November Favorites 2019

If you couldn’t already tell by now, this is my absolute favorite time of the year. There is just so much joy around the holidays and so many opportunities to think, reflect, give thanks and spend time with people who are most important in your life. I have so many fun things to share with you for this months favorites, and I’m even more excited about this because it means we’re officially moving into December which means we’re that much closer to CHRISTMAS. But before I get ahead of myself, I’m gonna share all the things I’ve been obsessed with this month, including a bunch of stuff from my trip to North Carolina! Enjoy, and I’ll see you tomorrow for Day 1 of 12 Days of Christmas! xx

Skincare Product- Since it is winter and getting super dry out here in LA, I’ve found myself needing to moisturize even more than normal. I use Clinique moisturizers on a daily basis and use the Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Replenishing Hydrator when my skin really needs it. It’s a really good heavy moisturizer that leaves your skin super hydrated without feeling oily or tacky.

Makeup Product- I have been an extreme eyebrow nut for the last five years (in part because they burned off one summer from chlorine and I’ve had to draw them on everyday since), and this month I’ve found myself using the Thrive Causmetics Brilliant Eye Brightener in Champagne Shimmer. It’s an eyebrow highlighter that comes in a pencil/stick form making it super easy to apply. It’s also a beautiful shade that lifts your brow without overexposing it. I love love love this product and will be using it a ton over Christmas.

Nail Color- I told myself I’d wait to get Christmassy nails done until after Thanksgiving, but when I went to get a manicure the other day I just couldn’t wait. I love solid shades with one glitter color, and I found the most beautiful glittery blue at the store so I went with all pastel blue and the glitter on my ring fingers. They’re so fun and perfect for the winter. The pastels make it more classy and chic and the glitter adds a pop of fun. I’ve gotten so many compliments on them, especially with the holidays coming up.

Clothing Item- I did a Dainty Hooligan haul earlier this month and one of my favorite pieces from the order was the Grecian Print Jumpsuit in a deep red and I absolutely love it. I was never really a jumpsuit person but I started becoming obsessed with them this summer. Having a curvy body, it can be really hard to find one’s that are flattering, but this red one fits my body so well. It has an open back with a criss-cross tie string so it hugs your waist really nicely. I wore this for a nice birthday dinner out on a Friday night and was perfect for the occasion. It goes really well with black platform shoes or black heels and simple pieces of jewelry. I love this piece and can’t wait to wear it more this season.

Room Spray- The Bath & Body Works ‘The Perfect Christmas’ room spray has been the most festive part of my evening routine this season. I don’t use room sprays too much (I’m typically much more of a candle and diffuser girl), but I found this one at the store the other day and am so glad I picked it up. I spray it around my bed and it smells like the most lovely fresh Christmas tree (balsam and pine scent) ever and it makes me so so happy.

Candle- But while I love to use the room spray at night, I have candles burning all the time when I’m in the room. I love all of the Bath & Body Works 3-wick candles, but I got the Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow one the other day and it’s possibly one of my favorite fragrances ever. I typically reach for the more fresh and floral scents than sweet ones, but this one is so cozy and festive with a really light vanilla scent which is so lovely.

Sweet Treat- It’s that time of year where all I want to do at night is bundle up on the couch or bed with a Christmas movie on while sipping on a mug full of hot cocoa. I know it’s basic, but I always find myself going for the boxed Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix with mini marshmallows (and I always HAVE to get the mini marshmallows) topped with Peppermint Whipped Cream from Target which is my absolute guilty pleasure during the holiday season (like I literally opened it and poured it in my mouth 10 seconds after I paid… no joke).

Drink- I’m not always a huge juice person, but I do love a good superfood juice every once in a while. I tried the Pressed Juicery Apple Beet Ginger Juice the other day and it is so so good. I was a bit scared to try it because sometimes ginger can be a bit overpowering sometimes, but it was such a good balance of sweet from the apples and sour from the ginger to balance out the spiciness.

Song- I’m sure I’ve talked about them before, but I’m in love with Jess and Gabriel. I’ve been watching their videos and vlogs for a couple years now and started listening to their covers about a year ago. They just released their I’ll Be Home Vol. II EP (on Spotify and Apple Music) a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been listening to it on repeat ever since. It’s a five song album of Christmas songs and it’s such a chill and Christmassy vibe. I absolutely love all the songs, but ‘The First Noel’ is probably my favorite of this album.

Movie- Since the Disney Plus streaming site released earlier this month, I’ve been rewatching all of the Disney Channel Original Movies. I had been waiting months for this to be released, and it has not disappointed. Every single Disney movie or TV show you could ever think of is on this platform, for only $6.99/month (or $69.99/year). Cow Belles, Read It and Weep, High School Musical(s), Camp Rock, Stuck in the Suburbs, I’ve seriously been watching everything you could think of and living my best 10-year old self. And as a bonus, it has all of the OG Christmas movies you could ever want.

