Archives for October 2014

california pt. 2

I am slowly yet surely becoming one of those people who abandons their blog for the sole reason of being too busy. Eek! Don’t let it happen, H & R! You are far too cute to abandon because of work.

That being said, I still owe you all a little catch-up on the second half of our trip to California (and I promise, after this, we’ll get back to things that enhance your lives instead of the story of mine). There were just too many amazing sights not to document them all in the travel folder we’re building up here.

//monday//

We’ll go ahead and call this what it was: tourist day. As Emily and Drew had to go back to the real world of work, Andrew and I headed up to Hollywood to see the sights and see if we could catch a celeb sighting to cap off our quintessential Cali experience.

One of the things I had wanted to do while we were there was hike at one of the many outdoor areas in town to get a view of the city and the Hollywood Sign. Emily had suggested the trails around Griffith Observatory which turned out to be amazing advice. If y’all ever make it out there, I highly recommend it for a fun walk-around with amazing views. We walked around the outside of the observatory and ventured up the hilly trails for a while before snapping a selfie in front of the Hollywood Sign, because obviously, and getting ready to down head down into Hollywood.

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After Griffith, we drove through the Hollywood Hills down to the center of the action to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Andrew found his favorite star for #mcm (Kevin Spacey) and I made sure to find Meryl Streep’s during our adventures. We saw the Chinese Theatre, walked up and down the stars (they stretch for miles on both sides of the street) and eventually decided to take the touristing to a whole new level with a tour of stars’ homes (when in Rome, right?). It turned out to be a great investment, as we saw tons of really neat celeb homes, including Madonna, the Beckhams, Ellen Degeneres, Michael Jackson’s last residence, the Playboy Mansion, Steven Spielberg, Morgan Freeman, Justin Timberlake and, obviously, Lindsay Lohan (among others). It was a fun way to spend the afternoon on another beautiful day in Los Angeles.

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Justin Timberlake’s house. Yep.

For dinner, we headed back to Venice and checked out the infamous Whole Foods that Emily has described to me as the most amazing thing…which was not an exaggeration. This thing’s hot bar put my Whole Foods to shame! We picked up assorted meats and cheeses and snacked on the lifeguard stand as we watched the sunset – a true Venice dinner.

Venice Sunset

And yes, that’s #nofilter.

//tuesday//

Not really much to report on here as I sat on the beach all day – which is perfectly fine with me! Emily and I grabbed lunch, I got to see her office, try her favorite snack at Sunny Blue (omg, omusubi, google it) and drink a few beers at Venice Ale House before bidding goodbye to our friends after a wonderful, amazing time in Los Angeles. Everything was wonderful (how could it not be), but the best part was getting to put a picture to so many places I had heard Emily describe in their lives and feeling like I could picture her life now instead of just imagining it.

//wednesday – friday//

Early Wednesday, we left L.A. for a small vacation from vacation off the coast at a place called Catalina Island. Guys…I don’t even have words for this place. Quaint, beautiful, peaceful…all of the wonderful things. We stayed in the main town on the island (there are only two), Avalon, all of which is walkable. Everyone on the island knows each other and was so friendly to us during our stay. Catalina is a popular stop for cruise ships during the week as well – we saw a boat docked off the coast on our last day.

We stayed downtown at a small hotel, Hotel Vista del Mar. I’d recommend this place over and over again, as the staff was so nice and helpful – and look at the view from that lobby! The lobby/hallway is all open-air and the rooms are beautiful, complete with fireplaces. I’m going on and on, I know, but seriously y’all – yes.

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Our main outing on Catalina was to take their island zipline, a course of long lines that goes through the high hills of the island and provides unreal views of the ocean and scenery. We’re both a little scared of heights, but it was absolutely worth it! Such a cool experience.

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Overall, we beached it, walked around and enjoyed time together – a perfect, lovely few days in paradise.

//friday – monday//

While this doesn’t technically fall under the title, we did visit another state on our vacation – Texas! One of our good friends from college moved out to Ft. Worth after graduation, so it was only fitting that we stopped and saw his life, too, on the way back home.

In true Texas fashion, we did everything big: a Billy Currington concert at an absurdly large megabar called Billy Bob’s (yes, it’s a thing.), a sleepy breakfast at the Ol’ South Pancake House and, of course, a big W by our Dawgs on Saturday.

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So there it is – you did it! If you’ve made it this far, congratulations – you can now relay Kristen’s vacation to anyone who asks. Like I said, we’ll be getting back to useful things soon, but wanted to document our amazing time. Traveling is such a wonderful, fulfilling thing, isn’t it? I’d rather spend all my money on a plane ticket than anything I can touch and hold. The memories from exploring new parts of the world are truly things that, to me, are priceless.

california pt. 1

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, guys! 10 days of amazing travel, amazing sights and amazing friends is over and I’m writing from back in the ATL (sigh, real life). I’m finally in the swing of things again and luckily for us, back to life means back to blogging!

I had never been to California before and everything was new to me. Hopped off the plane at LAX (yep) to be picked up by my three vacationers and off to a perfect few days of sunny weather and beautiful beaches that cemented my love for L.A. through and through.

