Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Los Angeles, Part II

So much packed into 3 days (and 2 posts!)

:) :)

🙂 🙂

For lunch one day in LA, Allison and I tried out Hinoki and the Bird – I had read about this Century City eatery on one of my favorite blogs, Oh Joy!, and knew that if it was good enough for Joy, I wanted to try it as well 🙂 So try it we did! Both Allison and I have some dietary restrictions so after having checked out the menu online, we were game (plenty for us allergy prone folk to nosh upon!)

Hinoki and the Bird is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the streets, but was PACKED when we rolled up for our lunchtime reservation. It’s right across the street from CAA (Ari Gold, anyone?), so I’m certain it was packed with plenty of lunching agents! Anywoo, we opted for some fresh mocktails to start us off as we enjoyed the lovely late winter afternoon at our outside table.

Interiors of Hinoki and the Bird

Interiors of Hinoki and the Bird

Delish mocktails

Delish mocktails: Cucumber Jade and Grapefruit Rickey

For our lunch, we gamely decided to split the grilled mix mushrooms – then Allison opted for the BBQ jidori chicken accompanied by a green papaya salad, while I ordered the coconut-curried mussels, sausage, and cauliflower. Nom nom nom!!

The mushrooms and my mussels topped with greens

The mushrooms and my mussels topped with greens

BBQ jidori chicken and papaya salad

BBQ jidori chicken and papaya salad

photo 82

Hinoki and the Bird infuses traditional Thai and Japanese delights with a fun, modern twist (whether it be a unique spice or an unexpected side item). Further, the ingredients are incredibly fresh (the mussels were incredibly tender and the mushrooms so earthy); indeed, although our portions were fairly generous, we walked away from the restaurant feeling light and satisfied. It was definitely a “treat” kind of lunch, but one I would absolutely advise you to test out for yourself should you find yourself in LA!

Following our lunch, we headed to the Getty Museum (for all the time I’ve spent in LA – even an entire summer – I had never been to the Getty – the shame!) for an exhibit on Queen Victoria. I had mentioned that I was reading a biography of the monarch, so the timing was great! The exhibit centered around Queen Victoria’s passion and support for photography throughout her reign – many of the photographs were generously lent to the museum by Queen Elizabeth herself! Quite a thrill for me because, if you know me, you know that I love all things British royal family.

The exhibit aside, the Getty offered some fabulous views of the city:

Los Angeles as seen from the Getty Museum

Los Angeles as seen from the Getty Museum

I left on the red eye from LA to Nashville, Tennessee later that night, bummed to leave, but feeling so blessed to have such good friends to host me. Thanks Mike and Allison – yall are the best 🙂 The departure wasnt all sad…because I was then on my way to a bachelorette party! More to come, yall! Until next time…

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Wish They All Could Be California Girls

Happy Monday! I can’t believe it was a week ago that I was making my way back to Dubai (via Istanbul – go Turkish Air!) from Houston. Time flies, huh?

Well, I bring you a post about the second leg of my trip to the states – off to sunny Los Angeles! One of my closest friends from college and her husband (also a good Wake buddy) live in California. I love going to visit them in L.A.! Allison is a Los Angeleno, and she and Mike have lived out there since graduation – going to visit them is always such a treat because they know so many “off the beaten path” spots in and around the city.

That being said, I wish I could tell you this post would be filled with lots of trendy shopping/eating LA destinations, but frankly, the best part about these friends and this trip was how low key it all was – we got up leisurely, chatted in our pj’s, went to some fun workout classes, attended 2 museum exhibits and ate some yummy food. Dont you love trips like that? No laundry list plan or lots of appointments and things…it’s the best 🙂

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Sweethearts that they are, Mike and Allison picked me up from LAX at 1:30AM (yes, that’s right – I have amazing friends, folks!) as I kicked off a few days in California. They live, in my opinion, the cutest little hamlet in Los Angeles. It definitely feels like it is a quaint village amongst a large, metropolitan city.

The Hollywood sign peeking out

The Hollywood sign peeking out

The first day, Allison and I went to Beverly Hills to a Physique 57 class – man oh man was it hard! I’ve done barre classes before, but never this particular one, and I felt it the next day! We then strolled around Beverly Hills to do some errands (and look out for celebs – one of my favorite pastimes, although I seem to repel them at all costs).

HOWEVER, that night that would change! Sweet Mike made dinner reservations for the three of us at the Tower Bar in the Sunset Tower Hotel to belatedly celebrate my birthday – it was a great spot! The Sunset Tower Hotel is a historic Hollywood hotel on Sunset Blvd (duh), and the Tower Bar was this amazingly elegant and understated restaurant – there aren’t a ton of tables and they keep the lighting low and intimate (supposedly this is why celebrities like to frequent it!) Decor (and celebs) aside, the food was also to die for – they even had a make your own ice cream sundae dessert menu! That dinner was one of the highlights of the trip for sure – and then the cherry on top was Octavia Spencer was seated right next to us, and when my surprise birthday cake came out, she joined in the happy birthday singing (she also wanted a bite of cake)!

Of course I still took some pictures inside the restaurant, even though it is not allowed…such rebels!

Enjoying the sundaes - dont worry, the cake was on its way as well ;)

Enjoying the sundaes – dont worry, the cake was on its way as well 😉

The create your own ice cream sundae menu - fat kid at heart!

The create your own ice cream sundae menu – fat kid at heart!

The next day, Allison and I did a spin class at Flywheel. Another workout for which I was not prepared (a bad omen for my forthcoming triathlon perhaps?), but super fun – if you’ve never done a Flywheel class, get on it! They’re absolutely the best way to burn some calories without really thinking about it too much – plus the music make it go by so quickly (we even have a studio here in Dubai!)

