Why I did it:
During December I ate more junk food than I had probably all year. I was trying to just give myself some time after my wedding to truly not give a fuck about what I was eating since I had been pretty restrictive before the big day. Problem is, I also spent a lot of December with stomach aches and waking up in the night to take antacids. Anyway, I just felt ready to sort of erase all of the eating I did in 2017. I didn’t want to be restrictive at all with carbs, fruits, calories and all that, but I also didn’t want to eat any sugars (that includes honey, agave etc) or any processed foods (anything with 5 or more ingredients).
How I did it:
First things first: I removed all of the possible temptation from the house. There’s no way I could have done this with sugar staring me in the face. I threw most away but some stuff I put in a bag and hid in the basement. I’m not above asking Aaron to hide something from me if I feel too tempted! I immediately filled the kitchen with basically everything I wanted that fit the criteria. I’ve been carb-restrictive in the past and I consciously chose not to do that for many reasons. Mainly, I wanted to enjoy eating and feel better; I wasn’t trying to lose 10 pounds or anything. Also, I didn’t go nuts and eat potatoes for every meal, just ate what I wanted. I’ll put a list at the bottom of some foods I stocked my kitchen with to give you an idea but I definitely did eat a lot of the same foods just with different sauces and prepared differently. I didn’t have a problem with it because I liked what I was eating, I felt good and I felt full. I will say that I think getting two new kitchen gadgets (Vitamix & an air fryer) for Christmas really helped make it exciting to cook for almost every meal. It was kind of like having two really cool new toys so it definitely made it more exciting to cook. If you live with your partner it’s also important to make sure they’re on board too. There’s a chance you’ll need some major support throughout!
The Bad: Completely depends on your outlook and lifestyle but I would definitely say the hardest part for most would probably be socializing. I pretty much stayed in all of January (which I was actually happy to do!) but I can understand that being a struggle for some. When I did go out it was usually when I planned to cheat (I think I cheated 3-4 times over the course of the month) or I planned enough in advance to make sure I was going to a compliant restaurant. Also, I don’t drink super often so not drinking wasn’t hard for me. Reminder: this is just what I did and you may still see benefits if you drink wine every night, since it’s sugar content is low. The other annoying thing is when you’re buying packaged foods at the supermarket, your trip will definitely be longer since you have to read every label. You’d be surprised how many things have added sugar!
The Good. Almost immediately I noticed I felt better. No stomach aches or sleepless nights or antacids. My skin looked bright within a week (full disclosure: I take pretty good care of my skin as well). I don’t weigh myself so i can’t say if I lost any weight, but again that wasn’t the goal. I didn’t feel bloated as I usually do. I really enjoyed the food. I made tofu stirfry, chicken with brown rice and veggies, fried cauliflower rice, red lentil pasta with homemade vegan sauce. I probably ate more carbs than I would usually allow myself to eat and still felt lighter and better! I even made sweet potato fries with cashew cheese dip. I found a lot of recipes by googling or even looking through instagram. This is the one area I think the algorithm works: the more healthy food posts I saved on instagram, the more similar ones it showed me on my explore feed. I also just kinda winged it a lot by the end. When I wanted something sweet I ate berries or a smoothie or I even made a couple mini loaves of banana bread using ripe bananas, oat flour, cacao powder and peanut butter. One major takeaway I have is there are sooo many products that have added sugar that really don’t need it. If you want to try restricting sugar but aren’t ready to go fully in, just start looking at labels. Even if you cook a lot at home, basically every sauce, salsa, peanut butter, jelly has sugar in it! There’s usually a sugar free option if you look hard enough though. The other GREAT thing about this month – I saved sooooo much money vs December when we were eating out constantly. A meal consisting of tofu, grains, veggies and sauce for two people typically costs about $4-6 total (1/4 bag of brown rice, 1/2 bag of brussel sprouts, container of tofu etc) so although there’s a ton of time you’re putting into cooking, you’re saving lots of money.
What now? I’m going to try and keep this up during the week for as long as I can. I’m on a roll now and why stop? I already felt the ramifications of intense nosedive into sugar on Superbowl Sunday which was enough to remind me that sticking to this as often as I can will keep me healthy and happy. I will not be restricting as much on the weekends but still trying not to go too wild. Don’t stop me if you see me eating an ice cream sundae! I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to feel better, look brighter, sleep better and has a bit of self control. If you do it, let me know how it goes!
A short shopping list of foods I ate lots of this month:
- Enlightened broad beans (taste like corn nuts but high in protein)
- Spindrift (sparkling water with a lil fruit juice mixed in)
- Nut pods (nut & coconut based creamer for coffee and tea)
- Oat milk
- Red Lentil Pasta (the one from trader joe’s is great and cheap)
- Cashews (to soak and make sauces!)
