beautiful boards by drew

yesterday, we celebrated my godsister’s birthday. while we started on the rooftop of ballast point in long beach, we knew ahead of time that we would want to enjoy some time at the beach. in trying to think about what snacks to bring that would be equal parts delicious, beautiful and easy to transport, there was a clear answer: drew’s boards.

i mean, come on. can we just take a moment to appreciate the vibrant colors and the variety of options?

the boards were so beautiful that initially, no one wanted to eat them. everyone was able to get over that eventually because who could resist? there were multiple meats, cheeses, veggies, fruit, honeys, jams and nuts. the variety of crackers and baguettes were amazing. drew also included disposable tongs and forks for the boards because he knew we would be at the beach. he truly thought of everything.

*it was quite windy so we had to weigh down the lids with wine stoppers, plates and utensils

whether you are doing a girls night in, a date night, a beach day, hosting a party or a picnic in the park, these boards are perfect for every occasion. they are totally customizable and priced based on the number of people being fed. i already asked drew if he’d be willing to do a board or two for my coachella group this spring.

you can find drew’s beautiful boards on instagram here.


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brigantine at portside pier

i love a birthday celebration and after the last year we’ve had, i would argue that it is even more important to give your people their flowers while they are still here to enjoy them. since i already knew that i would be in san diego for some much needed quality time with hilly, we (hilly, lauren and i) made sure to do a birthday dinner for our girl t. she has been kicking ass and taking names all year as a registered nurse amidst a pandemic and has done it with grace. when we asked her where she would like to go, without hesitation, she mentioned brigantine at portside pier. i have been dreaming about it ever since.

dining with the four of us is easy as we all have similar palettes. we started with the crab and shrimp fondue with garlic toast, a jumbo lump crab cake and fresh steamed black mussels. to say we thoroughly enjoyed our starters would be a gross understatement.

for my main course, i had two oysters and their crab and lobster cobb salad. because i was also strongly considering the shrimp and louie crab salad, i had them bring the dressings for both on the side so i could have the best of both worlds. 10/10 would do again.

the cocktails were unreal. all of us are vodka girls however the three of them enjoyed a few dirty martinis that were made to perfection while i had three different vodka based cocktails. one was more floral (with elderflower), one was more fresh (with basil and citrus) but my absolute favorite is what i am going to call a blackberry smash. i cannot find the actual name anywhere but it had muddled blackberries, fresh lemon and the perfect punch of vodka.

between the great service, the beautiful view and the extraordinary meal, i never wanted to leave. already counting down the seconds until my return to san diego and brigantine at portside pier.


k. tap

p.s. i would highly suggest making a reservation through opentable to streamline the process and guarantee swift seating

crimson in bloom

months ago, my mom mentioned that she wanted to take hillary and i to vegas to celebrate our birthdays. it evolved into a girls getaway weekend with two of our favorite girls, kendall and lo.

hillary knows how much i love a cocktail garden so when she caught wind of crimson in bloom (located in red rock casino), she made us a reservation. anyone who knows me knows how i feel about flowers and rosé so walking in to this magical wonderland that combined both nearly took my breath away.

the menu was expansive and included tons of hard alcohol options too so we were able to have a little bit of everything.

we started with a bottle of sparkling rosé. i had to experience this flower cart experience and had a still rosé that was enhances with orange blossom, edible flowers and lemon. it smelled and tasted delicious. our waitress, michelle, made the absolute best recommendations.

once we were ready for something with a bit more of a kick, hillary and lo ordered the elderflower.

kendall ordered the rosemary, which was patron based.

staying true to form, i ordered the lavender. it was vodka based and had a little caffeinated kick. the little lollipop to enjoy afterwards was a nice touch.

and because none of us can say no to hillary, we all took shots of tequila or lemon drops before leaving to do some gambling.

crimson in bloom is open until mid may. the theme of the bar changes seasonally so if flowers are your jam, head to red rock before it’s too late.

happy friday!


