Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Goals


Kenji Ono, Julie & Julia

I've been seeing a lot of these lists popping up on various blogs, and I love them. I think it's so important to think about what you want to/need to achieve and set goals for yourself in the process. Since this summer is going to be so busy for me, I know that writing out a list of goals is going to be super helpful in keeping me centered and calm.

1. Make popsicles - Ok, it's no secret that I love popsicles (see this post here). Not only are they cute, but they are SO simple to make! I plan on picking up a couple packs of popsicle molds from World Market and crafting up a bunch of yummy recipes in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for those posts. Popsicle making is something I'm new at, and I'm excited to challenge myself and try something new. If I get really good at it, maybe I can make a business out of it! (ok, I'm getting a little carried away there.)

2. Take better care of myself - I don't necessarily mean doing yoga (like the cute little girl is doing above), but take care of myself by eating better, not getting as stressed out, and staying active. I can be good when I want to be, but to be honest, lately I've been slacking. Walking (fast paced) is my favorite form of exercise (while listening to my favorite Elvis tunes, or Jenny Lewis, depending on my mood), but I'd like to try my hand at a dance class and I hope to be swimming a lot since my job will be in Malibu near the beach for the summer :)

3. Planning more date nights - Because my job is moving to Malibu for the summer, that means I'll be spending more time in the car, and less time at home. I want to make sure I plan at least one date night a week so that we can stay connected as a couple. I also love that little cartoon above. It kinda looks like us (a little), and the girl is holding an ice cream cone! I'm going to try and use these "planned date nights" as blog posts for you guys, so you can hopefully get some inspiration from me and what I decide to do to plan for them. I'm looking forward to getting dressed up, picking out a new restaurant, and having a fun night with my guy without any stress from the week.

4. Hosting dinner parties - Not sure how many I'd like to have, but since we moved back into the city, we've only held one party, and it was our housewarming/my birthday. Since we live closer to friends and have a bigger kitchen, this should be fairly easy to do now. I have so many ideas for food ideas, and decorations, too. There's also something so relaxing for me about planning a get together, and executing it as well. Party planning makes me happy. I'd love to share my ideas on the blog so maybe I'll turn it into a weekly theme.

What are some of your summer goals? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My (Current) Favorite Instagrammers

I love Instagram, probably way more than the average person. It's what I use to promote this blog, and it's such a great, simple creative outlet. I follow a lot of people, but I'm pretty picky (if you saw my most liked photos, they mostly consist of baked goods) and I wanted to share my favorite Insta accounts so that others can be inspired as I have been! There are way more than what I'm posting here, but these are the ones I follow pretty religiously and like every single photo that is posted. What are some fun Instagram accounts that you follow? I'd love to know!


I first came across Elizabeth's Instagram while browsing people's liked photos, and right away I knew I would love her posts. Not only does she have the best style, but she has some pretty cute pups, and a love for Elvis, like me! She also decorates the cutest cakes and owns her own boutique which I so wish I could visit. It's in Rhode Island and it's called Shop Bananas. Add her! 
@theconnoisseurofcute


Kelly is amazing. She can take anything and turn it into something practical. For example, did you ever think you could turn a plain ol' straw hat into a donut design, or a piñata into a taco? Her creativity blows me away and she is truly inspiring. Her wedding is taking place in Palm Springs soon, and I can't WAIT to see all those pictures. I just know it's going to be the most fabulous DIY wedding ever. Follow Kelly! 
@studiodiy / studiodiy.com
 


Carrie is the cutest! She takes the loveliest photos of her daily outfits, places she visits around her hometown of London, and you can't deny the fact that she always looks like she's having the best time wherever she goes. She also loves to indulge in Lush products, which I love, too. Go follow Carrie! 
@wishwishwish / wishwishwish



I love Tieghan's Instagram! I mean, how can you look at her photos and not get hungry for what she's cooked up on her blog? I want to try to make everything I can, as it all looks SO GOOD. I mean, just look at that pasta in the bottom right corner! Yum yum. Go follow her!  
@halfbakedharvest/ half baked harvest
 


Alix is a Parisian girl who loves Charlotte Olympia (a designer who has the cutest bags + shoes that Alix likes to wear on the blog). Her photos are fresh, fun, and make me want to visit Paris asap. Plus, she has great hair! Go follow her!  



You know I love a good Elvis account, and this one is great. Brittany posts some of the best photos of Elvis I've ever seen, and takes great care in making sure that she's always posting something original, or keeping the page interactive with questions for those who are following. I always look forward to her photos popping up on my feed! Go follow her, if you're into Elvis of course! @babyletsplayhouse



This girl has GREAT style. She just recently moved to LA (my hometown) and takes the most gorgeous photos. She loves the 60s and it shows in the photos she chooses to share (like all the ones you see above) and they put a smile on my face. I wish she'd post more often! :p Go follow her! @girlpartyshop

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer is here!

