SUMMER'S BEST


All's well that ends well, and unfortunately all good things must come to an end. I'm full of literary quotes today apparently. But yes, my favorite season has ended. And instead of being sad to see it go, I am excited for a little bit of change, God willing in Los Angeles. I know, I know, I'm being ridiculous saying these things when I live in never ending summer - but summer is more then just a temperature range. Summer signifies the time we take to relax, enjoy, and have fun. It's a great time for family and friends and just a general sense of freedom and rest that makes everyone look more attractive. This summer was once again the best yet, from my high school reunion to some wonderful travels abroad, a delectable cheese plate (my best one really) to a collaboration with a brand I'm obsessed with, multiple glasses of rosè and yummy lobster rolls, the pinkest sunsets and finding my new favorite dairy free ice cream, good food and greater friends and last but best, the most lovely (and low key) birthday yet. And while this summer was really wonderful, it also came with many challenges, some tough hurdles at work, the loss of a close friendship and some blogging setbacks to name just a few. I think that while a picutre can convey a thousand words, reality is reality and I'm still struggling to find a way to comfortably share that part of my life on this blog. Until then, please be reminded that I create beautiful content to share life's beautiful moments as well as to escape some of the ugly ones. I hope you sincerely enjoy and cheers to a truly beautiful summer. 




























Summer days, drifting away...

-MGN

THE M LIST: SEPTEMBER

1. The Fall season (and others to come) 
Who knew how into "seasons" I would be at this age but I guess living in Los Angeles, where there's really only two seasons, has made me crave the change and tradition of something new and different. It's funny, I just realized that the movie La La Land divided the plot into seasons, despite portraying life in Los Angeles. I guess we all kind of crave that seasonal change and enjoy the comfort of traditions. And by traditions I don't just mean the religious type but also the idea of wearing boots and sweaters, drinking warm cider, spending more nights in with popcorn and a movie (a bunch of fall ones here), reading a good book in cozy pajamas, watching the holiday about 300 times in a four month span, or is that just me? So to get on with the point I am excited for it all, the fall movies, the pumpkin patches (yes, they exist in LA), and the general merriness around the city that everyone feels no matter what holidays they celebrate. 

2. The Godamn Pumpkin Spice Latte
Okay so I have a confession to make, three years ago I got addicted to the sugar filled (and God knows what else), enticing, and perfectly seasonal, pumpkin spice latte. As mentioned before, I'm a sucker for traditions and seasons, anything that will take me back to a good memory, like reading books about the Tudor family as a young girl in my canopy bed eating cheese-its and drinking hot cocoa. I have a tendency to be easily persuaded into indulging with the seasons' offerings, especially sweets and carbs, and nothing reads more "fall" then Gilmore Girls, oversized sweaters and the obvious pumpkin spice latte to me, just like a every other basic in the world. As a result of my obsession I have found a nice little hack because after 4 pumpkin spice lattes this past week I quickly realized I might die at 40. So what I do now is order my usual tall, black coffee at Starbucks but with a light splash of almond milk and three pumps of the pumpkin sauce (now I do 2 but it's up to you) and wallah! Here you have a much better version of a beloved fall favorite. You're welcome. 

3. Chicago and Champaign, Illinois
My first college friend is getting married, and doing it at our alma mater of all places. I must say, I was a tad disappointed at first as she moved to the south after school and part of me was hoping for a real southern wedding (sweet home Alabama style). But now I'm excited because it not only means a trip back to my hometown of Chicago but also my first visit back to Champaign, Illinois, where I graduated from the University of Illinois six years ago. Time really does fly by when you're having fun and I often think back to what my senior year college self would think about my choice to go straight to Los Angeles after college and essentially making my adult life in a brand new city without any intention of moving back home. I will most certainly have more to say in a later post after I go, but I can already feel the nostalgia flowing! 

4. All my recent travels
I know, I know, its fall now and everyone is done with summer, or at least is pretending to be done with summer on social media. But I went on a truly magical trip to Europe and Israel and am having lots of fun reminiscing about all the cool spots we visited. If you haven't checked some of my posts out yet please do, lots of cool stuff to get you planning your next summer vacay.

5. Back to school, aka, normal life
I'll be honest, this summer I really lagged on keeping up with my normal routine. I stopped running for a while because it started to bore me and the temps were just too high. I also did a month of barre class before my trip and as much as I loved the convenience of it, I started to get bored of the same exercises over and over again. One of the instructors literally had the same routine and music to pair three days in row before I left for Europe and so I wasn't that upset about my month being over. Most of my friends were traveling of and on and therefore it was hard to get everyone together for a supperclub. But now that we're back I'd like to get everyone together for some catch up time. I also want to execute an idea I've been talking about forever, a rotating supperclub (or really just a wine and cheese night) at each of my friend's places. We literally all live within several blocks of one another, and yet I still don't manage to see them that often, let alone in our own neighborhood. I also would really like to get back into some semblance of a routine: running, blogging and making it to every junior league meeting and book club I can. It's always so easy to find an excuse at the end of a long day but I have never regretted going to a meeting or taking a run. It's these things that are the easiest to miss and end up being the most memorable. Fingers crossed this attitude lasts through October!


