Happy 2012!

Break out the bubbly and the glamor!
Wishing everyone a wonderful new year! Do you make resolutions or set any new year goals? My husband and I like to take some time to jot down a few goals, but I try to avoid hard resolutions that I don't really plan on sticking to. It's nice to take some time to reflect on the past year and what you're looking for in the year ahead and small steps you can take to getting to the next step in whatever you're looking for in life.

For 2012 I have a few personal and a handful of professional goals. Some of them I'm going to keep under wraps, but maybe putting a few of my goals out there will actually jump start me to making these things happen!
  • Try to cook my way through my new Mozza cookbook (it all looks so incredible, where do I start??)
  • Find perfect hip length black blazer.
  • Finally feel like I have something to wear for every occasion as they come up. Probably a life long attempt. Including 1 sequin garment!
  • Be better about staying on top of chores- laundry, dishes, deep cleaning. Doing them often makes them easy every time and takes about 10 minutes. 
  • Curb excess spending to be a better saver.
  • Take my lunch hour and get out of the office more often.
  • Be better about letting go of anger and resentment so issues don't build. Less negative self talk and less "what if scenario" thinking. Be a little nicer to myself and not so hard on myself when I make mistakes.
  • More DIY home improvement projects.
  • Tackle more restaurants on my restaurant to do list- and then tell you all about them!
  • I'd like to say I'll work out everyday, but that's not realistic for me, so finding a workout I like and sticking with it is something I think I can work on.
  • Wash my car more often.
  • See my girlfriends more.
I hope that helps get you started on some lists of things to work on for the new year. If you are comfortable sharing (or do it anonymously), I'd love to hear what is on your mind for 2012.


Holiday hibernation

I have this week off and in between the holiday parties, visiting families, and plotting my cookie takeover for our friend's NYE party, I am trying to rest. It feels soooo good to do very little, run errands during the day, and eat latkes. I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas or are enjoying your last night of Hanukah. It's been so nice seeing family and of course getting some wonderful gifts- as well as watching our family open the gifts we got for them. I have to say, I also am happy to be able to walk in our home office again without the enormous pile of presents everywhere.
Photo from Creature Comforts
Did you get any amazing gifts? Tell us about it! What about gifts you were disappointed by? I've heard a few stories about this lately and I'd love to hear how you handled that.


Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays everyone! I'm going to enjoy some vacation time with my husband and family and will be back next week with a big post on a big LA restaurant that I can't wait to share with you. Enjoy some hot chocolate, the lights, watching Home Alone and A Christmas Story, and spending time with your family and friends!


Gift Guide for Foodies and Cooks

I know you are probably done with your shopping and have been for about a month because you are on top of it! But maybe you forgot just one little thing for that foodie friend and instead of stressing about what to get them- I will help you out!
Grow your own mushrooms, under $20
Smoking Gun from Williams-Sonoma, $99

Cheesemaking Kit, $25

Culinary Torch from Crate and Barrel, $39

Mozza Cookbook, $22 on Amazon

Food Saver, kits start at $98

Sous Vide, starts around $300
Anything Le Creuset

Slate cheese platter, available at various retailers.
Try Crate and Barrel, starts at $10 and cheese knives

Food and Wine Subscription
Gastronomica Subscription
Microplane, $10

Any excellent knife, try Bob Kramer

Cooking Class gift certificate, try Hipcooks

Michael Wainwright Amalfi Collection

Serving pieces also make great gifts for anyone who likes to cook at home and entertain. Michael Aram makes gorgeous pieces, Crate and Barrel also has a great selection at an affordable price (I like the Classic Century Collection), but if you're feeling especially spendy, Michael Wainwright is phenomenal.

Olive Oil- available here and here
Image from Bonjour- Celine

Good olive oil and good balsamic vinegars are wonderful gifts and their flavors make such a difference than just ok oils/vinegars and are such versatile ingredients. Dried artisan pastas and sauces, fine teas, good hot chocolate mix (and just good chocolate) and marshmallows made with care are also a great way to go.

