Fourth of July

Fourth of July is a national holiday that celebrates the day Americans gained independence from the British. This holiday means barbecue and red, white, and blue everything! Here are my Fourth of July must-haves for 2016.

Starting with the nails, I am a huge girly girl when it comes to having mani and pedi's done, and there is no better excuse than holidays. Starting with clean nails before each manicure is important not only for appearances but also to keep your nails healthy. My Fourth of July set started with a top coat of clear polish, then a classic cobalt blue color. I then used a nail art pen to make the lines and stars on my other nails. The pen is essentially a sharpie with nail polish in it, so makes it much easier for doing fun designs than using a brush. It's also water soluble so if you make a mistake (which I did many times) just wipe off with water.  Then when you have the design you're happy with, let it dry and then set with clear nail polish.  Buy the pen here.   For more nail inspo, check out my Pinterest board dedicated to nails here.

The white ruffle top from Tibi is subtle yet shows your festive side. I like having pieces like this in my wardrobe because I could wear this top to any fête this summer and depending on whether I dress it up or dress it down it can go with anything. This top paired with the Frame Denim distressed cutoffs will show your casual yet flirty side. Off the shoulder tops are big this summer, and that along with some stretch in the shorts will keep you coolon such a hot day of the year.

A holiday would not be complete without your Janna Conner jewels! To keep up the patriotic theme, my Tilda ring features a beautiful clover shaped lapis lazuli stone. I love lapis because of all the natural inclusions within the stone and how nice it looks against the gold. Sporting this will give you a subtle hint of beauty and sparkle for your hand. This ring will pair nicely with the blue hues in your outfit without being overpowering.

Now for the red! July's birthstone is Ruby so we have to have something to celebrate both July babies and America's birthday!. These ruby quartz earrings are lightweight yet have a big impact. They're easy to throw on and won't over power your look. The faceting of the stones add a subtle sparkle and will be on heavy rotation from your jewelry box. Find more jewels on my website.

The Montauk  Roundie designed by The Beach People

The Montauk Roundie designed by The Beach People

If you're hitting the beach this Fourth of July, a beach towel is a must. Instead of bringing along your old ratty towel like you'd usually do, step up your game this summer and shop at The Beach People. The company started just in 2013 by a pair of sisters in Australia and are creators of luxury beach essentials, in particular their signature Roundie towels. The Montauk Roundie is one of my favorite patterns produced by them! This Roundie is made from super soft cotton and features a velour top for comfortable lounging and a terry reverse side that quickly absorbs water. This pattern reminds me of the stripes found on the American flag, so this will definitely up your Fourth of July game in a big way! Find more patterns and products here.

 

 

Star Cookie Cutter  from Sur La Table

Star Cookie Cutter from Sur La Table

Last year I attended a friend's party and was in charge of bringing dessert. Instead of making cupcakes or brownies which are very heavy on a hot summer day, I decided to go a healthier route with fresh fruit. Not only is this super refreshing, but also keeps with the same patriotic vibe that embodies the Fourth of July. Plus, this is ridiculously easy to do and is a big hit with kids! All you need is a cookie cutter (I got mine from Sur La Table) and some watermelon and blueberries from your grocery store or local farmer's market. Cut the watermelon into slabs that aren't too thick, probably about an inch or two for the best results. I look forward to making this again this year!

Green-Chile Chicken  Burgers from Martha Stewart

Green-Chile Chicken Burgers from Martha Stewart

This chicken burger recipe from Martha Stewart is a lean alternative to a beef patty and really packs in a punch of flavor from the cilantro and juiciness from the chiles. If you plan on making this for the holiday, a fun idea is to make a variety of sauces for people to top their burgers with, I like to add in a chipotle sauce to make mine a little spicier for example! Find more delicious ideas here.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) diced green chiles, drained 
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves, chopped, plus sprigs for serving 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • Neutral oil, such as safflower, for brushing 
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, cut crosswise into 4 slices (each about 1/2 inch thick) 
  • 4 sesame buns, split 
  • Sour cream, green-leaf lettuce, and Dijon mustard (optional), for serving

INSTRUCTIONS 

  1. Heat grill to medium-high. Combine chicken, cumin, chiles, chopped cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Divide mixture into 4 patties. Brush grates with oil and grill burgers, flipping once, until golden brown and a thermometer inserted into thickest parts registers 165 degrees, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  2. Lightly brush tomato slices with oil; grill, flipping once, until charred, 2 minutes. Season with salt. Grill buns, cut-sides down, just until toasted, about 1 minute. Serve burgers on grilled buns with tomato slices, cilantro sprigs, sour cream, lettuce, and mustard.

Non-Alcoholic Pineapple Mojito  by Watch What U Eat

Non-Alcoholic Pineapple Mojito by Watch What U Eat

This non-alcoholic pineapple mojito is a great recipe if you want something refreshing but without the heavy calories that come with alcohol. If you like the recipe but want alcohol included, I suggest adding in white rum! If you have kids at your barbecue, make sure to have labels for a non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions if you will be making both Find more great recipes from Watch What U Eat.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-5 pieces of 1-2" pineapple pieces
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ cup chilled grape juice (if possible, freshly prepared at home)
  • ½ chilled sparkling water or soda
  • 1 tsp agave (optional to adjust sweetness)
  • ice cubes to serve
  • few lime slices to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a small mixing bowl, add pineapple pieces and muddle them using the back of a wooden spatula for couple of min or until all pineapple pieces have broken into small pieces. Then, add mint leaves and again muddle for a few seconds to just bruise the leaves and release the essential flavors.
  • Transfer the muddled mixture into a serving glass. Add ice cubes followed by grape juice, lime juice, sparkling water or soda.
  • Adjust sweetener if necessary. Give it a gentle mix, add couple of lime slices and enjoy a glass of pineapple mojito this summer

White Out

When I think of summer, I think of crisp white everything and lustrous pearls. How appropriate then that June's birthstone is Pearl?!  That being said, it isn't always easy to transform your house or style to overnight white. Keep reading for my June must haves for white out success!