LA Spot- At the beginning of the month I made it out to The Huntington Library for the first time since being in LA. My friends and I had been trying to find time to go, but just never made it. We went on a Friday and it wasn’t too crowded. Entrance fee is $22, which seems a bit pricey at first, but is 100% worth it. We spent nearly four full hours walking around before we had to leave, and we barely saw a quarter of the gardens. There are so many different areas to walk through; from the dessert to the Japanese and Chinese garden, and the lily ponds, everything was so beautiful and it’s a lovely place to spend a day. There are also a ton of open, grassy areas to bring a blanket and just sit out for a while. Highly suggest going if you’re ever in LA!

Life Through A Lens #28- Weird Weather, Cute Photos

Life Through A Lens #26- LA Feels

Food Adventures #11- LA Finds

Food Adventures #8

Union Pasadena

Union Restaurant is a small Italian place in the Old Pasadena area. Located in the backstreets, it’s tucked away amongst lots of other eateries. I had heard about this place and their food before, and knew immediately I had to go. While trying to make reservations, we found that Union is really popular and fills up fast. We ended up making our booking nearly two weeks in advance to get a table at a time we wanted. Pulling up to the restaurant, there were no big signs, but a small chalkboard next to the doors that read “Union”. The hostess was standing right by the door, and quickly walked us to our table, swerving through the tightly packed tables. Most of the tables were for parties of two, with a few tables for four. Dim light hung from the ceiling, suspended by steel rods. Next to the bar counter was a huge blackboard filled with information, all written in calligraphy looking font. On one side, they had their farmers market schedule, listing where they get their produce on each day of the week. The other side of the board was filled with Italian ingredients used in their dishes, along with an explanation of what they were.

After being seated, our waitress brought us the menus and explained what the special of the day was. The menu had four sections, “Start, Field, Pasta and Main”. At the bottom of the menu was a list of the kitchen staff. Reading through the menu, I was overwhelmed at the all the unique dishes. They had a salad made of broccoli sprouts, a homemade cheese dish with garlic and bread, and a cavatelli pasta with wild boar. After spending about 10 minutes racking our brains about what to order, we finally decided. I ordered the bread with house made cultured butter and sea salt to start and the squid ink Lumache with Maine lobster, fennel, lemon and truffle butter. My two friends each ordered the duck confit with charred treviso pickled currants and grapefruit, the smoked stracciatella ravioli with tomato orange fondue, whey and basil, and the special of the day which was a roast pork. They brought out the bread and duck confit after only 5 minutes. The bread was served on a thick board with a bowl of spiced pickles in the middle. The bread was fresh and warm, and the butter was amazingly soft and creamy. After devouring our starters, we waited for our mains which came out about 15 minutes after. I had heard about their squid ink Lumache for a long time and was so excited to try it. It came served in a deep white dish, and the little jewels of lobster popped out from the deep black color of the pasta. As soon as the plate touched the table, the fragrance of truffle and squid ink immediately hit my face. I was expecting the sauce to be a little thicker and creamier, but it was just a light coating of the truffle butter based sauce. The first bite I took was everything and more I had imagined it to be. Being a huge fan of squid ink, I had tried lot’s of foods with it before, pasta, break, risotto, and while I always love it, the taste of squid ink is not usually really strong. However in this pasta, the flavor of the squid ink was extremely strong. The little pieces of fennel were just cooked, adding a bit of crunch to the dish, and the lobster was perfectly poached and tossed in the butter. The Meyer lemon cut through the decadence of the dish and tied it all together. It was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had.

After finishing our mains, we sat there content and full, ready to pay and leave. But before we could, the waitress brought us the dessert menu, and I was swayed to order the olive oil cake to share with my friend. It was served with two candied orange slices on top and a dish of vanilla creme anglaise to pour over. The slice of cake was warm and toasted on the outside, but unbelievable moist on the inside. We polished off the dessert, paid and left the restaurant extremely full, but extremely happy and satisfied. Our experience at Union was amazing, and though it was a bit expensive, it was worth every penny. If you check out Union, let me me know what you think in the comments below!

 

March For Our Lives

This past Saturday, a historical moment happened. Over 1 million people around the country came together to bring an end to gun violence in the US. While I try not to get political on here, there are some things I feel I can’t avoid. This is not about red or blue, left or right, liberal or conservative, it’s simply life or death. But instead of looking at this from a negative point of view, I am choosing to look at the positives. And while there is nothing positive about the devastation that runs through the country every day, what has come out of that is extremely inspirational. Being at the Los Angeles March on Saturday began to restore my hope and faith that good will win. During times like these, it can be hard to remember that the good outweigh the bad, that there are more positives than negatives. But seeing all the people of different sexes, color and social class come together to ensure that every child going to school, every black man walking down the street and every person attending a concert can walk in and out safe and unharmed was so heartwarming. I walked beside all these people I had never seen before, but yet we stood in solidarity. I praise all the young students of Parkland High School for being the brave young leaders we so desperately need. These are the people we rely on to make change in the country and the world, to preserve the good of the American culture, while protecting the basic right of all citizens, the right to life. I don’t want to go on and on (because I could), but I just wanted to share my thoughts on what happened over the weekend, along with some photos that showed the protest and strength that we need.