I've discussed some dislike of gift cards in the past, but this is another exception- a gift card to a restaurant the recipient has been wanting to go to. This does not mean picking up a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory or California Pizza Kitchen at Ralph's= bad gift giver and shame on you! A few great LA restaurants that would be wonderful gift certificates to receive are along the lines of Hatfield's, Jar, Mozza, Fig and Olive (my visit here), Scarpetta, Providence (we got a gift certificate here for our wedding and I can't wait to go!), Cut, Melisse, The Hungry Cat, Rustic Canyon, Church and State, Angelini Osteria, Rivera, Ink, anything Suzanne Goin- AOC, Luques, and Tavern - are a few that would make you the family favorite for sure! It's hard to cut that list short, so if you need more suggestions, shoot me an email and I'll be happy to help find a good option for you.


Gifts for the Ladies- Part 2

Last week I posted my first batch of gift ideas for gals, but if you're still in a pinch and looking for some last minute ideas, I have some inspiration for you!

Fancy soaps, pretty matches, lotions, room sprays, diffusers. Mor has a great line of lotions,perfumes, soaps, candles, etc. that are beautifully packaged and make wonderful gifts.
Teas, artisan coffee (intelligentsia), gourmet food products
Luxury Candles such as Diptyque, Voluspa, or DayNa Decker.Voluspa candles are my favorite and come in such great scents and beautiful tins and vases. They aren't too expensive and would make a wonderful gift. The French Cade and Lavendar is a highlight.

Books are inexpensive and always make good gifts - even if it sometimes sits untouched on a nightstand for months on end...
-Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling  (buy it on Amazon)
-Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me (also on Amazon)
-Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
(of course, you can get it on Amazon!)
- A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything
You Want Out of Life. By Bethenny Frankel
(surprise- it's on Amazon)
- The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton (Amazon!)

Clothes can be a tricky gift, but this sweater from J. Crew seems to be a crowd pleaser. Personalized stationary, ipod and iphone cases, and trays are creative and thoughtful. Erin Condren does this best!My favorite iphone cases are by Kate Spade and I have this one!

Everything from Jonathan Adler is FABULOUS! He has such a great selection of salt and pepper shakers and these are very affordable and would be a welcome addition to any dining room table! I also love his Richard Nixon throw. The Jonathan Adler ceramic canisters are also amazing and cheeky and anyone with a sense of humor (and I really hope that's everyone on your list!) should appreciate these!

I don't typically like to give gift cards, but if you know the recipient has a favorite store (Anthropologie, J Crew, hint hint!), it's never a bad thing to get these. Restaurant gift certificates or cooking class gift certificates. Certificates for Spa Days or a massage are never something to frown about. I would avoid giving an American Express card, because nothing says "I put thought into this" like a card you can use pretty much anywhere. Although, if that's the message you'd like to convey (office buddy, perhaps?), maybe that's not such a bad idea.

Hostess gifts are always nice when you are invited into someone's home. Wine, champagne, or any bottle of their preferred liquor is always appropriate. Orchids are also a lovely gesture and you can get them very reasonably from Whole Foods, Gelsons, or Trader Joes.

Do you have anything special on your wishlist? Do tell! 


3 is not the magic number

719.266.2837 is the magic number. You don't believe me? Call it! I promise you won't be sorry and you don't even have to talk to anyone. Enjoy this tip and your day will get that much better! I don't want to say anything else and ruin the best surprise you'll have all day. 

OMG Becky, Look at her Butt!!!

Don't let this be you!

There is a lot to be said about working in an office and the culture of your work place. I have a LOT to add to this topic, but for today I want to address one little issue- VPL. You know what I mean ladies- we are talking about visible panty lines. We've all seen this and probably are all guilty of this at some point in our lives. There's that day you walk in and someone from your office walks by with this heinous VPL situation and you can't help but notice because it's just so horrendous. Obviously this isn't only an issue in an office, but there's something about it happening in an office that just lends itself to a more uncomfortable situation. Since it's an issue happening everywhere (ugh, and sometimes at the gym, that's really a sight to avoid!), it's important to be aware of what's happening back there. Wikipedia even has an entry for this obscenity. There are definitely ways around this and we should really explore these options.

  • First off, there's the easiest- wearing underwear that doesn't lend itself to a panty line- i.e- a thong or one of those anti-line panties. 
  • Second, let's talk Spanx girls. Eveyone wears them from time to time and they are a life saver. Spanx will for sure help conceal any VPL if you must wear the FB (full butt). They also have this wonderful way about them that helps tighten you up and leaves you feeling only slightly uncomfortable all day.* 
  •  Option 3 is more of a trial and error approach. Certain fabrics tend to cling to one another leaving not just VPL, but also leaving bulk and cling. Avoid this at all costs. You can sport the FB comfortably in certain jeans or pants you have, perhaps under an A line dress and maybe under certain slacks. Proceed with caution on this one though, ladies. This is really about understand what fabrics will work well with other fabrics and takes some additional thought when getting ready in the morning. For example- do not pair a cotton boyshort with a cotton skirt- this will create a butt disaster! A lace or similarly thin boyshort may be appropriate under other garments that a cotton panty just won't work with.

