With Gratitude…

make-a-wish-atg-final_With Gratitude

I’ve been feeling out of sorts as of late and though I’m pretty aware of the reasons for it, I’m also trying to remember that it goes with the ebb and flow of life. It’s only natural, apart of the ride. Much of what’s contributing to this feeling I realize is a signal that it’s time for a change. I’m trying to work out what I feel the next steps should be to bring me into better alignment with “what next?” but it’s producing a range of emotions that is another story altogether. Rather than dwell on it too much, I know the best way to deal with a flux in your mood as you work through anything in life is to continue to live in gratitude. It’s when you focus on the good, what brings you joy, however big or small, that makes the journey all the more meaningful…and a little easier.

I try to live by the philosophy of keeping your spirits in the right perspective, even as you progress through a range of emotions. Of course, this is a constant conversation I have to have with myself when dealing with the unknown. The interesting thing is that oftentimes whatever is nagging you tends to works itself out, or the right guidance will come just when you need it to. So though I’ve been in a pretty blah mood this week, I’m with gratitude for the small things, waiting until that ah-ha moment comes and I find my next step. These 11 come to mind:

  • As the weather continues to cool in LA (finally!) and it actually starts to feel like fall (finally!), my (very girly) addiction to candles is alive and well again. Nothing beats the warm glow and the heavenly scent that makes home feel all the more like my special refuge.
  • 7 words: Gilmore. Girls. Is. Now. Streaming. On. Netflix. (Amid the glow of those aforementioned candles, will be much “ass on couch time” re-living one of my favorite shows as a teen.)
  • I recently discovered Trader Joe’s Belgian Butter Almond Thins and I can already tell this is going to a be problem. I can’t put them down. Yum!
  • The one thing I never take for granted: being in good health.
  • The other thing I never take for granted: a good job and a paycheck.
  • The other, other thing I never take for granted: a warm place to sleep at night.
  • Iced vanilla lattes.
  • My Stinker – who makes me breakfast every weekend…and readily helps in my coffee addiction.
  • Along with the switch in seasons means (finally!) getting to rock scarves – the ultimate fall staple.
  • Birchbox makes me happy.
  • The smell of a Stargazer lily, arguably my favorite flower if I had to pick one.

I’m with gratitude…

What are you grateful for?

Happy hump day to you! x

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5 Reasons This Week Will Rock!

5 Reasons ATG FINAL

It was one of those weekends that just didn’t feel long enough. All I seem to recall was a wedding on Saturday night, seeing another gal rock pretty much the exact same dress as me at said wedding (but to help with the sting some, it did look slightly better on me. 😉 ); 2 lemon drops, a trip to Target, a stop at Trader Joe’s and somehow it’s already Monday. I’m not too stoked about this, but understand that one cannot just wish their life away incessantly waiting for the weekend to arrive once again. This new week brings a few fun things to look forward to.

Here are 5 reasons this week will rock:

#1. Two words: Restorative. Yoga. (I’m so excited about my first restorative yoga class in ages! Yes, this is about the easiest form of yoga you can do – you basically pay to take a nap for an hour and a half…and I’m okay with this.)

#2. Joy the Baker’s Fresh Blueberry and Mint Lemonade (hello!) coming to a taste bud near me! This looks so refreshing, I can’t stand it nor wait to whip up a batch. The only hurdle is that I neglected to get the blueberries when I was at the grocery store yesterday. No worries. I’m all over it and will report back.

#3. I’m REALLY trying to get into Orange is the New Black. I was semi-interested after the first episode, totally bored by the second, though much less bored by the third. I’m aiming to give it some time to see what all the fuss is about. It’s one of the most buzzed about shows on TV currently, however, I’m just not seeing why as of yet. I’m giving it 3 more episodes/nights on the couch to suck me in, otherwise I’m moving on.

#4. Trader Joe’s Chicken Lasagna. Picture this: a $4.99 lasagna that’s pre-made in the refrigerated section that merely requires a gal to pop it in the oven for 45 minutes (I like it almost burnt), have a gourmet meal, AND get at least 3 nights worth of grub out of it? This gem, my current obsession, will be my dining companion over Orange is the New Black.

