Best of Everything 2014

1-Happy-New-Year

New Year’s Eve, 2014. Where did the time go?

I distinctly remember where I was this very day last year. In bed. Sick. I had caught some sort of horrible stomach virus that literally took months into 2014 to fully recover from. I was so disappointed because my boyfriend and I had made reservations for dinner at a quaint little Italian restaurant that I was beyond excited for. At the time, however, food and I weren’t on speaking terms. He ended up ordering a pizza that I basically watched him eat. What a bummer…and a terrible way to ring in the new year.

I’m determined to get 2015 off on the right foot. Essentially, the plan is to finally get to that dinner reservation, one year later – and I have absolutely no intention of watching him eat. I plan to dig in with the best of them at that quaint little Italian restaurant tonight, but not before heading out to catch, A Most Violent Year, opening today. It’s the last film of the year that I want to see before I officially write my top films of 2014 post, forthcoming. As such, this post won’t go into narrative or feature-length documentary films.

The last day of the year is perfect for reflecting back on where you’ve been and where you’d like to go as the year comes to a close. Today, I want to reflect on where I’ve been with a look back at a little bit of everything that made 2014 memorable. From books I’ve read, to music I’ve rocked out to, to products, and experiences – here are new discoveries, things that stuck, and lessons learned worth mentioning.

2014 favorites banner 2


L.A. Discovery: Bottega Louie.
{Perfect for brunch or dinner…and macaroons.}

bottega louie{image via.}


Only in L.A. Experience: Broadway Theatre District Walking Tour.

Downtown Header


Thing I Did For Myself: Recommitted to a consistent yoga practice…though admittedly I’m currently on the market for a new studio.


Beauty Find: Mullein & Sparrow’s Facial Detox Kit. It’s giving yourself the spa experience at home, on a budget. I discovered this small Brooklyn-based herbal apothecary just weeks ago and if I could, I’d buy everything! Love them.


New Addition to the Hair Regimen That I Can’t Live Without: Macadamia Healing Oil Spray.


New Addition to the Skincare Regimen That I Can’t Live Without: Clarisonic Mia.

Clarasonic Arrives ATG FINAL


Indulgence: Iced vanilla lattes from The Sycamore Kitchen (or Hot Tamales).

Sycamore Kitchen Latte ATG FINAL


Accessory: Gosia Meyer’s 14K Gold Filled Initial Necklace.

100necklace


Guilty Pleasure: The Wendy Williams Show.


Splurge: Madewell’s Transport Tote in Saddle.


Travel Experience: My Birthday in Ojai.

Ojai Header ATG FINAL


Fiction Read: We Are Water by Wally Lamb.


Non-Fiction Read: MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche.


Lesson Learned: Be extra cautious when driving down a windy road just after a fresh rain or you’ll lose control and your car will swerve and hit a curb so hard it takes weeks to fix! This isn’t rocket-science but for some reason I still managed to screw up majorly…and it cost me thousands. Ugh.


Gadget: Kindle Paperwhite.

1-IMG_20130730_120148


Blog Post: Journey of a Dress: From Princess to Fashion Legend.

DVF Header


Tune to Rock Out to: Defeated No More by Disclosure.


Album: It came out a few years ago, but “4” by Beyoncé was in heavy rotation this year after I finally sat down and actually listened to the whole LP. Fantastic.


Discovered Artist: Lana del Rey.


YouTube Video: Taylor Swift’s incredibly contagious “Shake it Off” song synced to the 1988 National Aerobic Championship Opening Number.


TV Addiction: Scandal.


Addition to The Home: Paper Source’s Foil Desk Calendar. It dresses up your desk space with subtle elegance. (2105 is now available!)


Wardrobe Piece: A classic dark washed denim jacket, it’s my go-to year round staple for instant California casual chic.


Image Featured on the Blog: The moment I captured the sunrise over the ocean as I geared up for a long day of shooting in San Francisco.Srunrise ATG FINAL


Memorable Day: Taking myself to the LA Times Festival of Books Fair at USC. It was the perfect day: sunshine, books galore, great music, and the grilled cheese truck responsible for the photo below. Fun fact: it was my most successful blog post of 2014!

Grilled Cheese ATG


Biggest “Ah-ha” Moment: Reading The Daily Love’s beautiful post in the wake of Robin’s Williams untimely passing. As I read it, I had the biggest “ah-ha” moment, and wrote the following post, Words that Gave Me Pause, to share it.


