Outfit: Transitioning into Spring

Rainy Sunday Style Oversized Sweater London-2

I find the early Spring to be one of the most wonderful and challenging seasons to dress for.  Some days are full of sun and I become giddy with warmth and the sight of flower buds, so I might risk to venture outdoors with a bare leg.  Other days, the last remnants of winter still linger in the air and we are pummeled with rain or even snow.  Transitions like this teach us to practice patience, no doubt!  This weekend was rainy and chilly, so I donned my massive oatmeal-colored wool sweater for beer at a pub followed by a walk with the dogs.  I adore this oversized knit but I always hesitate to stuff it into a coat lest I feel like a sausage.  It’s really better worn as an in-between-seasons piece.  However when the wind and rain picked up, the sweater alone didn’t cut it, and I threw a poncho over top to stave off the chill. It’s London after all, so I layer up, keep the palette neutral and always finish with a leather boot.

sweater (similar styles here, here

and at jcrew 25-50% off with code HAPPYSPRING)

denim (similar here) / boots (similar here)

poncho found in peru (similar here) / spectacles (similar here)

Rainy Sunday Style Oversized Sweater London-1

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Paris Encore, Like a Local

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In my book, the three greatest cities on earth are New York, Paris, and London – in that order.  So far in my lifetime I have had the privilege to call two of them home, and this past week I decided to explore what life would be like as a Parisienne.

I followed my gut instinct and packed for a solo retreat.  I rented a small apartment through AirBnB (the best accommodations for experiencing any place like a local, if you ask me) in a bohemian, village-y neighborhood called Batignolles.  A comfortable distance from the buzzing city center, this enclave allowed me to experience total peace and quiet.  I spent my mornings making coffee, moving through my yoga practice and watching the street stir to wakefulness below.  On walks through the neighborhood I’d peruse the many wine shops, tea salons, boutiques, epiceries and boulangeries.  I enjoyed leisurely lunches at corner cafés washed down with un pichet de vin and a single espresso to finish.  I spent hours on a gray Saturday wandering the Siene during a photography class, taking photos, discussing f-stops (and life), and slipping into a café for chocolate chaud when we could no longer feel our fingers from the cold air.  I spent precious time with an old friend who I hadn’t seen for 15 years, and held her baby boy as we both smiled and told stories.  One sunny afternoon in le Marais I strolled with a chic girlfriend of mine who now lives in Paris; as we walked and lunched we reminisced about our previous fast life we shared in New York and our transition to slower, more thoughtful living here in Europe.  A few nights when it rained, I stayed indoors and cooked myself a bistro-style dinner or a roast chicken while listening to music and the backdrop of rain on metal rooftops.  It was wonderfully restorative, and I’m convinced I experienced an authentic taste of Parisian life. I feel the strong pull of this city and I cannot wait to return.

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Trip Notes

Eat:
Glou
La P’tit Mercerie
Bacco
Le Drapeau de la Fidélité
Les Puces des Batignolles

Do:
Palais de Tokyo
Le Marais & Palais des Archives
Merci
Localers (multiple offerings)

25 Random Things: Jenna Bunnell

Brooke and Jenna on the Dance Floor

Brooke and I breaking it down on the dance floor at Brooke and Stephen's wedding in 2011.

To continue our “25 Random Things” series… here are a few fun facts about me that you might not already know! I hope you enjoy, and please share your 25 things in the comment section below.

1. I believe that sleep cures everything.

2. I willingly admit that I am 100% unable to multitask. True story.

3. I have a very large birthmark on my stomach that I call my cow spot!

4. Laughing is my favorite.

5. My eyes gradually change colors with the seasons. They are more hazel in the winter and brown in the summer.

6. If I am listening to music, 90% of the time it is Jazz.

7. I am addicted to uni (sea urchin).

8. I always have room for dessert.

9. My family nickname is Jenna Rae Bird…or bird, or birdie.

10. I feel most like myself when I am on a dance floor and was the captain of the dance team in high school.

11. I have a serious fear of public speaking. I would rather perform an interpretive dance than give a speech to a crowd of people.

