Sense Appeal XVIII


for the eyes:
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Happy Easter!

for the mind:
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Recently, Emily Schuman (my favorite blogger who I've mentioned herehere and most recently here) got highly scrutinized for a video she posted which divulged a little more personal information than her routine DIY, recipe or outfit posts. I found it refreshing; others felt differently and weren't shy about it. Several of her readers (some devoted fans for years) backlashed and called her "silly" and totally "unrelatable" and her posts "contrived." While I haven't accumulated the following on B.O.D. to ever get overwhelming positive or negative feedback, I can imagine a few viewers have come and gone finding B.O.D. to be too whimsical, a tad ridiculous or an embarrassing attempt at being "artsy." But, I pay no mind to these sort of notions and remind myself of similar ideals expressed in this Mark Twain quote:
"Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is." 
I found this not only timely with Emily's post, but also with this Easter Sunday as we are told in John 15:5 that He is the vine and we are the branches--apart from Him we can do nothing.

for the ears:

While cruising the Interstates along the Pacific Coast, we often turned to Elizabeth (the native Californian), for good music. This is one of my favorites she shared with us--"Safe and Sound" by Capital Cities" with the reassuring message that "even in a hurricane of frowns, I know that we'll be safe and sound."

fashion for feel:
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I'm ordinarily wary to purchase belts, always asking myself "will I actually wear this?" And with good reason. The frivolous ones always end up under a pile of scarves. But, a good, practical belt is invaluable. My thick brown leather belt has served me well for many years and I foresee the same kind of usage out of this this metallic belt I purchased earlier this year. I needed something to cinch in a dress but didn't want it to distract from the simplistic LBD. And it was this one for the win, all the more practical to pair with jewelry since it has both silver and gold. 

for taste:
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Nothing says summer quite like quenching your thirst with a tall glass of lemonade. Accompany that with some "seasonal southern California comfort food" and you've got it made---with or without the shade.You can find all of this at Lemonade, which I discovered when we stopped at the Brentwood location after a morning in Malibu.

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The staff was eager to hand out samples for newbies like myself. After a few taste tests, I ended up with the four-side platter with the Israeli couscous with wild mushrooms, lemon truffle and parmesan, the kale also with mushrooms and a kumquat vinaigrette, the cauliflower with golden raisins, almonds and curry, and the avocado, cherry tomato, pine nut salad tossed in lime juice--all washed down with a blueberry mint lemonade. Loving my life at this point.

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My mom and I have always been hung up on the fact that Houston lacks good, quick lunch spots. The ones that do operate like this--say Café Express or Ruggles Green--are always packed.

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LA's got this figured out with spots like Joan's and Lemonade. I think they're super into their LA-exclusivity, but I'd be willing to bet Lemonade would not only survive, but thrive, in a city like Austin. Hope you're reading, Lemonade execs.

Enjoy your time spent with family on this holiday!

I Can See Clearly Now


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I was fortunate enough to never go through a "brace face" stage growing up. But, my dentistry luck was not matched by my vision come junior high. I scheduled my first eye doctor appointment when the white boards started getting fuzzy in class, and at that moment a pit formed in my stomach as I dreaded the thought of being forced to wear glasses. So, I went against my doctor's advice (one of the few rebel moments of my adolescence) and wore my contacts day in and day out, rarely giving my eyes any rest.

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But, as time has passed, I've grown to embrace the four-eyes concept. You could even go so far to say I actually like wearing glasses. Gasp.

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Last semester, my roommate Kate ordered a try-on set of Warby Parker glasses and I instantly fell in love with her big, trendy frames. I looked into this brand I was unfamiliar with at the time and found not only a vast and diverse selection of frames, but that WP is essentially the TOMS of eyewear.

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The process is as easy and fun as advertised on their hip website. Here's how it goes down.

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You choose five fantastic frames and they'll ship them to you fo' free!

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Try them on, show your friends, sleep on it, and after a week or so, decide on the final verdict (toughest part of all) and order them with your prescription.