The moment I Saw Growth in Myself: When I got my first parking ticket in years and rather than get upset, I laughed with the universe. Full story here.

Life Lately ATG FINAL


Biggest Blogging Achievement: Completing the 100 Happy Days Challenge. It was a powerful reminder to always look for the beauty in your day and I went strong for 100 consecutive days. Statistics show 70% don’t complete the challenge. I was in the 30% who made it to the finish line!

Day100ATGFINAL


Words: This piece of poetry by William Henry Channing.

5d272a0825bdfc8fef8a1c2cb0fe6dfa

 


Thank you for reading along with me this year. Cheers to a 2015 lived beyond our wildest dreams! x

Blog Signature Official_FINAL


Stay in Touch: Facebook Twitter Bloglovin

 

Advertisements

Highlights

Road Trip Home ATG FINAL{California, through a car window.}

It occurred to me just as I sat down to write this, that though I’ve had the pleasure of technically being on vacation for just over a week now, it feels as if it officially starts right this moment. Christmas has come and gone, along with all the craze (but fun!) that comes with it; the road trip to and from Santa Cruz is behind me; my gifts are safely stored in their new homes; my laundry is done; my fridge is stocked; a new book is on my Kindle ready to be devoured; I just put on a pot of coconut vanilla tea (my current obsession); and my mind is slowing. In other words, I can physically feel myself relaxing some – finally!

I suspect that while I adore the time spent looking out a car window at the many facets of California for 6 straight hours, spending time with my boyfriend’s family for Christmas, then taking a day trip into San Francisco, it’s hard to truly decompress when you’re not in your own surroundings. At least, it is for me. Though I always love travel, a change of scenery, a hiatus from the day-to-day, I always seem to miss home. I’m happy to be back in La-La-Land!

I smile often as I look back over this first week of my vacation and Christmas Day. “Santa” was extremely kind this year and I’m happy to have gotten to spend some time getting to know my boyfriend’s family more. Yet, I’m reminded about why one must be careful over the holidays. It’s easy to get caught up in the “stuff” and forget that all the build-up, while delightful, can often lead to a sense of….what’s the right word? Disappointment? Sadness? People spend weeks and weeks gearing up for one day. I’ve often heard that once the gifts are opened, you’ve gained a few pounds thanks to the amount of food readily available, and your loved ones head home and back to their lives, there’s a bit of a deflation in spirit the day after, which is understandable.

Perhaps it’s because I knew I was coming home to 2 more weeks of restfulness, doing nothing, tackling little projects around the house, thinking about my goals for 2015, and spending time with friends and family in-between, I wasn’t completely deflated in spirit, but looking forward to why I took an extended holiday this year: a chance to recharge after an exhausting 2014. And that’s exactly what I intend to do…

…but not before sharing the highlights of life lately! x

Packed for XMAS Vacation ATG FINAL

{road trip ready.}

Blogging in Hotel ATG FINAL

{A little Christmas Eve blogging from our hotel room.}

Ipod Nano Xmas 2014 ATG FINAL

{You guys – Santa gave me the gift of music this year! I’ve been DYING without my old nano since it broke up with me last summer and this made me SO happy! Those CDs that have been collecting in my car for half the year have met their match…once again.}

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream ATG FINAL

{A day in SF found me back at The Marketplace Ferry Building enjoying Humphry Slocombe’s Malted Milk Chocolate ice cream w/ hot fudge.}

{p.s. It was as good as it looks!}

Scarlet Mare Earrings ATG FINAL

{The gift of bling from Scarlet Mare Studio won’t go to waste.}

Blog Signature Official_FINAL


Stay in Touch: Facebook Twitter Bloglovin

Highlights

Srunrise ATG FINAL{If you have to be up at 5:15am for a 6:30am call-time, watching the sunrise makes up for it.}

Home sweet home! As much as I love traveling, I always forget how exhausting it is because you’re so focused on the preparations and then the excitement for the adventure ahead. Add in that this was a work trip first and foremost, and exhaustion probably doesn’t even describe how fried I am on all levels at the moment. That being said, it was an amazing trip overall, and I’m grateful that all went well with our documentary shoot. San Francisco was absolutely beautiful, which was a concern given that much of our filming was outdoors and we wanted to avoid that notorious SF fog. More importantly, we managed to have good meals in-between filming, dinner at the über sexy Foreign Cinema being a huge highlight of my time there. I highly recommend it if you’re ever in town and looking for something special. I can still taste the swordfish and sips of lavender lemonade in my mouth as I write this.