- Nutritional yeast (a fake cheesy flavor for sauces or homemade kale chips)
- Nuts (I made a few batches of granola with nuts + oats + coconut oil + date syrup)
- Date syrup (sweetener made from only dates! great to add to sauces instead of honey)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Spinach (it’s so easy to disguise two giant handfuls of spinach with a little mango in a smoothie!)
- Black beans
- Chickpeas (I made crunchy chickpeas in the air fryer and it was so easy and yummy!)
- Kale (I also made kale chips in the air fryer with nutritional yeast and avo oil)
After Aaron proposed in December of 2016 I didn’t have immediate ideas of what kind of wedding I wanted and neither did he. Initially we both considered eloping for the ease factor, low cost and potential for a fun vacation. While we were considering what to do and enjoying our first month of being engaged, we decided to book a trip to Madonna Inn for a night with our friends. I mentioned the trip to a friend and she said “Oh are you looking at the wedding venue there?” The truth is I hadn’t even thought of it in the moment but I had considered it as an ideal wedding venue after Georgia told me a year prior how inexpensive & easy it was to plan her wedding there. Anyway, we emailed the Madonna Inn and inquired and easily set up a tour of the space.
When we got there, looked around & got pricing it seemed pretty obvious we would end up having it here. Obviously, aesthetically it’s a dream, but also it’s a great option for someone who doesn’t want to do a ton of work since the space is already pretty elaborately decorated, food & cake are included in the package and it’s easy for family coming from out of town. Just for fun, I did some research on some other potential venues outside of LA and figured out that for the cost of the ceremony, dinner for 120 people and the reception rental, you could rent an empty venue in Palm Springs, ha. For me, I knew I wanted to spend the least time planning this wedding as possible. I didn’t want to worry about renting chairs, tables, flatware, tasting food etc. so it was clear what we should do. Aaron was completely on board so we started looking at dates before the end of 2017. They only had a few dates left and one of them was Saturday 11/11/17; I still can’t believe that date wasn’t taken?! So we went with that.
At about the same time that our lovely videographer Amanda Monroe Finn reached out to me, I was solidifying our photographers, Caroline & Jayden Lee. I got advice from so many people that the one thing to really spend money on for your wedding should be your photographers so I immediately booked them. That’s not to say they were expensive or anything like that, but the advice was that this isn’t an area you want to skimp or ask a friend/ guest to shoot your wedding. I genuinely have zero regrets here. Their photos are really breathtaking and I truly think I’d be just as obsessed if they weren’t pics of our wedding.
One thing I can definitely say about our wedding: we did exactly what we wanted. There were so many aspects of the process that people assume should go a certain way and I thought it was appropriate to ask “why” to a lot of those expectations. For instance, wearing white, having bridesmaids and groomsmen, having your parent walk you down the aisle. This is nothing against anyone who does those things but I think it’s important to question why you’re doing something especially when it comes to such an important day. I wore exactly what I wanted; a vintage white and pink dress from Whurl! Our friends were freed up by not being involved in the actual ceremony so they got to truly support us by setting everything up the day of (hanging tassels, balloons, organizing place cards) while we got ready. And though I love my dad, it didn’t feel right to be handed off as though I was his property when I’m a 32 year old woman that lives on my own and has for over a decade. That being said, we still got to have a fun lil father-daughter dance to “In My Life” by the Beatles later on at the reception. I guess what I’m trying to say is that to me, some of the rules of how a wedding “should be” seem a little outdated.
A little more about my dresses! I’ve had a few friends that have worked with Tashina and I can honestly say working with her was one of my favorite parts of the entire wedding. She’s AMAZING at what she does (her invoice says Dress Surgeon which is the best and most accurate title ever) and made me feel comfortable the entire time. As a human woman, it’s pretty easy to feel like complete crap if a garment doesn’t fit your body a certain way (what an insane and ridiculous thing to actually type) but I never felt bad once in the many check-ins and try-ons we had with my three vintage dresses. Oh and that doesn’t even cover the fact that she took a simple tiered tulle dress and transformed it into a bejeweled beauty. She even saved extra jewels for me so my equally amazing hairstylist Sandra could make a matching hairclip for me.
Back to planning! We whittled down our guest list to about 140 invites and ended up hovering around 100 yes’s which is where we wanted it. Another area we “did what we wanted” was with the guest list. Maybe that seems obvious but you can’t imagine how many people I’ve talked to that said their parents tried to invite 100 of their friends and it turned into a huge fight or worse, they let them and then their wedding turned into a day that didn’t even feel like what they wanted it to be. I wouldn’t say we had any knockout fights with our families about this but we definitely had to say no at times. Maybe I’m being brutally honest here but I don’t know why anyone should ever have to invite anyone that makes you or anyone else uncomfortable to your wedding.
