Friday, August 31

love stories: my beautiful parents

Today, I have a very special guest post for you all. In honor of my parents' 37th (holy crap!) wedding anniversary which they celebrated this past week, my dad (John) is here to tell you his love story with my mom (Deedie). 

I may have mentioned this before, but I really do have the greatest parents ever. When I was younger, however, I didn't know just how lucky I was. I smirked at the fact that my parents eloped instead of having a giant wedding (now, the thought of eloping is possibly one of the most romantic I can think of). I was always confused as to why my mom wore such a simple wedding band instead of one with diamonds (now I wouldn't want a diamond ring if my life depended on it).

Basically, I was a huge brat.

But I find it kind of ironic. Everything that they have: a simple, loving, lasting and adventurous relationship, is exactly what I'm hoping for. Their story inspires me and I hope it inspires you all too. 

In the words of my dad, John:

"I was living with two other guys, one of which, Brian, had been dating a woman named Dorothy since the 8th grade. Dorothy and her roommate, Deedie, had also known one another since their high school years. Brain would frequently ask me to come with him over to Dorothy’s and of course I’d say no. I felt like it was odd for me to just show up. Eventually, though, I gave in. One night we all ended up at Dorothy and Deedie’s apartment and there we were, the four of us. Then a few weeks later, a group of us were going to the zoo and Deedie and Dorothy stopped by my apartment to pick up Brian  and I decided to go also. So that’s how it all began and soon after, we went out on our first few dates! I'll never forget one of our first dates. I loved Greek food and grape leaves and Deedie had never tried them before, so we went to a restaurant called Zorba’s. On another date, I took her to a place called Downunder where I introduced her to frog legs and steak tartar. She was a good sport.

Then back in 1972, I gave Deedie my first gift to her: a book called Together We Walk by Peter S. Seymour. I think I was a bit of a romantic back then, maybe I've changed now! Anyhow, back to the book. In it I wrote,

“No matter what that promise of tomorrow may be, I want you to know that you brought more into my Christmas this year than anyone else has for a long, long, time. I’ll be thinking of you on the 25th. Merry Christmas Deedie. Love, John ‘72”

It's funny... we were 22 years old... yea, a long, long, time ago! Oh to be young! A few years later, I was offered a job in Puerto Rico and me being me, I jumped at the chance! I went to San Juan, to my tiny but beachfront pad and life went on. Deedie visited but was not thrilled with the arrangement. I was (and still am) the “gypsy” type: the one that would scrape up every dime I could, buy a plane ticket to anywhere it would get me to, then with little to no money, hitchhike to town and blend in with the locals and culture. But Deedie was conservative. She planned and saved and was never frivolous nor spontaneous.

Could such personality differences really work and could the relationship really last? Over the course of the time I was in San Juan, if Deedie wasn’t on the island visiting we were talking on the phone all the time. Eventually, I proposed.

Deedie flew down to San Juan and we eloped in St. Thomas! We arranged for a local photographer to follow us and take pictures at the courthouse and hotel. Our twosome wedding reception was dinner for two at the Mafolie Hotel overlooking the harbor as the sun set. Deedie was, at the time, a flight attendant with National Airlines and as luck would have it, National was about to go on strike, which could last for months. So Deedie and I bought plane tickets to Europe and off we went on a month honeymoon full of adventure. Deedie and I first went to Athens (and bought our wedding bands there), then to Mykonos, Greece for four days, then to Paris to meet up with my friend, Chris. As hard as we tried, it took an entire first evening to convince Chris we had actually eloped. No one believed us!

Then came 1988. Again, I was the forever gypsy and adventurer-type and Deedie was very grounded. But 1988 was the turning point that fully made the two of us one when our daughter was born and our life was forever changed. Having a child, and at a time in one’s life when they have seen everything and been everywhere... maybe two or three times, is the most remarkable event you can imagine and that segment of our “new” life began.

