Monday, March 27, 2017

Street Eats!

Last weekend I looked at the calendar and realized Ram and I had a whole weekend without any real plans. That sounds glorious for the most part, but I am the type of person who needs SOMETHING fun scheduled, so I poked around and decided we should take a cooking class...

...So off we headed to the Eatz Cooking School!

(Side bar - I have blogged about Eatz before, but also - last year, my friend Natalie and I took a six-week Culinary Basics cooking class at Eatz and it was THE BEST. It was held on six consecutive Saturdays in the spring and we had so much fun, made such delicious food, and learned so much! We learned knife skills, the five French "mother sauces," compound butters, soups and stocks, chicken entrees, how to cook different kinds of seafood, how to cook beef and lamb, and of course, pastry and breads - sadly, we both missed the pizza and pasta class, but REST ASSURED we will be making it up :) If you live in LA and want to learn how to cook, or even if you know how to cook and want to become better at it (me), this is a seriously awesome thing to do and I highly recommend it!)


I was laughing as we walked in because I remember the first time Rami and I took a cooking class, years ago when we were dating, and he was a total newbie in the kitchen and he was SO nervous. I remember he drank an entire bottle of wine and I was scared he was going to chop his fingers off. But here we are, almost two and a half years married, and he is perfectly comfortable in the kitchen and the best sous chef!



The menu for that day's class was "Street Eatz" - spicy chicken satay with peanut sauce, shrimp & scallion pancakes, pork potstickers with sesame soy dipping sauce, and grilled Mexican street corn. HASHTAG YUM. Every single thing was delicious and ridiculously easy to make. 

I am very into Instagram Stories right now (do you follow me? @queenjord, duh) so I was posting plenty of pictures - here are a few:

Spicy Chicken Satay:




Shrimp & Scallion Pancakes:



Pork Potstickers - YUMMMMM:




 


Here is the recipe for the Grilled & Loaded Street Corn - you will not regret making it! 

Ingredients:
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Salt, to taste
4 ears of fresh corn
2 scallions, sliced
2 tbsp cilantro minced
4 slices of bacon, chopped, cooked crisp &
drained
4 oz cotija cheese
4oz Mexican crema

Preparation:
Mix the butter, smoked paprika and salt in a bowl. Take a paper towel and smear the butter all over the corn. Wrap each piece of corn in a piece of foil and place on a hot grill. 
Cook for 10-12 minutes turning every 2-3 minutes. You should hear it sizzle.
When ready, unwrap and sprinkle the corn ears with the herbs, bacon, cotija and crema as desired. Eat hot. 
Serves four


We had a great afternoon and I am already looking forward to our next class. I'm thinking Greece is The Word? Or maybe Your Home Steakhouse? Yum... We shall see! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

NO SHOPPING MARCH: An Update, With Many Complaints

The end of NO SHOPPING MARCH is in sight but let me tell you friends, it has not been easy. 

Every time I do this I am actually legitimately incredulous when I realize how difficult it is to not shop. At least once a week, I run to Target on my lunch break to pick something up for the house and end up adding a pair of shoes or a cute top to my cart without even thinking about it. On weekends, I'm usually at the mall with my mom for a few hours. And as I mentioned before, I am ALWAYS shopping online. It's just too easy to get an email about a sale, click through, and buy something within minutes. I am an online marketer's wet dream.  

Before I go on much further - let me just say that I DID break NSM for one thing and I felt so guilty I confessed to like five of my friends and knew I had to confess here too. I'll reveal what I bought next month - but in my defense let me just say it was something I have been waiting to come back in stock since LAST JULY. So. Please absolve me. 

Anyway, this month I have been pinning up a storm to my "Wanty McWanterson" board on Pinterest so I thought I'd share some stuff, you know, in case YOU want to buy it. I'm generous like that. But don't buy the last one because I'll be pissed. 



ONE: I love the pattern on this dress and the full-length zipper. I think it could be equally cute as a real dress with platform wedges and as a beach coverup with sandals. (Also available here in plus size.)

TWO: So I own these Kate Spade shoes and they are the MOST COMFORTABLE EVER. I can barely wear high heels anymore without falling on my face (v. classy) but these have a low thick heel yet aren't granny! I have them in beige leather but have plans to get another color - either these pink ones or maybe cherry red?

THREE: Oh my GOD I want this so bad. Rainbow pom poms? SIGN ME UP. 

