Friday, July 26, 2013

Sage Wisdom: Candle Nerd Late Summer Picks

Candles are the scent soundtrack to my life. A bit dramatic, I know. I just can't get enough. I've got different candles for different seasons and always have a few perennial favorites around the house. At the beginning of summer I go cuckoo for coconut. My house is a tropical oasis. Towards the end of July, it's time to start the transition into more bold fall scents. I simply cannot ABIDE pumpkin and food scented candles (with the exception of the occasional vanilla hybrid scent)- so I tend to gravitate toward woodsy, herbal and floral scents. It's now late July and save for my Capri Blue Mango Mandarin candle, I've finally burned through all my stock (including what was left over from LAST summer) and I've put an embargo buying anymore tropical candles until next year. A girl's gotta have something to look forward to, no? Anticipation is one of life's simple joys.
Illume Good Nature, Avocado & Mint (Anthropologie): Recommended by a my friend Sara, this little guy is very fresh and subtle. Great for kitchens and small rooms. 

Bath & Body Works, Black Peper Bergamont (Bath & Body Works): A bit more on the spicy side, but still balanced, fresh and slightly masculine. 

Pure. Clean. Soy, Green Tea Sage (Target): My friend Chris had this one going at her place the other day, it's a clean and uplifting scent great or large rooms. 

Izola, Lavender (West Elm): I have almost bought this candle at least five times, a beautiful single-note lavender that is really good for any space. 

Voluspa, Mokara (Anthropologie): A soft floral option that I find myself going to when transitioning from spring to summer as well.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Choose Your Own Adventure

Summer, every year I am reminded of how awesome you are. As a semi-recent Los Angeles transplant, I'm still sorting out my social life. Perhaps it's the effects of the season, or my inner overachieving 6th grader who wants to write the best "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" essay ever or perhaps I listened to Natasha Beddingfield's "Unwritten" one too many times- either way, I've been trying to extract the maximum amount of fun in this three month stretch. My friend Blair once told me "in LA you can find whatever you want and a lot of it", boy, is that the truth. While I wouldn't call going to bars and cruising to various local landmarks around any kind of spectacular soul searching experience, but it is nice to just be in the moment and live. Ah yes, summertime- I'm all about you. I was fortunate enough to have three days off in a row and apart from the mandatory cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping day- I managed to squeeze a tiki expo, trip to the flea market and a cemetery adventure into my remaining two days. Now I've had a weekend full of adventure and my apartment is spotless. Bring on the week.

Don the Beachcomber in Seal Beach

An amazing mai tai situation.

Melrose/Fairfax Flea Market

Beautiful handmade pillow cover.

Joann is sharing her smart-girl secrets with the world. 

Such a happy accident finding this exhibit when we were lost at Forest Lawn.
"I only date tall dudes, because they make me feel small"

Joann and the Aztec calendar.

The OG bitchy resting face. I feel your pain.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Obsessions: A Pair of Denim Shorts, A Nude Manicure & A Fig Tree Walk Into A Bar...

Clockwise from bottom left: Gold Hoops, Fiddle Leaf Fig, Jon Contino Print, Old Navy Denim Shorts, Left of Center Black Tank, DevaCurl Set It Free, MAKE UP FOR EVER Full Cover Concealer, Ray Ban Tortoise Clubmaster, Vans SK8 Hi Top, OPI Nail Laquer in Don't Pretzel My Buttons

Gold Hoop Earrings: Simple or gaudy, I just can't get enough of this staple. I am not the fanciest lady,  I've pretty much been living in a simple $5 pair from H&M for about a month now.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree: I've been seeing them all over interior design blogs and my friend Tyler has a pretty epic one in his living room- so, I've been back-and-forth about getting one for a while now. My plant care skills are below average at best, I'm a total plant killer. I've got some hydroponic pothos clippings in vintage soda bottles and a few succulents around the house, and I've more or less accepted my plant limitations. I took the plunge and picked up a smaller fiddle leaf fig at the Melrose/Fairfax flea market and so far so good. Since it originates from a tropical environment the stuffy indrectly lit vanity area in my bedroom seemed like the perfect spot. If it manages to survive long enough to outgrow it's spot, let's just say, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

"A Good Deed Brightens A Dark World" print by Jon Contino for When I was still living in Costa Mesa I saw a postcard version of this print. A quick internet search yielded more and more beautiful work from the NY based artist, but this is the one that has stuck with me. I haven't ordered the print yet, but I've got a silver ribba frame just-a-waitin' for it.

Old Navy Denim Shorts: No explanation required, summertime and denim shorts are like chips & salsa, they just make sense together.

