shop small, give big!

Gift giving is one of my favorite things. In a sense, I do it selfishly because I love love love seeing my friend’s expression when they open their gift. If you’re like me, you’ve done some shopping-but still need to fill out the rest of your holiday presents. My guide below features gifts from some of my dear friends, all of whom are running their own companies. I am not only so proud of them, but they have fantastic products. I hope this makes your shopping a little easier, and more unique: shop small, give big!

allie logan boutique

Miss Allie Logan is not only a dear friend, but my future roommate and I cannot wait to host dinners with all her goods. She has created a curated home goods boutique that will take your entertaining to the next level. I love all of the etched glassware–hello bar cart up grade! And all of the handpainted Gorky dishes can make for an easy art display if not being used.

promouse the code SANTASLIST at checkout for free shipping. act fast! the offer only applies to the first 10 customers.

box fox

This is a one stop shopping destination! The talented ladies behind Box Fox have made it soooo easy to create a custom gift box for anyone in your life- they have men’s products too! Think of it as an amped up Birchbox with notecards, candles, even spiced honey for the foodies in your life.

promo: use the code FREESHIP11 for free shipping on your first BOXFOX

cabi clothing

So I’m definitely biased because my mom sells this clothing line- but I kid you not, some of my favorite go-to pieces are cabi. What’s even more exciting, is this year you can shop with them online. Although if you do want to book a show in your home, invite over your ladies etc. my mom, Sue, will be happy to set that up!

promo: not sure how you want to dress for the various holiday parties coming up? or maybe you need some wardrobe staples- set up a free call with Sue by contacting her at suepelletier@comcast.net

#Hashtats

Started by Melinda of the Curated Cool, her temporary tattoos kick ass. Not only can they be applied on your skin, but I love how you can customize your phone case, laptop, flask etc. More tattoo designs will be up on her shop shortly, but feel free to email shop@curatedcool.com for more information

promo: buy 3 sets, get $3 off, buy 5 sets get $5 off, buy 10 sets, get $10 off. no promo code necessary!

Photos by Michelle Mishina Photography @mishinaphoto

my baby olive juice

I met Jody of My Baby Olive Juice last year when I took her intro to calligraphy class. While I’m by no means a pro- she is!! Her mugs will make your mornings brighter.

promo: use the code Natalie10 at checkout for 10% off your order! Expires Christmas Eve. 

the ripped bodice

Bea and Leah of The Ripped Bodice in Culver City have certainly decked out their store in holiday style. Their romance novel book store is one of a kind. Before this year, I had never read one–now I’m hooked! Pop in and don’t be scared to ask for help. They are super friendly and knowledgable. Great for secret santa gifts too!

brick and mortar location: 3806 Main St, Culver City, CA 90232

saor perfume

When Patty, founder of Saor, first introduced me to her scent I kept lifting my wrist back up to my nose to smell it. It’s such a yummy fragrance. It’s easy to travel with AND it’s oil based which makes the scent last all day. I also love her ode to Gaelic, SAOR means free.

skatie swim

I am in love with these suits. Plus, Skatie created lots of designs to fit all body types. They are all hand made in LA and made from designers overstock of fabric. So not only are they chic, but eco-friendly!

promo: take 15% off your first order with the code MerryChristmas

trussedFun’d

When I first looked at trussedfun’d’s collection I wanted everything- and for all my friend’s birthdays to be approaching so I could give them a piece too. Designs are handmade in LA with love.

promo: take 10% off your order plus free shipping with code FRECKLELOVE offer expires 12/19. email trussedfund@gmail.com or visit their instagram for full selection of jewelry! 

i’m with her

Election Day 2016.

Normally I’m not one to talk politics online, but I recently had an unwelcome incident at work. Ironically enough, before my shift I was watching Amazon’s new show Good Girls Revolt, which revolves around a group of female researchers standing up for their rights to “write” at a Time-like magazine. It made me smile seeing these women convene in bathrooms, coffee shops before work, at consciousness-rising meeting after work. They were collectively standing up for themselves and didn’t want to take the sexist behavior exhibited in the office.

Back to why this is ironic. The show is set in 1970. Fast forward to less than a week ago, November 2016, and I had a man treat me in a way that took me back 40 years:

As I passed a tray of appetizers, I felt a strong pull gripping my waist. Turning around, I came face to face with a man who had a sheepish grin. My insides were churning. He had no right to aggressively grab at me. But I was at work, slapping him would not go over well. Instead, I forced a smile and asked if he wanted an hor d’oeuvre. He laughed and made a crude comment about “wanting me”. Are you fucking kidding me?? Needless to say, I was in shock, so I made a semi-funny quip, turned around and walked away. You better believe I heard the group of men snickering.

