March 28, 2011

Oh Prada!

I'm in love! That is all.


March 23, 2011

In Full Bloom

This morning I met up with my friends Bill, Candice, and Jackie for a late breakfast. While I was feeling pretty famished, I was more excited to see Candice because she brought me two pair of what will no doubt be my favorite colorful spring accessories (still fighting the urge of the Dark Side): her handmade rosette earrings, in Haute Pink and Canary, from her new Etsy shop Handie Dandies! They are the perfect bursts of color to brighten any outfit (or rainy days like today), so lightweight, and I am in love. That being said- drumroll please...

I'm announcing my very first giveaway! Enter to win two pairs of Candice's creations in the colors of your choice (I've heard she will make custom colors upon request if what you're looking for isn't currently listed). Visit Handie Dandies on Etsy, then leave a comment below! I'll announce the winner on Monday, March 28th.

Handie Dandies is also offering a special discount to my readers- enter promo code "Be3thoven" (did I mention that when she's not making jewelry, Candice loves singing opera? So talented.) at checkout to receive free shipping.

Leave a comment here!
Update: the winner is Britt+Whit! Congrats!


Violet Eyes

When I heard that Elizabeth Taylor passed away early this morning, I knew there were likely going to be innumerable blog posts about this Hollywood legend. But as I sat there thinking about the crazy life she must have lived, there were many thoughts that came to mind. Firstly, I love her eyebrows. Second, I don't particularly enjoy the way White Diamonds smells. Thirdly, how weird is it that I'm reading a book called Committed right now? As Elizabeth once said, "I am a very committed wife. And I should be committed, too- for being married so many times."

From what I can tell, she was original, funny, and certainly was a fixture as a public figure that people won't soon forget.

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March 20, 2011

Weekend Film Review

This weekend was the first of the Spring season, yet has been absolutely heavy with rain. (Ironically, Christmas day was as bright and cheery as springtime! Go figure.) Feeling like I had a sore throat coming on, I cuddled under the blankets and movies became my best friend as the rain poured outside and the dogs lay warm in the hallway. I recalled my yet-to-see list and was thrilled to find I am Love (Io Sono L'Amore) was available instantly on Netflix. After watching this film, I couldn't help but be intrigued by Tilda Swinton- who knew she speaks Italian? It was definitely a change in character from her version of the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but a transformation I quite enjoyed. I also thought the scenes of Italy in I am Love were just decadent! From Milan to Sanremo, the architecture and views were constantly beautiful (and had me regretting that I did not travel there when I lived in Munich) and enhanced the story of the wealthy but repressed Emma Recchi, a woman who has kept her family together for so many years yet ultimately watches it fall apart as she seeks personal freedom outside her marriage. Perhaps the most enjoyable experience of this movie was in the way the story was presented; the plot wasn't made obvious or spoon-fed to the audience as many are lately. There were more looks and knowing glances and less words. I had no idea how the story would end and that is just how I like to feel while watching any film- captivated.

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March 16, 2011

Back in the Cockpit

We arrived back home this afternoon to beautiful weather and happy dogs. It was a welcome rest to the three hours it took to wind our way from Los Angeles back to the Central Coast. Parker and I unpacked the car and, after a joyful reunion with the pups, went our separate ways- me for the laptop and he for a work call. He returned to find me cozy on the bed, laptop up and running. "Back in the cockpit already, I see!" he said, not one bit surprised. I tend to do a lot of different things in bed- pay the bills, make phone calls, write- and it is kind of my desk even though we have a really cute Ikea desk in the living room. I should make the transition to the living room soon, though- slouching or curling up all the time is going to have me back at the chiropractor sooner than later.

