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.

fullsizerender-2

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

 

 

 

Advertisements

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!

imageimageimage

IMG_3983

IMG_3984

XOXO- ARI

BOO HOO- Double Belt

Forever 21- Janet Jackson T-Shirt

Zara- Slip Dress

 

 

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!

FullSizeRender

IMG_6304

FullSizeRender (2)

IMG_6305

IMG_6302

ASOS Denim Braid Waist Romper

XOXO- ARI

 

Forever Swim

As some of you know from our Instagram posts Ari our mom and I went on a much needed vacation to the Dominican Republic during Memorial weekend. We had the best time celebrating our moms 50th birthday, so much eating, drinking, exploring and relaxing by the beach/pool and last but not least sneaking in a few photos for the blog. 

Before any trip I usually like to buy a couple of new things, especially swimsuits since they can begin looking worn out after only a few uses. I picked up two one piece swimming suits and a top piece from Forever 21 (plus size) and I couldn’t be happier with them. Here’s a closer look…

This black and cheetah print one piece ($32.90) has such a flattering heart shaped top, perfect for busty girls who desire some sort of structure in a suit. 

This all black and mesh swim suit ($32.90) was also a good fit for me as it sucked everything in. The mid section is mesh material which adds a nice touch of edge/sexiness.

Unfortunately this is the only shot I’ve got of the Yellow and black top ($17.90) but I’m hoping you can still get a feel of how it fits. I don’t usually wear two pieces but I couldn’t pass this one up. It lifted and supported me so amazingly well. I’m thinking of getting it in another color! 

I purchased all of these swimming suits in a 1x for those needing a size reference. 

Cheetah one-piece

Black Caged one-piece (Similar)

Yellow Top

Hope this post helped any of my plus sized ladies looking to purchase a new swimsuit this summer. 

Till next time, 

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!

IMG_0696

IMG_0735

IMG_0563

IMG_0747

IMG_0583

IMG_0725

Similar Dresses- Here, Here
Similar Lace up Booties

Toodles, Ari

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 

London Eats 

For this post I thought I’d switch things up a bit and mention a few of my favorite places to eat in and around London. It is now coming down to the wire my friends (1 short day left) such a bitter sweet feeling, but anyways on to the delicious food.

Before arriving lots of people warned me about how “bad” the food is in England but let me inform you that it is not! I mean you can’t go wrong with fish and chips, a Sunday roast because who doesn’t love meat, potatoes & Yorkshire pudding? If you don’t fancy typical English dishes hop on the tube to any of the food markets and you’ll find a huge variety from all over the world! Here are a few of my favorites! 

The Bolingbroke (Clapham) – Sunday Roast  

Granger & Co. (Notting Hill) – Ricotta hotcakes, banana & honey comb butter. 

Borough Market (London) – Beef Curry & Paella (yes I mixed the two because why not?)

Camden Market: (Camden) Gluten free Tacos & Horchata/ Agua de coco   

Kettners (Soho) –  Afternoon tea 

The Regency Cafe (London) Easy Peezy English Breakfast (only thing missing is black pudding but I am not a fan)  

Fish and Chips (Camden Lock)   

Bangers and Mash (prepared by my boss) 

  I also want to mention The Black Swan (Pub located in Surrey) for the best Sunday Roast outside of London! 

I also want to mention that the Indian food in England is the best I’ve ever had, so good that I’ve never had the chance to take a photo of it.  An amazing place to go to is Tayyabs in London as well as Aladin on Brick Lane rd. 

I know this is outside of our normal posts but I could not pass up on sharing some of the wonderful places my mouth has had the pleasure of meeting. Hopefully this didn’t make you all too hungry. Maybe this could be of help for anyone traveling to England in the future. Take care lovelies 

xx, Gwen 

Coming to America 

My flight back to New York is only 3 days away! (I’m such an emotional wreck). I have been organizing and packing over the last couple of days and as I was putting together my handbag I thought I would give you guys a glimpse at my must have flight items.

During a long flight something to read be it a book or magazine is great to keep yourself occupied.

