monday musings |6.27.16|

Happy Monday! Anyone else have a short week ahead? I’m jetting off to Austin for a long-weekend full of friends, Tex Mex + lake time and K’s hanging around Atlanta enjoying all the red white + blue activities around town. But before we check out, we’ve got our favorite links of the day to wind down this Monday.

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Handy Chart to Tell Which Shape of Sunglasses is Right for Your Face

Happy #NationalSunglassesDay! A guide to tell which sunglasses look best on you – where has this been all our life? This is something I’ve always struggled with. While trends can be fun (hello colored mirrored lenses), investing in a pair of sunnies that look fab is always in season.

Why Blogging is Good for Self-Development

Creative outlet? Check. Reason to go to yet another brunch? Check. Self-empowerment? Check. There are many reasons we started this blog, but this article really shines a light on the major #girlboss benefits.

14 Tips for Traveling on a Budget

For those of you who are loyal H+R readers (we <3 you!), it should come as no surprise that travel is always top of mind for us – and we’re always looking to get a good deal out of our tips. (ICYMI: Kristen recapped her AH-mazing Hong Kong adventure here). These tips are great and we’re all about #4 and #14.

Edible Obsession: Palm Tree Donuts

Whether you’re beach-side or pool-side this weekend, these fun treats are sure to be a crowd pleaser and are totally insta-worthy.

What are your plans for the long weekend ahead?

xo, H+R

do, eat, see: Hong Kong

I recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong – and what a trip it was. Hong Kong was an amazing city to spend time in, but since it was somewhere none of us had ever been before, there was a lot of guessing and researching before deciding what we wanted to do…which is where I come in for you! I wanted to make sure I remembered everything to share with you guys and hopefully help some of you out on your future travels.

We stayed in the Central district for four days, doing our fair share of exploring…and lots of dim-sum eating. The city itself reminded me a lot of Singapore – very urban and modern with lots of things to do and different cultures blended together – but had a lot of differences as well. We did and saw a lot over our four days, so I’ll break it down in our typical fashion into my favorite things to do, eat and see:

– do – 

Take the tram up to Victoria Peak

Hong Kong 1

This was the simplest thing we did but also maybe my favorite. The Peak Tram is the world’s steepest funicular railway (scary!) and takes you up to the top of Victoria Peak, where you can see arguably the best views of the Hong Kong skyline. The view is just beyond – I couldn’t have imagined that many buildings all in one place. We heard (and read) the queue for the tram could get insane (if Asia can do one thing well, it’s queuing) so we went first thing when it opened – I would HIGHLY suggest this. Get there early and you won’t have to wait. There are some food and merch shops at the top of mountain – even a Starbucks – so you can get your breakfast fix once they open.

Shop at Times Square

I thought we were used to big malls in Singapore, but whoa – Hong Kong’s very own Times Square was huge! The retail stores are spread over 9 floors and you can find everything from Zara to Louis Vuitton and even a Laduree when you’re trying to get your macaron on. It was a cool place to explore and we even found one of our favorite restaurants there (I’m getting to the food)!

Ride a speedboat to Macau

Hong Kong 2

Macau, considered “the Vegas of Asia,” is another special separate region of China that’s about an hour boat ride away from Hong Kong. The boats depart from Hong Kong harbor every 15 minutes throughout the day, so choose when you want to go and head to the Sheung Wan MTR station to get to the ferry terminal. It was super easy to get to Macau and it was honestly super bizarre to see it all – there is a Venetian that looks almost identical to the one in Vegas, along with a Wynn and even a replica Eiffel Tower! We moseyed around the Venetian for a while and even found our favorite snack, Lord Stow’s Bakery egg tarts – omg, get them – while wandering around. We just went for the night and it was a perfect amount of time to get to explore a little!

– eat –

Dim sum 

Dim sum is a popular type of Chinese-style cuisine traditionally prepared as smaller, bite-sized food served in steamer baskets or on plates. The food can range from things like steamed dumplings (my personal fave are xiao long bao), noodles, vegetables, rice dishes and more. It differs from place to place, but that’s pretty much the standard from where I’ve been. In Hong Kong, we ate at two places for dim sum: Tim Ho Wan and Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao.

