Friday, 28 September 2012

Weekly Love: Week 118

This week has been all about field trips and beginnings. I went up to Hollywood and down to Venice, and I attended my first ever class at an American university - it was so very different from the experience of attending classes in London, but I really enjoyed it. I've also been participating in something very exciting and oh so American, which I'm going to tell you all about when it is over! I also had my first Diddy Reese experience on Wednesday night - hands down the best ice cream cookie sandwich ever.
1. Fresh pressed Watermelon Juice in a Mason Jar from Local 1205 on Abbot Kinney in Venice. | 2. Visiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame. | 3. Absolutely delicious seafood ramen at Ajisen Ramen at Westfield, Century City. The scallops were pre cooked in lemongrass which gave them the most incredible flavour. | 4. Sunset at Venice Beach. | 5.  All the recipes I've marked to make this year out of the Joy The Baker cookbook. Good god Joy is going to be to blame for making me very, very fat... | 6. Things from Kate Spade come in such pretty packages.

What have you been enjoying this week, and what have you got planned for the weekend? 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Madewell: My New Favourite American Store

The first time I visited Westfield in Century City, I know the store I was supposed to get the most excited about was J Crew. And I did, I got really over the top excited about it, but that was until I turned the corner and stepped into a Madewell store for the first time. I will forever associate their clothing with the blog Sincerely, Jules (not a bad thing by any standards), but I had no idea how 'me' the store was until I visited - I honestly think I have found my favourite place to shop on the American High Street. Basics in every style and colour you could imagine, cute stylish dresses, lovely shoes and awesome accessories all over the shop.
Striped Transmission Tee: $49.50, Noir Components Bracelet: $160, Braided Friendship Bracelet: $10, Honeycomb Sweater: $79.50, Washed Silk Boyshirt: $115, Solid Silk Boyshirt: $110, The Biker Boot: $248, H by Hudson Horrigan Boots: $285, Scallop Lace Top: $118, Flowerlace Shorts: $88 

I really want to try their jeans, but before anything else when I have a free afternoon I'm going to head over there for a serious shirt shop. I never used to wear button down shirts, but after I fell in love with the one Volcom gave me I resolved to wear a few more of them, and Madewell is shirt heaven with so many different colours and fabrics. I think you can tell from these graphics I'm very excited about all of the purple (my favourite colour) they have in store at the moment. I tried on this chunky purple honeycomb sweater in store and fell in love - once I'm actually convinced it gets cold enough for things like that in Los Angeles (I'm still not entirely convinced!) I might go back and get it. Also, I really want to try on this black lace top, and these black lace shorts. I've never really wanted to wear lace before, but I think I might have fallen in love with both!
Tailored Mini Dress: $148, Attic and Barn 'Erin' Skirt: $221, Wool Tap Shorts: $98, Softshade Sweatshirt Dress: $118, Countrystripe Songbird Dress: $109.50, Monograph Sweater-skirt: $68

While I may gaze longingly at this purple dress every time I go in the store (it also comes in a wonderful bright blue), what I think I really need is one of these brown skirts for every day (second from the left and first on the right). I also think I need to shrink down and carry around in my handbag whoever was the hair stylist for this particular look book shoot - just look at those amazing braids - I wish I could do my hair like that! 

Unfortunately at the moment they only ship to the US, Canada and Japan, but they're hoping to expand to international shipping soon. They have stores all over the US though, so if you're coming here on holiday any time soon, I'd pencil in a visit - I promise you won't be disappointed! 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Places To Eat In Los Angeles: Local 1205, Abbot Kinney Blvd.

