Palm Springs: Party Prep and Pool Day at Marriott Shadow Ridge

This year for my birthday I went to palm springs with my closest friends.  It was the MOST amazing trip and I felt so lucky to spend time away from LA and the hustle and bustle of life with them.

the beautiful drive palm springs


gift baskets and flower crowns for all our guests. =)  and a palm tree pinata!


trophies that markel made.  HOW CUTE ARE THESE??IMG_0314

we gave out prizes and hello kitty gummies with every prize <3


how cute is this table???  fits the theme right? =P  the hotel was kind enough to give me 2 bottles of wine for my birthday. <3

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pretty banner right??  i love this color combo.  so bright and cheerful.


my childhood besties from sacramento.  16 years of friendship and counting!  2 came all the way down from Sac, so sweet.


my college besties <3  who drove all the way from SF!


pool time fun <3

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yummmm stawberry cupcakes made by my bestie and her man.  (i’m going through a huge stawberry kick!)

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#30th Birthday Weekend in Palm Springs

Oh Man…do I have the most amazing friends in the world.  lol sorry to brag, but it’s true.  I just came back from the most epic birthday weekend in palm springs.  33 of my closest friends came out to the Marriott Shadow Ridge and we partied at the pool, ate a delicious dinner on a private patio and then played beer games to cap off the greatest trip evahh.

At 30 years old, I feel…old.  lol  I feel like my youth is over and i’m moving into a much more serious decade.  I keep hearing that the 30s are better and that it’s the START to my life, not the end.  Looking back at my pictures from the weekend and seeing my friends post pics~ I am so lucky to be entering a new decade with such an amazing group of besties.  This group keeps me grounded, supports me through everything, and has been there through all my big milestones in the previous decades.  If getting old means growing old with this group, I am blessed.

There was so much love and good energy all over the place this weekend.  Can’t wait to share the memories and photos with you.

here are pictures that my friends took!  just a little teaser before i post pics taken with my new canon <3


markel made this entire weekend possible.  he not only made it financially possible but he was so supportive!  …from the decorations to the welcome baskets and cocktails we made for the party~~ he even made TROPHIES for the beer games at night.  i thank God everyday for sending markel into my life.  he’s the sweetest, most generous and loving person in the world.  i am such a lucky girl <3  entering my 30s with him by my side, i feel like i can tackle the world and accomplish ANYTHING i put my mind to.  it feels so good to have a partner to bounce ideas off of, build a future with and enjoy LIFE with!  i could go on and on, but the summary is…i love markel and i feel so damn lucky to be married to him.

ok now moving on from the mushy stuff!  lol  onto the snapshots of the weekend.

Flip Cup Champions!


palm tree and flamingo straws to match the theme!  (more info on that here, here and here)


beer pong champions!


pool pics






my college besties <3


the Bs at dinner







i love everything this picture shows and says… lol




even starbucks wished me a happy birthday <3  love getting my free drink!image


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OOTD for Palm Springs

I’m off to palm springs tonight and this is my first outfit of the weekend. <3

I can’t believe i’m turning 3-0!! eeeek


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Shop Prima Donna

I got my first shipment of #shoppd items in the mail!  The package even came with a lovely personalized note and complimentary earrings! =) I won a $50 gift card from #shoppd recently (post here) and bought the items above.  LOVED everything .  My all time favorite item was the tote.  Not only is it great material but the inside lining is super cute (navy with white polkadots).

super gorgeous!! xoxo  i’m not ready for summer and my big birthday bash in palm springs this weekend!!


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MISC NYC Pics & everything else!

 SOO many pics from new york.  i hope you’re not getting sick of them!  here are the last of them =)


meatball shop~ SOOO GOOD


sangria at barrancas~~ REALLY REALLY yummy sangria

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 haven’t seen this beauty in YEARS!  old roommates, college buddies and childhood friends! xoxo best convos and night time ever.20140430_221540


Besties and new york friends~ such an amazing trip!