I'm not that excited about it, though. I'm not particularly fond of hot weather, or beach traffic (which I'll be in plenty of soon). But there is something so nice about not having to put on a sweater at night, and eating tons of ice cream and s'mores. I recently ordered this dress from Bow and Drape, one of my favorite clothing companies from New York. You can customize just about anything - from sweaters to bathing suits, with appliques or letters. I already customized a sweatshirt (here), and a striped shirt with an elephant drinking a martini (I still need to take a picture of myself in that!) and now I've had the chance to put an ice cream cone on a striped skater dress. I received loads of compliments on it the other day when I wore it out, and I can't wait to wear it again soon. Plus, it's a great dress for twirling! Oh, and the fake ice cream cone is a little decoration I picked up at Target a while ago. I still can't figure out where to hang it, but I'm sure I'll come up with a good spot soon.

This was right after I had my hair done at Dry Bar (from my last post). They're the best!




Dress: Bow & Drape (customization available)
Hair Pouf: Ban.Do

Monday, June 23, 2014

Solo Day Out

I love spending time alone. Lately, getting that time hasn't been so easy because I've been quite the busy bee, but today I wanted to treat myself to some leisurely, girly activities. I started out the day by heading to Dry Bar, my favorite go-to for quick and easy blow outs. The one on Third Street is one of my favorite salon locations because it's located on a fun street with lots of restaurants and shops. I tend to always pick the same style from their lookbook "The Straight Up" which is straight but with some body at the ends. I sipped a glass of cucumber-infused water and let the stylist do her magic. I was so happy with the results! Flippy at the ends, just how I like it!
 
 



Next up, I walked over to Magnolia Bakery for one of their signature vanilla cupcakes. There's something so fun about purple frosting. I should have taken a couple more home, but it's probably a good thing that I didn't!



By the time I was finished with my cupcake, I walked over to the Benefit store to buy their awesome brow gel (Gimme Brow) that I've been coveting. The girls totally took care of me and I'm so happy to own this little magic wand! Benefit is one of my favorite brands because their packaging is so cute and their products have such fun names (and, of course, their stuff is good, which is the main point here!)




Next, I drove into Beverly Hills for my nail appointment at Olive & June, which is a fairly new nail salon that many have blogged about. I'm usually not one to get my nails done (it's just never been my thing), but since it's summertime and I want to break out my new Swedish Hasbeens sandals, I figured why not! But I was a little early, so I killed a little time in one of my favorite stores, Marimekko. It's full of the prettiest prints ever. I wanted all of those dresses, but sadly my budget wouldn't allow. They have such cute dinnerware, too! I'll take one of everything, thanks.


 



Finally, it was time for my appointment so I walked back over. Olive & June has the best selection of nail polishes from Deborah Lippmann to Butter London, and I had a field day picking out my two colors. The ladies working on me were super nice and I had such a relaxing experience. I'm definitely going to come back.






 So my afternoon ended up being perfect. Blow out + mani/pedi + cupcake? Yes, definitely. I think I'm going to try to turn this into a bi weekly tradition, and maybe switch it up to a different sweet treat every time. I came home feeling refreshed, relaxed and happy. I think it's SO important to take time out for yourself every once in a while and treat yourself to the simple pleasures in life. I think the one thing I'll have to think about more next time is bringing someone along to take some of the pictures. Cause let me tell you, it can get really awkward asking strangers to take pictures of you trying on makeup, having your hair done.. you name it. But I managed to get by OK. :)



I got home was so wiped out from all the relaxation (and driving), that  I immediately went for our leftover pasta, and the couch. Hope you all had a great weekend and don't forget to enter my giveaway which ends soon!

How do you like to treat yourself? Ice cream? Movie? Shopping spree? Do tell.

Friday, June 20, 2014

It's Giveaway Time (and Happy Friday!)

Hi all! I'm SO excited to share my latest giveaway. It's my way of saying thanks for reading my blog! Just the other day, I hit over 10k pageviews, which is more than I ever imagined when I first started this little blog of mine. So I want to give back (in a big way) and encourage you all to enter my giveaway! I have a super duper love for my hometown of Los Angeles (specifically Los Feliz which I've mentioned in my blog before), and I'm giving away prizes from all of my favorite local shops including yummy chocolate, cool prints, sunglasses and more! Contest begins now, and ends in a week, so get clicking! I will pick a winner shortly after the contest ends. Also: Sadly this is only open to residents of the US. So sorry!

