Highlights

The GROVE TREE ATG FINAL{Where Angelenos go for Christmas Cheer, The Grove, for the 100-foot tall tree and lights everywhere!}

December is off to a chaotic start to say the least, but luckily I’m only 2 weeks away from some much-needed downtime. It’s been helpful to lean on the holiday season to make my way through. Christmas music does wonders during chaos!

LA had its first real bout of rain in ages this week. It’s been so long since we’ve had this much rain, that I’d completely forgotten how much my hair doesn’t like it! I’m willing to be a trooper about it though…in the name of our drought situation. I enjoy the rain – especially when it happens to arrive on a day that I can stay home and curl up with my Kindle or my Netflix queue and a cup of tea (as opposed to having to deal with the eternal nightmare that the 405 becomes until the roads dry again). The caveat to all of this, is that whenever it rains for more than a few days, I can also feel myself emotionally changing. Aside from my hair not being a fan of the rain, I also forget how much my body thrives on Vitamin D. It’s a stern reminder that I’m a total SoCal gal. If I don’t get some sun after a couple of days, I can feel my mood take a complete nosedive. As such, it pretty much solidifies that I won’t survive many other places in the world with actual weather. I’m stuck here.

Unfortunately, the holidays have become a rough time of year for me as I’ve gotten older, but I do still try to channel as much of what makes this season special. Aside from Christmas music, it’s always helpful to head to The Grove to walk around marveling at how they transform a simple shopping center into a stunning holiday oasis (pictures don’t do the place justice). This was certainly a big highlight since we caught up last.

Another highlight had to be a rainy Tuesday night in North Hollywood. If you’re looking for a great film out right now, I saw Whiplash earlier this week with a girlfriend and it blew my mind away. It’s aptly titled, given that you literally feel like you have a case of “Whiplash” when you leave the theater after following Andrew’s harrowing musical journey. It’s one of the most intense films I’ve seen in a while that stays with you days later. It will certainly be in my top 10 films of the year. Bravo to everyone involved!

The weekend ahead will be low-key. I don’t have any plans as of writing time, and that’s a-okay with me.

Have a great weekend! x

Bo Nuage ATG FINAL

{Admiring the pastry case at Bo Nuage…}

Bo Nuage Red Velvet ATG FINAL

{…then indulging in their Red Velevet Meringue Cake. Yum!}

Whiplash ticket ATG FINAL

{It’s been 3 days and I still have “Whiplash.”}

Dalai lama Quote ATG FINAL{The writing on the wall (literally)…in a public bathroom. I loved these words.}

 

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5 Reasons This Week Will Rock!

5 Reasons November 2014 _ ATG FINAL

1. | A Honey Baked Ham is on the way…

Naturally, we have to turn our attention to the important part of this week and that’s the amount of food that will be consumed. Without question, I always, always, always get excited for our new Thanksgiving tradition of indulging in the best ham EVER from the Honey Baked Ham Store. We add a few of the necessary sides that we order from Bristol Farms: mashed potatoes, candied yams, honey glazed carrots, and their green bean almondine; bake a pie; and sit back and eat…and eat…and eat. The caveat is that we tend to burn-out on ham because we eat it for breakfast and dinner the next 3 days after Thanksgiving as leftovers. By the following Monday, I’m usually so sick of ham I can’t stand it…until the following year comes and I’m excited all over again. Hooray for ham! (image via.)

2. | A short work week…

It’ll be a relatively quick and quiet work week ahead. This is in large part because a lot of people are taking the entire week off. I’m opting to work through Wednesday and save the vacation days to take a longer Christmas vacation in late December through early January instead (for a much-needed and restful 3 week break!). I have 3 big things I want to get crossed off my to-do list on the work front and then I’m ready to leave it all behind in favor of food, a good book, and finally correcting the error upon learning that my boyfriend hasn’t seen all the Rocky movies, which happen to be streaming on Netflix (minus the last one, which we’ll borrow a copy of) and make it a Rocky movie marathon this holiday weekend.

