Tag Archives: live and love in la blog

Wanna Get Away?

23 Jul
My new Steve Madden tote ($70) and Kenneth Cole luggage ($120) from Nordstrom Rack. Prices are a steal for quality luggage!

My new Steve Madden tote ($70) and Kenneth Cole luggage ($120) from Nordstrom Rack. Prices are a steal for quality luggage!

I have a love/hate relationship with the fast-paced lifestyle in Los Angeles. I find myself getting biweekly massages or acupuncture treatments just to de-stress from all the chaos that is my life. Our generation, in particular, has some of the most ambitious, busy people and living in the hustle-and-bustle of L.A. just adds to the madness. We get caught up in our busy routines day-in and day-out and we sometimes just need to stop and smell the roses—or in my case, the plumerias in Hawaii.

I’ve always been a firm believer in pursuing everything you are undeniably passionate about. Life is too short to look back and say, “I wonder what would have happened if I just tried _______?” I can attribute this mentality to my very supportive parents who always reminded me that I can truly accomplish anything with passion and hard work. Let’s just say, I took them very seriously. I’m currently in school to become a registered nurse to hopefully work in ER or Pediatrics, I co-own a bartending service that is thriving after three years of blood, sweat and tears, AND I bartend in the city two days a week because I just love being behind the bar, creating cocktails and interacting with bar crowds. I also have three dogs to take care of who are the world’s most spoiled furry babies ever! And last but not least, I write Live & Love in L.A. Gosh, just reading that makes me exhausted and even though I love doing all these things, I desperately needed a vacation from the hectic schedule.

The past month has been especially stressful with our 15-year-old pit bull needing emergency surgery, searching for a new house in LA, juggling events for my bartending company, interviewing for a We TV reality show whose casting company loved my blog and wants to document the dating lives of me and my single girlfriends (fingers crossed), dealing with crazy people (but don’t we all?) and other little hiccups along the way. It started to feel like if one more thing was put on my already full plate, my head would have exploded into millions of tiny pieces!

In order to prevent the nervous breakdown I felt brewing, I knew I had to put my responsibilities on a brief pause and escape into my ultimate favorite thing to do—travel! There’s almost nothing that can compare to the thrill of discovering new places, indulging in new cuisine and meeting interesting, new people in a foreign land. Other than education, there’s no better investment in oneself than exploring this big, fascinating world. It blows my mind to think how differently the rest of the world lives and thinks and I’m so eager to learn all about it.

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to travel along the Mediterranean with my family and my boyfriend and experienced the best of Italy, Greece & Turkey. Visiting The Parthenon, Pompeii, Vatican City, the ruins in Ephesus and the astounding city of Oia in Santorini were moments I won’t ever forget as I only read about these magical places in textbooks—and there I was, in the flesh. Being there first-hand and taking in all that history were some of the richest moments of my life. I call them “snapshot moments” when I’m looking at something in awe and silently tell myself, “Don’t forget this exact moment—how it looks and how it makes you feel”.

Top: Santorini, Greece. Left: Ephesus, Turkey. Right: Capri, Italy.

Top: Santorini, Greece. Left: Ephesus, Turkey. Right: Capri, Italy.

This summer, I knew I couldn’t travel too far or too long being that I was so busy with everything at home so I decided to make sure my big annual trip included a little bit of ALL my favorite things.

Last Friday, my cousins and my sister picked me up for a fun girls’ weekend to a very familiar destination, Las Vegas! We spent the short weekend catching up with each other, reuniting with some of our family out there, and dancing until the wee hours of the morning in Sin City’s hottest nightclubs. There’s something about an all-girls-no-boys-allowed bonding trip that brings out your inner teenager excited to have a sleepover and talk about boys. Only now, boys are just a small portion of our conversations and instead of just being school-girl friends, I’m reminded I have a solid group of sisters that are strong, smart women who uplift me and make me a better person. It’s rare to have that kind of circle of friends living in L.A. Finding a non-catty, drama-free group of career-driven girlfriends who genuinely have your best interest at heart is just as hard to find as Mr. Right. I’m forever grateful.


