Monday, December 10, 2018

Love in La La Land (aka our Engagement Photos!)

When Max and I were in Los Angeles for Thanksgiving, one of my closest friends, Desiree, surprised us with an engagement session as a wedding present! Desiree is a professional photographer and I used to help her with all of her photography projects in school when we were much younger, so this was extra special that she got to be the one to shoot this special time in our lives! We weren't sure exactly where we wanted to shoot them and we actually differed in our ideas at first. I thought it would be fun to shoot in front of all of the old trains at the Griffith Park Train Museum, but Max wanted to have LA as our backdrop, which actually ended up feeling very fitting since it's my hometown and where we first met. So, one dusky evening we met Desiree in the Hollywood Hills and found a few really beautiful spots in Runyon Canyon. Truth be told, I'd never actually been to this hiking trail until this session, and now I wish I had gone to it when I lived in Los Angeles. It has the prettiest views and isn't super uphill (or maybe it is later on, we didn't walk particularly far), but it was lovely. Fun fact: Did you know that Max is scared of snakes? That kept things really interesting whenever we\d have to step into the more jungle-y areas, haha.

On the subject of weddings, I can't believe our wedding is almost six months away! Time seems to be totally flying by now, and we've gotten mostly all of the big things done, like choosing and securing our venue(s), picking our vendors, sending out the wedding website and buying some decorations for the ceremony. But we still need to do some really important things: meet with the day-of coordinator to go over how our day will actually go at the reception site, meet with the chef to choose a menu, send the RSVP's out in February or March, and reserve our charter boat that we will have to shuttle people back and forth after the wedding, mainly. With Christmas being right around the corner, we won't be tackling much of this until the new year, but I already cannot wait. <3

Monday, December 3, 2018

My Bridal Shower!

I'm so excited to finally share all of the photos from my bridal shower! It was held at the cutest mid century style restaurant called The Front Yard in Studio City, and it was everything I dreamed of and more. I celebrated with my mom, her cousin, and 14 of my closest friends, and I wish more than anything that I could go back in time and re-live it one more time!

The food was beyond beautiful and delicious and everybody loved it! The staff was extremely accommodating and helpful and our main server's name was also Jenna, which made things extra fun.

I knew once we had the venue picked out that I wanted all mid century typography for the party, and my friend Amber of Dixie & Twine TOTALLY knocked it out of the park with the cake topper and banner. I'm so obsessed with them and they turned out perfect! I also loved that the venue had such cool decor as it was, so I didn't have to decorate TOO too much. We found the flowers at Trader Joes, the vases at Target, and I found the "Bride to Be" banner in Sweden by Ginger Ray UK

I knew I wanted something rich in autumn colors and I definitely wanted to wear something early 60s inspired, so I worked with Unique Vintage to find the perfect dress and I am SO happy with how it turned out! I felt comfortable, and totally retro, which was just how I was hoping to look. I went to Drybar and chose the "Old Fashioned" style, and did my own makeup! The lipstick was the Everlasting Liquid Lipstick by Kat Von D (shade: Mother), and the mary jane block heels (which I've worn on my Instagram) are by Lulu Hun for Collectif Clothing.

Being 5,000+ miles away from my friends and family has proven to be really hard, so having them all gathered (aside from a small number who couldn't make it) in one place to celebrate my upcoming wedding was the best gift I could have ever asked for. My mom was also there along with her cousin, and we all had a great time. Many of my friends had already met, which made socializing really easy. I'm so lucky to have so many kind and warm hearted people in my life.

My mom is the best! She helped me organize the whole thing from finding the venue, to helping me make all the flower arrangements before guests arrived. Also, I love that we kind of matched!

It wouldn't be a perfect bridal shower with cake and mine was PERFECT! It was custom made for me by my parents' neighbor and it was pink ombré! The outside was buttercream, and the inside was vanilla champagne with layers of strawberry mousse and custard. I wish I had been able to try more than one slice, but I'm glad to at least have photos to look back on! He also baked us sugar cookies with our initials on them (which I may or may not have continued to snack on for days after the shower). My aunt (who wasn't able to be there) made everyone soaps to take home that looked and smelled like french macarons (you can see one in the second photo down towards the bottom!). You can find a link to order all of her yummy soaps and lotions HERE.