 

The quickest home transformation to complete is bedding. Update your drab winter flannels to lightweight white. This linen duvet from Anthropologie is the perfect home makeover; Not only is it incredibly soft and comfy, but this is actually machine washable which is really nice as opposed to having to take this to be dry-cleaned. That is definitely something I look for in bedding- having a young son means messes happen, so being able to wash this at home and not wait for it to be cleaned is key. I definitely gravitate towards Scandinavian chic. My great-grandfather was from Copenhagen after all! I personally have a white bed and white walls throughout my home. It's a great background to make neutrals and colors pop. To keep white from looking too sterile, be sure to throw in some natural elements and textures. The linen has more texture than straight cotton and I love to throw in lambskins or a textured throw. Natural birch accents help warm up the look and also pairs well with black.  Usually I am not a fan of anything that wrinkles easily such as linen can, but I think in this case, this duvet shows off a casual, relaxed vibe. Plus, who doesn't want to jump into all that fluffiness? Anthropologie also has the pillows for sale too for a complete look, find them here.

Crinkle Bag Vase  by Makoto Komatsu

Crinkle Bag Vase by Makoto Komatsu

I love this crinkle bag vase by Makoto Komatsu. I bought similar paper lanterns years back at Merci in Paris, but those were made of actual paper. I love that these are ceramic and designed back in 1975 but are still just as fresh looking today. That's the secret to great design, after all! I love them with white peonies but think they would make a chic statement with colored flowers as well.

In spirit with the tradition for Scandinavian simplicity, Danish firm Norm architects strives to find the simplest shape for a given task without forgetting the beauty of the shape and the details. In order to reach a point where there is nothing to add and nothing to take away that can make the product better. I love marble and that the only other design element are the brass hands. Gorgeous!

Flora Borsi  Dove-Animeyed, 2016

Flora Borsi Dove-Animeyed, 2016

Flora Borsi is a young Hungarian artist that I discovered on Instagram. I love Instagram for its ability to act as an online portfolio, and I've discovered many exciting emerging artists because of it. Flora Borsi uses photo manipulation to create surreal works of art. I just love her uniquely female voice.

White can extend to your artwork as well. I love neon anything and I just love Robert Irwin. He's an American installation artist, calling San Diego home. I love his amazing neon installations, they become interactive as the shadows play against the walls. He's done a lot of colorful neons, but one of my favorites is LIght and Space, shown above. He's currently in the process of creating an installation in Marfa — a U-shape construction about 10,000 square feet — will be completed and open to the public later this year. He's also know for his landscaping work; most notably Central Garden at the Getty Center and primordial palm garden at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Summer is quickly approaching - if you live in Southern California like I do, you understand what I'm talking about! The June gloom has left the building and it's been as high as 106 degrees! To help beat the heat are my white out essentials.

Starting with the Birkenstocks, these shoes made a huge comeback in the past few years and I'm so glad they did. Having flat feet makes shoes with no support in them unbearable to walk in, so I am rarely without my Birks. What I love about this pair is that the sandal strap is actually made with a high gloss shine complete with a felt liner to keep your foot comfortable. The high gloss really steps the sandals up and looks nice contrasted with the black accents. Find more colors here.

The Sam Sunglasses by J. Crew are a perfectly milky white color that will not disappoint. This particular style is the J. Crew take on the classic round shape that have UV protected lenses. Sunnies are really important to wear for eye protection against the harsh rays of the sun and can help to prevent wrinkles around your eyes. Discover more shapes and colors on their website.

When it's hot out, I turn to the most comfortable and airy clothing I own. These Vince shorts and sweater will be in heavy rotation in my wardrobe this season! Anything that breathes is a friend of mine. I like that the sweater is airy yet covered up and adds some nice texture play to the rest of the look.

Marble nails

Marble nails

Shimmery opalescent eyeshadow stick

Shimmery opalescent eyeshadow stick

 

This white out doesn't have to stop with your makeup. White can be brightening on your lashline or waterline. During the hotter summer months, I almost never wear eye shadow. I prefer to use shadow sticks, which are like a giant crayon for your eyes. I find they are quick to apply, less messy since there's no fallout under your eyes to have to clean up, and long lasting. They can easily build from a minimal look to a smoky dramatic eye with the number of times you swipe them on. I use one almost everyday. This shimmery opal color is by Estee Edit, but other favorite brands of mine are Laura Mercier and Makeup for Ever. They're both the creamiest and longest lasting brands I've found.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a little kooky about nails and nail polish. I have probably 100 bottles and I'm always on the lookout for more. I've been known to change my manicure 1-2x a week. I always do my own nails though, as I find it therapeutic, kind of like knitting (which I also used to do). And when I get a chip, forget about it. All the polish has to come off, almost immediately. Chipped nail polish is my version of nails on a chalkboard.  My husband on the other hand, thinks its incredibly annoying!  It probably has something to do with the fact that I grew up a nail biter with terrible nails. That and the fact that and being a jewelry designer means that I'm constantly trying on rings and modeling jewelry. A perfect picture can be ruined instantly with a scraggly mani. White nail polish is a great look for summer because it pops against darker skin tones and even works for pale skin tones like mine. It just looks so clean and crisp! A new take on a white mani is this marbleized one. Trust me, It's easier than it looks. It just involves a thin striping brush and a steady hand. See OPI tutorial and video here.

