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Weekending | Vacation Mode

Happy Monday friends! We are still enjoying California for the next few days & I'll be back to blogging on Friday with a fresh post! Until then - wishing you all a wonderful week ahead & here's a snap from our hot air balloon adventure yesterday!! 
Hope everyone had a great weekend!! Comments have been disabled for this post! 

A Day in Los Angeles | Travel Diary

Happy Friday friends! I wanted to get ahead of all the travel posts as much as possible and before I forgot all the details, so today I'm starting with our 36 hours in Los Angeles. Our flight got us into Los Angeles right around 3 pm - once you factor in picking up the car, navigating through the city & getting dinner -you're pretty much pooped from the time difference. Especially when you had a great weekend on the east coast. We did have a quick dinner with a friend of mine who was also in town with her husband celebrating their anniversary which was such a nice treat, but more on that later! 
What to do in Los angeles, LA, one day in LA, where to eat in LA, Bardonna


I wanted to make sure that we got the most out of our short time in Los Angeles so I immediately started the search for interesting tours and kept seeing "A Day in LA" pop up. An all day, smaller tour of about 12 people takes you through every popular and let's be honest, touristy spot in the city. I knew that it would be overwhelming to try to hit all the high points on our own, so this was really the only option I wanted. Here's what we were able to see & do! 

Santa Monica / Venice 

We chose to meet up with the tour at 9:30 AM in Santa Monica since that's where we were staying and was the easiest pick up point. They do offer hotel pickups but we were staying in an AirBnB in the area so this made the most sense. From the pick up your quickly taken a few miles up the road to Venice Beach. Your given about 35-40 minutes to tour the true highlights including muscle beach & the venice boardwalk. 
Venice Beach Board Walk, A day in LA tour, tour venice

Rodeo Drive / Beverly Hills 

I'd say this was the one part of the tour I wish we had a little more time - sadly we were only given 45 minutes so you're not given much time to really go into any of the stores, but let's be real - everything is so astronomically priced odds are I shouldn't have been going into the stores anyway. We walked around, saw a $2.5 million Bugatti & saw a few of the famous hotels in the area. 

The Grove 

This was definitely my favorite stop on the tour and the "lunch" stop. We opted for a super quick lunch so that we would have as much time to roam around the outdoor area as possible. Filled with great stores, an incredible food market & a beautiful outdoor space - the Grove is one of the places I would have gone back to if we had more time in LA. 
Los Angeles The Grove

The Griffith Observatory 

Funny enough, the observatory itself is closed on Monday's which is the day we were doing the tour, but it was the second longest time we had a stop which I didn't think made that much sense. I watched La La Land on the flight to LA, so when we were driving up to the observatory I felt like - hey I know this place!! You get absolutely incredible views of Los Angeles - the Hollywood Sign looks pretty great from the top! 

Hollywood Walk of Fame 

The final stop of the tour is the Hollywood Walk of Fame and it was the most meh portion of the tour for me. Not because of the tour itself, but I was so let down with how it actually looked. Felt a little rundown & of course the highlight is seeing all the stars on the sidewalk, but I was expecting something more, I'm just not sure what that was. 

Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica 

After the tour was over around 5:30 we were dropped back off in Santa Monica and we decided to stick around and check out the Third Street Promenade. It's a completely outdoor experience with shopping, food & musicians performing on almost every corner. We spent a couple hours walking down the length of the promenade & it was plenty of time to see everything! And I also made a little purchase :) 
After one full day in LA I actually walked the equivalent of a half marathon - that number of steps was pure insanity to me! My calves were still hurting two days later!! 


We didn't do a ton of eating LA believe it or not, but hit up a few of the local spots. 
In-N-Out Burger, Los Angles Burger, Where to eat near LAX
Of course the first stop was In-N-Out burger which you already saw, but I'm hoping we can go again because I had no idea there was a secret menu and we should have gotten the fries "animal style" 
Mercado Santa Monica 
We also ate at Fig in the Fairmont Hotel & Misfit in Santa Monica - we didn't really taste test the menu since we weren't that hungry, but the few things we did get were good. 
Bardonna, places to eat in Santa Monica, Brunch in LA
My absolute favorite meal from LA was at Bardonna  in Santa Monica. The brunch that both Gary & I had were delicious and of course the latte's were perfectly brewed!! Highly suggest a visit there if you're in the area & take a picture near the love wall - picture below! 

Fun fact & Mural Art! 