#5. Starting my next book club read: MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche.

These are 5 reasons this week will rock! I hope yours does too!

See you Wednesday!



{Taking in a moment of beauty during the chaos of this week.}

I know I’ve been an awful blogger this week, but I have a good excuse…at least I think so.

Life has been pretty insane lately on my end and I’m just now catching my breath long enough to be able to sit down, focus, and write. It’s been really busy at work and while dealing with the day-to-day, I’ve also been working on this big project for the last 2 weeks that I wanted to get done right, but that also weighed on me quite heavily because of my rather “perfectionistic tendencies” (that’s a cool new term I just came up with at this exact moment!). Needless to say, it was such a huge relief to complete it and hit the “send” button yesterday to finally get it off my plate!

Now that I’ve fully recovered from my recent bout with the common cold and I’m trying to re-balance and catch-up on life stuff once again, I’ve been able to get to the all important things that I haven’t had (or in certain cases made) the time to get to…(like blogging). Then again it’s been so crazy that you should’ve seen my fridge not too long ago (pictured below), that’s how “off” I’ve been lately. After a much-needed trip to Trader Joe’s to stock up on groceries (yay, fresh produce!); finally deciding on my next book (that I know you’ll laugh at me about if I actually say what it is because it’s pretty trashy novel-esque – so I won’t for now!); along with finishing up that huge project and making a full recovery from my cold, it’s safe to say things are looking up!

I’m SO, SO, SO looking forward to the long holiday weekend! There’s still some more life stuff I need to catch-up on (like cleaning my bathroom, for one…hooray! NOT.) but Sunday evening cannot come any faster…but not too fast – I want to savor the weekend as long as possible. I’ll be at the Hollywood Bowl with my favorite person at my favorite place in all of L.A. I made a visit there this time last year, and had the time of my life. I’m sure this year will be even more magical. We’ll be celebrating a night of movies and music under the stars again with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and conductor, David Newman, but this time for The Big Picture: A Night at the Oscars.

I can’t wait to share how the evening goes with you next week and I promise you’ll hear from me more than once!

Until then, here are a few more highlights from a very busy week. See you soon! 🙂


{When life gets in the way and you haven’t been to the grocery store in 2 weeks.}


{A trip to the Arclight to see You’re Next. It’s an intentionally campy horror flick, but a pretty good time.}


{A wonderful afternoon at The Annenberg Space for Photography to see their most recent exhibition – Helmet Newton: White Women, Sleepless Nights, Big Nudes. It closes September 8th.}


So, we all know it’s well into July. It’s summer. It’s raining?

In what has to be a first in my lifetime as far as I can remember – it’s been raining in LA for the last few days on and off and it’s really throwing me off my game. The caveat is that it’s still been rather hot. My A/C has been on, yet I can hear the faint pitter-patter of raindrops hitting against it. It’s made things all the more strange as I’ve navigated what admittedly has to be a rather forgettable week overall.

A small dilemma that’s been weighing on my mind lately has been what to do about my yoga practice. I’ve been doing yoga on and off for years now and at the beginning of this year, I decided it was time to return to a solid and consistent practice. I scored an awesome Groupon to a new yoga studio nearby. 20 classes for $45! For the last 6 months, I’ve found myself in downward dog nearly every Tuesday night and now that it’s time to purchase a membership, I can’t bring myself to justify the expense. I’m more than happy to purchase classes, but I will have to find another studio within my budget. Membership is a bit pricey, though likely not when you compare it to places, like say, YogaWorks.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m getting Groupons almost every week with the similar appeal to other yoga studios and we have a full-service gym (that’s free) with classes (for a reasonable fee) at work – but I’ve grown to really like this particular studio and my awesome yoga teacher. 6 months ago, I could barely hold plank pose and now I find myself relishing it because I feel how much stronger I now am. It’s empowering when you can literally feel and see progress.