Tim Ho Wan, famed as the world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurant, originated in Hong Kong and now has a few locations around the city. When I looked up online what to eat, the pork buns came up again and again (and again). We ordered these, a beef dish, some dumplings and vegetables. To be honest, I enjoyed the food, but it wasn’t the best I’ve had in HK/Asia – if there’s no wait, I’d definitely recommend checking it out, but I don’t think it’s worth the famed multi-hour queues. 🙂 The other restaurant we got dim sum style food at, Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao in Times Square Mall, was, in my opinion, much better. Get two orders of the xiao long bao, the homemade noodles (omg) and whatever else strikes your fancy and you’ll be good. This was my favorite meal in HK and I’d highly recommend it.

Burgers at Beef & Liberty

Okay, so when you think Hong Kong, your first thought probably isn’t about burgers. Me either – until Beef & Liberty came along. One of my mom’s friends recommended it to us and it was close to our hotel, so we decided to check it out. Upon arrival, you immediately know this is going to be a cool place. The inside has a very modern vibe and the servers were all super nice. There are tons of craft beers to try and even a skillet cookie (looking at you, sis). I’d suggest the black pepper burger – it was so different but SO good. We ate at the central location, but there’s also a pop up in the PMQ. They also have sweet potato fries, which is always my fry of choice, which were great. I’d highly recommend this place if you’re searching for a taste of home in HK.

– see –

Lantau Island

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Lantau was definitely one of my favorite things we saw while we were in Hong Kong. To get there, we took the MTR to the Tung Chung station and took the Ngong Ping 360 Cable car – an experience in itself! Pro tip: buy tickets for the “crystal” (glass bottom) cable car – it’s a little more expensive but the queue was non-existent compared to the hours-long one for the regular car. Worth the money for sure.

Once you get off the cable car (it’s about a 30 minute ride), you’ll be in Ngong Ping village, a cute-but-touristy walkway with shops and restaurants set up for visitors to the real attractions: Po Lin monastery and the Big Buddha. They’re both hidden away in lush mountains (such a contrast to central Hong Kong) and are great to see. It’s amazing to think about monks practicing in such a remote area – and the Big Buddha sure lives up to his name! Be ready to climb lots of steps to the top for a great view of the surrounding hills and the monastery.

Tai O

Hong Kong 6

Tai O was a smaller destination on our journey, a quaint fishing town on Lantau Island. After finishing up at the Big Buddha, we decided to take a local bus here to see what life would have been like before the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong arrived. They’re famous for their dried fish markets (see: the worst thing I ever smelled), but even if you aren’t planning on buying a dried pufferfish, it’s a nice place to spend an hour or so.

Take one of the small fishing boats out to try and catch a glimpse of the famed “pink dolphins” – the Chinese White Dolphin, as they’re scientifically called, are known to swim around the island and make appearances every once in a while. We didn’t have the good luck of seeing any, but if you plan your times right and do a bit of research, you should have a good shot!

Rooftop bars

Rooftop bars are popular in most big cities nowadays, but with Hong Kong’s impressive skyline, they’re a sight not to be missed. Ozone, the bar at the top of the Ritz Carlton, takes the title of the highest bar in the world. We wanted to stay more in the Central district, so we decided to try out Sevva, a restaurant and bar with a great view of the surrounding area. Their drink list was absurd – pages upon pages of every sort of cocktail you could imagine. We enjoyed taking in the sights from a great couch and had more than enough room to move around – a luxury in Asia! There was no cover, either, which is helpful to know if you’re trying to save a little $$.

Nan Lian Garden

Hong Kong 7

I couldn’t conclude my post about Hong Kong without mentioning the Nan Lian garden. One of our last stops in the city, the garden is a great place to relax, walk around and take in beautiful scenery in the middle of a hectic metropolis. Entry is free, it’s easy to get to on the MTR and you can even get a great meal at the restaurant or cafe inside = win.

While there’s countless things to do, eat and see while visiting Hong Kong, those were my favorites from this trip – I hope they serve you all well and definitely would suggest a visit if you’re in the area…or even if you’re not. What else should I add to my list for next time?

xx, H+R

monday musings |5.16.16|

Monday…how did you get here so quickly? Wasn’t yesterday Friday? Siiigh…it was a big weekend around here, as baby sis graduated from college (still can’t believe it). I definitely wasn’t ready for Monday morning when it rolled around, but there’s nothing a fresh smoothie and some great reads can’t fix, right? If you missed last week’s post, we started a new weekly roundup of some of our favorite links that week around the interwebs called Monday Musings. This week features some tips on how to live your best week, an awesome new app from Google and of course…sprinkles.