Over the years, things were great and things were not so great. Deedie eventually worked for three airlines, Pan Am being one of them, and I worked for about six different companies.We lived in Miami and San Francisco together, then I lived in Washington DC while Deedie lived again in Miami. Then we moved to Munich, I moved to Malaysia (for work) and we all lived in Dallas, then Anna Maria Island, then Lake Tahoe and now San Rafael, California.

At the onset, to me, love was fun. It was romance and togetherness and saying “I love you."

Love over the years, however, becomes trust, compassion, assisting when one or the other is down and when life’s difficulties seem to be taking a toll. It's not saying “I love you” but meaning and knowing that you love each other. Love is when differences no longer matter; they are there, they have been there and they will always be there. But they aren't on the forefront. They're managed and their importance becomes minimized and accepted.

Is any of it easy? No. Is it worth the work and effort? That question, I think, depends on only the two people involved. To many, no it’s not. But to others... absolutely.

I love Deedie Carmona Safran and always will."

My parents | Lake Tahoe | November 2010 

{Congratulations on 37 years, Mom and Dad. I love you so much!}

Thursday, August 30

i'm not here today...

... because I'm over at my dear friend Lena's blog sharing my five commandments of feasting out while she and her adorable husband move to Switzerland! Head over to check out just how neurotic and food obsessed I am! (Teeheehee)

Wednesday, August 29

dessert to die for

As I've mentioned before, because I'm so ridiculously excited, I'm a bridesmaid in this girl's wedding here in a month. Unfortunately for myself, I've done absolutely nothing to ensure that I look semi presentable in my dress (though I do feel like I'm doing kind of a bridesmaid duty... because the bride's supposed to look the best by far! You're welcome, Carey).

Anyways, I love to ramble. But recently, I went to D Bar Desserts in Hillcrest with some girlfriends for a major calorie splurge. Oops. D Bar was created by Keegan Gerhard & Lisa Bailey. Does Keegan's name sound familiar? Perhaps it's because he was on the Food Network and has been named one of the nation's top pastry chefs on numerous occasions and has worked alongside some pretty impressive names. Cool huh?

Something I really appreciated about my visit to D Bar was that Keegan was actually there, proving that he isn't some pretentious name that you never see. He was behind the bar getting orders together and visiting with customers to make sure that they were enjoying their food.

cake and shake. yes. a real life menu item. i died.

I also really liked that they strive to be a "destination dessert dining experience" where guests can not only indulge in some seriously incredible desserts but also make memories. They aspire to inspire.Yeah, I can definitely get behind that.

Plus, just a quick glance at the menu will have you drooling at your computer (if you're like me and look up the menus beforehand).

 waffle ice cream sammie

milk and cookies

On another note, I'm going back to barre tonight. My calves have finally regained feeling but I'm still pretty terrified. Wish me luck! And hair photos coming soon! (I'm telling you... I'm absolutely TERRIBLE at the solo photo. Oy.)

PS: I have QUITE the love story coming to you (hopefully) on Friday. But until then... if you're looking for some hope and love to tide you over, click here to read Laura's vows. I'm currently crying in my cubicle. 

Tuesday, August 28

inspired by locals: nate from urbanist guide

As you all know, I started my "Inspired by Locals" series to educate myself and you all about starting a business and following your passion. This week, I'd like to introduce Nate, my boss and the founder of Urbanist Guide, a free map of San Diego highlighting the spots around town that represent the best urban San Diego.

A few months ago, I was searching for something more in my life. I didn't know if anyone even read my blog and I felt my love and passion for San Diego and small businesses just itching for more attention. Though I'd been a big fan of Urbanist for a while, I had no idea who was behind the guide. So I did what I do best: I stalked/harassed/bothered Dayna (the editor) and Nate (the founder) until I was granted an intern position which turned into Urban Dish columnist. [Persistence is the key, people!] And I found what I was missing. I needed a chance to work alongside passionate and intelligent people. I needed role models and creativity in my life. I needed to feel like I was making a difference. And that's exactly what I've gained from Urbanist. Though it's not my full time job, the opportunity to work with Nate has been nothing less than a privilege. He's accomplished so much yet remains a humble and passionate individual who is continuously striving to better his product and help small businesses in any way that he can.

