Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What I Learned This Weekend - Unexpected Succulents

Happy Tuesday, lovelies!  For whatever reason, the past few weeks I have been unable to get it together for Monday posts.  I will try harder next week!

So, the coolest new thing I learned this weekend is that succulents hanging in unexpected places are pretty awesome!

I spent this weekend doing a little new year feng shui work on our home.  Chris surprised me with a super awesome hanging vase last week (I was having a rough few days and he thought the vase would cheer me up - isn't he awesome?!), so I decided to put it to use in my bathroom because per my feng shui house layout, I need a live plant in there.  Remember my hanging vase obsession from this post?!

I chose a low maintenance succulent for the vase since its in my bathroom and I need a ladder to water it.  Also, I read in a interior design magazine that every room should have something unexpected in it.  I think a succulent in a hanging vase covers that concept for the bathroom. Don't you?!

Fun posts coming up for the rest of the week!

Check back!



Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Friday, I'm In Love .....With.....

Image Source: Victoria's Secret
.....this high slit maxi skirt from Victoria's Secret!!

I haven't ordered it just yet, but something tells me that the split will add some interest and sex appeal to a piece I could pretty much wear everyday.  Whether lounging around the house, shopping with the gals, or going to dinner with Mr. Arotin.

Image Source: Houzz
 .....this closet!

Are you kidding?  Two stories? I don't think I would ever walk into another room in my house.

Image Source: JCrew
...these platforms sandals from JCrew.

They will add a little chic feel to the everyday shorts and tank, and make your legs look long and lean while walking in a bikini and cover up towards the beach, don't you think?!

I love, love, love JCrew's spring 2012 collection. These sandals are just the beginning. 

I want this.  And this.  And this.  And this. This, too!

....and on a personal note...my kitty, Nikolai!

He sat on a human lap last night for the first time in almost 5 years (he's almost 5, meaning, he never sat on a human lap before)!!  I guess waiting 5 years is better than never! Right?!

Happy Friday, lovelies! I don't know about you, but I am soo ready for a little break this weekend. I have been teaching and training away at Exhale, working at my other job and am truly looking forward to spending some down time around the house.  I also need to get some pictures prepped for posts for next week. (Sneak Peak: Gutter Garden How-To, Chic Courthouse Wedding on a Budget, and our kitchen reveal!!)

I hope you enjoy your weekend, where ever you are, and come back to visit next week!



Thursday, January 26, 2012

To Go or Not To Go, That is the Question

Image Source: Stella Event Design
I don't know about you, but as female in my mid twenties, I secretly dread late winter / early spring because of my mailbox invasion by summer wedding invitaions.

I know, I know I was recently married, why should I dread the wedding invitation and response card?  Why, because I get soooooo many!  I mean, seriously?  How does one person feasibly attend 8 weddings in different states in one summer?! I know you 20 and 30 somethings feel the same way!

This post may not be what brides to be want to hear (I know I wouldn't have wanted to hear it when I was a bride to be), but I believe in truth.  And, I believe other people feel just like me, so here we go.

Four questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to go or not to go:

1) How close to this person / couple are you right now, today?
Its a nice gesture for your best friend from grade school to send you an invite to their wedding.  But, truth be told, you haven't been close to him/her in 10+ years.  Will they really miss you on the big day? Probably not. If they won't miss you, and you can't afford the trip, time off, etc., do you really need to go?  I think no.

On the other hand, if one of your best friends has asked for your presense (even though you may not be in the wedding party), I think you have to go.  Wouldn't it be weird if you didn't go for whatever reason when you have brunch after the honeymoon?

This is the number one question I ask myself when I evaluate my response cards.

2) How far is the wedding?
Destination weddings are awesome (if you have 2K+ to drop and days of work to lose on a trip around the world for someone else). Unless you are an immediate family member or member of the wedding party, I say you definitely do not have to attend destination weddings.

I think this is true for weddings that may not be destination for the bride and groom, but are destination for you.  I mean, if you live in Arizona, a wedding is Maine is a serious destination, right?