Speaking of Mr. Right, my summer wouldn’t be complete without a few sexy getaways with my gorgeous boyfriend, Nathan. Being as he is a very hands-on business owner, stress is something he is also all too familiar with. Luckily, we’re both pretty good about “leaving work at work” but we can admit when it’s time to decompress and get away from it all! By the time we left for Maui, the day after I got back from Vegas, a vacation for us was long overdue! Nate surprised me with plane tickets to Hawaii on my birthday and we’ve been counting down the days until departure. We left our dogs with our parents, took time off work, and just indulged in the island of Maui. We snorkeled face-to-face with giant sea turtles, got wrapped around by a school of hundreds of fish, went ziplining 800 feet in the air above the most lush valleys, had the best crab & lobster stuffed mahi-mahi at the exquisite Mama’s Fish House, made the long drive to and from Hana, and even made it all the way up to the famous Haleakala Crater to watch the sunrise. And if all that wasn’t the definition of a fantastic summer, I took advantage of awesome Groupon deals to Palm Springs so we could sneak away for a couple one-nighter “staycations” since it’s so close by.

On top of the clouds watching the sun rise at Haleakala Crater.

On top of the clouds watching the sun rise at Haleakala Crater.

Seven Sacred Pools in Hana.

Seven Sacred Pools in Hana.

In front of our favorite restaurant in Paia, Mama's Fish House.

In front of our favorite restaurant in Paia, Mama’s Fish House.

Magnificent waterfall on the road to Hana.

Magnificent waterfall on the road to Hana.

Shopping for souvenirs, specifically a "Spam" T-shirt for Seth, on Front St. in Lahaina.

Shopping for souvenirs, specifically a “Spam” T-shirt for Seth, on Front St. in Lahaina.

The last couple of days of recovery from my whirlwind vacations have been so relaxing. I feel physically and emotionally reenergized to take on the world! Okay, maybe not that extreme—but I do feel refreshed. I’m back on the grind of my daily duties with a little more enthusiasm than before.

If you find yourself in a similar position and in need of a little pick-me-up, why not go to your dream destination? Now let’s be realistic, we can’t close our eyes, pick a spot on the map, grab cash off the money tree in the backyard and take off. So plan ahead and save ahead. If you can stash away your big tax return check or just save $100/month for a year, you can afford to take a pretty great vacation.

Summer vacation essentials: bikinis, bikinis, bikinis!

Summer vacation essentials: bikinis, bikinis, bikinis!

Don’t get stuck in Los Angeles your whole life. As much as I love this city, there’s a big world out there just waiting to be explored. The inner globe-trotting goddess in you is wanting to get away and waiting to exhale.

Safe travels! XOXO.

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The Ex Collection

16 May


Whenever I visit my old room at my parents’ house I rummage through my bedroom drawers to take more and more clothes over to my new home with my boyfriend, Nathan. This afternoon, I came across my bottom drawer which I like to call “the ex boyfriend drawer”. I think a lot of girls have the same weird private collection of old memories from past relationships including pictures, birthday cards, concert tickets and movie stubs. Why do I keep all these things to remind myself of failure and heartbreak? I have no idea. But it’s just there… and has been for years.

I believe a part of me wanted to hold on to these things to remind myself of the good times with my exes. After a constant pattern of break-ups, I thought my dating life would always be tumultuous and unpredictable so why not hold on to the happy moments I once shared with these guys? It wasn’t until I met my current boyfriend that I felt I found someone worth throwing my past away– literally and figuratively.  Well, except the jewelry.

My "Ex Collection" of jewelry from Tiffany & Co.

My “Ex Collection” of jewelry from Tiffany & Co.

