate the kind of business that has people so into it that they’re willing to stand on the sidewalk for scrambled eggs, I made it a point to go during their slower time for my inaugural visit. It was a crisp, Friday morning in January around 10:00am, the place practically deserted. In other words, perfect timing.

I was immediately struck by the “homey” feel to Sweet Butter and the use of the space. As you enter through wrought iron gates you’re instantly welcomed by a seating area, doors on either side of it. The one of the left leading to where the magic happens, the kitchen. The one on the right, where you consume and enjoy the magic. It holds the bakery, market, coffee bar, and most importantly, it’s where you order.

Sweet Butter Welcoming Words_ATG FINAL

{Positive words and cucumber-infused water to greet you.}

Sweet Butter Market_ATG FINAL

{Sweet Butter has a charming little market inside, were you can purchase everything from jam to candles.}

Sweet Butter Menu_Interior_ATG FINAL

{Perusing the menu. / Checking out the interior shop.}

The menu is diverse enough to cater to anyone’s needs – whether you’re in the mood for breakfast (served all day), a hearty salad, a sandwich or a wrap. The same attention given to the decor, is equally allocated to the ingredients used on the menu. Sweet Butter’s turkey, chicken, and beef are all free-range or grass-feed. They personally make their own salad dressing, spreads, and pastries in-house using the freshest of ingredients, without preservatives. Are you vegan or gluten-intolerant? Heck, do you need a last-minute gift for the foodie in your life? Sweet Butter’s got you covered.

Swwt Butter Interior ATG FINAL

{Interior. Artisan products for sale.}

Sweet Butter Interiors ATG FINAL

{Coffee bar menu. / Bookshelf full of goodies to purchase.}

Caffeine addicts: I was beyond bummed when I ordered a “vanilla” latte and was told that they don’t make them. (Boo!) The baritsa was quick to try to put a smile on my face and offered their signature “sweet latte” made with simple syrup instead. My frown was instantly turned upside down. She was right. I didn’t miss the subtle sweetness of vanilla, the simple syrup did just the trick – and I’m sure in a much healthier fashion. Admittedly, I’ve been back a handful of times just to stop in and grab a latte to-go.

Sweet Butter Latte_ATG FINAL

{Their sweet latte is to die for. It’s my favorite new place to grab a latte in the Valley.}

I must have passed the wrought iron gates and yellow walls of Sweet Butter on Ventura Boulevard dozens of times over the last few years, always making a mental note that my next girl’s brunch would find me there. Unfortunately, the blessing and the curse of living in a big city with dining options abound, is that it’s slightly overwhelming! I simply never got around to it. I don’t know what it was that made me finally stop being so curious about what was on the other side of the crowded sidewalk. Perhaps it really came down to feeling like I was missing out. And indeed, I was.

Since there are as many cafés in LA as there are out of work actors, I’m looking for what makes an establishment stand out. Of course, a long line of devotees is a good start, but what more does it have to offer? Sweet Butter creates an experience around food. From the quality ingredients, to the welcoming decor; the artisan shop, to the best latte I’d had in a while.

And you know me, if the latte’s right…I’ll be back.

Overview:

PROS: Great ambiance, quaint market, fresh ingredients, well-curated breakfast and lunch menu, staff friendly, vegan and gluten-free options available, pay before you eat (perfect for when you don’t want the hassle of splitting the bill), and online ordering ready for in-store pick-up.

CONS: Parking is difficult (but when is it not?), coffee is pricey (but worth it), the lunch rush and weekends are extremely busy (I waited 45 MINUTES during my second visit to receive my order), and hard to find a table during rush times.

Swwet Butter Pancakes_ATG FINAL 2

{Mia’s Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, blueberry pancakes.}

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Birchbox Review | January 2015

Birchbox Review_January 2015_ATG FINAL
The first Birchbox of 2015 arrived a few weeks ago and it’s been quite the experimentation. My take on how January’s Birchbox products held up…

#1. Key West Aloe Gentle Aloe Cleanser | What is it about the word “aloe” that conjures up such feelings of calmness? Well, this facial cleanser from Key West Aloe lives up to that soothing feeling. (Ahh!) What makes this cleanser unique is that it contains 30% pure aloe vera, packing nutrient-rich power. It’s gentle enough for sensitive skin, smells wonderful, has a great texture, and compliments use with your Clarasonic device extremely well if you have one. Your skin leaves the bathroom feeling clean, soft, refreshed, and calm. At $16.50 full-sized (granted it’s only 6 ounces), it won’t break the bank either.

Overall: A do.

#2. Essentiel Elements Wake Up Rosemary Body Lotion | It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the shower gel version of this product. I use it when I’m looking for an especially indulgent showering session. This is in part because the scent is incredibly invigorating and instantly wakes up your senses, which is helpfully intensified by the steam. It should be no surprise then, that the body lotion equivalent packs that same Rosemary-scented punch. Admittedly, I went back and forth a lot with this lotion when deciding what my review would be. On the one hand, I loved the light texture and the way the product melts into your skin right away, without a trace of residue. On the other hand, though I enjoy the body wash immensely, having that same scent in lotion form isn’t really my cup of tea I found. I tend to prefer softer scents when it comes to lotions, usually, of the vanilla or floral variety. Add in the fact that there are entirely TOO MANY lotions in the world to not be fully satisfied (even if I am loyal to its counterpart), and I’ve made my decision. I’ll finish the sample, but my relationship with Essentiel Elements Rosemary products will likely stop with the shower gel.

 Overall:  A do…if the fragrance doesn’t bother you.