To Enter, Use The Widget To:

1) Leave a blog post comment letting me know which of these prizes you would be most excited to win

2) Tweet about the giveaway

3) Add me on instagram! Make sure to let me know that you added me, when you leave your blog comment :)

If you're not sure how to enter/are having trouble entering on rafflecopter (the widget), send me an e-mail at circusofcakes@gmail.com






 Prizes Included:

1 Package of Fleur De Sel Caramels from my favorite local butcher shop/bakery - McCall's

1 Large Illustrated Print of my neighborhood Los Feliz - Purchased at Skylight Books

1 Red Velvet Chocolate Bar - Made at my favorite local café The Alcove

1 Pair of Yellow Heart Shaped Sunglasses from Cherry Pick Vintage

1 Judy Garland Paper Doll and 1 Utensils Postcard from my favorite gift shop Spitfire Girl

1 Popsicle Soap Bar and 1 I Heart Cats pin from my favorite cat themed (!!) vintage store Meowdy

1 Ice Cream Pullover Sweatshirt in size Medium from Oasap

Enter Here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! <3


Thursday, June 19, 2014

I Scream For Popsicles



Summer is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with popsicles? I've also been seeing so many yummy popsicle recipes on various blogs, and felt so inspired! I'm gonna have to go out and buy a popsicle mold asap, and snatch up some of these cute clothes and accessories before they sell out. Psst.. the Forever21 socks are less than $2!

 01. Popsicle Sticks / 02. Pouch / 03. Bathing Suit / 04. Necklace

I can't not mention the yummy recipes that have inspired this post ...

01. Cake shaped like popsicles? Kelly, you've done it again. Genius! c/o StudioDIY

02. Popsicles with gummies hidden inside? So cute! c/o BestFriendsForFrosting/Horses & Heels

03. Tart rhubarb and creamy yogurt mixed into one delightful popsicle? Yum. c/o Apt 2B Baking Co





Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My trip to Memphis (Pt 3)

Wearing my new shirt while watching the Kings game in the hotel room (they won.. go LA!)

Day three (our last day..boohoo, so sad) began with a nice chance to finally sleep in. We took our time getting packed, and headed back to the Blue Plate for our final breakfast in Memphis. Seeing as how the last time I ate here, I ate way too much and almost fainted in the car rental, I wasn't sure of what to order, so I stuck to a light meal. I meant for our last day to be a more leisurely day without as much of a strict itinerary, and that was pretty much what happened. There had been some spots I'd still wanted to see, so we planned out each one and ended up seeing it all with time to spare!

First up was the house Elvis owned before Graceland, on a gorgeous street called Audubon Drive. I wish there was a way I could have seen the inside because I hear that they preserved it how it looked back when the Presley's lived there, but I had to see it from the outside. It's a ranch style house that was said to have been the only house on the block with a pool at the time of purchase. I love it!

 

We then drove to Elvis' high school (which is now just a middle school), Lauderdale Courts (the public housing he lived in during his high school days), and the movie theater I'd been dying to see that he used to rent out for all night movie marathons (which is now a playhouse). Funny story: My mom pulled over so I could jump out and take a picture of the outside, but then I got curious and went in (it was open!) and no one was inside. Not a soul. I thought maybe I'd find some kind of plaque to commemorate the history of him using it) but there was nothing. I saw that the room with the stage was open, so I started to walk over when I realized the room before that was pitch black. I ran through it (trying not to scream), took a picture, and ran out. It was kind of spooky, but so fun.

 

I found Overton Square! This was high on my list, since I'd heard that it was full of cute shops and restaurants. Actually, I found it by accident while driving around looking for the theater. I spotted the mural and had to take that picture I'd been wanting to take, along with some pictures I took at the cutest cafe ever called Java Cabana in Cooper-Young that also sold vintage clothing and yummy cupcakes (I bought their strawberry one, mmm). I also found the record store that has that Elvis shrine, and we found a cute overpass as well. I love this part of town and I wish we'd known about it sooner or had an extra day to eat at one of the restaurants there. 





(Aside from having the coolest shrine, Goner Records is one of the best record stores I've ever walked into. You have to check it out if you're in Memphis, and stop by Java Cabana for some yummy coffee and cupcakes!)

We took a wrong turn on our way back downtown, and ended up stumbling upon a funny little tire garden. I never knew these existed before, and I'm so glad that we found it. It's funny, but also really creative! If I lived in a more country setting, I would paint some tires in pastels and go crazy with plants.



After that, we drove to the Civil Rights Museum which I'd always wanted to visit. But, honestly, seeing the Lorraine Motel in person was such an emotional experience, I still can't believe I was there to see where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Truly a powerful moment. We first entered the museum that was very descriptive with all kinds of information about the civil rights movement beginning from the 1800's going up through the 1960's and 70's. Then you went upstairs to the room that MLK Jr stayed in while he was there to do his speech (which they preserved through a glass door), and the room he was taken to after he was shot. So moving. Then once you were done, you went outside to see it from the ground level. You also went up to the room where the guy shot him from, which was just too disturbing for me and we decided to leave. Overall, I am so glad that we visited. I never thought I'd ever be seeing that in person, and I'll never forget it.


 






We also had the best fried chicken.. ever. It was from Gus' which wasn't far from the museum, and we were in heaven. In fact, the restaurant was so packed we took it to go and ate it in the car. Super classy, I know. :)


I couldn't help but snap a few pictures of more murals in Cooper-Young that I just thought were cool and interesting.



Memphis was honestly one of the coolest cities I've ever been to, and I'm still so sad that the trip is over. I hope can go back someday, and now that I know the city like the back of my hand (we got lost SO many times), I know I'll have as much fun as I did the first time.