BRAVOLEBRITIES: THE REALITY TV PERSONAS I'M OBSESSED WITH

Hopefully I am not the only gal addicted to Bravo....

I have been wanting to do this post for some time now, so glad it's finally here! The thing I hate about most portrayals of women on reality TV is general caddy-ness and the constant need to prove themselves amongst one another and essentially to their viewers. As much as I look forward to the reunion shows on every real housewives series, I can't help but think, why are we always fighting about who is right, who is prettier, who is better a mom, has a better partner or more successful in their career. I'd like to think that people can naturally form judgements about others but more so find a way to relate, learn and disagree with one person, as all women have more depth and can't be easily defined to one narrow character. Yet despite the circumstance of pop culture, I have found many of these women on reality television to exceed the expectation, thus my intention to share, the ones I just can't quit. Enjoy! 

Patricia Altschul Southern Charm on Bravo
A 'Southern Charm' star's tips for a winning Kentucky Derby party:
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"I love the idea of being prepared, so {my butler} Michael knows to bring my martini fixings with him."

Perhaps this bravolebrity needs no explanation, but for those of you who haven't seen the show (with no other valid excuse not to love her), Patricia embodies everything a true reality TV star must possess. She's got pizazz, grace, culture and conviction. Patricia exemplifies real old southern money; with a custom pink ostrich Birkin bag, a house decorated by Mario Buatta and featured in architectural digest, and a lifestyle filled with multiple butlers and dogs just as pedigreed as her lineage. But what makes her so intriguing, is her own self assuredness. The way she can express judgements about people with the upmost ease that you would have no idea you are being criticized, but rather grateful for the pristine level of attention and insight she willing to provide. I see her as the queen bee of Reality television-what I envision Blair Waldorf would become if she married southern royalty. 

Morgan Stewart (@Morgan_Stewart) | Twitter:
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“Where is [the salsa dancer emoji] running to? A side of guacamole? I’m like, me too, bitch! Me too!”

She's hilarious, keeps it real and always looks effortlessly chic! I love her style and personality so much. No vapid Cher Horowitz here, this Beverly Hills native knows how to speak her mind, while remaining endearing, authentic and somehow relatable! Despite the ridiculousness of the show's emphasis on gluttoness and extravagant pursuits, Morgan is able to bridge the gap between the Beverly Hills bubble and the rest of society's young people; the anxiety around eating carbs and the pressure to look good, deciphering healthy relationships and commitment, and dealing with the impact of a family member's mental health. Despite the small glimpse she shines onto each of these, I stand firm in my assertion she speaks authentically on the small platform. Making her exactly what she's already told you, she is pretty AND funny. Might I add smart too, as she seems to have gotten everything she's wanted!


"Well, it turns out that Monica has a lot of opinions. Which I was just hoping she just wanted to be supermodel because that was going to be so much easier for me."

My dream home would be decorated by the talents of Mary McDonald but I would be happy just to take her to lunch and throw back a few martini's with her charming, but more so eccentric, sense of humor. She has a certain eye for style that extends beyond where the sofa should go or what drapes to purchase. She literally lives the life she creates for high society clients with such an understated glamour that I can at best label a more modern American Aristocratic taste. She also has great fashion sense, is well read and creatively chic. My mother is just as obsessed, if not more, and we both love every project we've seen her do so far! 

"Okay, you get a choice. You can either wear high heels or you can wear bikinis. You can't wear both.  Like I wore a beautiful cover up, over my beautiful swimsuit, therefore I was allowed a wedge. A coverup bought me a WEDGE, it didn't buy me a high heel."

Courtney is the most relatable person on this list in terms of my own social peers and stage in life; aka, she'd fit right in at the brunch table. She is fashionable, in her mid twenties, and nails the modern representation of a young woman navigating dating, career, friendship and the general life struggles most closely aligned with my generation. What I love about her is she's not afraid to keep it real, be sassy but also be empathetic and vulnerable at the same time. Courtney breaks most barriers, being real about the contrast in expectations from our own generation and the ones before us, a great comfort to those of us out there feeling the same struggle. 