Before heading down to Venice Beach, I decided to check out some of the artsy boutiques and restaurants on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and ended up having lunch at the gourmet deli meets cafe Local 1205. It did look pretty awesome from the outside, but I was really on the hunt for the place people were getting the Mason Jars full of fresh juice people were drinking walking down the street. Everything tastes better in a Mason Jar.
Since I first had it at Taqueria in Notting Hill, I've loved freshly pressed watermelon juice, and I'm really happy that there are now lots of places I can get it her in Los Angeles. However, this has to be the best I've had so far, light, cool, fresh and delicious. I told you that everything tastes better when it is served in a Mason Jar. 
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I ordered open topped bagels with smoked salmon, tomatos, onions and capers. I recommend you order the same if you go for lunch. It cost a bit more, but I had it made with Scottish smoked salmon which I prefer.
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Local 1205 sells lots of different foods from around the world that are hard to find, I found it funny that they had cans of French chestnut paste for $10 that I could get for about 1,50€ in the French supermarket! Also, they have an amazing deli counter with good cuts of meat and cured meats from deli's in New York. 
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Next time I'm in the area and I'm not going home too late, I'll pick up some fresh bread, some cold meats and a couple of jars of juice to take home with me - that olive oil also looks pretty fantastic, so did their cakes. 

Angeleno's, where else can I go for foodstuffs and drinks in Mason Jars? And are their any London spots that are Mason-centric that I don't know about I can try when I return next year? 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Outfit Post: Hanging Out At Venice Beach

As requested by so many of you, my first outfit post from Los Angeles! These photos were taken by amazing photographer Francesca Buenaflor on Venice Beach when we met up last Saturday to hang out, and take some photos of the riders in the skate park (I'll post some of the photos I took in the next week or so!) Happily because clothing is so cheap in America, I've added a few things I've found I've needed in the LA heat to my wardrobe, including lots of cute basic tees, and these amazing shorts which are my first J.Crew purchase!
Patterned Tee: Madewell, Shorts: J.Crew, Sunglasses: Breo, Nails: 'Bahama Mama' by Essie, Black & Gold Bangle: Kate Spade, Watch: Citizen, Spiked Bracelet: Boutique on Abbey Kinney Blvd., Wrap Bracelet: Whistles, White Headphones: Sony
As you can probably see from these photos, I'm more tanned than I have ever been in my life, and I really love it this way. However, the downside to this is I have a few tan lines that I have not been able to avoid and I have no idea how I am going to get rid of - for example, these are my shortest shorts and they have been my most worn item since I picked them up at the mall, so I have tan lines at the top of my legs where they stop!
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Usually I am not at all into wearing patterns, but this shirt was just calling my name in Madewell. While I usually wear a lot of black in London, and my wardrobe constant seems to be blue and white stripes, I have been leaning towards greys here in LA, and wine shades (fyi I have always loved wearing this colour, it is just an added bonus it is bang on trend right now, and one of my favourite Essie shades is now super 'in' now too!)
I'm also more into accessorising her, less of my previously beloved statement necklaces, and more arm parties, things are much more relaxed here. Obviously my everyday watch came from home, as did my Whistles wrap bracelet, but I picked up the lovely black and gold bangle in Kate Spade when the team at the Century City store kindly offered me 20% off, and I picked up the gold stud bracelet in a little boutique on Abbey Kinney Boulevard, just North of the Venice Beach recreational park. They have some lovely little stores and restaurants down there, I really suggest you check it out if you're ever in the area.

Hopefully there will be some more outfit posts soon as I've been hunting down LA based photographers to work with, so on that note, if you are a Los Angeles photographer and I'd like to work with me, or you know someone who would, I'd really appreciate it if you could get in touch! 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Weekly Love: Week 117

This week I completed my UCLA orientation, and I'm really excited for everything to kick off next week. Aside from that, my week has been pretty chilled, and I've been enjoying the free days to really explore Los Angeles, including Santa Monica Beach which was just incredible. I've also unintentionally been becoming rather acquainted with the various restaurants, cafes, diners and take away places in my neighbourhood - our oven is broken so I have not been able to make myself anything hot to eat (the best so far has been In-N-Out!)
1. Lookout 15 on Santa Monica Beach. | 2. Three punnets of delicious strawberries for $5 at Westwood  Village Farmers Market (every Thursday afternoon on Broxton Avenue) | 3. An extra special Sunday morning breakfast of prosciutto wrapped melon served with iced tangerine juice from Trader Joe's. | 4. If you live somewhere hot you need Victoria's Secret's Makeup Primer & Setting Spray in your life. | 5. American diner food, breakfast for dinner at Denny's in Westwood. | 6. The Converse store on 3rd Street (Santa Monica)'s window.

