Friday Thoughts

1. My iphone finally bit the dust yesterday. I've dropped it easily 100 times and I had to hold down the home button for like six seconds for it to go home, but it worked. I sure as heck wasn't going to be lining up outside for the new iphone 5. But, last night, on the 101th drop, the screen cracked and home button completely gave out.  I'm hoping because my phone does work, they'll be able to transfer contacts and pictures. Fingers crossed! 

2. I bought this dress at Target and I am obsessed. It's the best $27.99 I've spend in a long time. And I can totally see this with leggings and boots for when the temps around here cool down.

3. Joel and I have decided to plan a few date nights for each other for the next few months and so the first date was one that I planned. I wore the Target dress and found the BEST wine bar ever.

All thanks to Jeff Lewis and Jenni Pulos from Flipping Out.

I searched for a screenshot, but with no avail - however, this is the place that Jenni hosted her engagement party. The wine bar looked right up my alley on the show, and so I thought I'd give it a try for our date night.

As you sit at your table, the server presents you a "hotel" key card. They have machines set up, like the picture, that when you insert the card, you can pick your wine and it will pour exactly 1.7oz of wine.  The card constantly shows you your balance so you don't end up getting totally surprised at the end, which I thought was a smart touch.

They have about thirty or so bottles to taste, and what I loved was that it kept Joel and I walking around the bar, trying different wines, and talking about different flavors. It was a unique bar, that served just the right amount of food and I can't wait to go back. I highly recommended it for a date night, or low key girls night if you are in the Mid-City area. *Parking was $5 for valet.

4. I finished the new Jenifer Weiner book, The Next Best Thing, and was totally underwhelmed. By far the slowest, dryest, and least interesting book I've ever read by her.

5. I've been looking forward to Saturday night all week long. Dawn is hosting a girls night where everyone is bringing wine and cheese to share. Girlfriends, cheese, and wine....what more could you need?
wine and good friends - good comboFunny Friendship Ecard: If I ever go missing, put my photo on wine bottles instead of milk cartons, so my friends and family know to look for me...
I feel sorry for the people who don't drink, they wake up and that's the best they are going to feel all day.


A SoCal Fall

Fall is, and always will be, my absolute favorite season. I love the back-to-school air, the leaves that change colors, and the built in excuse to stay home by the fire and drink hot coco.

This year, I won't even get a chance to see Chicago in the fall, so I am determined to make the best of fall here in my new home of Los Angeles by completing each of the following:
  • Bringing the pup along on our annual pumpkin patch trip! Joel hates this outing - claiming its weird that we go when we don't have any kids - but I think it's a really fun way to spend an afternoon, and now that it's a built in tradition, he's going to lose the battle. I even found this pumpkin patch that's only a few miles away from our house.
  • Speaking of traditions this will be our 6th annual turkey trot. (For me personally, it'll be my 8th!). It's such a fun way to start Thanksgiving and I'm already excited that I am not going to freeze my ass off this year.
  • Okay, last speaking of, but speaking of Thanksgiving, I'm going to try and not cry too much about the fact that I'm not going home to be with them this year. This is my first real holiday away from my family, and it's not going to be easy. After the loss of my aunt in March, it really pains me that I'm not going to be with my mom and cousins at a time when they need the support, but unfortunately, we have to make some sacrifices with this move, and this is one of them. 
  • Paint pumpkins!
Monogram Pumpkin Tutorial
  • Bring sweet treats to Joel's office
Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies!
  • Host a Halloween get together with chili and pumpkin beer.
Fall table setting in the outdoors. #fall #dining #party #wedding #pumpkins #outdoors
  • Dress up every day.
  • Explore one new town in California - and I'm hoping it's Laguna Beach!  
  • Keep up with running - set a goal and accomplish it.
  • Buy some new boots
Wanting some chunky-heeled black leather boots
  • And a cute, quilted puffy vest
puffy vest. orange
  • And lastly, somehow remember to take this picture when I have a little bambino!omg, little pumpkin


Wedding Wednesday: Engagement Pictures Extravaganza

One of the only wedding projects that I can successfully plan and execute out here in California was the engagement pictures.

While we are getting married back at home, it was important for us to have a little touch of California in our wedding. We have started a life out here, adopted a dog here, were engaged here - and it seemed only right that we gave it a little of the recognition it deserved.

I did a few hours of research (mainly using the suggested vendors from theknot.com) and finally settled on hiring the adorable Jordana from Hazelnut Photography. We liked her work for so many reasons, but all of her pictures picked up on lots of natural light, didn't include too many kitschy props, and she was in our budget. She had a great spot in mind for what we were looking for and took us to El Matador Beach in Malibu, California on one windy, Saturday afternoon.

I had spent weeks picking out my outfits, trying to brighten my teeth, and making all of the necessary beauty appointments. It gave me a glimpse of how crazy I'm likely to be when my actual wedding gets closer, but the anticipation of the whole event was so fun.

When Saturday got here, I took a long run in the morning to clear my nerves, and had a few mimosa's while we got ready so that I didn't feel like an enormous dweeb during the photoshoot.