We ended the festivities with a quiz all about me and I got to open a mountain of generous and adorable gifts that I will treasure forever.

All in all, it was an amazing bridal shower and I'm still smiling from ear to ear. I hope you enjoyed seeing all of the photos and stay tuned because there's more to come including our recent engagement photo shoot! <3

Thursday, September 20, 2018

London: Where We Stayed

Max and I recently took a four day trip to London, and we had the best time! I hadn't been to London since I was 16 (that was 2001), and for Max it had been even longer, so there was a lot for us to catch up on. We found the cutest boutique hotel in Notting Hill for our stay and thought I'd share a few photos of it incase you're planning a trip to London and are searching for a hotel. It was close to both Hyde Park and Portobello Road, and is also really close to two metro stations! The hotel itself is in an old Victorian building with crown moulding and high ceilings in each room which reminds me so much of my old 1920s apartment building in LA. It was super quiet and the staff were really friendly. In fact, we found ourselves having a lovely chat with the night attendant every night we were there about where to go and the history of the neighborhood! Our room came with free breakfast as well, which was a typical continental breakfast - toast, fruit, cheese, salami, croissants and cereal, enough to get us going for those long days of walking 22,000 steps! If you're into no frills and just want a solid hotel close to everything that's clean and quiet, this is the hotel for you. Check it out at the link below:

The interior was a mix of "east meets west" with ornate metallic wallpaper and black chandeliers. I would have loved to spend an evening reading on that comfy couch but we spend all of our evenings out on the town. I guess there's always next time! For more photos from my trip to London, be sure to check out my instagram page HERE.

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Sunday Afternoon in Fredrikstad

Outfit Details:
      Clogs     Yellow Crossbody Bag

As soon as I saw that sweater, I knew I had to have it immediately as I LOVE Connie Francis and she had a song called Lipstick On Your Collar that is just too cute for words. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone a little since I hardly ever wear mini skirts, so I went for this pink button cord mini skirt and it is SO flattering on. I can't recommend both of these pieces enough, and they're perfect transitioning into the fall! Just throw on some tights and ankle boots, and you're good to go!

One thing that hasn't changed since I moved to this small town in Sweden is that the need for exploring and going on small adventures is still a big part of me. Back when I lived in LA, I found myself driving up the 101 to the Madonna Inn, or east to Palm Springs for the day. I didn't think about it much beforehand, I would just go. It's not quite as easy to do here... gas is more expensive, and there isn't AS much variety of places to choose from if I want a quick getaway. I get bummed out sometimes when I think about the fact that things ARE different here, and that I simply don't have the money to travel very far, unless I save up for a reeeaally long time. So when I want to go somewhere, it's always kind of a battle of sorts. Originally, I had planned on shooting this look in a location that's over an hour away from where we live. We spotted it coming back from Stockholm earlier this summer and I had my mind set on using it for this exact look. But when it came down to it, it was simply too far and not worth the drive, and I am SO glad that I decided on my plan B.

I've been visiting the town of Fredrikstad in Norway since I first came to Sweden, and this was the first time when the weather was actually nice (it was snowing and very cold when I brought my mom here back in January= not fun). So Max and I took advantage and walked around for a while, shooting me in my new favorite fall outfit from Joanie Clothing in front of all the colorful buildings. To our surprise, all the stores were open and they were even having a flea market. Did you know that all stores in Norway are closed on Sundays, even grocery stores? Norwegians carry a mentality of relaxation one day a week, and I don't blame them for that one bit. 

I love that Fredrikstad is so well-preserved (it was discovered in 1567 by King Frederik II). You can still see where the motes used to be and every building has colorful doors and windows and you can just feel history oozing out of it with every cobblestoned step you take! Not to mention, Fredrikstad is known for having the biggest miniature train museum in all of Scandinavia which I had the chance to visit when I brought my mom there in January. It was AMAZING. See?

