REST AND RELAXATION IN CANCUN


"She needs a vacation..." I must say, traveling for me has typically been about seeing, doing and creating... blog content of course. I rarely consider the rest and rejuvenation aspect of vacation, despite that being one of main reasons people take them. I constantly feel pressure to keep moving and doing, so this is something I really want to work on and be more mindful of. So when I found myself worrying about captions and emails and my google calendar invites while laying on the most beautiful beach in Cancun, I realized this was an area worth looking at. Some more thoughts below, enjoy. 


Make a plan to not make plans... one thing that gives me anxiety around "rest" is the thought that I may misuse valuable time. To me, that is the hardest cross to bear, the possibility that I wasted time, especially the free kind. Taking time off work, school, family, life is not easy for most people, and it can be expensive and take you away from other important tasks. I think this is why I put so much pressure on myself to spend my free time wisely, hence anxiety about it not being as productive as possible. So making a plan to not do anything for an entire week can be daunting, so I split it up into mini relax sessions. For example setting some parameters around how long I stayed away from my phone or take a nap in the sun, which I did but also got sunburnt from so be careful haha. Letting myself plan ahead lounge time versus getting ready time versus dinner time and letting mishaps or being late just happen, were very helpful ways to manage my need for consistent structure and productivity.  

Remember why we rest...  it's helpful to remind myself that relaxation has a purpose, that it in fact is productive and necessary in order for us to continue doing the things we want and key to a well lived life. For me this is something I constantly have to remind myself, it doesn't come naturally, it's a practice. I had to treat it like that, it was a conscious act for me, I wonder if its like that for a lot of other people too. The impact of not having rest on the body is visible, negative and real. Burnout is a real thing, and often times the things we do to take care of ourselves, aka going to parties, dinner, events with other people, are fun and good for us, but not really restful. 


Set aside time to do whatever you need to do... for some of us, especially bloggers, entrepreneurs, parents, etc. it's not 100% feasible to take a every second off, we have things we might need or really want to do, for example calling our kids, checking up on some emails, taking a call here and there, waking up at sunrise for some amazing Instagram pictures heyyy. We also might have sites we want to see or a certain picture we want to take. These are all okay things, but the idea is to maybe plan ahead for them and set time aside from lounging so that you don't have to have to worry about when you will get things done or sacrifice your own quality time or your travel partners time relaxing. 

Watch the booze and food... This might sound contradictory, especially if you were following any of my Instagram stories, but I think it's relevant at least for me. Sometimes we tend to think vacation means go all out in terms of our eating, drinking and exercise habits. I think that being on a diet while on vacation is a bad idea, but I also think going way outta bounds from your normal routine is an easy way to ruin something good. We stayed at an all inclusive resort, where all the food was delicious and obviously free. And even though I let myself eat without worrying about calories and carbs, I still tried my very best to keep a pace I could keep up with. The first night we overdid it for sure, and paid the price of feeling terrible that night and some of the next day, so I made sure to be cautious of that for the rest of the trip. But like everything, too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing. And who wants to spend a entire vacation day hungover or bloated? Now I didn't exercise on this trip, but it's probably my only regret, because it just feels so good to relax after a good work out session. But the key here I think is to maximize how good you feel in your body, while also enjoying yourself. 


"Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity" - Weil

Let's give ourselves some too. 

Xx, 

-M

PIPPA'S WEDDING


Hip hip hooray Pippa! If you're as obsessed with the royal family as I am then you are probably drooling over how incredibly lovely this quintessentially English wedding was! I have been obsessed with Kate's royal wedding since once upon a time but Pippa really appears to have executed the perfect countryside ceremony with such a humble grace and beauty. I think I'd have rather attended this wedding instead of Kate's just to catch a glimpse of her new husbands' playboy brother, Spencer Mathews, who became famous off Made in Chelsea, a fabulous guilty pleasure of mine (think The Hills meets London but more posh). I also would love to see how the Middleton's throw a party, I am certain it was nothing short of magical, elegant and swanky AF. Enjoy!