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Halal Cart, extra white sauce.  TO DIE FOR

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i was REALLY excited to try dunkin donuts coffee…but it was aiite.  super weak and super sweet.  meh.  not something i’ll ever go back there for.20140502_120804 20140502_122411 20140502_160436

stunning view of Washington square garden at night


gorgeous sunrise view from our apartment.  to see this every morning and evening…it was simply GORGEOUS.

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the day i got to new york it was POURING.  not just vertical rain but it somehow blew sideways, diagnally, up and down and circled BACK if it didn’t get you the first time.  i was completely soaked and so was my suitcase.  *Sigh *  but the trip was still totally worth every memory and moment.


And that’s all folks!  The end to all my new york posts.  i hope you enjoyed seeing things separated by burough and it helped you possibly plan your next trip out there.  mike and i hadn’t been on a vacation in so long, we really needed this one.  I always love traveling with mike b/c it makes everything MORE fun.  not sure if i can ever explain it but i love sharing new experiences and new memories with him.  even if i’ve been to a place 100 times, the first time we go together is always the most memorable one.  can’t wait to share more memories with you guys and more vacays in the future!


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Life Underground Art in the NYC Subway Stations

ok i know this is super weird, but i’m obsessed with the life underground statues in the subway stations!  most people i noticed didn’t even give them a second look but i thought they were adorable.  i took tons of pictures of them when i could.  there’s a whole story behind it which is cool.  (read all about it here!)

so here’s my little photodump of the adorable figures in the subway stations around the city. <3

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a homeless person about to be kicked out


so darling right?  there are little stories/descriptions behind each one.  it’s like a scavenger hunt trying to find em!20140504_165910

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Chelsea and the Meatpacking District


oh chelsea…how beautiful you are.  i dedicate one VERY long post to you and the meatpacking district.  everything was quaint, adorable, and chic.

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how sick is this view above?

below is the entrance to the chelsea market.  i love the brick openin gand the lanterns hanging.  i feel like no one looks up anymore and it’s the first thing i do when i walk into a new place.SAM_3206 SAM_3207

we were both EXHAUSTED at the end of the day and started to lean on random railings while we waited for our friends.  lol  here’s one cutie shot of markel.


cork art!  so us <3


Warning…from here on out it’s a RIDICULOUS number of skyline/city/sky pictures.  i just couldn’t get over how beautiful the city was!!

most of these are from the highline next to chelsea market

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i was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO sad when i saw milk bar.  i’ve been wanting to go here the whole trip but i was SO FULL from shake shack (which was this same day) that i couldn’t eat anything else =(  booooo.  next time milk bar, i’ve got my eye on you!


 thanks for sticking out the huge photo dump folks!  there are two more new york posts today and then i’m all photodump-ed out.  this was one of the most fun trips ive been on as an adult and i can’t wait to go back!

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The East Village: Ippudo, Beauty & Essex, Cha-an, Artichoke Pizza, Joe’s Pizza

hahaha ok sadly this post is all about food.  the first 2 days Mike and I were in the city we ate and walked around.  lol  we also got to do an early birthday celebration for mike where his friends from college (who he hadn’t seen in ages) all came out.   anyway, these places below aren’t in the same area nor were they done on the same day…but we had amazing times at each location and great moments with friends.

First Up: Ippudo!

i had really low expectations for this place because i feel like it was so hyped up.  i figured it would be really trendy and not great food.  BOY WAS I WRONG.  The pork buns were to die for.  i almost ate all four by myself.  lol  the ramen was good too, but LA has great ramen too~ so that wasn’t something i was really impressed with.  i still crave those amazing pork buns with some secret magic sauce on them!  *drool *




 Second: Joe’s Pizza

DELICIOUS.  crispy crust which i love.  they have one in santa monica and i swear this one is better.

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Third: Beauty & Essex

celebrating my markel’s 28th birthday!  it was such a treat to see all our friends and hang out with them.  we ended up meeting up with all of mike’s friends later that night but it was really great to go out and check out nyc nightlife!  beauty and essex was gorgeous inside and the drinks were delicious.  you walk through a pawn shop to get to the actual restaurant/bar which is i thought was so clever!  my only regret was not getting dinner reservations there b/c we had no where to sit & we ended up leaving early. >.<

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after party at a mexican restaurant where the boys could watch sports and we could all sit down after beauty and essex!