Later, new apps in hand, crude man made his presence known by calling me “Honey Pot” and asking for another beer. My name’s Natalie I said. Really were we back in the 60s/70s??? He didn’t care, he called me “Honey Pot” again.

At that point, a coworker had seen that interaction and alerted management. They were furious at the man, and promptly told me I didn’t have to walk around the floor anymore. Part of me wanted to stay on the floor- was I succumbing and weak to his words/action that I was just going to avoid him? Or was it ok to stay away? Believe me, there was nothing more I wanted to do than tell him off. But I realized I didn’t have to put myself through more poor treatment to prove I was strong, that I could handle the inappropriate verbal and physical behavoir.

In that scenario, I couldn’t vote him off the island. But you better believe that when I hit the polls today I will not stand for anyone who doesn’t see all humans as one class. Woman, Mexican, Elderly, Black,  Arab, Man, White, Asian–we are all equal. And deserve to be seen and treated as such.

I’m standing with HER because no one deserves to feel less than their worth.

It’s 2016, own your sex and raise your voice! #IMWITHHER

bites of life: september

And just like that, we’re more than a week into October. Before it’s too far gone, here were some of my September highlights:

sweet: cake at proof bakery

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This cake, known as “Gateau de Savoie” or commonly “the sponge cake with the whipped cream and blackberries” is heaven sent. Yes-yes, I do have a big sweet tooth so I do deem a lot of sweets amazing, BUT this takes the cake. Literally. It’s so damn light I felt like I was floating after I finished. Ok, maybe that was the combined caffeine and sugar buzz-but, if a slice is available snatch it immediately. Thank me later. @ProofBakeryLA

savory: Sen Chan Pen Pu, aka #18 at sapp coffee shop

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Upon recommendation from my noodle-expert friend, Emily (@FoodLoversDiary) I made my way to Sapp Coffee Shop to try their famous noodles. She suggested the “Sen Chan Pen Pu” stir-fried noodles and I went to TOWN. The dish is so simple but flavorful AF: rice noodles, garlic, chili, egg and crab meat. Squeeze a little lime, request extra cilantro and all of your needs can go “bye-bye”.

drink: topo chico

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Behold the next big thing in sparkling water, Topo Chico. And by next big thing I mean, this stuff is gaining popularity nearly as fast as LaCroix. AND it’s been around longer, since 1895 #hechoenmexico. I had my first while working a restaurant pop-up. The chef “popped” one of these open for me and I was hooked. Feeding my sparkling water addiction one bottle at a time!

restaurant:sapp coffee shop

HOLY $h*T, need to go back stat. As I mentioned above, their #18 was my favorite savory bite this month, but their #23 Drunken Noodles (flat noodles with ground beef, chili and garlic) came in close second. Yes, I ordered two noodle dishes all to myself. Sue me. The leftovers were- dare I say it- even better. Next up I’ll go for the Jade and Boat noodles, which are famed and Anthony Bourdain approved.

entertainment: the infinity mirrored room at the Broad, lA

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This wasn’t my first time in the Infinity Mirrored Room, but it was my first solo trip. Last time I was in artist Yayoi Kusama’s piece was here. And I have to say, second time around was just as infatuating and breath-taking. My tip: get to The Broad at a decently early hour to enter your name in the queue, see the upstairs exhibit and at the end of your trip, ask kindly to enter the line early. No winking necessary 😉

Hope your October is already off to a great start…please send fall weather to LA!


life lately, laundry list style

Happy Friday! I’m up early and heading to model (this is becoming a trend) for a fun Studio DIY project- if you don’t follow her look her Instagram, she always brightens my day.