So much to love about a place that's just a short drive outside of town. As boring as this part of the world can feel sometimes, when it's warm outside, these towns really all come alive and all it really takes in the end is a fresh perspective! Is there one special place you like to travel to just to "get away" that you only started to appreciate recently? I'd love to know where!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Life lately

(Wearing the CUTEST summery strawberry sweater from one of my favorite brands, Collectif, and it's currently on SALE! Want to snag one for yourself? Click the direct link to the product HERE.)

Happy June! I can't believe that it's officially summer here, and that I've now been living in Sweden for half a year. Not much has changed since I arrived in January with my giant suitcase, except the weather has gotten TREMENDOUSLY better and I now have a job (yay), but my health has been in a weird place.

I recently visited the lady doctor to obtain new birth control (boo for Sweden not carrying the pill I love and have used happily for the past few years), and she took my blood pressure, which ended up being preeettyy high. We tried it again and it was even higher the second time. She assured me that maybe it was high because I was nervous to be in a doctors office, but I also think it could be a result of all of the stress I've been under for so long now. It's not even bad stress necessarily; some of it stems from a lot of really happy moments in my life: meeting Max, falling in love, visiting Sweden every few months in the beginning, obtaining my permit to live here, moving here, etc. It's a lot for one person to take in in a year.

I also have battled anxiety from the whole Instagram algorithm change. I don't like to admit it or talk about it often, but yes, like all of us, I have been very frustrated with my lack of engagement and lack of growth which has really slowed down in the past year compared to 2-3 years ago when I feel I was at my highest level of success. And up until recently, my anxiety would get to a point where I would cry if my post was "bombing" (aka not even getting up to 100 likes), and if I couldn't get a photo posted fast enough because life got in the way, my heart would be racing and I would be extremely anxious until the moment when it would finally go live. I thought because I wasn't getting a large amount of likes or followers, that must have meant that people didn't like ME or what I was doing or contributing, which sounds so ridiculous now. It's all pretty embarrassing to admit, really, because - Instagram is just an app. But it is what it is. I had a problem, and once I started working, I physically and mentally didn't have the energy or the time to put in as much time as before, and that actually resulted in a POSITIVE mental change within me. I'm working so much right now that it's actually hilarious - 10 and a half hours of work, on my feet, and starting this week, I will be working 7 days in a row. I'm so grateful for this big life change because it's caused me to step back from what I know was a real issue. It actually made me realize that it's OKAY to not be posting to my feed every day, and OKAY that I may lose some followers here and there. In the end, I know I have a very dedicated group of amazing people who love what I do (thank you thank you for that!), and that's all that matters.

I recently started taking one day a week off from posting to my feed, but it might become more frequent as things gets busier at work. But don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. I intend to continue to share even more fun and exciting stories and photos of my life here in Sweden. <3

If you've been battling anxiety, how have you been trying to combat it? I'd love to start a conversation on healthy tips and tricks that we can all share and use together!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Fun in the desert

A few weeks ago, Max and I flew out to California to attend my good friend Amy's wedding and we had the best time! It was held in Pioneertown, which is a little western town in Joshua Tree. I was so thrilled to be able to wear this amazing dress by Collectif for the occasion, an amazing retro-inspired brand from the UK. When I first spotted this dress on their website, it reminded me of something that would've been worn by Ann Margret or some other fabulous curvy actress in the 1960s. The belt is thick and holds everything in, the skirt is full and super twirly (great for dancing!) and the straps are adorable with the shoulder bows. When it arrived in the mail, I tried it on and it fit like a glove and now I'm hooked on this brand! I have a few other pieces that I'm excited to play around with and share right here on the blog soon! Stay tuned :)

Do you have a favorite retro-inspired brand? I'd love to know about it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Big Week Ahead