12. My only sister, Brooke, is my soul mate. We just get each other.

13. My father is an amazing photographer/videographer and is super creative, so my entire childhood is documented with hilarious family videos and hundreds and hundreds of photos.

14. I am allergic to scallops.

15. I love whiskey and margaritas equally.

16. I took piano lessons for 7 years and (Nerd Alert!) played the flute in my high school band.

17. You can pretty much assume my life is in disarray when my nails aren’t painted.

18. I love my job and the people I work with.

19. I feel most relaxed by the ocean.

20. I inherited my entertaining instincts from my amazingly talented mother. Friends and family often call her “Martha” and I only hope to achieve her level of greatness one day.

21. I dream of owning a garden one day.

22. Even though I hate to admit it, I am super competitive.

23. Home Alone is my favorite movie and I watch it all year long.

24. I would love to learn how to sail one day.

25. I am terrible at drinking water.

Bonus Fact: I love Britney Spears.

Style Guide: Coachella

style guide coachella

Tis the season for dancing around the desert and taking fashion risks. Coachella may be a music festival, but to me it is entirely sartorially centered. I often find that my summer style inspiration is influenced by the festival crowd. The integration of high and low designers, mixed patterns, bohème chic accessories, and Woodstock inspired garb – it’s enough to prove the dusty earth of Indio a runway. Check out my style guide for rockin’ three days in the desert and let me know what you’ll be wearing in the comment section below.

1. The Who Concert Tee
2. Vintage Chanel Necklace
3. Fringe Bag
4. Cut Off Dagger Cuff
5. Cut Off Shorts
6. Stuart Weitzman Sparta Sandals
7. Aviator Sunglasses
8. Floppy-Brim Fedora

style guide: coachella

1. Headband
2. Clubmaster Sunglasses
3. White Hand Crocheted Bralette
4. Deconstructed Denim Shorts
5. Fringe Sandals
6. Crossbody Bag
7. Stackable Rings

style guide: coachella

1. Embossed Faux Leather Crossbody bag
2. Statement Ring
3. Gladiator Sandals
4. Sunglasses
5. Maxi Dress
6. Goddess Necklace

Friday Link Love

friday link love

Happy Friday! This week was a short one for me. I took Monday off of work in order to soak up the last few hours of Jenna’s visit to LA. We had the loveliest weekend catching up, laughing, eating delicious food and spending quality time together. We laid by the pool at the Chamberlain Hotel, sipped almond lattes from Alfred Coffee & Kitchen, made new friends at LA Foodshop, threw back some bubbly at Malibu Wines, and had brunch with the sweetest mama in Silverlake at Sqirl. It was the best long weekend and I wish I could press repeat and do it all over again. I hope that this weekend brings you and yours adventure, play and lots of laughter. Keep reading below for my favorite finds from around the web with this week’s installment of Friday Link Love.

1. I’ve been working on eating my greens. I’ll definitely be making this pretty salad next week.

2. Tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

3. A modern twist on Easter brunch.

4. This is the most Instagram worthy grazing table I have ever seen.

5. Gold leaf Easter eggs? Yep. I’ll be making these.

6. What lovely floral cocktails for spring.

7. A comprehensive guide to picking the right, ripe produce.

8. Beauty must-have: oil.

9. Christina Tosi teaches us how to make the world’s best birthday cake. No, but really. It’s the best.

 

The Only Green Smoothie Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Best Green Smoothie

As you may know, one of my new years resolutions was to redirect my attention to my health! I vowed to get educated on nutrition and really devote myself to learning how to lead a healthier lifestyle. Almost three months later, I am proud to say I have read 3 health-related books, I have started cooking at home almost daily, and have committed myself to working out at least 3 days a week (baby steps, people)!