Any who, ever since returning from Scotland (I got back exactly a month ago (sayyyy what??!), I’ve been on the go- read, there’s always something going on/ never a dull moment/ pencil me in for that event! You get the picture. So, here’s what I’ve been up to lately, laundry list style:

life Lately:

  • Back in acting class
  • “Modeling” for ModJewel (use code MYFIRSTMOD for 10% off!!)
  • Auditions–yay!!!
  • Create and Cultivate POP UP in Beverly Hills for a dose of inspriation and boss ass ladies.
  • The Taste of LA with @missfoodieproblems AKA eating and drinking all the food on the backlot of Paramount.
  • I’m in a play! It’s about one-night-stands, and actually closes tonight, but I’ve had a blast being back on stage.
  • There was a baking night, and I made a silly Instagram story to go along with it. Raw cookie dough was consumed.
  • No notifications- well almost. While I was in Scotland I turned off ALL the notifications on my phone, and since returning I’ve only turned on texts and phone calls. It’s so refreshing and I feel like I’m checking my phone a lot less.
  • Hi Fall!! Yesterday marked the first official day of Autumn, and, yes, this is a weirdly placed point, but in my stream of consciousness. I want LA to get about 15 degrees colder- can you do that Mother Nature??
  • Taking a few minutes to daily (errrr almost every day) to “meditate”, aka lighting these candles and journaling. The power of positive thinking works wonders.
  • COLLEGE FRIENDS VISIT!! (post to come about “things to do in LA with out-of-towners”) And we went all around town naturally, and ate VERY well.
  • Taking solo hikes sans music. It’s great for the soul.
  • Watch Sophie’s dog, realize I cannot/am not ready for my own dog. It’s like having a child. NOT READY.
  • Attending birthdays, late night karaoke and an Emmy’s party…. and the very unwelcome hangovers associated. Usually cured by a donut.
  • AND then in between life happening, I’m mad at myself because I didn’t make a wine video this Wednesday. Trying to let that one go, as there are only so many hours in the day.
  • I recently bought this GIANT DESK CALENDAR in attempts to plan my life/blog content out in a more organized fashion. I’m becoming my mother, and totally ok with that. She’s the best.
  • Planning on a couple trips these next few month and eyeing Northern California, New York (again I know!) and Austin for the BBQ and Tex-Mex.

Enjoy your weekend!

P.S. If you’re in the Midwest slash on the East Coast eat an apple cider donut for me. Thanks (they realllly need to get on that trend in LA!)

bites of life: august

August was nothing short of incredible, between being in Scotland for nearly two weeks and coming back to gigs in LA, it was the best mix of “work hard//play hard”. And while I’m already wanting to head back to Scotland, I’ve just hit the 3 year mark with LA- safe to say I love it here too! Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend all!!

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fresh vanilla and nutella gelato

SWEET: janetta’s gelateria, st. andrews

If you are ever in St. Andrews, do yourself a favor- even if it’s cold and the line is long- and get yourself a double scoop of Janetta’s gelato. Normally I’m not a vanilla person, but it had been made 30 minutes earlier, so I couldn’t resist the combination with nutella and a flake bar. Napkins necessary.

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oysters with a view
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the full menu

savory: the oyster shed, isle of skye

Tucked away above the Talisker Distillery (prime real-estate, am I right?) lives the holy grail of oysters. Only open from 12-5 Monday through Friday, we were able to stop in to the “shed” for a couple of oysters. They were some of the freshest and clean babies I’d ever tasted. Better yet, Paul, the oyster farmer, shucks them fresh.

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there’s nothing like a whisky and chocolate pairing
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a cheeky half pint

drink: *TIE* Dalwhinnie whisky tasting and the jigger inn ale

Driving from St. Andrews to the Inverness area, we stopped at the Dalwhinnie Distillery, where they are known for their whisky and chocolate tastings. My favorite was the 25 year, and snagged a bottle to bring back stateside. Also, The Jigger Inn Ale (the pub located across from the famed St. Andrews golf course) was a necessary order. Definitely try it if you find yourself there- it has a lot of flavor despite being a lighter beer!

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cacio e pepe
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my pretty date, Maddie
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one gin, one tequila cocktail

Restaurant: kettle black, silver lake

Before heading off to Scotland, I stopped by the newly opened Silver Lake spot. It was popping! And pretty-“hello interior goals”. Pizza was on point, same with the pasta and cocktails. Happy hour (5-7) is daily too …always a huge plus!

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our majestic ride

how charming is our guide?!
how charming is our guide?! and how about that smoking gun??
hit the first two rounds!
hit the first two rounds!

entertainment: clay pigeon shooting, loch lomond

Move over Annie Oakley, you’ve got yourself a new sharp shooter in town! I loved riflery at camp, so when clay pigeon shooting was on the docket I was thrilled. It was a rainy day, hence the yellow jackets, and it was all too fitting with the woodsy range. *No actual birds were harmed* just little hard clay disks. Looking for a similar range in the LA area…if anyone knows of one, let me know in the comments!