3. | Snow in LA…

It’s no secret that it doesn’t quite feel like the holidays to me until I make a stop at the best place in LA to get in the spirit, The Grove! (Yes, you read that right). I’ve written before about why The Grove makes me happy around this time of year, so I won’t go into it again. I will say that it’s become a bit a tradition after Thanksgiving to stop at The Grove over the holiday weekend to see the 100-foot REAL Christmas tree, the lights, the music, the people, and Santa’s “mansion,” because there’s no place in LA that does it better when it comes to channeling the magic of the season. I’m willing to overlook the usually way too crowded venue, grab a hot chocolate with my guy and walk around to take it all in, just before they drop the faux snow at 7:00pm. (Hey – it’s LA and the only way we’ll ever get to channel our version of a “White Christmas.”) It makes me smile just thinking about it.

4.| Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

That aforementioned good book that I hope to lose myself in is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. It’s my next book club read that the gals selected for December and I’m excited for it. I don’t know much about it to give you a thumbs up or down since I plan to start it this week, but I’ve have heard that it’s a great saga set during the Christmas season and a wonderful way to compliment to the holidays if you’re looking for something heartwarming and charming.  (image via.)

5.| The Holidays are here…

I like to think that the holiday season officially kicks-off the day after Thanksgiving (though every store I’ve been in somehow got the memo that Halloween was an appropriate time to start shelling Christmas stuff at you). I love the idea that just a few short days from now, it’ll be time to pull out the Christmas music, make lots of cocoa, and go about the business of celebrating.  So I won’t wish you  a “Happy holidays” quite yet, but go ahead and make it a point to save my well wishes for first thing Friday morning. Happy Holidays to you (on Friday)!

I hope you find 5 reasons this week will rock for you, too. They’re there, I promise. Have a lovely week ahead! x

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Photo Diary: Thanksgiving Weekend

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{A Thanksgiving feast!}

Rather than do the traditional turkey feast, Thanksgiving was a Honey Baked Ham-filled weekend; complete with the best Bristol Farms sides ever! No shame here, we cheated and bought a wonderful catered holiday meal that we ate in many variations for the next 4 days straight. This is the caveat when you order a lot of food for only 2 people – leftover central. Ham and eggs for breakfast, ham and mashed potatoes for dinner. Every. Single. Night.

When we weren’t eating, we spent plenty of time watching movies, reading, sleeping, okay, a little more eating; and yes, general all around laziness as needed. I tried to build a weekend that would bring equal parts fun and relaxation to keep things lively, yet un-rushed. Mission accomplished.

Here’s my Thanksgiving weekend photo diary.  And p.s. I can’t even look at another piece of ham for quite some time.

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{Picking up the highlight of our Thanksgiving feast – the Honey Baked Ham got a special seat. }

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{Pumpkin pie fresh out of the oven.}

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{A stocked fridge of Bristol Farms sides. (Please excuse how ridiculously cluttered my fridge looks in this pic!)}

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{Some of the weekend’s entertainment: The Princess Bride, Ghostbusters 2 and Mary Poppins were too much fun perfect for light entertainment!}

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{Cranberry Apple Cider, the remote control, and a stack of movies.}

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{Holiday reading material.}

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{A trip to Lake Balboa to take in the view and burn some of those Holiday calories.}

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{And last, but not least: A stop to the place were Angelenos go for holiday cheer! A visit to see the 100 foot tall Christmas Tree at The Grove!}

Happy Holidays!!!

Highlights

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{Seeking: Holiday Cheer.}

It feels like LA has finally made the switch to chillier temperatures along with the now much shorter sunlit days. Fall seems to have made its grand entrance, with nods to winter seeping through. I find myself breaking out warmer coats and turning the heat on in the evenings when I get home. It seems everywhere I go, every store I walk into – turkeys and pumpkins, red and green, greet me. Indeed, the holidays are a-coming!

