Friday, June 27, 2014

{friday cocktail: the best cocktail books}

Since all of my cocktail making tools as well as our entire bar has been packed up for the past week and a half, I'm here to today with a little round up of my favorite cocktail books instead of a fresh recipe!  We own all but one of these guys and I would recommend every single one have a space on your bar (plus they all make fabulous gifts for the drinking enthusiasts in your life which I would hope is everyone you know.)

1.  Craft Cocktails is by far my favorite of all of books because quite simply it is the most gorgeously photographed cocktail book I have ever seen.  Definitely keep this one out on your coffee table!

2.  The PDT book is the book that gets the most use in our house, both for inventive cocktails and classics.

3.  Both of Mrs. Lillien's cocktail swatchbooks are fabulous, but I prefer the dessert one since her original cocktail book includes a lot of blended cocktails and I generally don;t find myself making too many of those. 

4.  The Savoy cocktail book is the OG of cocktail books- originally published in 1930

5.  We were given Bitters as a gift and I was skeptical about it, but it actually includes a lot of great recipes as well as interesting background on one of my favorite cocktail additions. 

6.  Punch is a go to resource for big party drinks.

7.  The Bar Book was the first cocktail book we owned and its a great resource for anyone just starting their bar as it contains practically every cocktail you would ever need to look up and then some. 

8.  If you wanna get all fancy with your cocktail making Cocktails For Her For Him is the book for you. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

{outdoor moroccan dinner party recap}

I am so excited to share all the details of how our outdoor moroccan dinner party came together with the help of Pier 1 today!  You've already seen the initial inspiration board here as well as the shopping/party prep here.   After spotting all the moroccan inspired lantern options at Pier 1, I knew that filling the table with a few different styles would be the perfect centerpiece rather than flowers.  Since this was going to be an outdoor party, the candles would add an extra romantic touch after the sun went down.  Instead of a traditional tablecloth, I picked up 2 and half yards of this bright pink fabric to really give the table a vibrant pop of color.  To top everything off I accented the awesome trellis pattern melamine plate set with touches of gold with the glassware and flatware.

Chris helped me develop the perfect Moroccan inspired menu based on some of our favorite dishes on our trip to Morocco.  The biggest factor when planning this menu was making sure the dishes were simple to make with most of the prep being done the day before the party so that we could enjoy alongside our guests.  To take even more work off our plate, we picked up a selection of desserts from our local middle eastern grocery store and served them alongside classic moroccan mint tea to end the meal.  Links to all the menu items are the bottom of this post!

 {large lanterns  |  orange lanterns  |  small colorful lanterns}

 {prepping veggies for the grill}

 {our guests happened to be the two other couples that had joined us on our trip to Morocco!}

 {lanterns at night}

{ending the evening with classic moroccan mint tea in these glasses}


Fresh Grilled Veggies

Pita + Hummus

Find what speaks to you.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Pier 1 via Mode Media. The opinions expressed 
herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pier 1.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

{goodbye chicago!}

The movers packed up our place on Monday and today we are headed back to Los Angeles after a whirlwind two years living in Chicago (Evanston near Northwestern's campus to be exact).  We moved to Chicago for Chris to attend Kellogg for his MBA and in the back of our minds we always knew we would be heading back to sunny southern California after his graduation.  Friends had told us we would love this city and fall in love with the experience of Kellogg even more, but we truly had no idea what a life-changing two years this would be when we arrived.  

Chicago is a truly vibrant city (besides the winter) that we had the chance to fully explore over our time here - mostly through unforgettable dining and cocktailing experiences.  The past two years also created tons of travel memories including our Kwest trip to the Dominican Republic, two costume filled ski trips in Colorado, 3 months living in Paris and a spring break trip to Morocco, Spain and the south of France.  But even more dear to my heart than the Chicago foodie scene and our travel destinations has been the lifelong friendships and traditions we created here that will follow us long after we start a new chapter in LA.  I won't ramble on about the sappy feelings that go along with moving away, but I will say that the past two years will always be a source of happy memories...crazy nights out, hilarious costumes, late night dinner parties with close friends, once in a lifetime travel and a million moments that when I think of them I find myself uncontrollably smiling at just the thought.

Here's a little look back in photos of the past two years in Chicago and beyond!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

{what i loved this week}

on instagram: A fabulous (and easy!) idea for a hostess gift from The Kitchy Kitchen.  Probably the most glam breakfast in bed I have ever seen from The Luxe Report gals!  Insane custom stand for a bathroom.  I am a total sucker for a gorgeous summer maxi dress and Hallie is killing it with this one.

on pinterest:  A fresh and healthy recipe for mango and zucchini lettuce wraps - perfect for a lazy summer lunch. 

in real life:  This week we were celebrating Chris' graduation from Kellogg with tons of fun events including a big gala last night in Chicago at the breathtaking Union Station

on the blogs: OBSESSED with this idea for a mimosa bar with the different juices placed in vintage decanters at this boho bridal shower. 