But back to life, back to reality. Happy to be home.

I have to say, that almost every single time I travel – I always, always, always miss home…in particular, my own bed! Hotels, while fun in their own right, are never quite the same. I also forget how disconnected you feel from things going on back at home and in the larger world, because you’re not tied to your computer all day; and yes, while you have your phone, even it can decide it’s had enough and you find yourself trying to be careful about battery usage so that your phone makes it through a long day with you.

It’s probably not surprising to you that I plan to spend the weekend decompressing, re-joining life and catching up with what’s going on in the world. Very necessary things like grocery shopping, a Target run, and laundry will be high on the list. One thing of note is that I’m super excited to see my guy to see what’s been one of the most anticipated films this year for me personally, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. We waited for the “Her” and “Him” release, where the narrative is told from her perspective, then again from his. This means it’ll be a long 3-hour Friday night at the movies. It’s worth it though. I’m a fan of James McAvoy and I’m sure my Jessica Chastain girl crush will only deepen.

Have an amazing weekend. Here are some other highlights of life in SF from this week.

See you Monday! x

Virgin Plane ATG FINAL{I didn’t fly first class or anything, but there’s something about Virgin America’s ambiance that just speaks to me. Perhaps it’s the sexy purple-ness of it all?}

AudioRole ATG FINAL{A small crew means we take on many roles. This is me as audio/sound person.}

Basic Bitch Latte ATG FINAL{Latte break for a “Basic Bitch.” Now, this isn’t me just feeling the need to curse at you. This is what the drink was called, but it’s really just a pumpkin latte if you ask me.}

SF Mural ATG FINAL{SF has some amazing street art. This mural was just off Valencia Street. The whole alley is covered by art.}

ForeignCinema ATG FINAL{Foreign Cinema. The restaurant projects films on the back wall in its courtyard. We ate inside near the fireplace. As I said, it’s pretty sexy!}

Bay Bridge{View of the Bay Bridge from Coit Tower.}

Blog Signature Official_FINAL


Stay in Touch: Facebook Twitter Bloglovin

Highlights

Hello October Center v2 ATG FINAL{My festive Halloween pumpkin lights are up! Now if only the weather would catch-up.}

Whew – what a week! Naturally, I knew things would be in high gear as we put the finishing touches together and finalized the logistics for a location shoot next week in San Francisco, but I’m exhausted. While I’m there to work and it’ll be “go, go, go” from the time I step off the plane, I’m looking forward to a change of scenery and much cooler temperatures during our upcoming stay in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, LA has somehow found itself back in the midst of another (albeit seemingly kinder) heat wave this week, and it’s not looking to let up over the weekend much to my disappointment.

As you can see, I’ve made the transition to autumn in my mind…and at home. My festive pumpkin lights are up, I officially pulled out my boots, and even bought a new light sweater to welcome chillier fall evenings. And though much of last week actually felt like fall, I learned quickly the day I rocked my knee-high boots and proceeded to sweat glisten in them, that it was a premature move. Note to self: check the weather until further notice, it can’t seem to make up its mind.

I’m making the most of the weekend with the main goal to relax once I get personally packed/organized for my travels. I’m pretty psyched for a leisurely game night with the BF, perhaps over some take-out (shhh, I like to eat well while I’m kicking his butt 🙂 ). Until then, I’m off to try a new yoga class tonight to reset from such a crazy week that hopefully also helps get me in gear for an even busier one ahead…because we all know the mental stamina required to make it through LAX alone is a rough one.

I hope that “fall” is treating you kinder than it is us Angelenos at the moment. Have a great weekend!

Here are a few highlights of life lately since we last caught up. x

Coconut Flaky French Toast ATG FINAL

{I can’t think of a more relaxing way to kick-off a weekend than breakfast out. I recently discovered a new cafe nearby and this will be my go-to indulgence: Coconut Flaky French Toast w/ Berries.}

Clarasonic Arrives ATG FINAL

{My Clarasonic is here and now in-use. I’ll update you on how things are going in a coming post.}

Black Coffee Program ATG FINAL

{The one night it actually did feel like fall, found me cozy at (insert British accent) “The Theatre” to see a friend’s play, Black Coffee. If you’re in LA, it’s running for 2 more weeks and is quite fun!}