I thought the best way to welcome this more festive time of year would be to cross-off a little something I’ve always wanted to do on my” LA bucket-list.” It’s no secret that I get my holiday cheer from The Grove. (Yes, you read that right, The Grove). I’ve always been a sucker for the bright decorations, Santa’s mansion (that thing couldn’t possibly pass for a “cottage” – it’s bigger than my apartment!) and the 100-foot tall REAL Christmas Tree. I’ve always wanted to go to the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, but usually when I think about it, it’s already happened! This year, I was on my game and made my wish come true…well, not exactly.

The Grove’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, dubbed the Rockefeller of the West Coast, took place on Sunday, November 17th, 2013.  After an early dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, my boyfriend and I walked over to The Grove to stake out a good spot and welcome the holidays with a free concert. I had my camera ready to take lots of pictures (because this was going to a great blog post!). I was ready to sing Christmas songs with this year’s performances by Toni Braxton, Babyface, Mary J, Blige, and CeeLo Green, among others.

Yeah, so I was there for about 5 minutes.

Though we expected the nearly 10,000 people making their way to the celebration, I wasn’t prepared for how they choose to set-up the venue. I was more than happy and prepared to be in the back (way in the back) because I was NOT going to spend my entire Sunday staked out for a free concert in a shopping center.  However, I wasn’t expecting them to have already put up Santa’s Mansion either.

If you’ve even been to the Grove, Santa’s “Mansion” sits right in the middle of the shopping plaza. Essentially, Santa’s Mansion blocked the ENTIRE view of the stage. The only way to see the show as on a monitor (that wasn’t very large or very high) to see the performances. Here’s photo proof, note the tiny ass monitor:

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{note: tiny ass monitor, people everywhere and Santa’s mansion = no view of stage.}

In this moment, we had two choices. Stand in a crowd among thousands, not being able to see the action, but hearing it live (not a horrible option)….or go home and wait for the broadcast.

We chose the latter.

If I wanted to see a show on a tiny monitor, I could do that from the comfort of my couch…in my warm apartment…in my PJs. And thus begins and ends my tale of trying to grab a little holiday cheer.

The ceremony broadcasts in Los Angeles on KCAL-9, Nov. 28 (Thanksgiving Day) at 8:00 p.m. Check here for other listings.

I feel like it’s been a minute since I just said “hello” due to the film festival wrap-up as my post last Friday. Here are a few randoms on life lately. Have a great weekend!

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{Wrapping my boyfriend’s b-day gift.}

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{Where the magic happens. Especially on  Monday mornings @ Starbucks.}

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{“Selfie:” officially a word in the dictionary as of this week AND Oxford’s word of the year!}

2012 Best in Blogging: My Favorite Posts

One of the best things I did last year was start All That Glitters. I think of it as a mixture of both a guide to and celebration of life in Los Angeles. I love this city and while I am always struggling with what’s next and how to get there, I love my life too. I love this blog. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

Today, as we enter the last week of January 2013 (which is pretty hard to believe), I want to take a step back and officially close out all things 2012 with my top 10 personal favorite blog posts from the year. Each of these were not only fun to write, but I was also happy with how they turned out both in content and my somewhat mediocre photography skills. Within each of the ten posts also lies some my happiest memories of 2012.

{TEN.} Graffiti Coffee Bar – Perhaps it’s a sentimental choice because this was my first real blog post, but I think it’s also because this set the tone for how I wanted my blog to be: topical, sharply written, while saluting and celebrating my love of all things L.A.. However, even I found it completely ridiculous to even think lattes and valet parking should ever go in the same sentence. (Oh! A latte sounds so good right now! I’ll be right back…)

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{NINE.}  Making Arrangements  Me as Martha Stewart for a day (okay, maybe more like 30 minutes) trying to make my own floral arrangement with a little help from Lauren Conrad (of all people). My favorite D.I.Y. post of 2012. I was so proud of my little creation.

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{EIGHT.}  Dirty Dancing in the Cemetery – A look at my first time experiencing the super popular young L.A. thing to do on a hot summer Saturday night, a Cinespia film screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This post reflects on how I had the time of my life and the first time I’d ever seen a shooting star in the night sky. Hey, like the post says – I live in L.A.! Shout out to myself on what has to be my most cleverly titled post.