I still don’t know what to do with these nice rings/bracelets/necklaces as I would never wear them again—Can you imagine how my boyfriend would feel about me sporting a diamond promise ring from an ex?! But they do hold value and it would be foolish to just toss it out! I’m torn between keeping it for my future daughters to play with and selling them online on http://www.ExBoyfriendJewelry.com. I got a big kick out of watching a news segment on ABC’s Nightline which featured online websites dedicated for girls to sell jewelry from their exes. Genius idea!

The place that makes heartbreak a little less painful.

The place that makes heartbreak a little less painful.

It took me having to find someone I couldn’t even dream up to let go of my past. I can’t even say Nate is the man of my dreams because after years of dating in Los Angeles, I couldn’t imagine that guys like him (honest, loyal AND kind) even existed. Our relationship is not perfect by any means but I am able to speak so highly of him in my blog because of what being with him has taught me; that I deserve the best. Not only being treated the best by a man but treating myself with high regard. He inspired me to confront the fears and insecurities that resulted from failed relationships in order to be emancipated from the burden of always expecting the worst from men. Before I made the decision to let it all go, I was a prisoner of my past.

My only regret is that I did not realize this sooner and on my own. I allowed myself to not only hold on to physical things but the emotional pain from my past. Although I’m glad it finally happened, I wish it didn’t take me having to find a great guy to realize my worth. My hope for my readers, single and taken, is that this post gives you the courage to throw it all away, the emotional and physical baggage in your ex boyfriend drawer— except the jewelry! 😉

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To Sext or Not To Sext

27 Apr

Dating in the digital era requires decoding hidden meanings behind vague text messages, confusing emoticons and pictures… naughty pictures. I knew sexting (sexy texting) was officially going viral when my favorite news show, ABC’s Nightline did a whole segment entitled “Selfie Nation”. Having instant cameras on our smart phones enables us to snap self portraits on any given good hair/feeling skinny/flawless face day. So, what do we do with these pictures? Well, if it’s a bit too much cleavage for your Instagram friends, you do the next best thing. Show it off to your special someone. We all do it because we like to feel sexy and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! But controlling our photos’ circulation, now that’s a big deal.

We’ve all had those cringe worthy moments while showing a friend a picture on our iPhone and they continue swiping away left and right through your album. You try your best to politely snag your phone back before they see any X-rated photos of you or your partner—barely dodging that potentially incredibly embarrassing “Wanna get away?” moment.

Here a few tips to safe and SMART sexy texting.

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Know your audience. If you even have to question whether or not the recipient will show someone else, don’t do it.  Sexy photos should not be used as a tool to reel in the new guy you’re interested in. If you don’t know and trust him 100%, step away from the cell phone. My boyfriend and I were watching TV when a group text message came up from his buddy showing all their friends a picture of a girl… and let’s just say, I’m sure she didn’t want it leaked. This shit really happens. #dirtbag

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Boyfriends and Husbands Only. I asked my guy friend who is a total ladies man what his thoughts were regarding receiving nude photos from women. I was surprised he agreed with me that it should be reserved for serious relationships. There’s just so much that can go wrong when your photos are in the hands of the wrong guy. He added that he can’t help but instantly categorize those girls in the “just for fun” group and definitely not wifey material. As much as guys love seeing your sexy side later on, they like to get to know the nice girl first. Basically, show them the lady in the streets before the freak in the sheets.

Be aware of the repercussions. As the famous saying goes, “There is a fine line between love and hate.” A change of heart can sometimes breed contempt. Just because you decide to get rid of the jerk doesn’t mean there’s a delete button for your digital footprints. Naked photos are the ultimate blackmail. There are disgusting websites solely dedicated to scorned exes exposing girls’ private photos. Maybe I’ve watched too many Dateline NBC specials but your X-rated “selfies” can literally ruin your life. Yeah, that dramatic!