Now, continuing the white out...what better way to accessorize than with lustrous pearls? They're a classic for a reason. They go with everything and flatter any skin tone. New to my website is this freshwater pearl ring, bracelet and ears.  I tried to take a classic and make it a little more modern by using irregular shaped pearls and with creating a cross between a stud and a hoop. For a long time pearls got a bad rap as being conservative and uptight. These are definitely not your mother's pearls! I like to wear this ring on my index finger, layered with other rings. Same goes with this bracelet, it looks great stacked with other cuffs or bangles. Another reason for loving pearls is their I close association with the ocean and thus a relaxed state of mind. I had a favorite pearl ring growing up that I wore constantly; so much that it gave me a tan line one summer from never taking it off!

These are great pieces to bring with you on your vacations because they are lightweight and small so they are easily tucked away in a jewelry pouch into your luggage. Sport my jewels while strolling along the waters edge and watch the gold catch the light of the sun! Pairing these with and all over white look will guarantee fashion forward success. Find more styles on my website.

Whoever said beauty is pain had no concept of the joys of self pampering. Exfoliating and moisturizing are the two big targets for great skin. The thing about summer is that when the sun comes out to play, our skin can be left feeling dry, so I have included two really great beauty products to help out.

The hand cream and nail oil from L'Occitane is not only a favorite of mine but I also love gifting them to friends and family. Both are made with delicious smelling Shea Butter for extreme nourishment. The hand cream leaves hands feeling soft and not oily; something I dislike with other hand creams I've had in the past. The nail oil strengthens nails while softening your cuticles, so using this before a manicure is basically my ritual. Find more on the website.

The butterball bath bomb from Lush has a great vanilla scent to it complete with chunks of creamy coco butter that will melt into your skin. The coco butter will leave your skin feeling smooth and moisturized and your skin will smell amazing too! One of my favorite things to do is draw a bath, sip some good wine and read a book on the weekends. It is so relaxing and always a great way to wind down! If vanilla isn't your thing, check out Lush's other great products here!

 

If you are as serious about this white out as I am, you'll be giving this tart boozy lemon slush a try this summer! I love lemon and vodka, it's such a refreshing combination.  This recipe is ridiculously easy, only takes five minutes and will soon become your go-to. It's like dessert and a drink all in one! This is created by Mandy Kellogg Rye from the blog Waiting On Martha.

All you need is:

  1. 3/4 cup Vodka
  2. 1 pint Lemon Sorbet (I used Haagen Dazs)

Then just blend everything together, pour and enjoy! Something I like to do with my drinks is find crazy straws or glasses to drink out of. If you're hosting friends, this can be a great way to differentiate drinks. Happy sipping!

Father's Day

Father's Day is just around the corner- stuck on gifts for dad or hubby?

A great site for shopping for men's fashion and accessories is Mr. Porter. It's the newer male counterpart to Net-a-Porter, which we all know is amazing. When shopping for my husband, this is usually the first place I will go. They carry over 300 of the leading international retailers for men's fashion, including brands like Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, and Raf Simons. They also bring new products to their website every Tuesday and Friday, so the style is always new and trending. Mr. Porter also has what they call "The Daily" which are bite sized style tips of the day, and they have a blog updated weekly called "The Journal."

Father's Day happens to be two days before the first day of summer, so the first gift idea to think about are the Hartford paisley print swim shorts. Growing up in Manhattan Beach meant many holidays spent outside with my family, and anything related to the beach was always a good gift. The nice thing about these swim shorts is that the pattern can be passed off as regular shorts, so it won't be obvious that he is sporting swim attire while perusing shops along the beach or having a nice lunch.

If you're following the summer theme, you can never go wrong with a pair of Ray-Bans. The Clubmaster pair exudes a classic and cool vibe. My husband Raf actually has an original pair from the 80's that used to belong to his mother! The tortoise shell acetate gives an interesting pattern when seen in the light and the gold metal accents it nicely. I love seeing how some classics never go out of style!

Denim everything is a huge trend for this year, so the espadrilles by Folk will definitely be a successful present. Espadrilles and summer foot wear isn't just for women. Although to be honest, I can't personally condone Mandals. But hey, men's feet get hot too! Men's toes can be safely stowed in a lightweight but sturdy pair of summer footwear. I love the detail of the rugged stitched sole that contrasting with the denim.