For the time being, I think I’ll give the yoga classes at work a go since they are decently priced, but I will keep an eye out for any other enticing Groupons. As much as I find that I do like doing something good for my body and taking the time to connect with myself, I know the sole way to keep me motivated is to know that I paid for it! I’m not one to waste money.

Despite the crappy weather and saying goodbye to my beloved yoga studio, this week brought a few bright moments.


{Experimenting with a bold lip to change things up. I don’t usually wear lipstick.}

I'm So Excited_Landmark Theaters

{A weeknight trip to the Landmark to see I’m So Excited. Honestly, not Almodóvar’s best film, but a few funny moments.}


{Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallows. A new kitchen staple.}

Birchbox June Products Individual

{I made my first full-sized Birchbox purchase (using my reward points – it only cost $12!). It’s my favorite new beauty find, Suki’s Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser.}


{A moment of sunshine & solitude before the rain.}

Have a good weekend. It looks like LA sunshine is on the way again.

A Holiday Party Hit

My first holiday party of the season was on a chilly Thursday night. The premise was simple: bring yourself, bring food, and bring 5 of your favorite thing for a little gift exchange.

Since I knew I would be spending the evening with my more health conscious girlfriends, I wanted to bring something that was original, healthy, but still had a touch of decadence to it. (It was a party after all!) I did not, however, want to bring store-bought cookies from Trader Joe’s that would just sit on the counter untouched by the end of the night (like I did last year). It came to me rather quickly thanks to an old Pinterest find from earlier this summer. I wanted to do a dessert-type dish and I wanted to do something that I actually took the time to make (no matter how simple it might have been).

Strawberries (healthy) + chocolate (decadent) = the perfect party treat (that your incessantly dieting friends will actually eat).

An added bonus, besides the irresistible pairing of strawberries and chocolate, was presenting them in a unique way by stuffing them, rather than dipping them (there’s the originality).

(Click here for the recipe).


{Chocolate-filled strawberries.}

As for the gift exchange, the idea was to bring 5 of your favorite thing that was $6.00 max. Each person’s name would go into a hat 5 times and we’d each draw 5 names (minus your own) to pass your gifts out to after a small introduction as to why it was a favored item of yours. At the end of the night, you’ll have 5 different new favorite treasures from your friends.

I knew instantly what I would bring from the moment I learned of our gift exchange: L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Femme Fatale Collection nail polish in Tangerine Crush. I’ve already raved about it as one of the great beauty finds of 2012 (now you know why 5 were featured in the post). Since I’m all about presentation, I wanted to give out my goodies in a special way. I got 5 super cute Chinese style take out gift boxes from Cost Plus and placed the nail polish inside with a touch of tissue paper. Voilà!


{L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Femme Fatale Collection nail polish in Tangerine Crush.}


{Gift boxes.}

The chocolate-filled strawberries and nail polish in these awesome gift boxes were a holiday hit! And not one strawberry was left over after our potluck-style party. Take that, store-bought cookies! 🙂

The Christmas Project

Welcome to December! And if we’re lucky, we’ll make it through the end of the world into an uncharted 2013 calendar year. Gotta love those Mayans! They certainly know how to stir up some drama. Couldn’t they have at least waited until AFTER Christmas to dub civilization over? That way, we at least get to die near our Christmas trees with a full stomach and new toys surrounding us? I suspect it will be pretty anti-climactic in the end, kind of like how Y2K came and went. This doesn’t mean that we won’t hear about it for the entire Holiday filled weeks ahead. So prepare mentally now for your Facebook feed to change tone; or not much at all if you have sarcastic, someecards.com loving friends like I do.

I’ve decided to challenge myself this month to not only survive the end of the world, but to grab 2012 by the balls and go out with a bang (probably not the best word choice in light of the end of time coming soon?). I really liked doing this for Halloween. I guess in theory it won’t be much different, you’re just swapping out pumpkins and horror for gingerbread and cheer! Being the slightly (okay, more than slightly) O.C.D. lover of setting goals and crossing things off lists that I am, I’ve decided to make festivity priority number one this Christmas. Here are my month long to-dos, a.k.a. – The Christmas Project:

1. Decorate my apartment.


This year I want my very own Christmas tree! I made my first decorative purchase last week while at Trader Joe’s. This real mini poinsettia plant. It even had glitter on it! I couldn’t resist.