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"Honey we live in Beverly Hills, you better get used to that." {to her daughter Portia, being scared of Kim's nose job}

I have so many good things to say about Kyle Richards, she's funny and not afraid to admit she's made some mistakes. Her relationship with her husband is probably one of the healthiest and most loving ones portrayed in all the Housewife franchises and for the most part she is fairly down to earth. I think I can speak for most people that Kyle Richards appears much more "relatable" then her cast mates. I admire her relationship with her kids and how real and honest she has been about having a family member struggle with alcoholism. Despite the difficulty of dealing with a family matter publicly, she doesn't exploit or manipulate the truth of how complex and stressful the issue is. Despite affluence, fame and family influence, it's an issue that cuts across all those lines and connects to the viewers whether that was her intention or not. Plus, she's got some great style for all us petite women out there, and can we talk about how East coast cute her house is?? Kyle's probably lost a few fans along the way as seasons have rolled along, but she can count on me! 

iRealHousewives | The 411 On American + International Real Housewives: Heather Dubrow Dishes On Her New Champagne Line ‘Collette’ And RHOC's Upcoming Napa Trip!:
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"I'm sorry but that girl Sarah broke the bow off my cake, AND ATE IT."

I can't say enough wonderful things about Heather Dubrow. In fact, I would like to be her when I grow up. Despite her obvious fabulosity factor, the #champs, sparkles and elaborate parties — she's funny, stunning, authentic, smart and has a certain depth to her, lacking amongst most other real housewives and reality stars nonetheless. She is perhaps the only cast member of all of the franchises who I'd call a role model for women. Lately I have been listening to her podcast Heather's Dubrow's World as more lighthearted audio material in contrast to my usual NPR in the car. Heather's a smart cookie who certainly isn't just known for her marriage to a wealthy man and over the top house, but, rather for her sensibility, confidence, and as I would put it, healthy and strong marriage to a man of integrity, with a strong commitment to his work, family and respect for his partner. It's a privileged portrayal, but appears to be an honest one and I think more relationships like theirs should be publicized in the media, even if they don't bask the O.C. zip code. 

Cameron Eubanks Southern Charm on Bravo
Now that we’re in the homestretch of Southern Charm Season 1, I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to a few individuals: First, thanks to Bravo/Andy Cohen/whoever else is behind this program. Second, a big shoutout to one of my closest friends for taking this voyage with me.:
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"[The punch] tastes like drunk."

Cameron is the ideal cast member of any reality show. She says what everyone else is thinking, yet remains a member of the group. One might wonder if she really is an outsider, given how direct and swift she can be about other people's quirks. There's one in every crowd, if you're lucky. She is the voice of reason, grounded, insightful, tells it like it is, lovable not patronizing, as she is humble, sweet and funny. I love how she calls herself a "modern southern woman" meaning she has a career that's important to her, yet does't deny the impact of having being raised in the South and the intention to uphold many of the values that contributed to the person she is today. I really admire people owning where they come from and how it's helped shape who they are, recognizing how both defying the norm and embracing it can make a genuine impact. I also really respect her and her partner's choice to keep their relationship off reality television, despite how functional it already seems, especially compared to some of her cast-mates (no-explanation needed). 


"Keep your money in your bra"

Let's be honest, she gets 5% airtime and 100% of the laughs. In fact, I really wish the show was just about her thoughts on life and people. A natural attention grabber, this mini show stopper brings a lot of lightheartedness to an otherwise incredibly sad situation her family is currently facing. I admire kids who find purpose in making others laugh, my guess is they often are very aware of the unintended consequences as a result, and still find joy in taking one for the team. I'm certain Melania will continue to help keep it all together for years to come, just like her increasingly humbled by circumstance mother. 

Wishing everyone the same amount of diva for a day as Malania!

Cheers, 

Xx, 

-M

OFF THE SHOULDER BLUE + WHITE


So this is one trend I am TOTALLY behind! I love the blue and white summer stripes, the cute bow, mini bell sleeve detail, but most of all? The $17 sale price tag!!! Grab it out now, here, enjoy this summer, you won't regret. Let the #summering begin. 