Is it too late for me to marry a royal?

xx, 

-M

SUPPERCLUB: SPRING

 the pacific scorpion from roku sunset 

Roku Sunset, West Hollywood
 I have to admit, I was pretty sour about trying this spot after it replaced one of my favorite spaces and restaurants, Rivabella, which is sadly no longer. But I came randomly with my girlfriends and I was very pleasantly surprised. Starting from the golden pineapple lamp stands to the dry ice cocktail with a pink hibiscus flower, I was in love before we even sat down to eat. They also gave out free sake shots and had an amazing DJ who set the scene for a fun girls night out after. We ordered lots of yummy food like the seared salmon sashimi, the baked cod, the shima roll, and hanabi (aka spicy tuna on crispy rice). The cocktail I'm obsessed with was the pacific scorpion, which was uber cute and delicious but I don't recommend drinking more then one as it was quite sugary. 

Taverna Tony, Malibu
If you didn't already know, I am obsessed with Greek food, and Mediterranean food in general, but Los Angeles, unlike Chicago, has very few Greek eateries. Taverna's is very well known and definitely worth the trip to the Malibu country mart. I of course had to order the saganaki, which is basically cheese set on fire, so no question it's a dream come true; at least my dream come true. I also love the lemon chicken (souvlaki) and salmon, but honestly everything here is so yummy!

the restaurant at gwen

GwenHollywood
 Full disclosure, my main reason for trying Gwen (as well as most restaurants) was to check out the beautiful scenery. It's designed in full art deco era inspired decor from the high ceiling moldings to the vintage gold rimmed glassware. They have a bar and patio, as well as butcher shop in addition to the prefix menu dinner service itself. I only came for drinks because the menu is supper meat heavy and expensive but I would recommend anyone who really loves meat try it out as a fun treat. The bar has some wonderful cocktails and a great à la carte menu for happy hour or before heading somewhere else. At the bar I'd recommend the champagne variety cocktail and unfortunately I can't remember the drink I myself ordered but it was pretty and delicious, and had purple berries on top. I also recommend the pretzel bread, charcuterie plate and trout to nibble on. 

Dan Tana's, West Hollywood
 This classic Los Angeles eatery will always be on my top supperclub list. When I walk in it's as if I've been transported back to New York about 50 years ago. Places like this in LA just don't exist since they don't seem to value tradition or keep anything longer then five years in this town! As for what to order, the chicken parmesan or the veal parmesan is an ABSOLUTE must! Other items not to miss; the spaghetti carbonara, the Nikki chopped salad, the shrimp diabolo and the tiramisu.  

pasta dalla forma at forma

Forma, Santa Monica
I know I've been here five million times since it opened two years ago but I just can't stress how delicious this place is!! The pasta dishes dalla forma (aka spun in a cheese round and served hot into your plate) is the absolute cheese and pasta lovers dream. All four dalla forma dishes on the menu are spectacular, however, because I don't eat red meat and am obsessed with truffle, I always order the truffle tortellini and cacio e pepe (in that exact order). The pizza and cheese plates are also very delicious but the pasta dalla forma is always my main priority! 

Beauty and Essex, Hollywood
 Fresh from NYC and part of the brand new Dream hotel in Hollywood, this new to LA hotspot had me at rosé in the ladies room. Yes, you read that right girls, go ahead and powder your nose because it's just economically sensical. Aside from that the restaurant was a very fun, young Hollywood vibe. I did like the atmosphere and the food was good but didn't leave much of mark on me. I would recommend trying the grilled cheese, smoked bacon and soup dumplings for sure and we also liked the tuna poke wonton tacos. It's something I'd recommend if you are doing before a night out and perhaps with a smaller group since the portions are smaller. 


Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, Highland Park
I had been meaning to stop at this uber instagrammable bakery from San Francisco and finally made it! It's very cute and I tried their popular "cruffin" a croissant and muffin hybrid that's filled with a different flavor every day. I thought it was good but not really something I'll crave and need to get right back to. But they had a lot of other options and I'd honestly go back just for the neon sign wall itself. 

KC Chocolatier, Santa Monica
This is my newest sweet-tooth obsession, going back to basics here with delicious little Swiss chocolates AND ice cream. I've only had the chocolates, thank God, but I've already heard amazing things. My favorite was the pythagoras milk chocolate with hazelnut and the hazelnut cream. I also loved the salt and caramel and tried a bunch of others that I can't remember but I know they were all absolutely delicious!! And I found out of course, they are from my hometown of Chicago!

bagel and lox from wexler's deli

Wexler's Deli, Santa Monica
 I must admit, I was quite hesitant to try this place because quite frankly it didn't look like the type of Jewish deli I'm used to. But despite how modern and gimmicky it seemed, I did love the bagel and lox I ordered, as well as the black and white cookie. And I heard good things about the corn beef sandwich from my friend who swears it was just as good as some of her favorite delicatessens in NYC. So I think I'm clear to give it another go, only when I'm not obsessing over my usual lox cream cheese on a cheese bagel at New York Bagel of course. 