Outfit Details

First off, let's talk about this dress! It was only a few weeks ago when my Instagram feed was covered in photos and stories from Dapper Day, which is an event held at Disneyland (and Disney World) where Disney fans come dressed in their favorite fancy frocks, sometimes bound as Disney characters, to meet, shop at the Dapper Day Expo, and spend time with their friends in the world's happiest place. I attended the one last year and loved it so much, so of course I was a little bummed out that I couldn't be there for this year's festivities. I saw that one of my favorite lady bosses, Audrey of Audrey K, was wearing the most adorable rainbow printed dress I had ever seen, and immediately I went into my google search and looked up the brand, and that's when I found Love Ur Look! I was hooked by the prints and ultra feminine cuts of the dresses immediately. But when I read on their About page that they are a brand that practices sustainable and ethical practices, that really sealed the deal. The clothes are produced both in the UK and a women's factory in India, and the practices there have specific obligations which protect the workers and it is truly amazing. Not only that, but every year, the company takes some of their profits to support the well known animal shelter in India called Tolfa. The actual clothing designs are made from up cycled fabrics, such as discarded materials, like surplus stock and production off cuts, as it states on their website. If you're into retro-style fashion and you enjoy supporting a company that practices ethics and sustainability, I highly recommend that you check out Love Ur Look! Also, for those of you who follow me on Instagram, I posted myself in this dress over the past weekend in lieu of the Kentucky Derby. I mean, the print was just too perfect not to wear that day, right? :)

Now on to some more exciting news...I'm flying back to LA this week! I'll be in town visiting family, friends, and attending my good friend's wedding. I'll be honest, when I first started planning this trip, I wasn't thrilled.. not because I didn't want to see everyone, but because I was hoping I could use what money I had to go somewhere brand new. But this trip is exactly what I need right now. We are landing in the evening on Wednesday, and I'm hoping the jet lag won't be too horrendous. The next day will be filled with lots of errands, and dinner with my two of my besties. Then we're off to Joshua Tree for my friend's wedding for the weekend, and right when we return we'll be meeting up with MORE friends, and well, you get the picture. It's going to be one busy week!

Additionally, I will be working with some of my favorite LA based brands again, shooting some really fun blog posts for them so I'm thrilled about that. If we have time, we're going to try to go to the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, which I used to visit every year! Praying that it's still going to be open in a week.

If you've moved out of the state or country, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what it was like going back to your old hometown for the first time. What feelings did you think you would have vs what it actually felt like when you arrived? Were you happy to be back? Sad? A mixture of both? I'd love to know your story.

Photos taken at Tilt Recording Studios in Strömstad, Sweden

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Moving My Brand Overseas

Outfit Details

Now that I'm a fully-fledged Swedish resident, I figure it's probably time for a life update. I moved here almost 4 months ago, and I can finally say that I am used to the weather, the people and the lifestyle. But I'm still struggling to figure out how my brand fits in and it's something I'm trying to figure out all the time. For those who have been following along with me for many years, you know that I live a very colorful lifestyle. I've always been inspired by colorful clothing, colorful food, colorful buildings, etc etc which show in my work. But Sweden is a whole different world, especially the small town that I have moved to. Life moves a lot slower here, and though there are many-a pastel building, things are truly different. You won't find a new craze of desserts here such as charcoal ice cream or rainbow crepe cakes. I no longer have the luxury of getting into my car and driving to places like Palm Springs, San Diego, or Vegas, which often served as backdrops for many of my photos. My new backdrops are boats, barns and dark cafes. The next biggest city is over an hour away, but the only way I can get there is if my boyfriend drives me, and, well, he's a busy guy. Craft stores here are very limited for supplies if I want to do a flat lay. Brand events are a thing of the past (pretty sure I'm the only blogger in this town so blogger events simply don't exist here). Collaborations are harder to come by (I feel like I get excluded from many collaborations now because I'm in Europe and many of the companies I used to work with are US-based only). It's been hard, not going to lie. I've had moments of being sad about what I've lost, business-wise, by moving here, and have been up at night worrying about how my brand will ever grow at this rate, and if anyone even cares anymore.

Ever since returning from Paris, though, I've sorta kinda turned a new leaf. Traveling is so therapeutic for me as it is for many people, and it really helped put things into perspective. I recently watched a travel vlog from one of my favorite bloggers, ADashofFash, who is a blogger from Amsterdam. In the short but informative video, she showed the best places to see in the city centre of Amsterdam, and it really inspired me. The reality is: I no longer live in LA, but I do live in Sweden, and Sweden is a beautiful country. The town I moved to is adorable, and will only get more fun as the weather gets warmer (and the flowers start to bloom), so why not show it off? There are so many adorable street corners, cafes, walking paths, castles.. I could go on and on. 