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{SEVEN.} How I Spent 100 Years in Hollywood – My night at the Hollywood Bowl celebrating Paramount Studios 100 years in the movie making  business, told with the help of George Costanza and the most notable movie music in all of cinema. A night to remember and a post that I always look back on fondly.

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{SIX.} Farmers For A Day – The day I left the city behind and headed out to the country (ok, not literally the country but it wasn’t too far from it) and spent some time on an apple farm picking fruit and hanging with the native country folk. This was a day of trying something new and it being oh so fun!

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{FIVE.} Food To Die For: El Coyote Mexican Cafe – My account of what happens when you eat at my favorite Mexican Restaurant in L.A., El Coyote. Please read carefully, you’ve been warned of the side effects of food consumption on these premises. Oh! And God bless re-fried beans!

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{FOUR.} Snow in L.A. – Psst! Hey you. Yeah, you! I’ve got a little secret to tell you. It snows in Los Angeles. No, really. Seriously! It snows right in the middle of LA and I’m letting the cat out of the bag. I loved this post because it meant that festive time of year was finally here. It was officially Christmas!

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{THREE.} Cupcakes and Cashmere L.A. Book Signing – A treat to stop by and say hello to my favorite blogger, Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere fame, at her L.A. book signing. Cheers to the art of blogging!

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{TWO.}  2012: Best in Books, Guilty Pleasure – My delicious account of the book(s) that rocked my world during the summer of 2012. It was so much fun writing this post and reliving all the delectable moments between Anastasia Steele and our dark friend, Christian Grey. (Insert mischievousness voice here) Happy reading and laters baby!

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{ONE.} Mission San Juan Capistrano – Admittedly, I like this post more because of the crisp stunning images that bring me back to such a relaxing and happy day spent on boyfriend’s birthday. This is not my wittiest post when it comes to writing (see #2 and #4 above for that fix) but I think of this day as my most memorable from 2012 and in the end, it’s these types of posts that stick with you.

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Thank you for reading All That Glitters!  I hope you enjoy the posts as much I enjoy writing them. I promise you 2013 will be filled with even more sparkle! 🙂

Highlights: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

During the Holidays, most of the fun for me comes from the build-up, immersing myself in the spirit of the season. Weeks of planning, shopping, listening to holiday music, wrapping presents, going to festive parties, stopping by The Grove, sipping warm beverages, decorating and then enjoying the warm glow of a Christmas tree; and before you know it, it’s showtime…

CHRISTMAS EVE

After a relaxing and lazy start to the day, we spent Christmas Eve in Downtown Santa Cruz walking along the quaint Pacific Avenue.  It was an afternoon perusing charming boutiques and the used book and music stores. Of course, out of all the boutique places around us, I go and buy something from The Gap (I know, which is like everywhere!). I also tried my boyfriend’s favorite cookie from his old stomping grounds (delish!) before meeting up for a casual dinner and movie with his family. We ended the night with a short drive around town to look at Christmas lights in the neighborhood. It was definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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{Strolling Pacific Avenue.}

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{Enjoying the famous Lemon Drop cookie from the Pacific Cookie Company.}

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{Admiring the marquee of the old Del Mar Theater.}

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{Inside the Del Mar. Our Christmas Eve movie was Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away in 3D. Warning: amazing visuals, super boring and shallow story line.}

CHRISTMAS DAY

Rise and shine, bright and early. Christmas day had arrived and it was filled with lots of smiles, gratitude, food and good company. Let’s just say Santa was very kind this year. It’s always the things you’ve had your eye on, but mentally filed away for another time that happen to magically appear under the tree that are my favorite. I also love a really good surprise. This year after giving and receiving gifts that couldn’t have been more perfect, my boyfriend went and did the unbelievable. The last gift opened was a paper confirmation of a 3 night hotel stay in Carmel. Our Northern California Christmas was being extended! Here are just few photo highlights that don’t even begin to capture all the highlights of that special day. I was in such a fog of happiness, I rarely took my camera out.