Right Timing. Besides waiting for the right time in a relationship to send implied pictures, you also want to be cautious of the actual time in the day you send these. Avoid sending during the recipient’s work or social hours. Cell phones are carelessly left around the office or forgotten at the bar during happy hour.

The No Face Rule. If you insist on snapping risqué shots of your hot bod, consider making sure it’s not easily identifiable—neck down.

Mild Sexting is A-OK. There’s a happy medium between prude and vulgar. You can send a sultry eyed snapshot without exposing the goods to keep your new guy wanting more.

The Will & Jada Way. One of my favorite moments on The Oprah Winfrey Show was when Jada Pinkett and Will Smith said the secret to keeping their marriage hot is sending sexy photos to each other. Some married couple are so hush-hush about their sex lives so I loved that a highly admired power couple came out and said that’s what gets their blood flowin’. It’s completely normal to get caught up in daily routines with the house and the kids. But what better way to throw a fun curve ball than sending your hubby a little cell phone surprise?

Must Be 18 & Over. Last but not least, if you are not considered a consenting adult in California, you have no business sexting naked photos. Seriously. As much as you think your 16-year-old boyfriend loves you, he will most definitely share it with his buddies and is capable of doing even worse if or when you break up. My campaign: Kids, just say NO to sexting!

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The Wedding Date

15 Apr


I had the privilege of being a “plus one” to an intimate Los Angeles ranch wedding last night. The early evening lighting was picture perfect, the deep love of a beautiful bride & groom in the air, and the drinks were flowing with a handsome man by my side— how much better can a date night get?

I was inspired to write this post because I’ve attended many weddings in this city as the wedding date. Being asked by your guy to accompany him to a friend or family member’s wedding is kind of a big deal. Most bachelors who are casually dating without a special someone would rather go stag and scope out the cute bridesmaids. The commitment-phobia guys are the number one offenders of dateless weddings. They like to avoid taking girls to weddings because all single girls—yes, all—are inevitably fantasizing of their own dream wedding to come. There’s nothing scarier to a label-fearing guy than the girl he’s sleeping with suddenly struck with wedding fever!

So, here are a few wedding etiquette tips to help you get ready to attend as your man’s special lady and +1.


DO show enthusiasm and appreciation for the invitation from your guy in a newer relationship. Inviting someone to a wedding during the early stages of a relationship takes a bit of courage.

DON’T leave him hanging. A wedding is an event with a required RSVP for a reason, not just for him but for the marrying couple. Being a no-show to a price-per-plate dinner is tacky.

DO help him pick out the wedding gift. Most guys need a little direction when navigating through Crate & Barrel’s gift registry. And yes, always shop specific to the registry.

DO have fun getting ready together. Weddings are like proms for adults. It’s just so much fun to get your hair done, finally wear the special occasion dress hanging in your closet, and maybe put together a subtle match of colors with your date.

My wedding date and I decided to make a fun day of getting ready! First, I had to take him to one of my favorite stylists to tame his mane.

My wedding date and I decided to make a fun day of getting ready! First, I had to take him to one of my favorite stylists to tame his mane.

Then we had a nice, quiet lunch at the delicious Italian eatery, Mi Piace in Pasadena. We even caught a magic show on the sidewalk afterwards!

Then we had a nice, quiet lunch at the delicious Italian eatery, Mi Piace in Pasadena. We even caught a magic show on the sidewalk afterwards!

...And we're off!

…And we’re off!

DON’T wear a white dress. This one’s a no-brainer. I hesitate to even wear beige. White is for the bride ONLY.

DO wear waterproof mascara. Watching couples exchange nuptials gets me every time.

DON’T overdo it. Dress for a wedding as if you were having dinner with Oprah. You don’t want his friends whispering about your cleavage—think flowy and sweet. Modest dress + statement necklace= golden.

DO come prepared to answer the “Are you guys next?” question. When you get to a certain age and have been together for enough time, people are naturally curious when you’ll take the next step. Keep your responses brief, optimistic, and light-hearted. Now is not the time to pour your heart out and tell guests how long you’ve been waiting for him to pop the damn question already!