FOUR: No, I'm still not over the tassel earring trend. No, I don't think I will be anytime soon.

FIVE: I hadn't really been in love with bucket bags until I came across this one - so chic with the leopard pattern, and it'll hold so much!

SIX: As mentioned above, I cannot walk in stiletto heels anymore (#veryold) so these platforms look super cute, yet comfortable and sturdy. I can't believe I am using "sturdy" as an adjective that appeals to me these days but there ya have it folks. Also, I have several pairs of Pour La Victoire heels that are pretty comfy, and these are the same brand.

SEVEN: Oh, a tiny dish with a little Frenchie on it? YAS PLZ.

EIGHT: This is one of those sweaters that I would lust after for months, finally order, hang it in my closet, and then... not wear. For like months. But that doesn't mean it isn't cool as shit. 


So... polka dots, leopard print, tassels, hot pink, and pom poms. Sounds about right for a Jordan Marisa Rose wish list. April - hurry it up. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#CheerioRaffs

Last week I talked about travel tips and then did a little recap of the first part of our 2016 Eurotrip, and then promptly had house guests for three nights and forgot to blog about the rest of our trip. Oops. Here I am. ANYWAY!

After leaving Paris, we took the high-speed train to London and voila! Less than 3 hours later we had arrived and my terrible British accent was out in full force, much to Rami's utter delight.



Once again, we turned to our trusty Starwood points, and stayed at the W Hotel. I had absolutely no idea when I booked it, but the W is actually smack in the middle of Leicester Square, Chinatown, and the West End (where all the Broadway shows are), and most everything we wanted to see or do was SO close by. We walked everywhere! I will say that Leicester Square can be compared somewhat to Times Square - it is PACKED with people at all times of the day and night and can be a little overwhelming, but in my opinion, it makes up for that by its convenience, and our room was very big and luxurious.

The thing I wanted to do most in London? HIGH TEA. I am obsessed with the idea of afternoon tea and as someone who doesn't drink coffee but loves tea, this was my #1 request. The first tea we took (HA I AM SO BRITISH) was something I had read about literally 10 years ago - "Pret-a-port-tea" at The Berkeley Hotel, where all the little pastries and cakes are shaped like purses and shoes and accessories and are based on the latest runway fashions from haute couture designers! 




We also had an amazing tea on the last day of 2016 at Sketch London. Sketch kept appearing on everyone's lists of their favorite things to do while in London so I was curious - and when I investigated, I knew we had to go. I don't even know how to describe it - avant guard? Whimsical? Slightly insane? It was so cool and colorful and beautiful inside. While we drank our tea, a full on GOSPEL CHOIR came out of nowhere and performed Christmas carols. The bathroom stalls were futuristic pods and the ceiling had rainbow lights and there was a whole room that looked like a forest and I just loved everything. 




The weather while we were in Europe was really nice - we totally lucked out - it was cold but not rainy, and we had warm jackets so it wasn't bad at all. The day we went to the Tower of London, however, was foggy and freezing and windy, and of course that was the day we waited outside in line for an hour to see the Crown Jewels! (Thank you husband for fetching the hot chocolate so I did not freeze to death.)




I also highly recommend the Churchill War Rooms - I love history museums and we really enjoyed going into the building that housed a secret World War 2 bunker. It was a little claustrophobic but we managed to have fun anyway.




If you know us, you know we love theater - despite my BEST ATTEMPTS, we were unable to get Harry Potter show tickets which was mildly devastating to say the least. Instead, we bought tickets in advance to see School of Rock on New Years Eve - we didn't know what to expect but were pleasantly surprised - and actually, while wandering around, we realized that a singer from NYC who we really like was also in London for a 10-night show, so we saw Christina Bianco perform one night as well! 


Other fun things that I recommend: as tourists, we did our due diligence and saw Big Ben, the London Eye, and Westminster Abbey. We took a very cool London Rock Music Tour, where we were driven all around the city in a comfy bus and got to see apartments and buildings that have a place in rock & roll history - Rami loooooved it. 



We visited Harrah's for some shopping and a little nosh. (When I die, sprinkle my ashes in that Food Hall. It was the most amazing ridiculous thing I have ever seen in my entire life.)




London is also known for their amazing Mediterranean food right now - the best restaurants in the genre are NOPI by Ottolenghi (of Plenty and Jerusalem cookbook fame) and a new place called Palomar. We went to both and enjoyed both but I'd give the edge to Palomar, actually. 