We then popped over to LACMA for the exhibit celebrating the 40 years of Diane von Furstenburg: Journey of a Dress. It really was a testament to how timeless the DVF wrap dress is as they had dresses spanning her 40 years of design, and many of the dresses you couldnt tell if they were 2014 design or a 1974 design. It was a small exhibit that we made through quickly, but I really enjoyed it, and highly recommend it should you be in the Los Angeles area and are prepared to want to purchase a DVF wrap dress immediately after attending (dont worry, I didnt…)

photo 72 photo 71 photo 55I do have a quick review of a restaurant we went to while in LA, so I’ll save some more details and pictures of the trip for tomorrow’s post 🙂 Until next time…

 

 

Around the World in 17 Days

Well not quite the whole way around the world, but close! It has been a long 17 days, but I had an amazing time during my stint in the states (with the only bummer having been that Barr couldnt make it too!) If you follow me on Instagram, you have been privy to some of the travels and subsequent celebrations, but I’ll do a bit of a recap over the next few days (in between last minute…okay second training for the Abu Dhabi triathlon – why did I decide to that again?? Super screwed on that front – and recovering from jet lag).

Our fur baby and continual source of love and happiness, Dash

Our fur baby and continual source of love and happiness, Dash

The journeys began in Houston, where I was in a good friend from college’s wedding. Thankfully, my parents live in Houston as well…and my grandmother (Mema!) came to town…and my dog (Dash!) is currently being lovingly taken care of by my parents as well. A recipe for a great week.

Mema receiving some love from the pups

Mema receiving some love from the pups

Following Elise and Evans’ spectacular wedding (more details to come…), I headed to the west coast to visit two of my favorite people in the world – they graciously welcomed me into their fabulous new home…and on the week of their anniversary no less! I love seeing Allison and Mike – you know those friends that just make you smile just thinking of them? That’s these two 🙂

I mean, LA - are you real??

I mean, LA – are you real??

From Los Angeles, I hopped on the red eye to Nashville to celebrate a bachelorette party! I am my dear, lovely, amazing friend Sarah Craig’s (double name, yall!) matron (ugh, can’t I stay a maid? Matron sounds old) of honor in her wedding this May. Seven of her friends met up in the Music City for a weekend of loving on the bride to be – it was an amazing way to end my trip to the states 🙂

A little teaser of an upcoming post on the Nashville festivities

A little teaser of an upcoming post on the Nashville festivities

Sarah Craig and I at Elise's wedding the weekend before her bachelorette

Sarah Craig and I at Elise’s wedding the weekend before her bachelorette

More details on the trips coming…along with photo overload (all iPhone – sorry!) Until next time…

Fashion Spot – 2014 Golden Globes

Switching gears yet again (clearly this blog is currently a stream of consciousness for me – one day I hope to find a more simplified niche!) That being said, I love awards season, the fashion moments on the red carpet in particularly. (We Blantons also love to go to movies and watch our fair share of TV, so picking my favorites for the winners is always fun, too – side note: we just saw Wolf of Wall Street here in Dubai; I’m going to direct you to another expat Dubai blogger, Circles in the Sand, as she sums up our own reaction to the censored version of the film perfectly).

Anywho, the Golden Globes weren’t televised here (travesty, but PTL that I will be in the states come the Academy Awards on March 2!), but we did get E! Live from the Red Carpet…it’s actually currently on continuous loop, so I could at least see the fashion moments and arrivals and then just catch up on the highlights and winners online. Here are some of of the looks/trends that really stood out to me – the good and the bad – it’s all about being noticed, is it not?

Rainbow: I adore dressing with a singular, beautiful pop of color, and the red carpet was a crayon box of vivid shades – red, in particular, was a big hit!

via Daily Mail

TDF Hair: I usually notice the dress first, but there were three celebrities that killed it in the coiffure department, IMO: Reese Witherspoon (the cut, the color..I want it all), Julia Roberts (her dress wasn’t a favorite, but her hair was – as we Texans say, the higher the hair, the closer to God), and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (her classic ponytail managed to look fresh and effortless, and complimented her simple Narciso Rodriguez dress perfectly)

Via Just Jared

Via Just Jared

Via Just Jared

The Best +1: There were a number of pregnant celebs on the red carpet this year, and I thought the way in which many dressed their respective bumps was fashionable, adorable, and fabulous! I mean Kerry Washington can literally do no wrong when it comes to her fashion choices (this off white Balenciaga was no exception), Drew Barrymore in a frothy, floral and fun Monique Lhuillier number fit her personality (or what I perceive her personaility to be like!) perfectly, and last but not least, Olivia Wilde, wearing a sparkly, emerald Gucci gown, rocked her new bump like whoa

Via WSJ

I’d have to say that my two favorite overall looks from last night were Sofia Vergara and Lupita Nyong’o.

Sofia Vergara is just a pure bombshell – I love how she rocks her curves, and this Zac Posen does just that; she looks so classy, and the Lorraine Schwartz necklace is just amazing – I think this is definitely an easy look for the “every woman” to emulate – all you need is a LBD and a statement necklace! Timeless.

Via Just Jared

Lupita Nyong’o is a Hollywood newbie (and I have yet to see 12 Years a Slave, but it is on my bucket list!), and boy did she make the best fashion statement EVER; her look was downright regal – everything from the makeup, the color, the cut of the dress, the peekaboo arms! Bottom line: that Ralph Lauren dress was everything. I literally want a cape to wear around now – the fact that I dont have any occasion to wear that type of dress to be damned!

Via Just Jared

I could go on and on, but I would need to write like 7 car posts to make up for it (sorry to Barr, my Dad, David and any other male readers out there!) 🙂 Until next time…