Oh, I can't forget to tell you all about my last morning in Redondo Beach! Let's backtrack. Parker headed downstairs for the final session of his conference while I packed up our room. On his break, he came upstairs to help me make sure we weren't leaving anything behind. We took our bags to the car, and with a goodbye smooch I was off in search of a "not Starbucks" for breakfast. (Side note: I've had a few people ask me, "Why not Starbucks?" and while I certainly admire their origins as a local chain, I always try first to support local businesses. They are often so passionate about the quality and details of not only coffee and tea but also connecting with their customers- not to mention the boost to the local economies these shops provide. I used to be a huge Starbucks fan, but I've gone local and there's no going back!)

I drove through Redondo Beach, past all the pretty oceanfront homes, and wound my way through Manhattan Beach as well. I found a place to park and started looking around for meter money when I realized that I had left my wallet in the hotel room. Oy! I drove back to the hotel, dreading the walk back up to our room (while it had an amazing view, it happened to be the second to last room furthest away from the elevator). Bribing the valet guy to let me leave the car there for just a minute, I ran upstairs, down the hallways, grabbed that pesky wallet and was soon on my way again. Walking aimlessly and determined not to use my Droid for directions, I found The Tea Exchange.

This place was wonderful. They were chatty and they even had Bavarian pretzels (!). It felt like I was sitting in a beach house, complete with a copy of the Street Art Doodle Book: Outside the Lines and local art hanging on the walls. I sketched away while waiting for my drink, people watching out of the corner of my eye (there were some great outfits today in Manhattan Beach, let me tell you!). They even had a sense of humor- a sign on the wall read, "Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy- they break, you buy." I was sad to leave...

...but so happy to be home now!
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Joie de V: March Book of the Month

Last year, I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and couldn't believe how quickly I tore through it. It may have been because, to my relief, I discovered that I wasn't the only one questioning life's little choices in light of the grand scheme of things. It was also comforting to realize that someone in this world just may love Italian food as much as yours truly. My conclusion: live an adventurous life, and eat the darn breadstick.

This month, I'm reading Gilbert's follow-up book Committed. I'll let you know how it goes!

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March 15, 2011

The Day Puppy Made Three

One year ago today, I woke up at the crack of dawn and drove to Bakersfield for the best reason ever- to adopt a puppy (I can't really think of any other reason to drive to Bakersfield, actually...)! I had seen him on PetFinder and knew instantly that it was meant to be.

While on our puppy search closer to home, the shelters told us we'd have to schedule an interview, take a personality test to see if our traits matched with the dog, and have our home evaluated by a shelter staff member. The animal shelter in Bakersfield told me whoever showed up first with the cash to adopt him would have dibs. I was determined to get there first (did I mention I like winning?).

I was so excited to see no one else was at the shelter that morning at seven (they were still in bed, like normal people). As the clerk lead me to the kennel and opened the door, little Augustus came bounding out, much larger than I was expecting but more perfect than previously imagined! I oohed and ahhed in excitement- little Gus peed in a frenzy, all over my shoes. I didn't care! He was my pup!

A year later, he still roams the backyard like he is king of the world. He has an uncanny way of being calm and cuddly when I'm sad, and some of my favorite memories are of us sitting in the backyard together in the sunshine. I never knew I could love a dog so much!

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Redondo Beach: Itinerary Day 2

This morning, I drove to Century City in search of H&M. This is the first time I've been to one of their stores since living in Munich, and I wasn't disappointed. I limited myself to just one "must-have", and it was so tricky deciding but I finally settled on a pair of linen high-waist trousers. They are perfect to wear with any tops and I plan to wear them as much as possible!

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March 14, 2011

Beverly Hills: What I Did (and Who I Saw!)

Where to start, where to start! After deciding a rough idea of what I wanted to see today, I set out to Röckenwagner Bakery for a German pretzel. I wound up buying the last three they had made, then hopped back in the car and took to the Hills!

I stopped by Brighton Coffee Shop and enjoyed a delicious latte (the lady who helped me at the counter was so friendly. I'm sure she checked at least three times to make sure I was happy!), then wandered down Brighton (past Villa Blanca- it looked so pretty but it
was full to the brim with people) on my way to Sprinkles for a red velvet cupcake to save for later. Only a few doors down from Sprinkles, I stopped for a manicure. Worst manicure I've ever gotten. I could've done it myself, the result would've been at least the same, but less painful and with me keeping my money!

