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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gjelina



I've been meaning to write about Gjelina for a couple of weeks now...

If I had a block of time (4-5 hrs) available for a "date night" (I hate the term but not sure what else to call it) and could pick any place to go to for dinner within a one hour drive, I'd go to Gjelina. Why? First, see some reviews-- here, here and here. Gjelina is definitely worth the drive from Orange County, and here's why:

1. Food. We went with two other couples and decided to share a bunch of plates. EVERY SINGLE ONE WAS DELICIOUS.  As a group, one of our favorite small plates was the Miatake Mushroom Toast with Creme Fraiche & Truffle Oil. We also devoured the desserts!! Two in particular: the Butterscotch Pot de Creme with Salted Caramel and the Warm Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp with Almond Gelato. You really can't go wrong with any choice from the menu.
2. Atmosphere. Rustic, relaxed and intimate.
3. Value. Reasonable prices, especially considering the quality.
4. Location. Gjelina is located in Venice on Abbot Kinney Boulevard~a great neighborhood for a stroll after dinner. We happened to see one of our favorite LOST actors on our stroll, so that was a bonus!
5. Intelligentsia Coffee. Right around the corner and the best coffee in town-- stop for a coffee before your hour drive home.

Note:  Book IN ADVANCE (weeks in advance!)

enjoy

Photo: Food & Wine

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Paris Collections

I know most people spend hours and hours reading the latest September issues of magazines to study fall and winter fashions but I have a little investment tip. If you don't have that kind of time {or arthritis and can't review 300 + pages of ads without feeling like you are cramping}, go out to your local bookstore and purchase Vogue Paris Collections. It provides comprehensive coverage of the runway shows from Paris, Milan, London and New York. In my opinion, it is a really wonderful option if you don't have time to review everything out there. *I used the word investment above because it is 39 U.S. dollars BUT you are paying for: no advertisements, a clean layout and organized content (by designer). Share the cost with a friend or two. It is worth it!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

NHM


We decided to venture out to LA over the weekend to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. I had never been there, even though I've been living in Orange County practically all my life. It turned out to be a great experience! There was an awesome Dino Hall, a major part of a seven-year $135 million transformation of the museum to be completed by 2013. {Note: I am not a dinosaur person, if you couldn't tell.} The hall not only had huge T. rex and Triceratops skeletons, but also it included displays of paleontologists’ tools and provided a unique layout, which made you appreciate the process of dinosaur discovery. Between the Dino Hall and the huge mammal dioramas that realistically represented creatures and habitats from around the world, my son was in absolute heaven. I highly recommend exploring the NHM, especially if you live in Southern California.

Probably our favorite diorama (taken with iPhone):





Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy Weekend!

I couldn't resist posting this beautiful cover from Vogue Enfants...à bientôt!





Photo: Habitually Chic

Lovely Locks

Inspiration for my haircut later today...




Photo

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cocktail Time

I like J.Crew but I love J.Crew's creative director, Jenna Lyons. Amazing style, always fresh and classic yet bold at the same time. Her house is what drew me in...



I was so inspired by this picture, that I actually bought the Playsam classic Roadster Saab for my son's first birthday. Sadly, it became more of a decorative item than a real toy but we still love it. :)




SO WHEN I WALK INTO J.CREW, I PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS...LIKE THIS COCKTAIL RING:


Simple and unique (and less than forty dollars!)...a perfect, fun cocktail ring. {P.S.~ it looks even better in person}

Photos 1 & 3: Ken Levenson Architect P.C.; Photo 2: Domino via Habitually Chic

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cake

I love pretty cakes. Ever since I was a little one, I remember getting really, really, really excited about the cake at birthday parties. When I look back at pictures of my brother, relatives or friends blowing out candles at these various parties, you'll always find me front row, center, staring at the cake. Today, whenever I throw a party or get together, there is usually cake involved. Here's my point: I want an excuse to order this cake {in their Fleur de Sel flavor} from Vanilla Bake Shop!! Isn't she a beauty?

Monday, August 22, 2011

For the Chic New Mom

Today's post is dedicated one of my sweet girlfriends who is also a new mom. One of the many, many things new moms contemplate purchasing is, of course, a "diaper bag." I have a few personal rules and a few suggestions to share...hopefully these will help (you) narrow down your options. If anyone else has some helpful tips, suggestions or comments, I would love your input!