on my wishlist:  This white blazer-like dress reminds me of something Bianca Jagger would wear- so I need one.  A great color for a pencil skirt in the perfect fabric from Revolve Clothing.  I love the cut of this exaggerated sweetheart dress as well as the gorgeous print (plus the price is amazing at only $37!).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

{entryway table options}

Besides fully furnishing our outdoor patio, one of the other areas in our new place that will need some attention is a small entryway directly inside the front door.  This spot is about 4 feet wide and would be perfect for a simple console table table and a few accessories.  Here are three entryway table combinations I'm considering (products links at the bottom of the post!):

At this point I'm leaning towards #1 or #2, both would fit in well with our current design.  #1 is a bit more modern with the acrylic table, but I love the vintage parisian feel that the glam mirror brings in plus we already own that lamp!  Option #2 is a great masculine piece that would break up some of our more feminine furniture and I'm obsessed with the artwork!  Since we haven't officially stepped inside our unit, I will be waiting to make a final decision until I see some our furniture set up with the artwork we already own up on the walls!

1. CB2 Peekaboo Table  |  Vintage Parisian Mirror  |  Target Lamp Base & Shade

3.  Macassar Brass Table  |  The Aestate Kelly Art Print  |  Jayson Home Lamp

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

{last items on my chicago bucket list}

On Monday the movers arrive at our place (I haven't packed one box yet!) and 7 days from now we hop on a plane to officially move back to Los Angeles!  I feel pretty good about all the fun Chicago-centric activities we did in our two years living here (especially loved the totally touristy Architecture River Tour and a trip to Hot Dougs).  This next week is going to be filled with the madness of packing up our place as well as a bunch of fun events for Chris' graduation, but I am hoping to squeeze in the last couple things on our Chicago bucket list:

1. The few times I have had Chicago deep dish pizza while living here have failed to win over my heart from my long favored thin crust varieties, but our friends have claimed to know a place that will change my mind so hopefully we can see if the hype lives up!

2.  The Aviary has been a destination I have wanted to have cocktails at since our first day in this city, but somehow we never made it there until now!  I am giddy like a child thinking about reservation this weekend for their 5-course cocktail & food tasting menu!

3.  Even though we are headed back to the beautiful beaches of the west coast, I would love to spend a beach day at Chicago's North Ave beach just once before we leave- hopefully the weather cooperates this weekend!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

{what i loved this week}

on instagram:  Gorgeous leather accessories for a wedding weekend welcome bag.  Love following along with all the happenings in DTLA with Brigham Yen.  If this photo doesn't make you want to visit Croatia then nothing will.  I have always been obsessed with hot pink bougainvillea- would love to try to grow some on our new roof deck.  

on pinterest:  A recipe for basil coconut ice cream has now been added to my summer to do list!  Love the feminine touches of this invite suite mixed with bold stripes and kraft paper.  These rhubarb and champagne jelly shots would be fun for a girls night in!

on the blogs:  Sometimes I get too carried away with party decorations and this garland is a nice reminder that simple can make an impact too!

on the internets:  A great list of reminders for every day life - I should probably bookmark this one!

on my wishlist:  A fun palm leaf bikini would be perfect in Palm Springs.  I probably already own 5 plaid tops, but I'm not sure that you can ever really have enough so I'd like to get this navy and cream one from J Crew.  ShopFurbish just got in these interesting abstract beach prints- this one is my favorite. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

{moroccan dinner party: decor shopping}

A couple weekends back we hosted the Moroccan themed outdoor dinner party I have been dreaming up (check out the inspiration board here). Today I'm sharing the decor pieces I picked up from Pier One to complete the look and I absolutely cannot wait to share how it turned out as well as the recipes behind the delicious menu in a few weeks!

There are about 5 or 6 different styles of outdoor lanterns at Pier1 and they are what originally inspired the look for the table decor.  Instead of going for floral centerpieces like I normally do, I decided to buy a ton of different lanterns in various shapes and colors to create a tablescape entirely of lantern candlelight.  I started with picking up a few of the large moroccan lanterns and then filled in with the more colorful glass lanterns in orange, purple, green and blue.  Here's a few shots of the shopping process and some sneak peeks of the table!

Find what speaks to you.

Compensation was provided by Pier 1 via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pier 1.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

{dining room lighting inspiration}

Lately I have been spending significant time scouring the internet for a new lighting option for above our dining room table.  We have used my DIY Bubble chandelier above the table for the past 4 years and while I still absolutely love it, it feels like its time for a change (but don't worry it will hopefully find a new home in our entryway!).  I really like the idea of doing a cluster of 3 to 5 pendant lamps grouped over the center of the table - I would especially love this one if I could find a more affordable version or a DIY option.  Here's a few others that have caught my eye as options recently (one or two are purely in the wishlist territory because of the cost, but I'm hoping to find a cheaper alternative):

1.  This Bosonic lightbulb grouping has a similar feel to our bubble chandelier, but with a decidedly more masculine feel to it.