All in all, we were there for 10 days and had a really awesome time. I am already thinking about where we can go next and use more of our Starwood points - Tokyo? Barcelona? Thailand? THE WORLD IS HUGE AND I WANT TO SEE ALL OF IT!!! 

PS. You can see more pictures from our trip on Instagram - #bonjourraffs for Paris pictures and #cheerioraffs for London pictures. I like coming up with a hashtag for each trip. I'm also the go-to for coming up with clever wedding hashtags. Is this my legacy?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#BonjourRaffs

In December, Rami and I went to Paris and London and had THE BEST TIME. We were there for 10 days and I loved every minute. I had never been to either place - Rami had, in college - so we acted like total tourists and really had such a wonderful trip.

I'm not going to post every single thing we did - just the highlights - but if you are planning on going to Paris and/or London and would like a copy of my itinerary, please just email me and I'd be glad to share it!


So first - Paris! As I mentioned a few days ago, we flew to Heathrow direct from LAX and then bought a one-way ticket to Paris from London. We arrived late on Christmas Eve and checked into our hotel, the Westin Vendome Paris. It was a beautiful hotel in a fantastic location, walkable to so many places and sites - our room wasn't huge, but everyone was so kind and friendly and the concierge service was great. I highly recommend.


Because we were in Europe over the holidays, everyone told us not to miss visiting a Christmas Market! There was one on the Champs-Elysees a 5-minute walk from our hotel and I absolutely loved it. (There was a terrorist attack in a Christmas market in Berlin the week before our trip and I was a little nervous, but our hotel assured us it was very safe, and indeed we did see plenty of armed policemen and guards and felt very safe once we were there.) We bought gifts for friends and tasted all the delicious food and loved seeing all the decorations.

Of course, we visited the Louvre - I particularly enjoyed taking the traditional tourist photo outside the building (#sobasic)...



But our travel agent Sybil (if you need a good one SHE'S THE BEST) recommended the Fondation Louis Vuitton and it. was. incredible. It has nothing to do with fashion so don't get too excited - rather, it's a STUNNING building about a half hour outside of the city filled with the most incredible modern art. The museum itself, designed by Frank Gehry, has the most incredible architecture - I couldn't stop gaping at it - but inside, the art... I was swooning. I loveeee modern art and this museum had the most incredible collection from the Shchukin family - Matisse, Picasso, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh... That particular collection is no longer there anymore, but the whole museum is a must-see!!!



Whenever we travel to a new place, Rami and I like to take a food tour. I find it is a really fun way to see a new city and get to taste the local specialties while getting to know a guide who shares a common love of food! On this trip, we took the Paris by Mouth Taste of Le Marais Food Tour and absolutely loved every minute. We walked all around the Marais - a trendy (and Jewish!) neighborhood - and tried the city's recent award-winning baguette, fresh cheeses and pate and charcuterie, gourmet chocolate and pate de fruit, cream puffs, wine, and more. 





I have to tell you - I was SO excited to see the Eiffel Tower. We bought a little package on Viatour that included cut-the-line admission to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, plus two tickets on a Paris River Cruise of the Seine, and I highly recommend doing so - we bypassed lines of hundreds of people! When we first walked over to meet our tour guide for the Eiffel Tower, I said to Rami, "I'm so excited, I can't wait to see it," and he started laughing and said "Look up!" So I did, and this is what I saw:



View from the top! 



Of course - it goes without saying that we had some spectacular meals in Paris. I made it a point to make some reservations for us at places with Michelin stars. After years and years of dreaming about it, we got a lunch reservation at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and I was SO EXCITED. Our lunch was like 15 courses, took three and a half hours and I am still dreaming about those mashed potatoes. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am so glad we did it.



We also ate at some other great restaurants - I particularly liked Camille (a true French brasserie), L'Aus Du Falafal (every single person recommended we go here so we did, it was very very good but I personally feel LA has equally excellent falafel - Rami disagrees and thought this was better), another Michelin restaurant, Ze Kitchen Gallerie (French/Asian fusion, very very good), and lunch at L'Ami Jean, which is a restaurant that was featured on my VERY FAVORITE NEW SHOW, "I'll Have What Phil's Having," which I lovingly refer to as "What Did Phil Eat Today?," hosted by the one and only adorable Phil Rosenthal. L'Ami Jean was VERY French and very AUTHENTIC and when we left my winter coat smelled like foie gras for the rest of the afternoon. 


