Last week I got to shoot for a very special brand (can’t wait to share), which called for something different in the hair department.
I tend to stick to what works with my hair for photos – long, loose waves using a big curling iron (yawn). It’s in my comfort zone, tends to look right no matter the outfit, and it’s easy to revive on day two and even three with the help of dry shampoo. I can do it myself in about 15-20 minutes. But for this shoot, I envisioned something more dressed up and retro, so I called in some help from my talented friend and stylist Kiley Fitzgerald (her clients include Olivia Munn and Cara Delevingne, NBD). We did the below look – brushed out Old Hollywood waves, a deep side part and a handful of pearl bobby pins tucked behind the ear. The pins were under $5 from Amazon – can’t beat that.
Speaking of pearl pins – I’m pretty sure I forgot about hair clips from about seventh grade until a couple years ago, but now they’re back in a big way and as elegant as ever. There’s something very feminine and polished about a hair clip – it’s as if it proves you had an extra few minutes to pull your look together. Hair accessories can do what a red lip can to an otherwise fresh face: instant polish.
Pearl hair accessories are having a moment right now. The key is to find ones that don’t look either too young and childish, or on the other side of the spectrum, too bridal and precious. I like intentionally oversized clips, clips mixed with gold, and a handful of bobby pins criss-crossed. Find some favorites below!
Exactly a year ago I published a blog post about the LA basics: a stylish girl’s guide for where to eat, drink, stay and shop. They’re still great suggestions – so if you’re planning a trip and looking for the 411, start there first.
Recently though, I’ve been receiving messages asking if I have any NEW favorite restaurants and bars to add – and I do! A lot has opened in the past year. I thought I’d update my original list with my current haunts – most of these are restaurants (because, priorities) but I threw in a couple shops here and there as well. A few aren’t new – just doing a deeper dive than what I had on the original list. So, without further adieu:
Margot – This restaurant just opened at Platform in Culver City, which is a very chic shopping/dining center (the antithesis of a “mall” – a grey concrete, minimalist architectural outdoor space with artsy concept stores and eateries). Go up the elevator and walk into Margot – a large space with high ceilings and glass windows. Every corner is Instagrammable. The indoor dining area is lofty and open, and the outdoor rooftop has a city view. Food is “coastal,” brunch is the move.
Atrium – Speaking of open spaces, this restaurant (also new) has a beautiful interior with wooden beams, velvet booths and an indoor tree – it’s actually an atrium. It’s in Los Feliz, which for me is a bit of a trek from the Westside, but I hardly ever make it over there otherwise and it’s nice to venture out. All your friends will find something on this menu as it’s pretty diverse: uni cacio e pepe, hamachi crudo and roasted squash agnolotti just to name a few. Atrium was opened by the same owners as Kettle Black in Silverlake, another great restaurant worth visting (Italian).
Ruby’s – I’m glad this opened on Ocean Ave because to be honest, I was getting a little tired of the options in Santa Monica proper. Ocean Ave is so picturesque (and a great place for a run or outdoor workout) but the crowds of tourists and the traffic make it difficult to want to walk around there (sorry to sound like such a snob. Promise I’m not. But as a local, try finding a meter or crossing the street by the pier in a crowd of 300 people on a summer day). Between 3rd street promenade, the pier, and Ocean Ave, there’s just a LOT happening in this area. Ruby’s adds something fresh to the mix and the menu has all your favorites like chicken avocado salad, burgers and all day breakfast.
Felix – I’ve mentioned Felix on IG Stories a bunch recently because it’s just that good – authentic Italian (the menu is also in Italian). Angelenos have been coming to Venice from all over LA to eat here, hence why it’s near-impossible to get a 7pm reservation without booking a month early. The trick is to arrive at 5:15pm sharp when they open. Walk in, no rezzie, and grab a table for an early dinner. You’ll be glad it’s early because you’ll overeat on pasta and pizza (or their insane foccacia bread) and want to lay on the couch after. And it will have been worth it. I’d say this is more of a romantic date night spot than a pre-going out spot, mostly for the cozy art-deco interior and since the food is on the heavier side.
