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The Winding Road

20 Sep

I always enjoy getting away from the city.

Even if it’s just a scenic drive through the Angeles National Forest, I love sightseeing. The worries of so many yesterdays melt away as I absorb the beauty of my surroundings.

Life is full of twists and turns and the path to achieving your dreams isn’t always straight. Sometimes, you have to take the longer way, a way that seems to veer away from your intended goal. But having a great set of friends makes things so much better.

As for the changing seasons, I’m starting to feel it. The sun goes down earlier, the wind chill is picking up, and people are pulling out sweaters, scarves, and boots.

LA seasons aren’t as dynamic as other places, but it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy cold weather gear. I can’t wait to bust out the heavier coats and jackets as I fully intend to take advantage of the crisp autumn air.

Right now, I’m obsessed with biker boots.

I got a cheap pair from Forever 21 and I’ve been trying to wear them as much as possible. Some may say it hits at an awkward length and it can make you look shorter, but I don’t care. To me, it’s awesome.

Outfit Details: Express pullover sweater- XS, Madewell jeans – 24, Free People watch pendant, random scarf, Forever 21 boots

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Weekend Recap

13 Sep

Even though everyone is talking about Fall, I’m holding onto the last remaining days of summer.

A quick trip to see some pretty flowers makes it feel like summer. I love gardens and checking out different floral species. It’s so crazy how similar they are in DNA, but they exhibit such varying attributes that make them look so distinctive.

I wish I charged my camera before I went because it died and I had to use a camera phone instead. Still, the experience is worth more than the photos.

On Sunday, I went to one of the last family dinners at my grandparent’s house. They’re remodeling soon and they’re moving….downstairs. It’s good because then, they don’t have to take a flight of stairs everyday.

I always enjoy what they make…nine dishes for 12 people…that’s way more than enough food and variety for us all.

And another random addition to the weekend…I took a hip hop class with one of my friends.

It was fun learning a couple new dance moves but today, I was super sore. I guess it’s more intensive than I thought, but still enjoyable. A bit of cardio and some sassy moves kept me entertained for the two hour class. Hip hop isn’t in my blood…but it never hurts to try.

How was your weekend readers? Did you try something new or stick to the ol’ routine?

Labor Day Thoughts

6 Sep

Hope you’re all  having a great Labor Day weekend!

I’m being a bit of a homebody, but it’s nice to get the day off.

I recently stopped by a new restaurant and even though I’ve only been there once, it’s comforting. Time moves slower and I can breathe easier. It’s strange that a restaurant can be a place of solace, but this one is just that. Life can be pretty crazy and sometimes, restaurants are the few places that feel inviting and welcoming.

They kindly ask how you’re doing, how you like the food, and they don’t rush you out.

When I look around, I notice that I’m not the only one who feels this way. There are people alone with nary a soul to help carry their troubles and they lay it all out when they’re sitting at the table. Some seek to connect and chat away with the wait staff as if they are long lost friends. Others lash out, their pent-up frustration explodes on the nearby busboy.

I don’t pretend to know why people do things, I only know myself.

For me, there are moments when being alone isn’t as bad as being lonely. This video pretty much sums up what I think.

It’s not always lonely.

Memories of Summer

31 Aug

Last year, my summer memories were mostly about food.

This year, it’s about people.

I did more free local things instead of elite VIP events. In a way, I’m starting to understand how I fit into the bigger context of the city. You don’t need to travel to exotic locations to re-orient yourself, just go to a different part of town.

I discovered that LA is a world within a city.

There’s the glamorous side of LA with the celebrities, the parties, and the symbols of wealth. But there’s also the invisible side of LA filled with suffering, struggle, and poverty.

There are people every day trying to get by, trying to be the next big thing, and trying to just be.

When I look at these photos, I wonder about the people in them.

Who are they? What are their lives like?

How did they end up in Los Angeles?

This little exercise puts everything into perspective and helps me realize that my no-shopping ban is trivial compared to what some of these people must worry about on a daily basis.

Why Do You Shop?