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How to Make Your Week Feel More Like the Weekend

There’s a reason this one is first, guys – in strong need of some weekend vibes over here! We love Emily’s tips on how to avoid the #sundaysads.

10 Coffee Shops You Need to Visit in Paris

Always Paris dreamin’. Thinking I’ll settle down with a good book (our book club is currently reading Me Before You, if you want to follow along with us!) and sip some tea while imagining I’m sitting at one of these. If only I had saved some macarons from my boss’s trip to France a few weeks ago…guess I’ll just have to find some more!

Confetti Cookies

Because whose Monday doesn’t need sprinkles?

Google’s Weird New App (That Might Change Your Group Message Forever)

We might just need to transition all of our group messages over to Spaces, Google’s new app that lets you share links you read with your friends with the touch of a button. Group chats = life at this point – for how many links we share, this could definitely be a game changer. (And speaking of Google apps, if you haven’t downloaded Gboard yet, get on it. ASAP.)

5 Ways a Digital Detox Will Leave You Feeling Refreshed

E and I will be the first ones to tell you we’re never more than a few heartbeats away from our phones. That being said, I think digital detoxes could do a lot of us some good. I’m heading off to Asia in a few days (more on that in a second) and it’s one of the nicest opportunities to turn off my phone and live in the moment.

Bonus link! Tips for Long-Haul Flights

Okay, this is totally cheating because it’s ours, but you guys get an extra link today because I’m heading to Asia again in THREE DAYS! EEP! The fam and I are heading back to their home in Singapore with a few other stops along the way – check with us on Insta to see where I’m at throughout the next two weeks.

xx, H+R

monday musings |5.9.16|

Happy Monday! In case you missed our last post, we’re back in the blogosphere and starting a new weekly post, Monday Musings. From recipe inspiration to work tips, we’re bringing you our favorite things of the moment. Without further ado…

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Best Places to Travel in June

This list is #goals. It’s safe to say we both have a travel bug – K’s about to jet off to Asia + the Maldives (take me with you?) and I’m in the process of planning mini weekend trips and a potential trip to Cuba in September! Stay tuned.

Pimento Cheese Chicken Salad on Honey Butter Biscuits

Need we say more?

Bedroom Before + After

Summer always has us thinking of new design + home projects. Currently loving bright + simplistic spaces – this room is serious #decorinspo.

What to Wear to a Bridal Shower

‘Tis the season! We’ll take all the Paper Crown.

5 Ways to be Happier at Work

I think everyone can relate to the craziness in their career, not matter how much you love your job. Working in PR often means long days, unexpected mini-crises and being creative on-the-go. These tips are a great reminder to stay grounded + focused on doing what you love.

xx, H+R

do, eat, see: Bangkok

Can I get a YAAAAAAS for finally being on vacation? *raises hand emoji, confetti emoji, margarita emoji*

We’ve just returned from Thailand and what a wonderful week it was. We (we being the six of us: the fam unit including one of my cousins who has been interning in SG this summer + the beau) started out with a few days in Bangkok, exploring city life and learning more about Buddhist culture and finished our holiday in Phuket resting and enjoying the beautiful beaches. More to come on island life later!

Bangkok was totally new for me: my first time in Asia out of Singapore and my first time in a place here I couldn’t understand the language…at all. Having a working knowledge of English and French got me around most places in Europe just fine and Singapore is an English-speaking country, so seeing writing in different characters and hearing people speak in an entirely undecipherable language was something totally new. It was definitely a shock! Bangkok, however, is pretty urban – luckily for us, most people in the city center speak at least a bit of English.

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Wat Paknam Bangkok

Wat Paknam

Wat Paknam Bangkok

Wat Paknam

As we only had two days/three nights in each city, we wanted to make the most of our short time. If you’re ever planning a visit, here are my recommendations on what to do, eat and see:

– do –

Bangkok canal tours – For our first day in Bangkok, we arranged a tour of the famous canals (also know as klongs) in the city. Sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the East”, Bangkok has an extensive network of canals through more rural parts of the city to access floating markets, temples and homes. We hired a longtail boat, Thailand’s famous cruisers, to get us around. The boats are basically super-long, skinny boats powered by some type of engine that they may or may not have taken out of a truck. The boat took us to two temples, a local weekend market, a Thai orchid garden and an artist’s house for a traditional Thai puppet show. It was a super neat way to see around more of the more rural parts of the city.

