Archive of ‘Life in Los Angeles’ category

Shop Small: 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

This weekend, I attended the very awesome UniqueLA mart at California Market Center. Unique Market sells modern, made-in-America goods from over 350 curated sellers. That’s a lot of booths, y’all. I spent about four hours shopping, and I still don’t think I saw every single thing!

Me, with "crazy eyes" after 4 hours of shopping, at Stacy Michelson's rad booth.

Me, with “crazy eyes” after 4 hours of shopping, at Stacy Michelson’s rad booth.

As a small business owner, it’s so important for me to spend my money with other small businesses. According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, local business generates 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail. If every family in the U.S spent an extra $10 a month at a locally owned business instead of a national chain, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy. (source: huff post) This is a no-brainer, friends. So, in that spirit, here’s my (very first) Holiday Gift Guide!

This year I thought I would focus on my favorite “local to Los Angeles” gifts, for those who just realized there are only 12 shopping days until Christmas!

For people who like delicious things:

The Square Treat

image source: The Square Treat

image source: The Square Treat

These are the most delicious treats I have ever had. The Square Treat is like a hybrid brownie-s’more-fudge-cake. If you like any of those things, you will fall as madly in love with this treat as I have. The first time I tried one, my exact quote was, “I don’t even know what I’m eating, but holy jeez it’s DELICIOUS!”

A-Chocolypse & The Birthday Party: 2 delicious Square Treat flavors

Image source: Personal photo; A-Chocolypse & The Birthday Party: 2 delicious Square Treat flavors

Current flavors include: The Original Square (graham cracker and marshmallows), The A-Choco-lypse Square (a chocolately twist on the Original), The Birthday Square (a vanilla version of the Original, decorated with festive sprinkles), The Cherry Bomb (Original with sour cherries) and The FlufferNutter (peanut butter and graham cracker, yo!) They also have vegan & gluten free options. Because, LA.

You can find them locally at Republic of Pie, Romancin’ the Bean, and Cahunega General Store – or you can just go ahead and order them by the box online.

Now I am craving a Square Treat and I have none in the house. Damn it.

For people who try to be healthy, but also like delicious things:

The Nut Butter Company

image credit: The Nut Butter Company

image credit: The Nut Butter Company

Locally made in a certified home kitchen in Marina del Rey, The Nut Butter company believes delicious snacks have no need for chemicals (and I agree!) What sets this company apart are the delicious and creative flavors: Almond Espresso Cinnamon, Cashew Rosemary Shallot, Hazelnut White Chocolate Crunch, Spanish Peanut Chili Lime, & Walnut Brown Sugar Coconut – as well as the traditional Cashew and Pecan Almond. Best of all, they have a sample pack, so you can gift someone all the flavors, and let them pick their favorite!

image credit: The Nut Butter Company

image credit: The Nut Butter Company

Order by December 17th to deliver by Christmas!

For the snazzy dresser (male or female):

Brinko Ties

Raise your hand if you’ve ever just bought your Dad a tie for Christmas because, well…you ran out of creative ideas. Don’t feel bad, I think we’ve all done it. Here’s the thing about Brinko Ties – the ties themselves are creative. I mean, they have ties for women! And kids! And pets!

Did you know they have ties for gals? Oh, did I already mention that? Look: LADY TIES.

image source: Brinko Ties

image source: Brinko Ties

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 5.09.48 PM

image source: Brinko Ties

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 5.10.07 PM

image source: Brinko Ties

 Aren’t they the coolest? I want one, just so I can work an Annie Hall vibe someday. Also, perfect for alternative brides who wouldn’t be caught dead in a wedding gown. Also, stylish hipsters. What? You know I’m right.

And let’s not forget the men-folk, in long ties or bow ties, with matching pocket squares and other vintage accessories.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 5.45.05 PM

image source: Brinko Ties

Shifting Status Kuo

Shifting Status Kuo features light-hearted paper goods & gifts designed and screen printed by Tiffany Kuo in Los Angeles. I met Tiffany at UniqueLA and immeditely fell in love with her adorable, romantic pillowcases. These are such a perfect gift for your significant other, newlyweds, or anyone in a long distance relationship (you each get one!). I just think they are the CUTEST, you guys.

