Los Angeles

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James and I had such a good time visiting Andrew in Los Angeles with my parents a few weekends ago. It’s always such a treat to soak up the California coast with all of my five senses – taking in the rich hue of the ocean, inhaling the salty breeze, exploring new neighborhoods on foot, listening to street musicians, and, of course, tasting so many delicious treats. Andrew moved to Culver City in the spring and it was our first time visiting him in his new ‘hood. He works downtown L.A. and it was fun to have him give us a tour of his favorite spots around his office, especially since the downtown area of Los Angeles has been revitalized so much since I moved away from Santa Monica five years ago.

James and I arrived in Los Angeles super early on Friday morning, and Mom and Dad had come in the night before. We checked out our digs at The Culver Hotel and waited for Public School 310, the cute restaurant across the street, to open for lunch service. We enjoyed tons of good bites before heading to the beach to soak up the sunshine and watch the waves crash against the sand. It was a bit of a trek to make it out to the water, thanks to the notoriously bad L.A. traffic, but it was so, so worth it. The four of us just sat on a bench on the pier for a good long while, gazing out at the water and nearly nodding off as we relaxed in the sun.

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While waiting for Andrew to get off of work, we had cocktails and appetizers at the hotel. The menu at the hotel is fantastic and the quality of the food and beverages is so, so good. We loved the popcorn, the ahi tuna, the hummus, and every delicious drink on the bar menu. We met Andrew at his apartment for homemade happy hour (round two), and we walked down the street for dinner at a sushi restaurant that had a bustling outdoor patio. It was so good to all be together!

On Saturday, we slept in before heading out on an adventure to downtown L.A. Andrew took us to so many cool spots, like Grand Central Market, Guisado’s, his gorgeous office building, and Pershing Square. We peeped into the Ace Hotel, Aesop, and Bottega Louie along the way, taking photos and scoring treats at the French bakery for a mid-afternoon snack (think dreamy bites like macarons, lemon tarts, and chocolate chip cookies). Andrew then took us to Perch, a beautiful bar that overlooked the whole city. It was so cool to sit amongst the skyscrapers, relaxing under umbrellas with ice-cold drinks as a light breeze cooled us off.

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From there, we made a pit-stop in Koreatown at The Line Hotel and, well, you know how I feel about our time at The Commissary. Oh my, it was magical.

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The Commissary

Totally stuffed to the gills, we opted against a formal dinner. Instead, we invited my best friend Karli and her husband Nick, who are also Culver City residents, and Andrew’s best friends, Tanner and Taylor, to have snacks and sips with us at The Culver Hotel. It was so, so much fun to catch up with Tanner, Taylor, and Nick (who I hadn’t seen since our wedding!) and to cozy up with Kar to catch up on all of our recent adventures, including her amazing five-year anniversary trip to Europe.

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The next morning we brunched at Akasha and the food and atmosphere were both divine. As an aside, a word about pumpkin spice season: I know it is totally overrated and overdone, but if you find yourself breakfasting at Akasha this fall, please do yourself a favor and order the pumpkin spice latte. It is so dreamy. From there, we went to one of my favorite spots on the West Side: Abbot Kinney Boulevard. We browsed the perfectly curated shops and paused for photo ops, lingering over our last few hours together with refreshing lemonade and lots of laughs.

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There you have it! What a wonderful family weekend – our first with James as an official member of the crew! Until next time, sweet, sweet Los Angeles…

The Commissary at The Line Hotel

The Commissary

Considering that eating is one of the Johnson family’s favorite hobbies, it should come as no surprise that we consumed so many delicious treats at plenty of wonderful restaurants while in Los Angeles this past weekend – kale salads and Mexican Cokes at Public School 310, baked coconut bites and green juice at Grand Central Market, chicken tinga tacos and limon agua fresca at Guisado’s, tuna tartare with avocado & wonton chips and fresh cucumber mint martinis at The Culver Hotel, polenta cake Eggs benedict and pumpkin spice lattes at Akasha. But if I had to pick a favorite place, my vote would be cast in honor of The Commissary at The Line Hotel.