Most men love a good drink and for that drink they need somewhere to put it in their man cave or library.  Not only are they pretty to look at but they will help your furniture from getting water marks, no one likes those. Why get boring coasters when you could have intricately natural ones? All are made from slivers of agate and have been gold plated along the edges for a luxe sheen. There are sets of four like the earth toned coasters, or you can purchase them singularly like the purple coaster. I love these because they feature a classic like agate with it's unique banding patterns and elevated it with the gold rims. They don't have to be a lover of geology or nature to enjoy using these. The natural variations in each slab are also very intriguing to look at, as each are unique and different. I gave a set to my brother who usually isn't the easiest to choose gifts for and he loved them! I myself use these in my office daily and at home.  Ladies, you can even borrow them back from your hubs and use them as a display for rings or earrings.  There are more colors are options on my website here.

Selle San Marco Regal in black perforated leather

Selle San Marco Regal in black perforated leather

My father's day gift for my husband this year is this San Marco Regal saddle in black perforated leather. It is always important to be comfortable and stylish. We like to take bike rides as a family so it is important to be comfortable.

Not only is this saddle affordably priced but it is a great alternative to the leather Brooks Saddles as is doesn't need nearly as much break in time. It so comfortable that despite being out of production for several years it could still be seen gracing the bikes of many pro riders on the Tour de France and other big races. Form and function are both important, and I like the detail of the rivets at the back for an added design element.

If you want your dad, boyfriend or husband to ride in style, we recommend this saddle! Find more accessories from Selle San Marco here.

Such a cool texture on the  Utility Daypack  by Killspencer.

Such a cool texture on the Utility Daypack by Killspencer.

Utility Daypack  by Killspencer has a ton of pockets for organizing!

Utility Daypack by Killspencer has a ton of pockets for organizing!

Killspencer is a brand created by Spencer Nikosey that is designed and manufactured in Los Angeles, California. Nikosey started the brand on a personal search for the perfect backpack that was sustainable and waterproof to keep up with his active lifestyle. This is a great gift for any man who loves the outdoors, traveling and being active. The Utility Daypack has a ton of storage options including a passport pouch, a large slip pocket and two smaller ones. The backpack is leather and the bottom is suede, giving a nice texture combination which I am a huge fan of. There is even a separate pouch for your laptop which I know my husband definitely looks for in a backpack. you can get a lot of the products monogrammed, and right now they are offering $50 off orders with a monogrammed product for Father's Day with the code: DAD2016. Shop the website here!

Converse is an iconic sneaker brand recognized worldwide for their uniquely designed sole. Their newest collaboration with Nike yielded these shoes called All Star Modern HTM. HTM is an acronym for the three people who worked on the design of the shoe from Nikelab. The shoe combines iconic pieces of the Converse style with new technologies developed by Nike; it is always interesting to see two huge brands combining creativity to spawn something new. These just launched and I'm sure they'll be sold out soon. My husband is greatly looking forward to purchasing a pair of these, so I know these will be in heavy rotation all summer!

Find it here.

 

Last but not least here is our cocktail recipe for Father's Day, the original Daiquiri.

Daiquiri

Daiquiri

It is the quintessential rum cocktail and one of the easiest, freshest drinks you can make. Great for the upcoming summer days with its refreshing finish.

The Daiquiri :

Mix the lime juice and sugar in a mixing glass or shaker

Add ice cubes and rum

Shake well

Strain in chilled cocktail glass

N.b.  to chill glass, add ice cubes to the glass while preparing your drink and discard ice just before pouring

Cheers!

 

Memorial Day

Do Not Disturb by  Eugenia Kim  Photo by  Gary Pepper

Do Not Disturb by Eugenia Kim Photo by Gary Pepper

This upcoming Monday is Memorial Day! I would like to acknowledge and thank all who serve this beautiful country and those who have laid down their lives for us to continue to live freely. If you're like me and have a barbecue to attend, I have some tips on how to stay poolside stylish!

This hat really says it all. Designed by Eugenia Kim, the wide brim will not only protect your face from the sun, but is also ridiculously cute and silly. Sporting this during your weekend will definitely show off your style. Plus look how nicely it photographs; an Instagram post with this on will have everyone asking you where you got your hat from! It is hard to tell from this photo, but the calligraphy is actually sequined, adding some sparkle to your look. The black band adds that classic beauty touch. Eugenia Kim has this hat and more styles on her website- check it out here. (She also designs shoes!)

Accessorizing is a girl's true best friend. These three pieces are my go-to poolside looks.

For starters, my Bena in the upper left is the ultimate Boho necklace. The bar style is on trend, and turquoise is always good to have on hand (it completes any outfit, especially when going to the beach or pool party).

My Bahati earrings on the right are truly meant for water. Since the ear post is elongated, you wont have to worry about these babies coming off or getting lost. They are shown in chrysoprase but are also available in pearl.

My Wiley ring to the left is a great statement ring for staying golden. The sun will reflect nicely off it and catch everyone's attention!

Find more gems and jewels here.

Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50

Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50

Speaking of being out in the sun, here are two of my favorite products to use when out and about in the heat. Both products are from Supergoop!, a skincare brand dedicated to being free of parabens, oxybenzone, or synthetic fragrances. They make it their mission to have lightweight and easily absorbed products that can be used with any skin type.

The Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 pictured on the left is one of my favorites. I use it all the time, and even carry a travel size in my purse. Skin cancer runs in my family so I'm always trying to find different ways of protecting my skin.  One can never be too vigilant in safeguarding against the aging effects of the sun! To be truly sun safe, one should reapply sunscreen every two hours while out in the direct sun. If you're like me and put your sunscreen on under your makeup every morning, the last thing you want to do is to reapply all of it a few hours later. This eliminates that problem because all you have to do is spray it on top of your makeup. Genius! The mist is hydrating which definitely makes this product a 2-in-1 as it doubles as finishing spray and a sunscreen. It smells great and has a cooling effect as two ingredients include rosemary and peppermint for improving overall complexion. Living in sunny Southern California, this is one of my favorite products and I never leave home without it! Find it here.