{ Shutters on the Beach | Santa Monica, CA}

From my favorite summer spot to yours, 

Enjoy, 

Xx, 

-M

WHERE TO BRUNCH IN SANTA MONICA


Why hello darling! 

I'm so excited to share my favorite brunch spots in Santa Monica! As a lifestyle blogger and twenty-something in Los Angeles I am always on the hunt for great spots to meet with girlfriends on the weekend. I've rounded up my most classic and beloved places to throw on some sunnies, drink a mimosa and recap the week's highlights. Enjoy!  


I can't say enough wonderful things about this place. As indicated, it's right on ocean avenue in Santa Monica, a hop, skip and jump from beautiful outdoor views of the shore. It's as if the The Beverly Hills Hotel became a beach club. With the consistent prestige in service and food as all the other Ivy locations, but with a more summer like aesthetic. A great place for a celebration with girlfriends or nice brunch with parents. The smoked salmon benedict is my favorite menu item there and don't forgot to order the yummy red velvet cake or take home the cookies to go (that come in an adorable box for all the aesthetic obsessed like myself)!  


As promised, Shutters brings the East coast style right to the West coast. You literally can eat the best lobster roll in Los Angeles and see those Cali surfer boys at the same time. It's a great spot for brunch but also a perfect place to enjoy a sunset glass of rosé. I love their oysters and they serve sweets from my favorite LA bakery, SusieCakes right on site. Make sure to wear a preppy cover up and sandals for an obligatory post meal walk on the beach! 


It's a super easy and causal brunch spot with the best truffle avocado toast! I love the outdoor seating and how close the bikes from the Santa Monica Bike Share are. A perfect place to grab a bite with girlfriends before running Saturday errands on Montana, like my monthly wax at Frilly Lilly, cute boutiques and a bike ride to the beach nearby. It's also a great spot to grab a latte and do some work. I love the clean open space and people watching during the week. 

4.  Salt Air

So this spot is next door to Santa Monica, on Abbot Kinney in Venice. It's an amazing restaurant with some of the best seafood in town. I am obsessed with their tomato soup (see here on my Instagram), which I know isn't a super brunch like order but trust me when I say it's so worth it! It has a cheese foam pour that is to die for and for anyone who loves grilled cheese and tomato soup from childhood, I can assure you it checks all boxes, and then more! It's a very pretty, beachy, clean space with beautiful light at brunch time. My other favorite order is the gravlax with a crispy poached egg. The pea toast is also a crowd pleaser, sounds weird, but everyone at the table will love!


Another lovely spot on the amazing Montana Ave in Santa Monica, far from the touristy third street promenade. It's a very simple menu with table service and good eats. It's perfect for kids and has all the standard brunch and lunch items you and your guests might want. I love this place because I can come in whatever attire. Whether it be lululemon pants or a cute sundress and still feel completely accepted by the casual chic Santa Monica style. They also have another seafood restaurant nearby on Ocean Avenue for lunch/dinner that I am obsessed with, Blue Plate Oysterette, with the most amazing mac and cheese!!! 

Hope you enjoyed my favorite brunch spots in Santa Monica! 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

-M

SUMMER WHITES


IT'S HERE! Summer whites has officially started, because I said so, and I just can't wait for Memorial Day. As you may already know, I am a lover of summer and obsessed with a good white dress. So to start off the season, here's a great white shift with sleeves for all those not so summery yet nights we have ahead of us waiting for the real season to fully emerge! I can't wait for beach parties, lobster rolls and tan lines. Aside from this gorgeous white dress, what are you excited for this summer? Enjoy!



Hope you are excited as me for summer! You can find this white dress pictured here and more lovely skirts, white dresses and sequin dresses from Tobi. New customers get 50% off there first order, so take advantage! Shoes pictured are old, but here are some similar ones, here, here and here

Happy almost summer, 

Xx, 

-M

{ lovely photos from Sabrina at She's Chasing Sunshine }