One of the biggest (and easiest) changes I have made to my every day routine is drinking this healthy and delicious green smoothie for breakfast. I only have to wake up 5 minutes earlier than I usually to do to be able to throw all the fresh, organic ingredients in the blender, and voila! I sip it while getting ready and sometimes I’ll even take it will me on my way to work. It is so easy and requires no time at all, so there is really no excuse not to make it!

Ever since I have started drinking these smoothies I have felt more energized during the day, more hydrated, and more sated throughout my busy mornings. I have noticed my skin has a new healthy glow and the smoothies have definitely improved my digestion! The recipe below is packed with fruits and veggies that are low in calories and high in nutritional value. And if you are like me and have trouble getting all of your daily requirements of fruits and vegetables, this is a perfect solution!

Given that I have tried a million different smoothie variations the last few months,  I am confident that this green smoothie recipe is the only one you will ever need! It is perfectly balanced (not too sweet) and the added avocado makes the texture so creamy. I hope you love it as much as I do! Do you have a favorite green smoothie recipe that you would like to share? We would love to hear from you!

Green Smoothie

 

Green Smoothie Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2

 

Ingredients
2 cups spinach (or 2 big handfuls)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or you can use coconut water)
1.5 cups frozen mango (or strawberries, berries, peaches, pineapple)
1/2 of an avocado
1 banana
1 tsp. spirulina (blue-green algae powder) *Optional
2 tbls. chia seeds *Optional
*More Optional Ingredients: almond butter, greek yogurt, ground flax, protein powder

 

Steps
1. Blend leafy greens and almond milk together first
2. Add in fruit and all other ingredients and blend until smooth
3. Add coconut water while blending to reach desired consistency
4. Once blended, pour into a glass and stir in the chia seeds
5. Enjoy immediately

 
Green Smoothie

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market London Videndae Travel -6

During the years Jenna, Hallie and I lived together in New York, one of our favorite pick-me-ups was an early-morning outing to the Chelsea Flower District to catch the florists dealing their gorgeous wares.  This mecca was the best spot to find our favorites like peony, ranunculus, gardenia, fiddle leaf figs, and even fir trees when their respective seasons were upon us.  Naturally when Hallie and Jenna visited London we made our way to the Columbia Road Flower Market together.  For those who aren’t familiar with London town, Columbia Road is a veritable landmark.  Open Sundays from 8am to 3pm, the market stalls stretch a long block of London’s East End which is flanked with over sixty different independent shops, art galleries, cafés, antiques dealers, and vintage clothiers.  Rain or shine, the barrow boys running the flower stalls will hawk everything from jasmine bushes to tulips, shouting, “Everything’ a fiver!”  The girls and I grabbed a coffee to fuel our hunt, then wandered up and down the road enjoying bursts of color, great people watching, and even an oyster or two for a midmorning snack.  With the first day of Spring just around the corner, I am tempted to revisit this market for some blooms to brighten up my apartment.  Here’s a handy link that shows you how to arrange fresh flowers.  Have you been? Will you go? And what’s your favorite flower to bring home? Please do share in the comments below…

Columbia Road Flower Market London-1

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Columbia Road Flower Market London Coffee Break Jenna-1

 

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Weekend Link Love

Videndae Link Love March 14 2015

Bon weekend, everyone! Last night my friend Sarah and I shook off the week with a badass yoga class situated in a church hall venue up in north London.  The music was transporting, the instruction was superb, and I cannot wait to go again.  Today I’m taking it a bit easy with a trip to the market and lots of rest.  It feels a touch cold outside but I just know that spring is around the corner. In preparation of my favorite season I’ve felt inspired to do some deep cleaning and wardrobe editing lately, the completion of which will make for a sensical Sunday project.  What rad plans have you got in store?  Do tell. And finally, for your reading pleasure, some links from around the web…