Other places we visited that we loved: I did some shopping at the Galerie Lafayette department store and bought this sick Furla bag. While I was there, Rami went to the Cinamateque Francais Museum and nerded out about French movie stuff. We walked around the Notre Dame late one night when it was kind of deserted and it was gorgeous. We had the BEST breakfast at Angelica Restaurant one morning, featuring super-thick hot chocolate and truffled scrambled eggs and $17 dollar orange juice (oops, don't do that). 




We were in Paris for a total of five nights and had the most incredible time and could have stayed another week. I CAN'T WAIT TO COME BACK. But on the sixth day, we woke up and took the Eurostar high-speed train to London, and the second part of our adventure began! Bye bye #bonjourraffs, hello #cheerioraffs!

PS. The whole time we were there, I WAITED AND WAITED to see a REAL French bulldog. On our last day, this little guy pranced by us across the street and I almost fainted on the cobblestones. WORTH THE WAIT!




Monday, March 13, 2017

Trip Talk

"I may not be able to buy happiness, but I can buy plane tickets and that's pretty close."

Lots of people ask me how we travel so often and my answer is, I try to be really smart about finding good deals and bargains. The way I look at it is: I don't like to pay full price for shoes and clothes so why should I travel without finding some kind of discount? :) I also know what I personally prioritize - I'd rather fly economy class and be somewhat uncomfortable for 10 hours and put more money towards a nicer hotel room, but everyone's different - my sister, for example, really doesn't like to fly over 4-5 hours unless she's upgraded her seat. YMMV. 

I will use our recent trip to London and Paris this past December as a good example. When we got engaged and started house-hunting in the same year, I knew we had a lot of big purchases coming up in our future. I signed us up for a Starwood Amex and, as life went on and purchases were made, the credit card points came rolling in. I saved every single one to be used eventually for a big trip. 

Most of you know that Rami is a teacher - so we can only really travel long distances over his spring and winter breaks, and summer vacation. He got two weeks off in December so back in May or June of 2016, I started looking around on Google Flights for a reasonably priced flight to one of the places I knew we wanted to visit. Lo and behold, I stumbled upon a nonstop direct flight from LAX to London over the exact dates we wanted to travel - for $470 per person. I booked it on the spot - and then called Starwood and cashed in about 100,000 points and voila! Free hotel rooms for the entire trip! (Note - I arranged it so we stayed in Paris for 5 nights instead of 4, so that we could take advance of SPG's 5th Night Free Promotion!)

For every trip I make a VERY detailed itinerary in Google Drive that I can reference, change, add to, etc, and I break each day down by morning, afternoon, and evening plans. I am not one of those people who lands somewhere new and then just wanders around - I need a plan! 

Whenever I made a reservation or buy a ticket or book a tour, I put it into that day's plan, and include the date I made the reservation and by what means (email, phone, etc), a reservation or booking number if there is one, as well as the address and any other pertinent info I might need. Let's be honest, 99% of the time the restaurants are the first thing booked and the rest of the trip just gets filled in around mealtime :) 

For example, here's one of the days we spent in London:


Saturday, December 31: 10am - Churchill War Room Museum Noon - Harrods Department store and Food Hall for shopping and lunch 3:30pm - Christmas Tea at Sketch London, made on bookatable.com on 11/27 and reserved with credit card (Booking Ref: 2342-WW/SK7571) 6:30pm - School of Rock Musical, confirmed via email 11/16, pick up tickets at box office 9:30pm dinner reservation at Tramshed, made via Open Table on 12/14


When it comes to actually figuring out where to go and what to do, I have a few regular sources (besides Facebook + Twitter, because OBVIOUSLY). First of all - I have an excellent travel agent - shout out to Sybil who is the BEST! :) I also pour over TripAdvisor reviews and sort them by the month we're planning on visiting as well as the type of trip we're on (ie, personal, romantic, sightseeing), and sometimes by travel companion as well (ie, family trip, couples getaway, etc) so I can more closely compare our ideal experience with the reviews.