Throughout this whole process I felt extremely supported by my friends and it was just so lovely. Honestly, I mean that. Something I haven’t experienced much in my life because I’m a control freak in some ways and often don’t ask for help, not because I don’t need it but because it makes me feel like such a burden. I really got to see my friends weren’t showing up for me because they expected anything in return (duh) but because they were genuinely excited. My friend Alana did such an amazing job designing our invites and our photobooth backdrop. I probably gave her little to no inspiration because I just didn’t even know what I wanted and she came up with the most perfect invite I could have imagined. I printed them with Mixbook (so easy to use + they have lots of cute templates already) and even included a sprinkle of confetti from Dixie & Twine in each envelope.
I would say handling the RSVPs was probably the most stressful part for me, and something I can’t see getting around. Again, these are all my personal opinions and maybe there’s tons of people out there who don’t feel overwhelmed by this part! But between hounding people for their responses, clarifying their food choices, and unexpected or last minute dropouts it can feel really challenging. Sort of highlights the project management aspects of a wedding and probably an area where having a planner would be a relief. In the end, I know none of this stuff is usually personal, but it can’t help but feel that way when you’re planning a day centered around yourself (which feels weird in its own way!)
The only other challenge I had was around hiring a florist for centerpieces. As I mentioned earlier, one of the many great things about the Madonna Inn is how elaborate it already is. So when it came to decorating the reception room, I didn’t need much! A balloon arch and disco ball were more than enough to make the room pop. I inquired about centerpieces and the prices in general just seemed like a lot for our budget and what we actually needed. One friend suggested I instead go the thrifted flower route as she had done for a photoshoot a few years back. She convinced me and I was off to the races! Zipping around to thrift stores and picking up bouquets of silk flowers and colored glass vases. It was waaaay easier than I expected and I probably spent a total of $60 on fake flowers and vases. For my bouquet I needed a professional and reached out to my friend Yasmine and she really hit the nail on the head. It came out beautiful!
About two months before the wedding it finally set in. Suddenly it was just felt real; not just like some elaborate party I was planning. The days leading up to it definitely felt a bit accelerated but I still feel like my life was pretty normal. We made sure to keep each other calm and not change our daily lives as much as we could. The day before the wedding we said bye to our pups (the biggest bummer about the Madonna Inn – no dogs allowed) and hopped in our car to drive up for our weekend. I remember there was a stretch of the drive where I fell asleep and then woke up and told Aaron I wanted to stop at a Chinese restaurant in Santa Barbara for lunch. He had to remind me we were getting married and on a tight schedule. Then he handed me a granola bar, ha.
Speaking of snacks, our car was also filled with 100+ goodie bags for each of our guests featuring some of our favorite snacks from Spindrift, Otis Spunkmeyer and Enlightened. Each guest also got a sweet little pin designed by my pal Robin Eisenberg of our dogs Georgie and Mochi inside of a pretzel. One of my favorite parts of the wedding!
The day itself went pretty perfect and smooth. When people ask me “what would you change about your wedding day” or “what is one thing that went wrong?” I genuinely can’t think of anything besides that I wish the lights were dimmed and the disco ball was rotating for our first dance, haha. Even the unplanned parts like when I forgot to print my vows and made Susan go print them and run them up to me in my room, ended up being some of my favorite moments.
When it came time for the ceremony, it was exactly as it should be. Sweet and short. My brother officiated (and did an amazing job considering he’d never done it before!) and we wrote our own vows. Somehow I didn’t cry or barf during the ceremony, but I did laugh a lot. I also kissed Aaron way before I was “supposed to” because I guess I forgot how these things work haha. As with everything else, it was so perfectly us.
When we entered the reception (which btw was about 50 feet from our ceremony) for our first dance our lovely DJ Erika played “True Love Will Find You In The End” by Daniel Johnston and it really was a perfect moment. We spent the rest of the night eating and dancing the night away with our friends and family. I am SO glad I had such amazing an amazing videographer and photographers to capture because it does feel a bit blurry by the end.
A few words about working with the Madonna Inn: would definitely do it again but it’s very no-frills (ha, imagine that) in the service & perks department. There were definitely some miscommunications across the way and hiccups and personally I found the reservations department not to be super helpful leading up to our big day. If you book a 20 room block the bride and groom get their wedding night free which was nice. But no discounts are offered to guests, even in our case when we had about 40 of their rooms booked for our wedding. Our wedding coordinator was fine but they have so many weddings there they definitely run it more of a business than trying really to make it about your day and catering to you. They couldn’t tell me until a week before what time the reception room would be open to us in case they booked an event in the same room earlier that day which was annoying when coordinating with our sound guy and balloon deliveries. Things like that. Ultimately, you get what you pay for which I’m fine with in this case.
I think I fit a lot in here but please feel free to reach out if you have more questions. I will definitely say once again, that I loved the team I hired and would recommend them all in a heartbeat (DJ, Photographer, Videographer, Dress Surgeon, Hairstylist etc) if you’re planning an event coming up. Hope you enjoyed looking through pictures of my wedding as much as I did!