At this point, Warby's happy; you're happy. But, there's more! When you buy a frame, they donate a pair to someone in need. Three happy people. That's a well-spent $95.

In this video, co-founders at Warby Parker Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal discuss the genesis of the project and the philanthropic element.

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It instantly grants you an intellectual edge in the classroom, making it just as much of a style staple as your favorite white t-shirt and signature pair of cozy worn-in jeans.  The fashion director of the brand contacted me and requested I feature some outfit pairings on BOD. While compiling looks for this post, I discovered the versatility of the glasses along the way. Just about anything fits with the frames from warm woolies to summer maxis and the styles easily translate from classroom to work to downtown wear. No longer will my glasses only see the glow of my computer screen at the wee hours of the morning. Warby Parker glasses beg you to make your four-eyed public debut.

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Buy a pair. Give a pair. I see! You see! We all see the choice clearly now. Join the Warby Parker bandwagon.

Everybody On 3


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We briefly entertained the idea of going to Disneyland during our stay in L.A., but I managed to discover my own happiest place on earth in a land far, far away from The Magic Kingdom.

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{Milk boutique}
Wedged between darling shop

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{Social Butterflies LA backroom for in-house designs}
after darling shop on West Third Street,

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lies this modern, upscale mom and pop shop--Joan's on Third.

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Joan's services extend far beyond the macaroons, baguettes and imported cheeses sold in the brick-and-mortar store. Over the past decade and a half, it has evolved from a catering and event planning service to a full-blown (and might I add fabulous!) épicerie of fine and imported foods. Oh. And they'll even prepare a picnic basket for you. SOLD.

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Much to my heart and stomach's dismay, I couldn't fit more than a sampling of gelato and a freshly brewed iced tea in after a sizable lunch.

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I did, however, get a package of their famous rosemary shortbread cookies to bring home to my mom, whom I couldn't help but think of as I gawked over each neatly packaged item.

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The aesthetic of the store with marble countertops, antique farmer's tables and chalkboard menus helps to enhance the rich colorful products spread out in every nook and cranny of the 4,000-square-foot marketplace.

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Even the little people dig the vibe. Apparently, so do Cameron Diaz and LC.

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Their culinary credo? "Serving comfort food in a sophisticated setting." Sophistication and comfort--now that's a power couple. 

It's the kind of place you envision taking your kids and the dog after school for an ice cream treat while you gather the fresh olives, wine and meat from the charcuterie for dinner later that evening. Okay, maybe that's just me, but it's sure to please any foodie. 

Kappa Kappa Kali


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One of the many perks of going to Texas is that everyone comes to you. UT is kind of the central hub where people tend to migrate. Everybody knows someone and more often than not, you can knock out seeing a good chunk of your high school friends whether coming for a game, Round Up or just a quick escape to Austin. Needless to say, I haven't done much college visiting. I've made the trek to Dallas to visit Mollie at SMU, and I still have Vanderbilt on my list. I'm itching to get a glimpse of what my older sister Amy's college experience was like in Nashville. But, I'm happy to report I got to cross University of Southern Cal off my list last weekend!

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Taylor and I became the best of friends through cheering together at Memorial and have remained close ever since. Though tears were shed when she chose to be a Trojan instead of a Longhorn, I was so pleased to witness firsthand how perfect of a fit it is for her.

I brag that Austin is one of the best cities to go to college in, but LA sure can compete. I landed late Friday night, but we drove down the row just in time to see the Phi Psi boys pick up all the Kappas for their happily ever after themed "exchange"--essentially a chapter-wide mixer at a Hollywood venue. SO HIP, RIGHT? I soon learned that this was not the only thing done at USC that was unlike anything at Texas--like having an actual row, fingerprint scanning at the dorms and date parties in Vegas!

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To start off our first full day together, we took a hike in the Hollywood hills.

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The weather could not have been more perfect, and even a little L.A. smog couldn't tarnish the amazing views.