DO bring cash to tip the bartender! Many weddings have an open bar with complimentary drinks but make sure you’re carrying enough change to take care of your server.

DON’T get wasted if you’re the plus one and you’re not too familiar with his group of friends yet. Save yourself and your date the embarrassment.

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DO become familiar with formal place settings prior to the wedding. The trick to all those utensils? Work from the outside inward. And your bread plate is always to your left. Also, holding your fancy glass from the stem is considered the proper way to drink.

DO mingle with strangers at your assigned dinner table. You want your date to be confident in choosing a social, friendly gal as his date.

DON’T worry about that weird superstition where it’s bad luck to say, “Best wishes” to the groom and “Congratulations” to the bride. Showing happiness and well wishes is always appreciated– no matter how it’s said.



DO take lots of photos. I grew up in a family where home videos and family photos are cherished. Life is not only too short but too beautiful to not capture.

DO enjoy being in the presence of true love.





The Bright Side To Being Single

27 Mar


Everyone has that friend who doesn’t know the right thing to say when you’re down and out. My favorite panic-mode sympathy line is, “Well, look on the bright side….” Then, they proceed to tell you a bunch of lame reasons you should be happy in a shitty situation.

Well, this blog post is not going to be that. Sure, it’s a look-on-the-bright-side theme but it’s a list of actually awesome reasons why staying single in Los Angeles really IS something to be celebrated.

I turned to two of my best single girlfriends, Chanel and Rachel, for some input on why being a 20-something single girl is flirty and fabulous!

1. You didn’t settle. Be thankful you’re alone rather than being like your girlfriend who’s miserably with her broke, rude or cheating boyfriend who she can’t seem to break up with.

2. YOU TIME. Your weekends aren’t shared with anyone unless you want them to be. You can pick and choose when you want to be around your friends, go on a date, or just take a bubble bath at home on a Friday night. No obligations.


3. You learn independence. All women, single and taken, need to learn how to fend for themselves.

4. Ladies Night! Being single gives you ample time to spend with the people who understand you the most, your girls. When you have a boyfriend, it’s inevitable to disappear a little in your little cloud of love. As a taken woman, my occasional girls’ nights are such a breath of fresh air. I love my relationship but there’s nothing like a little girl talk over a glass of wine.

5. You don’t have to shave your legs if you don’t feel like it (the best reason, in my opinion—by Rachel).

6. You save money. Having a boyfriend can get expensive on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Being single has you spending only on family, SOME friends, but mostly yourself.


7. Guilt-free flirting. There’s something about not having anyone to report to. You can go out, talk to as many guys as your little heart desires and give out your number as many times as you want.

8. Nobody is judging you. I’d be lying to say I do whatever I want when I want while being in a relationship. My boyfriend gives me the evil eye when my weekly online shopping packages arrive. Whenever he comes around while I’m browsing the Hautelook iPhone app, I quickly press the button to the homepage and pretend I’m just checking my e-mails. This doesn’t happen when you’re single.

9.  You don’t have a mother-in-law.

10. You can do weird things with no one looking. Come on, girls, we all have strange rituals we like to keep to ourselves.  I purposely watch reruns of Full House while my boyfriend is at work. Shhh! #dontjudgeme

11. Your decision to go to a wild weekend in Vegas with the girls doesn’t start with, “Babe… I was wondering… if maybe… I could possibly…”

12. Giving your heart a break. The ups and down of romance are sometimes just too much to endure. Flying solo= no fights, no bickering, no heartbreak.

13. No one is counting your cocktails. During a night on the town you don’t have the constant whisper, “Is that your third Cosmo?”  You’re single and you’ll get shitfaced if you want to!


14. It’s more fun to laugh at couples’ dramatic Facebook posts or Tweets when they’re fighting if you’re single. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s pretty entertaining regardless!