I can't think of anything more inspiring.

nate, founder of urbanist guide

You've had quite the career path! Tell me about it. 
I grew up in Chicago and wanted to get to the west coast or the mountains after I graduated from Indiana University. I wasn’t having much luck finding a job where I wanted to live. [Previously], I had visited Colorado on a family vacation and while there I was there, I found a job for a bank management position. I was obsessed with snowboarding and I wanted to be around the mountains so I took the position to live in Breckenridge. I lived there for five years and worked as a bank manager. I snowboarded every minute in between. Then I picked up and moved to California. My main goal was to get into action sports but that didn’t work out. I was managing a credit union and I loved living in San Diego. Around the same time, I discovered a guide similar to Urbanist in Chicago while visiting my family. My sister raved about it so I brought the guide back to San Diego and put it on my coffee table. Whenever friends came over, I showed it [the guide] to them. Everyone was excited and thought San Diego could use something like that. So I partnered with the guy in Chicago and convinced him to grow the brand in San Diego and LA. Then, I quit the bank job, saved 10 grand and scrounged for six months trying to launch the print guide. By then, I had made all of these relationships so I got into commercial real estate. I've been doing that about seven years now and just six months ago, started a third endeavor [a jewelry business with wife, Kristi].  

What hardships did you come across when starting your own business? 
The biggest challenge was going from a corporate job into self employment. The funniest part is the first conversation you have with your parents. Especially if they're used to you having a steady paycheck and you’ve been on that route. But I saved up a little money and just went for it. My parents weren’t talking me out of it or anything but [there was] lots of “are you sure?” There's always uncertainty with any entrepreuneuial endeavor. But it's something I'm thankful for: to promote other people and businesses. To find something that you're passionate about and give it a whirl.

What's something you wish you knew when you were 23?
When I was 23, I still had this perception of the world that it didn’t matter who you knew but it was more about your education and what you learned. By the time I got to be 27, I realized that relationships were everything. You can't go through the business world alone. You have to get out there and meet people; many industries are more who you know than what you know and you have to cherish those relationships.


What are your plans to grow Urbanist? 
People ask us all the time if we'll grow into the beach or north but for now, it's a walkable guide [of urban San Diego]. We're talking with four different cities now to grow the brand in the next year or six months. 

What do you hope people get out of Urbanist?
I've heard of people who just moved to San Diego and I'll hear, "that’s been my bible for the last two months! I just moved to town and I check off all of the spots from my fridge!" I love that. I've gotten that sort of response more than once and it makes me feel great. Whether people are new to town or just visiting for the weekend, if they try one spot and love it, they'll keep using the guide while they're in town. That’s what our goal has been and the feedback has been great. It's a more unique San Diego experience. So many people end up walking aimlessly and guessing where to eat and where to go when they visit a new city. Hopefully the guide is an avenue for people to make these places easier to find.

If you had 24 hours to show a visitor around San Diego, where would you take them? 
I have a weekly craving for Pizzeria Bruno. It's completely underrated. But I swear their salami pizza is my favorite thing in San Diego right now. I also love going to Hamilton's. It's by my house and feels like the bars I grew up around. Between the juke box, beers and shuttleboard, I keep going back there. I go to Neighborhood all the time for lunch; their ahi sandwich is incredible. I go to Roast Coach for coffee; they pour a mean cup of joe. And I go to the Casbah to see bands whenever I can. When I have people in town, I go to Bencotto. It’s the best Italian in San Diego.

Why do you think living in San Diego is so special? 
I moved here to surf and I still live here because of the surf. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. and I go surfing before work, two or three days a week and then once in a while on the weekend. You can't do that many other places year round. I love so much about the city; I get so excited about new businesses. I think we have a very special arts and culture and dining scene here and I've tried my best to support and promote that. But the natural assets of the beach and the sun and the weather are really what keeps me here. To have an outdoor lifestyle but with all of the benefits of a big city, you can't find that many other places in this world.