I noticed photos of the beautiful restaurant on social media outlets recently (it’s designed to look like a gorgeous greenhouse so it’s hard to miss) and was intrigued not only by The Commissary’s space but by The Line Hotel as well, seeing as it’s the newest hipster hang-out in Koreatown (and home to a Poketo outpost, a fantastic shop that sells gifts, home goods, and accessories). Andrew gave us a fantastic tour of downtown Los Angeles on Saturday (including visits to his super cool office, the aforementioned Grand Central Market and Guisado’s, and Perch for rooftop cocktails overlooking the city) and we were preparing to wind down before making a last-minute impromptu stop to peek into The Commissary.

Mom, James, and I all saw (and loved!) Chef, and the visionary behind The Commissary is none other than Roy Choi, the culinary genius who Jon Favreau’s character is loosely based upon in the film. So it was no surprise that the food was at the restaurant was absolutely stellar. We only intended on having a late-afternoon cocktail but we were so drawn in by the menu (which is comprised only of pictures, so you can choose what you’d like to eat but the preparation ultimately ends up being a supremely delicious surprise) that we tried a few snacks…before having a few more drinks…and then eating a few more snacks. Check out the menu below – isn’t the choose-your-own adventure a fantastic concept?

Commissary Menu

We noshed on the corn, French fries, hash browns, deviled eggs, grilled cheese sandwich, and club sandwich (don’t worry, we ate a few extra salads and drank green juice to counterbalance these fabulously carb-laden choices throughout the rest of the trip) and everything was so tasty – if pressed, I would choose all of these selections again, and then on top of that, I’d get the carrots, the fish, and the tomatoes, as well as several more flutes of the delicious sparkling Bordeaux that I drank (that was served icy cold, just the way I like it).

The vibe of the restaurant itself was just mesmerizing. For someone who loves clean lines and plants everywhere you look, The Commissary is heaven. There is seating outside of the greenhouse space as well, and the back section of the restaurant opens up to the hotel’s gorgeous pool. Everything about the restaurant, down to the mismatching glassware and creatively crafted dining chairs, is perfectly curated and lovingly  decorated. It’s basically something that I wish I could recreate in Dallas! (Or just in my backyard so I could be the only patron at all times…because I’m selfish.) If you’re heading to LA soon, I highly recommend that you check out The Commissary. Dare I say it’s my new favorite restaurant…ever?

The Best Coast

The Best Coast

James & I got home from Los Angeles late last night and I’ve been mourning our departure from the best coast ever since. I absolutely love visiting California, and I get especially sentimental when I spend time in L.A. I lived in Malibu for four years during college and in nearby Santa Monica for one year after I graduated, and I made so many irreplaceable memories in those cities. I met my best friends in those places, and I faced some of my most formative experiences on that coast. And don’t even get me started on the amazing scenery. The ocean is truly restorative to my soul. When I’m on the best coast, I love nothing more than sitting outside and relaxing near the water, pondering life (and, okay, sometimes dozing off). There’s something about the expanse of the ocean that is simultaneously profound, inspiring, and relaxing. If I’m being honest, I feel closest to God when I’m near water – the ocean just has a spiritual impact on me me.

Anyway, you get the idea – I love the ocean. And the West (or, in my opinion, best) Coast A LOT. Coming next – a recap from our amazing weekend together in Los Angeles!

Week & End

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Hey there, folks! This Week & End post is coming at you a little earlier than usual because James & I are headed to Los Angeles bright and early tomorrow morning to visit my favorite brother in the whole world! My parents are already there and they’ve posted up at The Culver Hotel, a great little boutique spot that is just around the corner from Andrew’s apartment. I absolutely cannot wait to be on the best coast so that I can breathe in some ocean air and spend time with the most amazing family on the planet.

Enjoy your weekends and have fun checking out these links from around the interwebs!

I got a quick start on my School Year Resolutions by volunteering today at the Circles Conference. What an amazing event! I was so inspired by the presentations I heard and the people I met. I’ll share a more thorough recap soon!

I popped into J.Crew to return a few items last week and I got totally distracted by their new line of perfumes. Since I typically gravitate towards more masculine scents, it was no surprise that I totally fell for No. 57, which has hints of whiskey, cinnamon, and cedarwood. I picked up a rollerball version of the perfume and I have been loving it already.