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barrel club brunch

last weekend, my mom and i did a little weekend getaway to the bay area to celebrate my 31st birthday. we both needed a change of scenery, santana row never disappoints with outdoor options and most importantly, quality time is my primary love language and the bulk of my friends are still in the bay. the weekend was incredibly restorative and i definitely kicked off my birthday the right way.

let me introduce you to the barrel club brunch at lb steak!

michelle, my mom and i started off with strawberry mimosa floats which included strawberry sorbet, sparkling wine, mint and fresh berries. none of us could have just one.

trying to figure out what to order was tough because everything sounded amazing. i tend to lean towards savory when at brunch but i wanted to try the vanilla bourbon barrel french toast SO BADLY. needless to say, i was relieved that my mom ordered it with a side of bacon so i could have one amazing bite. it did not disappoint. the lavender cream was next level.

michelle had the fancy toast and in my mind, a good avocado toast is the quintessential california brunch must have. the arugula salad paired perfectly with it.

and last, but certainly not least, the everything benedict. it is not secret that i love seafood and this everything benedict included so many of my favorites – dungeness crab cakes, poached eggs and hollandaise on an everything bagel paired with the most delicious tater tots.

our service with christian was impeccable. we ended up staying for drinks well after our food was finished before heading to our next reservation. our friend joe joined us towards the end and enjoyed an old fashioned. since lb steak has a full bar, the world is your oyster. ironically, none of us ordered steaks, yet we had the best experience. i will say this – if you are there for dinner, their ribeye is unreal.

if you find yourself in the bay area, make a reservation via open table at lb steak. happy saturday!


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never say no to napa!

back in early november, ibi and i made plans to do a quick getaway to napa during the last weekend of january. we had busted our butts in 2020 in ways we didn’t know possible so it was time to let our hair down and celebrate. little did we know that even outdoor options in napa would close shortly thereafter. we were bummed but determined to see one another. lucky for us, on the last monday of january, napa announced they’d be reopening starting that friday. it was official – napa was back on and we were pumped. i quickly rebooked all of our reservations. the first stop? brunch at celadon.

this wasn’t my first trip to celadon and it certainly won’t be my last. we started off the day with peach bellinis. because i knew we would do a little nibbling at the wineries, i wanted to keep this meal a bit lighter. a half caesar with avocado and their calamari (that comes with this delightful chipotle chili and honey glaze) hit the spot.

we realized we were ahead of schedule for our reservation at domaine carneros so we pit stopped at madonna estate. ibi loves a good pinot noir and they have one of my favorites. unfortunately, it was reservation only to be mindful of numbers due to covid. however, when bob realized it was me (i have visited quite a number of times, including in november for kendall’s birthday), he graciously accommodated us. i was sure to tell him we didn’t need a formal tasting – a bottle of pinot noir and a couple of glasses would do the trick. i knew i was going to be seeing marilena the next day for coffee so i picked her up a bottle of their rosé – it’s made with a pinot grape and is subtly sweet. our visit to madonna was short and sweet. i made sure to set an alarm so we weren’t late to our reservation at domaine carneros. with ibi and i both loving bubbles as much as we do, i couldn’t wait to take her. the weather was absolutely perfect!

the tent definitely helped to shield us from the wind and the heat lamps were an added bonus. our sparkling flights refreshing and paired perfectly with our charcuterie boards. before we knew it, we had been there for 2.5 hours!

we were excited to check into our hotel. neither of us had ever stayed at the archer but between recommendations and reviews, i couldn’t wait to check it out! something that really appealed to me (outside of its beauty and central location) is the idea of the double rooms coming with two cal king beds. talk about perfect for girls trip. while there were only two of us, four could have definitely stayed comfortably. there were so many great touches from cute slippers to tasty caramels to high end toiletries to a wine fridge. the list is truly endless. we will certainly be back again.

before even solidifying our hotel choice, i had made us a dinner reservation at this italian restaurant – ristorante allegria. at domaine, our server recommended the mushroom ravioli and i did exactly what he said. i had zero regrets.

if you are headed to napa, call ahead or use open table to make reservations. it will make it substantially easier. the most important thing, however, is your company – ibi and i laughed, cried and laughed so hard that we cried. there is nothing better than feeling reinvigorated after a trip.

what way are you going to treat yourself this month?


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