#3. Sweet Science Invisible Daily Tint  | I was pretty stoked to see this guy in my January box. I’m a huge stickler for having SPF on my face anytime I leave the house. Though my daily go-to moisturizer has sunscreen protection, my sometimes preferred heavier moisturizer for the winter months does not, essentially forcing me to use the product that does. It’s nice to have something that if you want more coverage to brave the colder months, you can still use it and slap on products like Sweet Science’s Invisible Daily Tint to help with the lack of sunscreen. This SPF 35 packed formula somehow mimics the coloring of your skin upon application, but invisibly settles in. This is because the tint is also designed to even skin tone, which you can see instantly. I’ve only used the sample on days when I didn’t want to wear make-up (though you certainly can use it with make-up) and I’m impressed. While the product is slightly gooey/messy to work with, I enjoyed the SPF protection and the light, even skin-toned coverage it provides, without the need for foundation. It also mattifies the skin, blocking out “shiny face syndrome.” I have to say, I’m not a fan of the $45 price tag for the full-sized version (at a mere 1 ounce!) – especially given how flooded the market is with products like this. That being said, this is a solid contender.

Overall: A do…if you can get behind the cost.

#4. REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask | This mask sure does make a girl feel special. It contains fruit acids and papaya enzymes that gently exfoliate the skin. It tingles for a few seconds after applying, but the feeling doesn’t last long and isn’t irritating in a way that makes you want to just give up and wash it off. It also smells wonderful. I’ve only used this product a few times and it would take consistent use to really see an overall improvement, I’m sure. I can say that 10 minutes after 1 use…your skin feels soft and refreshed; your complexion a little brighter. I hate to sound like a broken record (and trust me, I know beauty can be pricey) but again, $55 for 1.7 ounces is a stretch. Don’t get me wrong, if I find something I L.O.V.E. I’ll work with the cost, but glycol lactic masks are everywhere (though they do tend run on the pricier side, I know). I’m keeping my options open at the moment. I thoroughly enjoyed the sample and will certainly finish it out.

Overall:  A do (so far)….if you can get behind the cost.

#5. Katherine Cosmetics Everyday Eyeliner | I’ve sampled and reviewed A LOT of eyeliner over the years through Birchbox (and I mean a lot!) but this find one from a brand I’d never even heard of has to be my favorite yet. The “sample” was generous as you can tell – the liner arrived full-sized! I was immediately struck by the smudging brush located on the opposite end of the liner for your convenience. The pigment was rich, didn’t smear, was long-lasting, and flattering. I received the “Bonanza Black” shade (which to me channels more of a dark brown) and found it something that I could use day-to-day with no trouble. Perhaps if you’re fairer skinned the “Cessna Brown” might be more your speed. It’s little finds like this that make Birchbox fun! I highly recommend this liner if you’re in the market for something new and something that works.

Overall:  A do.


 Join the Birchbox fun! Pick up your subscription here:

https://www.birchbox.com/invite/ATG

(I’m not affiliated with Birchbox outside of just being a fan…with an opinion.)

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Anatomy of a Do: The Overall Comeback

overallsATGFINAL-v2fixed

{photo source: Viva Luxury}

I might lose cool points for this (depending on the person), but there’s nothing that I’m more excited about on the fashion-front than the return of overalls. Yes, you read that right. Overalls.

I practically lived in these during my late teens, and let’s just say we were well into the new millennium by that point to give you a frame of reference, likely making me one of the last people in LA, possibly the entire state of California (that wasn’t a farmer), to officially let them go. I remember proudly rockin’ overalls to my classes in film school, thinking I’d be extra “hip” and don a slightly off-centered baseball cap for added “style.” (Ah, the things we do when we’re young, broke, and trying to find our way in college.)

Admittedly, after many moves since those collegiate years, and multiple closet purges, I could never quite bring myself to throw them out and said overalls are STILL hanging in my closet (albeit deep in the back) as I write this.

Suffice to say, I have a lingering fondness for overalls, though I haven’t personally worn them in over 10 years now. My boyfriend has laughed at me more than once when I’ve mentioned that I’m thinking about buying a new pair and rekindling my secret love affair with that illustrious one-piece denim suit with the built-in denim-clad suspenders.

And I’ve found the perfect styling inspiration from Annabelle over at Viva Luxury on the right way to rock the return of overalls…and keep it 2014 appropriate.

What immediately makes this look very modern and fresh is that Annabelle chose a fitted pair of overalls in a dark wash, with just the right amount of distressing at the hip (as opposed to a baggy fit in a stone wash, channeling 1995).  She keeps that momentum all the way through via the rolled pant legs, which produces a more relaxed feel – and highlights those amazing metallic Armani ankle strap heels, playfully contradicting the overall casualness of the ensemble by including a touch of polished high fashion.

When accessorizing, nothing screams “on-trend” at the moment so much as chunky statement jewelry and the dynamic layering of bracelets built of different styles and textures. Further, so as to not compete with our focal piece, Guess’ Classic Denim Overalls, she opts to carry a light clutch over a large satchel or cross-body to impeccably bring the look together.

What I adore about the styling here is the contrast of ultra glam against super casual, showcasing a creative approach for a piece that many might consider a trend best left in the last millennium. I can certainly see the argument for those in favor of and against its return. Overalls aren’t necessarily an easy thing to pull off. Despite how comfortable they can be, there’s a limit to how and where a gal might be able to wear them particularly, over the age of 10. However, I think Annabelle found the best inspiration I’ve seen yet. I think I might have to take the plunge and grab a pair before the window closes and overalls are, yet again, a thing of the past.

This is the anatomy of a do… and it’s the overall comeback.


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