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CHRISTMAS IN LOS ANGELES

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i remember as kids, my brother and i were always the first ones awake in the house, we would sneak down stairs before everyone woke up to see what “santa” had left in our stockings. one year we got caught because cody broke one of our mom’s decorations in the excitement of seeing his stocking filled with giant reese’s peanut butter cups…rookie mistake…huge. it’s interesting to see how christmas mornings change as you get older. this year we took a pretty mellow approach to christmas, with everyone waking up in different places on christmas morning, we didn’t really have an agenda. i remember someone saying, “let everyone wake up and we’ll go from there” so we did just that; woke up, had breakfast for lunch and opened presents in the late afternoon. hope everyone had a lovely holiday season.

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THE DINNER PARTY

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it’s the most woooonderfuuul tiiiime of the yeeeaaar! tis the season of friends, family and FOOD. it’s the season of telling embarrassing stories from your childhood, watching cheesy hallmark movies and going to all the dinner parties.

it’s hard to remember when my love for “dinnertaining” began but over the years my sister and i have collected a plethora of great pieces for our “perfect dinner party”. with christmas around the corner, i couldn’t wait to dust off some of these great finds. may everyone eat, drink and be merry this holiday season!DINNERDINNER 8DINNER 10DINNER 11

LULA’S GARDEN

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a sweet friend gifted me this adorable succulent box for my birthday and i’m obsessed. i had two thoughts when opening my box- 1.”how friggin cute!” 2.”why have i never heard of this before?!”- so i went online to find out the skinny on all things lula’s garden. founder, liraz birnbaum says this all began when she was looking for a unique gift idea. inspired by the growing popularity of succulents, due to the rise of drought awareness in california, lulu’s garden was born.

“I wanted to create a gift that would last and be an ongoing reminder, a gift of life … ”  

lula’s garden supports local farmers by using locally grown succulents from southern california while offering a variety of succulent boxes to choose from. inside each box you find a curated succulent garden with instructions and tools on how to pretty much keep your garden alive. lucky for me, it needs minimal effort and is very hard to kill. (bonus points) take a look at my “unboxing” below and check out lula’s garden for more succulent gift ideas.

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CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD

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for the past month i haven’t really spent a weekend at home- between traveling for the holidays and spending time in orange county, my poor bed started to wonder if i’d ever come back. this weekend i decided to stay in la to clean and reorganize my apartment because “new year, new me” is in full flux… yesterday morning, i did laundry, put new sheets on my bed, dusted my shelves and had a dance party because what else do you do when you clean?? and then-i got hungry. not really wanting to brave the sunday brunch hour, i decided to make something at home. so i pulled a cookbook off the bookshelf and made some chocolate chip banana bread. *warning* this banana bread is like crack, please bake responsibly-only if you are a strong and independent woman…i mean only if you are strong willed… yeah, will power.

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ingredients: 1 1/3 cups light brown sugar-2 eggs-1 cup mashed banana-2 1/4 cups flour-1 teaspoon baking powder-1 teaspoon baking soda-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon-1 teaspoon ground ginger-1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted-semi sweet chocolate chips-

ccbb-5ccbb-8ccbb-6preheat oven to 325ºf. put the sugar and eggs in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until well incorporated. beat in the mashed banana.

add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger to the sugar mixture. mix it thoroughly until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the egg mixture. pour in the melted butter and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed.

pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth over with a palette knife. bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. let the cake cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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A SEDONA CHRISTMAS

dsc_0841i’m finally getting around to posting some bits and pieces of our christmas in sedona. we had a packed house of 9 people and 5 dogs and i wouldn’t have it any other way! our first order of business-grocery shopping. every year my sister cooks christmas eve dinner, christmas day breakfast and christmas day dinner, not to mention the goodies and desserts in between! she’s far too humble to say that she is good at cooking but she is and i’ll shout it from the rooftops if i have to-her cooking is my favorite part about the holidays. dsc_0350courtney needed all hands on deck in the kitchen but because of my notoriously bad cooking skills, i sat this one out and got a head start on the wine. my aunt and uncle live near the local winery so we picked up a bottle… or four.

dsc_0773christmas morning we woke up to a winter wonderland which made for an extra special holiday.

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dsc_0693homemade muffins, cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip bread thanks to chef courtney! dsc_0071dsc_0069

SACKCLOTH & ASHES

 

21180019for every blanket you purchase, sackcloth & ashes will donate one to your local homeless shelter. living in los angeles, it’s hard not to notice how many people are left on the streets and sometimes we’re not really sure how to help but with sackcloth & ashes, they make it a little easier to lend a helping hand. you can buy your sackcloth & ashes blanket here.

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SHIKO CERAMICS

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i just love studio tours! seeing the artist in their creative space is so inspiring to me. the design files did a piece on melbourne based ceramicist, sophie harle and her passion for pottery. “there’s just something about the form, the feel, the weight, it’s all just so alive. when you hold a good pot you don’t want to put it down, and i want to make those kinds of pots”. you can read the full article here.

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THE GOOD

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keeping the good things coming by adding to the list this week.

  • i’ve just ordered 25 prints from parabo press and can’t contain my excitement.
  • this is what music is all about.
  • i can’t stop laughing because of these guys. i’m serious. my face hurts.
  • lemonade. clap clap clap. crunchy ice. clap clap clap.

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LET’S GET HERBAL

HERBAL SAGEwith products of pretty packaging and promises to “leave you looking 10 years younger!” it’s hard to not get sucked in to the easy buy. what we forget is how capable we are of doing these things naturally and all by ourselves (i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t). thanks to another mag, they’ve created a guide to herbal remedies-solving your stinky shoe problem as well as giving you tips on how to keep bad breath at bay. you can find the full list of remedies here.

APARTMENT THERAPY: HOUSE TOUR

JanJuc-16apartment therapy is a great online space for you to gather inspiration, learn from tutorials and get tips and tricks for all things home savvy. i love looking at all the different tours they do from all over the world. this specific house tour  has me day dreaming of my future home life with all its style, quirks and trinkets. check out the full story on kirsty and simon’s coastal cottage here.

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