If you live in San Diego, you most definitely cannot miss the 2012 Urbanist Release Party at Seven Grand in North Park. Free amazing beer, great food, great tunes and even better people.

Monday, August 27

i can't walk

photo courtesy of all ionic photos via revelment

I wish I was exaggerating... because I'll admit I tend to do that sometimes. But really and truly, I can't walk. My friend Amanda and I did a barre class this weekend (have you guys ever tried it? holy cow.) and needless to say when I got out of bed this morning, I collapsed the the ground (true story) because my calves just couldn't handle any more activity.

Here's to getting into shape? I don't know about this...

Anyways, I'm obsessed with that graphic above... besides needing physical strength to continue my journey towards getting fit, I feel like I'm needing just a bit more strength in all aspects of my life right now. Do you ever feel like that?

{Happy Monday! I'm already excited for the three day weekend.}

Friday, August 24

things i dig: a cozy fall

Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year. I have fond memories growing up, waiting for the bus with my neighborhood friends and feeling the air start to cool, drinking hot cocoa and eating grilled cheeses with my mom, cheering at football games... the list goes on. Plus, fall means my birthday is right around the corner [September 23; mark your calendars]! Though unfortunately I own none of the fabulous pieces below, I can really picture myself cuddling up with some hot cocoa a nice beer at a cozy restaurant in this outfit.

one // two // three // four // five // six // seven

Now if only I currently lived in a place where those mittens made any sense...

This weekend, I'm looking forward to hanging out with a bunch of really awesome Southern California bloggers at Urban Skincare. Thanks to Ms. Tammy who put this together, I'll get to meet the faces behind some of my favorite blogs! I'm also getting my hair done... ombre! It's been years since I've done anything remotely interesting to my hair so I'm pretty excited about this. Photos to come... obviously. Amanda and I also have big plans to see this movie. Exciting stuff... I know. Tehehe.

{What are you up to this weekend? Have you read this post today? You should!}

Wednesday, August 22

"you wanna go to brunch on sunday?"

This post is [semi] inspired by my favorite comedian, Bill Burr... have you guys heard of him? If not, you should probably click here. He cracks me up... especially his bit on brunch. But no matter what ole Bill has to say about it, I think brunch is pretty fantastic. Any opportunity to eat scrambled eggs piled high with cheesy goodness or fried chicken on a biscuit is a winning occasion in my book.

Recently, I had the pleasure of feasting on two really amazing brunches. If you live in San Diego [or next time you're in town], you gotta check out at least one. 

Starlite, a gorgeous space a little too close to I-5, recently blew my mind. The meal began with two complimentary homemade donut holes [win] and got even better when I ordered one of the specials for the day: brioche toast with a goat cheese spread and topped with equal parts prosciutto, egg and arugula. As a person who likes proportional ingredients [so I can taste each flavor with each bite], this dish made me extremely happy.

Herringbone, a new Brian Malarkey restaurant, is in another almost random part of town in La Jolla. Boasting trendy yet nautical decor and apparent attention to detail, Herringbone is home to one of the best chicken biscuits I've ever had: a buttery bacon and cheddar biscuit with a breast of fried chicken topped with a fried egg, maple syrup, arugula and a side of potatoes. Nom.

{And seriously... watch the Bill Burr skit. I usually skip over videos on blogs too but trust me in this case, you gotta see it.}

Tuesday, August 21

love stories: stacy & chris

As I mentioned before, I started this series to document some of the greatest love stories floating around the world; first and foremost because they make me oh so happy, but also to instill hope in those of us whose love stories don't exist just yet.

So for today, I'd like for you all to meet Stacy. We bonded over being from the same area in Texas (Texas Forever heehee) and though we've never met, it kind of feels like she's an old friend. Her story makes me especially happy because it is so serendipitous and proves that fate does exist. I'll stop now because I don't want to spoil the story, but read on! I promise you'll walk away feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Hello to Allie’s beautiful readers!  I’m Stacy from Just Breathe, Stacy, and I’m so happy to be a part of this great series. 

