Yamashiro, which means “mountain palace” in Japanese, has been a Hollywood landmark since the 1920’s. Nestled in the Hollywood Hills above The Magic Castle, Yamashiro is more then just a restaurant, it’s an experience. It has been on our radar as a place to check out for quite sometime now and my birthday seemed like the perfect occasion!

I’m so happy we arrived just before sunset because the views were spectacular. The poolside pagoda was imported from Japan and is 600 years old. It is one of the oldest structures in California.

The west facing view is amazing: you can catch a truly spectacular view of the  sun setting into the Pacific. During the Great Depression you could visit the gardens and admire the view for 25 cents. Ironically, now, the valet alone, costs $7.50!  
I loved the ambiance of the beautiful Garden Room, but the hostess recommended that we sit in the Sunset Room since it was our first time there. I`m so glad we took her advice. Not only did we have an amazing view of LA but we also had a view of the valet which made for great people/car watching!

The Kurobuta Pork Carnitas appetizer was the most amazing thing we ate all night. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! The bottom is a scallion-risotto cake topped with carnitas in a hoisin reduction with a honey mustard drizzle. A-MA-ZING! We will definitely be back for this! They also have a great lounge where one could come casually for a cocktail and an app and enjoy the view! Wether you live in LA or are just passing through you need to put Yamashiro on your list of things to do!


unique la

Wade and I spent my birthday eating and shopping our way through Unique LA. It all started in 2008 when Sonja Rasula wanted to bring Made-In-America design to the masses. She wanted to “help designers and small businesses grow and become sustainable, to support the local economy, and to teach shoppers the value of conscious consumerism.” And so it was born…

I was impressed with the creative displays and quality/craftsmanship of the products. This group took the craft fair concept to a whole new level!

Some of my favorite vendors were the guys at All Spice Cafe who kept feeding me chips smothered in their different sauces and tapenade, yum!  London Manori’s colorful table full of dipped leaf necklaces were fabulous.I got a piece of silver kale. How cool is that? Michael McKeon at The Queen Bee’s Hive makes the most amazing scented eco-friendly candles (I got the gardenia) and refreshing Hydroscents that he insisted I spray on my face! The white truffle salt from HEPP’S Salt Barrel was so good that I licked it right out of my hand, no food required! The quirky dolls and ornaments at Paper Moon Gallery were AWESOME!! I’ll definitely be stalking their Etsy shop!

I had so much fun talking to all of the artisans, learning about their craft and seeing the passion they have for what they do!
I can`t wait until the next Unique event. I hear they will be popping up in NY and San Francisco this year too, so be on the lookout! You won’t want to miss it!


jack mormon coffee co.

The Jack Mormon Coffee Co. in Salt Lake City, UT is one-of-a-kind and so is its owner Cruser. We were initially drawn to it because of the name and it’s great YELP reviews, then we tried the coffee. It was one of the best, tastiest cups we had ever had and we were hooked! The shop boasts four roasting machines and a vast assortment of raw coffee beans from around the world. It’s all about freshness and each batch of beans is roasted to order. This produces a magic that couldn’t otherwise be obtained without the artisanal approach Cruser takes at his shop. When you walk into Jack Mormon Coffee Co., you’ll notice a few bar stools facing the front window, really impressive coffee equipment, and a Buddha statue peeking out from the back watching over the shop (he believes it to be an ancient Cambodian relic and plans to return it someday). There are no fluffy couches, no wi-fi, just straight forward amazing coffee. It’s a get in and get out kind of shop. He’s doing things his own way and it’s working. He has collaborated with other local business to produce espresso infused chocolate truffle bars and a sold out run of Jack Mormon Coffee Stout (he’s working on more!). If you are a coffee lover, this place should not be missed the next time you’re in SLC but be aware they are only open from 10-6!

Ed, Sarah and Cruser

Raw coffee beans

Coffee Bean Roasters

Jack Mormon Coffee Co. is at 82 E. St. SLC UT 84103


{diy} gel manicure

I absolutely love gel manicures! My hands spend a lot of time in water and wet hair and gel mani’s have been the only way I have found to keep my nails looking great. As much as I love treating myself to a trip to the nail salon it can be expensive and inconvenient  to do on a regular basis. I was thrilled when I found The Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Starter Kit for only $60. It comes with small sizes of everything you need to DIY!

The process definitely requires practice and patience and takes the same amount of times as it does in the salon but it’s well worth it for the convenience and savings. It’s nice to be able to do it at home and repair nails individually as they need it. I`m thrilled with this purchase!

I have found it’s faster to hold the LED light perfectly level with all 8 fingertips in at once and then do thumbs together as opposed to the way I am doing it above.

The finished result! The starter kit comes with red polish but you can buy other colors individually. Ring by cara


fresh faced for nye

My brother is famous for giving extremely unique and thoughtful gifts. Most of the time it’s some sort of device that you never knew existed and would never buy for yourself. This year I received the Fresh Facial Mask System. It’s an appliance that allows you to use fresh ingredients to create facial treatment masks. I must admit that I was skeptical at first but couldn’t wait to try it!

I chose the oatmeal honey mask from the recipe book as it was good for normal skin. They listed a number of wonderful beauty benefits, the nutritional content and tips. Basically you just mix together the natural ingredients and one of their mask packets in the mini blender. Then you spread it out over a disposable mask form and it sets for 7 minutes before you apply it to your face. The directions for assembly were very detailed and made it seem more complicated then it actually was. It will be much easier from now on. I also found it to be a bit messy while I was using it BUT the clean up was super easy!

My cat Tigger approves as he wouldn’t stop trying to lick my face! Once removing the mask my skin felt amazing…ridiculously soft and hydrated. I`m hooked and can`t wait to have my girlfriends over to try the other 19 facial mask recipes!


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