3) Is this person family?
This one is tricky because of course you want to celebrate your cousin, second cousin, etc.  But, if you have to fly, book hotels, and take multiple days off work for the event, is it really necessary?

I think it depends on your relationship with that extended family member.  In most cases, a nice gift, a warm card, and dinner on you when you are home next will do just fine.

4) How big is the event?
If you are being invited to an intimate wedding (friend or family member), even if it does include some cost on your part (flight, hotel, etc.), I think you have to go.

When making a list of people to invite to a wedding, brides and grooms have tons of family and friends to choose from.  If you make the short list of say 40 guests, that means they really want to celebrate with you and have probably cut someone to have you there.  Suck it up and make the trip.  Your presence probably truly means something to them and you will get to spend real time with them, which is what weddings are all about anyway, right?

On the other hand, if a semi-used-to-be-close-friend invites you to their 350 person wedding that is a flight and hotel distance away, chances are you may not even talk to them at the wedding.  Do you really need to go?  I say no.

Those are the main questions I ask myself when planning my yearly weddings.  Did I miss anything, lovelies?  How do you decide?!



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Feel Good Wednesday - 5 Ways To Fight The Blues

Image Source: unknown
I usually go through a period of adjustment and sadness when I get back from a trip.   Back to work, back to the grind, no more lazy days and Bloody Mary's at noon - I think all that warrants sadness, right? 

I think my trip back home this weekend, paired with the January SoCal rain is the culprit behind my blues this week.

As a serial optimist, I'm not one to acknowledge let alone post about feeling down, but I wanted to try to find the silver lining in feelings by sharing 5 ways I fight the blues.

1) Make a list of all the good things in your life.
I know this one seems obvious and silly, but I find that if I make a list of all of the things I perceive as "good" in my life I realize that there is always, ALWAYS a reason to smile. :)

2) Browse the internet for inspirational quotes. (Like the one above!!)
I love doing this because not only do quotes give me a mantra to get through a sad day, but also they are proof that as humans, we are all connected.  We all get hurt, feel sadness, and eventually find happiness again.  Quotes give me hope and help me feel connected.

3) Exercise
Of course an avid health advocate and Core Fusion teacher would say this, right?  But seriously, just moving around, getting outside and seeing nature boosts your endorphins and make you feel better.  Don't let the blues make you a bed slug.  Get up, get out, and sweat.  You'll thank me.

4) Talk
A good glass of wine and better conversation can always help me get over the blues.  Sometimes, I just need to talk about what is making me sad until I am sick of hearing my own voice whine about it.  Not sure if this works for everyone, but give it a try!  Talking for two hours about one sad subject can make anyone want to move on!

5) Veg, Splurge, Treat
The point here is that when you are down, let yourself have one thing you want.  Maybe you want to veg out on the couch and have a movie marathon, something you never allow time for (this happens to be my personal favorite coping mechanism of all listed here).  Maybe that means allowing yourself to buy the dress, bag, necklace, whatever that you have been eyeing but not buying.  Yes, shopping really can be therapeutic.  Maybe its treating yourself to a massage, a scoop of your favorite ice cream, a facial etc.  Sometimes the best thing we can do when we are sad is to just take a time out from life and take care of ourselves.

I hope these ideas help you when you are feeling down.

I'm curious, do any of you get post-trip sadness? Do you get sad after you've gone home? Do you get the winter weather blues? Do you have any other ideas to fight the blues?



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What I Learned This Weekend

Happy Tuesday, lovelies!

I learned some pretty fun things this weekend spent in airports and in Tulsa with family and friends.

First, Tulsa has a brewing company!  I had no idea!  I had a Marshall IPA while home and it was fantastic.  If you live near or in Tulsa, check it out!

Secondly, I learned that a simple, chic courthouse wedding can be incredibly breathtaking (more beautiful than most actual weddings if you are one attractive couple with great style like my sister and brother-in-law)!!

More pictures (that I took!!) and details (like a description of how I designed the $20 bouquet she is holding) from my little sister's wedding to come very soon!