And remember, good will win.

 

 

March For Our Lives: https://marchforourlives.com/

JANE- Brunching in LA

If you can’t already tell, there aren’t many things that bring me more joy than finding a REALLY good place to eat. This morning my friends and I were on a hunt for some Sunday morning brunch. We drove by all of our go-to places only to find never ending lines at all of them. After starting to get hangry (you know it’s a real thing), we quickly searched for breakfast places near us and found Jane on York Blvd in LA. Driving past it, we couldn’t even tell it was a restaurant. The cute little yellow house with a sprawling patio (for seating) was packed, but we decided it was still worth the wait. Their menu was full of enticing options, including different kinds of omelettes, sandwiches and salads. My two friends decided on the breakfast quesadilla with a side of morning potatoes and Arnold Palmers, and I ordered the breakfast sandwich with a vanilla cold brew. Once we ordered we went out to the patio to grab a table in the sun. The purple flowers and little garden just made everything that much more aesthetic (because do it for the insta, right?). Jane was packed with groups of friends, families and couples with their dogs (so cute!!) and was the perfect atmosphere for a low-key Sunday brunch. At around $15 each, we all agreed that Jane is a new go-to and favorite. The portions were extremely generous and the food was delicious. I highly recommend Jane if you are in the LA area and looking for a really yummy brunch! If you try it out, let me know in the comments below.

Website: http://www.janeonyork.com/

Address: 5830 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042

Phone: (323) 675-1093

Price: $$

Food Adventures #6

Got my Singaporean fix from QQ Kopitiam in Pasadena. The Laksa was super authentic and delicious, just like it would be at home! It was a really generous serving for a super reasonable price (two main dishes and one bubble tea was $21 with tax).

Website: https://www.yelp.com/biz/qq-kopitiam-pasadena

Pricing: $

I know I may be a little late to hop on the bandwagon, but I am beyond obsessed with Halo Top. For those of you who don’t know what it is, Halo Top is an extremely low calorie, high protein ice cream (not that you can tell, it’s amazing!). The calories range from 240-360 calories depending on the flavor, so one serving is never more than 90 calories. A few of my favorite flavors are Birthday Cake, Sea Salt Caramel and Mint Chip.

Website: https://www.halotop.com/

Pricing: $4-5

This beautiful spread is from the Granville at the Americana in Glendale. They have a menu full of modern yet homey dishes that are absolutely delicious! This was the bacon & blue burger with a side salad, the Santa Barbara chicken sandwich, a side of sweet potato fries and the uptown mac & cheese. I would also highly recommend the chicken and blue flatbread (not pictures). A perfect stop for lunch or dinner during a day of shopping!

Website: http://www.granvillecafe.com/glendale

Pricing: $$

*As seen on BuzzFeed* Sushi Stop is a super affordable (and yummy) location in Pasadena (they have other locations too). At $3.25 for most of their dishes, it’s hard to spend more than $16 a person (and that’s if you are eating A LOT). Ranging from sashimi sushi to baked rolls to udon and tempura, they have everything you would ever want. To be honest, after eating so mush sushi in Japan, I was a little skeptical of this, but it did not disappoint!

Website: https://sushistop.com/location/sushistop-pasadena/

BuzzFeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/stevenlim/we-tried-3-sushi-and-250-sushi-to-see-if-its-worth-the-price?utm_term=.roOxJedpE#.wulLQNqV0

Pricing: $

Just throwing this in here because I miss Disneyland. A beautiful mickey mouse-shaped beignet (and some Mint Juleps) from New Orleans Square at Disney.

One of my favorite things about living in LA is finding all the small (what I like to call) hidden gems of the city. Gloria’s Cafe is a small Mexican-inspired breakfast/brunch restaurant tucked away in the back streets of Highland Park. Pictured above is the savory waffle (amazing!) and the breakfast taco. I would also highly recommend their breakfast sandwich which comes on a burger bun with pulled pork and scrambled eggs. For a main dish and (a big a**) iced coffee, I usually pay $14 (including tax and tip).

Website: http://glorias-cafe.com/

Pricing: $$

Where should I go next? Comment your favorite LA spots down below! And if you try one of these places, let me know what you think:)

Life Through A Lens #21- BACK TO REALITY