Sun protection shouldn't just apply to your face & body while your lips are overlooked. Most lipsticks don't include sun protection and traditional lip stick and glosses can actually magnify UV rays. A new product that I'm excited to try is called Lip Screen. It can be used on top of any lipstick or gloss to make it shield against damaging sun rays. With an SPF of 50, this product is guaranteed to keep you protected and moisturized. Instead of having to find lipsticks that have SPF in them and worrying about whether or not they're expired or not, you can just swipe this on top of your favorite lipsticks and glosses. That way if the SPF expires, you only have to replace one item instead of all of them. Another great, multi tasking product. Find it here.

Osprey of the Sea in  Coral

Osprey of the Sea in Coral

Osprey of the Sea in  Anemone

Osprey of the Sea in Anemone

Osprey of the Sea in  Sea Grass

Osprey of the Sea in Sea Grass

Legend of Lido is a new brand that specializes in making these canvas pouches now available on my website. They come in different sizes and tons of cute patterns to choose from. The prints are actually one-of-a-kind that are inspired by a love of travel. The top zipper closure features a genuine leather pull, opening to a lined, cotton canvas interior with a zipper pocket. The Osprey of the Sea pouches from The Wanderer collection are a perfect accessory for your Memorial Day weekend style because of the unique pattern and bold colors. These will pair nicely with jean shorts and a white blouse or your favorite bikini and kimono. My favorite is the Osprey of the Sea in Coral! Great for casual days and dressy nights. Ideal for: travel, beach reads, and cosmetics. Check out their other patterns here.

Love the idea of keeping the bevvie in the watermelon.

Love the idea of keeping the bevvie in the watermelon.

Watermelon Margaritas - Yummy!

Watermelon Margaritas - Yummy!

What better way to stay refreshed than with watermelon and booze? This recipe for Watermelon Margaritas is so simple and only takes about 10 minutes to make.

Ingredients :

  • 4 1/2 cups seedless watermelon cut into rough 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 pounds cubed fruit)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) fresh juice from 5 to 6 limes
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) silver tequila (100 agave)

Directions :

1.

Add watermelon, salt, lime juice, St. Germain, and tequila to a blender. Puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher, using the bottom of a ladle or a rubber spatula to press liquid through strainer.

2.

Mixture can be served immediately or sealed and chilled for up to five hours in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, fill three serving glasses with ice, re-stir mixture, and and divide evenly between glasses. Serve immediately.

 

Ps : if you don't have St Germain liqueur just add 1/2 cup of boiling water to 1/2 cup of sugar and stir in to taste. ( skip the tequila for a great virgin margarita option ! )

 

This is a great idea if you need to bring something to your family Memorial Day celebration, or just fill up your cooler and hit the beach. I personally love watermelon; the taste of course is amazing, but the rich pink color is always a reminder that summer is just around the corner!

If you want to be extra fresh, there are step by step instructions from Instructables on how to use the watermelon as a dispenser, like shown in the picture. They also give instructions on how to carve designs into the rind. If you want to show off your patriotism, try carving an American flag!

Mother's Day

As Mother's Day is rapidly approaching, it's time to start gathering ideas on how to celebrate your wonderful mom, wife, girlfriend, or treat yourself! Start the day off right with this Rosé Slushy recipe from Style Me Pretty. All you need is a bottle of rosé, some lemonade, ice cubes and a sprig of lavender for decoration. A very simple yet deliciously refreshing drink that anyone would enjoy; plus it's pink!

Rosé Slushy recipe  here .

Rosé Slushy recipe here.

Enjoying a fun day with my son Dries, age 4.

Enjoying a fun day with my son Dries, age 4.

Some of the best gifts (a drawing, an extra long cuddle, coffee in bed) are free but if you feel so inclined to want to purchase something, here are a few suggestions that can please even the pickiest of mothers. Perfect style additions for a mom on-the-go; This Zara bomber jacket is a nice way to keep comfortable and warm but also keep up with current trends as it is designed with a beautiful Asian motif. This can be dressed casually with jeans, or dressed up with some jewelry for a night out! Suede slides are on every Fashion It girl these days and these cute ones by Mango are actually something I purchased about a week ago, and they are beyond comfy yet super stylish. They have a 3 " stacked heel yet I wore them all day and was able to accomplish running errands and then go grab a bite to eat later. I ended up with a lot of compliments so I highly recommend them! The other shoes from Gucci are something I am secretly hoping to receive on Mothers Day (hint, hint family). The subtle pattern will go with everything in your wardrobe and the slipper/mule style is very trendy this year. Flats are essential for any mom, and these have a leather sole that will ensure comfort.

She can never have too much jewelry! My Aliya rose quartz earrings are a great gift for their soft color and daintiness. They complement any skin tone and also be a great gift for moms with young kids who love yanking everything. This is also a best seller item so you really can't go wrong.

My Berget locket necklaces are a new favorite of mine. Shown here in rose cut white topaz, I love how the stones dance and shake. I chose clear to go with everything but they also can be personalized by adding in photos or with different birthstones or her favorite color. What better way to show your love than with a photo of you or your siblings?