I also do a search on my blog reader (mine is Bloglovin) and see if I can find blogs written by people who live or work in the city we're planning on visiting - for example, I did this for Paris and came across some great blogs written by French girls and got some very cool ideas for restaurants! And other thing I do - this is really some light stalking if you ask me - I look up a popular landmark in the area - ie, the Eiffel Tower - and click on the geotag, then scroll through pictures people have posted. If the person looks fun or interesting, I click through to their profile and see if they've visited any other cool places in the area. This is a good idea if you like going to places off the beaten path!

I hope this is helpful for all of you who also love to travel. If you have any good tips please send them my way!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Ten Fun Facts

I am slowly getting back into the hang of blogging and have lots of fun ideas. I guess that's what happens when you are a writer and you DON'T WRITE for two years. It was all inside me this whole time and it's all gonna come out now :)

Anyway - since it's been a while I figured I would share ten fun facts about me lately! That's a good place to start.

1. Rami and I Tivo Jeopardy every night. We are smarter than 50% of the contestants but dumber than the other 50%. I am very good with word games, literature, pop culture, animal and food categories. I am literally the worst at geography, it's laughable. Long time readers - remember when I thought West Virginia was a made-up place? Rami is all around SO smart and I think he should be on the show. 

2. As soon as I get home from a trip, I start planning the next one. I HAVE to have something on the calendar to look forward to. Currently I am working on plans for Memorial Day in the South somewhere and fun restaurants for a weekend trip to Philly in May and Scottsdale in June. 

3. On November 9th, 2016, I woke up, cried in bed for three hours straight, and then set up recurring donations to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the Anti-Defamation League. It made me feel a tiny bit better and if you're half as angry or frustrated or scared as I am, I urge you to give what you can. It might help. 

4. On a similar note - my mom and I were in NYC for Bailey's 30th birthday over Inauguration Weekend, so we did the Women's March there. My aunt and my cousins joined us and I felt amazing and so powerful. We tried to march to Trump Tower but there were so many thousands of people in front of us that we only got a few blocks away. My cousin and my aunt wore pink pussy hats and I made us all signs. Mine was top left - "I am done PUTIN up with this shit."


5. The fact that there is STILL no SoulCycle in the valley makes me want to scream. I drive to Calabasas a few times a week to spin and it is still a shlep. They are renovating a building down the block from us and I PRAY someone decides to put Soul there. I would flip. 

6. Along with the rest of the world, our family is obsessed with Hamilton. I will give my husband credit, he is a HUGE Lin-Manuel Miranda fan and started listening to the show the day the recording came out. It took a while for me to get into it but after I did, I knew we had to go see it immediately. If you are curious, my favorite song is Hurricane but I also like to sing the rap battles and scream "OUTGUNNED, OUTMANNED" very loudly. 

We were lucky enough to fly to NY last April and see it with the entire original Broadway cast. I was so nervous that we were going to get stuck in the subway on the way there that I insisted on cabbing and we got there two hours early. I made friends with everyone on line - shocker. I was also nervous because I bought the tickets on Stubhub and I was terrified they would be fake. I had already decided that if for some reason our tickets weren't real I would march my ass to the box office and hand them my credit card and say "One ticket. Whatever it takes." PS. The tickets were real, the seats were amazing, and it was all worth it. Rami cried like a baby and said it was one of the best days of his life. PPS. It's just as good as you've heard. No, it's better. 



7. I am really good at interior design but terrible at making decisions for my own house. It takes me forever to decide. I can literally decorate and plan YOUR whole house and find you really good deals and tell YOU exactly what to buy and it'll look amazing and be done in like 5 minutes, but for my own house? FORGET IT. Our bedroom is like a random mishmash and it drives me nuts. 

8. I am doing NO SHOPPING MARCH this year instead of May and I forgot how much it sucked. The whole reason why I do this is to "reset" my compulsive need to online shop all day long since I sit in front of a computer and it's just so EASY. But it hasn't even been two weeks and I'm already so over it. Wish me luck, I'll make it but it's gonna be hard. 

9. Truffle Britney Spears sleeps in a crate in our room at night. Everyone is surprised by this because they said for sure I would cave after the first couple of months and let her sleep in the bed. She doesn't like when we pick her up and put her in the crate - she growls at us - but after she's in, she falls asleep within two minutes and sleeps for nine hours straight. She is allowed in the bed for cuddles but I am so glad we crate-trained her!