Our tour guide, Nui, was absolutely fabulous and was a great guide around our sights – if you’re ever heading to Bangkok, I’d recommend checking out their company, Pandan Tours!

Longtail boat Bangkok

Longtail boat

Floating vendors Bangkok

Floating vendors

Noodle boat Bangkok

Noodle boat!

Chatuchak weekend market – The largest market in all of Thailand, Chatuchak is definitely worth a visit if you’ll be in Bangkok over a weekend. The market has over 8,000 stalls selling everything from plants and antiques to clothes and electronics. You can’t see it all, so pick and choose a few alleyways to wander down and be ready to bargain! You can bring the price down a few hundred baht or so if you a. go in with a price you want to pay (ex: don’t pay more than 200-300 baht for clothing), b. walk away (or act like you will) – there will always be another stall with the exact same item – and c. carry small bills to pay with. We picked up some cute elephant pillowcases, loose pants for plane rides, lots of soccer jerseys and a knockoff Beats pill (Dad…). There are literally thousands of stalls to see, so it’s a perfect place to get inexpensive, cool gifts for your friends and family back home.

– eat –

Everything – Is this an appropriate answer? We tried to get our hands on local cuisine while we were there, as it’s an experience in itself to try different Thai foods. We ate noodles out of a boat that passed us on the canal (cooking right on their boat!), lots of noodles at a weekend market and tried other snacks like homemade ice cream and mango sticky rice.

Pad thai – This seems like the obvious choice, but every time we got pad thai, it was amazing. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s looking to have great local food that isn’t tooo adventurous. Just don’t forget to add lots of spice! 🙂

An extra travel tip: since the hotel we stayed at had a stellar concierge lounge, we ate here often. Look to see if the hotel you’re staying in has one and if you can get access – for six people, it saved us a ton of money and we got some great food in the comfort of the hotel!

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Noodle boat noodles

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Pad thai

– see –

Lots of Buddhist temples – While we were there, we got to visit four temples: Wat Paknam, Wat Pa Chaeng Lane, Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho. Each was very different, with varying degrees of ornate decorations or a focus on different representations of Buddha. Wat Paknam’s green pagoda was really something – you can see in the photo above that the ceiling was covered with Swarovski crystals. Wat Pho was my other favorite – this is the temple of the leaning Buddha – it’s 46 meters long (HUGE)!

The views from a rooftop bar – Bangkok has tons of awesome rooftop bars to enjoy a few drinks and get an unmatched view of the city. Sky Bar is the most famous now, as it was featured in The Hangover 2, but we tried out one near our hotel called Above Eleven at the suggestion of one of my friends. It was awesome! The view was well worth the excursion.

Soi Cowboy – You didn’t think I was going to write a post about what to see in Bangkok without including Soi Cowboy, did you? Soi Cowboy is a little street in Bangkok that’s famous for its nightlife and bars – mostly gogos – that caters mostly to tourists. Most of the bars have patios to sit outside and take in the sights…or you can go inside and be prepared to see lots of scantily-clad girls dancing. Not the least awkward thing to do with my parents and baby sister, but it’s a popular part of Bangkok culture that you should try to check out while you’re there.

Wat Pho Bangkok

Wat Pho

Tuk Tuk rides Bangkok

Tuk Tuk rides

Wat Paknam Bangkok

Wat Paknam

Wat Paknam Bangkok

Wat Paknam

Above Eleven Bangkok

Above Eleven

Soi Cowboy Bangkok

Soi Cowboy

I would say we definitely made the most of our 2.5 days in Bangkok – lots of exploring, adventuring and trying new things. It was a big change from Singapore, but a cool place to visit nonetheless and somewhere new for me to check off the bucket list. Next post: living the island life in Phuket. There was lots to do, eat and see there too…so check back soon!

summer bag essentials

Though it definitely already feels like it in Atlanta, this weekend officially marks the start of summer. (Sunday also happens to be Father’s Day AND the summer solstice, so be sure to make plans to soak up the longest day of the year with dad!)

To both of us, a perfect summer means one thing – travel. Weekend trips, week-long vacations and even month-long adventures (more on this later!) are in the works and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s safe to say that we both inherited the wanderlust gene and are always scheming + dreaming about our next places to cross off our lists.