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Fourth: Cha-Ahn in the East Village

most amazing desserts~~~if you haven’t been there PLEASE make a pit stop!!  The green tea latte with red bean was amazing (and i normally hate green tea latters) and the black sesame cream brulee was to die for!

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 Looking back at these pictures really makes me miss the friends and the wonderful time mike and i had.  *sigh *  can’t wait to go back!!

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Flat Iron Building +Eataly + Shake Shack + Cupcakes by Melissa

One spot that Mike and I didn’t get to spend much time in was the flat iron area.  We literally did a few pit stops at some iconic locations but didn’t spend a lot time looking around or enjoying the scenary.  One big regret I have.  But that’s ok, we can put it on our list for next time~~

The three places we were able to hit up were Shake Shack (the original location), Eataly, and the Flat Iron Building itself.  This entire area was GORGEOUS.  I took so many pictures of just the buildings, trees and flowers.  Early May was the perfect time to visit since the flowers had just started blooming and the weather was perfect (not too hot or cold).

on the way to meet up with friends i saw the most adorable little cupcake shop!  i absolutely HAD to go in and bought a little trio of treats to eat with our friends after shake shack.  little did i know that these babies were really popular in nyc and i see it on other blogs all the time now!

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Shake Shack

 the location was simply gorgeous

look how ridiculously long this line is though!!  gahhhh took about 30-40 minutes.  we weren’t that hungry when we stood inline but by the time we ordered we were all starving.  also, since we had a big group of people, three of us ordered while the others saved seats.  it was the perfect set up.  otherwise i’m not sure where we have eaten. >.<




yummmm~~~ people compare these burgers to in and out but they’re SO DIFFERENT!  how can you compare apples to oranges?  i got a fancy one with the mushroom patty and regretted it.  i should have gotten the original cheeseburger.  mike’s was INCREDIBLE.




Flat Iron Building

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i wished we could have eaten here but all of us were STUFFED from shake shack so we could only look around.  this place was SO MUCH FUN!   next time i want to spend an entire morning/lunch here just looking around and grabbing small bites every where.  Eataly would be such a cool date place~ like doing your own food tour in one building.


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 The Gorgeous Scenery

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breathtaking, vibrant flowers ALL OVER the city.  it was such a treat to be there right when the city was blooming!


Random Thrift Stores and a Pet Shop Mike and I visited.  The city was gorgeous and it was incredibly easy to just pop in and out of different places!!


how gorgeous is this little pup??  i LITERALLY almost bought three puppies to smuggle into my carryon.  but of course…mike (the voice of reason and keeper of the monies) wouldn’t allow it.  he did let me cuddle puppies for as long as i wanted, which was really sweet.


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Upper Westside + Columbia

My first two days in NYC I stayed with my bestie in the upper west side since he’s a grad student at Columbia.  I absolutely LOVED the upper west side…wait…what part of nyc did i NOT love on this trip???

here’s a fun photodump of that time.


flowers were in full bloom all over the city!

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i was so shocked by the tiny aisles at the grocery stores!  and the way they arrange fruit!


the BEST italian restaurant on the upper west side.  you HAVE to go people!!!  get their seafood pasta your taste buds and tummy will thank you.  TRUST.20140501_122406

gorgeous columbia!


my personal tour guide.  handsome right?? =P

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this one is a short post.  i tried to break the nyc posts by area and not days so that if you wanted to know about one specific place it would be easy to find.  but…it’s a pain in the ass to post so many separate posts.  doing it by day would have been so much easier!  *sigh *  Anyway, i’m sorry for the next few days were there will be like 10 posts on nyc~ a trip i went on nearly two months ago! gahhhh

but summer is here and i’m sure people at work are having trouble concentrating…am i right???  so here are lots of pictures and ideas for your next vacay this summer. <3

happy hump day!!