It took me about 15 minutes to loosen up with a camera in front of my face, but Jordana was patient and kind - and two and a half hours later, she had collected enough pictures and we were on a merry way.

I haven't gotten the disk of the 800 pictures that she took just yet, but I thought you may enjoy seeing a sneak preview of some of the goods.

Diane Von Furstenberg dress, Tory Burch Shoes, Tiffany Co. & David Yurman jewels

Banana Republic wrap sweater, Gap tee, Paige Jeans, Tory Burch sandals, David Yurman jewels

Pretty fancy, huh?!

*This blog was featured on blog.theknot.com as well


Building a Bar Cart

When we moved to LA, I picked up two of these serving, folding tables. I loved the look of them and immediately found a use for one as my entry table. The second one however, never found a true home and has been moved from room to room for the last six months.

Lately, it's been sitting in the living room lonely and bare. And quite frankly - it looked really awkward.

I know the tray table seems to be screaming to be turned into a bar cart, but I didn't want it took like I was constantly setting up for a party.

I started pinning some inspiration images to get some styling tips - and using things I already had around the house, I went for it.

I'm still a little hesitant - because it does kind of looking are hosting something - but it's a fun way to use the lonely cart so I'm going to keep it for now and see if it grows on me.

What do you think? A win?


Twitter dates, Tequila, & My Weekend Outfits

 Thursday night I met up with new LA twitter friends (@LCtweets and @_SSH) at Coast at Shutters Hotel in Santa Monica. It's always a little bit uncomfortable going on "blind" dates but we all had a great time, caught up over lots of wine, and became fast friends. 

I was feeling sort of "fall-y" so I pulled out my favorite Cole Haan riding boots for the occasion.


Friday night I joined Dawn and her husband for dinner in Manhattan Beach. It's kind of a trek from Westwood, but we had dinner at The StrandHouse and the views of the ocean were totally worth the drive. It looks like quite the scene there - a great place to take friends upstairs and then join the crown downstairs for drinks.

And because we live in LA and the weather is annoying always 80 and sunny, I decided to wear white jeans.


Saturday night we celebrated my dear friend Shelby's birthday. Shelby has been such a good friend to me since I've moved out here to California and I was so excited to spend the night with just the girls.


We had small plates and lots of tequila at The Glendon in Westwood.

Since there was so much partying going on during the nights - my days felt a little useless. I barely fit in any workouts, had subtle headaches everyday, and didn't eat as freshly as I should have. I paid the price for lots of fun.

But - I am glad that it's Monday - a fresh start and another chance to get it right this week.


GNI: Girly Night In

My fiance has been out of town for the last two night, and while we have missed him, it has been pretty fun relishing in some girly nights.


I like to put on country music and have a little dance party to welcome in the 5'oclock hour. I feel that is the proper introduction that f i v e o c l o c k deserves. Speaking of which, I'm seriously getting into country music. My Iowa girls would be so proud of me when I'm screaming every lyic to the new Josh Turner, Time is Love song.

But, back to my GNI.

After my concert, I took my book and a glass of wine and parked myself outside until I damn well pleased. The dog didn't get fed until 8pm, but he survived.

And, I ate a frozen individual pizza for dinner, had zero dishes to clean (because yes, I used a paper towel), watched a Gallery Girls marathon, and pinned my little heart away. It was basically like I was in college again.

I don't think I could live in my quiet house all alone, everyday, and I would miss Joel way too much...but I do have to say that it was pretty fun to spend a day with just myself....and sleep in the middle of the bed.

look and feel fab always


What $100 buys you at Trader Joe's

 My receipt for this week's grocery haul came out to EXACTLY $100 buckaroo's and it had blog post written all over it.

Joel and I try to do a "light" grocery trip once a week. I'm not sure how much other couples cook, or eat, but we average around $400.00/month on groceries. This week's trip included almost all of our standards, except sea food. We are going out both Friday and Saturday so we decided to skip the typical salmon, shrimp, or tilipia that we would normally grab.

Joel is traveling to Carlsbad this week, so I'm alone for dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then I have plans Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with girls.

With that being said, I had to get a lot of things that would make decent meals for one. I plan to make a and mini pizza tonight, and will have Chicken sausage and leftovers ready for Joel when he's on his own. 

This frozen pulled pork is the fastest, and yummiest dinner option ever. It's high in sodium, but it feels like take-out and it's gotta be better than that!

Another quickie mix that I love to pick up are the pre-cooked turkey meatballs. They are low in calories (about 130 for two), super easy to add to pasta, and they really beef up dinner without adding time to prep. 

If you look at this list and buy anything from it, make your buy these bad boys.$1.99 worth of Heaven. They are my dessert every night (60cals for two)

Our crowd favorite salad dressing is this amazing Cilantro dressing. I use it all the time and without fail someone always begs for the recipe!


This Dubliner cheddar is my favorite appetizer and the hardest part is deciding if I want to pair it with red or white wine. 

How much do you spend at the grocery store? Am I missing any TJ's winners? Tell me! Tell me!