E just got back from Yosemite, an amazing trip that I’m sure couldn’t be done justice through lots of snapchats but still looked oh-so-incredible and is prepping for a Fourth of July vacation to San Diego, while I’m gearing up for a weekend in Chicago and then a month of working + visiting my family in Asia which I still can’tevenbelieveishappening. With so many trips in order, the fun has to wait until you can get done with the dreaded preparation, also known as packing (or more commonly referred to as every girl’s worst nightmare). While I’m always going to remember things like socks, shirts and black jeans (obviously), I always seem to forget the fun stuff. It’s the last thing on my mind, but the first thing to make a trip super fun. Luckily, we’ve got you covered – here are our essentials to the perfect summer bag:

Summer Bag Essentials

 

ONE // the perfect suit. With as much time as we (and hopefully you) plan to spend at the water this year, it’s a no-brainer that having a bathing suit that’s A. fashionable and B. comfortable is a necessity. I recently bought a new one from overseas at Triangl, the creators of the color-blocked neoprene suit trend and am absolutely in love – however, if you’re looking to pay a little less and avoid the high international taxes, you can try this one from Rotita or this one from VS.

TWO // a bag to get through it all. You can’t have the perfect summer bag essentials post without the perfect bag, right? For us, simplicity and versatility are key. You want something you can use throughout the summer that can transition from the beach to daytime errands to taking work to the coffee shop. We love this one from Nordstrom and this bright choice from J. Crew.

THREE // lip products with spf. Did we emphasize that enough? If you’ve ever gone out in the sun for a while and NOT used a product with SPF on your lips, you know where we’re coming from. Trust me: lip. sunburns. are. the. worst. I wish them on none of you and only on your worst enemies. This Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 is my absolute favorite, sun or no sun – a hint of color and super moisturizing. I recommend it in rosé!

FOUR // dry shampoo. What did we do in the days before dry shampoo? (Well, baby powder, but #ratchet, so) I’ve been on the hunt for a while for a good one and fell in love after I got this Klorane one in my Birchbox. It’s a winner in my book (plus it snagged the Allure Best of Beauty award, so I trust it). It contains oat milk extracts and never leaves any yucky color or residue behind. I’ve never been one to get that super awesome beachy hair, so this is a lifesaver.

FIVE // good sunnies. I’m sure we all have 50 pairs of sunglasses laying around, but this season, I’m really loving the new color mirrored trend. The ones pictured above are the ones I’m currently lusting after – Ray-Bans, of course. For a cheaper find, these ones from LOFT are only $24.50 and are 40% off right now!

SIX // a captivating read. Last but certainly not least, you’re going to need a good book (or a few) to get through the summer, whether you’re at the pool or hanging out in the park. We’re just working on starting a monthly book club with a few friends and our first choice is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I haven’t started yet (sorry guys), but have heard it’s a great one. If you have any other suggestions for good summer reads, please let me know – gonna need quite a few on two 24-hour plane rides!

What else do you guys always keep in your summer bag? Tell us below – there’s always room for more!

P.S. – Wanted to put the selfie stick in here, but avoided it for you guys. You’re welcome.

 

do, eat, see: Santa Barbara

I recently visited Santa Barbara for a weekend getaway (my Christmas present courtesy of the boy) and instantly fell in love with the charm, architecture and feel of this California staple. Just a short two hours north of LA up the Pacific Coast Highway makes Santa Barbara the perfect escape from hustle and bustle of the city. Our visit wasn’t long enough (what vacation ever is?), but we managed to pack a lot into the weekend and I’ve made a list of my favorite things to do, eat and see while in Santa Barbara.

– do –

Wine Tasting Rooms

Santa Barbara = the epitome of wine country. While there are many vineyards in the surrounding mountains and valleys, look no further than the numerous wine tasting rooms in the heart of town. Similar to a brewery, you taste flights of local wine and enjoy the quaint open-air tasting rooms with friendly bartenders + people to meet. My three favorites were Municipal Winemakers (pictured above), Oreana Winery and Corks n’ Crowns. The best part? Most of the wine tasting rooms are all within the same few blocks of each other which makes for a fun afternoon stumble stroll.

State Street

State Street is runs through the heart of Santa Barbara and a good place to reference when you’re looking for a place to stay – the closer to State Street and the water, the better. It’s a great place to start your day and shop, eat, peek in galleries, people watch and just enjoy the pretty Spanish architecture and palm tree lined street.  