About 6 years ago I was looking through estate sale listings on craigslist and noticed a stunning golden colored heart-shaped full-size tufted headboard and my jaw dropped. “She will be mine. Oh yes, she will be mine,” I thought automatically before canceling my first meeting at the office that morning so I could rush over. Long story short, I got it! It wasn’t cheap but it was worth it to me. Such a unique piece that once belonged to a teen girl in the 60’s who had lived in this house near Beverly Hills. It moved with me three times until I decided it was time for a new and larger bed. Side note: I could probably write a whole post on how getting a king sized bed changed my life, highly recommend it! Anyway, the headboard didn’t really fit anymore and around this same time I connected with Jessica Pedraza on instagram. She’s an LA-based design-obsessed woman that works at Roberto Pedraza Custom Furniture, you guessed it, her family’s business. When she told me she could make ~anything~ my mind completely soared, but we decided to start first with making a new headboard for my bed in my dream color. I’ve never been involved in making a custom piece of furniture so it was really fun just to get to go fabric shopping for what I knew would eventually be MY headboard. Yesterday, my headboard was delivered and left me in tears because not only is it everything I dreamed, getting to see the details and quality up close I know it will someday be someone else’s vintage dream.
I loved working with Jessica and getting to know a bit about what inspires her. Feel free to reach out to her directly if you wanna be my headboard twin ❤
How did you get started in furniture design?
Next up for my bedroom: wallpaper!
Area 52 Vintage was born in the early 1990s. Not by that name then, but the first stage of it’s birth. Annette and I had this crazy idea that we could take our love for mid-century modern and sell it here and there. Both of us needed some extra money. We’d figured out where to easily get merchandise a couple of years earlier. At that time in So Cal you could load up a truck in one morning it was so prolific! Back in the early 90s there was no online vintage selling. Brick and mortar was it! eBay was born in 1995 and so was my first online account. I changed User ID names over the years but one of the main ones was Junk To Funk. I sold everything known to man while figuring out my brand.
We have been at The Orange Circle Antique Mall since 1995. Space 112 in the basement, back in the corner was the start! Took a brief break in 1999 when I moved to Temecula in Riverside County. We came back as Area 52 Vintage (that was our space number) and the current name is a spoof twist on the military’s Area 51 in Roswell. Always somewhat of a mystery as to what you’ll find in our space!!
We lived it! I was born in 1958 and Annette in 1968. 100% native to So Cal!! We shared a bedroom in Santa Ana so our groovy love got going there. I had sssooooooooo much flower power, some psychedelic posters and a few mini skirts. My little sister could not get enough of them! Annette being so young, worshipped it all because her big sister had it. I know it inside and out because it was my life. I was raised on Rowan and Martins Laugh-In, Adam 12 and The Brady Bunch. By the way……I was Marcia and Annette was Cindy! No rules other than its gotta be shocking, bright and original vintage!
Holy smokes I would not know where to start on some of my favorite pieces I’ve found over the last 25 years. The biggest and by far the most lucrative is a gargantuan poster collection Annette and I purchased in 2004. It was over 120,000 vintage posters from the late 1960s to 1978. Think Farrah Fawcett Red Bathing Suit (10,000 total) in original covers with tags or Alice Cooper velvet flocked black light (2,000 total). Seriously killer find. Jaw dropping in magnitude and scope. Only crazy groovy people would have tackled it. I could talk to you for an hour just on that one haul! Credit goes to Annette for finding it and talking me into it. She is great at finding merch!
Honestly I could go on and on about groovy finds and places they were found. I have a photographic memory and most of prime pieces I can tell you where they were when I found them. My favorite pillows are an identical ROUND trio……..about 16”, late 1960s, all shag carpet, ….one gold, one marigold and one avocado green. I still want to hug them every time i see them! Found at an Estate Sale in Sun City, perched on a retro bed for $2.00 each!! Way crazy!! 10 years ago I was in a RivCo thrift store and out walks a worker with a big box. Before she put it down I saw it was loaded with Franciscan Starburst dishes. Snagged the box for 5 bucks!
This year we decided pretty soon after returning from our Honeymoon in Oahu that we wanted to go on a road trip between Christmas and New Years since Aaron was off of work. We played around with a few different routes but ultimately decided on St George, Utah to Flagstaff, AZ to Kingman, AZ with National Parks and fun stops in between. I used the Roadtrippers app to map everything out and it helped so much! It shows you how much time between each stop, helps you search for stops in between destinations and even estimates your total gas spend. Personally, I feel like 5+ hours a day driving is too excessive for a trip where you want to have fun but also not be drained, so we kept our driving days at about 4 hours of driving or a bit less. Also, keep in mind things always take longer than expected on road trips!
Our first stop was Peggy Sue’s Diner and dang what a dream. The inside was just as good as the exterior and the food was diner perfection. Highly recommend sitting at the counter and admiring all of the details, pies and food coming out. Will definitely be returning!
