July 3, 2018

{TRAVEL} Staycation/Gaycation at Hotel Indigo DTLA

To commemorate pride, 17-years of friendship, and being native Angelenos, my best friend Emily and I booked a short Downtown LA staycation at Hotel Indigo last weekend. When we first met, I was 15-years old, and she was 14; we met playing Water Polo (this is basically it's own punchline on a.) being gay, b.) being from LA), and quickly developed a friendship that was probably mostly based on gaydar, but that we masked as a love for alternative music (but to be fair, there weren't a ton of people in our Jewish prep school who were openly interested in either). In the early days, outside of water polo practice, our friendship mostly lived on AOL Instant Messenger, where I one day logged on, messaged Emily, and said, "dude, I think I like girls." She responded a few minutes later with "that's gross. never talk to me about that again," and then just two weeks later, followed up with, "JK, I think I like girls too." Yes, this is literally our shared coming-out story, (one of many, actually. It’s a common misconception that there’s only one.)

In those years of trying to understand ourselves, our friendship, and our identities, we'd drive around LA taking pictures in different neighborhoods and perching on hilltops to find the best views of our hometown.  We'd drive along Sunset as far east as we could, listening and scream-singing to angsty music and doing our best to make sure the other never felt alone. We were too young, then, to go to any of the gay bars all across LA, and instead found home in the aisles of Amoeba Music and the backs of the few seedy concert venues that actually sold all-ages tickets. In the last few years, having both made our way back to LA, it's been fun to revisit some of those old haunts and add new ones to our rotation - all while actually being fully-formed adults in touch with who we are as individuals. 

I was having pretty intense FOMO last weekend, what was the official Pride weekend of New York & San Francisco, so it seemed like the perfect time for Emily and I to get together and have a dedicated bestie weekend. I live for staycations (they've brought me a lot of sanity in a year where I've had minimal time or opportunity to take real breaks or vacations), and I loved that Hotel Indigo's new LA location is located in such a historic part of Downtown, right around the corner from The Pantry. It was the perfect backdrop for a weekend of venturing out into the Arts District, Echo Park, and making our way to (newer) gay bars like Mattachine and Precinct, and also staying in for face masks and slumber party vibes with Frankie (since it's also super, super pet-friendly). The rooms are super-spacious, bright, and outfitted with modern & tech friendly touches like USB plug-ins throughout - and the bathroom vanity was perfect to spread out all our toiletries and beauty accoutrement to pamper ourselves. Oh, and yes - there's also a pool. 

So one of the things that made this staycation at Hotel Indigo particularly special is that the brand offers a Pride Package, which includes a bottle of champagne, pride merch, and a late 3PM check-out - something that's particularly enticing if you're going to any of their participating locations to celebrate Pride in that city. The Hotel Indigo in Los Angeles even had a series of rooftop pool parties during Pride weekend, which hosted a diverse mix of people from across the community. The package is available through October so you can continue celebrating Pride all summer long! 

The vibe throughout the hotel is all about promoting discovery and paying homage to the neighborhood and its location; it felt so cool to see historic images of DTLA reflected throughout Hotel Indigo's modern, open-space with nods to Downtown LA's art-deco and Hollywood regency roots, with high-shine brass and oversized streetscape murals. What better way to interlude into the hotel's immediate surroundings and explore? 
DTLA has a really vibrant and incredible food scene, from major landmarks like The Pantry, to World-Famous food trucks like Mariscos Jalisco (one of Emily and Jonathan Gold's favorites), to Grand Central Market, to beautifully modern, grand spaces like Bottega Louie. On our first night, we started at a standby favorite of ours in neighboring Echo Park, Winsome. They have cute outdoor seating with string-lights overhead, and a gluten-free/veggie-friendly menu at the foothills of Elysian Park. The following morning, we brunched at Redbird, which is located in the former rectory space of what was one of LA's oldest cathedrals. We spent our afternoons in the Arts District and Little Tokyo (grabbing coffee at Groundworks and ice cream at Salt & Straw), and ended our day with a stroll through Grand Central Market, which has something for everyone and features a taste of LA's cultural diversity. 


I grew up shopping in Downtown LA's fashion district (especially the infamous Santee Alley) with my mom as a child, and needless to say, DTLA's shopping landscape has changed a lot since then. It kind of shocked (and delighted?) me to walk around with Emily and see 3.1 Phillip Lim finding a home in the Arts District - among other neighborhood gems like Alchemy Works and Sacred Light (because, really, is there anything more quintessential "LA" in 2018 than a shop that sells ethically sourced crystals and beautifully illustrated Tarot decks?) One of my favorite DTLA destinations is Hauser + Wirth gallery, and while we didn't make it inside to tour the art - I always make a point of stopping into their book store, which has the most incredible curated collection of art, culture, theory, and cooking books. 

I feel pretty damn lucky that I have so many long-lasting friendships, and have people in my life who have seen me through so many different life stages and milestones and events. Emily and I experienced so many firsts together -- our first pride, first trips abroad, exchanging stories of our first girlfriends and first loves -- and it felt so special to have time and space to reflect on all of the history we've shared. I know we're going to, literally, be friends for the rest of our lives -- and taking a little weekend to be together and laugh about our 17-years of memories was pretty great. Thank you so much to Hotel Indigo for giving us an excuse to revel in our friendship. 