Stack rings are always a great gift because they can be worn together, separate, on both hands, or any way you like. The Marlien ring set. in dark blue opal and pearl is a great option for a woman who likes having variety in her jewelry. Set of 2 cabochons and a diamond cut band. This is also offered in chrysoprase, find that set here.

Initial jewelry is a simple accessory that is fun to wear. Whether it's the letter of her first name or of her children's names, she is sure to cherish it. It is very lightweight, and the thin chain makes for better comfort and fit on the wrist. The chain is also adjustable so you don't have to worry about fit. Available in any letter in 14k yellow gold or 14k white gold. I love to wear mine layered with a bunch of bracelets, like I did here.

Any one who knows me knows I'm a beauty product junkie. I'm always looking for a new favorite. This Tom Ford lipstick has been in heavy rotation since I got it.  This one is more expensive then I would usually choose, but I love the chic packaging, smooth application, and lasting pigment that's not drying. I chose Forbidden Pink which is one of their best selling shades for good reason. The creamy rose color brightens up my complexion when I'm tired and just makes me feel a little more pulled together. The pleasing scent is a bonus, (I'm a sucker for a good scent!) Find this or other shades from Nordstrom here!

What I love about the Tata Harper body oil is that it is 100% natural and free of synthetics, toxins, artificial fragrance, artificial colors and is not tested on animals. Everything is made on her farm in Vermont. The vibrant scent comes from the flowers and grapefruit used to make the oil. This product is great for moms on the go as it is fast-absorbing and extremely hydrating. Infused with essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients for soft, silky and rejuvenated skin! She's also offering 15% off with code: THXMOM for mother's day, to use click here

Ole Henriksen  Spa in West Hollywood

Ole Henriksen Spa in West Hollywood

Hydrotherapy tubs!

Hydrotherapy tubs!

Who doesn't love a good spa day? Moms deserve to be pampered, and the Ole Henriksen Spa is just the place to do it. His products have been featured in magazines like Vanity Fair, Elle, and Marie Claire. It's a celebrity favorite spot, Charlize is one of their regulars. If I can look a little more like Charlize, well then it's worth it, right? Trust me,  I've had a lot of facials in my day, and this place is by far the best. I've been going here for years because unlike some spas that just rub cream on your face and call it a day, at Ole they are utilizing the latest technology to give you more long term benefits than just a nice smelling face cream. I've had facials in spas, and in a dermatologist's office and this is a nice combination of both. Usually the spa experience is a little too frou frou without much actual science behind it, and the dermatologists can be a little too functional without any of the soothing relaxing qualities. This combines the best of both. My favorite treatment is the advanced HydraFacial because let's face it, after becoming a mother you're always looking to hide lack of sleep and a tired complexion.  The facial will leave you glowing, and the hydrotherapy soak lets you unwind with lit candles and soothing aromatherapy. I like to read a book when I'm in there while sipping on a glass of champers. I highly recommend the Champagne Relaxation package: which includes a facial, a massage, a salt scrub, a hydrotherapy soak and a glass of champagne. Perfection! I think I may just be treating myself to one of these!  Treat yourself or your mom by going on to Gilt.com and take advantage of their Ole Henriksen Spa promotion up until the end on July; check them out here!

Travel, Art

The Broad

The  Broad Museum   - Downtown Los Angeles

The Broad Museum - Downtown Los Angeles

Detail of the honeycomb lattice exterior.

Detail of the honeycomb lattice exterior.

The newest addition to the burgeoning LA art scene is the Broad Museum. It truly is an impressive site to behold! I love passing by it and Disney Hall every day on my commute. It's such a welcome addition to the neighborhood. It's across from MOCA, now making it a mini museum row of two impressive collections. The Broad was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, it's a 120,000 square feet example of the "veil and vault' concept. Home to almost 2,000 works of art, there are two stories of gallery space combining public exhibition space with collection storage. The vault which houses the art storage defines the user experience throughout the museum.  It's heavy mass is visible from underneath on the ground floor and on the top level when you are walking on it.

Arriving at  The Broad , going up the elevator through the vault to the top level..

Arriving at The Broad, going up the elevator through the vault to the top level..

 John Baldessari -  Tips for Artists Who Want To Sell, 1966-68  Getting tips to make some money!   

 John Baldessari - Tips for Artists Who Want To Sell, 1966-68

Getting tips to make some money!

 

Jeff Koons   - Tulips, 1999-2004. Background:   Christopher Wool   - Untitled, 1990

Jeff Koons - Tulips, 1999-2004. Background: Christopher Wool - Untitled, 1990

I never thought I was that much of a Jeff Koons fan but there are several works of his on display at the Broad. He's apparently one of their favorite artists to collect. The way the Tulips are displayed is pretty incredible. Light floods in from every angle from the honeycomb "veil" which forms the ceiling. On a sunny day, (of which there are no shortage of in LA) it's breathtaking. With all the light, the colors are brighter, and the reflections of the metal really standout.  There is another Koons Tulips, at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas. See here what a difference light can make! Behind the Tulips, is a work by Christoper Wool, an artist I wasn't that familiar with but have since come to enjoy. i love how the two works of art complement each other in the space.