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{Urth's Farmer's Salad - Locally grown baby spinach salad with peppercorn dressing, grilled artichoke, organic tomatoes, French radishes, red onion, shaved fennel, glazed pecans and shaved parmesan cheese served with dried fruit and nut bread and butter}
In need of some post-hike nourishment, we headed to Urth Caffé, a total LA-hipser spot frequented by the likes of Katie Holmes, Selma Blair and Amanda Seyfried.

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Their claim to fame is the Coconut Matcha Green Tea blend often served with boba.

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We had to check out the Cali frat scene, and surely the Greek gods were looking after us since one of the biggest day parties in the nation, Brochella, just so happened to fall on that weekend.

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It's essentially the equvalent to SAE Resurrection but Cali-infused, as you can tell just by the name and the attire.

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Afterwards, we made our way to the other end of the row where Taylor calls home at Kappa Kappa Gamma! So, like yes, this totally makes us sisters and stuff.

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The house was stunning! I have no doubt the views of the city (see the little Hollywood sign in the distance) rival that of many celebrities' homes in Beverly Hills.

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Though there is just about nothing I hate more than a near-death experience with a biker on UT's campus, I was easily charmed by all the girl's pastel-colored bikes parked beside the house.

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Taylor planned a sushi dinner for us and her other visiter, Alexia, who came all the way from the other USC in South Carolina.

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Her friend Gabby also tagged along to the downtown spot--Takami.

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I ordered a crimini mushroom robata to start and then the signature Takami roll. Some claim L.A. boasts the best sushi in the entire country, and now I see why. The melt-in-your-mouth roll--with spicy Albacore topped with Peppertuna and Yellowtail--was practically sinful.

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We headed back to her cozy dorm for the night and caught up. Taylor describes LA as a "fairy land" and I think that description does it just about justice. The plan as of now is for her to continue her California livin' post graduation while I take Manhattan, so we'll always have a place to crash on the opposite coast. Love you, Tay! Thanks for a great stay!

Marketing 101


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I'm a planner. I like to go into trips having done an ample amount of research and this trip was no different. This task was made all the more simple (and fun!) by virtue of the fact that a good population of the biggest and best bloggers call L.A. home.

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My first blogging inspiration, Emily of cupcakes and cashmere (who celebrated five years of c&c today!), is one of these Los Angelites. The main inspiration I drew from Emily was a visit to the Rose Bowl Flea Market, a place she frequently makes a Sunday excursion to.

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Guys. This is the mother of all markets and I was in blogger girl heaven.

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We just so happened to be in town the second Sunday of March, precisely the one day it's open for the month. FATE, AMIRIGHT? I persuaded my fellow travel mates that it was worth a trip and they politely entertained my blogging needs and tagged along.

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I'd venture to say it was a success for all! It was any boy's nightmare--crap EVERYWHERE. But, we came in with wide eyes and prepped to dig through until we found the diamonds in the rough. That we did and the fruits of our labor were well worth it.

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Jean cutoffs were sold at just about every fifth tent. I managed to snag a pair of cozy Levi's and Kate scored some too.

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The market was not sparse in other clothing items with drapey tops, ethereal dresses and maxi skirts being especially hot items.

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It was a nice change of pace to visit with the craftsmen behind all the creations, whatever their special niche may be. Many of the vendors sell to big names like Anthropologie, but here you can score a deal and come home with the story behind the item too.

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The geode trend made its statement here in the form of house decor as seen above and in many jewelry pieces.

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On that note, jewelry was practically oozing out of the cement and falling from the sky here. It was also our most popular type of purchase of the day.

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I satisfied my dainty ring craving with the gold elephant ring pictured above.

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If I had a few more years on me, I would have dedicated more time to exploring the many tents selling housewares whether it be furniture items or small knick-knacks.

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There's something here for all ages, which was evident by the many families who shared our same Sunday plans...

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including Hilary Duff, her hubby and son. STARS! They really ARE just like us!

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Though we left the market with souvenirs, I found the bigger treasure to be how rich of a blogging breeding ground it was. I hope you got equal enjoyment out of virtually experiencing the market through B.O.D., and maybe one day you too will make a trip there and the cycle of blog inspiration will continue on.