I grew up loving romantic comedies then around the age of 22 began hating them because I finally realized they weren’t realistic.  Jump to age 28 when I was single and living in Dallas, Texas where whether people like to admit it or not, it is often frowned upon if you’re not at least planning your wedding by the time you graduate college. It’s just kind of what people do.  However, I was the proud rebel until the age of 25 but then I became lonely and really wanted to find the one. I had finally given up.

On my 28th birthday, a dear friend gave me a card that encouraged me to say “yes” more often and get out of my comfort zone. Sooner rather than later, I had my first opportunity to say “yes.”

Last August, a friend who worked for the New York Yankees offered me a free trip to Chicago. I remember my first night in Chicago because it was so liberating – I was all by myself. I walked around Michigan Avenue, shopped at H&M and ended up at Pizzaria Due where I waited 45 minutes to get a table and ordered a personal deep dish pizza with a fun drink to enjoy by myself.

But by the third night, it was the last night of the series between the New York Yankees and the White Sox. So if I wanted to go to a game, I HAD to go to this game [Wednesday, August 3, 2011].  I decided to show up fashionably late, mostly to miss the crowds on the train.  As I sat on the train, clutching my purse and watching all of the people, I noticed two very attractive guys get on at the Lake stop. They sat down opposite to me. As we were coming to a stop on 35th Street, the three of us stood and started towards the exit and one of them [Chris] said, you know your team is going to lose.” 

(Side note:  I was wearing a Yankee shirt even though I promise you I’m a Texas Ranger supporter.)

I then went into a much too long diatribe about how I was just there visiting someone from the Yankees, that’s why I was wearing the shirt… etc. etc. To my surprise, they were still interested in talking to me after my rambling debut.

the night we met

When we approached the entrance to the stadium, there were a few awkward pauses, and I was surprised to see that I wasn’t the only one not ready to enter and find our separate seats.  We talked outside for probably another hour – consisting mostly of Chris asking me questions.

[He later told me I was fascinating to him because I answered every question the opposite of what he assumed.] 

Chris still makes fun of me because as we were finding our way into the ballpark, I asked to be his Facebook friend while he asked for my phone number. I’m such a social media weirdo that I just assumed this would be the end of our interaction and that it might be cool to have a new Internet buddy in Chi Town. But he won and got my number and actually offered to meet back up with me when I was ready to leave so that I’d have people to walk back to the subway station with because well, if you’ve ever been to the south side of Chicago … you know. 

I was ready to leave within about 30 minutes of the game and it turned out Chris and Tom were ready to leave within about 15 minutes. My phone wasn’t getting any reception [I knew because Facebook wouldn’t upload my pic!] so I became a little nervous and walked outside to try and get some service. When I did, I had several missed calls and texts from Chris. The most recent seemed urgent; Chris and Tom were leaving but he had been waiting on me. Since he hadn’t heard back, he was just going to leave. But he said that it was nice to meet me and was about to give me subway directions when I finally got my text to go through.

Chris stayed at the subway station for probably 15 minutes after his friends had left him to wait for some girl he barely knew. I walked up and he said,

“You have two choices.  A.  You get on this train and I will tell you exactly how to get back to your hotel. I’ll wish you the best. Or B.  you can take a chance and come out with me and I’ll show you around a fun part of Chicago where you can experience it more than the touristy parts and we can hang out with my friends.”

Whew.  I remember staring over the rails of the subway looking back at the Chicago skyline thinking to myself, “am I in a movie right now?”  I also thought back to my promise to myself to say YES more often. After a warning to Chris that I had a mace pen in my purse, I agreed to go and said yes.

Chris took me back to his ‘hood, Lakeview, where we picked up his sweet dog and walked around the city.  We never did end up going to a bar or hanging out with his friends. We just walked and talked and took in the beautiful city. I decided to call it a night after a couple of hours.  The cab showed up a little too soon but when it did, we hugged and agreed it was a fun night. The taxi door shut and  I was shuttled back to Michigan Avenue with a BIG smile on my face.