– eat –

The Lark

Santa Barbara, California; The Lark

[http://www.thelarksb.com/]

Our first meal in Santa Barbara set the bar high. The Lark is located in the same part of the city as the wine tasting rooms and is beautifully designed with the perfect ambience. Our meal went as follows: Pimento Cheese Fritters with schrimshaw beer aioli + pickled chiles, Grilled Spanish Octopus with Israeli​ couscous, guajillo chile + avocado and Crispy Lamb Papardelle with butternut squash puree, goat cheese + rosemary. Need I say more?

Santa Barbara Public Market 

SBPM2

[http://wanderandwine.com/]

A mix between Chelsea Market and Krog Street Market, the Santa Barbara Public Market combines the wonders of a food hall and a supermarket complete with a bakery, an artisanal ice cream shop, a ramen bar and more. It was the perfect place to have a meal or pack a picnic which is exactly what we did for the next stop on our list which brings me to…

– see – 

Douglas Family Preserve 

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I don’t know about you, but before I moved to California I envisioned all of the beaches with cliffs, breaking waves and surfers, which is exactly the picturesque scene you get at the Douglas Family Preserve. Seventy acres of undeveloped land, trails and views make this a must-see when you visit Santa Barbara.

PCH

This is sort of a given seeing as you drive this scenic highway when you come and go from Santa Barbara. I’m not saying I played California by Phantom Planet while we drove down this highway, but I’m not going to say I didn’t.

Have any of you ever taken a trip here? What were your favorite spots? Let us know in the comments!

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.

Catalina Island IMG_0102

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.

Ziplining IMG_0063

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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.

Texas Skies IMG_0144

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.

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?

Austin to LA

Between road-tripping across the country, moving to a new city and starting a new job I have been a little (ok, a lot) MIA on the H&R-sphere.

It’s officially starting to hit me that L.A. is now my city and I couldn’t be happier about this new chapter. But before I start down all-things LA on here, I wanted to share a few highlights from the rest of my road trip.

AUSTIN, TX

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I was so excited to get to Austin not only because it’s such a great city, but because two of my best friends lived there. Alexis is an ATX-native and was in the same sorority as me and K at UGA. Laura was another UGA-bestie and she moved to Austin in January this year.

Saturday morning Alexis and I started the day off with a little kick-boxing action at Fight Club – a gym that she opened in Austin. We did it all through college, and when graduation came and Alexis moved back to Austin she brought her passion with her and we are so proud of her. Check it out if you’re ever there and are in need of a serious work out!

After our late breakfast we headed over to Town Lake and went paddle boarding, and it was awesome. I had wanted to try paddle boarding for a long time now, but it’s usually done in the ocean or a bay and I’m terrified of the ocean (aka sharks). I thought the hard part of paddle boarding would be trying to balance on the board, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. Turns out the hard part isn’t balancing, but the paddling that turns it into a real workout. There was something so serene about being in the middle of a busy city while also being outside and enjoying nature.

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Paddle-boarding on Town Lake!

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The next adventure of the day: Lick. Guys – the ice cream here is amazing. Between Lex and I, I’m pretty sure we tried nine different flavors before we each narrowed it down. I had the dark chocolate olive oil & sea salt and the tangy toasted coconut, while Lex had peach thyme & goat cheese and land of milk & honey. Definitely an instant Austin-fave.

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I was too busy enjoying my ice cream to actually get a picture of it.

That evening I met up with Laura and we ventured over to Rainey Street – more of a hip, ‘trendy’ neighborhood. We ate dinner at Banger’s which was an outdoor biergarten and gourmet hot dog restaurant. I’m not a huge hot dog or sausage person and Laura is a vegetarian, but both of our meals were excellent. We started with Wisconsin cheese curds, which I had never had but Laura raved about them, and they did not disappoint. 

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Can you tell I like food yet?

The ambiance of this place was so fun and laid back. I could spend hours out there under the string lights with a Austin-brewed beer and listening to music. We had an eventful night out at the bars on the famous sixth street and we said our (sad) goodbyes because early the next day, my parents and I hit the road once again headed to Arizona. 

The rest of the roadtrip consisted of a lot of this:

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Walt and Jesse – are you out there?

Miles and miles… and miles later this was a happy site:

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When we crossed the California state line it started to hit me that we were headed to my new home, in my new state. We eventually exited the 10, pulled into the apartment and Drew and I were finally reunited in our new home 🙂 We rapidly unloaded the car and fled to the nearest sports bar to watch team USA. 

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#ibelieve

Next post: my L.A. bucket list for the remainder of the summer. But let’s be honest – does summer in LA ever actually end? Stay tuned!

xo,

E