BOOK CLUB: BOX GIRL

{Box Girl by Lilibet Snellings via ItsMonicaLA Instagram}

"Sometimes I dream about the days before Facebook and G-chat, before Instagram and iPhones. Before iPads and iEverything. Back when Apple was still an apple, The Cloud was just a cloud, and Siri was just the misspelled name of Tom Cruise's daughter. Back before Twitter and Tumblr, and before phone conversations were so taboo. Before texting and not talking & abbreviating everything. Back when OMG and WTF were just someone's initials. Back when Thursday was not #tbt, and we did not LOL at our own jokes. Back when we were forced to pick up the phone because we didn't know who was calling"

-Lilibet Snellings, Box Girl

This morning I woke up and walked to eat breakfast at a great neighborhood spot called Coral Tree Cafe. Before leaving I was perplexed on whether to pack my laptop or not, as I already had the book I am reading, Box Girl, and the June Issue of ELLE magazine, with Angelina Jolie on the cover, packed in my purse. I thought to myself, "why would I bring three different ways to entertain myself for a time slot of maybe 30-45 minutes?" Looking back I realize that a laptop offers an infinite amount of entertainment while a magazine several (lots of sections to skip through) and a book... well a book is really one source of entertainment, you either like what you are reading or hope it eventually gets good. Hence why I needed both the magazine and the book, which I ended up reading a part of each. All within a half an hour time span, including several intermediate Instagram check points and of course, eating breakfast and downing absurd amounts of coffee. 

I think I am always quick to say that the internet age has prevented real social interaction and allowed us the opportunity to create more fictional versions of ourselves. But with further consideration I think despite the internet shift, we still maintain the same need and level of social interaction we would have without this new wave of technology. Some of the best instagram photos, facebook posts, tweets and emails have come from loved ones who have shared something special, unique or a major life moment. Whether it's a #tbt of our terribly hilarious childhood outfits, a keyboard cat video on youtube, a buzzfeed quiz to tell you what kind of sandwich you are, a Facebook post that honors someone's brother serving in the military, a tweet about being in Europe for the first time, a paperless post invite to a Derby Day party, a #regram of a funny meme, or a status that someone's loved one passed, all of these things are shared with others and wouldn't make any sense without a network of people with whom to share it with. Yes, people get a high off of a record "likes" but I think deeper then that is a desire to feel supported, validated and "liked" by the people who matter to us, friends, followers and faux. 

The reason I know about this book is because my best friend Emma had the pleasure of meeting Jenny, who then invited us to her book club. Jenny is an amazing LA blogger who created the site Dessert Darling, which now includes a wedding and healthy blog too. And the icing on the cake (no pun intended) is that my friend Emma met Jenny via Twitter! Long story short, people can now meet on Twitter! At first glance it sounds crazy, but in reality, anyone you meet in person can portray themselves in whatever light they want. They can exaggerate their connections, finances, lifestyle and friendships but in SOME ways, social media can portray realities, or least appear to document them well. The saying "you can't judge a book by it's cover" (no pun intended) applies to both social media personas but also to those in real life! I am not saying you can ever really "know" someone from a social media profile, but you can't from meeting them briefly either. I think the future is going in a direction in which social media has the ability to connect people who may have not met in any other way. It can at the very least offer about the same insight as a first impression based off apparel, accent, or small talk (where you live, what you do) can. 

I have only attended one Book Club hosted by Jenny, but can't wait to attend the next. Everyone was fun, smart and offered something new. From the interior decorator, the resident doctor, to the Hollywood actress, to the maker of amazing toffee candies and to the Brazilian bikini designer who is creating a new boutique, we all connected and learned from one another. Just add wine, snacks, comfy seating and walla, book club turns into I am so happy to be around all these amazing women night, all exchanging life updates, stories, advice and support, laughter and opinions. It was a great way to spend a Wednesday night. Thanks of course to jokes about online dating and the social media tool (twitter) that brought us together.  


Read on, 

Xx, Monica!

