Bar Cart Styleboard!

I was recently asked to participate in a fun October blog challenge through Chairish.com: Bar Cart Styleboard!

I love a good bar cart and mine at home is constantly changing as a I shop for different accessories and alcohol! I now buy alcohol based on what the bottle looks like (I know, I know!) Whipping up a classic cocktail just feels so much better when standing in front of a Mad Men inspired bar cart. Wouldn’t you agree?

Here are the key essentials any bar cart owner should have!

Mid-Century Brass Bar Cart

Fantastic brass mid-century bar cart from Charish.com! Find more bar carts here!

This tray adds another dimension to the cart and keeps with the classic rounded shape. I like to place all my liquor bottles on a tray so that they are organized and in one space.

This tray adds another dimension to the cart and keeps with the classic rounded shape. I like to place all my liquor bottles on a tray so that they are organized and in one space…and if anything spills, it stays on the tray! Get this one here!

These green decanters add a much needed pop of color. Fill them with your favorite whiskey or bourbon!

These green decanters from Charish.com have a great shape and the color is beautiful. Fill them with your favorite whiskey or bourbon! Buy more like these ones here!

The BEST maraschino cherries on the market. These ones are drenched in a rich, sweet juice. Try them! Buy them here!

The BEST maraschino cherries on the market. These ones are drenched in a rich, sweet juice. Perfect for Manhattans. Buy them here!

I love this penguin cocktail shaker (a replica of a shaker from the 1920s). I have one at home and I use it all the time. Any bar needs a few shakers to make multiple batches of drinks at a time. Buy this here!

I love this penguin cocktail shaker (a replica of a shaker from the 1920s). I have one at home and I use it all the time. Any bar needs a few shakers to make multiple batches of drinks at a time. Buy this here!

Gin is my favorite alcohol and this is my favorite gin. I love to make different gin cocktails, but my favorite is with ginger, lemon juice and honey! So delicious!

Gin is my favorite alcohol and this is my favorite gin. I love to make different gin cocktails, but my favorite is with ginger, lemon juice and honey! So delicious! Buy a bottle at select retailers.

What kinds of things would you put on your bar cart?

xoxo,

miss notsocoy

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Can’t Get Enough: Striped Tee

Nothing says spring and summer quite like a nautical striped t-shirt! I have a lot of solids in my closet, so I love to break up the monotony with a graphic striped tee.

Here are some of my favorite striped picks!

Striped tee by Jcrew. A classic closet staple! I just bought one yesterday and am tempted to go back for every color!

Striped jcrew tee

A billowy number with a GREAT price from Modcloth!

Photo by Meredith at Oh, so poppy! Doesn't she look oh, so cute?!??!!

Photo by Meredith at Oh, so poppy! Doesn’t she look oh, so cute?!??!!

I LOVE this striped tank from Madewell. So summery and sweet with a killer back!

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I am usually not a fan of the thicker material used in the St. James striped tees, but this Jcrew one looks soft and slouchy. Love the cut, too.

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A thicker stripe is super chic especially when it’s structured…like this one from Kate Spade!

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What are some of your favorite striped tees? Do you have another go-to summer staple?

xoxo,

miss notsocoy

Mom & Pop: Newport Beach

For as long as I’ve been living (31 years, to be exact!), I’ve spent my summers down in Newport Beach with my family (with the exception of last summer because I was looking for my future apartment in NYC!) We are blessed with rental properties on the beachfront that my Grandmother, Violet, so wisely invested in before I was even born. I have very fond memories of this Orange County beach town and I wanted to share some of my favorite places to take in the sights, eat, and play while visiting since summer is fast approaching! Oh, and if you’re interested in renting one of the properties we have, call Cannery Rentals and ask for any of the Gilmore properties (949-675-4606)!

First of all, most people go to the beach to lay out under the sun and work on their tan, but for me (whitey over here) I’ve actually never gotten a tan in my life….just lobster red from time to time. My beach vacations were taken up digging tunnels in the sand neck deep and venturing out to the end of the rock jetty’s during high tide to pretend I was Ariel from The Little Mermaid. The daily trip to the candy store and donut shop down by the pier was a must and rollerblading (!) was (okay, maybe still is!) my favorite activity. Now that I’ve grown a little I can still appreciate my childhood memories, but I am drawn to the food more than I ever was before. My absolute favorite must do thing while I’m down in Newport is grab a pizza at Original’s. Its THE best. You’ll need a few days here to really take in all the sights (and food!) so be prepared to stay the weekend.