Obviously, I am obsessed with the gold ones. Obviously.

Bob the Builder may or may not be getting these for Christmas. I really hope he’s not reading this right now.

So, what do you think, peeps? Have you been buying local? Have any faves from this list? Faves in your area? Let me hear from you in the comments!

2ndtrySIG

Oscar Dresses that You Could Wear to Your Wedding

Peeps!

Did you watch the Oscars last night? If I’m totally honest, I mostly watched just to see Idina Menzel (I mean, Adele Dazeem. Um. Really, John Travolta? WEAR YOUR GLASSES. Or learn the name of the person you are introducing. You’re not new here.)  sing “Let it Go” from Frozen. I love her, I love that song, and I can’t help it: I love the FASHION at the Oscars.

There were so many dresses that could really make the transition from red carpet to ceremony aisle.

Photo Credit: E Online

Photo Credit: E Online

Cristin Milioti, designer uncredited, from How I Met Your Mother. I love HIMYM, and I love her in this dress. This looks like a wedding gown! It also looks like maybe it’s a Reem Acra? or Christos?

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{Sponsored Post}: Del Monte & Kitchen Surfing!

Hey Peeps,

Sometimes I get to do super fun things because of this lil’ ‘ole blog, and I have to say, this dinner was the most fun to date! The fine folks at Del Monte invited me & Bob the Builder to host two of our friends in our home for a chef-created meal, using Del Monte products!

photo of Del Monte canned goods

personal photo

Del Monte scheduled our dinner through KitchenSurfing, a great website that matches your needs with a personal chef. You can search by chef name, by cuisine, or by event. Del Monte paired us with Chef Mariko Amekodommo (aka The Pink Hair Chef) and her Del Monte Signature Tuscan Dinner.

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Ideas for Valentine’s Day Gifts!

I always have a difficult time coming up with a great Valentine’s Day gift for Bob the Builder.

Since Valentine’s Day is only five days after Bob the Builder and I get back from our belated honeymoon, I’ve already started planning his gift. My first idea was an oldie but a goody. In fact, it’s kind of a cheat, because I got him this same gift two years ago. But he loved it, so I should get it again, right? I mean, he LOVED IT.

Tastykake I Love You gift tin

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Brides Against Breast Cancer Dress Sale!

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Brides Against Breast Cancer event in Pasadena at the Brookside Golf Club.

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 6.13.29 PM

Brides Against Breast Cancer sells all brands of new designer and “gently worn” wedding gowns in all shapes and styles. Their “Nationwide Tour of Gowns” will contribute over $2 million dollars this year and provides free support programs and services for those impacted by cancer. Education, nutrition, exercise, support and therapy are just some of the many programs and services they support, all designed to help cancer patients, their families and caregivers. Brides Against Breast Cancer will distribute over 10,000 breast “self-exam” cards this year. 2 MILLION DOLLARS. Wow.

It was my first time volunteering for this event, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I arrived at 8am, ready for anything!

a giant truck full of wedding gowns!

a giant truck full of wedding gowns!

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Cambriawesome Team Bridal Weekend, Part 1!

Hey y’all: While I’m waiting for our amazing photogs to finish up our pro wedding pics, I’m gonna be catching up on all the things I didn’t have time to write about before the wedding. Actual wedding recaps are forthcoming. Promise. 

On an unseasonably cool weekend in August, I was lucky enough to have all my best girls in one place for three whole days! This was not an accident. This was a weekend masterfully orchestrated by Team Bridal, and most especially, CraftyPants McGee, my Matron of Honor.

personal photo

personal photo, me on the left, CraftyPants on the right

See that pin wheel? She made that. This pic is from our engagement party, which she also expertly crafted and planned. So, she does not come by her nickname ironically.

In our little family of friends, we don’t do bridal showers. Back in 2006, when SmartyPants was planning her wedding, she asked for a Girls Weekend in lieu of a shower. So, we took Las Vegas by storm and had a ball.  In 2008, we did the same for CraftyPants – although the destination was Palm Springs, and the vibe was decidedly more chill.  As soon as Bob the Builder and I became engaged, the natural question from Team Bridal was, “Ok, so where are we going?”