Elephanté – I’d say this is LA’s current “it” spot, or definitely the “it” spot on the Westside. I feel it either replaced Catch, or stole a lot of its thunder. It has a decidedly laid-back vibe, lots of wood, straw and beachy accents and a Mykonos vibe. Menus at trendy spots can be hit or miss, but the food here is actually great (love the flat bread pizzas). Lunch, cocktails, dinner or late night are all winners here. I do find the sidewalk bouncer/desk check-in a little off-putting, but the restaurant is located on the second level of a Santa Monica building so I suppose without the outdoor sidewalk bouncer it’d be too hard to find. Plus, that makes it easy to ask if there’s a walk-in table without having to trek up the elevator. And now that I think about it, every time I’ve been to Elephanté the people outside have been exceptionally friendly (which isn’t always the case. If you want proof, try Chateau Marmont).
Blue Ribbon Sushi – Christophe and I just had dinner this week at Blue Ribbon and loved it. You may have been to the New York location already, but it’s new for us Angelenos and I’m appreciating having a new Westside sushi option when I get tired of Sugarfish. It’s located in the brand new Palisades Village, which is also worth an afternoon stroll.
Sushi Park – This is a rec that you’d most likely only hear about from a local, as it’s in a literal strip mall and offers no aesthetic pull from the outside. In fact, I never knew it existed until a few years ago and I can’t find their website. I’m not sure who blew up this place, but it somehow became the hole in the wall everyone loves for Omakase sushi and the last time I was there Ryan Seacrest was eating at the bar. Go figure. It’s on Sunset Strip, so a great option if you’re planning to go out after.
Cha Cha Matcha – Another East Coast transplant, but the interior is SO cute that it’s worth adding here. We’ll see if this has staying power, but as of now it’s winning, with the palm tree decor, bright interior and pink tiling. I’m biased as I drink matcha daily, so for me this spot is very relevant.
Harriet’s – A new rooftop restaurant and bar in West Hollywood (located at the Jeremy), and we’re in dire need of more rooftops around here. The views alone make this worth visiting, and the cozy booths and cocktail menu make it a solid option for dates or girlfriends.
Rooftop by JG – This is located at the Waldorf Astoria that opened in the heart of Beverly Hills. Another place for a pre-dinner drink while looking at gorgeous birds-eye views.
Ysabel – Not new, but I’m adding it as I’ve recently rediscovered how charming and romantic the patio is. Two bars make it an ideal spot for drinks and the string lights and courtyard are picturesque around 5pm. Ysabel has had staying power as it’s still as busy and popular as when it opened several years ago.
The Piece Collective – The chicest little boutique on Abbot Kinney in Venice, with everything from fragrance and fedoras to linens and interior items. I love stores like this that carry a well-curated and edited mix.
Olive & June – The best place for a mani/pedi in LA. Before Olive & June, I felt like getting my nails done was somewhat of a chore, and yes I realize how ridiculous that sounds. But when you go to a crowded nail shop with florescent lighting and sketchy foot tubs, you tend to want to get in and out of there. O&J is the opposite; a relaxing place that makes for the perfect girls date.
The RealReal – I consign a lot of my clothes with The RealReal and they recently opened their brick and mortar location in the heart of Melrose. It’s the perfect place to stroll into as there’s a coffee shop inside. The store is beautifully done and you can score some major designer discounts.
Hotel Figueroa – Not really an activity, but if you’re in DTLA, stop by this hotel for a drink or meal. The lobby is absolutely gorgeous. I shot some photos here before the Emmys and kept wondering why I’d never been before.
Well, that was WAY longer than I anticipated – if you have more questions, comment below!
This will be the year I finally get into a good habit of reading. I tend to put it off in favor of magazines, blogs, articles, even the news (depressing)… and I miss a good book in my life. I feel like if we all scrolled through Instagram for 20 minutes less per day, we could finish a few more books a year. Whose with me? Anyone want to start a virtual book club?
Finding book reviews can be overwhelming so I asked all of YOU for your favorite recommendations. Bookmark this post so you can refer back to it! Below is the grand list.
2019 is the first year in my whole life that I’ve ever made real resolutions or intentions.
But… I don’t love the term “resolution.” Nothing in life is really ever “resolute” right? Change is inevitable, resolutions get broken and it it seems kind of worthless to strap yourself into concrete plans that may not happen, causing feels of failure come December. I’m calling the below list my “intentions” for 2019 – things that I am going to focus on this year.