This post was sponsored by Hotel Indigo
All content and opinions are my own. 

April 19, 2018

{STYLE} Denim on Denim

Denim on denim has been a look I've been flirting with a lot lately -- and I've been loving all the new cuts and styles of denim that have been available recently, like these wide-legged cropped jeans (which are under $30 right now!) from Old Navy. I especially love this style because they feel like a premium denim - they raw edge detail makes them look and feel super luxe and with a low stretch in them, they keep their shape as you wear. Because I've been all about mixing indigo pieces, I matched it back to the dark embroidery tones in this raw edge jacket  (i got the plus size one, but it also comes in straight sizes - and both are under $30 - and there's a matching denim pant for an ultimate co-ord moment, too).

It used to be impossible to find really on-trend, premium-look denim at a variety of price points and sizes, but Old Navy has really been turning it on lately, with most of these styles available in sizes 0-30. Ever since I realized I actually love denim and enjoy styling it up or down, I've been so grateful to have all these options to style into my wardrobe; they're perfect complements to my statement pieces Gabi and I make for Premme.


April 4, 2018

When Life Hands You So Much More than Lemons

There's not a day that goes by that I don't acknowledge, even if it's just to myself, that I'm really, really lucky. I'm constantly pinching myself to see if I'm going to wake up from a life that feels so surreal, particularly on days when I get to witness my friends achieving such monumentally amazing things and developing their talents. ModCloth asked me to share some of those moments (while wearing this gorgeous yellow dress of theirs, natch) and I couldn't resist the opportunity to get reflective and celebrate a bit. 

In business, and life in general, I draw so much inspiration from the women and non-binary people around me and how incredibly resourceful we all tend to be. In the little bubble I've been incredible privileged to be in, I witness the ways we connect with each other, help each other, and inspire one another to push boundaries on inclusivity, progress, and problem solving. If you've ever listened to the Call Your Girlfriend podcast (or if you follow me on IG, where I seem to plug this concept constantly) I majorly subscribe to shine theory -- "I don't shine if you don't shine." The basic idea is that there's room for all of us to succeed, and that we can amplify each others voices to lift entire communities up with us. It's a way of reframing what is traditionally thought of as competition - and instead valuing community and collaboration. 

I owe so much of my own success to being supported and encouraged by other women, including my mom, my now-business partner Gabi, and my former Marie Claire editor, Lea Goldman. It was even through a casual conversation with my friend, and ModCloth founder Susan, that I was given one of my first chances to design a collection -- an opportunity that inevitably lead me to other design opportunities and finally, last summer, launching Premme.  It's through my friend Janet Mock that I'm constantly reminded to speak my truth and breathe authenticity to everything I do. And I think, subconsciously, some of these relationships even influence and inspire the way I dress, too; I feel like I'm channeling a little of the retro-ladylike vibes that my friend Haley, another fellow founder, dons so well, while other days I draw a bit from Priscilla Ono, and others from Nadia Aboulhosn.

I feel so lucky to be surrounded by incredibly talented, real people; to draw so much wisdom from them, and to celebrate their successes and wins as they celebrate mine. There is so much to be grateful for, even when life feels like a marathon full of unexpected hurdles, and I think my strong friendships and relationships are among the things I'm luckiest to possess. 


This post is sponsored by ModCloth.
All content and opinions are my own.

March 30, 2018

Spring Beauty Buys

If you follow me on Instagram, it's probably no surprise that I'm pretty obsessed with all things beauty and skincare. I think if I had to start over (and maybe this is something that will even happen at some point in this lifetime!) I'd study dermatology or cosmetology or aspire to be a beauty editor. I love learning new skincare approaches or makeup-application techniques, and love testing new products and becoming familiar with active ingredients. The discovery process in beauty, and finding new ways to enhance my natural features, is one of the most fun parts of the entire industry, for me!

Of course, I also have a long list of tried-and-true favorites and brands, ones that consistently create formulas and products that I love, whether it's NARS for their amazing color products (these spring Wanted Palettes (especially the cheek palettes in both Vol I and Vol II)  or Lipstick Queen's amazing color-changing, hydrating lipstick. Because I've also tried so much through the years -- I love a good deal to replenish my stock of those products I use over and over - and ULTA is delivering big time with their 21-Days of Beauty, where tons of my faves are on super sale.

Today's deal is these Too Faced Melted Matte Liquid Lipsticks (normally $21, but today they're 50% off!) and these gentle exfoliating Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads. Some other savings on the horizon from my faves Mario Badescu (they're offering 25% off the entire brand) and 50% off Urban Decay's holy grail, Eyeshadow Primer Potion.  


This post is sponsored by ULTA.
All content and opinions are my own.

March 29, 2018

It's Spring!

I've been loving the new pieces from LOFT's extended size range which launched just a couple of months ago. I know I've mentioned this before, but something shifted over the last year from my total reliance on skirts and dresses to loving pants - especially culottes or trousers with little special details (like these gold sailor buttons, or the tie-front on this pair I wore in this post).


This post was sponsored by LOFT

All content and opinions are my own.