I really enjoyed reading Bon Appetit’s post about redefining the Freshman 15. Erin and I were chatting about this article and we felt über distinguished to have developed a taste for so many items on this list (good bread & butter, fish, marcona almonds, and especially good wine and burrata) during our college years (all while still staying true to our addiction to Funfetti cake, of course).

*I’m cutting my number of shared links short this week because, frankly, I have to finish up some work e-mails and pack my suitcase for LA – apologies, friends. Catch you next week! 

Week & End

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The weekend is here! I am so excited to be heading to Colorado this evening for a weekend trip with Erin, Karli & Becca! Last year we spent time together in Cambria, California (where the photo above was taken), and I know this weekend will be full of similar goodness to what we experienced during that trip – great food, lots of laughter, plenty of adventuring, gorgeous scenery, and, of course, free-flowing wine. I can’t wait!

Have a great one, and enjoy some fun links from around the interwebs!

This perfect picnic post made me want to whip up some treats, gather up a blanket, and head to a park with husband & puppy for some afternoon relaxation. I’m putting this on my summer to-do list, definitely.

This interview with Fred Armisen & Carrie Brownstein (of Portlandia fame) is not new to the internet but it was new to me, and I laughed out loud several times while reading it. Seriously, the last question about the ATM – how did those two get so dang funny?

This rental house in Costa Rica is actually a dream come true. Who wants to book a trip, stat?

I really like this short little questionnaire with Kate Arends, the blogger behind Wit & Delight. I love her sense of style so it was fun to get a sneak peek into her life.

I loved this Besties feature on Camille Styles’s blog – I was particularly inspired by both girls’s comments about their passion for Christ & their faith. I also super love these watermelon swim suit bottoms that Kate was wearing – adorable (I mean, seriously, paired with that chambray top – s’cute).

P.S. My newest post about creating your own backyard oasis is up on Darling Magazine’s blog!

Summery Pins

I’ve found so much good summer-inspired content on Pinterest over the last few weeks and I thought I’d share some of my favorite images with you today. Don’t these photos make you wish you were sipping an ice-cold beverage near a beautiful body of water? #metoo

Big Sur

Big Sur via Cereal Magazine

Summer Colors

Summer paint colors via Meggie Lynne

Vacation Necessities

Vacation essentials via Wit & Delight

Sunset

Surfer’s sunset via Marion WD

Sunglasses

Sunglasses watercolor via A Place for Art

Paloma & Guacamole

Paloma & guacamole via eat, live, run

California in the '40s

California in the 1940s via National Geographic

 

The Yellow Conference

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I’ve felt extremely productive today, partly in thanks to my cozy early morning coffee date with Kyla & Kristen and the gloomy June weather we’re experiencing in Dallas (which always makes me better at hunkering down and tackling my to do list compared to when it’s sunny and beautiful outside). After knocking some things off my list, I sought out some new places for inspiration, contemplating ideas that I could turn into reality in order to generate something new and exciting not only within the realm of my job but also in the world of my extracurricular creative pursuits. While reading a few blogs during my lunch break, I stumbled upon The Yellow Conference and was totally inspired by the concept:

The Yellow Conference is a gathering for creative women who desire to ignite passion and bring goodness to the world through everyday living.

This conference was created for you. The women who know that they were built for a greater purpose. The earth shakers and ground movers. Come learn from like minded individuals who are out there making a difference, and learn how you too can do the same. Come to get inspired and leave with practical advice on how to make your dreams a reality as a woman living in today’s modern world.

Our desire is to help you live a life filled with passion, one you are proud of. To fight for goodness, fight for love, and spread it throughout the world. Come to discover more about yourself and how to use your uniqueness to live inspired and passionately throughout your days.

I mean, totally awesome, right? (Insert me slow clapping here.) I passed this on to some friends as well as to my boss/mentor, Pam – all of us are chomping at the bit to register for the conference. I know a few of the speakers (one is Darling Magazine’s Editor in Chief, Sarah Dubbeldam) and I would love the chance to get to meet new & inspiring people in one of my favorite places (Los Angeles, of course). Stay tuned – I’m hoping we can make something work…this is right up my alley!

Image via Design Loves Company