1. Follow a morning routine
I have an ongoing debate with my boyfriend over being a “morning person.” He swears I’m not; I think I am. He is referring to my ability to lounge in bed, snoozing, reading, staring at animal videos on my IG explore page, sipping my lemon water (that I make him bring me) without the slightest drive to get going with the day. However, it’s not like I’m sleeping in – I wake up early (I just don’t move). He is the type of person who backflips out of bed, makes his coffee, and pummels out 20 emails by 7:45am. Even if it’s Sunday and we have no plans, he gets up, showers, and gets dressed with an urgency as if we’re already late to something (yes, this is annoying). But I have to admit, he is onto something.
When we came back from a month in Europe last fall, we were SO adjusted to that time zone that it took nearly 2 weeks to get back on LA time. During that period I would wake up at 4:45am, ALERT – and by 6:30 we’d take a morning walk to coffee, pick up breakfast, read the news and plan our day. It felt really good. I noticed that I was much more productive those days because I had mentally set the tone and gotten myself up and out. Let’s be honest, I will never wake up that early by choice – but I did learn that if you theoretically started your work day at 7 or 8am, you could finish half your work by 10 or 11, when the rest of the world is still setting into their desks. There is so much time wasted in the morning, we don’t even realize!
Apparently a lot of the world’s most successful people follow a specific morning routine, so I’m taking their cue in 2019. I’m going to set my alarm a bit earlier, do a morning meditation, get myself to an early workout, and make an effort to shift my whole day up by an hour or two. I love the idea of “Morning Pages,” something I learned from Lauryn Evarts. It’s basically keeping a journal and upon waking up, immediately jotting down your thoughts, to-do list, dreams, etc. I just ordered a cute notebook to motivate myself to stay consistent with it. Do you have a morning routine?
2. Say No
I feel like every late 20-something, early 30-something goes through a period where they stop giving a sh*t. At least this is what a lot of my older friends tell me. I’m turning 27 this year, and while of course that’s not “old,” I can finally relate to what they mean. I can be a big people pleaser, and I tend to worry about the comfort and well being of everyone else around me. Of course this is a wonderful thing for your closest friends and family (and I’m sure it will make me a good mom), but I need to reign this in. I am guilty of saying yes to more than I should. I say yes to doing someone an extensive favor, I say yes to events I know I don’t have time for that day, and I say yes to things that I ultimately… don’t want to do.
I realize this doesn’t serve anyone. There’s no point in saying “yes” to three events in one night, because I so desperately don’t want to let anyone down.. and then having to leave each one early, without spending quality time with the person and stressed out about being late to the next thing. That’s not good for me, or them. While anyone who knows me knows I would go to great lengths for my friends, if I’m asked by an acquaintance to do something that I know isn’t a good usage of my time and focus, or takes advantage of my kindness… 2019 is the year I will finally feel fine saying no. By saying no to things and people that don’t make sense for me, I’ll have 10x the time and energy to give to those I really want to give it to.
This one is piggybacking off the last two – but in 2019 I am going to *try* to manage my time better. I’m talking about simple, easy changes. Such as driving – I always listen to music in the car, constantly repeating my Spotify playlists and browsing for new ones after getting tired of them. I recently started getting into podcasts, and ummm…. I realize that the 800,000 hours I spend in the car have been wasted. I could have learned a language on Rosetta Stone audio book by now!! Kidding, but all the time I spend in LA traffic could be used more wisely. There are so many entertaining, informative podcasts out there.
I heard an interview with a successful beauty entrepreneur, and she discussed how having to manage a team, delegate tasks, and grow the business had made her a master of time management. She said “Now, I can move mountains in 10 minutes.” This stuck with me. Getting things done doesn’t have to take all day. Similarly, in an interview with Ed Mylett on The Skinny Confidential Podcast, said his rule is to take 10 minute calls and 20 minute meetings, which forces his team to fully prepare and show up ready to make quick decisions. Cutting a phone call off after 10 minutes may be extreme, but he has a point. I imagine this is how working mothers are able to balance children and jobs – cutting out the empty minutes of your day and get things done, fast.