So that brings me to the question: How can I keep my content fresh, in a small town that doesn't have a lot "going on"? The answer is: I don't know! I'm always trying to think of new ideas. I've been toying with the idea of starting a youtube channel, but the thought of it totally overwhelms me every time I get closer to it, and I haven't yet gotten to a point of feeling "ready", so for now it's off the table again. I think the best thing I can do for myself, at this point, is to not be so hard on myself if I can't produce a new blog post every week, and f I don't have the money to travel somewhere exciting for a while. I have to just enjoy what's right in front of me, and share this amazing place even if it's in a very simple way: by photographing it, writing about it, and by continuing to be my crazy colorful self. One of my favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou and it goes, "Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud". That quote right there is the perfect example of why I do what I do. I love nothing more than to bring my love for color and fun into people's lives, and I hope that I can continue the same even though my lifestyle has changed so drastically.

And here is where I need your help: What would you love to see more of from me on the blog and on instagram? Does a YouTube channel interest you or would you rather just watch an Instagram story? Do you want to learn more about the Swedish culture? If so, in what way(s)? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

My Colorful Paris Guide

When I first moved to Sweden, I promised myself that I would try to visit as many countries as I could within the next few years since I'd be living so close to so many of them in Europe. Well, I finally was able to check a new country off my travel bucket list: France! Max and I had been thinking of seeing the band Fall Out Boy on their European tour and almost went with Amsterdam as our destination choice, but since I'd always wanted to visit Paris, I figured that would be a great city to go with, and it was!

Our flight was super easy, and only two hours long! Being in the same time zone meant we had no jet lag, so yay for that! Where things got tricky was when we tried to hop on the train to take us into Paris from the airport. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to board as an unaccompanied bag was left on the train, so everyone had to take a shuttle bus instead, which, frankly, was a total nightmare. And then the train ride was a little uncomfortable with a million people stuffed together, but once we finally got there and I stepped outside for the first time, all of the annoyances of that morning faded away. We hopped into a taxi and made our way to our hotel.

We spent four days and three nights in the city of lights and stayed at Hotel Josephine, which is an eclectic small boutique hotel located down the street from the Moulin Rouge and an arm's stretch from Montmartre in the South Pigalle district (9th arrondissement). Pigalle is super hip with little bistros and cafes everywhere, and we loved it. I think what drew me to it was the fact that it was less touristy than other parts of the city.

The hotel itself was super colorful and the staff was very friendly and kind. Our room was on the 5th floor and we had an amazing view of our neighborhood from our balcony. Artwork of Can Can girls adorned the walls in our cheery green wallpapered room. We opted out of the breakfast, but I'm sure that was delicious, too. Oh and I should mention that lobby offered tea, coffee and water for free, and if you chose to not have your room cleaned during your stay, you would be gifted at the end of your stay. We opted to take that route because I was so curious about what the gift was, and it ended up being a little set of fruit jams! I bought a mini baguette yesterday and tried all of the flavors and they were delicious! I would definitely recommend Hotel Josephine to anyone traveling to Paris, just keep in mind that it is on the opposite side of town where the Eiffel Tower is, if that's your thing.

(view from our room)

(our cute room!)

Day One
Our first day was mostly spent relaxing in our room and walking around the neighborhood. We stumbled into a very cute bistro called Le Bla Bla. I wasn't particularly hungry but I saw nutella crepes on the menu so I had to order them, and Max ordered an asian style shrimp pasta dish, and we had a few beers. It made me happy that even a small bistro in Paris would be as colorful as my outfit, and the food did not disappoint. In fact, we ended up going there on our last night to have a drink, too!

In the afternoon, we made our way to where the Opera House was so that I could check out the Marimekko collaboration at Uniqlo and I bought a few things. We also found a really cool "department store" for street clothes called Citadium where Max found a hat and I bought the cutest straw crossbody bag by Pull & Bear. The women's clothing floor was seriously insane and if I had more money I would've bought so much more. I'll definitely be going back there when we visit Paris

Address for Citadium (where you can find Pull & Bear on the 2nd to top floor):
56 Rue de Caumartin, 75009 Paris, France

At night we went to See Fall Out Boy and finally passed out around 1 or 2 am! First day was a success.