Image Source: Feburary's Harper's Bazar.  I can't remember which ad! Arg!
Thirdly, I learned that I am soooooooo ready for chic, spring stilettos to graze my feet with their presence! Aren't the ones above just nautically to-die-for?! 

There is nothing like a 20 degree winter weather experience to put you in the mood for spring

Lastly, I learned that being out of town while house renovations are being done is amazing!  You get to experience all of the enjoyment and NONE of the drilling, hammering, painting mess! 

The above shot is a sneak peak at the new windows installed in my kitchen.  I LOVE them!

I will be sharing a post on the renovation soon as well.

Have a wonderful day!



P.S. Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year happened yesterday.  Its the year of the DragonHere is a yummy, easy and healthy recipe in case you want a little Asian food to celebrate.  I always add mushrooms, rice noodles and spinach when I make this.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Home Sweet 'Homa

Image Source: http://www.treeandleafclothing.com/
Happy Thursday, Lovelies!

So sorry for my lack of posting this week.  I barely have time to eat and sleep these days and throwing a trip back 'Homa (to Oklahoma - get it?!. hehe) into the mix for this weekend has made it impossible to gather my creativity to post!

Good news!  I will be back Monday and I have two super fun home projects to share.  They involve gutters and kitchens!  Get excited!!!

Wishing you a lovely weekend full of yummy food, fun times, football and those you love.



P.S. I am obsessing over thisThese came in yesterday (only mine are beige) and are even cuter in person than on the internet - yippie!!  I plan to use this AWESOME app to stare gaze sans light pollution.  Hopefully, this song comes on the radio while I am on a back road in my hometown (I am slightly embarrassed to admit that the song is growing on me).  I am going to eat here with my sister and her fiance while I am back home - super exciting!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's Friday, I'm In Love....With...

Image Source: http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/
..simple glitter nails! 
I did glitter nails this summer over a pretty Essie coral color.  What I love about the glitter nails above is that the color underneath is natural.  What a simple, chic way to add some glitter into everyday!

Image Source: http://housewivesofriverton.blogspot.com
...mod podged electrical covers.
When we first moved into our bungalow the only thing I was bummed about was the fact that my old, awesome electrical covers weren't be able to move in with us.  (Our electric covers aren't traditional sized.) I SOOOOOOOO love decorative electrical covers and have been trying to figure out what to do about my boring ones all this time.  When I saw this blog post I was really happy / felt silly that I didn't realize I could just make my own decorative covers!!

Image Source: unknown
...everything about this girl.

The simple bun (I have been rocking this look alot lately).  The eyebrows. The sunglasses.  The earrings.  The shoulders on that jacket.  I basically want to be her.

Happy weekend, lovelies!  I am going to a Feng Shui workshop Sunday and I can't wait!  I will also be teaching @ Exhale (come visit me if you live in LA!!!) and hopefully squeezing in a project or two as well.

What are your plans?  Anything exciting?!



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Current Obsession - Hanging Vases

Image Source: West Elm

Image Source: West Elm

Image Source: West Elm
I find it super awesome / super funny that the moment Christmas and New Years is over, all the  magazines I read start touting about the coming of spring.  In most places in the country the bitterness of winter is just setting in, so maybe its a way for businesses to help people escape their frigged reality?

Nevertheless, I LOVE being inspired by all the fresh, crisp images of light colors and flowers.

I am currently obsessing over the many hanging vase options I'm seeing in my home decor magazines.

With the brick walls in my living room, I think hanging plants are just the thing I need to add light and life to an otherwise dark space.

Aren't the above vase selections from West Elem just awesome?!

My favorite are the bubble vases holding succulents.

Just thought I would share!

Have a lovely day!



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Feel Good Wednesday - What Is Your Mantra?

I participated in a super fun training program with Exhale yesterday. (Super fun training program at work - who thought that was possible??!!) 

I think one of the reasons I found the training to be fun, was that it was also very inspiring.

We were asked near the beginning of the training to think of our personal mantra.  A word, phrase, or sentiment that we repeat in our head not only when the going gets tough, but also when we just need a reminder as to why we do what we do.  In personal life, work life, life in general.