What have you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? I'm planning on trying to master the Los Angeles metro and head down to Venice Beach.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Welcome To Santa Monica Beach

I can't believe I waited a whole 12 days before heading down to the ocean. To be honest, I was pretty apprehensive about taking the bus (I find it confusing enough in London, and frankly the LA bus system defies all logic. If anyone is familiar with the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, please help me!), but a whole group of us decided to head down to, in my opinion what should be the first beach any first time visitor to LA should see first, Santa Monica Beach. If you fancy making a drinking game out of this post, do a shot every time one of my photos looks at all familiar, and don't blame me for how drunk you'll be by the end!
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No words can really describe how beautiful the beach is. The sand is hot under your toes, and you can see right around the Los Angeles coast. The sea is quite cold, but you'd want it to be - and besides, the sun dries you a few minutes after you get out so it is not the end of the world if you forget your towel.
The world famous ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier. Did you know that it is solar powered?
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Muscle Beach. This one at Santa Monica is the original, but you'll also find one at Venice Beach.
I know this is not quite the outfit post everyone has been requesting (I promise I'll post one soon!), but a little something to show off how tanned I am - this is without any sunbathing, and I think I have not been this brown before in my entire life! Yes, it is an effort to remember to use SPF on both my face and body every day, but the LA sun is pretty wonderful! My top is from Forever 21, wine shorts from J Crew (I love them and will feature them soon!) and the sunglasses were a gift from the team at Breo.
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There is also amazing shopping on 3rd Street (you know me, I just could not resist!) so I'd really recommend you take the day out, or book a hotel near here so you can enjoy the beach every afternoon after exploring the rest of LA in the morning. I think later in the week I'm going to head to Venice Beach, then Hollywood after that; I want to cover all the bases before classes start! 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Shopping List: City Sneakers

While everyone I encounter in Los Angeles thinks I'm crazy for doing it, I have been walking everywhere around the city. A half hours walk to the mall? I've earned whatever I decide to splurge out on. An hours walk from Westwood to Beverly Hills? A bit of exercise with the promise of a Sprinkles cupcake at the end of it. However, with all this walking I really need suitable footwear, and with that I've been really thinking about expanding my chic sneaker (trainers, I may be living in America now but I have not forgotten I'm British) wardrobe...
Manhattan Lime Green & Grey Hi Tops: £212.99, Kennel & Schmenger Brown Leather Hi Tops: £198.99, Ash Bowie High Top Wedge Trainers: £154.99

I was just having a random browse at my local mall the other day, just seeing what was available (though while the Kate Spade iPhone cover I treated myself to was actually on my shopping list, I might also be guilty of a lovely new pair of J Crew shorts!), I really want to take some time to see what sort of shoes are available to me - I especially want to browse a bit more in depth in Madewell, though I'm not sure they do trainers? (At least I have my Ash pair for now, though!)

What are your favourite city shoes? 

This is a sponsored post. To read my policy on sponsored posts, please click here

Monday, 17 September 2012

You don't need to be a Fangbanger to enjoy a bottle of O-Neg

If you don't watch HBO's True Blood you're not really going to understand a word of this post, and for that I apologise. (Well, I don't really apologise, because I had a hell of a lot of fun writing it, and since the season finale I've been missing out on my vampire fix!) Instead, for those uninitiated among you here is a link to Amazon where you can buy the thirst first three seasons for just under £35 - honestly it is worth it - I have friends who love True Blood and vampires are not really their thing - trust me, you'll thank me for it!

On a Saturday night in Shreveport, everyone knows that Fangtasia is the place to be. Yes, Merlot's may have great food, a telepathic waitress and a shifter behind the bar, but no one knows to party like Louisiana's undead. However, if you're not really in the mood to deal with the snarky, newly undead barmaid or your laying low, hiding from the new Sheriff of Area 5, there is a solution. Tru Blood may be in short supply,  but the guys over at Cybercandy still have a few glass bottles of O-Positive in stock that you can order online and enjoy in the privacy of your own home / coffin.

