mart collective

IMG_3698-682x1024One of my absolute favorite shops in LA is The Mart Collective, a massive, warehouse like space filled to the brim with gorgeous antiques and vintage items. There are over 120 different dealers who have their own space within the store, so everything is curated and styled according to the owner which makes it a really interesting shopping experience. I pop in every couple of weeks and pretty much always find something that I ‘need’ (accessories, paintings, a vase or two) and plenty of things that I definitely don’t (doll heads, a JFK statuette – see below!).

I’ve always loved vintage and antique items and visiting The Mart Collective is like going to an extremely well edited version of a flea market. I’m a big believer in mixing new with old so that things aren’t quite so matchy and perfect – plus, you can often find a really good deal when buying used items, both in decor and clothing.

If you’re in LA I highly suggest a visit, and if you’re not you should follow along on their instagram for glimpses into the shop.
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all white

chic white dressIn my opinion, there’s nothing better than a little white dress, especially in the summer. I amassed quite a collection of them last year before we got married so I’m not really in the market for any new ones this season, but that doesn’t stop me from looking! A few that have caught my eye are this bow front white shirtdress, this pretty little off the shoulder number (okay fine I did order that one, it was too cute not to), and of course this little wrap effect dress that I keep raving about.

There’s just something so chic about a white dress, and the fact that they’re so easy to wear makes them even more appealing. They act as a blank canvas and look great whether paired with simply a pair of strappy leather sandals or a colorful purse and a pile of fun bangles. Plus, the old rule of not wearing white after Labor Day definitely doesn’t apply, so you can keep wearing them through fall and into winter (depending on the fabric, obviously – while a silky white dress would look great with black tights and a chunky cardigan, a little eyelet number would just make you look crazy).

Keep scrolling for some great LWD inspiration, and check out a few of my favorite dresses currently in the shops at the bottom of the post. Happy Monday!

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the best (and easiest) banana muffins

best banana muffin recipeI’m not much of a baker, but banana muffins are one of the few things that I can (and like) to make. I use this banana muffin recipe which makes great muffins as is, but I’ve played around with the recipe a couple of times and found that there are just a couple of changes that make them even better; I add an extra banana (extremely ripe ones are key), a tiny bit more butter than called for (unsalted), a little more salt than called for (Zoe Nathan says that she always doubles the salt in baking recipes), toss in a handful or two of pecans or walnuts, a dash of vanilla, and use a little less sugar than they suggest. Plus, if I have some high quality dark chocolate on hand then I like to chop that up and add it in. So. Good.

Whether you’re a super experienced baker or a total novice (like me), trust me and make these!

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napa valley visit

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love Napa. We were there last weekend for a wedding (which was absolutely stunning, I’m hoping she’ll let me post photos!) and had the best time. All of the wedding events were so fun, but we also had quite a bit of time to explore the area, visit wineries, and of course eat some really great food. It was my first trip to the region and I already can’t wait to go back!

Here are some pictures from the trip, and then some of the stuff we did at the bottom of the post…
IMG_3239^we had a lot of fun/wine 😉 I’m wearing this dress which is the best & on sale now!IMG_3249-682x1024napa wine tastingIMG_3088archetype napawine tasting napaIMG_3106napa valley wine regionwine tasting frog's leapIMG_2971bouchon bakery napa

A few of the best places we ate were Archetype, a gorgeous restaurant in St Helena serving fresh New American dishes, and Bouchon Bakery, a delicious little spot next door to the Bouchon restaurant which pretty much always has a line snaking out the door or people lining up for their great pastries, sandwiches, and strong coffee. For dinner the first night we arrived we met up with some friends for dinner at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch which came highly recommended and definitely lived up to our expectations. I had the ribs which were amazing. We also popped into the big Dean and Deluca shop to stock up on a few essentials (I love this on baked salmon) and get a few of their deli items for a quick lunch.

As for wineries, it was pretty difficult to choose as their are hundreds dotting the valley, but I think it’s hard to go wrong as they all seem to be gorgeous. My favorite was Frog’s Leap, where they set you up with a little table for wine tasting in their beautiful back garden (reservations are required) and really explain the wine. Another that I loved was Far Niente, where we were given a tour of the winery and shown through their massive underground caves, and a really delicious wine and cheese pairing. We also visited Opus One and while it was definitely great wine, I don’t know if I would recommend the experience unless you’re a major wine lover as it’s super pricey. Next time (which is hopefully soon!) I’d love to visit Swanson Vineyards, Francis Ford Coppola Vineyard, and Beaulieu.

summer essentials

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striped sun hat $38 / Bobbi Brown beach body oil $32 / Sun Bum sunscreen $16/ straw beach hat $112 / beach towel $29 / St Tropez sunless tanner $30 / petanque set / $49 / calypso beach bag $100 / bikini $90 / Clinique after sun $23 / ray bans $160

Since yesterday was the first official day of summer, I figured I should do a post on all of my summer essentials; a chic sun hat, yummy smelling suncreen, a fun beach towel and of course a great beach bag to put it all in. I’ve been on the lookout for a new swimsuit and this bikini is calling my name – it comes in a ton of different colors but I really like the vibrant green shade shown above.

And since I’m naturally pretty pale, I’ve tried my fair share of sunless tanners (and have had the requisite streaky orange disasters) and this gradual tanner from St Tropez is my favorite. It gives just a very subtle amount of color and looks very natural. Plus, since the color develops gradually it’s pretty difficult to mess up. If I do accidentally ever get too much sun, Clinique makes this really great after sun lotion that I’ve used for years.

What are your essentials – any great products or brands I need to try?

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