Julie Mehretu     -  Cairo,2013

Julie Mehretu - Cairo,2013

Just on the side of the Tulips is another giant piece by Julie Mehretu.  Her painting juxtaposes precise technical architectural drawing with the chaos of a windstorm blowing through the city of Cairo. It's a subtle yet impactful piece. I love the little pops of neon color peppered throughout the delicate drawings.  Mehretu, born in Ethiopia,  is one of the many female and various ethnicities represented throughout the Broad. I appreciate the cultural diversity of its collection. Touring through the space I felt that they tried and succeeded in the effort to represent male and female artists from all over the world. Sure, there are the usual who's who of contemporary art like Koons, Hirst, Burden but there is also Kara Walker, Yayoi Kusama, Glenn Ligon, and Barbara Kruger to name a few.

The Vault

The Vault

If you take the elevator down from the top level, you will miss one of the most interesting parts of the Broad. The vault, where they store all of the art that is either not in use or on loan, can be seen from the small stairway that leads down to the ground floor.  The Broad Art Foundation purchases fifty works of art annually, that's almost one a week! With all that art, not all can be on display at once so they have to rotate. This is the case in most museums just you never get to see behind the curtain into how or where they store all the unused artwork. The viewing windows are a clever addition to the building, offering this permanent behind the scenes view.

Yayoi Kusama  -  Infinity Mirrored Room - The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013

Yayoi Kusama - Infinity Mirrored Room - The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013

A trip to the Broad would not be complete without a visit to the Infinity Mirrored Room. The wait can run hours long for the room, an experience that only lasts approximately three minutes. My recommendation is to sign up on the queue immediately upon entering the museum. The day I went the wait was two hours but I went and toured the museum and had lunch and by the time I was done, I received my text to line up. At that point, I only had to wait 10 minutes in line. Once allowed in, the room is quite small with a central bridge that juts out over water. There are hanging lights everywhere and they are reflected on the mirrors surrounding you. Unlike with LACMA's Rain Room (which is awesome by the way) you get to enter with only your party so you can take photos with abandon and not have random people in your shot. Something I wished they did a better job of at the Rain Room but that's another story...

Ragnar Kjartansson  - The Visitors 2012

Ragnar Kjartansson - The Visitors 2012

One of my very favorite pieces at the Broad is The Visitors by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. It's an hour long video shot featuring nine musicians playing the same song in several rooms of a decrepit house in upstate New York. The viewer is omnipresent, being able to view the musicians walk from one room to the next, and engage with each other or remain solitary in their chosen room. Kjartansson himself plays the guitar in a bathtub throughout the piece. The musicians are playing the same piece of music over and over for the entire hour. What seems like would become maddeningly repetitive, is actually quite beautiful.  The Visitors explores how the same lyrics performed by different musicians transform from poignant to transcendent. I've seen this piece on several visits to the museum, and since it is an hour long, it's understandable that it can be challenging to see the entire piece from start to finish.  I've noticed that for people to really get it, it's helpful to see it from the beginning to see them setup in each room, interact with each other and then check back in at the end when they unplug and all leave the house together. Hurry and go see this piece before it and other pieces from the inaugural collection are taken down Sunday, May 1.  In order to prepare for a special exhibit with Cindy Sherman, opening June 12, The Visitors and other pieces on the ground floor innaugural collection will be taken down.  Hurry up and go already!

The bar. Interior shot by  Otium .

The bar. Interior shot by Otium.

You might be hungry after seeing all those amazing works of art. You're in luck, because Otium, the new restaurant from French Laundry alum Timothy Hollingsworth and restaurateur Bill Chait ( of Bestia, Petty Cash, République and Sotto) is now open.  Hollingsworth, only 36, is a James Beard Rising Star Chef of the year recipient. A recent downtown Angeleno transplant, he describes his cuisine at Otium as "sophisticated rusticity with approachable elegance".  Otium makes the most of local talent with the vertical gardens that it cooks with by LA Urban Farms, furniture by LA furniture designer Chris Earl, staff aprons by Hedley & Bennett,  outdoor design by South Pasadena's House of Honey, and ceramics by Heath and Irving Place Studio.

Stefan Sagmeister  - Inside Out and Outside in. photo by Cassia C. Borges.

Stefan Sagmeister - Inside Out and Outside in. photo by Cassia C. Borges.

I love this hand painted wall of thicket of branches spelling "Inside Out and Outside In" by Stefan Sagmeister. He's an Austrian born, New York based graphic designer and typographer, renowned for album covers for Lou Reed, David Byrne and the Rolling Stones.

Courtyard by House of Honey

Courtyard by House of Honey

Damien Hirst Isolated Elements. Large scale photographic mural on the exterior wall of Otium.

Damien Hirst Isolated Elements. Large scale photographic mural on the exterior wall of Otium.

Los Angeles CA, Art, Food

An afternoon in Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the mural capital of the world! I love murals and think they are a great way for art to be shown on the streets of any city. Downtown LA especially has a lot of murals and graffiti, I notice new ones popping up all the time. Since they are out in the open, you can really interact with them in a different way than art in a museum. You can get close up and touch it or even take an obligatory selfie. Natural sunlight and shadow change how they look depending on the time of day and how they age with weathering. They are like living pieces interacting within their community. This was created by artist Teddy Kelly whose mantra is to "follow the bliss" which is something we can all try to live by. The bold colors, shapes and the use of line really mesh together to create something beautiful! To think this was tagged over! Thankfully it was recently restored to its original beauty.