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{Sneak peek at some of the wrapped presents.}

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{Surprise! I’d been eyeing these awesome purple hand blown glasses from Maison Midi on La Brea for months!}

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{Picture this: A 4.5 pound bag of Hot Tamales, gift-wrapped! I didn’t even know they came this big!}

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{Victoria’s Secret gift card. Always a welcomed present.}

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{Getting ready for dinner.}

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{Hotel confirmation for a 3 night stay in Carmel!}

Highlights: Sprinkles of Joy

All That Glitters is a blog I developed to celebrate life, even if it’s in the smallest of daily pleasures and happenings, and to always find the sunshine. What I’ve come to like about writing these posts is that I’ll stop, notice something, think “this is a highlight!”, try to capture the moment visually, and in that brief minute my perspective changes. Since I write these posts at least once a week, it also forces me to always keep my eyes open to the positive around me to find my “Highlights.”

I didn’t want to end on an unhappy note right before Christmas after yesterday’s entry, so I’ll share a few special moments that did bring sprinkles of joy during trying times:

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{Every time I look over at my Christmas tree.}

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{Meeting a friend for a glass of sangria during happy hour at Pink Taco. I couldn’t get over her strawberry margarita served in a pineapple shell! It made me smile. My sangria was great but came in a mason jar. :)}

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{Getting lost in Breaking Dawn: Part 2 for a few hours on a rainy Friday night in Century City. Pretty cheesy flick (as they all are), but I’m a fan of the books and like to see the films.}

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{One last evening spent at The Grove to get some hot chocolate and much-needed Holiday cheer.}

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{On a particularity chaotic morning, I can’t tell you how amazing it was to stop in to Jamba Juice and treat myself to a large orange juice. Nothing beats fresh squeezed.}

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{The best gift wrapped present I’ve gotten so far.This sweet box of Godiva chocolates from a work colleague. Loved the leafy detailing.}

All the very best for a happy and safe Holiday season! 🙂

Snow in L.A.

Location: 189 The Grove Drive, Mid-City

Without question, my favorite place to be in Los Angeles after Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas is a shopping center of all places. You read that correctly, a shopping center. And not for the obvious “you live in L.A. so you must be the poster child for consumerism while sipping your soy latte” reason you’re thinking (okay, there would most likely be a latte involved – minus that other stuff). When L.A. needs some Christmas cheer, we get in our cars, sit in traffic, update our Facebook status frustrated about sitting in said traffic, and head to The Grove!

The Grove is the ultimate one stop shopping destination (though they seriously need to get on adding an H&M to the block, like. now.), but this isn’t why I’m in love with spending time here as we embark on the journey of the Holiday season. It’s because it’s the Mecca for getting my Holiday festivity fix…well, as much as a gal can get in L.A.

The day after Thanksgiving, we headed over to The Grove to enjoy how an outdoor mall transforms into a fantastical celebration of Christmas. Lights everywhere, wreaths hang from lamp posts, and large ornaments suspend from rooftops right above you. Santa’s huge Mansion Cottage, complete with a digital “now serving” ticket numbering system (not kidding!) as you head inside the doors to give Santa your list of demands, sits at the center of it all. (Oh, what I would ask Old Saint Nick for now as an adult!) Music fills the air; and on that particular Black Friday night, fog was appropriately present enhancing the festive vibe. All this leads you toward the grand finale: a 100 foot tall white fir Christmas tree beaming with more than 15,000 lights and 10,000 ornaments. And it’s real, I’ve checked.