This one is work oriented, but in 2019 I’m focused on bringing you more value-driven content in easy to find places. So often I get caught up in sharing daily outfits, conversations, events, and in the moment makeup looks on IG Stories- but I get SO many questions afterward, asking where you all can find products from a past look, or info I’ve talked about in the past but haven’t saved anywhere. I realize I need to do a much better job of categorizing and saving content where you can find it! I also want to expand the conversation further, deeper, than just fashion and beauty. Which brings me to my last intention…
Getting More Personal
I’ve been blogging for nearly 7 years (!).. but I’ve recently been thinking about the fact that you really only see a sliver of my day, my deepest thoughts and my relationships. I’ll be honest, this has been completely on purpose. I follow many bloggers who post a LOT of their personal lives – conversations with husbands (fights even), struggles, frame after frame of their children, and to me…. it can be a lot. I’ve never the been the type to overshare, and I really value my privacy. I don’t love to film every conversation or keep the phone in my hand all day. I started blogging with the intention to share fashion, beauty and lifestyle content, and I didn’t expect the industry to take such a turn. But I’m not blind to how the influencer world has unfolded – especially after the addition of IG Stories, this element of constant sharing has come to be expected. I’ve realized… this is what you guys want to see! You don’t want to see perfectly curated photoshoots and outfits all the time; you want to see real conversations and real life. I get it. While I don’t think I’ll ever lose the element of stylized content – after all, this was the birth of my brand and the essence of what I built – I am going to make a conscious effort to let you in more. I realize that putting too much of a shield up creates a lot of unintentional deception. I don’t ever want to make you think my life is perfect, my relationships are perfect and that every day is smooth sailing in a coordinated outfit and makeup look, because I promise it’s not. So, in the spirit of sharing… what do you want to see this year?
I’ve realized lately that the holidays are absolutely what you make of them.
Especially living in LA, where December 20th is indistinguishable from August 20th – to feel festive you have to make a point of it. Around Thanksgiving, Annie and I were talking about how this was such a crazy, “off” year for both of us. I think we can all agree the world is in a strange place – there’s a lot of bad news and combative opinions floating around on the daily, and we’re both people that are sensitive to what’s going on around us. That aside, on a personal note, you know how some years are fantastic and truly memorable, and others are just “off”? It’s not that 2018 was a “bad” year for me – lots of good happened, from deepening relationships to fun events. But I wouldn’t say I’ll look back it as a year of profound meaning and progression, and that’s okay. Every year ebbs and flows; I feel this is normal in life, and I have a gut feeling that 2019 will be an exciting one with a lot of positivity.
But I digress. Annie and I agreed that we needed to plan something festive to embrace the holiday season, get together with girlfriends and close out the year doing what we do best (talking, eating, laughing) – so I was SO happy when she sent an invitation to her “wreath making” party. I’d never actually made a wreath before – have you? There’s a little more to it than I realized, but the process was such a fun activity to do together. We went to Rolling Greens in LA – if you haven’t been, it’s a gorgeous nursery that sells everything from plants and succulents to home decor and gifts. You can imagine how good the place smelled by looking at these photos.
I’ve been on a full shimmer kick lately – this Rebecca Taylor top is my latest in rotation. The ruched center and slightly gathered shoulder are seriously so flattering. It’s the perfect pairing with simple black jeans and booties. These jeans are by a brand I recently discovered called AYR, and I can’t take them off. They check all the boxes for jeans – high waist cut, slimming shape, slight faded wash and ankle cut with frayed detail. Order them; I promise you won’t be disappointed. My wrap coat is from about 3 years ago from Intermix – it’s one of those pieces you end up loving and wearing year after year. I found a gorgeous similar coat from Theory that I love, and If I didn’t already have one I’d be picking it up.
I also have to mention these graphite druzy earrings – they are Kendra Scott and I’ve worn them a ton this season! The geometric shape is so unique and the grey color feels very luxe to me; you don’t usually see grey earrings and I think it makes the shimmer much more wearable.
If you follow me on IG stories you know I just got a second piercing in one ear, which was both a longtime thought process but also an impulse decision that week. I’m so happy with it but I’ll have to take a break from the statement earrings until the hole heals and I can take out the stud.
My lip color is “Royal” by Kosas – my current favorite berry red. Shop the rest of the outfit below!
When I sat down to write this post, I typed “How to Deal with Insecurities” into the subject line. Then I deleted the “how to.”
The truth is, this is a loaded topic and there’s not one magic answer. I recently did a Q&A on Instagram and a reader asked for my tips on the matter. I received so many messages from you all that I thought I’d expand on my answer, because it’s such a common experience. Let me preface these tips by saying I’m not an expert – I’m still working on my confidence every day! But these are tools that help me:
1) Know that everyone has them.
EVERYONE! The most “confident” people in our lives have them. I have them.