When I opened up the bottle Cybercancy sent me, (scrap that, when I got the email asking me if I wanted to try a bottle) I was really excited, as I'd wanted to try a bottle of the red stuff ever since if first came on the market. It looks blood like and tastes of suped up blood oranges. It is not to my personal taste, but if you love drinking sweet energy drinks, this is for you. I'll be keeping the bottle for my desk though!

Finally, no feature on anything True Blood related is complete without a shifty at the opening credits with the fantastic Jace Everett soundtrack - I think this has to be one of the most played tracks on my iPod!

Who else here has tried a bottle of True Blood?

P.S. As you have made it to the end of this post I'm assuming you are a True Blood fan, and you'll appreciate another link to Jessica's hillarious blog, written by our one and only favourite baby vamp if you missed it in Weekly Love as few weeks ago!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Weekly Love: Week 116

Greetings from Los Angeles! Today marks the end of my first week in California, and I must say it has been pretty amazing. Aside from settling into my new apartment with my amazing roommates, getting to know my neighbourhood and getting myseld orientated with the UCLA campus I've taken day trips to my local mall (we all know how much I love to shop!), Beverly Hills and another local neighbourhood called Brentwood which has some great food places and lovely indie stores. Also, I just wanted to thank all of you for your messages of good luck for LA and UCLA, and all your lovely messages hoping that I've been enjoying it so far - I cannot begin to describe how much it all means to me to hear from you guys, so thank you so much!
1. Look familiar? This is where I went on Tuesday. | 2. I adore this cute bear honey bottle from Trader Joe's. It really wins the awesome American find of the week award! | 3. If your name is Rachel Phipps all roads lead to Westfield. My new local is the one in Century City. I may have made a sneaky J Crew purchase there. | 4. I visited one of the Sugar Paper, Los Angeles stores - everything was so pretty! I picked up some cards for friends and family, and I took lots of photos in store - you can see them in this blog post here. | 5. Obviously I had to check out Rodeo Drive when I was in Beverly Hills. Think Bond Street where everyone is tanned and with a lot of palm trees! | 6. The totally delicious Kosher Hot Dog with Red Onion and Sweet Relish with Sweet Potato Fries and Chipotle Mayo on the side from Barney's Gourmet Burgers at Brentwood Country Mart - an amazing shopping area with some pretty cute indie stores, including the other outpost of Sugar Paper.

I'm going to try to do this a bit differently this season, and separate my picks from the Fashion Week coverage into a separate section of 'Weekly Love' - here are my picks from New York Fashion Week, expect dispaches about London and Paris to follow (I'm never really that bothered with Milan...)

What you been enjoying this week, and what do you have planned for the weekend? I think my weekend is going to be pretty chilled, as my orientation starts early Monday! 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Store Visit: Sugar Paper, Los Angeles

Back in July when I first featured the beautiful stationary created and carried by Sugar Paper, Los Angeles I just knew that their store had to be one of my first stop off points in the city to pick up some pretty notecards to send letters off to my friends and family back in England. I visited the store on the other side of Santa Monica Boulevard to Westfield, Century City, but aside from their online shop, they also have a store at Brentwood Country Mart (somewhere, incidentally, I'm also planning to visit soon!)
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As it is on the way to Westfield for me, and as everyone who knows me knows that if you're me all roads lead to Westfield, I'll be stopping by here a lot - next, I think I might treat myself to a lovely pink and gold set of initial note cards and maybe a little something to throw in with my best friends birthday package. 
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As well as note cards, they sell a whole host of lovely little home trinkets and gifts. My favourites in the store included their collection of lovely books on entertaining, design, food and cocktails (Emily Schuman's Cupcakes & Cashmere is going to be in stock soon they told me), and their selections of French Compagne De Provance Rose products. While they don't have my personal favourite, the bubble bath, they do have hand cream and hand soap pumps, and scented candles - I also might be back for the hand cream for my dresser... 
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While Sugar Paper cards are pretty awesome, they do stock some others from some equally as awesome artisan print labels, I picked up specials from Rifle Paper Co. and Mr Boddington's Studio.
This is one of the cards I picked up in store - I really love the patterned envelope inserts on a lot of Sugar Paper cards, I've seen nothing like it in stores in London (but if you know of somewhere, please let me know!)