Day Two
For our second day, we walked through Montmartre. One of my all-time favorite movies is Funny Face and since they filmed a few scenes at La Maison Rose, I knew I had to go and snap a photo there. It was at the very top of a hill in Montmartre and was just as adorable as I'd seen in photos, and we even met a few Swedish people taking photos of it as well.

Address for La Maison Rose: 2 Rue de l'Abreuvoir, 75018 Paris, France

In Montmartre, you will also find the restaurant from one of my other favorite movies, Amelie! I wish we hadn't just eaten or else I would've opted for a meal at the table where Amelie sat in the movie. Next time!

Floral skirt from Gina Tricot
Striped tee from Gina Tricot
Address for Cafe 2 Moulins: 15 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France

In Pigalle also lies the most colorful basketball court you will ever see! It was closed when we walked by, but we took some photos of it anyway because my outfit was screaming for it.

Day Three
Our third day, we decided to be really ambitious and make our way to Saint Germain (which is on the complete opposite side of town!). To start, we walked through Pigalle, then into La Marais, through through the Latin Quarter and finally into Saint Germain. Along the way, we saw the Notre Dame, had amazing eclairs in La Marais, and I bought new glasses from a really cool company called Izipizi from the one and only Merci shop, which I'd read so much about. Had to take a photo outside with the cute little red car, as well!

Sweater is from Joanie Clothing
Jeans are from Madewell
Flats are from ASOS

While walking though La Marais, we stopped and ate burgers at a very colorful restaurant called PNY Marais, which is run by the same people who have Cafe Henrie in New York City. I'd been so excited to try this place and it did not disappoint.

Stopped for some drinks at another cute spot, the cafe at Hotel Grand Amour, also in La Marais. Look how cute the decor is! I totally geeked out taking photos of it, and I have no shame. 

As we finally started to make our way into the Latin Quarter, we took some photos at Rue Cremieux, a street famously known for the rainbow-hued buildings. It was BEAUTIFUL in person and we were lucky that there weren't too many people taking photos so we practically had the whole street to ourselves!

In the Latin Quarter, it was my mission to find the steps where Owen Wilson sat and got picked up by the buggy in Midnight in Paris, and we found them! I was so tired by then that I don't remember much of the area, but there were some cafes and a record shop on that street.

6 Place Sainte Genevieve75005 Paris, France (Quartier Latin)

Day Four
Our final day was spent visiting the Eiffel Tower. To be honest, I really don't like touristy spots, so this was not one of the highlights for me. The Eiffel Tower was beautiful and we were lucky to be there on a sunny day, but next time I visit Paris I probably won't be hanging out there much. I really preferred the quieter areas such as South Pigalle and the lower parts of Montmartre. I would love to spend more time in La Marais as I feel like we missed some of it, and would also love to check out more of Saint Germain. That's the cool thing about Paris - there's always more to see! I already have a hundred places added to my list for next time.

Sunnies are from Oui Fresh
Dress is from Lindex

Below you will find the addresses for where I went on my Paris adventures! If you've been to any of these places, I'd love to know in the comments! Thanks so much for reading! xoxo. Jenna

STAY // 
Hotel Josephine / Address: 67 Rue Blanche, 75009 Paris, France

EAT //
PNY Marais / Address: 1 Rue Perrée, 75003 Paris, France

Le Bla Bla / Address:  66 Rue Blanche, 75009 Paris, France

Maison Landemaine / Address: 56 Rue de Clichy, 75009 Paris, France

Grand Amour Hotel / Address: 18 Rue de la Fidélité, 75010 Paris, France

SHOP // 
Des Petits Hauts / Address: 4 Rue Tholozé, 75018 Paris, France

Merci / Address: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France

Bonton / Address: 5 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 Paris, France

L'Eclair de Genie / Address: 14 Rue Pavée, 75004 Paris, France

Odette Paris / Address: 77 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris, France

Pepone Cafe (for macarons or crepes) / Address: 10 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France

Pigalle Duperre (basketball court) / Address: 22 Rue Deperre, Paris France

Rue Cremieux (colorful street) / Address: Rue Cremieux75012 Paris, France