Matt surprised me with tickets to see Beatles LOVE in Las Vegas for Valentine’s Day! I wasn’t expecting anything (we don’t usually get into that into holiday) so I was really excited. I had never been to Las Vegas before. It just never happened I guess, and I wasn’t that interested in it to be honest. I don’t enjoy gambling, and although I love to dance, clubs can be overwhelming. So Matt and I booked a hotel room at Treasure Island, and set out for a super short, laid-back trip to Vegas. We left last Friday morning and only stayed for one night.

When we arrived it immediately reminded me of Times Square in New York. Lots of big flashy signs vying for our attention. Lots and lots of tourists, and corporate insignias everywhere you look. Not really my thing. Not really what I go looking for in a place to vacation at all. And then we walked through some of the casinos… Ugh… I hate walking through casinos. Smokey, dirty, flashy, noisy, crowded… I get panicky and claustrophobic with those low ceilings, recycled air and no end in sight.

So we settled for some chain restaurant Mexican food for lunch, and then walked back to the hotel. I decided to take a nap and Matt went down to play Roulette. I probably would have lounged poolside, but the weather was a bit too chilly for that. By the time I woke up, the sun had set, and the lights on the strip from our 36th story VIP hotel room (they upgraded us for free!) was very impressive. It gave me a boost of energy as we got ready for our show.

A First Timer's Las Vegas Experience - Pure Spectacle & Amazement(my instragrams from top left: the Bellagio, the view of the strip from our hotel window, inspiring installation outside the LOVE show at the Mirage, amazing neon at the Flamingo)

We walked next door to The Mirage and grabbed a drink at a Beatles themed bar inside. And I don’t know what happened, but I started to “get it”. There’s something magical about Vegas at night. The lights, the sounds, the crowds… everything that was slightly irksome during the daylight, became absolutely wonderful at night. And then LOVE was amazing. Just amazing. I was actually emotional during a couple of the performances. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve grown up with The Beatles like I have, hearing their music played in a concert setting is really moving.

From there we changed into more comfortable clothes and walked the entire length of the strip. Seriously. Stopping for drinks and hot dogs along the way. Matt wanted to check out the Luxor, so why not!? If you’re not familiar with the Las Vegas Strip, Treasure Island and the Luxor are about 2 miles apart as the crow flies… but of course you can’t actually walk that straight down the street… So we ended up walking 10+ miles (according to my pedometer).

Here’s the other thing… the show started at 9:30pm and ended around 11:30. So at 11:30pm we decided to walk about 10 miles. But it felt like 8:00! I’ve never been in a place that literally never stops. We didn’t get back to our hotel until 2:30am and all we did was walk around!

I was completely amazed by the spectacle of the entire place. It’s so over the top. The design, the architecture, everything is big and bright and flashing. I ended up loving it for that fact alone and can’t wait to go back. Maybe during a warmer time of year so I can enjoy some of the famous pools.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? Do you love it? Hate it? Was your experience anything like mine?

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It’s been over 2 months since our wedding, and we still haven’t sent out one official thank you note. I feel horrible about it actually, but I’m overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. I want to make each one individual and special, and there are so many! So I worked on some over the weekend and I’m starting to get on a roll. I went back and re-read this post, and it really helped. Do you have any advice? (In case you were wondering, we got that crock-pot above for our wedding and I love it!)

The Holidays are coming! Ever since Matt and I have been together, I’ve spent Christmas at my parent’s and New Years in PA with Matt’s family (the photo above is from last year’s trip). But this year we’re married, and thing are changing. We’ll be spending Christmas in Pennsylvania this time, and that leaves the week after and New Years up in the air. Maybe we’ll come home and have a Los Angeles New Year, or maybe we’ll travel somewhere special just the two of us. Are you guys already planning for the Holidays?

I used to LOVE Halloween. It was my favorite holiday—candy, dressing up, raucous parties… Ever since college though, I feel like an old person. I just don’t really care anymore. I would rather stay home and open the door for trick-or-treaters than leave my house. Am I alone in this? A lot of my friends still go out and paint the town on Halloween, and I just don’t feel like I can keep up. To try and boost my spirits, I’m planning some Halloween posts this week! (Check out the pumpkin I carved over the weekend)

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Happy Monday! Over the weekend I went shopping with my “aunt” (no relation, but that’s what I call her) and I came across these Ugg fringe boots at a major discount. Now, I usually don’t go for this style, but I’ve been watching a lot of Friday Night Lights and I’ve started to appreciate the whole cowboy look more. These boots are so dang comfy, I can’t wait until fall really gets here and I can wear them everyday.