Instagram is a wonderful place for creativity, for collaboration, for positive connections – for finding your long lost neighbor from third grade and happily learning she’s married with three kids. For following celebrities and bloggers and being inspired to live a more beautiful life. For getting ideas for what to wear. What it’s not a great place for is comparison. You have to take Instagram with a grain of salt and an air of skepticism. It’s meant to be a highlight reel – no one is happy and perfectly styled 24/7. Believing so will only make you insecure about your own life.
I remember a particularly rough day where nothing was going right – I had just had a tense conversation with my boyfriend (and we don’t usually fight), I was stressed about my career, drowning in work and feeling down. I needed a good cry. But I had a scheduled photo to post for a brand in which I was laughing at the camera, looking carefree. I remember posting it with teary eyes thinking how ironic it was; how low I felt in that moment but how high I looked in it.
2) Practice kindness and confidence.
As a society we celebrate “confidence,” but we speak about it like it’s a God-given trait, an innate attractive quality that makes someone special. “She’s so confident, she has such good energy.” This annoys me because confidence is not always innate – it’s not only available to a lucky few who are born with outgoing personalities. Confidence can be learned by practice – it’s available to everyone.
It’s scientifically proven that doing something enough times forms a habit. Practice saying kind things about yourself every day, and watch yourself start to believe these constant thoughts. It may feel stupid, but look yourself in the mirror and practice giving yourself compliments. Focus on qualities you love about yourself. Know that most of the time, people don’t notice anything else. It’s like how they say “if you forget your lines, make something up and keep going” because the audience won’t know the difference. Which brings me to my next point:
Deflect may not be the right word – it sounds like giving in or covering up. What I mean is – when someone attempts to highlight your weaknesses, DON’T entertain it for a second.
I heard Miranda Kerr once say in an interview when asked what her biggest physical flaw is – “why would I tell you? Then you’d look at it!” That struck me as smart – it’s not being ashamed of something; it’s just not giving it attention and power. The interviewer looked taken aback and moved right along to the next question.
You may be thinking, “easy for her to say” – and I agree, life must be tough for a supermodel… But then I catch myself and realize – it is tough. It’s tough for everyone! Insecurities don’t discriminate – even someone you may find “perfect” has them.
Women tend to be self deprecating and we indulge each other by discussing all the things we dislike about ourselves. I think too much of that can be damaging. Why do we do this? Maybe it fosters a sense of camaraderie, a sense of common understanding and bonding – but there’s a fine line until it becomes a little sick. I think we should actively try to bond over the things we love about ourselves and build each other up.
I think that insecurities affect men and women differently. This may be an unfair, sweeping generalization, and I’m sure some of you will disagree with me. But in my experience, I’ve seen firsthand as a sister among two brothers as well as growing up around boys, the effects of traditional male camaraderie. Of course there are exceptions as men can be wonderfully sensitive and emotional too. But I do feel like women are wired to bond over our experiences, to sympathize and tell our stories more than men – I feel like men are wired to bond over action – less talk, more doing. They build each other up in a different way than women do, and as a result our confidence is impacted differently.
I’ve heard male friends say “oh wow, I didn’t know he was going through that.” Meanwhile if it’s a female friend – not only did I know she was going through that – I’ve talked to her about it at length and we’ve made a pro-con bullet point list and hypothesized every possible outcome (this is why women get shit done, right? We are prepared!) Let’s make sure that if we’re talking something through, we’re not just wallowing in negativity but using conversation as an opportunity to boost ourselves up. Of course sometimes we NEED to vent and get it out – but negativity is a slippery slope. I like to say my piece, get the negativity out – then move on to the plan, to what I’m going to do about it – before the conversation becomes a counterproductive pity party.
4) Edit your circle.
If you take nothing else from this post, this point may be the most important to remember. There’s a quote that says “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, make sure you’re not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.” (The original quote can be attributed to Freud and I believe he said “fools,” but for this purpose I like assholes even better).
How genius, and true is this? Give yourself a break – how can you expect to thrive, blossom and exude positivity and confidence when you’re swimming uphill surrounding by negative people who make you feel insecure? Being our best selves while being beaten down by others is an incredible, impossible task. It’s unfair.
As I’ve gotten older I find this to be truer. Not because I find myself surrounded by assholes – the opposite. As I’ve been lucky enough to develop deeper friendships with genuine, kind girls with shared interests I’ve noticed what a profound difference it has on my confidence. There is just nothing in life like a healthy, supportive female friendship. These relationships carry us through life and pick us up during tough times in a way not even a romantic partner can.