Perhaps one of the biggest VPL offenders isn't when you see the line against the butt, but when you see the underwear above the waistline of pants- "the whale tail" I believe is what some call this situation. Never good- this isn't a brief moment of the early 2000's when certain girls thought this was cute- it's not cute, it's trashy.

For more reading on this subject, please check out Oprah's Panty Intervention- complete with visual aids.

Thanks for bearing with me ladies (and maybe a gent or two)- feel free to email this to a guilty coworker or maybe an aunt who needs to take a hint! 

Do you have any repeat offenders you catch doing this? I want to hear your VPL victim stories! What about anyone who wears white pants with white underwear? Another major faux pas! SHARE!!!

*Note about Spanx- putting them on is probably one of the most unattractive things to witness, EVER! So please be sure you are alone when putting them on and taking them off. 


Father/ Daughter ...and a special treat

I hope everyone had a great weekend. My Friday night was pretty special- chinese food and hanging out at home with R. Actually, perfect! I happened across a Hyudai commercial with a familiar looking father daughter duo singing. I immediately recognized them from a video I saw on you tube some time ago of them covering Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes' song "Home." The first time I saw this video I was laughing and crying at the same time- this is so cute and sweet and I just fell in love with them. I also love this song and it earned a place in my heart when I first heard it on KCRW a few years ago. So much so that I had "home is wherever I'm with you" inscribed on the inside of my husband's wedding band.

I also found this cover of them doing "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele and it's pretty great, again, this girl is too adorable. I wish my husband and I could play an instrument so we could have moments like this with our future children.

While sharing videos, I have to show you guys this Shmidt's online dating video (New Girl) because it's ahhhmazing!

Shmidt's kinda charming, I guess...in his own Shmidt way.


Store Opening Event for West Elm Beverly Boulevard

SO.MUCH.FUN! Last night I went to the store opening event for the new West Elm on Beverly Blvd with one of my besties and my husband that was hosted by some of my favorite bloggers. I had been excited for this event for weeks, obsessing about what to wear and how to talk to the blog icons and what to talk about if I can muster the courage to approach these amazing women.
The event was hosted by some of my favorite bloggers- Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere, Bri from DesignLoveFest (so much love!), and Kelly from Mrs. Lilien, as well as Amy Smart and her hottie carpenter husband, Carter Oosterhouse. I have such a bloggirl crush on so many of them and Liz is equally obsessed with them- thanks to tray passed champagne, we were able to say hi with a little more ease. On the note of tray passed champagne, they had tray passed hors d'oeuvres and dessert and everything was delicious.I also found a new favorite drink, a Moscow Mule. Why had I not tried this before and when can I have another one?!

How cute are these super tiny donuts???

 I really love West Elm's style and there were so many fun finds. I really couldn't focus on shopping with all the people watching I wanted to do, but I'll be back soon to stock up on home treats.
Ottoman Obsession- love this pattern
I've wanted one for so long- perhaps a post holiday purchase is in order
Sounds like such a killer scent and adorably packaged
LAMP!!!!! ...want...
Golden pillows? Yes please! You know I love my gold!
How about this for your holiday table?
A close up, I love the use of moss
Owl measuring cups
Bicycle fabric cases
How sweet are these bowl? I love the pattern on the inside
Arial shot
Me with Bri Emery of Design Love Fest and Liz of Elizabeth Zuluaga Photography

Is she not the most adorable???
heart ornament

photobooth fun!

The cutest little boy asking Cupcakes and Cashmere's Emily for a cupcake
with Emily and Liz
Emily's signature nails and check out her shoes!
hot pink top, glittering gold belt, and polka dot tights- love!
With Kelly of Mrs. Lilien who could not have been sweeter

My Mr. walked out with some surprises
It made my night to chat with Bri, Emily, and Kelly who were all so nice and so appreciative of the guests that came. I cannot even to begin to talk about the great style of everyone in the room, but the interior design crowd never disappoints! Wishing you all a wonderful weekend- rest up, shop lots, and eat something amazing!

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