Next stop was the Seven Magic Mountains. I’ve been wanting to stop here since I started seeing it pop up on Instagram last year. Two things I didn’t expect: how big it was and how many people were there! Seriously, major props to those of you who got a picture with no one in the background (or have the patience and skill to edit everyone out). It really was breathtaking, especially as we approached it from a few miles away and all I could see was giant neon rocks against the desert landscape. Worth the stop if it’s on your route definitely. Bonus points if you match your dress to the rocks!
After that we made a quick stop in Vegas to see my instagram friend Tammy who manages the Buffalo Exchange out there. I’ve been following her for awhile and she is ALWAYS finding the best vintage kitsch out there so I knew I had to stop. She pulled a rack of vintage just for me at Buffalo (so special!) and we got to chat for a bit. I genuinely wish I had more time in Vegas to shop & eat so I think I’ll make that happen soon. She suggested I stop over at Glam Factory around the corner as well which was also sooo good!
We made it to St George that night and got a solid night’s sleep before trekking to Zion National Park the next morning. One major bummer here was the construction happening on the road leading up to the entrance. We sat in our car waiting to get in for over an hour in dead stopped traffic. I recommend going as early as possible! Since we had Mochi with us, there was only one trail we were allowed to walk, but that’s okay! It was so beautiful and not very busy at all. Weather was also crisp and perfect for a hike.
As soon as we got back to St George we stopped in at the adorable Larsen’s Frostop. I mean, how cute is this place?!
The next day we packed up and got on the road to head to Horseshoe Bend in AZ. Sooo gorgeous in person and a great place to stop if you’re traveling with a pet. It’s about a 20 minute walk round trip to see the actual horseshoe once you get there. Oh, also it’s free! Maybe not the greatest place for kids or off-leash pets as there isn’t a rail around the edge. I read online it’s one of the most photographed places in the country and I can definitely see why.
Next stop was Flagstaff and I can tell you that we were thrilled to be in a city with more than a few food options! Spent the afternoon vintage shopping at Incahoots, buying too much candy at Sweet Shoppe Candy Store and then eating dinner at Pizzicletta (mmmm).
The next morning we got up early, grabbed a smoothie at Local Juicery (the only healthy meal I had on this trip, ha) and hauled ass to the Grand Canyon. I wanted to get there before the rush and we got there with only four cars in front of us in line, YAY! We parked with ease and walked over to the rim of the canyon and proceeded walking around for about 2 hours. The path around the rim of the canyon is 13 miles long and dog-friendly so it was pretty perfect. It’s true what they say: photos don’t do it justice. In person it’s like you’re looking at a 3-d multi-colored painted backdrop that is somehow real. I wish we could have seen the colors change at sunset but I’m so happy with what we saw. Also, it’s very draining walking around with a cute dog in a sweater at a place like that! By the end, Aaron was joking that we were walking Beyoncé because we couldn’t get 10 feet without someone stopping us to take a picture or pet her lol. When we drove out of the park there was a line about one mile long of cars waiting to get in! So glad we missed that rush..
Next stop was the Bedrock City about 30 minutes back towards the highway. I’ve wanted to go here for awhile and it was exactly what I imagined: a rundown roadside attraction with equal parts kitch and creep. Unexpected bonus: dogs are allowed since it’s an entirely outdoor park. The $5 admission is definitely worth it for the photo ops. Must stop if you’re in the area!
The rest of our route was along the historic Route 66 which was so great for kitschy spots like this that pay homage to yesteryear. Sadly, many spots were closed due to it being the week between Christmas and New Years. If you’re driving this road, you have to stop in Seligman, AZ.
By the end of our trip we were more than ready to get home and sleep in our bed with a nice meal, but we really had the best time! Tips below:
How to keep your road trip within a budget: Research & be flexible! Our original plan cost almost double what this trip cost us and would have required way more driving so we adjusted accordingly. I used TripAdvisor to book everything because I like their interface and find that they offer the best pricing aggregate. I didn’t always book the cheapest option since I read reviews and looked at photos. I think it all depends on your priorities and ours were mainly in our experiences on the road since we knew we weren’t spending much time in the actual hotel rooms. For meals, we kept it cheap or even free when possible with RX bars & pretzels in the car and taking advantage of included continental breakfasts. We indulged when we had the option but really tried to not spend too much on mediocre food. Another cool part of our trip was that after visiting two large national parks ($30 entry to each) we splurged the extra $20 and got a year pass to any national park! I’m all for spending on experiences rather than things and I love that this is sort of a challenge to see where we can go next.
How to travel with a dog: Mochi is so easy to travel with but Georgie isn’t so he stays back when we go out of town. It’s pretty easy to find dog-friendly hotels and also see what sort of fee they have. For the National Parks, some are more welcoming than others but we had no issues. There was one place I wanted to stop that I couldn’t because we had her and they don’t allow dogs (Lower Antelope Canyon) but I don’t regret bringing her at all. Just research ahead of time!