I waited two minutes, once I realized the cab driver was indeed going in the right direction, and took out my phone to text Chris. All rules or whatever games people like to play were out the window.  I had a great night and I wanted him to know. I had nothing to lose at this point so I said,  “can we keep in touch?”

He responded quickly with a “no,” but then a follow up text after a few minutes of me sweating and saying, “yes, of course!”

Over the next month, a texting relationship quickly turned into a phone relationship then escalated to a Skype relationship. One day I get a call at 3:00 a.m. from Chris asking what I was doing for Labor Day and that he had just booked a plane ticket to Dallas. Wow. Before I knew it, he was here for four days.  The second night he was there, we both knew how serious this was and we were fully committed. 

If you know Chris, you know that he makes decisions and acts on them. So a month later, Chris had quit his job, sold his apartment and was moving to Dallas. For us and our relationship, to say that we “just knew,” is an understatement. I never once had a little somebody in my head telling me to slow down or that this was a bad idea. It just always felt right. Even my family, who has always known me as the girl to always finds something wrong with a guy, found this erratic behavior in me to be somewhat normal. They felt that if I was this serious about a guy then it must be the real deal! 

We met August 32011 and on August 3, 2012, Chris proposed. We’ve had our ups and downs like any relationship, but we’re so strong right now and I think that the key is that we’ve never ever played games with each other.  We’ve been 100% real the entire time. It would be too easy to say this has been the best year of my life.  It has been an intense and passionate year. I’ve learned more about myself than I ever thought possible and likewise for Chris. We’ve both found the person that completes and compliments us best. 

I’m 29 years old; I’m not 18 anymore. I’ve had many relationships and none have ever come close to this.  It sounds cliché but really with Chris, I just knew.  

{Thank you for sharing with us, Stacy!}

Monday, August 20

an age-old dilemma

It's about to get personal here on beauty & the feast. I hope you don't mind but it's something that's been affecting my heart recently and I'm interested in your opinions.

oh and here's my great friend, biz, just because I couldn't resist

I've been thinking a lot about the "just friends" situation after a break up. It's an issue that's existed for a while but hasn't gotten easier over time. It makes sense, though, to remain friends. If you liked someone enough to date them and give them a piece of your heart, you're likely to be somewhat interested in keeping them in your life. Of course if the relationship consisted of just a few casual dates, remaining friends would be simple.  But I think keeping a close friendship, especially if love was involved, whether it was one-sided or mutual, is a challenge.

But what happens when you try to stay friends and then eventually you feel yourself failing, upset and confused? What do you do when the friendship seems too hard?

Do you power through? Put it out of your mind? Or avoid the situation? Get over it? Sulk? Eat your feelings?  (Of course in the past I've done all of these things.)

Am I crazy for struggling with this? Even after so much time? What are the boundaries? Or can being just friends after you've been more ever successfully be accomplished?

{Thanks for listening to me... I already feel better! && Happy Monday!}

winner winner chicken dinner

{Yay Allie! Cool name, by the way. I'll be emailing you soon!}

Friday, August 17

friday's letters

left: photo courtesy of dan mountford via this & that
right: design by me photo courtesy of pureblyss & dailydoseofstuf
quote by jane austen

Dear Photos Above, I really like you and you make me wish I had an artistic talent of any kind.

Dear ManWhoDroveBehindMeAndFlippedMeOffForTwoMiles, I'll forgive you, just this once, but calm down dood! No need to get huffy just because I changed lanes and ended up in front of you.

Dear Blog World, These posts, one & two, really made me happy this week. What caught your eye on the ever so inspiring blogosphere?

Dear Stacy, Thanks for being a fantastic blog amiga! I thoroughly enjoyed our email chat the other day.

Dear San Diego, Being constantly sweaty is really not a cute look for me. Could you please cool down? I think I'm melting.

Dear Followers, Thanks for all of the love this week & be sure to check out my neato giveaway.

Dear Iced Coffee, For being an inanimate object, I feel like you get a lot of letters. But I want you to know what an integral part of my life you are and I repeat: I really and truly don't know how I ever lived without you.  

