This is my favorite time of year and with my birthday this past week, I am feeling truly blessed and happy. So much to be thankful for in this life and in this season in particular. I have been so swamped with work that I have not taken the time I would like to savor the fall-Christmas onslaught. Today it felt good to come up for air and write this post. So here are some of my favorite things, in addition to whiskers on kittens, of course:
1. Sketches. I have always been a huge fan, and have talked about my love of illustration here before, but a birthday card from my colleagues, a receipt from Ann Taylor, and a trip to a fabulous nail lounge that had these portraits, got me really loving those who have the gift to draw. I love how others capture the fashion and form of women.
2. My home, Laguna Beach. I have only lived here for five years, but it is such a part of me and who I am. I know I am meant to be here. I was asked recently if I was considering moving to Torrance, near my work. True, Torrance is near Redondo and Manhattan Beach, but it is not the same as Laguna. Where else can parrots greet you outside your favorite eatery? My feathered friends were out at Mozambique to meet me as I enjoyed a glass of wine while overlooking the ocean today.
3. Champagne. The celebratory drink of choice, I had the perfect mimosa today while at the nail lounge and a pomegranate kir for my birthday at Brasserie Pascal on Fashion Island. Trying a new restaurant is something I always say I will do, and birthdays are the perfect opportunity. I came away really loving this gem of a restaurant, and the $5 champagne cocktails at Happy Hour even more. Something as simple as a sip can make any occasion seem grand.
4. Tulle ... in white packages wrapped up with grosgrain. I have been really into the look of tulle lately. While it can make many think of vintage petticoats, I love it on an overskirt more. Tulle flows from the waist, really nipping a high waistline. And who doesn't want to look smaller in the waist? I purchased a full, puffy white skirt from Anthropologie and a minty tiered tulle from one of my new favorite sites, BHLDN. I have never received anything packaged so beautifully as this BHLDN arrival. I am definitely keeping the box. It made opening the mail an event, and the skirt came in a garment bag for safe keeping.
5. Jewelry. My affair with handmade jewelry is something I think will be with me for life. I stumbled upon this booth in Laguna with gorgeous handmade designs reworked from vintage. I bought many gifts and soaked in the color and shine. I am a bit sad to think that I don't work with jewelry anymore, as I remember when I see new pieces and meet new artists why I fell in love. I love the passion behind this craft. The effects of it linger in my veins still. My roommate bought me this fabulous white statement piece off Etsy for my birthday. And every now and then, there's still a good store-bought piece at Nordstrom that is worth the money. This pink statement bib is only $29 and I have been wearing it non-stop. You can never have too much.
6. My job. I spent today at Cosi Fan Tutte Nail Lounge in Laguna and loved getting to know the owners, staff and learn about the nail industry in general. The passion people have for nails and nail art is made so apparent to me, and it reminds me of how walking down PCH, picking up some handmade jewelry and sipping a glass of wine makes me feel at home; comfortable; safe. Working has been something that I love to do and am good at, and I am so blessed to have found this new job, and am so thankful for the doors it's opening up for me. I love that going to get pampered is part of the job. My toes are sparkling in OPI polish, and it reminds me of the sand on the beach glistening.
There's nothing I would trade my time in Laguna for. Work is after all, why I moved out to Laguna in the first place. It's where me and my roommates have gone out and danced, celebrated, and dined. It's where I have spent a few birthdays, a few summers, taken visitors, and attended art events. It is the place that binds me to so many people, memories, and loves. The best date of my life was walking along Laguna Beach and stopping for coffee twice. If you truly love where you live, you stay there and soak it in as long as you possibly can, so that you feel like you will never really leave it. Sometimes it's the home you make -- whether it's a salon, store, restaurant, or at work, that becomes your favorite place. And that feeling of finally being at home is the best gift imaginable, and no box, no matter how pretty, can possibly contain it.