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My New Favorite Thing: StitchFix!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I really have no tolerance for shopping these days. Mostly, I order clothes online and just hope they look good when they get to me. It usually works out ok, but I tend to pick the same stuff over and over. Jeans, tee shirts, tank tops, jeans, yoga pants, jeans…do you see where I am going with this? I am definitely stuck in a rut. I basically live my life in yoga pants. It’s not so cute. I need fashion help.

A few months ago, I was reading my good friend Mindy’s blog (Budget Fairy Tale, go check it out), and Mindy posted about this new at home personal styling service called StitchFix. I was immediately intrigued.

Y’all StitchFix is awesome. Whenever you want to schedule a fix, they send you a box of 5 handpicked items for $20. You try on all the items, keep what you love, and send back the rest in a prepaid envelope they send in your Fix. It’s super easy, and super fun. It’s not a monthly service, so you’re not obligated to anything every month – you decide the schedule. You can schedule 4 Fixes in one month, or 4 Fixes a year…whatever floats your boat.

I went to the site to sign up, and was wait listed for a little bit. (Don’t be discouraged, it wasn’t too long of a wait!) When it was time to join, I filled out my Style Profile, which took about 10 minutes and was fun. They ask you a ton of style questions, which made it easier for me to pinpoint what I like and what I think is missing from my wardrobe. Also, questions like this are helpful, as I am a visual gal:

Screen Shot 2013-06-02 at 8.51.57 AM

screen capture of the style profile from StitchFix

They ask you all about your sizes, and body type, which is great, because my Jessica Rabbit sized hips are definitely out of proportion to the rest of my body. Questions like “Are you curvy on your bottom half?” made me feel much more relaxed.

So, my first Stitch Fix came a few weeks later. It was like Christmas when it arrived! So many possibilities!

personal photo

personal photo

The items in my box ranged from $50-$100 each, which is the price range I requested in my Style Profile. Other price ranges are: the cheaper the better, $100-$150, $150-$200, and $200+. Right away, I was smitten with the black lacy thing at the top of the box. It was love as first sight, really. I had requested some help with choosing prints, as most of my wardrobe is solids. And I wanted something “fun” for spring. Every time you schedule a fix, you have the opportunity to ask your stylists to focus something specific. I went with “prints” and “fun”. Here’s what I got:

personal photo

Shirt #1: personal photo

Shirt #1: I am a bad blogger and didn’t write down the designer name. I didn’t take a pic with this shirt on, because it didn’t flatter me at all. I don’t like (or look good in) button-up shirts. The print and the color looked good on me, but the cut was all wrong. I NEVER would have picked this out in a store, so yay for StitchFix for stretching my boundaries. It just wasn’t meant to be.

personal photos

Shirt #2: personal photos

Shirt #2: Gorgeous, but unfortunately it did not fit. Like, at all. Here’s where I’m super honest and tell you that I sized my shirts a size down from my normal size, as I was feeling pretty victorious about my recent 20 lb. weight loss. Ridiculously, this did not mean that I went down a size. Ugh. Anyway, I LOVED this shirt, and would have totally kept it if it fit. Insert sad face here.

personal photos

Shirt #3: personal photos

Side note: Please excuse my messy bedroom. Bob the Builder and I don’t have enough clothes storage, and well, it’s a mess in there. We need to buy a grown-up bedroom set. But that’s a whole other Oprah entirely.

Shirt #3: A super cute Chevron tunic. That wouldn’t fit over my butt. Total bummer, because had it fit, I would be wearing it right now. Do you see a trend here? Not much fit me in this box. Totally my fault, but it still bummed me out.

personal photos

Shirt #4: personal photos

Shirt #4: This one I kept. I loved it in the box, I loved it on me. Not the best photo in the world, but I’ve worn this top three times since I got it and each time received compliments. So yay! And, if I remember correctly, I think this was $66. The $20 you spent to receive the box gets credited back to you if you buy something, so it feels like I only spent $46, but that’s just faulty math. :-) If you buy all five items in your box, you get 20% off everything, which is an awesome deal!