Left of Center Tank (Anthropologie): Every so often I find a garment that just speaks to me, this is easily my favorite shirt of the summer. I own it in three colors and I will probably buy a few more. When I am choosing an outfit, I have to actively force myself to not wear the same shirt everyday. The back is just long and tunic-y enough to wear with skinny jeans or shorts.

DevaCurl Set It Free Mist: I've been wearing my hair natural pretty much all day everyday, this mist is my knight in shining armor. It reactivates the curl and gives it that good-frizz natural bounce. my hair is pretty fine, so it can't handle too much heaviness- so this is perfect for me.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Full Cover Concealer: A super sturdy waterproof concealer that can be used to cover blemishes, tattoos and scars. While I may use it to cover the occasional spot, I use it to keep my make-up in tact under my glasses. Using my ring finger, I dab it all over nose and the apples of my cheeks- let it set and then apply foundation around it. Since it's waterproof not bulletproof, it does shift a bit but not nearly as much as foundation alone.

Ray Ban Clubmaster Sun Glasses:  Talented-Mr.-Ripley-Keifer-Sutherland-in-Lost-Boys vibes for DAYS. Can't get enough, and I just love the combo of the tortoise and gold detail.

Vans Sk8 Hi: Vans will always have a special place in my heart. I used to idolize my older brothers and their aqua net flock-of-seagulls hair, Baja ponchos from Mexico, Vans and all. I can't remember a time in my life that I didn't own at least one pair. I've always got the classic Spicolli slip-ons, but I've developed a fondness for the Sk8 Hi style as well. A random trip to the Vans outlet in my hometown of Lake Elsinore left me with my two favorite summer sneakers- I've got a pair of Sk8 Hi in cognac leather as well as a pair in a vintage blue hawaiian print from the Van Doren collection. I got both pairs for $40. It was a good day.

OPI Nail Laquer in Don't Pretzel My Buttons: My obsession with "mannequin hands" has been previously documented. I'm always on the lookout for perfect "naked" shades. This is one of my new favorites and it goes on easy and wears beautifully.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Get Busy Livin': Work/Life Balance for Dummies

While cruising Instagram for memes to torture my friends with (and because there really are no mysteries left) I stumbled upon an inspirational quote on my bikini waxer’s feed that really resonated with me. A tile of wisdom that read: never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. What a fantastic concept that is so utterly in tune with where I'm at right now. Last summer I transitioned from full time freelance artistry to a permanent position with a cosmetic line, one thing led to another and I now find myself in a full-time management role in a new city.

Impromptu girls' day at the Getty Center. Can't beat the view!

The move from Orange County to Los Angeles, and a new leadership role combined with living on my own for the first time made it very easy for me to fall into a very work-centric lifestyle. I really love my job- I love doing make-up as well as the corporate/retail side of the business. Although I was not physically at work more than 37-45 hours a week it was completely dictating my lifestyle. I would wake up exhausted and come home exhausted and on my days off I’d drive back to Orange County and attempt to resume the life I’d left behind. That's the thing about loving your career, you put so much into it- it can be challenging to not lose yourself. One of the major reasons I transitioned from a freelance life was to have more balance, plan for my future and establish myself.
My new life in LA consisted of very little other than walking my dogs, grocery shopping and work. After a couple months, I had to have a come-to-Jesus talk with myself: 1) my social life couldn’t exist in a completely different county and 2) reruns of Sabrina The Teenage Witch on hulu are not suitable replacements for real hobbies.

Personal time is crucial.
 The idea of work/life balance is a lot easier said than done and at times breaking the cycle can be a very hard diet. I had to allow myself to reach a breaking point and decide there was no other option than to find balance. I started making new friends, connecting with old ones and made myself get out there. In the past couple months my workload has tripled, but I’m having the time of my life. The truth is, to find balance, you just have to do it. You’ve got to rally and be your own cruise director. I don’t go out and party every night, but I make time for the things and people in my life that are important to me. I love to karaoke, therefore I karaoke one to two times a week. My dogs are a lot happier and mellow when they get to run around, so we go to the bark park daily. Honestly, I feel like I’ve got a completely new lease on life and a newfound affection for a city that I’ve spent years dreading. Do yourself a favor and disconnect from the rat race. Go to a museum. Sit under a tree. Call your friends and plan an activity. Do SOMETHING. Life is too short.

Photobooth at Edendale in Silverlake

 Also, if you live in Orange County and are looking for a fab waxer, you HAVE go visit my girl Cami at SoCal Waxology in Laguna Beach!