Thursday, August 16

where i come from...

Since I moved from Texas to California five years ago, I often reflect on the negative during my time as a Texan; dwelling on why I left and how I'll never live there again. I forget about all of the things that make my hometown, Colleyville, Texas, special and unique. Thank you, Erin, for reminding me to remember and I hope you all enjoy a glimpse into my childhood!

...Tex-Mex food flows like the queso which can be found on almost any menu.
...Friday nights are spent at the local high school's football games [just like the TV show].
...gentlemen open doors for you and flowers are a common gift on the first date. can't go to the grocery store without running into at least three people you know. walk to Braum's for soft serve yogurt in the summer and relish in "snow days" (read: ice days) in the winter.
...there's an entire restaurant [Babe's] that only serves chicken fried chicken & chicken fried steak [and all of the sides, of course]. may not have a beautiful beach or mountains outside of your window but you'll have acres of land to enjoy because the real estate is so inexpensive.
...most of your friends drive giant oversized trucks. have to drive outside of the county to buy hard liquor [this may have changed since I left].
...competitive cheerleading [like Bring It On] is not only absurdly popular but also a sport.
...people say ya'll... a lot.
...strangers can instantly become your new best friends.
...people are proud to call themselves Texans.

{PS: Don't forget about this little friend!}

Wednesday, August 15

el take it easy

You know those days that while they're happening you think to yourself, "this is the best day ever."  I had one of those this weekend. Saturday, I woke up, went for a run, grabbed an iced coffee, got quarters and was doing laundry all before 10:00 a.m. If you know me, this is quite the accomplishment. It felt good to be productive. Later, I met some friends at El Take It Easy, Jay Porter's other restaurant, for lunch. How great is that name? Though the prices were high for the small portions, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Plus the yellowtail carpaccio tacos were pretty dang perfect.

cutest couple ever



squash tacos

yellowtail carpaccio + shrimp tacos

{I gotta say, it was a good day. Yes that was an Ice Cube reference.}

Tuesday, August 14

love stories: lindsay & nick

Today, I have Lindsay, one of my most favorite bloggers, here to talk about her love story. One thing I noticed right off the bat from reading pages and pages deep through Lindsay's blog was her uncanny way of making the simple things in life seem magical and absolutely beautiful. Her love story is no exception and with a little one on the way, I'm looking forward to reading and seeing how Lindsay's relationship and life evolves with her new blessing. One of the many reasons I'm so drawn to Lindsay's love story is because it is simple. It began with a friendship and evolved into something truly special which is exactly how I foresee my future forever relationship (but these things can't really be planned, now can they?) So without further adieu...

Hello all you beauty & the feast readers! Lindsay from Little One Love here. I am so honored that Allie asked me to write a little bit about my husband and I's love story. It's nothing out of a fairy tale book or super fancy, but it's ours and it's what has made us the couple we are today.

Nick and I met in high school, what seems like a lifetime ago. We became instant friends and realized soon after we had all those silly things in common- same hobbies, liked the same music yada yada yada, but way back then, the stars were not aligned for us and friends was all we ever were. Our friendship continued to grow through college and almost accidentally we began to lean on each other. He was the friend I called from Chicago when I thought I couldn't bear the homesickness any longer and though he knew it was extremely hard for me at first, he never once suggested I should come home.

Looking back now it's funny how his supportive and encouraging ways began with me even before our relationship turned into a "relationship." The summer after our sophomore year of college Nick went off to Europe for the summer and how much I missed him surprised me. I couldn't talk to him whenever I wanted. I couldn't listen to the latest whatever song with him, I couldn't drive around with him visiting old friends and getting ice cream whenever I wanted. In our time a part as friends, my heart started to grow in a new way for him. I realized I compared every other date to him and had unknowingly set him as the standard for how boyfriends should compare. The only problem was, no one compared.