I also received a nice pair of gold earrings that I didn’t keep (or even try on) because I already own a nearly identical pair. Major points for StitchFix for “getting” my style. Major points.

After you try everything on, you send back what you don’t want to keep in a pre-paid envelope. Just drop it in a mailbox within three days – easy peasy!

personal photo bye 1st StitchFix!

personal photo
bye 1st StitchFix!

Lessons learned from my first StitchFix:

  • Order your correct size. (Duh.) They don’t let you return something for a different size, so if you love something though it might be too small or too big, you’re kind of stuck. I don’t think they offer this for several reasons – shipping would get very expensive, and their inventory changes very quickly. It’s one of the few drawbacks I have with the service.
  • If you want to use your StitchFix to experiment with new styles, your Style Profile has to reflect that. For instance, I marked my jewelry preference as “classic”, but then they sent me earrings I already owned. I have now since changed my preference to “statement”. Curious to see what they send me next!
  • Feedback is key! After you try on your Fix, you log on to the website to “check out” and provide feedback. This is really the only way your stylist gets to know you. After this fix, I commented on my dislike of button-down shirts, and my love of all things Red. And what do you know? My next Fix was FULL OF RED. Awesome.

So, that was my first StitchFix. Tomorrow I’ll fill you in on my second StitchFix, and my experience with their customer service.

What do you think, kids? Is this a service you think you’d like? Despite my few hiccups, I am really loving it. If you are interested in trying it out, and you use this link, I get a nice little referral credit.

Full disclosure: No one at StitchFix has sponsored this post in any way. I was not compensated to write about them (I’ll always tell you if that’s the case).

I just think it’s cool and wanted to share it, and if I can get a little extra shopping credit at the same time, well then, yay!

Happy Shoppings!!

Hey Brides, Wanna Be on TV?

Hey Peeps,

A friend of mine is casting a new bridal-themed show, and asked me to pass on this info. Joy is a total sweetheart, and although I can’t vouch for the show, I can totally vouch for Joy being an upstanding lady. :-)

Here’s the deets, and if you’re into it, contact them directly. I’m just the middleman.

ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A BRIDE? Couples: if you are in a relationship and agree that it’s time to shake things up for the sake (and sanity!) of you both, check this out… A major cable network is looking for established couples in the Los Angeles area between the ages 30-45 who have been together for a minimum of five years and have no children. Couples will participate in a social experiment that will help them plan for the next chapter of their lives — whatever that may be. Is this the “make it of break it“ phase of your relationship? Have you mutually reached a turning point and need to decide how to move forward? Are you determined to stay together? Have you decided something needs to change, but don’t know what? Married, co-habitating, dating — regardless of where you are now,SEVEN YEAR ITCH can help you determine where to go next and how to move forward.

 Our search is currently underway. Couples will be compensated for their time. Please email joyallen@metalflowersmedia.com with your names, ages, contact info, and a brief paragraph describing your relationship history and the current state of your partnership. Please include photos of both of you. For more information, log on to facebook.com/metalflowersmedia. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you!
Maybe we will see some of you crazy kids on the TeeVee!
Good Luck!!

The Deed is Done.

(aka I Ordered My Wedding Gown)

And, no. I’m not telling which one I ordered. :-)

Thanks to all who read the ongoing saga of The Great Moxie Dress Search. Thanks to all who voted on the blog, messaged me on Facebook, texted me on my iPhone, and stopped me at work to give their opinion. I love you all!

All I can say is: I am happy and also a bit relieved that this part is done. Aside from checking a very major thing off an ever-growing To Do List, actually choosing my gown has helped free my brain up for other things. Like shoe shopping. :-)

SO many pretty shoes!!

shoe collage

But that’s a post of a different color.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with some more wedding chit-chat, but for now, I’ll say this…

“Moxie Bride, you’ve finally chosen your wedding gown?? WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW???”

“Um, I think it’s time to drink champagne!”  (I can go to Disneyland later…)

personal photo from a fancy ladies' tea I attended yesterday. FANCY.

personal photo from a fancy ladies’ tea I attended yesterday. FANCY.

Side note: It’s always time to drink champagne. Always.

So, wanna guess which dress I chose?

Tell me in the comments!!

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