Start your day with some physical activity (because you’ll be doing ALOT of eating). Our house is on 31st, so I usually walk or jog along the boardwalk down to 15th street (where the elementary school is) and back.

On the way back, stop at Seaside Bakery for a croissant or donut…but note that it’s cash only.

Take a breather on the beach. Play some card games if you’re up for it.

Take a dip in the ocean and cool off before heading down to the pier again (more walking!) for a slice or a whole pie at Original pizza. Seriously, this pizza is so delicious with it’s super crispy soda bread crust and greasy cheese and toppings. Be aware that it is cash only (they literally have a sign saying “in God we trust, all others pay cash”) and that the pizza is extremely hot when it comes out of that huge vintage pizza stove. I think I love this place even more because it holds sentimental value for me. My grandma loved this pizza…she even knew the old owner, Sam, when the place was once called Original Sam’s.

On the way back to your beach towels, stop at  Pipeline for a frozen banana (yes, I was eating these WAAAYYY before Arrested development was around!)

Now you’ll definitely be needing another dip in the ocean with all that walking. Hang out on the beach for a bit and fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing just feet from your toes.

After your nap, take a stroll (or a hop) on the “rocks”. I would always venture out to the end and sit while the waves crashed and sprayed mist on me and my friends.

You’ve probably had enough sun by now and want to go in and freshen up before dinner time.

For dinner, you should head down the boardwalk to the pier again and stop at The Crab Cooker (there is also another, less crowded location in Tustin off the 55). Of course, the king crab legs are the thing to try on the menu (share with someone!), but everything is great here! The manhattan clam chowder (red instead of white), crab cakes, and scallop skewers are all favorites!

For your second day of festivities, start with a walk over to the bay and take a look at the boats in the harbor. Stop in to Alta Coffee to grab a pastry and coffee.

Lunch at Ho Sum bistro– You must try the combo salad. It is out of this world delicious.

Dinner at Mama D’s. Their second (original) location is in Manhattan Beach, but this eatery is a welcome addition to the NB area. The waitstaff is super friendly (they win awards every year!), their food is flavorful and the portions are huge! I LOVE their eggplant parmesan and the fra diavolo sauce is so so good!

 

After all the eating and festivities, my family usually sits at the dinner table back at our house and plays games until the wee hours of the morning. We laugh, we drink, and we play. It is truly a joyous week of spending time with family and friends that I look forward to each year.

Other destinations to try: taco shop- bear flag?, Pescadou, Whimsical Gelato, Hotel- it is rumored that Michael Jackson stayed here!!

What kinds of things do you like to do on your summer vacation?

 

xoxo,

miss notsocoy

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Fall in NYC!

My favorite season of the year has arrived and I couldn’t be more excited! Especially because I get to spend it in my favorite city of all time. The leaves actually change color here and the crisp, cool weather means I can bundle up with scarves and hats (my favorite)!! Fall also means anniversary dinners (Gary and I were wed on October 18th, 2008), pumpkin carving, hot apple cider, pumpkin and pecan pie, warm fires, Halloween, and Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to venture to Central Park and see all the colors changing and perhaps drive to upstate NY to go apple picking.

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So…happy fall, everyone! May yours be comfy and cozy, just like mine!

xoxo,

miss notsocoy

Flying Kitties

To say that my husband and I were a little nervous to fly with our (three!) kitties across the country is an understatement. When we first found out about our big move from LA to NYC, figuring out how to transport the cats became our sole obsession: How would we do it? Would they be okay? Who’s done this before? How would we get them through security? What kind of carriers would we need?Would they die?!? And so on, and so on. Well folks, I am here to tell you that everything turned out FINE! Phew! Here are a few tips on making your move with cats easier.

 

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1. Find a pet-friendly airline. We went with Virgin America, but I’ve heard good things about Alaska Air, as well. With both airlines, your cat gets to fly in the main cabin right under the seat in front of you!

2. Research the airline’s rules and restrictions VERY carefully. Most airlines have strict guidelines regarding carrier sizes, so make sure you purchase one that meets their requirements! Also, each cat, if you’re traveling with multiple critters, needs a separate carrier.