Fall pumkin_trees ATG FINAL

{My first pumpkin sighting of the season. // The autumn view from my moon roof.}

Blog Signature Official_FINAL


Stay in Touch: Facebook Twitter Bloglovin

 

|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

If you really stop and think about it, there are so many awesome, inspirational, entertaining, thought-provoking, exciting, deliciously superficial, silly, glamorous or happy things that happen around you everyday if you just open your eyes. I’m opening mine! In addition to the posts dedicated to sharing my personal highlights celebrating the things in life each week that made me smile (you can read my most recent Highlights here) – I’ve decided to start a new recurring blog post to share all of the random things big or small that came into my world, said hello, winked, then either promptly turned it upside down, inside out, or made me give a good “ooooh!” Here’s to having your world ROCKED by a little bit of everything with eyes wide open.


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


the-carrie-diaries

{God bless the person who heard the cries of so many Sex and the City fans who’ve been going through Carrie Bradshaw withdrawal. This new series follows a 16-year-old Carrie prior to becoming the sex column writing fashionista strutting down 5th Avenue in 5-inch Manolos. Fun!}

the-carrie-diaries


{When I’m ready for my big walk down the aisle, I’m taking a cue from Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere fame and hiring these guys! Instead of your traditional long form wedding video, Shark Pig takes a highly stylized approach to immortalize your big day by shooting on Super 8mm film and editing it into a music video inspired montage creating something magical and timeless. You HAVE to check out Emily’s big day and see their work. Enjoy!}


{Words to live by…}pinksign

circles


{Insert me here…NOW. Thx.}

1-winterlivingroom


{needed a full day of chill out music earlier this week and I knew Porcelain Raft’s Drifting In and Out was the vibe I was looking for. Hello Pandora and my new Drifting In and Out Radio Station. Set just the tone and mix I was looking for.}

1-Fullscreen capture 242013 120948 PM


8d033d581727ac8dc62367c7396fa016

{Mixing my love of cupcakes and popcorn into one yummy treat? Yes, please! The next time I’m in Union Square in S.F. I’m stopping at American Cupcake for their Pink Popcorn Cupcake.}


{Bar carts as side tables.}

tumblr_mggcgwNubJ1rpbo22o1_400


{Well said glitter girls (and boys).}
tumblr_mfej5kKbhf1rrd8u8o1_500

The Walt Disney Family Museum

1-DSC00702

Location: 104 Montgomery Street, The Presidio, San Francisco

It was December 23rd; a rainy, Sunday morning when we hit the road from Santa Cruz and took the nearly 2 hour drive into San Francisco for our first official start to a Northern California Christmas vacation. And talk about RAIN! The vast difference I learned right away was that when it rains up north – it rains non-stop, all day. In L.A. – it rains, then stops, might sprinkle, and then it’s sunny again!

1-ATG Blog Pix - Christmas 2012

{Rainy drive into SF.}

We didn’t let the wet skies change our plans or our mood. I was beyond excited to spend the day learning about one of the greatest contributors to the legacy of Hollywood and later my childhood, Walt Disney.

The Walt Disney Family Museum sits on an old military base in The Presidio district in San Francisco, with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the backdrop. It houses the ancestry, history, and creative legacy of Walt Disney; from family beginnings, to his rise to success in the animation world, to the creation of his film studio, and later the conception of Disneyland, to his untimely passing in 1966.

1-DSC00694

{Golden Gate Bridge.}

The Walt Disney Family Museum does an exceptional job of educating its visitors on all things Walt Disney. The massive collection showcases archival documents, telegrams, early sketches and drawings, family photographs, news paper clippings, video footage, 3D models, replicas, real artifacts, movie posters, awards (where even Oscar himself sits among the prized trophies). I left the museum three hours and 10 galleries later feeling like I knew Walt Disney in a way I never had. He wasn’t just the creative genius whose motto was always surrounded by the ideology of dreaming. The museum also paints the portrait of Walt Disney as a human being.

Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in the galleries, but was allowed in the main lobby space. Here are just a few photos from an amazing start to a wonderful Northern California Christmas adventure. I highly encourage any “dreamer” to go for a visit and learn from the master.

“What ever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” – Walt Disney

1-DSC00711

{Awards display.}

1-DSC00713

{Photographs of Walt Disney.}

1-DSC00718{Lobby.}

1-DSC00719

{Lobby – staircase.}

1-DSC00725

{View outside the museum window upstairs.}