Bardonna, Santa Monica, Mural Art, Love Wall
Outside the first Starbucks in Los Angeles
You might have noticed that in some photos I had my jean jacket on and in other's they were a no go...well all of California has something called "micro climates." I'm well aware of how different inland temps can be to those temps by the water, but 20 degree differences with fog rolling in within a matter of a few feet was just crazy!! Just be sure to bring lots of layers when you visit! It also wasn't hard at all to find great backdrops for photos - there are murals on every corner! 
So there you have it - a quick and easy way to see all the highlights of Los Angeles in basically one day! Of course we missed out on some great food spots, but that means we'll just have to go back and do a food tour version next time!
We are headed to Napa today & looking forward to a few days of relaxing in Wine Country. Hope you'll follow along on Instagram - I'm sharing a lot of quick snippets of the trip - sometimes too much, but when everything is so picturesque it's hard to stop yourself!! 
What to do in Los angeles, LA, one day in LA, where to eat in LA, Bardonna
Sadly no celeb or real housewives sightings in LA, but I'm still crossing my fingers for some! Have you ever been to Los Angeles? 

Birthday Weekending in NYC

Happy Monday friends!! What a whirlwind weekend - from Midtown to the Lower East Side all the way to Brooklyn, this was the ultimate weekend! With the pictures doing much of the explaining, there's really no need for an introduction! Warning...picture overload ahead! 

Stay ||

Park Avenue Hotel, New York Hotel, Iberostar Hotel New York

Park Avenue Hotel, New York Hotel, Iberostar Hotel New York
When it was decided that we (my family including parents & sister / BIL) would be coming to New York for a wedding and my birthday I jumped on to Jetsetter to see what types of deals we could get for a great location & nice hotel. We lucked out with Iberostar on Park Avenue - seriously we paid such a great price - a quick walk to 5th Avenue & not too far from everywhere we would be going over the 36 hours in New York. I really appreciated all the full length mirrors in the room, which it seems like hotels never have & free WiFi - that coupled with a comfy bed and I was a happy camper! 

Birthday Celebrations ||

Lower East Side Restaurant, LES, Beauty and Essex, New York Restaurants,
Figuring out where to host a birthday dinner in NYC is no easy task - loads of restaurants to choose from, but I was looking for a place that had a private room, could easily host 20 people & gave you an experience to go along with the food. After doing a little research and asking some friends I kept hearing Beauty & Essex as the top choice. If you followed along on Insta Stories then you saw you enter the restaurant through a working pawn shop. 

The minute you walk into B&E you are transported - it's a mix between old hollywood glamour & over the top decadence. The private room in situated in the back of the restaurant on the first floor & although a tad bit loud with the music that's played in the other areas of the restaurant you do get a nice bit of privacy to enjoy the night. I was surrounded by my family and friends -  some that live in NYC & other's that just happened to be in town. 
I preselected the menu that was served family style & oh my word was it delicious. All I kept hearing from everyone was how incredible everything tasted. I'd go back for the tuna sashimi alone! 
private party menu at beauty and essex
I wasn't able to get any photos, but if the menu gives you any indication - there really is no other way to describe it other than delicious! Each course was better than the one before & even though we were all incredibly stuffed we couldn't stop eating! The restaurant was very accommodating with a couple allergies that we had which makes things that much more enjoyable. 
I have to say the biggest surprise was the size of the cake - when I selected the dessert I had no idea that the cake would be bigger than any cake I've had before and just as everything else - incredibly delicious. It was the most fun I have ever had for a birthday & without a doubt one I will remember forever! My cheeks hurt from laughing & smiling so much & the toasts that were given in my honor brought tears to my eyes! Oh & did I mention there is a champagne bar in the women's bathroom - that's right a full on lounge with a bartender serving champagne!! That's reason enough to go!

Wedding Celebration ||

The wedding we went to on Saturday gave us views of the Statue of Liberty, the most gorgeous ceremony followed by a stunning loft reception - with cherry blossoms and twinkle lights!! I was in wedding planner heaven! Jackie & I need to find a couple in Boston to recreate this for soon! 
I had a couple folks ask about the two dresses I wore this weekend & both were bought on a whim and pure luck! I found the blue Pamella Rolland dress in the Runway section of TJ Maxx & it's my new favorite piece in my closet! A touch long, but higher heels make everything work! The red dress was a random find at Nordstrom Rack - sometimes you just have to buy the dress because you never know when you'll need to wear it!! 
Sunday morning we packed our bags & made our way to California...vacation mode in full effect!! Literally the first stop we made after picking up our car was to In-N-Out burger. To me, it totally lived up to the hype!
This was without a doubt one of the best weekend ever - so much fun and I want to thank you all so much for your birthday wishes!! 

How was your weekend? Link up below to share! 