24 Aug

After a no-shopping weekend, I wondered how I got into the habit of shopping every week?

I’m sure it was a slippery slope combined with boredom that sent me to the mall or thrift store every weekend looking for something to buy. At first, I just wanted to window shop and look at pretty things. But looking led to touching the items, and touching led to trying it on, and if it looked good on me, I was quickly justifying the purchase in my head…and before you know it…I’m walking out the store with a few less dollars and a smile on my face.

Oh, but you can afford it!

You deserve a reward!

It was on sale!

You did the happy dance when it fit!

The cost per wear is practically zero since you’ll wear it all the time!

I keep telling myself these little things to rationalize my purchases but they really don’t help the situation.

The end of the month draws nearer and my closet has more items that I intended. Sure, I didn’t buy another plain white tee, but do I really need another item? That’s when I decided to put a small shopping ban. Two weeks of no-shopping….sounds simple enough.

But why am I  counting down the days?

How about you readers? Why do you shop…is it out of necessity, entertainment, or something totally different?

Birthday Dinner at The Bazaar

20 Aug

I mentioned that I wasn’t planning on doing anything for my birthday and that was somewhat true until my boyfriend surprised me with an amazing dinner at the SLS hotel…The Bazaar by José Andres. We went there before for afternoon tea, but we never tried their dinner so it was a totally different experience.

My boyfriend is awesome.

This place was definitely a hotspot where people wanted to see and be seen. I didn’t notice any celebrities, but it didn’t matter because the atmosphere was electric. There were plenty of trendy scenesters, older wine-lovers, and a slew of European guests that made this place kind of random but it was still sophisticated, polished, and so LA.

The food was visually interesting and delicious too. I’m adventurous with food, so I’ll pretty much eat anything, but I love figuring flavors and unique combinations of ingredients. The Bazaar fulfilled my little foodie fantasy.

Enjoy the food porn at this tapas bar! =)

Tortilla De Patatas “New Way” * potato foam, egg 63, caramelized onions

King Crab Raspberries, Raspberry Vinegar

Foie Gras quince, toasted brioche sandwiches

Sautéed Wild Mushrooms Hazelnut Praline

Chipirones En Su Tinta Baby Squid * with own ink

Ottoman Carrot Fritters apricots, pistachio sauce

Jicama Wrapped Guacamolé micro cilantro, corn chips

Apple And Fennel manchego cheese, walnuts, sherry vinegar

Baby Japanese Peaches burrata, hazelnuts, arugula

I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday dinner!

My faves:

  • Tortilla de Patata
  • Chipirones En Su Tinita
  • Jicama Wrapped Guacamole
  • Baby Japanese Peaches

Everything at The Bazaar was very tasty but those four items really stood out in terms of taste, presentation, and inventiveness.

A great end to a good day.

Happy Friday everyone!

The Neutral Zone

18 Aug

Outfit Details: BCBG dress + belt – XXS, DIY necklace (gift), Aldo pumps

When I’m feeling lazy, I just want to put on a dress and get going. It takes too much effort to think about separates sometimes. So this outfit is very basic but it still looks put together.

My birthday is tomorrow and I have no idea what I’ll be doing…probably nothing. I’m not one to make a huge fuss about these things so I’d rather have a low-key day.

Another year older is another reminder of how quickly time passes. There’s so much I want to do, but I always give out the excuse that “I don’t have the time” or “Someday.” In reality, I never know what the day brings and things I push for those somedays may quickly become never. So, I’m really trying to accomplish what I keep pushing back. Things as simple as visiting a friend, going camping, or touring another state.

I’ve also been thinking about no-spending days. Last Sunday, I went on a 7 mile hike around Mt. Hollywood and it was amazing! Every once in a while, it’s nice to get away from the city and see things from a different perspective.

The Hollywood Sign is on the left hill in the photo. You can barely make it out, but it’s there.

I loved watching the horses go by…apparently this is part of the trail that was featured on Girls Next Door.

And this crew beat us to the peak by taking all the steep shortcuts up the mountain. But the view was totally worth it.