Everyone wrote their mantra on a rock, and then placed their rock in a bag.  At the end of the training, we all reached into the bag and pulled out another person's rock and another person's mantra to take home. 

The picture of the rock above is the mantra I pulled out of the bag, Faith.  Sweet, simple, poignant.  A nice reminder for me to have faith in myself.

The mantra I wrote on my rock was Live in the Moment. Sound familiar?! Hehe.  Its also my new year's resolution.

A mantra written that I found very inspiring was Life begins outside of your comfort zone.  So true, right?

This got me to wondering, what are your personal mantras? Do you have a phrase, word, or sentiment that you repeat to yourself?

I'm so curious!



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuscan, Yellow Kitchen

Image Source: Better Homes and Gardens
Happy Tuesday, lovelies!

I have some super exciting news to share...we are renovating our kitchen!  And, not to fear!, I will be sharing the project from start to finish!

Currently, our kitchen is enclosed from the rest of the house (super pretty hidden door and all).  We were inspired to open it up via having two windows installed after a party we hosted in October. The openings will give me more counter space for entertaining and make our bungalow appear a little bigger too! Yippie!

With the walls opening up, we also have the opportunity to repaint, and I am so excited!  I have been trying to channel a Tuscan, Italian kitchen since we moved in, but have sorta failed since my walls are currently a muted green.  I think switching up the paint to a sunflower, buttery yellow will solve the problem. 

I have one question I would like to ask you all too!  We will have trim around our openings and unfortunately the trim can't perfectly match the wood stain of the other trim in our kitchen and dining area.  My question is, if you were me, would you go with a simple white trim, or make the new trim interesting?  I was thinking maybe true blue?!  What do you think?!

I can't wait to post pictures of our kitchen pre and post renovation!

The work will commence the weekend of January 20th! (I will actually be out of town that weekend, so I am relying on Mr. Arotin to take pictures for me.)

Let me know your thoughts on the kitchen and the new trim!



Monday, January 9, 2012

What I Learned This Weekend - Pioneer Pizza, Wine, Country Breakfast, and a Simple Resolution

Happy New Year, lovelies!  I am back and super excited for this year.  Its going to full of positive events and energy, I just feel it!

So, the things I learned this weekend are really things I learned over my two week hiatus from blogging.  We had Chris's family in town for the Christmas holiday and then headed up to Paso Robles to celebrate Chris's 30th birthday! (I am now married to a sexy dude in his thirties and am super pumped about that!)

First on the list of things I learned is that Potato Leek pizza is so delicious, its criminal!!  I know its sounds weird, but potatoes and leeks soaked in bacon grease plus bacon and goat cheese totally makes it heavenly!!!  I got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  My lovely little sister got the cookbook for me for Christmas and I am so in love.  I think partly because the author is from Oklahoma, moved to LA, and then moved back to Oklahoma and partly because she started out blogging!  Inspiration, much?!  Check it out!

Second on my list of things I learned is that it's impossible to go on a wine tasting vacation and come home with any room in your trunk!

Chris and I had such a blast in Paso Robles.

Here are my two favorite places from the trip, in case you may be planning a visit yourself: Thomas Hill Organics - go here on a Monday for Supper.  You will thank me.  Cass Winery - winery with an outdoor tasting bar, horseshoe pit and gourmet chef on staff.  Yes, please.  You will double thank me on this one.

I also learned about a new type of grape / wine up in Paso.  Its called Roussanne.  Chris and I must have purchased at least six bottles of this delectable treat!  Run find some now!! (Everyone up there referred to it as the white wine for red wine lovers. I just thought it was fabulous!)

Okay, this Cowboy Benedict dish might be my favorite thing I learned / ate over my break.  Read it and replicate.  You might need a heart resuscitator after you finish, but its worth it.  :)

Last, but certainly not least, on my list of things I learned this weekend is that you don't need a fancy or complicated new year's resolution.  After much thought, I have decided that my new year's resolution is to live in the moment.  Simple sounding, much harder to actualize.

Can't wait to be back tomorrow and for all the fun projects, recipes and adventures in store for Love, L.A. in 2012!