Ari’s Cali Edition

 

A Golden State of Mind…..

So the time has come to recap both of our magnificent trips to the golden state, California! I (Ari) have visited the cities of Sacramento and San Francisco before and my sister Gwen had never been. Both of us embarked on the journey to the west coast for some birthday celebrations and all around good times with friends. Below is a compiled list of some places I thought were worth checking out if you are ever in the Los Angeles area. Stay tuned for part two where Gwen covers San Diego and more!

Grub:

California foodies did not disappoint! Here were some eateries I thought were yummy.

  • Grand Central Market- This plaza is extremely popular for some famous eateries like Egg Slut and Ramen Hood but don’t count out any of the others! “ress brothers juicer”gives you the pick me up you need after the long flight to Cali from the east coast. “Saritas Pupuseria” and “Tacos Tumbras a Tomas” both give you a taste of the local latin flair for those who are money savvy and want the most bang for their buck!
  • In and Out– Need I say more?
  • Candela Taco Bar & Lounge- Located on La Brea avenue this place offers great food including specials and promotions like “margarita mondays, tango tuesdays and taco wednesdays. With live music and performances you cannot beat the authenticity and price of this special bar.
  • Cj’s Cafe– With its seemingly small exterior it might be easy to miss this cafe, but it could be hands down one of the yummiest casual spots yet! Cj’s serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and fresh juices!  The menu ranges from traditional american fare to mexican and beyond. The staff was extremely accommodating and friendly and the food was delicious. Try the huevos rancheros for breakfast and watermelon/ cantaloupe fresh juice the morning after a night out.

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Tourist Attractions

  • Lacma– Known for its popularity amongst bloggers, you can’t help but at least admire the instillation and relax with friends on a chilly evening amongst the lights.
  • Griffith Observatory-This free attraction is amazing for panoramic views of the city including the Hollywood Sign. You can also visit the planetarium and explore the exhibits during regular hours.
  • Venice Beach & Santa Monica Pier– These are must sees anytime you go to LA. They both represent the quintessential Cali lifestyle and leisure we all know and love, surf sand beach!
  • La City Hall Observation Deck– Although most may not know it, if you go to city hall and get a free visitors pass you can go to the top of the roof where they offer amazing views of the city from a different perspective. Its free and easy!

Night Life

  • Sunset Blvd- Bar hopping galore! “Fiesta Cantina” was a great spot to grab a drink. Not for the faint of heart, “Flaming Saddles” is a Gay bar catering to scantily clad men in tightey whitey underwear- yes please!
  • The Arglye Hollywood Nightclub- This swanky spot is perfect to get dressed up and sexy with your girls to dance the night away.img_7063

This was just a short list as I’m sure LA has so much more to offer. Stay tuned for my sisters secondary post on her favorite spots in other cities.

XOXO -ARI

 

 

 

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Slip dresses + Birthdays

I turned 27!!!!! As each year passes I’m reminded that life is super short and you have to make of it what you want while you’ve still got the time, energy and resources. With this being said I always love to book a fun adventure for my birthdays to end the summer off right and ring in my birth year with some fun travel vibes. This time I decided to visit a good friend in sunny Los Angeles! I have only been to Sacramento and San Francisco before so this was definitely a must for me. The food, ambiance, weather and people were everything you’d imagine it to be, good times all around! Since the weather was unusual for me to get used to (warm but also cold at the same time) I made sure to bring different layering pieces to play with. On this day we visited Venice beach and boardwalk. Not only did I get to witness some interesting booths but I also got to dip my toes in the Pacific Ocean (which was ice cold by the way). To stay on par with layering while also being trendy I paired this Zara metallic shiny slip dress with a Forever 21 Janet Jackson t-shirt underneath. Although I love a good rock band t-shirt, this one felt more authentic seeing as I am actually a fan and grew up watching and listening to her music. The western belt is from boo-hoo and really added flair and some much needed waist cinching to the ensemble. I’ve linked items below if you’re interested in recreating the look!

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XOXO- ARI

BOO HOO- Double Belt

Forever 21- Janet Jackson T-Shirt

Zara- Slip Dress

 

 

River Island Culotte Jumpsuit

I recently went to visit my sister and dog Justin in New York. Being home even for such a short time gives me such nostalgic feelings. I’m always on the fence about moving back or not. On the one hand, New York City is hands down the best place to live with regards to entertainment, food, and general awesome vibes all around. On the other hand, I am not about that life! I am so used to driving and living at a slower pace being in Florida that experiencing the subway and hustling in such an extreme weather conditions doesn’t sound like fun anymore. But I digress; this River Island Jumpsuit really was the real MVP this trip. The culottes A-line and v-cut really flattered my figure overall and the material was free flowing enough to handle the extreme heat of NYC summers. The olive toned neutral color provided the perfect palette to pair with funky accessories like this bolo tie and 90’s inspired chokers. I love a lazy girl stylish jumpsuit, just throw on your sunnies and you are out the door! No need to pair tops and pants and get all complicated in the summer. This exact jumpsuit is currently sold out on ASOS but I included the link regardless because they are always restocking. Also check out the extremely similar options I linked below as well.