1. If you "normally" wouldn't buy a paisley/poke-a-dot/flowery purse, no need to start now. I know some of the baby bags out there from companies that specialize in just that- baby bags- are cute, but after a while, you'll wonder why you are carrying around a huge orange/green/brown paisley purse. No need to match your diaper bag to the baby's room decor. :)

2. Don't buy a heavy bag. With all the baby stuff you'll be squeezing inside, you'll be weighed down if your purse is heavy as well.

3. Buy a purse with a fabric that is easy to clean. I prefer bags made of nylon.

4. Pockets are nice but you don't need that many. There should definitely be one or two for bottles and perhaps two more for smaller necessities.

5. Decide how many purses you want to carry while you are out. Diaper bag + purse OR just a Diaper bag. I prefer things more streamlined so I would just use a diaper bag and put my small make-up/necessities bag and wallet inside. Therefore, if you use your diaper bag as your main handbag, you better LOVE it.

6. Changing Pad is essential so make sure the diaper bag either comes with one or has a space for one (that you can buy separately). Special Note: I think it's important for the Changing Pad space to be separate from the space where you put baby clothes, pacifiers etc. so make sure there is a separate compartment or holder for the Changing Pad. No matter how clean you try to keep the Changing Pad, I'm sure it's usually not as clean as you'd like!

7. Hands-Free: I think it's important to be able to be hands-free with baby so I really prefer the messenger style bags. Alternatively, there are some shoulder bags with comfortable straps that don't slip off your shoulder. {Note: All of the bags below have long shoulder straps even if not pictured}

Here are some of my favorites that are currently on the market...












Bags Available Here: Marc by Marc Jacobs, Ju Ju Be, Prada, Storksak, Tory Burch, Kate Spade

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Feeling Blue

Denim, white shirt/blouse and these earrings...



Earrings by DANNIJO

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

San Sebastián

Since mentioning the Barcelona Bar on Monday, I've had Spain on my mind. Specifically, Donostia-San Sebastián, a city located in the north of Spain. I've only been to San Sebastián once and it was right after finishing graduate school...I traveled with a group of close friends and we toured all of Spain together but San Sebastián was the city that made the biggest impression on me.

San Sebastián is a small seaside town with a picturesque coastline that has it all and exudes it with a casual sophistication~ a lovely beach, chic shopping, music (every July it is the host of the longest running jazz festival in Europe), film (San Sebastián International Film Festival), art (just a short drive from Guggenheim Museum Bilbao), cuisine (sublime seafood, tapas, tapas, tapas and San Sebastián and its surrounding area is home to a high concentration of restaurants boasting Michelin stars) and a wonderful mix of culture and ambiance (the city was selected as one two cities to serve as the European Capital of Culture for 2016). There are your quick facts.


For me, as I walked the beautiful streets of the small city, I kept thinking, "I must come back and bring my (future) husband"...one day soon, hopefully. :)




from Restaurante ni neu


photo 1; photo 2; photo 3

Monday, August 15, 2011

Barcelona Bar

Happy Monday! Busy summer weekends are a lot of fun but the Monday after one of those fun weekends, not so much. On a happy note, I discovered I had one piece of one of my favorite chocolates left in my purse so that will be my reward for getting through the day today. And, I have to share this: if you or anyone in your life needs to have a sugar-free chocolate bar, Vosges make one that is seriously addictive called the Sugar-Free Barcelona Bar. It is made with hickory smoked almonds + Fleur de Sel grey sea salt + creamy, deep milk chocolate. I usually have no problem finding it at Whole Foods. The back of the chocolate bar has instructions on how to eat it..."How to Enjoy An Exotic Candy Bar."  Happy reading.





photo

Friday, August 12, 2011

Theophile & Patachou

With all of the options for baby furniture and decor around, sometimes it's just nice to see a simple color scheme for welcoming baby in the home. There is just something so beautiful about having a newborn surrounded in whites and creams. When I was pregnant a few years back and frantically trying to figure out how to decorate my baby room, I discovered the website for Theophile & Patachou. They are a Belgian company that produces simple, elegant baby products in neutral palettes. I was hoping they'd open a store in the U.S. but they haven't yet. Hopefully, they will one day because I think they'd have a lot of fans here as well.

The flagship store is located in Brussels...so gorgeous.




and the inside is just as chic...





I love the use of light denim in their collections...