Happy Fall Y'all!

-MGN

{photography by Sandy Leshner}

LE SIRENUSE


When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that's amore... one of the dreamiest places I've been in Italy, we have visited so many wonderful places on this trip, but I'd be lying if I said I've been to a more romantic place in quite some time. Le Sirenuse is a luxury hotel situated right in the center of town in Positano. We came for a sunset aperitif where I had my first spritz of the trip, followed by a very lovely dinner in their beautiful dinning room. The Italians know how to entertain, they always serve chips, nuts, olives (all my favorite salty snacks) with an order of spritz in the afternoon, so naturally the spread at Le Sirenuse didn't miss a beat. We sat in the champagne and oyster bar and ordered an assortment of cheese and charcuterie with our cocktails and it was honestly one of the best parts of our entire trip. Dinner at the restaurant La Sponda was delicious and lovely, but I think going for a drink at sunset was the best part, and I highly recommend doing that maybe before dinner somewhere else. La Sponda has a wonderful view, live music, exceptional service and is Michelin starred. We ordered a truffle pasta (surprise, surprise) and a very fresh fish. I've seen so many waiters debone a fish on this trip I am almost certain I can do it myself now! The place was very beautiful but I didn't think the food was beyond exceptional. But then again I only ate there once, so I can't really judge! Overall the time we spent there was beyond beautiful and everything and more then I expected. A must see if you head to Positano!









Arrivaderla!

-MGN
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THE FRENCH RIVIERA GUIDE

{ strolling the magnificent view from the gardens at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild  }

Summering in the south of france... was truly as lovely as it sounds. The weather was beautiful, the people were chic, the places were fabulous. Everything really was as romantic, pretty and laid back as you would imagine it to be and I feel so grateful I got to go, already planning my next trip back, but assuming you go before me, here's a guide to everything wonderful on the côte d'azur! Enjoy!

STAY
We decided to stay in Nice since its' pretty much the largest city area in the South of France. It's got everything you would expect any large beach city to have; tons of hotels, restaurants, shopping, nightlife and cute cafes on every corner. We really enjoyed our stay at the Boscolo Exedra Hotel. The staff was so welcoming, everything was pristine and hip. I loved the swimming pool in the spa and the little balcony we had from our room. I kept catching myself saying how much I loved Paris, because Nice is quite the action and people filled city. Although I think it makes a lot of sense to be right in the center of all the action I think when I return next time I will opt for something a little more quaint in one of the smaller towns or neighboring cities along the coastline. It would be awesome to move around a bit and stay maybe in two spots within the same week in order to see more of each place along the riviera. I was quite intrigued by St. Tropez and wish we had more time to spend there. I really think I would have rather settled in there for a few nights with a more resort like vibe and less tourists. Since we only stayed in Nice I can't truly recommend any other spots but I will say Chèvre d'Or, Hotel Martinez, Hotel Belles Rives and my dream, Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc all seem like wonderful options!


RELAX/DRINK


{ random beach in Nice }

SEE
There is so much. I didn't truly realize how big the riviera was until we got there, but I could easily have spent a month there with a car and still not have seen everything. It's kind of like distance between Los Angeles and San Diego, with all the stops along the coastline. We were only there for four days and I must say we really hustled, going to as many spots as possible. Some of my must-see spots I reccomend are: 

~Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in St. Jean Cap Ferrat, a beautiful pink villa with multiple expansive gardens that are each incredibly unique and extremely well kept. The villa is now a museum that also has a cute little restaurant overlooking the bay and I guarantee will give you major "summering in the south of France" vibes unlike any other place on this list. 

{ the pink villa at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild  }

~Monaco-Ville, in Monaco, which if you didn't already know is it's own country but I still consider it part of the French Riviera. We went to Monte Carlo, to the famous casino and around all very ritzy shops. To be honest, it made me miss Rodeo Drive; it was so overly flashy and full of tourists that I had no intention of going back. But I absolutely loved the old town Monaco, Monaco-Ville, where the Prince's Palace is and an extremely well kept old european town covered in pastels and neutrals sits with tons of lovely shops, restaurants and popular spots like the Monaco Open Air CinemaOceanographic Museum, and the Saint Nicolas Cathedral exist all in fairly close proximity. Full disclosure, we went for a quick stroll and dinner at a fabulous spot called La Montgolfière, but had we more time I would have chosen to spend a whole afternoon there. 

{ streets of old town Monaco aka Monaco-Ville }

~St. Tropez, I wish I stayed here longer, or even for the entire time. Such a lovely little resort like town full of the world's most trendy and beautiful people, socializing and lounging on their time away from real life. Our main activity there was lunch and lounging at Club 55, a very fun and chic hotspot that I personally couldn't get enough of. It was like Vogue, resort wear edition with some of the best dressed people and children, fresh off the boat (aka yacht), ready to have a full on day party in the sun. I wish we could have stayed longer but we had a ferry ride to catch. Since we stayed in Nice and didn't want to do the two and a half hour drive there for just a day we took a ferry that made two quick stops in Cannes and Île Sainte-Marguerite with a lovely scenic view of the french coastline. If I ever go back I will definitely plan a few nights in St. Tropez, or even the entire time really! 