30 Fun Facts |

Before I get into today's post I want to say how amazing you all are - thank you so much for your kind words on my post Wednesday! Thank you, Thank you! So today is officially my 30th birthday! Did I wake up feeling any different today than I did yesterday - NOPE! However, there was a shift that happened this week, the dread turned to excitement and I'm ready for this next decade of my life! I feel like my 20's took forever (except these last few years, those seem to have really flown by) & I'm hoping that life in your 30's slows down a little bit. If it doesn't, which let's be real it more than likely wont, I hope that I learn to live in the moment a little bit better! 

I thought it would be fun to share 30 fun facts that you may not know about me!! For some of the folks that have been around these parts for a while, these might be repeats, but I tried to think of lots of fun ones!! I also wanted to share some of my favorite that give you a little glimpse into my silly personality! 

  1. When I was 12 I sang in a wedding band!! 
  2. I bit my nails up until I was 26 - but when I get anxious, nervous or scared I still have the urge to bite them! Which is why they must always be painted!
  3. I was All-Conference all four years of high school for tennis
  4. My favorite drink used to be a Bellini - now I always order Prosecco!  
  5. I'm a cold brew fanatic - vanilla sweet cream cold brew is my only order at Starbucks
  6. Gary makes fun of the way I sleep - all wrapped up like a burrito in our duvet. 
  7. My favorite punctuation mark is an exclamation point - see above for proof...I over use it and I know! <-- SEE
  8. Even though I speak Russian fluently, I get really nervous conversing with anyone that I'm not related to because I feel like I speak with an accent...which I know is true
  9. My absolute favorite food in the world is sushi - this isn't a surprise to anyone who knows me
  10. My second favorite food is anything with lobster - lobster mac and cheese, lobster dumplings, lobster rolls - lobster PERIOD! 
  11. I type incredibly fast - thanks in large part to g-chat & blogging! 
  12. I've had the nickname B-Love since junior year of college - hence B-Loved Boston, which has been my social media handle since 2008. 
  13. The voice I get when I see a baby is obnoxious - it's a mix between a baby voice & some sort of cutesy made up words that I have in my head
  14. I don't like getting pedicures because my feet are incredibly ticklish
  15. My nickname for anything that I find adorable or cute is "monkey"
  16. I can throw a football with quite the spiral 
  17. I didn't know how to cook until I was of the reasons I learned how to cook was so that I could cook for Gary!
  18. I've never seen the Wizard of Oz, Back to the Future, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and I'm sure loads of other movies that people grew up watching
  19. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving - not for the food, but because my parents always come to visit
  20. I have a weird need to buy pens - I have so many at work & at home I've actually had to make a conscious effort not to go down that aisle in a store --> the same can be said for notebooks
  21. Touching chicken weird's me out & when we make it at home Gary has to handle it - if he comes near me with his "chicken hand" I have a major freak out
  22. I have an irrational fear of bugs - specifically ones that can fly out of nowhere & centipedes 
  23. I can't remember the last time I bought an article of clothing full price - I'm a sales girl all the way! In fact - one of my favorite things is getting something that was stupidly overpriced for a steal. 
  24. However, when it comes to Louis Vuitton I'm willing to splurge! 
  25. My favorite candy in the whole world is Ferrero Rocher - everyone basically knows this & for the holidays, valentine's day & my birthday I get so much of it! #notcomplaining
  26. I haven't had a car in 8 years! Finding a place in the city that comes with a parking spot is like the holy grail and one that doesn't come cheaply! Gary sold his car about 5 years ago & whenever we need to head out of town we ZipCar!
  27. I lack serious coordination. I fall / trip on average about 3 times a week & that explains why I constantly have bruises. I also have this weird tendency to walk into walls. 
  28. I still don't know how to ride a bike...I was really hoping to knock that one off my 30 before 30 list...oh well! 
  29. For some reason my brain can remember lyrics to songs after only hearing it once - whether I turned the heat off I can't remember for the life of me! 
  30. I started writing a book! Gary actually helped me with the premise & I have 3 chapters written. Maybe in my 30's I'll finish it! 

Seriously - coming up with 30 fun facts is nearly impossible - I don't think I'm that interesting! Thank you all so much for all the birthday wishes all week long!! The friendships I've made in the blogging world are unlike any other!! I hope you'll follow along on Instagram (@blovedboston) for our California adventure!! I'll be back Monday with a NYC weekending recap!

What my 20's taught me

I've done a lot of reflecting over the last few months as I head into the next decade of my life. While every birthday is a milestone, hey we made it another year in life, 30 has been one that I've been the most fixated on! On the one hand there are certain milestones in life I thought I would have by now and then on the other hand I look back on everything that I have accomplished in my 20's and I'm pretty darn proud! I thought it would be fun to share a few of the things I learned in my 20's! 