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DSLR Canon Rebel T3i

my new camera is here!!  *wooooooooot*  it came on saturday and i can’t put it down!  i’ve been taking pictures of everything!


 it took me a while to choose one (more about that here), but once i selected a model i also decided to get a package deal over buying things individually.  there were tons of opinions on package or no package online but for me, as a newbie a package was safer.  it came with things that i didn’t even realize i needed until it arrived!  I got it on amazon with prime shipping so it all arrived within 2 days!  eeek i love amazon prime!

Here are some pics I took from my first weekend with the camera <3  As a proud puppy mama most of these are of my lucy blair <3

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Chelsea, Soho, and Chinatown


One of the most exciting reasons for me to go to NYC was to visit these two girls.  LOVE THEM TO DEATH.  We now all live in different states but it’s so nice to meet up for a weekend and feel like nothing has changed.  We caught up on all the months of not seeing each other and just hung out like old times. <3  seeing these lovelies seriously made my trip!

We started our day at beautiful Isola.  The place was gorgeous, the men were stunning and the food was really tasty.  It was the perfect way to “cheers” our first reunion in a long time!!




 stopped in for corn on the cob! =D  waHooOooo  They have Cafe Habana in LA but I still had to try the original in NYC.  (tasted the same.  lol)

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  good ol china town <3

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i just LOVED the architecture, skyline and beautiful streets.  couldn’t get enough!

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STREET ART–One of my favorite things to see in NYC.  Mike and I found SO MANY different pieces we wanted to buy but had no way of bringing it back this time. =(  So on our next trip we’ll be sure to bring a suitcase we can check on the plane that can also hold precious cargo!

(*normally mike and i only bring carry on luggage for our flights.  so whatever doesn’t fit, we don’t bring.  makes for MUCH easier traveling but then we miss out on awesome art like the ones below. )

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PIPERLIME STORE!!!  OMG you guys know how much i LOVE piperlime.  going to the store was like my mecca.  LOL


so many pretty things.  LOVED the way the store was set up too.


pretty necklaces…I was very very tempted to buy all three but left with nothing.  i had such a small luggage bag that i wasn’t able to bring any goodies back home.  good for the wallet, bad for my closet.  =(

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After a morning/afternoon playing in central park, Markel and I made our way to Brooklyn where we immediately stopped for some “pick me up” coffee.  The biggest lesson that NYC taught us was that we are NOT fit.  We weren’t used to all the walking and standing, since in LA you just hop into a car.  This was a really random coffee place off the L train and two typical things happened: we had to squeeze ourselves into a small table and we were greeted by a rude waitress.  *sigh *  I was too tired to have attitude but I was really put off by the waitress who was very unwilling to help us, serve us or even crack a freaking smile.  But moving on…


Brooklyn was BEAUTIFUL.  We were in the williamsburg area and walked around where Smorgasburg is usually held.  The brownstone buildings and cobble stone streets were absolutely stunning.  I love love love the architecture/layout in the area.  It’s so different from Los Angeles!



gorgeous skyline views of the city and buildings.  even the tagging on the street was artistic and added so much character to the neighborhood.

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and now on to Peter Lugar’s!! =)  YUMMAYYY


above the bread was just bread…nothing exciting

below, the bacon was TO DIE FOR.  TO DIE FOR.  So juicy, delicious and tender.  *droooool * so freaking good.  You probably couldn’t eat more than 1 per person b/c it’s so heavy but this was my favorite part of PL.

20140504_191349ceasar salad.  SUCH a great choice since the rest of the meal was so heavy.


yelp talked about this tomato onion dish… it was WHATEVS.  just raw onion and tomato.  *shrug *  I didn’t get why it was so popular.


how pretty is this huge steak?  i love the way they precut the meat and lay it out on the plate.  pretty.