{ lounging at Club 55 }

~Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, perhaps my very first decision after deciding to go on this trip! It's one of most elite and luxurious hotels I've visited, made famous after Slim Aarons' 1976 photograph of the uber chic pool. We went for a very nice lunch overlooking it as well as the beautiful sea and a number of mega yachts and then toured the grounds. The restaurant is nice but I recommend grabbing a drink just a floor below too. 

{ the view at Eden-Roc Restaurant in Antibes}

~St. Paul de Vence is the most charming little french town of the three we visited, the other two being Gourdon (cute but I wouldn't recommend unless you are nearby and have a real reason for visiting) and Ezè, an equally charming, but much smaller, medieval town just 30 minutes from Nice. St. Paul de Vence is the lovely, little, quaint, medieval town you'd imagine it to be, with many winding little streets, beige bricks and pastel colored shutters. There are of course many restaurants, art galleries, antique shops and other tourist-like spots but there is a lot of rich history and little monuments with explanations all over the town. Instead of another cozy restaurant we opted for a little sunset picnic and found all of the best charcuterie, cheeses, baguettes, nuts, wine and chocolate at Le Fromager de Saint-Paul de Vence. We ended up taking the picnic to Gourdon, but honestly I wish we had just stayed in St. Paul de Vence to enjoy it.

{ the charming streets of St. Paul de Vence }

EAT
{ the truffle risotto at Le Plongeoir }

Nice: Le Plongeoir (beautifully situated on rocks, ocean view and moderately priced, yummy food), La Colombe d'Or, Le Petite Maison (looks touristy but it's not). 
Monaco: La Montgolfière (delicious and an incredible value, La Elsa (Michelin starred and right on the water), Café de Paris (very touristy but great food), Le Louis XV (Michelin starred and extremely ornate) 
Cannes: La Guerite
Ezè: Chèvre d'Or (a beautiful hotel with multiple restaurants and a bar)
St. Tropez: Dior des Lices Cafe, Le Jardin, Le Patio at Hotel Le Yaca (pasta dalla forma, aka from the cheese wheel), L'Opera St. Tropez

Le Plongeoir in Nice }

I had the best time in the South of France, can't wait to head back and hopefully add on a little excursion to Provence next time. Hope you enjoyed my guide!

Au Revoir!

-MGN
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APEROL SPRITZ RECIPE

Boun pomerrigio! An aperol spritz is more then just a popular drink in the afternoon in Italy, it's a lifestyle. When I studied abroad in Verona, Italy, I quickly learned within a week of living there that Italians take their happy hour very seriously. And an afternoon aperitif is quite important to them. Whenever you order a spritz they always bring out snacks to accompany it; chips, nuts, olives - America, please take note. It's just such a nice way to separate night and day and I'll do whatever I can to recreate it from my recent trip to Positano! Here is the simple recipe. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
3 PARTS CHAMPAGNE
2 PARTS APEROL
1 PART CLUB SODA
ORANGE SLICES AND THYME TO GARNISH
ICE

INSTRUCTIONS
FILL WINE GLASS UP WITH ICE, ADD ORANGE SLICE. POUR IN CHAMPAGNE, APEROL AND FINISH WITH CLUB SODA. GARNISH WITH THYME AND ENJOY.


Recipe via waiting on Martha

Cin Cin! 

-MGN
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BLUE + WHITE IN LISBON

When I found out our trip to Europe would be starting in Lisbon I will admit that for a second I thought, "wait where is that and is it part of Spain?" But after a little research I quickly realized Portugal was just a small country nearby with some very interesting history and I can see why everyone loves to visit. For anyone considering a visit to Europe, I highly recommend starting in Lisbon as it's the most western part of Europe, only a 6/7 hour flight from Boston. Lisbon is the largest city in Portugal, a relatively small European country, and one of the oldest cities; even older then Paris, London and Rome. But my major fascination with Lisbon, and Portugal in general, was the ample amount of well kept azulejos. Azulejos are the infamous tile paintings found all over Portugal in all kinds of patterns and paintings depicting history and life over the years. They cover some of the most prominent buildings, churches and monuments all over Lisbon and my favorite are the ones in blue and white. Before our trip I couldn't stop researching addresses of buildings with the azulejos, with little luck. I sadly found out my favorite azulejos covered building was in Porto, Portugal and considering we only had two days to see Lisbon, I realized we wouldn't be able to make the three hour trip to see it. However, shortly after touching down in Lisbon I realized I'd have no trouble finding a good wall to gram, since they are literally all over the city. You can't drive three blocks without finding one in all colors and patterns. And of course so much blue and white! Here are all my favorites, enjoy! 








Tchau!!!

Xx, 

-M