10. Speaking of sleeping! After five years of my husband keeping me up all night snoring like a goddamn train, he got a CPAP machine and it is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. If I had to choose between the CPAP and my iPhone I would go back to a Nokia Razor in a heartbeat. 

Ten things! That was fun. Tell me something random about you :)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I Love My House But I Hate It Too

I love my house but I hate it too. Let me explain.

My actual house is great. We were lucky enough to buy it in the exact neighborhood we wanted to live in, and renovated 75% of it before we officially moved in, so I love my hardwoods and my pretty crown molding and my marble bathroom and my all-white kitchen (#basicbitch). 

BUT. Why didn't any of you tell me owning a house IS THE ACTUAL WORST?

Two stories, beginning with the Great Mold Incident of 2016: 

Our water heater is in the garage. We live in a gated community, park on the street, and primarily use the garage for storage (aka 800 boxes of Rami's comic books and a chandelier I bought two years ago and have yet to hang), so we are rarely in there.

Back in October, we noticed a tiny puddle on the floor outside the door leading to the garage. Literally as I type this I am getting traumatized so I'll cut to the chase. Over the course of a week or so, the water heater S L O W L Y leaked backwards into our house - we only noticed when the WALLS IN THE OFFICE STARTED TURNING GREEN and the floor started to BUCKLE. 

That fucking water heater caused $15,000 worth of damage and we had to redo the entire room. WE DIDN'T HAVE HOT WATER FOR THREE WEEKS. We showered at the neighbors. Yes, that was me marching through Encino in Rami's bathrobe. I was so upset I had to go back to therapy. Oh and did I mention insurance denied the claim? OF COURSE THEY DID.

Deep breaths, Jord. 

More recently, this past weekend, Rami and I came home late on Friday night and when we walked up to the front door, we were greeted by the sight of TWO DOZEN DEAD BEES just chillin on our doormat. UH. Rami immediately said "This is how horror movies begin, we need to leave now" and we should just abandon our house forever but I insisted we go in and rescue Truff :) We cleaned up the bees and went to sleep - but then in the morning, when Rami went to go get me a coffee, there were two dozen NEW DEAD BEES. 

So we called the bee man. His company was called Queen Bee Removal. I announced on the phone "There is only allowed to be one queen in this house and it's me," but he was not amused. When he arrived to suss out the situation, I walked out of the house to greet him. Before I could even say hello he said "I can already see your hive" and it was off to the goddamn races. Apparently a hive had set up camp in our roof, above our front door. Long story short, he spent hours - over the course of 2 days! - crawling around the roof and the attic and insulation until he finally figured out what wall it was attached to. 

How did he remove it, you ask? OH, BY CUTTING A HOLE IN MY GODDAMN HOUSE. The cost of several pairs of shoes later, the bees were gone and FOUR honeycombs were in his truck, ready to be carted off to a bee farm (yes, we hired an ethical bee remover. No, that was not on purpose - more of a perk.)  And no, I did not keep any of the honey. I did not want any ROOF HONEY. 

Untitled

I will say that this time around I was much calmer than the last time. No therapy and no Xanax was needed. Instead I just ate sushi three meals in a row and did some deep breathing. 

To sum it all up - I love my house. I love shopping for furniture and cooking in the kitchen I designed from scratch and I love hosting friends over and snuggling on the couch. 

But I still wish I had a landlord to deal with this shit sometimes.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Holy Shit, Did I Just Blog?

What? Did I just blog?

Holy shit. It's been two years since I last wrote. Don't get me wrong, I miss this thing A LOT. It just seemed so weird to randomly pick it up one day after abandoning it for so long.

And yet. Here I am. It's No Shopping March, by the way, so between avoiding online shopping AND trying to stay the hell away from the news because it depresses me so much (P.S., the last time I blogged America was still great and we weren't all going to die based on the freakish whims of an actual Orange Dumpster Fire sitting in the Oval Office, but I digress)... I needed SOMETHING to occupy me while sitting on my couch keeping half an eye on Fixer Upper re-runs, so, I guess I'm back?

What do I want to even write about? What is the blog about? I remember when people used to ask me, "Is it a fashion blog? A food blog? A travel blog?" and I'd be like... "Yes? All of that? Filtered through the lens of a basic Jewish girl in LA?"

So I guess I should put some updates on here. Let's see. What's new since February 2015 (?!?!?!?!):

1. Rami and I have been married for almost two and a half years. It's pretty great. He is still handsome and funny and ridiculously smart and we have lots of fun traveling all over the world and seeing movies and just hanging out. Marriage is fun. 