2. I love the thick iron on this prism pendant and the price is approachable so we could potentially do 2 or 3 of these centered along the middle of the table.

3.  This simple sputnik chandelier is a total dream, but it's way out of my price range.  Although I have seen some promising DIY versions that I might be willing to try out. 

4.  Tom Dixon copper pendants in a group of 3 would be a beautiful pop of color paired with our glossy black table and crisp white chairs. 

5. I know this will never really be a viable option because Chris will veto it in less than 2 seconds, but how amazing would an over the top glamorous chandelier look inside an urban loft?!?!

6.  This full sputnik chandelier from Anthropologie would be perfect....if they mark it down by like 90%. 

7.  I like the easy industrial look of these caged pendants from Target and they come in two sizes which could be good for clustering together a big group of them.

8.  Big white globe lights in a grouping have a great mid century modern vibe and pretty much every website I have browsed sells some version of these.  I also particularly like the glass versions from West Elm

Monday, June 9, 2014

{glam style app: summer lovin' edition}

The new June edition of the Glam Style App is available for download on your iPad and this month I contributed an article about easy home decor swaps to get your place ready for summer!  You can check out all the products below and get the details on where to buy them in the app.  Of course I had to include our new Palm Leaf artwork because I'm generally obsessed with it and at $60 per print it is a great inexpensive way to bring some bright summer inspired art into your home!  Browse some previous contributions I have made to the Glam Style app here.

{details for these products in the glam style app!}

Friday, June 6, 2014

{friday cocktail: gin & jam}

All of my life I have been a die-hard strawberry jam type of person up until I made a mistake at the grocery store while living in Paris and accidentally picked up a jar of raspberry preserves instead (I blame it on the translation because "frambroise" and "fraise" is easy to confuse thank you very much.)  Ever since I can't get enough of the tart jam- especially with a fresh baguette and creamy brie cheese - so when I saw this simple cocktail recipe I knew I would love it.  This recipe a lovely mixture of tangy tart and a little bit of sweet from the simple syrup to cut it- it reminds me of one of my favorite recipes.  It would be the perfect drink to greet your guests with at your next dinner party!

{you might remember these garnish options from a friendly little competition we 


Thursday, June 5, 2014

{what i loved this week}

on instagram: This is refreshing color scheme for a party.  Someone needs to buy me the "Turning up is my cardio" gym bag immediately.  I'm really loving the look of gathering various light fixtures together- especially for events, but maybe I would borrow this look for above our dining table.  The large clamshell from Zgallerie is perfect displayed with a bunch of fresh lemons

on pinterest:  This balloon and floral installation is breathtaking, I love it so much I almost don't know what to say.  Planters are soooo expensive especially the larger ones, but maybe I could DIY some concrete ones like these?

in real life:  As you might have seen from Instagram, I am currently traveling for the next week a half.  Starting in San Francisco right now then LA/OC for a few days and ending with 48 hours in NYC for a fun video shoot with Pinnacle Vodka. 

on the blogs:  The Hunted Interior featured an updated home tour of her space and it's pretty spectacular. 

on my wishlist:  Since we are moving to a new space soon a lot of my wishlist items have been revolving around furnishing it like this patterned pillow from Lulu & Georgia and this huge double chaise lounge for our deck.  No matter how excited I am for moving,  I would never forget about my closet so I would love to have this perfectly cut little black dress and this whimsical printed romper as well!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

{new dtla loft lease + patio inspiration}

Last week we officially signed a lease on a loft in downtown Los Angeles and will be moving in at the end of this month (so long as all our stuff makes it safely across the country!).  Searching for a new place was somewhat stressful and completely painless at the same time.  I was incredibly worried I would be disappointed with whatever places we found since our last loft was such a lucky find and I loved it so much that it was likely nothing would measure up.  Outdoor space was one of my top wish list items for our new place (especially after living in Chicago weather for the past two years!), but it is very rare to find affordable units that actually have substantial areas of outdoor space in dtla beyond the ridiculous penthouse units.  Many of the converted buildings in the historical core will have maybe 7 or 8 units out of 200 to 300 that happen to have an outdoor deck just based on the odd architecture of the building which was the exact situation with our roof deck last time

I almost couldn't believe it when I got a call about a unit that opened up with almost as much outdoor space than interior space.  We put down a deposit on the newly available unit within 24 hours of that phone call! Our new place has about 820 square feet inside and while I was hoping for a bit more interior square footage, the fact that the deck will be almost 750 square feet more than makes up for it!  The big reason I wanted substantial indoor space was so that we have more than enough room to entertain and we are hoping to put a lot of work into the deck so that we can use it as a additional living space.  Here's some of the inspiration I have been gathering for the new outdoor space!

I absolutely cannot wait to get into the place and start putting it all together!  I promise to share progress along the way via Instagram and all the details once things are finished here on the blog!