How to pack: I’m genuinely thrilled with myself on this one, haha. This is probably the first time that I got back home and all I had still clean was 2 pairs of underwear and 2 pairs of socks. Since everything was pretty mapped out, I knew when I would want to wear a cute dress or leggings for a hike or to be comfy in the car, and I packed just that plus extra undies and socks. I also usually make a few vintage purchases on the road. Also, bring things that you can easily change into on the road if you want since most time won’t be spent in a hotel. Get yourself a good lil duffel bag if you don’t already have one for trips like this so it can squish behind your seat if need be.
What I could do differently: research more and bring more healthy snacks. The cute exterior motels aren’t always cute inside (duh, haha).
I’m so excited to share this! I feel the same way about this video as I do about the photo sneak peeks I’ve gotten so far from our photographers: I’m pretty sure I would still be obsessed with it if it weren’t my own wedding because the videographer + setting are just that amazing.
Amanda was an early adopter of Whurl so we’ve stayed connected over the past few years. She reached out about a month after I got engaged with a long + thoughtful email letting me know why she thought she would be best for the job of shooting video for our wedding and why video is important. Without even asking, she knew my concerns which was wild. ALSO, she mentioned in her email that it would be cool to consider getting married at the Madonna Inn while she had no idea that I was actually looking at the venue the exact day she sent me that email. I felt so connected to her already at that point and honored that she wanted to travel from Virginia to California to shoot my wedding. As we talked more she assured me she would be a somewhat quiet presence in the background shooting our day and capturing all of the magic that I was too busy to notice.
She was so sweet and genuinely calming the day of that I was not only satisfied but relieve that we had hired her. She also told me a story about how when she used to work at Beacon’s Closet in Brooklyn (if you are planning a trip to NY, make sure to stop there; amazing vintage!) a decade ago she would sit in the breakroom and stare longingly at a postcard of the Madonna Inn and think “I just have to go there one day!” What a sweet story and I’m so happy I was able to play a small part in helping her finally get to the see the beauty of the Madonna Inn in real life!
I’m blown away by what she captured, edited and created here in this perfect 5 minute video and I hope you enjoy it too! Please check out more of Amanda’s work here and she’s currently booking weddings and events all over the country through 2018.
So excited to share all of this! Making guides is so dang fun for me for two reasons: 1, I love to share all the cool & yummy places I find and 2, I love having a diary I can look back at for nostalgia’s sake or to plan a trip back. I’m hoping to travel more in 2018 (just made that resolution as I typed it) and thusly, make more guides for everyone to enjoy. Lemme know if you have any feedback!
1. Makaha beach – This beach was about a five minute drive from our airbnb the first two nights of our trip. We found it by googling “best soft sand beaches in oahu” and it did NOT disappoint. The water was really clear and I even got to “touch” a rainbow! Also important to mention: the beach was pretty much empty!
2. Dole plantation – A fun tourist attraction where you can take a Pineapple Express train around the pineapple farms and learn about the rich history of the yummy fruit + it’s hawaiian roots. Afterwards nab a cone of dole whip on your way out.
3. Green World Coffee Farm – a quick stop for a cup of coffee at a coffee farm; how could you not? Also have lots of samples of other varieties and sell tons of yummy flavors to bring home as gifts.
4. Ulua lagoon – four gorgeous side by side lagoons on the coast, blocked off by rocks so there are no waves. Go here if you wanna lounge in calm waters & feel like a mermaid. Bonus: one of the lagoons is located in front of the Disney Resort, why not try dropping into their lazy river while sipping on a mai tai??
5. Savers – it’s not possible for me to go to a city and not pop into a thrift store in the off chance that other cities are somehow frozen in time (my dream). I definitely didn’t strike gold but I did score a set of 60’s daisy coasters for my coffee table.
6. Primo Popcorn – I fell in aesthetic love with their fruity popcorn when I spotted it in the gift shop at the Dole Plantation. But then I feel in actual love when I found out it was a mom & pop artisan popcorn store (I love popcorn fyi). Stinkin’ Rose was my fave. They sell online too.
7. La Mariana Sailing Club – multiple people told us to go here so I knew it was worth the trek. It seems like the last authentic tiki style bar in Oahu. It’s tucked away on the docks near a bunch of sail boats and the aesthetic is just spot on. Honestly everyone said the food was bleh but the drinks were good and I beg to differ: our nachos were heavenly!
8. Barrio Vintage – another amazing spot! I’ve been following them for years and sooo into their collection and overall vibe. The store is stocked with mostly 60’s and 70’s (my fave) and tons of vintage hawaiian pieces. The owners are not only super knowledgeable but nice as hell and excited to meet everyone that walks through their doors. Oh and prices were G R E A T.