HOTSPOT: TREES PLEASE

{Gracias Madre in West Hollywood}
One thing I absolutely love is dining al fresco. And that is why I love Los Angeles, because you can pretty much do this anytime of the year, without worrying about freezing to death or having the humidity snatch your appetite. And LA restaurants capitalize on this. Sure they have heat lamps, tents, and my favorite, blankets, but it's because people LOVE eating outside! And trust me, the ones who live here take it for granted. They "expect" the patio to be open all year round and the atrium to have ample seating and the umbrellas, blankets and lamps readily available. I will admit that, as well as my love for eating outside, but also feeling like I am in someone's backyard garden. This is well founded idea, I will use the Bungalow in Santa Monica as my solid proof. Adding to that, I like gardens with trees. It's LA, people have yards in the city and some of the best ones just happen to serve amazing food and drinks. The dinner/house party that never ends... here are some of my favorites!
{The Bungalow at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica}
If you live in LA, you know the Bungalow in Santa Monica. The cool place by the beach with the never ending lines outside. While I agree some things are worth the wait, my favorite time to come is before all the chaos, right after everyone is done with work at 5, just before sunset, when I can drink a margarita in white shorts. It's also my first choice for Sunday Funday and any other type of day-drinking activity. I was there for St. Pats, it was so fun.  
{Rivabella in West Hollywood}
I've come here a few times, for dinner and also for drinks before a night out in West Hollywood. It's as if a major Italian fashion designer wanted a quaint farmhouse in the countryside. It would be open and relaxed but also chic; ready to entertain the city folk who need an "escape" from the bustling city. But yeah it's located right on Sunset Boulevard, the beginning of the strip. This is LA, we all want respite from the city, but conveniently located down the street. This is Hollywood. 
{Laurel Hardware in West Hollywood}
Laurel Hardware is just an easy way to see all of Hollywood in one night. I have been here too many times to count and for good reason. It's the type of place you come for dinner and stay to drink and people watch. The lines outside after dinner are also insane! I like to see what all the fashionable young hollywood girls are wearing, just to make sure I still know what's cool. Yes I am 24 and love fashion, but I live in Brentwood. I brought my want-to-be hipster little sister here and she loved it, especially when she met a guy who did insurance commercials. It was like a big deal. The place makes me feel hip and it's also somewhere I feel super comfortable wearing my felt hat with a fur vest, leather pants and studded stilettos, all together. Oh and yes, the patio feels like a city townhouse's backyard. Love the lights in the trees!!!
{Soho House in West Hollywood}
If you know a member at Soho House, go. It's got the best views of Los Angeles and is beautiful. The trees are just the icing on the cake, love the lanterns in the trees, or really and kind of lighting in trees! 


Cheers, 

Xx, Monica! 

FILM ROLL: WES ANDERSON'S PINK PALACE

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No this is not where Elle Woods vacations, but let's be honest, this movie does pink justice! Ever since seeing Moonrise Kingdom a few summer's back, I have been mesmerized by how well Wes Anderson incorporates color, style and humor into his straightforward and intimate film shots! I just can't help admiring how visually appealing the pink, red and purple shade combinations present on screen. 
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I am obsessed with the red lacquer backdrop. I think the easiest way to spice up a room is to use lacquer paint on a bookshelf or table. Red and pink is one of my absolute favorite color combinations and I am not just speaking on behalf of Valentine's Day! My sorority bedding was pink and red and I still kind of miss it! If I could get my hands on any of the props from the film it would definately be the fake book version of the story (below) but this adorably designed perfume bottle would also suffice. 
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Couldn't help myself... some cute items in the right shades (below). I know I can't get the fake book, but the Jane Austen clothbound classic is fairly close... Love these lavender studs -- and yes, they have a monogram! I found a wonderfully old school perfume bottle (comes in several tassel shades) for a great bargain too, on Esty. I have been wearing the Essie Cascade cool from time to time. It's fun but a little too pink for me... This Fendi bag looks great in any color, how perfect would this shade be all year round? Im a sucker for a bold print, and the colors on this Jonathan Adler pillow would fit in well as a modern accent. 
{Elle Magazine} {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6}
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More Red Lacquer Love!!!

xx, Monica!

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS...

{Grapefruit Margaritas}
Hello! It's May and Spring has finally sprung! In honor of Cinco de Mayo a tasty Margarita made the top of my list! Ever since I had a white grapefruit version last week at James Beach, all I can think about is this paired with a sunset! Can't wait for summery drinks this year (despite the fact that I drink pimm's, mojitos, margs and gimlets all year round). According to Los Angeles weather the season has started. This statement is backed by the fact that the Bungalow took its tent down; who really needs four seasons?
{Mint Julep--Recipe} {Monogram Sun Hat}
The Kentucky Derby took place this weekend and so did an awesome Derby Day party I was lucky to attend! My friend and I made our own Derby hats with ribbon, flowers, and pearls. Of course we were some of the few wearing hats, but hey, this is LA! Hopefully I will make it to the real deal one year but until then I will have to continue perfecting my milliner skills; and learn to make better racing bets! 
{by IMAXTREE} {Elle UK Street Style}
Love these bright combinations! I really try to wear color all year round, but in small doses; Spring/Summer is really the only time you can get away with so many patterns and mixing neons in one outfit; so make it count! 
{Photography By Richard Powers for Elle Decor}
It's hard to say if I would actually want a room just like this one (above) but for some reason I am obsessed! The saturation contrast is so nicely done here! I especially love the really light violet paint they choose for the wall because it ties everything together. White walls may have made the art look too bold and the rest of the furniture with grey/purple undertones would have looked so drab. Love this! 
{Gold Heart Scallop Coasters} {No. 1 Mom Card} {Sugar Paper Store}
I have always loved stationary, snail mail, thank you letters, and attention to all detail. This place is just simply ADORABLE! I recently bought some cute coasters as a hostess gift for a friend and they had "Cheers" written in a pretty cursive script on them, how cute? Mother's Day is quickly approaching and I know I appreciate pretty cards I can keep in box to look back on, hope she does too! If you are ever in the Brentwood Country Mart, make sure to stop by this one and only Sugar Paper Store, otherwise look for the logo, they sell in lots of stationary shops like Papyrus and Paper Source!

xx, Monica!