Let me know below do you ever struggle with wanting to move or have a change of pace?

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Sold out Exact Jumpsuit– Keep an eye on it, ASOS often restocks items!

Similar Culotte Jumpsuits- Here, Here, HereHere, Here, Here

XOXO- ARI

Braid Waist Romper

When curating my fashion looks for the Dominican Republic, I knew that I needed them to be simple and easy to throw on yet still afford me the structure that my clothing requires for my body to look balanced. I love a staple romper to accomplish this because they can transition from day to night while not giving up the comfort and ease needed when you’re on vacation. This 100% cotton, non-stretch denim romper from ASOS was the perfect fit! Not only does it fit extremely well, it has a braided belt detail and cut out back for that extra added flair. It can be paired with sandals as I did or even combat boots to dress it down. Rock your natural hair or some pretty braids and go sans bra while you’re having some fun in the sun. Check out the link below to get your hands on it!

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ASOS Denim Braid Waist Romper

XOXO- ARI

 

Hard knock life

  

I have officially been back in New York for two months now and although I am glad to be home I have found that I’ve had to readjust to some things. Things such as being reminded that New York City despite the title it posses of the most dynamic, loud and buzzing place to live in, can knock you down off your high horse from time to time. I suppose that’s the beauty of this place, if you want this hectic life you’re going to have to do better than that (is what I imagine the city saying when I feel utterly defeated). I thought it would be nice to dedicate a post to New York City, as I did with London, although this might not be as heartfelt. This is more of a rant, a love/hate sort of relationship if you must. 

Picture this: Here you are on a smoldering summer day waiting at the subway station for a train that’s 20 minutes late. With bag straps branding your shoulders, sweat trickling down your back, visions of smashing every single train fill your brain, but no matter how many times this happens, you’ll continue waiting for the subway because well there’s no other way to get around in this crazy city but also because deep down inside you love it here. I’ve realized that NYC will make you less patient but more tolerant. 

On to why I very much love New York. It epitomizes the idea of a fresh start, there’s so much to be found in oneself and each day is filled with new and unexpected opportunities. Every time I enter the subway I may encounter a love of my life, every corner I turn I might stumble upon a new revelation or someone who may hold the key to my next journey. Life here can be so unpredictable and random whether good or bad, it’s what fuels me. 

So here’s to New York, you excite me, you empower me and you exhaust me but I love you for it.

P.S was thinking of doing a NYC eats post (same as my London one) for those who might be considering a visit to the big apple, comment down below if you would like to see my favorite food places.

xx, Gwen 

  

Viva Mèxico 

Hello Darlings! I am finally back from a well deserved 30th birthday vacation. Two of my best friends and I stayed at a gorgeous all inclusive resort basking in the sun, eating, drinking and most importantly relaxing. It was such a great way to end the summer and begin a new work year feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. My intentions were to take multiple ootd photos but I was totally kidding myself, as I hardly got out of my bathing suit. I did manage to squeeze this one look in and am really happy with the way they look, although it’s making me a bit sad that I am not longer there. Well then, on to the look…     

My skirt is from Forever 21 (plus size $19.50). The day before my trip I went shopping for a a bathing suit but instead found this midi floral skirt which I fell in love with! It sits perfectly above my belly button and flows so beautifully in the breeze. I then popped over to Old Navy (I feel they have the best tanks) and found the perfect color ($4) to match the skirt. My sandals are a previous purchase from Primark (shop in London). Lastly whilst soaking up the sun on the beach a hat vendor was walking by, I couldn’t pass up this straw fedora which goes with anything during the summer!

Similar skirt here and here
Tank top here

Hope you all enjoyed this outfit post. I now have a roommate which I will try to coax into taking more photos of me.

Also here is a beautiful shot of the resort & the beach. We stayed at the Catalonia privileged maroma beach resort.   

Hasta luego,

Gwen, xx

 

Black and White

It was my 26th birthday on August 21 and I wanted to go for a low key weekend getaway before the madness of graduate school ensued (cue the gray hairs). Tampa is not too far of a drive and it was perfect to just get out of my normal mundane world for a moment. I stayed at Le Meridian which used to be an old court house and is now transformed into a modern and chic hotel. It has beautiful scenery and Tampa’s downtown backdrop was perfect for photos. The ootd below was what I wore to the Tampa Museum of Art. With a new Andy Warhol exhibit it was definitely a must see. I opted for easy and lightweight seeing as it was scorching hot outside. This white long line button up top was a steal at Marshalls and I loved the “boyfriend fit”. I paired it with my big sun blocking hat from H&M and black lace up booties from Aldo which I later switched to sandals after walking around the museum for a while. The biker shorts are from forever 21 and provided just enough coverage seeing as I originally thought this top was a dress. I kept it clean with the black and white, no color and loved it! If you are ever in the Tampa area I would highly suggest Le Meridien Hotel and the Tampa Art Museum. Until next outfit…..similar links down below!

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Similar Dresses- Here, Here
Similar Lace up Booties

Toodles, Ari

Melt Proof 

Hot and sticky days are the worst, especially when wearing makeup on the train with no air conditioning! Not a good way to start your morning let me tell you. In comes my melt proof combination which has been working really well for me.