3. Purchase your carrier long before your trip. You will want to get your cat accustomed to the smell and overall feel of the carrier before you fly to ease their anxiety on the big day. We put ours out months in advance so they could live with them for a while. Don’t forget to buy pee-pads and some toys and treats for them, as well. Chances are they won’t want to eat anything while in the air, but it’s always good to be prepared.

4. Make your vet appointment one week before the move. Your cat will need to be up to date with shots and the vet will need to provide you with a certificate of health, depending on your destination.

5. If you will be sedating your cat (and I highly recommend this, your vet permitting), get the medication while at the vet and TEST THEM AT HOME before the big trip! We tried kitty Xanax, but it didn’t quite have the affect we were hoping for. So, we consulted the vet again and were given a different medication, which we also tested out before the big day. Listen carefully to the vet regarding the acceptable dosage level.

Scout, feeling a little drugged out.

Scout, feeling a little drugged out.

6. On the day of the move, make sure your cat has gone to the bathroom and eaten a little bit before medicating them and putting them in the carrier (depending on the length of your flight, you should medicate your cat about thirty minutes before leaving). We chose a day flight because we know that is the time of day that our cats usually nap. We didn’t want to disturb their routine too much.

8. Once at the airport, you will need to go through security with your cat. Your options are to walk through the detector carrying your animal, or going to a separate closed-off room with them while the TSA takes the carrier and screens it. We chose the closed-off room (drugs or no drugs, we weren’t about to risk our cats freaking out and running off down the terminal).

9. Once on board, make sure they’re comfortable. Talk to them, pet them, offer them a treat. Remind them that you’re there occasionally (unless they’re fast asleep).

10. Upon arrival, have a car service or friend pick you up from the airport. This will probably be the most painful part as the drugs have likely worn off and most cats do not like car rides. We had family meet us at the airport with litter, a litter-box, food, toys, and treats which we set up immediately upon reaching our new home. Your cat may not want to leave its carrier right away due to the shock of the new surroundings. Leave the carrier open and once he or she emerges, show them where their litter-box is, as well as their food and water. At this point, it’s best to leave them alone to get acquainted with their new environment.

I hope this helps ease the stress of moving with a cat for you! It was definitely stressful, but our kitties did SO well. I honestly think the flight was more stressful on us than it was on them.

xoxo,

miss notsocoy

Packing Up, Moving Out

Goodbye LA. Goodbye apartment. Goodbye traffic. Goodbye Echo Park. Goodbye Taix. Goodbye Masa. Goodbye Silverlake Reservoir. Goodbye Runyon walks. Goodbye echo park lake. Goodbye bandmates. Goodbye family. Goodbye friends. Goodbye neighborhood walks. Goodbye Del Taco. Goodbye Orange County. Goodbye Newport Beach. Goodbye car. Goodbye Hollywood. Goodbye.

Hello New York!

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Apartment Search = Success

Last week I was on the hunt for the perfect apartment in NYC and boy was it a roller coaster of emotion. The first two days were not easy as I sifted through about 15 apartments all over Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. I was told by multiple brokers that I needed to lower my standards or come up in price. Of course I didn’t want to do either as I was already looking at places at the top of my price range that were literally the size of my kitchen and living room back in Los Angeles. Gary and I chatted over the phone regarding my disappointment…I really felt like I would never find something. I know I went with somewhat unrealistic expectations, but it paid off in the end because on the third day I ended up finding an apartment that fit ALL of my criteria! Phew! Here was my list:

Cat-friendly

A/C units or central air

At least 800 sq. ft.

Close to the subway

Outdoor space

Washer/dryer INSIDE the unit

Dishwasher

2 bedrooms

Lots of closet space

We ended up finding our Astoria, Queens apartment on craigslist, but had been using nakedapartments.com for the rest of the time. I’m already well aware that Astoria is a food lovers paradise, so I’m sure Gary and I will be out within the first day scoping out our favorite coffee shops and eateries. I seriously love our new place and can’t wait to move in and make it our own!

 

 

 

xoxo,

miss notsocoy

Bundle of Joy

My friends, Annie & Eric, are having their first child this summer. To kick off the new addition to the Brown clan, my mom, some friends, and I put together a party to shower the little one (and the parents-to-be) with gifts!

Annie is an animator and has an un-dying love for all things Disney (and peapods!), so we thought we’d give her a Toy Story themed baby shower! Here’s how it turned out!