2. Watch at least 2 Christmas themed movies a week.


This one will be completely do-able for me. Aside from being a total movie whore naturally, I already kicked this task off with my first festive flick, Love Actually (I never get sick of this one). Also on my list to bring in the cheer: Home Alone, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Family Stone, Trapped In Paradise (suggested by the BF), and a slew of others I’ll be watching thanks to Moviefone’s blog entry.

3. Get Christmas shopping done well before Christmas.


I have a bit of a problem with waiting until the last minute to start Christmas shopping and then I’m in the throes of total chaos kicking myself. Not because I’m in the chaos (I kinda like being with other “last-minuters”) but because it takes circling 30 minutes just to find a parking space to even get in the door! Then again, I do tend to get the most creative and inspired when under pressure. Here’s an actual picture I took of the Westfield Culver City mall 2 Christmas’ ago on December 23rd (on my like 1 megapixel Blackberry I had at the time). What the heck was I doing in a mall 2 days before Christmas? This year, thanks to Pinterest’s awesome new secret boards; I’ll be visually prepared, organized, and done in a more timely manner…December 22nd, the latest. 🙂

4. Bake something festive.

1-Blog Pics{Photos courtesy of Pinterest and someone who stole them from someone else, who stole from someone else, etc..}.

I can’t decide if it will be cupcakes, brownies, or cookies – but they better look like snowmen, Christmas trees, a star, or something. These Pinterest photos I’ve been collecting (since like July) give you an idea of what I’m talking about!

5. Lots of Hot Cocoa.


Again, I started this to-do already. My first official hot chocolate of the season, complete with whipped cream, captured above.

6. Be present.

Literally, be present. Not in a gift giving sense, but to really slow down and enjoy this time of year: the weather, the decorations while walking the street, my closet full of scarves, holding warm beverages, smiling at strangers, running up my credit card, parties, movies, shopping, wrapping presents, listening to Christmas music, and spending time with people I love to be around.

These are my Christmas to-do’s. I’ll report back after the holidays.



Highlights: The Weekend

It was a pretty relaxing, non-eventful weekend on my end. I’m usually running about town, obsessing about what to blog about for the upcoming week. Two days of lying low, listening to the rain, renting embarrassingly cheesy (and sometimes just plain bad) movies that I never get the chance to watch alone, and sipping my first wine cooler (yes, wine cooler…don’t judge) in years was simply fun. Since it’ll be a short writing week because of the Holiday, I thought I’d share some highlights from my weekend because I’ve really come to enjoy writing these posts…

My first cup of coffee for the weekend. This isn’t super extraordinary for me on a Saturday morning; but what makes this cup of coffee a special one, was that this was the first time I used this cup and saucer. Awhile back, a former colleague of mine was headed to France for a few weeks on vacation, and sweetly asked if he could bring anything back for me. Since I’ve always had this fantasy of sitting in a french cafe sipping espresso, I told him I wanted a cup set from France so that I could channel it from the States. I packed it away a few years ago and after moving, came across it and thought it’s time to channel that French experience. I can’t wait to have the real version someday.

 I spent a lot of time on the couch right next to my remote control and hit Redbox more times than I care to admit (okay, three times this weekend and 6 movies later…).

I re-discovered my love of cheese and crackers! Specifically, my new obsession with Gouda cheese of all things. Add some multi-grain crackers from Trader Joe’s and a few red grapes and I had my go-to snack for the weekend.

Ah, flowers! Something I love to have around me when I know I’ll actually be home to enjoy them.