Heading back outside, I walked back down to Rodeo Drive and walked up and down the sidewalks among the shops at least four or five times. I stopped into Prada- I was carrying my Prada, after all- to look at the new Spring/Summer clutches. Amazing. I didn't look at one price tag and I didn't want to- I just pretended the store was my closet and was blissfully happy.

Content, I was headed back to the parking garage when I was able to check the one box on my secret agenda- celebrity sighting! Tia Carrere (most famously known as Cassandra from Wayne's World) was walking with her daughter towards Rodeo Drive.

Now super content and getting ready for dinner with my hubby. What should I do tomorrow?

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Redondo Beach: Itinerary Day 1

So, while hubby is at his conference, I have the day to explore! Yesterday, we arrived in Redondo Beach and settled into our room. After walking the boardwalk and pier, we ventured to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner.

Today, I'm tackling Beverly Hills. What's on the agenda?

Röckenwagner Bakery (okay so it's not in Beverly Hills, but I need a pretzel)
Brighton Coffee Shop
Sprinkles Cupcakes

Pictures after my adventure!
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March 12, 2011

Puppy Love

I was reading an article the other day that completely intrigued me, and it had to do with the role pets now play in fashion and our lives. Prior to reading this article, I never really pictured my pups being my best accessory. I don't think I've ever spent more than twenty dollars on a collar or leash. They've never worn clothes (although I did think about dressing them up for Halloween). I want them to be well-groomed, of course, but I can't imagine styling them like a panda bear (how cute are those panda/Chow puppies, though!).

Did you know that this year was the first ever Pet Fashion Week in New York City? Or that some pet owners are now dying their pet's fur to match their own personal style du jour?

Let's be honest- if I had $1,200 to spend on Hermès, it definitely wouldn't be for the dogs!

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March 11, 2011

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

Oh boy. I'll admit, after taking a look around (and by that I mean searching through French, German, and Italian Vogue's websites as well as this month's US issue) at what to wear this spring, I'm a bit nervous. It has nothing to do with the style or the pieces themselves. It's the color. Many of my friends tease me because whenever we go shopping I say begrudgingly, "I really should wear more color..." as I reach for something- anything- black. You see my problem. This going to be like The Wizard of Oz- stepping out from the world of black and white into a bright place outside my comfort zone. I'm shooting for a happy medium somewhere between the Olsen twins and Richard Simmons.

Photo credit: Gilt Groupe
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March 10, 2011

Comfort in Carbs

I've noticed a trend lately. Whenever Parker has to work late, like tonight, I crave seashell pasta with white cheddar sauce and lots of butter. This afternoon while shopping at Fresh & Easy, I grabbed a couple boxes just to have in the pantry. It's a good thing I did, because as soon as I found out my dear man was working late, out came the pasta and The Devil Wears Prada. I only slightly felt bad about scarfing down all these carbs when Nigel scolds Andy for choosing clam chowder with a bread bowl for lunch because size six is the new fourteen. Oops.

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March 2, 2011

Little Brothers.

Today my little brother is twenty years old! It's hard to believe, but it's happening. All in all, I know he has grown up to be a decent guy- though I remember times growing up when I wasn't so sure that was going to be the case. Here's some things that come to mind when I think about my little bro:

Pump it Up by Elvis Costello
Olives on fingers
Homemade bicycle ramps
Santa Baby
Aunt Virginia
Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur
Climbing trees
Putting his pinkie toe on my blanket
Warheads candy

We've definitely had all kinds of sibling rivalry- but as we've gotten a bit older, he is somebody I can ask for help, someone who can make family dinners more fun, someone way taller than me (how annoying).

But he'll always be my little brother.