Verve Coffee Roasters off of Spring Street.  @vervecoffee

Verve Coffee Roasters off of Spring Street. @vervecoffee

The outdoor space at  Verve Coffee Roasters .

The outdoor space at Verve Coffee Roasters.

Next stop: Verve Coffee Roasters for a little afternoon pick me up. I'm a coffee drinker through and through. I have to have it first thing in the morning; my husband can verify I'm a grouch without it! When I'm lagging in the afternoon, its aroma perks me right up. Verve originated in Santa Cruz before making its way to Los Angeles. The goal of their company is to bridge the gap from what they call "Farmlevel to Streetlevel," which provides open communication between growers and consumers. I love a hanging garden, so I especially enjoy their outdoor seating area. Besides being a cool space to hang out, they actually roast their own coffee!

Walking by the French band Wall of Death's album cover.

Walking by the French band Wall of Death's album cover.

I'm not familiar with Wall of Death, but the vibrant colors in the album cover definitely stand out to me. You can watch their video Loveland here.

The Wings by Colette Miller.   I'm wearing  Thierry Lasry  Sunglasses,  Frame Denim  jeans,  Mansur Gavriel  bucket bag,  Ba&sh  top

The Wings by Colette Miller.   I'm wearing Thierry Lasry Sunglasses, Frame Denim jeans, Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, Ba&sh top

Colette Miller created the Global Angel Wings Project in 2012 to "remind humanity that we are the Angels of this Earth."  She started painting her wings in downtown Los Angeles and has branched out to other parts of the world. This particular one was painted in 2013. I love the way the paint is cracking and beginning to show signs of age, giving it even more character. Miller has painted wings in locations including Africa, Australia, Turkey and Cuba. She even gave a TEDx talk to discuss how her Global Angel Wings Project expanded into a social phenomenon. Visit her website for more information.

One of three distinct lighting sculptures; this one really caught my eye. Love the massive arched windows!

One of three distinct lighting sculptures; this one really caught my eye. Love the massive arched windows!

Waiting for my food!

Waiting for my food!

The kitchen staging area. Love the chevron design in the wood!

The kitchen staging area. Love the chevron design in the wood!

Terroni was originally founded in Toronto, Canada, and Los Angeles houses their only American locations. The space was first used as the National City Bank in 1924 in the Historic Core District before becoming the restaurant in 2013. The building is actually 6,ooo square feet, which is huge! It was designed by Giannone Petricone Associates. They definitely embraced a more is more philosophy when building the space. There's a lot going on; chevron marble and wood cutouts, curvilinear chandeliers, varying furniture from table to table but somehow it just works. I especially love the white marble used throughout the restaurant and under the bar, cut and adhered in a chevron pattern. The play of light and shadow make the marble look like alternating bands of black and white. Same with the wood under the kitchen staging area, pictured above. It is a very contemporary Italian space full of wit and whimsy. Everything on the menu is so delicious, you can't go wrong. On this particular visit, I ordered the special which was duck ragu' pappardelle, quattro stagioni pizza, and the ricchia salad. Delish!

Los Angeles CA, Jewelry, Fashion

A Current Affair

Raf Niclaes (4 of 36) (1).jpg

Last weekend I visited A Current Affair, Pop Up Vintage Marketplace in the Cooper building in downtown Los Angeles.  What a great idea, tons of vintage clothing and jewelry shops under one roof! This event takes place triennially in Los Angeles and biannually New York. This particular one was hosted by Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoes and jewelry blogger extraordinaire Danielle Miele of Gem Gossip. Some of the stores featured were Desert Vintage in Tuscon, Arizona, Charm School Vintage in Austin, Texas, and Arrow and Anchor in Nashville, Tennessee. For future events, visit A Current Affair.

Ba&ash  top,  Thierry Lasry  sunglasses,  Mansur Gavriel  bag.

Ba&ash top, Thierry Lasry sunglasses, Mansur Gavriel bag.

Browsing through some great pieces. Some dating back to 1860! Vintage is a major source of inspiration for most designers. Decades that inspire me are the 70s and 80s for the heavy use of yellow gold and over the top opulence. I grew up with an affinity for French brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Charles Jourdan from spending afternoons shopping with my mom. I remember after school outings at Chanel in Beverly Hills sipping mini glass bottles of Coca-Cola while my mom tried on suits paired with jewelry. I definitely gained my love of fashion from my mother; she even wore Chanel haute couture to my wedding in Paris!

Shot of the Cooper Building in downtown LA. What a great space! The open floor plan and high ceilings allow for a unique viewing experience. With over sixty vendors, it was a nice way to incorporate so many boutiques under one roof.

Danielle Miele and I have been Instagram friends for so long, it was so great to finally meet her in person! She runs the jewelry blog Gem Gossip which is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Check out the interview we did at gemgossip.com

My office!

I can see my office from the window of the Cooper Building! I love all the historic buildings of downtown la. My office building is definitely a quirky style of architecturewith turrets on top, dating back to 1924.

Since Danielle is famous for her tagline #showmeyourrings, I was excited at the opportunity to pose with her! She specializes in blogging about jewelry trends, vintage and period jewelry and also has a fine jewelry line of her own. I love the large opal ring she is wearing with its ombré hues. I am wearing the Pearl Corrie Ring, the Diamond Bar Ring, and the Petite Cubist Ring in white topaz.