I am a little obsessed with stationary stores to be honest, so are there any other gems like this I need to know about in Los Angeles (or in London)? 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Places To Eat In Los Angeles: Sprinkles Cupcakes, Beverly Hills

Maybe with the exception of macarons, I love nothing more than a good cupcake, so obviously one of the first pilgrimages I had to make was to the famous Sprinkles Cupcakes bakery in Beverly Hills. For those of you who don't know, Sprinkles in Beverly Hills was the worlds first cupcake bakery, so it is a pretty special place to say the least, and I think it made a wonderful first foodie-come-cake addict stop for me in the city.
I went for the strawberry cupcake, because my roommate recommended it and otherwise I'd never be able to make my mind up! I think the next time I visit a chocolate one, or a lemon coconut one has to be had...
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I think their especially branded mineral water is kind of cute - I really did not want to throw the bottle away!
This is something rather special just outside the store, between the cupcake and ice cream sections. This is the famous Sprinkles Cupcakes Cupcake ATM. It is open 24 hours, and you can get served Sprinkles Cupcakes out of it. You can even get special dog cupcakes to feed your four legged companion. I am simply lost for words.
Finally, just around the corner from Sprinkles, does this visual look at all familiar to you? That is the odd thing about LA, you feel like you've been loads of places before when in fact you've never visited, because you see it in films or on TV so much, especially when you stumble across a generic shot like this one!

Angelenos, where else do I need to visit to get my cupcake fix in the city? I think my next foodie fix has to be Bottega Louie - I've heard so much about their macarons and pastries! 

Sunday, 9 September 2012

10 Things I Love So Far About Living In Los Angeles

So, while it is Monday morning in the UK, it is still Sunday night here for me in Los Angeles, my wonderful new city I have just spent the first 24 hours in! After my new roommates collected me from LAX, we ordered in pizza and I collapsed in bed, I spent the weekend exploring my new neighbourhood, shopping for essentials and soaking up some sunshine! I'm almost settled, so expect to see a lot more LA posts soon!
1. My new campus, UCLA is quite literally out of almost every single movie or TV show made in America about college life, ever. Also, the buildings are just beautiful - it is so empty at the moment as it is Sunday and school has not really started yet, but I can't wait for it to fill with people, and for my classes to start. 

2. I can get UCLA branded sweatpants/ trackies in Victorias Secret. I have one around the block from me, and how nice the store is just blows the monstrosities that are the London stores out of the water. I will be back for more work out clothes once I've explored my apartment buildings gym and got into a routine.
palms 3. There are palm trees everywhere. They may be imported, but it does not stop them being awesome and putting a massive smile on my face.

4. It is very difficult to get lost here, because all the roads are blocks - everything is square, and so many of the street names are famous.

5. The weather is Summer holiday style. Yesterday (my earlier today) it reached a high of 88/70. That is basically the hottest day of the year in England, and it is normal here.
6. I live within walking distance of several Starbucks so I can get one every morning when I leave my apartment. Also, it is so cheap. If a drink costs £2.75 in England, it costs $2.75 here. 

7. I am also starting to get a tan, without even trying. However, I do need to remember to put SPF on my face every morning now! 

8. My iPhone, a screen protector, Apple Care and my first months phone bill cost less than just a UK iPhone.  
9. My building reminds me of the hotel I stayed in in Barbados one Summer. This can only be a good thing.

10. Everyone is so friendly. At the checkout at the store people ask you how your day has been, people start conversations with you while you're waiting to cross the road. Once you get over how different it is compared to England, it is actually really nice and really improves your day.

As you can probably notice these are Instagram photos, I now have an iPhone 4S and I have lots of fun apps - smartphone users, you can now follow me on Instagram (@missrachelphipps) and on Pose (missrachelphipps)!