Of course, they have a matching stroller...




photos 4, 5 & 6: Au Berceau d'Or

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Clutch It

It's hard not to notice all of the beautiful clutches designers are creating these days. It appears that the selection of clutches available at department stores and designer boutiques has doubled since last year. I love clutches because they somehow feel more special than a purse you just throw over your shoulder. They are held close to the body and they really make a statement. Here are some of my favorites (without taking price into consideration!)...

Vino envelope clutch by Raven Kauffman Couture at Vivre


Raffia Tassel Clutch by Anya Hindmarch at Vivre


Bottega Veneta Python Turn-Lock Clutch at Neiman Marcus


Chloe Sally Python Clutch at Neiman Marcus



 Rochas Tab Clutch at Barneys
  
Balenciaga Arena Giant Envelope at Barneys

 
Derek Lam Evie Clutch at Barneys



Zara XL Fashion Clutch at Zara
See by Chloe Rodas Leather Bag at Net-A-Porter


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Need A Reminder Every Day...

...and that is why I love, love, love this collage. This is something to follow every day. If you are a visual person like me, perhaps this will help you too. To your health!





photo collage from: A Pair and a Spare via Everything Fabulous

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Giovanna

When I think of Fashion, I think of Giovanna...below are some of my favorite looks of Giovanna Battaglia, the Italian beauty that just has an eye for what works. {On a side note-- when asked who her style icon is by New York Magazine, she responded, "The lawyer of my mom in Milano — she is my fashion icon. She dresses so well — it's serious fashion — in a business power suit or power dress, but still like super sexy and glamorous. When I see these women I’m super happy." That was NOT what I was expecting from her! I could use a few tips as to how to dress to work from a Milano lawyer. :-)}









photos 1, 2, 3 & 4: Sartorialist; photo 5: Garance Dore; photo 6: Michaela Dosamantes via T Magazine Blog

Monday, August 8, 2011

Discover Art

Happy Monday, everyone! Just kidding, but you really can't do anything about Mondays so I'm just going with it. Anyways, a topic that's been on my mind lately is art. I'm not sure if it's living in Orange County or just being too busy with work and being a mama but I've felt really out of it when it comes to art. I do see a lot of artwork online through blogs and online magazines but I don't think that counts, really. I never know the story of the artist or anything about the piece and of course it's not the same as seeing it in person and experiencing it's true effect on you.  That's why I've fallen for NOWNESS. Yes, it is online but it's a beautifully presented showcase of contemporary culture and highlights topics such as art, fashion, gastronomy, photography, architecture, film, music, design and travel. Each article gives you just enough information to know whether you want to learn more about the artist and explore their work further. The space used for the presentations is a crisp, white background which allows the artist to shine. Each post is a work of art in itself and has totally inspired me and made me fall in love with seeking out art again. I now have a short list of artists/photographers that I check regularly to see if they will be exhibiting work in OC, LA or San Diego. Check out some of the amazing photos below...


Dramatic transformation of Piazza del Duomo by the brilliant Massimo Vitali



From the collection of Peggy and Solomon Guggenheim


Sofia Coppola

 photos: Nowness

Friday, August 5, 2011

Garden Party

Have you ever looked at a picture of room prepped for a party and wished you were there? For me, it's rare because I need to know about the ambiance, the people, the food and the music in order to really have that desire. BUT, when I saw this picture a few years ago on Vogue's online gallery highlighting a Metropolitan Museum of Art gala, I had an immediate reaction-- why can't I get invited to parties like that??!!!!! So feminine, so pretty, so festive...such an (anthropologie) fantasy. The gala's inspiration was actually early-20th century artist-couturier Paul Poiret. What girl wouldn't have fun surrounded by all this beauty? I decided to save the picture as inspiration for a bridal shower or even baby shower or garden/tea themed birthday party.  It would just require a visit to the fabric store, some mismatched china and some pretty flower centerpieces. Isn't it just dreamy?


photo: vogue

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sustainable Fine Jewelry: Monique Pean

I have a passion for unique jewelry. One of the most beautiful collections I've come across is from New York City designer Monique Pean. She creates sustainable fine jewelry that is socially and environmentally conscious while using conflict-free materials and recycled gold. Wow. The materials she uses have asymmetrical shapes and imperfections that truly make them unique and special. And, the combination of an earthy yet elegant style is so hard to come by...
{P.S.-I also love the fact that she started off her career as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs, but her love of design led her to her current flourishing career as a jewelry designer.}
I think you can design an entire house with the timeless color schemes of her pieces...
Photo: Marshall Troy/Courtesy of Monique Pean via Vogue
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