Ink, West Hollywood
I had heard about this molecular gastronomy spot when it first opened about two years ago but finally got around to testing it out the other night. It's decorated like an All Saints store in various shades of dark grey and exposed brick. The spot is very trendy and cool, definitely fit for the stretch of Melrose avenue its located on. The food was good, but I wish I had tried more things on the menu since it's hard to tell what's a hit or miss since everything is altered in some way. I did really like the smoked mozzarella, charcoal and salt potatoes, and egg yolk gnocchi. One thing I really didn't like was the kale pasta; lesson learned - just stick with the real deal when it's comes to carbs. I would highly recommend this spot to any adventurous foodies and I'd consider going back to try other things on the menu. 


TAO, Hollywood
Another part of the new Dream hotel in Hollywood and right next door to Beauty and Essex, Tao delivers the same delectable Asian fusion menu as its other well known locations in New York and Las Vegas, but the vibe is absolutely stunning and unique. I also loved the food and felt as if I was in Vegas about to rage after even though I went on a Sunday night. I loved the tuna pringles and could have eaten them alone all night! I also loved the drunken pad Thai and the lobster wontons. This is somewhere I would definitely head back again for a fun girls dinner or night out and highly recommend you try whether you have been to the other locations or not! 

Tar and Roses, Santa Monica
Another spot on the west side I had been meaning to try and finally did. It's meat heavy and so once again I can't really speak for the menu on a whole but I did love everything we had including the ricotta gnocchi, the branzino, the asparagus and the delicious chocolate budino for dessert. Everything was very tasty, the gnocchi of course was my favorite but I would certainly recommend this place to anyone in the area, very good food and a wonderful ambience that is hard to find in Santa Monica. 


 An oldie but a goodie, Sugarfish never disappoints. It's a great place for all sushi lovers, even the ones who haven't quite become accustomed to eating sashimi and nigiri sushi (which is when the fish is served raw by itself or over white rice). It's also got a lot of delicious hand rolls and I guarantee that if you currently only like sushi rolls, this will change your sushi game quick. It's a prefix menu and trust me, literally it's called that on the menu, it is the best way to go. You can also order à la carte but I'd only recommend that if you're still hungry after the prefix. Insider tip, if you go during lunchtime it's much easier to get a table and a little cheaper then dinner for the same prefix menu. You can also order take out to avoid the long lines but I will say it's so worth it to grab a drink nearby and wait until they can seat you for dinner. They also now have another restaurant called KazuNori which exclusively sells hand rolls and has a location in Westwood and Downtown LA, as well as one in Santa Monica apparently opening soon. I definitely plan on checking it out ASAP! 


Eating as always, 

Xx, 

-M

STATEMENT EARRINGS


Delicious candy cravings are happening over here with the spectacular trend of colorful, embellished and fun statement earrings! Ever since last summer my Instagram feed and magazines have been bombarded by these dazzling forms of loveliness! For me it started with the fabulous les bonbons by Rebecca de Ravenel and ever since then I have been crazed looking for more resort worthy bursts of color to dress my ears with. It's such an easy accessory to add, aka my navy tassel earrings at the pool in Miami and yes you can pull all of these off in any outfit, with ripped jeans grabbing coffee, a black tie wedding or while wearing a bikini on the beach; all scenario's I fully intend to play out. Here are all my favorites from the last year of hunting. Enjoy!  

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Summer Ready, 

Xx, 

-M

MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE


Mommy dearest... what to get her? I have such a hard time with this holiday because since I don't live in the same city as my mom I always feel as if no gift can replace quality time spent. However, I tend to ask my mom each year what her second choice in gift would be if I know I won't be able to make out to see her. Here are some of the things my mother, and I myself, have been lusting over as a sweet reminder of how much we care. And as always, the best physical present in my book is a handwritten, thoughtful card! Enjoy!



No matter how you celebrate please take some time to thank all the mothers out there, biological or not! So lucky and grateful to have a mother in my life, let's remember not to take this for granted!

Much love, 

Xx,

M