9. Liliha bakery – Yum yum yuummm! We had the yummiest purple poi mochi donut here and I can’t stop thinking about it and wondering WHY this food trend hasn’t landed in LA yet?
10. The Laylow – Our adorable as hell hotel situated one block from the beach and just a few steps from lots of yummy food. Would definitely stay here again! The design and color scheme is great, rooms are mid-century modern meets vintage Hawaiian and they even give you a basket of snacks and flip flops when you arrive. Oh and did I mention free shave ice in the lobby from 1-2 pm everyday??
11. Scratch Bakery – Aaron found this spot from browsing yelp and boyyyy was it good. “Cereal milk pancake stack” are words I had never heard and now I can’t UNHEAR them! Also, we got there 30 minutes after they opened and it was already packed.
12. Baskin Robbins – if you watch my instastories you know why this made the list; the King St location is where Obama worked as a teen. It felt comforting and almost magical to walk into this tiny strip mall and get a kids’ scoop of mint chip ❤
13. The Royal Hawaiian – the second oldest hotel in Hawaii! Everything about this place is perfect and best of all it’s PINK! I highly recommend having a walk around the grounds and even jump in the hot tub if you think you can get away with it. I always use a rule when I drop in on other hotels that I buy a drink or food so I rationalize that it’s okay, haha.
14. Banan – yum yummmm! Soft serve made entirely of bananas and so dang good. I got mine with fruit and granola on top and it was the perfect treat on the beach. I make this at home all the time just by throwing frozen bananas in a blender and adding some peanut butter or chocolate chips, just F Y I.
15. Moana surfrider – The oldest hotel in hawaii! There’s a free museum on the second floor with tons of Hawaiian history. Also a 116 year old massive banyan tree engulfs the beachside patio and it’s just so breathtaking irl.
16. Marukame Udon – delicious udon & tempura located conveniently across the street from The Laylow, where we were staying. Prices on udon range from $5-8 so it’s a nice yummy and cheap meal when you’re on vacation. Important to note there is sometimes a long line outside so keep that in mind. Once you order your food is handed to you immediately though, so that helps if you’re entering high levels of hangryness.
17. Musubi Café Iyasume – tiny hole in the wall with spam musubi’s at $2 a pop. I love snacking on these in between meals or carrying one around for when I do get super hungry.
18. Rainbow Drive-In – What an amazing exterior! Sad to say I didn’t get a chance to actually eat the food here but just had to pull over and get a pic when I saw it. At night the neon sign comes on and it’s just as magical.
19. Leonard’s Bakery – I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating when I say you haven’t lived until you’ve had a malasada, and Leonards is truly the best! Malasadas are portuguese donuts which can best be described as oversized donut holes that are always fresh & piping hot and can be ordered with or without filling. A definite must!
20. Spitting Cave – this was one of the recommendations from the boys at Barrio and it did not disappoint. A little hike down and then back up when you leave but so worth it! The rock formations and waves crashing are just plain stunning.
21. Makapuu Beach – a cute little east side beach we went to watch the sunrise at 🙂
22. Halona Beach Cove – My favorite beach we went to! Also known as Cockroach Cove due to the fact that before you hike down to the beach, everyone looks like cockroaches from that high up. Clear water, gorgeous rocks and tiny tidepools make this my number one beach in Oahu. Oh, and this is where they shot the infamous kissing scene in From Here to Eternity !
23. Ono Steaks and Shrimp – Another cheap fave on the island and to me there’s nothing that screams vacation more than chowing down on coconut shrimp while in your sandy swimsuit. It’s 10 minutes up the Highway from Halona Beach Cove and the perfect lunch stop before you continue on to…
24. Lanikai Beach – one of the most gorgeous & clear beaches we stopped at! Sand was soft and so picturesque. If i’m being completely honest we didn’t actually swim here because once we arrived Aaron realized he had set our towels on the roof of the car before we drove off (lol) but all I could do was laugh hysterically and put my feet in the water.
I’ve loved following your blog for years now! What are your thoughts on the evolution of blogging? What was your favorite part of blogging when you started vs now?
Thank you! Based on the blogs that I’ve been following for the last several years, it seems like most of them have either turned blogging into a full time job or they quit entirely. There aren’t many “just for fun” blogs left out of the ones I originally followed in 2010-2011. I think a lot of people have moved over to instagram for outfit posts, but I miss SO many blogs. There are a few that I still check in on once in a while, even though they haven’t been updated now for over a year! There’s even a few that have disappeared entirely from the internet and I’ve used the wayback machine to view them, lol! There was just something special about each blogger having their own little corner of the internet, and I feel like instagram just doesn’t have the same vibe. Especially since I personally prefer bloggers who write little daily scribbles to go with their posts and that doesn’t happen quite as often on IG.