{Santa’s L.A. Mansion Cottage.}

{Standing at the base of the infamous 100 foot white fur Christmas tree!}

My personal favorite (though I’m sure super cheesy to those reading this from everywhere else in the world with actual weather) is the faux snow that drops every night at 7:00pm and 8:00pm as you walk about The Grove’s main street. It takes the whole experience to another level; and in this moment, I’m like a kid again, believing in the magic of the Holidays. 🙂

{Faux snow floating in the air.}

I urge you to make at least one trip to The Grove this Holiday season (if you’re in town) to experience the magic for yourself and hey, pick up a few gifts, or better yet – make it a dinner and a movie date night with someone special. There’s something in the air that a blog post nor pictures can accurately capture. Just be sure to be outside The Pacific Theaters at 7:00pm to get the only glimpse of snow in L.A. you’ll likely ever see.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

27 days to go…

{Snow falling at The Grove.}

Food To Die For: El Coyote Mexican Cafe

Location: 7312 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, Mid-City

Hands down my favorite Mexican restaurant sits on Beverly Boulevard, down the street from The Grove, 4 blocks before La Brea Avenue. Name: El Coyote. Mission: food to die for.

I first learned about this place years ago while watching all important, heavy-hitting television at the time, The Hills (don’t judge!). Heidi and Spencer’s psycho relationship and MTV’s penchant for filming all over town were good for something!

Fast forward a few years later and it’s my favorite place to indulge occasionally in greasy, highly caloric, but worth every fat cell I get Mexican food! I stick with the tried and true Guacamole Dinner. For $13.50, I have at least four different plates in front of me – a cheese enchilada, a beef taco, refried beans, Mexican style rice, a small bowl of guacamole, and the garden salad (because it’s the only healthy thing in the meal and makes me feel less guilty for downing my stomach in cheese, I had to end on the salad).

{Guacamole Dinner.}

Nothing but the best of things to say about this place. I’ve always had great experiences with the food, the wait staff are super friendly, and the over the top decor of the restaurant is the perfect touch. The point? Get in your car and don’t stop until you’re in front of El Coyote. If you hit La Brea – you clearly didn’t read my post and need to turn around! 🙂

{Interior of the restaurant – a salute to Halloween.}

Don’t, I repeat, DO NOT even waste your time dragging you and your bestie here if you’re on a diet – you gain weight just watching the large amounts of food walk past you. Oh! And expect to be in a total “mexi-coma” after you eat here. Don’t make any other plans, other than to head straight home and veg on your couch or sprawl in bed. It’ll take a full night to recover, but I promise you, your tongue with have enjoyed the experience even if your stomach is a wee bit upset with you.

Hope to see you there!

Dylan’s Candy Bar, Los Angeles

Location: 6333 West Third Street, Mid-City

Boy, was I like a kid in a candy store a few days ago. Literally! Welcome to the newest addition to The Farmer’s Market at The Grove, Dylan’s Candy Bar. I’ve never been to the popular New York flagship location so I didn’t know what to expect other than wall-to-wall candy. I was not disappointed. The well-designed, brightly lit, and colorful interior couldn’t have been more perfect. You’re instantly in sugar land from the moment you walk in the door. The smell of fructose is overwhelmingly alive in the air. The chocolate fountain is a sight to see. Endless bulk candy and chocolate choices are all around for the taking spending.

{Chocolate fountain.}

{Bulk candy.}

At $12.99 a pound for bulk selections, the price is steep (especially since candy is naturally pretty heavy). While the different packaging options were cute and a nice souvenir, they were also on the pricey side. Don’t expect to leave with a spiffy Dylan’s branded container filled with any candy of your liking for less than $15.00. Somehow this didn’t bother me so much. The point of stores like this is to splurge and enjoy the environment, so go in with that mindset. All of this stuff is overpriced!

{Regular packaged candy selections.}

{Interior, Hot Tamales bin (yay!), specialty packaging options, goodies for sale.}

I managed to leave with 4 chocolate candy bars and only $10.00 less in my bank account. It’s funny how in stores like this you’d be willing to spend a bit more on candy, but would blow a gasket anywhere else at the thought of spending so much on sugar. The lady next to me at the register racked up $52.00! As of writing time, I have yet to try any of the candy bars (I know, I know) but I’m really looking forward to indulging in the 4 Belgian chocolate choices I walked out with: Red Velvet Cake, S’mores, Brownie Batter, and Milk Toffee Crunch.

{My purchases.}

{Halloween.}

{Registers.}

{Full store view.}