2. Truffle Britney Spears the Mini Pig, aka our beloved French bulldog, is the sassiest young lady in the house (besides me). She is two years old and the cutest thing you ever saw and slightly naughty but she is my child and I love her more than anything. 

3. The 2016 Presidential Election really threw me, guys. We went to Nevada and canvassed for Hillary door to door and I just KNEW she was going to win. I felt it. I was a nervous wreck for three weeks before the election, couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, cried every day, but I really, really thought she was going to win. When DT won I didn't get out of bed for close to 48 hours. It was basically harder on me than my parents' divorce. If I am being perfectly honest I am still having a really hard time with it. I've lost some friends. Did a LOT of defriending on Facebook. For my own mental health I try not to read the news every day, which is extremely hard for me - since I was 14 I have had CNN as my homepage and read it every day and pride myself on being a generally in-the-know human being. Rami is super fired up and calls our legislators every single day. I mostly just feel nauseous and terrified.

4. We have been traveling A LOT. We went to Paris and London for Christmas and New Years, and Hawaii for our two-year anniversary, and Italy, Turkey, and Greece for my 30th birthday. (Oh, I'm 31 now - I had to get anti-anxiety medication when I turned 30, but that lasted for like 4 hours and now I don't give a shit how old I am!)

Those are some good updates, right? The lonely part of blogging was that I loved writing, but I always felt like I was talking to a wall. The comments were rare and that got to me, not gonna lie. But if you want to hear about something, I guess just let me know? Some more ideas, off the top of my head:

- The Great Mold Incident of 2016 and the most recent Minor Bee Hive Trauma of 2017, aka, why I am not a fan of owning a house
- Things I have purchased lately that I have enjoyed
- Favorite things from recent trips
- Recipes? I bought an InstantPot but I'm scared of it. I do cook a lot though, so that could be a good idea!
- An updated Vegas Guide and LA Restaurant Guide - I STILL get emails from people asking me about my recommendations!

I think going forward, I will shoot for posting once a week. That way, if I don't do it, I won't feel terrible, and if I manage to exceed my own expectations and post twice in a week, I'll feel like a hero. 

So welcome back to me! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

My Red Carpet Favorites!

Oscar Sunday is one of my favorite days of the entire year. I make the same joke every year - "THIS IS MY SUPERBOWL!" and completely crack myself up. We had a party at our house and almost 20 people came - it was a packed house! Between running around after the puppy (who was SO well behaved!) and arranging cheese platters, I barely got a chance to look at the red carpet :( thank god for websites putting up pictures with all the details!

Honestly, barely anyone blew me away this year. I don't understand why people don't take more risks. I know they're my favorite colors, but where was the hot pink? Where was the turquoise? Bright colors photograph beautifully on the carpet and in an age where everyone plays it safe, wearing a bright bold color in the right silhouette gets you SO much attention and accolades. I would have paid money to see someone in a bold fuschia or teal. 

But anyway - here's who I did like, in reverse order! My top five starts off with Gwyneth Paltrow in Ralph & Russo (photo via EOnline). I actually don't even LIKE Gwyneth, but I like a girl who takes a risk in a classy way (not in the Naomi Watts way - wtf was that glitter sports bra situation?). The color looked beautiful on her skin and I am personally always a fan of a one-shoulder, plus there's no large flower pouf situation I can't get on board with!


Next up - Anna Faris in Zuhair Murad (photo via Just Jared). What can I say? I'm a creature of habit and I love me a princess sparkle ballgown. This dress looks great because the proportions are right - the top is formfitting but not too tight and the length flows, but isn't too long. I would have liked a different hairstyle (and hair color for that matter) but she does look beautiful. And she's married to Chris Pratt so she WINS AT LIFE. #prattprattpratt


The night's big winner was Julianne Moore who is just a goddamn stunning national treasure, isn't she? In my next life I will have her gorgeous skin and her beautiful gorgeous red hair. TRUE STORY: One time I sat behind her on a plane to NYC and one single strand of her gorgeous hair peeked through the seats AND I TOUCHED IT. Yes I'm crazy. Anyway - I dream of being able to say "Oh, this dress? It's custom Chanel. By Karl." I love the shimmery white simplicity paired with the whimsical little sequined flowers. Just beautiful. (Photo via Us Weekly.)