//friday//

Emily, Drew and Andrew picked me up at the airport and we headed down to Venice to see a little bit of how the other half of this blog lives. It was hard to see everything at night, but walking around Venice was just how I pictured – beach houses, beach people and new, quirky things on every corner. The four of us dined at Superba Snack Bar, a trendy place with a nice covered patio for us to sit and enjoy our first night in California. The food was super tasty – a good introduction to Venice.

//saturday//

Saturday started, first and foremost, with sleeping in. The first best thing about California was that sleeping in to noon for me was only to 9 there – early enough to get an entire day in! We ate breakfast at Flake in Venice (right next to Superba) and apparently “saw someone famous” but Drew couldn’t get a good enough look at him. I had my first acai bowl, which sounds super healthy (and is) but is basically like berry ice cream for breakfast, so – if anyone knows where I can get one in Atlanta, let me know!

It’s no surprise that the first thing I wanted to see other than my friends and food was the beach, so Drew and Emily took us down the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu. We had really wanted to try to see as much of the city as we could while we were there, so it was awesome to get to explore a new part. Drew’s brother had told them about a great beach a little trek aways, so we parked on a random side street (in front of a house for sale with a price tag beyond my wildest dreams) and headed down a short walk over some rocks to Point Dume beach. It was amazing – we were almost the only people there besides some other beachgoers and a few surfers, left to soak in the best views Malibu has to offer.

Dume Beach, Malibu CADume Beach

After getting back to Venice, we were all starving and knew we wouldn’t make it to dinner without some eats, so we stopped at E & D’s favorite taco track, La Isla Bonita. Y’all…seriously, so good. It doesn’t get much better than sitting on a curb eating tacos with my best friends.

That night, we headed to West Hollywood (told you guys, we were gonna see it all) for dinner and drinks. The most fancied-up we got all trip, the four of us enjoyed really really enjoyed a nice dinner at BOA Steakhouse. Everything was awesome – including Emily and I discovering there is a such thing as feta mousse, and it’s amazing. For lack of room, we’ll leave it at that, but if you’re ever looking for a nice dinner in a cool part of West Hollywood, I think we would all highly suggest it. Post-dinner-extravaganza, we made our way down the road to Skybar at the Mondrian. An outdoor club with amazing views of the city, it was perfect – Andrew made fun of me, but it was totally straight out of Gossip Girl, pool and all. We stayed for a bit, enjoyed the scene and the view and headed back to Venice for a long night’s sleep.

Skybar - Photo from the Mondrian

Skybar – Photo from the Mondrian

 

//sunday//

Sunday had been in the works for a while — I think this is the first thing Emily & I had planned on doing from the moment I knew we were coming to California. The perfect day: brunch, bikes, bar crawl.

We started our day waking up late and having brunch at Sunny Spot in Venice. I’ve heard about this place loads of time from Emily because of their drinks — bottomless mimosas, bloody marys and punch, rotating between the three. There’s no better way to start a #SundayFunday than with a boozy brunch, amirite?

 After brunch, we went over to the boardwalk and rented bikes, the first step on our bike bar crawl of the day. We rode through Venice and up to the canals – obviously I knew of the area’s namesake, but had no idea there were actual canals in the city! There are a few rows of them in the middle of town with houses lining the canal – it was really bizarre and cool to see in the middle of an otherwise urban area.

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We rode through the canals, up and down Venice and Santa Monica, stopped at a few places for beers along the way, explored the pier and ended up at The Bungalow, a sort-of club in Santa Monica that Drew described as “your rich friend’s beach house.” It was totally different from anything I’ve ever seen in Atlanta or anywhere else and was a nice place to check out to get a real California vibe. We ate dinner, watched the sunset and hurried home on our bikes before it was too late to check them back in. 🙂

So there we have it, the first weekend in LA, exactly as I pictured: full of beaches, friends, good food and beautiful weather. It’s making me upset to write about how much I already miss it! Monday and Tuesday were whole new experiences in LA, but more to come soon…

october mood board // welcoming fall

As much of a cliche it is, I just LOVE fall. And no it’s not all the Pumpkin Spice Lattes on every corner (fyi, how I feel about the coveted #PSL). This is my first fall on the west coast, and while the temperatures are slower to drop here and the palms trees are evergreen, there is still a crispness in the air that reminds me of the changing season. Bring on the seasonal eats (um, butternut squash everyday), sweaters and apple cider!

Here’s my mood board with some of the things I’m loving/dreaming of this month.

 

[1/Not Without Salt] [2/Cereal Magazine] [3/My Name is Yeh] [4/Style Me Pretty]

[5/My Ideal Home] [6/Pinterest] [7/The Fresh Exchange] [8/Pinterest]

 

That apple cider rum punch looks like the quintessential fall libation, am I right?  I’m thinking about taking a special trip to Big Sur in late November, but may be putting it on hold; I have been dreaming of driving that PCH route forever and am looking forward to it someday. Speaking of rum punch, that bar cart is perfectly styled for hosting a fall get together – I can’t wait to have a backyard to host outdoor dinner parties. A book and coffee in bed is exactly what I need to relax and fall style is all about staying comfortable – I’ll be rocking some combo of a big sweater, skinnies and booties all season long.

What are some things you’re loving this month?