My favorite part of blogging is the same now as when I started – the idea of having a semi-consistent journal of the last seven years of my life. I was much better at posting regularly at the beginning (I think sometimes I posted three times a day, which seems insane to me now!!) but I still try to post at least once a month. I also love the idea of being part of a community, and I have found so many lifelong friends through blogging 🙂
At what age did you discover vintage and how has that influenced your personal style? Do you have a single piece of vintage that’s the most meaningful to you?
I’ve loved vintage clothing since I was like 7 or 8 and was obsessed with the outfits Elizabeth Montgomery and Barbara Eden wore in Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. And I got even more obsessed when I discovered classic movies when I was 13. But I didn’t realize buying that clothing and wearing it myself was even an option until I was 22! It definitely allowed me to add more fun to my wardrobe. I feel like many 60’s and 70’s dresses are much cooler and more exciting than most of the clothes for sale today, so I feel like my own personal style became cooler and more exciting by proxy once I brought some of that vintage goodness into my closet.
Each piece in my collection feels special (even the ones that I agonizingly part with for closet sales) but the most meaningful piece is a pink bell-sleeve lace dress with a giant pink bow on the front. [I attached a picture of it] It was one of the first vintage dresses I purchased that actually fit like a glove. Being a 5’ tall modern size 8, that doesn’t happen very often lol! But it’s so perfect that I’ve worn it for a lot of special occasions, and that’s just made it even more special to me over time.
Thank you so much! Right now I’m working on holiday designs, like a 2018 calendar, Christmas ornaments, and some new Christmas card designs. And long-term I’m working on a book of drawings inspired by the artwork in classic movies (like the portrait of Laura, or the painting of Rex Harrison in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.) I’m obsessed with films where a piece of art plays a key role in the plot of the movie, and I want to pay tribute to those films in my own small way 🙂
What’s a typical day in the life of Kate?
I’m a night owl so my day typically starts around 11:30AM, when I say ‘good morning’ to my cat, Arrietty, who sleeps in late every morning with me. Then I get dressed, pile on eyeliner, and make my breakfast. I check my emails and usually have a message from my brother, who manages my business, with a list of made-to-order items that I have to produce for order packing that day- things like buttons, pocket mirrors, nostalgia kits, art prints, and custom pendants.
After I’ve finished making items to ship, I’ll usually take my instagram photos for the day. Sometimes if I’m feeling ambitious and particularly creative I’ll try to take more than what I need for that day but most days I come up with 4-5 ideas and narrow it down to three photos. Then I’ll edit my pictures on the computer and schedule them (I use the Later app for scheduling Instagram posts.) If I’m taking outfit photos, now is when I’d take them. I’d put on my favorite music (usually The Killers) and take about 40 shots to get *one* that I like enough to post.
By this time it’s usually late afternoon and I’ll go for a walk with my dad in the park. I stop at the grocery store on the way home each day to pick up fresh ingredients for dinner (I’m super boring and usually eat salmon with roasted asparagus almost every single night) and get an unsweetened iced tea from McDonald’s.
I get home, cook my dinner, and then the rest of the night is creative time. I usually stay up until 3-4am each night working on drawings, new products, working on the coding on my shop’s website and brainstorming new ideas. I also order any supplies I might need, which is especially fun if I need stock for my 90’s kits. I stock them with all kinds of fun things from the 90’s (think stickers, trading cards, pogs) so it’s actually part of my job to scour ebay for cool things for the kits. I love it!
I’m obsessed with your new delias tumblr!! I also know your obsession with yesteryear covers a lot of ground including old Hollywood and much more. Can you say a bit about your feelings on nostalgia?
Thank you! For me, I think my obsession with 90s nostalgia is entirely because I had a really fun childhood and things that remind me of that era take me back to a time when I was my happiest. I miss how carefree life felt when I was a kid and silly stuff like delias catalogs, Clarissa Explains it All reruns, and smiley face backpacks are like mini time machines.
Now my nostalgia for 60’s fashion and classic movies is entirely different. I just LOVE the aesthetic of 60’s fashion. Everything from vinyl mini skirts to avocado refrigerators. I love it all! And with classic movies, I am just more attracted to the way movies were constructed back then (my favorite era for classic films is the 1930’s and the 1960’s.) Visually I find them more interesting than modern movies. I love the style of acting, the innuendo, the running time (most movies weren’t 2+ hours like they are now) the humor, the set designs, the color palette in 60’s color films, the way movies just felt larger than life and more grand than they do now (the quote “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” comes to mind, from Sunset Boulevard)
I have to add though, I’ve been making it a point recently to emphasize the difference between nostalgia for vintage style and nostalgia for the values of the time. Especially when you start getting into the 40’s, 50’s nostalgia, you run into a lot of people who like “the good old days” not for aesthetic reasons so much as political ones. That whole “when men were men and women were women” kind of crap. So I feel like it’s important now to differentiate between loving the aesthetics, art, fashion, movies, and style from loving the antiquated value system that went with it.