On Finding Yourself ||

To this day, one of the best experiences of my life was studying abroad in Rome the Summer going into my senior year of college. I made friends from different cities that I still keep in touch with today, I traveled Europe by train, plane & everything in between & I learned so much about myself. Taking that time in your life when your responsibilities are basically getting to class & making good grades is the best time to explore & figure stuff out! There will come a point when you'll have those memories to look back on and you'll wistfully retell all the stories! As much as I like to think that I've "found myself" - I think there have been certain experiences that have given me the opportunity to round myself out and it's ever evolving! 

On Taking a Chance ||

The biggest chance I took in my 20's was moving to Boston after graduating from college - without a job & with basically one friend (hi Jess!) - not counting my sister since she's a built in best friend. I had just turned 22 and was seriously scared out of my mind that I would never make it let alone find a job. But I did and here I am 8 years later in a job that I absolutely love, with a side business that I am so incredibly proud of & a blog that I never in my wildest dreams thought I would keep up with for over 3 years! It was a decision that I would make 100 times over if I had to go back and do it all again! 

On Aging ||

That picture right there - senior year of college with my bestie Rachel & looking oh so tan! Now we're both on the verge of 30 & she's about to have twins!! The joy's of having a less than packed schedule and a pool in my back yard! So 30 isn't old per se, but I started to really take care of my skin when I hit 25. I've tried to be kind to my skin & I'm so thankful that my sister and mom imparted that wisdom on me - moisturize, don't over pluck those brows & for Pete's sake - don't tug on your skin when taking your makeup off - age and your skin's elasticity will drag it down on it's own! Oh and learn to drink more water - I think I'll always struggle with that! Oh and stop laying out to the point of getting a sun burn!! 

On Friends ||

Oh man, I'm not sure what I did in my past life to deserve the wonderful ladies that I have in my life - but the craziest part is that some of friends I've known for 20 years & others I only met two or so years ago. My 20's taught me that it doesn't matter how long you've known someone, when it comes to friendship the more laughs you share, the better! So thankful for these fierce women! 

On Grandparents ||

The only regrets I have are things relating to grandmother's - that I didn't call them more in my early 20's when they were still able to really talk to me on the phone and give me advice. I know how lucky I am to have both of them still with us, but I really do wish I would have called them more. They are still healthy (knock on wood) & I'm so excited that I get to see them in April when I go back to Florida for a visit, but it's never truly the same. So if you're in your early 20's or just lucky enough to have your grandparents - call them! 

On Parents - specifically mine ||

There will never be two people more in my "corner" than my parents! My 20's taught me that mom is always right & dad is going to be easy going about the decisions you make and guide you in his own way. When people find out how close we are or how often we talk (twice a day with each parent) they give me this sort of confused look, like what can you possibly talk about - it's less about what we talk about and more that we just hear each other's voices & everything is okay! I'd say I'm pretty lucky to have parents that have given me everything necessary in life to "make it," but what they really taught me in my 20's - just go for it. That far fetched idea - try it, that goal I'm striving for - do it and that trip I want to go on- take it!! 

On Sisters ||

There really is no bond like that of sisters! I would be lost without my sister - she's my sounding board for nearly everything in life & the one I go to when I need sage advice. She's the one that gave me a place to live (and my BIL being as awesome as he is agreed) when I first moved here without a job & didn't let me take that first job offer just because it was a job offer! We are closer than close - she's my sister & best friend and has taught me that I should forge my own path. As I've gotten older, the advice has shifted and now we're equal - her asking for my advice as much as I ask for hers! She's taught me that "having it all" is not an unattainable goal in life - "all" is a relative term & it's up to you to decide what it really means! 

On Love ||

I've loved, I've lost (that's actually an Ellie Goulding lyric) & I've certainly made my fair share of mistakes, but I wouldn't change any of it - well maybe a few dates I would just cancel if given the chance...but it was all part of the growing up process. I entered my 20's as a hopeless romantic and still am! I was lucky to "find" Gary at 23, which is certainly young, but we were in the same place in our lives and it just clicked! If I could go back and tell my younger self anything it would be to do it all the same way - but trust your gut with everyone - there's a reason it's called a gut instinct! When I was in high school I had a boyfriend tell me that fairytales aren't real life & that finding prince charming wouldn't really happen! Nice, huh? Well thankfully I didn't believe him and in my 20's I learned that is absolutely not true - he does exist (as the little chocolate M&M's say) & it's pretty much the best feeling ever when you find that kind of love!  

So if you got through all of that....I want to know what you learned about yourself in your 20's?