Where it gets tricky is that most of us don’t have one friend who is outwardly tearing them down. You may think, “that doesn’t apply to me, my friends don’t do that.” But it can be subtle – very subtle. It can be so much as a backhanded compliment, a friend who gets overly competitive, points out your “flaws,” or makes you feel uneasy, even if you can’t pinpoint exactly why. A friend who says “that dress is so cute! It’s bulging a little on you at the back – but it’s still cute.” Or maybe she’s overly critical of your decisions. “I guess you could do that. I wouldn’t, but I guess you could.”
I know because it’s happened to me! At first I may not have even realized; or perhaps I shrugged it off and assumed she was having a bad day. But after it’d happened several times, I began to find myself naturally creating some distance between us because it didn’t make me feel good.
It doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad person. They may be dealing with their own insecurities we know nothing about. If it happens, I’d recommend lovingly distancing yourself from them. Acknowledge that they may be struggling themselves, and wish them the best, but know there is no need for you to suffer around them while they figure it out. You must prioritize yourself and your own confidence.
With all this in mind, I can understand why some people have difficult or toxic relationships with family members, and in extreme situations, are forced to cut ties to prioritize their well being. I’ve seen friends go through this, and it’s very complicated – a whole other topic. But the thing is, we can choose our friends.
Long story short…
If a friend or partner is consistently making you feel insecure – it may be time to replace them.
I don’t have a formula to gage this because I go by gut feeling. I can tell which friends make me feel good. It’s a physical reaction – I can feel myself relaxing in their presence, my posture becomes less rigid, my breathing slows. When I go home after seeing a real friend, I feel lighter. Happier. I feel more peaceful. That’s also how I want my friends to feel after spending time with me.
I like to think of a simple analogy. We all have an energetic field around us that we radiate outwards to other people. If we spend time around negative people that make us feel insecure, it’s dangerous – we become susceptible to those people piercing through our field, tearing and ripping it and causing damage. If we spend time around positive people who build us up, they enforce our field by shining their light onto us and in return we become stronger, brighter, more capable. Protect your field with ALL your power.
I’d love to hear how you deal with insecurities – leave a comment below (also find my outfit links in the bar below – I got so carried away here, forgot to mention the outfit. Whoops)
My everyday jewelry philosophy has always centered around delicate but unique pieces – jewelry that will elevate even the most basic jeans and tee just as well as a cocktail dress.
I tend to invest in a few high quality jewels and leave them on daily – why not invest in something you’ll wear every single day? I’m all about everyday luxury – I’d prefer splurging on something I’ll love forever and get a ton of wear out of over one piece that only makes it out of the house twice a year. A special everyday piece almost feels like an extended part of your body – it comes with you everywhere and adds style and strength to any look.
I love rose or yellow gold, since it warms up skin so beautifully and pairs with just about anything. I look for pieces that show some personality and strength, but they must be feminine and versatile too. They must strike a good balance between being stylish but not overpowering.
Famed French jeweler Messika is known for their luxurious jewels that exude confidence and energy – and their new Move Addiction collection designed by Gigi Hadid is super bold and unique. Just like their original Move collection, each piece in Gigi’s collection has a diamond that actually moves – it’s hinged in the curve of a safety pin on a little track that moves when tilted from side to side. It adds a rock and roll, cool-girl twist to the typical necklaces and bracelets you see with a center diamond and I love that unexpected element.
Of course they look good alone or stacked (that’s the dream, right?) I’d wear the pavé bracelet alone or mixed with other gold jewels already in my jewelry box. Born from a Parisian jewelry house, the Move Addiction collection feels so in line with that French sense of style we all chase – a bold, cool, chic sense of style that’s also effortless and uncomplicated.
I’m the type of person who considers their birthday as an entire “birthday month,” so I was dying to go somewhere for the weekend after my real birthday passed.
Requirements were: easy to get to by car, good food, pretty views, mellow. From Los Angeles, your options are pretty much Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Napa. Palm Springs was out, since I planned to be there in April for a wedding plus Coachella. Santa Barbara I like.. but… wasn’t feeling it. Then, a friend said – “why don’t you go to Ojai?” A light went off – somewhere I haven’t been for years, it’s super close, and I’d heard of a particular resort there – Ojai Valley Inn – being incredible.