15. Finally, the most important upside to being single is learning to love yourself. I’m a firm believer that you can’t fully love someone until you truly love yourself; who you are, what you stand for, what you love to do and how you treat others. Self-love is something no man can ever fulfill.

So, while you wait for your knight in shining BMW, learn to appreciate all that single life has to offer. It’s pretty fun and fabulous!

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Foodie Fridays: Mind-blowing Munchies

12 Mar

Thanks to my blog host, WordPress, I’m able to track which of my posts are viewed the most, what countries my readers are from (shout-out to all you awesome foreign country readers), and what search terms are put into Google to find Live & Love in L.A. My favorite findings are the search terms; everything from your typical “why didn’t he call after our first date?” to “what to wear on a blind date” and “why guys are such assholes”—Yes, someone actually found my blog typing that in. However, the most views come from people searching “ideas for Los Angeles date night.”

So, I thought it was the perfect time for a Foodie Friday feature on the most mouth-watering bites I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in Los Angeles. I know it’s not Friday but give me a break! I’m in nursing school, bartend part-time, co-own a bar catering company, and blog my little heart out. I’m constantly a hot mess—but I try my best to post once a week. 🙂

Here are 3 must-try date night spots with mind-blowing munchies in Los Angeles:

1. Animal

435 N. Fairfax Ave.

Los Angeles, CA. 90048




Animal Restaurant is insane—in the best way possible. It’s a true nightmare for vegans but Heaven on Earth for us carnivores. The entire menu is dedicated to outrageously bizarre bites made from parts of animals most food amateurs would cringe at. My palate, on the other hand, is adventurous, to say the least. Whenever I visit the Philippines, my cousins constantly dare me to eat weird things like balut (fertilized duck embryo) and fried baby chick fetus on a stick… from shady streets carts… and I do it– happily. Animal is much more refined than a Filipino street cart but their cuisine style isn’t far off. You won’t be the same after sinking your teeth into their rich chicken liver toast or scraping out the marrow right off the bone and spreading it onto a perfectly crunchy buttered toast. After dining here you won’t even correlate bacon with pork anymore—instead, crunchy pig ears! Basically, you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten at Animal. My basic rule for good eating: try everything once.

2. Picca

9575 W. Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA. 90035



This trendy Peruvian gem brings Los Angeles the best:

Antichuco -amazingly tender meat skewers

Causa -basically Peruvian sushi—picture delicate piles of spicy albacore on a bed of yellow mashed potato in perfectly bite-sized squares

Ceviche -everyone knows what ceviche is but Picca’s is with the high-quality halibut or seabass with sweet potatoes for that Peruvian twist

Choritos– last but certainly not least, the most incredible mussels dish I’ve ever had. Ever. Swimming in Amarillo butter.

I love that you can snack on comfort food with an upscale twist in a high-volume, sexy atmosphere. Everything from the eye-catching entrance to the wildly talented mixologists whipping up Pisco Sours behind the bar, Picca is sure to put the WOW factor into your dining experience. *If you’re really feeling brave, ask for the Avocado Project cocktail.*

3. CaCao Mexicatessen

1576 Colorado Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA. 90041


I don’t want to be criticized for being “too bougie” and only suggesting fancier, pricey places. So if you’re on a budget but still want to impress a date with a restaurant selection, go straight to CaCao in Eagle Rock. It’s 1,000 times better than your typical Mexican cuisine and has “unique” written all over it! Under their “favorites” menu lays their famous duck confit and fried duck skin tacos which both are a must. Although, my #1 pick and what I will continue to come back for is the Elote de la Calle—corn on the cob covered in cotija cheese, drizzled with a light cream and finished with powdered chile. Thank you, food gods. Oh, and their drinks hold their own, too! Delicious Corona Micheladas rimmed with spicy chili salt and for a liquid dessert, Abuelita’s hot chocolate. YUM.