That Christmas vacation, I came home and of course spent most of it with Nick but this time, the stars did seem to align and that spark that was never really there came at an alarming rate. That first kiss of ours seemed so magical and literally from that moment on we became inseparable. Every single thing about "us" made so much sense. We almost felt silly for not realizing it sooner but I suppose the relationships we were both in previously were part of the plan and what led us to one another.

That Christmas vacation was seven years ago. Since then we've lived in Chicago, Los Angeles and Brooklyn together, each city a new adventure and chance for us to grow both individually and together. One of our strongest assets to one another is the constant encouragement. No matter how unrealistic a dream may seem, we're each other's biggest fans. I love everything about Nick and can't believe how blessed I am to have this man by my side each and every day. He's the kind of man that makes you better. His heart, his talent, his ambition, his compassion for others- he defines what a good man is. Soon this man of mine and I will welcome our first baby and thinking of Nick as a father literally makes my heart want to explode. This child of ours is going to fall so head over heels in love with him just the way I have. We are lucky, this baby and I.

{Thank you Lindsay for sharing your story & to you all for your AMAZING Etsy recommendations yesterday!}

Monday, August 13

if it's free, it's for me: CLOSED!

In honor of reaching 200 followers, I wanted to show you guys how much I appreciate you with a little giveaway! Below, you'll find a round up of some of my favorites from Etsy as well as a necklace I made myself.

you'll get: 
a journal // mini Baggu // polka dotted washi tape
one of these necklaces (gold filled) // a custom made alliegator figurine 


all you have to do to enter is: 
a) be a follower of beauty & the feast with Google Friend Connect 
b) leave a comment telling me about your favorite Etsy shop
c) leave a comment saying hi!

this giveaway will be open for a week!

{You all make my life and keep me going! Thank you & good luck!}

Friday, August 10

friday's letters

Dear Etsy Store Owners, I'm losing it. Actually... I've lost it. Why do you all have to be so freaken creative? I can't even explain how many online Etsy purchases I've made lately. A few of my favorites [photos above] can be found herehere and here. [I love paper... can you tell?]

Dear Body, I finally took you for a run and I’m fairly certain I could not be more out of shape. Please adjust; I’m trying hard to be active and I'm going to need your cooperation.

Dear San Diego, I’m very much looking forward to the “staycation” I’m planning for this weekend. Some time at the beach, Societe beer and lots of lounging in the near future.

Dear Anyone, If you're interested in buying one of my simple necklaces, email me! 

Dear Warby Parker, I'm so so SO excited for my new glasses to come in the mail. I ordered this pair; what do you think?

Dear Iced Coffee, I have no idea how I ever lived without you.


Thursday, August 9

craft(s) & commerce

If you're ever in San Diego, you absolutely cannot miss Craft & Commerce downtown. Whether you're a foodie, a beer snob, a craft cocktail aficionado or a lover of interesting people, books or decor, there will undoubtedly be something for you. Personally, I wish I could eat here everyday!

clare and i mastered the sock bun

bacon wrapped: dates [with cheese], apples [with cheese] and asparagus

the best salad ever

 mussels & fries

On the crafty side of life, recently, I found a tutorial from everyone's favorite Cupcakes and Cashmere. Lately, I've been on a roll making some more variations... what do you think?

simple ombre necklace

Wednesday, August 8


While I was visiting the Bay Area, my dad got his mind set on a crab salad sandwich and just couldn't let it go (sound familiar? Like father, like daughter). Back in his prime (just kidding, Dad, it's still your prime), my dad used to eat at Scoma's in San Francisco, so we went to the location in Sausalito, a precious, quintessential Bay Area eatery, to cure his craving.

cousin & father


calamari to die for

lobster roll, yep!

the beautiful bay area

There's something about the Bay Area that feels like home, though it's never been a long term home for me. I seem to breathe easier when I'm there, feeling confident in myself and my path. Funny, isn't it, how certain places can lift you up like that, huh?

Needless to say, Scoma's cuisine was perfect; simple and fresh seafood. And the atmosphere and view? You just can't beat it.

PS: Have you guys seen Laura's wedding video? If you're in need of a hump day pick-me-up, I highly suggest watching. I promise it'll make your day life.