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happy birthday to my bestie since high school.  she is the most caring, genuine and thoughtful friend you could ever ask for.  i can’t wait for the many many many years of friendship to come!


funny thing…9 years ago Jen and I went to New York together as singles and this last April we went with our men.  It was a full circle kind of experience to go back to the same places together and eat delicious treats as group.  I hope we can come back together with our babies to continue this little tradition!

below a DELIIIICIOUS brownie sunday with a cute chocolate cow on it.


gold coins the waiters tossed as they sang Jen happy birthday!


our dinner group (minus 2 friends who had to leave early)


on the subway back to the city.  it was our last night in nyc so the ride back was a little bitter sweet.

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NYC was such an amazing experience and we’re so lucky to have so many friends join us in this trip!  It made the city that much more special to have all our besties with us. <3     I still have a ton more NYC posts, but I had to post this since it was after central park <3  More pictures and adventures to come this week!! xoxo

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NYC: Central Park


Markel and I went on the most beautiful picnic in central park with my friend and her bf.  The day started out really gray and hazy so we weren’t sure if we would be able to go picnic.  B U T Jesus was on our side and the weather turned out to be G O R G E O U S!!

There were tons of people out and a few baseball games going on.  We found a patch of grass next to this beautiful man made pond and castle.


the moment we walked into the park it felt like a totally different place.  simply gorgeous and serene!
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a closer look at our huge feast.  DELIIIIC.  my friend and i brought totally different things so it was nice to share and chit chat over small bites.20140504_142951

pretty and yummy~~


You can’t tell in this picture but the weather was gorgeous and there were tons of families coming out to picnic and enjoy the day!


Dude, Jam Jar wine was the best one of the picnic.  SOOOO GOOOD.  Sweet, light and perfect for a picnic in the park.  Cute label too!


my handsome markel laying out at the park <3


such a fun and amazing picnic with friends <3




the castle we never went into…haha just looked at it, snapped a pic and kept walking.  we were on such a tight schedule this last full day we were in NYC that we just looked at lots of things and kept walking.  =(  next time!


Some gorgeous shots of the park.  I LOVE CENTRAL PARK!!  absolutely stunning~~~  It’s SO different from the actual city so it makes you feel like you’re in a completely different place.

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the only selfie we took.   awkward faces and lighting, but oh wells…

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markel HAD to buy a hotdog from a stand.  it was his one nyc wish <3  so we got one after our rad picnic and before peter lugar’s.  lol

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taking the subway to brooklyn for a delicious dinner at peter lugar’s! YUMMMM


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First Day of Summer


What the Blairs are doing today 😉  world Cup is playing on the tellie and we are doing a little spring cleaning in our PJs.  The perfect way to spend our first free Saturday in months!

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Getting to Manhattan from JFK and Back (transportation)


When Markel and I planned our trip to NYC, I made it a point to research the city and transportation alternatives besides car service and taxis.  Strangely I am very weird about paying for taxis when subways are cheaper and just as convenient.  *shrug *

So instead of taking a $60 taxi from JFK to the upper westside, I took the Air Tran (there were signs for it EVERYWHERE at the airport) to Howard Beach.  Once I got to Howard Beach I switched to the A train and took it all the way up to the Upper West Side.  YES it took a long time, but I read on the train and enjoyed the fact that this only cost $7.50. =)  Since I was by myself, I could NOT justify taking the $60 cab ride.

Anywhoo…This was a cool tip I learned on my trip and it’s something I would do again! =)


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Etsy Review: Lulu May Jewelry

A few weeks ago I ordered rings from etsy seller Lulu May.  Her store was having a 20% off sale and I instantly fell in love with her pieces.  Not only are they gold (which i’m obsessed with) but each item is so simple and unique.

Here are the two items I ordered below.  (these are pics from her website directly.  my hands are not cute, so i don’t want to ruin her pieces with my chubby fingers)


the filigree ring above came on the smaller side of the ring size i ordered, but that’s fine.  instead of wearing it on my middle finger, i’ll just wear it on my ring finger like pictured above.  The ring below i’m wearing right now as i type and i absolutely adore it.


And here are other pieces from her store I’m absolutely in love with!!  All pieces are either gold plated or gold filled~

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Check out this store though!  All the items are handmade in Israel so it takes a few weeks for it to arrive.  Packaging was super cute as well!


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