Confirmed – Ojai is possibly the breeziest weekend escape from LA ever. Easier than Santa Barbara, the drive took about an hour and a half. Seemingly minutes after passing Malibu, I blinked and we were driving through the charming, artsy town of Ojai. The surrounding area suffered from terrible fires this past fall, but Ojai was miraculously spared.
There was one caveat to the weekend… rain. The forecast called for 100% chance of heavy rain, all weekend. I was pretty bummed- it had rained on my actual birthday too, and I felt like a dark cloud was following my special day around. I eventually gave in and figured the weather would make for a cozy spa weekend staying in. Ojai Valley Inn seemed like the perfect place for that.
I think I managed to get two or three photos (of myself) upon check in at the resort before it started pouring – hence the majority of scenery shots here (taken under my umbrella!) This resort was so lovely and I can’t wait to come back in warmer weather. It’s a sprawling property, much larger than I expected, with a beautiful golf course, spa, and a little “town center” area with several restaurants. We stayed in a little bungalow-vibe room with a gorgeous mountain view that felt secluded and private at the edge of the property. The buildings are all white-washed with pretty terra-cotta tiled stairs. It’s so idyllic; I imagine an ideal place for summer weddings and celebrations.
On the first night, we went for pre-dinner drinks by the fire before a delicious meal at the Oak. Even if you drive through Ojai, I’d recommend coming to the hotel for a meal, as all their dining options are on point! The Oak feels rustic and charming, with exposed beam ceilings and a farm-to-table menu. The pouring rain outside actually felt like a nice change of pace as it forced us to relax and eat slowly – where else did we have to be?
The next day was dedicated the spa, which is easily one of the most beautiful I’ve been to in California. The Spanish-style decor and bright indoor tiles make for a lovely view as you wait for an appointment. I relaxed with a massage (that included aromatherapy oils, my favorite) and a couple hours back and forth from the steam room to the indoor pool. I had been fighting off a cold and this made a world of difference.
We ventured into the town in search of dinner and landed on The Nest – a casual little café with delicious salmon tacos and ahi tuna bowls. After sitting on the deck watching the drizzle, we drove back to the hotel for a cozy night in our bungalow room. Weekend well spent in my opinion!
If you’re considering visiting Ojai Valley Inn, message me! It was the perfect place for a little escape and the staff could not have been friendlier – I can’t wait to return.
All the things I keep handy to stay organized, productive and look good doing it.
1. Sonix Marble iPhone Case – When it comes to phone cases I’m not so into the cheesy cartoonish designs, glitter or excessive hardware. I just want something simple, lightweight, and chic. This pink “marble” case does the job and also keeps my phone protected during the 10 times I drop it daily.
2. Sugar Paper Stationary – I’ve always loved stationary. After hours typing and texting, it feels so good to handwrite a note to a friend. I hand write and snail mail all my thank you’s after birthdays, holidays or any other special events. I also save EVERY personal card someone has written me in a box, and I know they’ll remain special memories for years to come. I keep a box of this cute stationary on hand for when I need to send one out.
3. Glitter Sock Booties – If these silver booties don’t say “Girl Boss” what does? If you’re in a creative field, I would 100% wear these in an office setting. Just pair them with a loose, longer black shift dress, or even a tapered trouser and sharp blazer. It’s all about balance.
4. Cuyana Laptop Case – This comes with me everywhere. It protects my laptop while traveling without taking up extra space. I have the blush pink color and after two years of travel it still looks brand new. Makes a fantastic foolproof gift – and you can monogram them!
6. Boss Mug – Self explanatory. Also a great gift idea for a girlfriend’s promotion.
7. Anya Hindmarch Makeup Case – Keeps daily makeup organized and visible, and the soft fabric is easily wipeable after a spill. Also works for pens, desk accessories, etc.
8. Ban.do Agenda – If you haven’t purchased a 2018 agenda yet, it’s not too late in the game! Realistically, I use iCal for making appointments and inputting addresses so I can access them easily while driving – BUT, I am still old-school and I love a good handwritten list. It have a stronger sense of accomplishment when I cross things off a paper list – doesn’t it feel more real? I use my agenda as more of a day-to-day notebook for planning, lists, notes during calls, etc.
9. Cuyana Key Chain – I’ve given these tassel keychains as gifts to friends and monogrammed their initials on the leather tags. I use one too and it always makes finding my car keys at the bottom of my bag way easier.