This friday we’re heading to the last wedding of the season all the way over in St Louis, Missouri! I’m excited to spend a weekend and check out this town. If you know of any good BBQ or shopping spots, please let me know! (The cute illustration above is from this website).

Last night we watched the season finale of Breaking Bad at my parent’s house (we don’t have cable) so we wouldn’t run across any spoilers today. It was such a great show. I’ll never forget how my mom started watching it first and I couldn’t believe she would like a show about cooking meth! But 6 years later, I have to agree. Check out the cool Breaking Bad fan art like the one above.

New favorite show that I’m addicted to: Friday Night Lights! I’ve just been in a TV mood lately. So when I finished House of Cards, I was craving another drama series to get into. Thanks to Netflix, I started watching Friday Night Lights, and love it. Dillon Texas is nothing like my home town or high school, but I think anyone can relate to it. I was talking to one of my friends who also loves the show and happens to teach high school and we were both remarking on how “real” the show is. It focuses on real high school issues of today’s world, and doesn’t sugar coat things. I really appreciate that.

This past weekend we went on short trip up to Santa Cruz (about 5 hours north of LA) for a dear friend’s wedding. What a beautiful place. We were only there for a few hours, but I am already planning another trip. Small town feel with the beach on one side and the redwoods on the other side. If you’re ever in the area, do yourself a favor and make a stop. And it kinda rained on the wedding day! So moody and misty and magical. Loooooved it.

Last Thursday and Friday I volunteered as an intern for Blogshop LA. Such a fun 2 days! Bri and Angela taught  the class, and me and 2 other graphic designers helped set up and answer questions. It was so fun to be a part of, and so inspiring to see how these amazing creative ladies teach and put on such a successful event.

Sep 12, 2013

For the past week I’ve been working on-site at one of my client’s offices. We’re working on a new project with a tight deadline, so it’s easier if we’re all in the same place. I like the change from my home office, but I noticed I really don’t have a good laptop bag solution.

Currently my laptop bag doesn’t carry much other than a laptop, and all those work supplies I listed earlier this week. I also have to bring my power supply and some paper work. The bag is super heavy and I still have my purse and lunch bag! Not to mention a water bottle and sweater.

So I’ve been shopping for a new solution. What I really need is a small zippered pouch I can use as my purse that will tuck neatly inside my laptop bag and remove when I go to lunch. Ideally I could also fit a water bottle and sweater on top of all my work essentials. And of course this bag must be stylish, not too big and not super obvious that I have an expensive computer in there.

Thankfully I’ve already found several options on Etsy! Here are my top 5 picks so far… What do you think?

No. 1   //   No. 2   //   No. 3   //   No. 4    //   No. 5

I’m leaning toward the chic multipurpose (No. 4) or the classic leather crossbody (No. 5). Of course, I’ll probably be working from home after this week and won’t need to tote around so much.

Do you have a laptop bag or big tote that you love?

I’ve written before about why we decided to go on a road trip to Portland right after our wedding and delay our big honeymoon until next year. So I won’t get into all that again. Suffice it to say, it was a great idea and we loved our week long trip up and down the west coast. I wanted to share how we did it and a few of our highlights.

Map It Out // The little pink dots on the map above are a pretty accurate portrayal of our route. I made a custom map in Google Maps with our starting point and all our stops along the way. If you’ve never done this before it’s really easy. Go to maps.google.com and click “My Places” then hit “Create Map”. You insert your addresses and move your route as you wish. You can also share the map with others and if you have the Google Maps app on your phone, you can access all that info anywhere. Pretty nifty.

Big Sur // M had never been to Big Sur. He had never actually been past San Francisco, and when he went there he either flew or took “the 5″ the whole way up. Well, if you’re like him, you are missing some amazing views. Sure, head up the highway most of the way, but cut over to Big Sur so you won’t miss one of the country’s most beautiful sights. We were so glad we did. While you’re at it, make a dinner reservation for the Restaurant at Ventana. Their $70 per person seasonal menu was one of our favorite meals.

Mount Shasta // A charming mountain community, Mount Shasta is right at the border of California and Oregon which makes it a perfect stop. I loved that our drive that day took us from the ocean, through the heartland and up into the mountains. Fun fact: Mount Shasta is an active volcano!

Portland // We loved our 3 days in this vibrant city. I’ll post a full PDX recap later, but some of our highlights were a rooftop movie night showing of Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Adventure, a Soap Box Derby down a mountain, and M getting “inked” with my initial on his wedding ring finger. When in Portland… get a tattoo? I guess so!