Hollywood Farmers’ Market

Location: Ivar & Selma Avenue, Between Hollywood and Sunset Blvd, Hollywood

Somehow just being at the farmers’ market makes me feel healthier. There’s something so grounding and earthy walking vendor to vendor around organic produce, exotic foods, strawberry lemonade, warm kettle corn, fresh flowers, plants, handmade jewelry, and even live lobsters (yikes!). And of course, because you’ve spent all this money on things that expire rather quickly – you’re forced to get creative and chow down on your healthy purchases all week long.

{P.S. they’re alive!}

The Hollywood Farmers’ Market is a great place to spend a Sunday morning stocking up on produce and fresh flowers for the week ahead. I’ve been there so many times that lately I haven’t been treating it as a savored experience, but more of a “get what you need and get out of there” errand run. This has become my go to place if I’m in the mood for real fresh hot-out-of-the-kettle kettle corn, and the Greek flat bread I use to make mini homemade pizzas.

{My favorite kettle corn.}

While this place can get pretty crowded, it’s not very big. Luckily, once you learn your way around it’s not so bad. Just mentally prepare (as you always should roaming the LA streets) for a little congestion, grab a latte, and relax. I personally like the vibe of fellow semi and full health conscious nuts around me in their Sunday casual best, filling their reusable shopping bags. The Hollywood farmers’ market has such a positive and unique energy strolling, taste testing, people watching, listening to the street performers, and discovering a type of fruit or veggie you’d never even heard of before. Happens EVERY time I’m here.

While the summer season is officially behind us, there’s still much to discover as the seasons change and fruits and vegetables rotate out with it. While I’m a Trader Joe’s gal at heart, and don’t make the farmers’ market a weekly outing as many do, nothing replaces the experience of being at one.

Girl Night In

The long holiday weekend started off on the right note (if I do say so myself). I spent my Thursday night celebrating with a girl night in. Girl night in? Yes, a girl night in. A night to be home alone and do those things that are completely girly, yet make you feel like a million bucks because you took some time to focus on you. I wanted a night to decompress and prep for the next 4 busy, but fun-filled, days off to come. This included an evening dedicated to a little self-pampering, some relaxation, good food, a glass (or two) of wine, the ultimate “girl night in” flick; followed by some reading while the iPod did its thing filling my humble abode with just the right music. By the time I made it to bed, I had completely reset from the work week and was ready for a very special weekend. Posts to come on all the labor day weekend festivities! Here are some of my tricks to the ultimate girl night in:

{DIY hydrating facial using some of my favorite Dermalogica products.}

{DIY mani/pedi. China Glaze nail polish, color: Sexy Silhouette.}

{Girl night in flick: Sex and the City: The Movie.}

{A glass of my favorite white wine, Moscato.}

{Trader Joes’ BBQ Chicken Pizza. Fresh from the oven and super yummy!}

{Current read: The Cider House Rules by John Irving.}

What are your girl night in tricks? Please feel free to leave me a comment below. I’m always looking for new ideas!

Breakfast in Bed

What makes me feel like I’ve finally arrived into adulthood? It’s not the college degree that I’ll be paying for until I die. It’s not even the fact that I get up every morning, get dressed (in something fabulous!) and drive to work. It’s those times when you realize you can do those odd-ball things you like to do simply because you want to and you can. You don’t have to run it by anyone, ask your mom, or justify yourself. The situation is completely within your power. In essence, it’s the liberation from that power.

Recently, I was home one afternoon craving breakfast and some R&R after having spent the morning running errands around town in 100 degree weather. I sat, looked at the clock, thought about making something more appropriately lunch-like, and thought to myself, “why not?”

I promptly got up and made myself some bacon, eggs and french toast. Okay, I just reheated the french toast you buy from the frozen section at Trader Joe’s (these are delish by the way and it does still count as cooking!). I poured myself a glass of orange juice, pulled out my breakfast tray and set it up in bed. I turned on a DVD and for the next two full hours played the adult card, savoring every minute of it. It was a small pleasure but the older I get, the more I really appreciate these moments. Since everyday cannot be about big events and large-scale happenings, it’s these moments that add up to bring more smiles, happiness, and glitter to my life.