1.  I’m enamored with Sezane – their winter lookbook is perfectly styled, and their Essentials collection is just that.

2.  A collection of travel guides with luscious pics.

3.  We’re all “crazy-busy” but maybe we shouldn’t be.  Plus, 1o life lessons from Celiné.

4.  A fresh recipe for Thai-style salmon chowder.

5.  This album from Alpha is heavenly (you’re welcome).

6.  Would you dare to Paint it Black?

7.  How to care for your black jeans.

8.  It appears to be springtime in Paris, and she’s got a spring in her step.

9.  Have you heard of the Minimalists? They focus on removing the excess in order to create more time, more experiences, and more contentment in life.

Irish Soda Bread Scones with Sea Salt Whiskey Butter

Final 1

St. Patrick’s Day is only days away and while I may not be Irish, I do love a good holiday. Around this time each year I make a few loaves of Irish Soda Bread to gift to co-workers and friends, but this year I felt uninspired by the traditional recipe. Considering my deep affinity for breakfast food, I thought I’d try making Irish Soda Bread Scones this go around and to add an additional pop of festivity, I topped them off with sea salt whiskey butter. How will you be celebrating St. Patty’s Day this year?

Irish Soda Bread Scones with Sea Salt Whiskey Butter

Ingredients for Scones:
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup zante currants
1 cup buttermilk

Ingredients for Sea Salt Whiskey Butter:
3 tablespoons Irish whiskey
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Steps:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Using a cheese grater, scrape the butter into the dry ingredients and whisk until the butter is broken up into pea-sized crumbs throughout. Next, add the currants to the flour mixture and toss gently until they are evenly distributed.

Step 1

3. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Using a wooden spoon, mix it together until the ingredients form a ball. Drop the soda bread dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead a few times. Do not over handle the dough.

4. Form the soda bread into a 2 inch thick disc. Using a knife, cut the dough disc into 6 equal triangles. Roll the dough in your palms to create round scones.

Step 2

5. Transfer the scones to the baking sheet and place in the freezer to chill for 5 minutes. Using a knife, score the tops, forming an X. Brush the tops with buttermilk and sprinkle each scone with a pinch of sea salt.

Step 3

6. Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 17 minutes, until the scones are golden brown. Serve warm with Sea Salt whisky butter.

Final 4

7. Sea Salt Whiskey Butter: To make the butter, add whisky to a small saucepan heat until it begins to simmer and decreases to about 2 tablespoons of liquid. Allow the whisky to cool. In a small bowl, add the softened butter, powdered sugar, cooled Irish whiskey and sea salt. Using a hand mixer, beat until fluffy.

Final 2

Building a Timeless Jewelry Collection

Jewelry

After many years of buying cheap, novelty jewelry that turned my skin green and disintegrated after 3-4 wears, I decided I wanted to start taking my jewelry collection seriously! Soon after I graduated college and got a job in the real world, I began saving my money and investing in classic, essential jewelry pieces that I knew would never go out of style. Not only did I want to get more use out of my jewelry collection, I wanted to be able to pass down treasured keepsakes to my future children one day – just as my mother had passed down her diamond studs to me!

To get started on my jewelry collection overhaul, I first took an inventory of everything I already had and donated all of my inexpensive or dated pieces I didn’t like, or hadn’t worn in over a year. Then I made a list of all the items I felt were essential to my future collection and began acquiring them slowly but surely. I am still working towards my ideal collection of classic jewelry and one day I hope it will include all of the following essential items:

1. Statement Necklace: one (pictured) / two / three

2. Gold Bangle(s): one (pictured) / two / three

3. Diamond Studs: one (pictured) / two / three

4. Pendant Necklace: one (pictured) / two / three / four

5. Classic Watch: one (pictured) / two / three

7. Statement Cuff: one (pictured) / two / three

4. Statement Ring: one (pictured) / two / three

2. Stacking Rings: one (pictured) / two / three