Photos taken from my very active Instagram

Aug 16, 2013

Wow. What an amazing week. I married my best friend, and we promptly hit the road to start our literal and metaphorical journey together. I’m going to get back to honeymooning, but I wanted to pop in and say hi. Here’s what we’ve been up to…

I hope you’ve been enjoying my fabulous guest posters. I am so thankful for the chance to get away for a couple weeks. XO and Love to all! Have a great weekend!

Summer here from More Design Please. For those of you who may have recently caught the travel bug, here’s a list of my personal favorite carry-on essentials…

1.  Gum and mints. This is a MUST have. You just never know who you’re gonna sit next to on a plane! Stuck next to a stranger with funky breath? Offer ‘em some gum! Or perhaps you’re lucky enough to score the seat next to a total stud. Good thing you’ve got mints to cover up that peanut breath! phew!

2. Cosmetic Bag. Ladies, we all know why this is essential. Nobody looks good after a long plane ride. Your mirror and brush will come in handy at the end of your long ride.

3. Lip Balm Carrier. Clip it on your bag for easy access… No chapped lips for you!

4. Travel Tote. The bigger the better! It’s another piece of luggage after all.. and you won’t have to pay to check it in!

5. Thirst for Design Water Bottle. Love this ModCloth bottle, don’t you?

6. iPad mini. The best time-killer known to man.

7. Passport Holder. (If you’re lucky enough to have to travel outside the country!)

8. “Adulting” by Kelly Williams Brown… I’ve been dying to read this book. A nice long flight would be the perfect opportunity!

(image via)

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Flips Audio sent me some headphones to try, but these aren’t just ordinary headphones. They actually flip from personal, on your ears headphones, to party speakers! Pretty cool huh? So I tried them out in both situations—in my home office and crafting around the kitchen table with my bridesmaids.

Tshirt   //   Shorts   //   Dress

For those of you who don’t know, I share my home office with my fiancé. We actually work well together, but we never agree on the same music. Headphones really help so I always keep some by my desk. And by the way, this is the exact outfit I wear in my office… I love that shirt.

I plugged the Flips into my phone when my bridesmaids came over to craft (remember this list?). We listened to my Summer Daze Mix Tape and gold leafed terra cotta pots while drinking wine smoothies… Oh yes, wine smoothies. More on those later… first the Flips.

I really like these headphones. They come in a compact zippered case so I can always find them, they’re comfortable, and I like that they’re always ready to party. I bet they would be great for travel too… watching a movie on your iPad in the airport by yourself, or with a whole group!

You can get $10 off your own pair of Flips Audio headphones (plus FREE shipping) by going here and checking out with this code: FA0010INT until July 16.

Full Disclosure *** This is a sponsored post. I recieved a free pair of headphones for an honest product review.

Apr 16, 2013

Every once in a while I get this deep longing for New York City. I call it my “New York State of Mind”. It’s odd because I’ve only been there once—Thanksgiving a couple years ago. Maybe I watch too many movies and TV shows that take place in that city.

When we were there a couple years ago, I was kind of nervous that I had built it up in my mind as this magical place, and I would be disappointed with the realities of the city. I was sure that I would feel like a tourist and my west-coastness would show. We drove into the city from Philadelphia and I fell asleep at some point during the drive. I woke up to the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. I couldn’t believe it. It was like I had been transported into the opening titles of one of my favorite movies.

With just a couple steps onto the pavement, I felt at home. I could walk as fast as the native New Yorker. I could easily find my way around. The crisp fall air invigorated me and I wanted to explore the park and buy a bagel and a coffee from a food cart.

(I took this photo on Thanksgiving day, walking through Central Park after the Macy’s Day Parade)

I want the busy streets, the old, towering buildings, the changing weather, and the necessity to get out of the house and walk somewhere. Los Angeles is just so different. I live on a quiet street in a medium sized city within a city. There’s a subway walking distance from my apartment, but I never use it. My car takes me everywhere—driving over an hour to get across town is not unusual and I might do it twice in one day. Being in the car I don’t bump into people, or see new shops open up or feel fresh air blow through my hair. The buildings are all about 3 stories high, built in the 70s and the same 3 colors of beige.

Moving to New York is just a distant dream at this point. M’s work keeps us firmly planted in The City of Angels for now. But I did a brave thing last night and sent my dream out to the Universe: Some day I will live in New York City. Even if it’s just for a month. And even if I learn that I’m a West Coast girl, and come running back to my homeland… I will try it.

For now I’ll watch You’ve Got Mail and drink latte’s…

Is there a place that you dream about living? What’s holding you back?