Music- either an iPod, iPad or where ever else your music is stored, oh and you must not forget your headphones. Mine are from the brand Frends

I like to carry a notebook in order to reflect on my journey or jot some notes down. This cute pineapple one comes from Paperchase (UK). 

Flushable wipes (self explanatory, especially for us ladies)

EmergenC- this is a good vitamin C packet to take before flying as you’ll most likely be around a sick person along with all of the recycled air, which doesn’t help the cause.

Hand sanitizer- once again trying to keep germs at bay. This Soap and Glory one smells amazing!  

Chewing gum– my ears pop when descending and landing, chewing gum really helps my ears from becoming filled with air. My favorite is sweet mint from Orbit

Hand cream- keeping hands nice and moisturized is very important! Another Soap and Glory favorite! This cream is also considered a hand mask. 

Hydrating Face cream or mask- your skin looses a lot of is moisture and can become really dry with such high altitude so once again it is vital to help your skin retain some of it by adding in a hydrating face cream or a mask. I’ve packed the Sephora brand Honey sheet mask and the Nuxe creme fraiche 24 hour moisturizing mask. 

Eye mask– undereye areas are also delicate and can become quite dry, placing eye cooling masks can also help keep them fresh looking. I’ve got the Skyn Iceland hydro cool firming eye gels which really help de-puff the under eye area. 

Hydrating spray face mist– a mist also works if you prefer a quick spritz of freshness every few hours or so. The Evian facial mist is great for a quick refresher! 

Lip balm– we can’t forget the lips! The key word for this post is obviously hydration and your lips should also be nice and moist for the duration of the flight. My current favorite has been the Nuxe Reve de miel lip balm.   
This might seem like a lot of products but this is a routine that I am pretty much used to. I also make sure I carry a large tote to ensure I can bring along all of these items. I am currently using my Longchamp tote. It is super comfortable to wear and ultra roomy!   
There you have it guys! I hope this post was helpful for any those of you planning on taking a summer holiday (or during any season really). 

Safe Travels!

xx, Gwen 

Weekend with L’Occitane 

L’Occitane en Provence is a French brand created by Oliver Baussan. His main goal was to create products that celebrate and preserve the traditions of his native town Provence. At only 23 years of age Oliver began making his own natural oils to sell at markets and the rest as they say is history. There are now over 2,000 L’Occitane shops all around the world! 

I made an online Sephora purchase and had Ari mail me the items I bought (can we say obsession?). This “Weekend in Provence” set was one of the first items I opened because I couldn’t wait to get a whiff of the sweet almond, ah pure bliss! Prior to purchasing this kit the only other product from L’Occitane I had tried was the cult favorite Shea butter hand cream and to no surprise I loved it! So when I saw this on Sephora’s website I figured I would give it a try. Here’s what the set contains…

Almond shower oil 2.5 oz – moisturizing body cleanser, leaves a satin finish
Almond supple skin oil 0.5 oz- created with almond proteins leaving skin very supple
Almond milk concentrate 1.7 oz- nourishes smooths and tones skin
Almond delicious hands cream 0.3 oz- the almond milk and oil softens hands
Almond delicious soap 1.7 oz- almond shells gently exfoliate dead skin cells for extra smooth hands

All of these products are also paraben, sulfate and phthalates free.

  

This is a limited edition set and can be found on Sephoras website. (Not sure about the actual store). Overall I feel this is a pretty fabulous deal for $36. You are able to try a decent sized amount of product therefore, being able to make an informed decision on whether you would repurchase a full sized item. I’ve been using the hand cream, body lotion and shower oil for about 3 weeks now and can say that the scent is truly divine! The shower oil creates a milky texture once applied on wet skin, I then rinse and my skin is left feeling silky smooth! I seal the moisture in with the body lotion, the best part is the almond scent lasts quite a while. I am still thinking about purchasing the full sized shower oil as it comes with a hefty price tag. Otherwise money well spent in my opinion! 

As the name suggests it is also perfect for a weekend getaway in Provence! Or anywhere else your heart desires! 

Have a lovely weekend everyone! 

xx, Gwen