Supergoop defense refresh setting mist with rosemary spf 50 is a three in one product which sets makeup, helps control oil/shine and protects your skin from harmful UV Rays. I love the idea behind this product because there are times when I forget to apply sunscreen underneath my makeup (check out my previous sun care post HERE) or better yet just need some extra protection throughout the day. A quick spritz of this setting mist refreshes your look while giving you protection from the sun, all without disrupting your makeup. Totally amazing in my opinion. The scent is a bit minty in addition to the Rosemary and I don’t mind it one bit!

Murad invisiblur perfecting shield spf 30. This too is another three in one product which is said to treat, blur and protect the skin. The anti aging corrective treatment is infused with mushroom peptides which diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It primes the skin with its soft focus complex which smooths and blurs, improving tone and texture of skin. Lastly it provides sun protection with invisible technology. This product has such a smooth texture and does not feel sticky once applied onto the face. Air brushed skin here I come!

I first apply the Murad shield as a primer underneath my CC cream or foundation,  I then continue to apply my makeup (concealer, bronzer etc) and lastly I set everything with the Supergoop setting mist.

The Supergoop setting mist costs $12 for the 1 oz (the one pictured above) and $28 for the 3.4 oz. Now the Murad is a tad on the pricier side, it retails at Sephora for $65 1 oz. I got my deluxe sample one as a 100 point perk a few months ago.

Hope this serves as some help for anyone needing some sweat proof tips.

Stay cool lovelies!

xx, Gwen

Sunny Days 

Ahhhh summer, it always feels like a long time coming especially in places where there are such harsh winters. It’s so interesting to see how when the sun is out everyone’s mood instantly lights up, goes to show we all need some vitamin D in our lives. Although sun exposure brings out the bright side in all of us we need to make sure we protect the skin we’re in, after all it is the only one we’ve got.

Sunscreen/Sunblock is an essential tool in blocking out harmful rays that can cause major skin damage, such as discoloration, sun spots and skin cancer. Most people think sunscreen/sunblock should only be applied when going to the beach or on a hot summer day but the suns rays can also penetrate through clouds causing exposed skin to burn. Now the difference between the two is that Sunblock actually blocks out the suns rays due to the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Sunscreen absorbs the UV radiation and reduces the amount that reaches your skin, making it so that you can still tan whilst using sunscreen.

I wanted to share with you all some of my favorite sunscreens. I recently picked up the Dr. Dennis Gross dark spot sun defense. It has an SPF of 50 and has been formulated with vitamins C & E which also help even out skin tone. What I love about this is the consistency of it, it has just the right amount of thickness and my skin soaks it right up. Another selling point for me was the ability to reduce the appearance of dark spots. I am one of those people that is constantly picking at my face, which then leaves me with dark spots. Here’s a closer look at it. I bought mine at sephora, you can find yours Here 

These are some other sunscreens I have tried and thoroughly love.

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Happy Summer everyone and don’t forget to protect your skin!

xx, Gwen

A love note to London 

  

Here I am laying in my room enjoying a cuppa tea (how English of me). Six months ago I arrived in England and I now leave an honorary Londoner (if you’ve been reading my posts lately you might have noticed a bit of a change in my vocabulary). Time has just flown by and strangely enough I have never felt more at home, than well at home.

Walking down the streets during my final days here, I take in the now familiar aroma of your hazy air and reminise on when I first arrived, a fresh-faced American ready to take on a new adventure. I remember how mysterious your gray skies were and how your perpetual clouds never ceased to fill me with hope (hope of a sunny day that is). I welcomed the inevitable rain everyone but I seemed to moan about, that is until I experienced your massive droplets wearing nothing but a jumper, you cheeky London. 

In your little pubs, I found warmth and comfort. Their home cooked food and rustic environment left me craving more every time.
You will never know what you’ve done for me. You have turned me into a complete outsider, drained my wallet with your currency system, tested me with your dry humour but I fell in love with you just the same.
There is beauty everywhere your eyes turn from gorgeous parks, to street markets booming with people and an extensive array of foods. I have fallen in love with all of it! 

So, here’s to the drunken nights with the wonderful new friends I’ve made which funny enough are all Austrailians living in London (Insert Aussie & British joke here). Your underrated pastries in local coffee shops (which I have unashamedly had loads of). Here’s to the beautiful strangers I met the gaze of on the tube. Here’s to the amazing history that took my breath away time and time again. Here’s to you London! 

I will never forget this amazing time we spent together. You helped put a sparkle back in my eyes and I will now return to the big apple with a new sense of pride and accomplishment. I am so lucky to have been able to call you home, if only for a mere six months.

I don’t believe I ever mentioned why I was in London, But I’ve been a nanny to a little girl for the past two and a half years and her family asked me to come over with them to help with the transition period. The biggest thank you goes to them! And to that wonderful cheeky little girl who will always remain in my heart! 

So it is with a massive sigh and images of “look left”, “look right” & “Mind the gap” all fluttering through my mind that I must bid you farewell. London, It’s been brilliant! ❤️  

xx Gwen