Second place for Best Dressed of the Evening goes to Rosamund Pike in Givenchy (Photo by Us Weekly). Do we think she wore red to signify that terrifying scene in Gone Girl?! Whatever her reasoning - girlfriend looked ON POINT. I loved her structured scarlet lace column - especially the top - paired with a more casual, pulled back bun. A great lesson in balances! Also - extra points go towards her simple, elegant strappy heel in the EXACT same color as the gown #perfectaccessorizing. Truly, this woman is beautiful and talented and the dress reflects that.



Okay - my choice for the night's big winner? J.LO, YALL!!!! One glimpse of that gorgeous, iridescent, beaded, sparkly Elie Saab ballgown and it was all over for me (Photo via InStyle). I loved the juxtaposition of the slightly sexier top with the more traditional poufy bottom - stunning. I also liked her very simple, elegant ponytail - a little more fun than a bun, but still understated enough so as not to take attention away from the gown. And may I remind you all that the woman is FORTY FIVE YEARS OLD?! God has truly blessed her. Or she is drinking the blood of virgins. One of those things. 


So there ya have it! Very excited to watch Fashion Police tonight and see who else people loved. Who did you think nailed it tonight? And who failed miserably? I would love to hear! 


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

V-Day Treats

With a cute new puppy and a cute new husband I am just full of love these days :) Valentine's Day is just a few days away and I am looking forward to celebrating! This is our first V-Day as a married couple and I can't wait to see what Ram has up his sleeve.

There is something really nice about a day dedicated to celebrating love - no matter who you are or who you love! I made this little roundup of things that have caught my eye lately... feel free to send it onto your Valentine for ideas - hint hint! And if you are still looking for a the perfect gift for someone - your mom, your sister, your BFF - you're gonna love this list. Plus, the best part is they're ALL under $75! 

vday

ONE: I happen to LOVE patterned tights - nothing is cuter with a cocktail dress! I own polka dots and leopard print, but I'm thinking a pair of tights with hearts could make my Valentine's Day ensemble even cuter. Only $18!

TWO: A day-planner may seem to be a strange gift, but I own this Moleskine planner and I LOVE MINE. If you have a friend who is always scatter-brained, buy her one of these - they're 30% off right now, making them $12! My planner keeps me organized and I love how slim and light it is - I can throw it in any bag and be good to go!

THREE: "I Freaking Love You." Enough said! This mug is $13 and would make me laugh every time I used it.

FOUR: I am obsessed with these colors of these tassel bracelets - I want every single one! For $26, you could get someone a couple of them... magenta, coral, and tangerine would make a great V-Day stack! 

FIVE: These stacking heart bowls ($36) were actually on my Hanukkah wish-list... I would love to display all my bracelets and jewels in them on my dresser. I'm partial to pink, of course, but they also come in navy and a beautiful pale blue.

SIX: I love anything with a lipstick print. This little makeup bag is only $20 - stuff it with your favorite nail polishes and lipglosses and you've got a fabulous gift.

SEVEN: I am a huge fan of giving pictures frames as gifts - it's something everyone loves and can use in their homes, and it's even cuter if you take the time to print out a photo of you and the recipient and slip it into the frame. We actually registered for a few of these Michael Aram heart frames ($69) and put wedding photos in them - they're all around our house and I just love the fun, bold heart design.

EIGHT: In my opinion, Kendra Scott makes the best colorful earrings out there - I have like a dozen pairs. Every season, she comes out with new colors and new shapes - I have these drop earrings ($55) in turquoise but I'm thinking the magenta may need to join my collection!

NINE: Know any newlyweds? This Mr. & Mrs. dishtowel duo ($42 for two) would be the cutest gift for their first V-Day!

TEN: This is one of those quirky little gifts that I would personally love to get. It's a "Love Letter Tray" from West Elm, currently on sale for $12 - for that price you could buy one for everyone you love! 

ELEVEN: This heart-printed duffel bag could not be any cuter. It's the perfect size for an overnight or weekend get-away! I happen to already have a little duffel with hearts, but if I didn't, I'd snap this up in one second flat. I was also really surprised by the price - I think $54 for a bag this big is super reasonable!
____________________________

I'm ALWAYS a girly girl, but Valentine's Day really brings it out of me.... pink, red, hearts, kisses, flowers, glitter... I love it all!!!