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My Citrus Sangria! (Super refreshing! See the recipe below)

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The mom-to-be and I before lunch (look at how tiny she is!)

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Lunch is served

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Opening gifts (Annie with her mom and mother-in-law)!

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Chocolate Icebox cake from Lark !

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Sangria Recipe (yields 30-40 servings):

3 large bottles of white wine (I used 1 Chardonnay, 1 Moscato, and 1 Pinot Grigio)

1 large bottle brut champagne (**add right before serving!)

6-10 ounces peach schnapps (or another flavor, if you prefer!)

6 ounces triple sec

1 bottle of mandarin orange sparking juice (I got mine from Trader Joe’s- any orange flavored soda will do! **Also add this JUST before serving)

6-8 ounces orange juice (to taste)

8 ounces grapefruit juice (to taste)

6 ounces white grape juice (to taste)

3 Oranges

3 Limes

1 Grapefruit

Sugar- to taste

Large liquid container (I used a 3 gallon one)

DIRECTIONS:

Slice fruit length wise for a pretty display. You may have to quarter the grapefruit slices as they are pretty large. Add to a large container. Pour all wine in. Add triple sec and peach schnapps. Add OJ and grapefruit juice. Add sugar to taste. This sangria should be sweet, but if you like it tart, don’t add sugar and/or add more grapefruit juice. Chill overnight in fridge.

Take out just before guests arrive and add champagne and orange soda. Serve over ice!

Baby Parker is almost here and we couldn’t be more excited! Hope you enjoyed this peek into Annie’s special day!

xoxo,

miss notsocoy

Mom & Pop: Echo Park

I plan to do a “best-of” series over the next few months in both LA and OC (and eventually in NYC)…focusing mainly on mom & pop shops, restaurants, and bars. I want to document my favorite things in and around the city and promote these local establishments so they continue to thrive for many years to come!

I currently reside in Echo Park, California which is a tiny part of town nestled between Elysian Park (Dodger Stadium) and Silverlake. It has been up-and-coming for a while now and is home to many of my favorite places on the Eastside. With music, food, and cheap rents (not really anymore) abundant in this area, it is no wonder musicians and bands like Elliott Smith, Rilo Kiley, Frank Zappa, and Glenn Frey once called Echo Park home. Steeped in history, Echo Park encompasses the best of the old and new and just keeps getting better everyday! With new businesses opening up shop, and houses being renovated all over the hills, I am sure this area will be just as expensive (boo) and family-friendly as its very hip neighbor, Silverlake, soon.

Here is my staycation guide to Echo Park on a Saturday!

  • Start your day off with a coffee and egg pastry from cookbook on Echo Park blvd. They have some of the best French-pressed coffee in the city (Sight Glass), feature produce and meats from local farms, and sell great products like Dr. Bob’s ice cream and dairy products from Strauss Family Creamer.

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  • Then go for a stroll on a staircase walk…get the tour-guide iphone app here! So much fun, exercise, and history all rolled into one! Make sure to stop by Baxter Street…the 5th steepest street in the US and try to make it up to the top!
  • If you’re feeling up for lunch after your hike, stop into Masa and order the deep dish. The cornmeal crust is sinfully delicious! Be aware that it takes 45 minutes to make one pie, so call ahead if you’re in a rush!

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  • After lunch, you’re probably feeling a little tired from all those carbs. Head down to the lake with a blanket to take a nap….the newly refurbished lake opens on June 15th at 10am! More info here.
  • Once you’re all rested up, you may need to quench your thirst at one of the many local drinking establishments. My favorites include: Sunset Beer, El Prado, and 1642. Sunset beer has an extremely large selection of hard to find beers, with a tasting room attached! They will let you open a bottle from the fridges and drink it there for a small fee. I had my 30th birthday here, and the location was a big hit (the pizza place next door delivers!). El Prado and 1642 are both wine and beer bars with their own flair. 1642 has a resident kitty that roams the bar, and occasional live music while El Prado has a record player and great snacks to munch on! Note: stop into El Prado on Tuesday for their Origami Vinyl night and 1642 on Thursday night for free tamales during happy hour.
  • If you’re the vintage loving type, check out some of the amazing vintage this area has to offer, starting with Hutch. The owner is the sweetest woman from the mid-west and she has EXTREMELY reasonable prices! My husband and I bought an orange 60s armchair there for $60! Other notable shops include: Bear cat, Taxi CDC, and the pricy, Lemon Frog.
  • With all that shopping, I’m sure you’ve worked up an appetite to stop into my favorite local place for dinner, Taix. It is outstanding French country cuisine at a reasonable price! Everything that I’ve tried there is delicious. You can’t go wrong with the trout almondine, or salmon with champagne sauce. The mac & cheese is garlicky and gooey, and the soups are ALL amazing (and vegetarian friendly, too!!) Sit in the dimly-lit lounge and have a couple cocktails or wine with your meal and enjoy the relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere, or fancy it up by dining in one of the nicer time-capsule worthy rooms featured on Mad Men.

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  • After dinner, head over to the Echo for a show (The Rolling Stones just played there!) or dance night! On Saturday nights they host a funky sole dance night that features great DJs.
  • And if you’re still out partying after all the food and festivities from the day, head over to the parking lot of Vons, where you’ll find the Taco Zone truck parked. Order a suadero (brisket) taco (or many!). So so good (and cheap).

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  • Since music is such a huge part of this area, I cannot do a write up without mentioning The Fretted Frog (where my husband got my banjo!), and Bedrock rehearsal studios (where my band and I practice often)….they have a huge room filled with pinball machines that is open to the public! Also, I have to mention the many festivals that take place here throughout the year- Echo Park Rising, Cultures Collide, etc.
  • other notable places: Pizza Buona– great, greasy and cheap NY style pizza (FYI-cash only). Mohawk Bend– located inside a beautifully renovated space (formerly an old Vaudeville theater), it has a photo booth, 71 (mostly) California beers on tap and an entire kitchen devoted to vegan cuisine! Sage– a vegan restaurant with a great reputation (I have not eaten here yet, but it’s on my must-try list!).

Can you tell I love my ‘hood? 🙂 I hope to see you out in my neck of the woods soon!

xoxo,

miss notsocoy

Can’t Get Enough: Lace

Lace is one of my favorite materials to wear. I have so many lace things in my closet, it’s not even funny! I think it’s the whimsical feel of lace that draws me to it time and time again. My wedding dress (by Monique Lhuillier) was even made entirely of LACE! Whatever the reason for the love affair, it is beautiful in all its forms: skirts, dresses, pants, shoes, tops…

Here are some lace goodies that I’ve had my eye on this season:

BOTTOMS

Lavender lace...amazing! By  jcrew.

Lavender lace…amazing! By jcrew.

Lace trousers? Yes, please! This fabulous pair is available at Wasteland.

Lace trousers? Yes, please! This fabulous pair is available at Wasteland.

I love olive green. This pair of lace shorts is super cute. Available at lulus.com

I love olive green…in lace, it is even more awesome!~ Available at lulus.com

DRESSES

Gotta love a classic 60s inspired silhouette in a vibrant hue! This dress available at anthropologie.

Gotta love a classic 60s inspired silhouette in a vibrant hue! This dress is available at anthropologie.

This 60s number has a little lace along the sides and bottom hem. So darling! Available at vukovivintage on Etsy.

This 60s number has a little lace along the sides and bottom hem. So darling! Available at vukovivintage on Etsy.

I am always on the lookout for crisp, white dresses in the summer. This one in an eyelet lace is perfect. Available at Modcloth.

I am always on the lookout for crisp, white dresses in the summer. This one in an eyelet lace is a stunner. Available at Modcloth.

I couldn't resist this lovely 50s dress. So dreamy! Available at VoilaVintageClothing on Etsy.

I couldn’t resist this lovely 50s dress. So dreamy! Available at VoilaVintageClothing on Etsy.

TOPS

Simple and sweet blouse available at shabbyapple.com

Simple and sweet blouse available at shabbyapple.com

Creamy color, classic shape. I would wear this everyday in the summer. Available at Madewell.

Creamy color, classic shape. I would wear this everyday in the summer. Available at Madewell.

Peplum lace tank available at Urban Outfitters.

Peplum lace tank available at Urban Outfitters.

SHOES

These have spring written all over them. Available in many colors at Nordstrom.

These have spring written all over them. Available in many colors at Nordstrom.

GORGEOUS slingback heels by Manolo Blahnik. Available at Neiman Marcus.

GORGEOUS slingback heels by Manolo Blahnik. Available at Neiman Marcus.

Now put on your favorite lace-y numbers and enjoy that spring sunshine!

 

xoxo,

miss notsocoy