Archive of ‘LIFESTYLE’ category

Shopbop Go Big Sale


I’m home recovering from my surgery, but I wanted to let you know about Shopbop’s current sale that starts today. This is not a “holiday shopping” for you. It’s a “treat yo’self” post. In my family, we don’t go crazy buying gifts. We believe in treating yourself all year long. Also my birthday is next month and I’m treating myself. For the past few years Shopbop has been one of my go-to shopping destinations. Not just for clothes, but candles, paper, books, and a few home decor items.

Since I’m cooped up I need my surroundings to smell divine. I have an insane love for Jonathan Adler candles, Tom Dixon candles, and Garance Doré paper.

Le Weekend

Want to Be Happy

If you read yesterday’s post then you know I’m in the hospital recovering from surgery. There were a few things I found interesting that I thought you would enjoy too so I scheduled a few of my favorite stories from online.

This is the last Le Weekend post for a few weeks while I recover from my surgery. I can’t give you an exact date when it will return, but it will be back.

  1. I’m super jealous of David Lebovitz’s Parisian kitchen and workspace. It’s airy, has tons of light, and it’s in Paris.
  2. I can’t get enough of Missy Elliott’s new song. It’s on repeat and I will be pre-ordering this album.
  3. My fitness level is better now than it was in my 20s. I can’t wait to get back to working out and feeling better and not being in constant pain. I haven’t figured out a plan to get back just yet. I know it’s going to be easy yoga, walks outside, and then on the bike at SoulCycle. I’m taking my time and pacing myself, but this story inspires me.
  4. I am obsessed with Linda Rodin and brought her Olio Russo Oil with me to the hospital. I have to recover in style darlings.
  5. I want to be like Shonda Rhimes when I grow up and embrace a year of yes. I can only imagine how hard it is. I pre-ordered her book and can’t wait to read it.

All About the Pretty is Taking a Break


I’m ready to say bye-bye to 2015. This year started off rough. On January 8, my brother Jamie passed. It was such a brutal time, but what I didn’t say is he passed the same day I was told I needed a hysterectomy sooner than later. Now, don’t worry. I’m not worried about the surgery. I’m in good hands at Sibley Hospital or Club Sib as the locals call it. I know I’m not meant to be a full-time parent. That’s not the life I want. I love being married, have an amazing husband, and being Aunt Ju-Ju. I’m good.

For the past 18 months I have been in pain from uterine fibroids most of the time and they’ve gotten worse. There would be times I’m talking or walking and a pain would hit me so bad it brought me to my knees. Watching my husband look at me and be helpless has been hard. One day he had had enough and was like “Get this stuff out of you. Now.” I put off the surgery as long as I could because I was still processing Jamie’s death, didn’t want to give up my summer and decided to wait until the end of the year to be cooped up in the house when it’s cold. I know, really, Julia. Yep. 

With that being said, I wanted to let you know why I am taking a break. I’m having a hysterectomy today. While you are reading this. Yes, it’s a major surgery. My husband and mother are here to take care of me, but taking a break means I am helping myself. I will have a few blog posts up during the time, but don’t look for much. I’m not quitting blogging. I still love it too much.

After much discussion with my doctor last week, she’s encouraging total rest for a full three weeks before I even attempt to sit up and write. The recovery is 8-10 weeks with a full internal recovery between 9-12 months. I have a podcasts to listen to, books, and magazines to read. (Please send any and all book recommendations or friend me on Goodreads.) I have more TV shows to binge on than I can count. I won’t be bored. Plus, it gives me time to organize some things I want to work on in 2016. (more…)

Feasting Pretty: Taberna de Alabardero (Washington, DC) Fall Menu


Travel opens your eyes to many things. It could be getting out of your comfort zone, getting to know yourself better, and understanding another culture. For me, the best way I learn about another culture is through their food. Food tells a story. It also tells history through a dish. Spain is a country that is close to my heart. It’s the first place I traveled with my husband and where if I admit now, I fell hard for him. As we discovered Spain, its history, and culture, it was the food where the lessons of traveling hit home.

As I attended the fall tasting menu at Taberna de Alabardero it took me back to Spain and falling in love and feasting. Taberna de Alabardero is a 26-year old Spanish fine dining restaurant in DC. Walking into the restaurant, I was taken back to Madrid, Barcelona, Jerez, and Seville. All that was missing was the sound of flamenco. Chef Romero is from Madrid, but his dishes are influenced from all over Spain. I remember tasting the Monkfish and thinking this has a hint of sherry. In Jerez, we went sherry tasting and I can still taste the luscious liquor. I grew up with a very adventurous food father. I was the only kid that would eat the “weird” stuff. As an adult, I think the curiosity has helped expand my palette. I’m willing to be adventurous and explore. In life and on the plate.

The fall menu at Taberna de Alabardero was as exceptional and delicious as any dish I had in Spain. I plan to go back with my husband so he can reminisce about Spain a little closer to home. All I ask is when are you making your reservation?


taberna 2

{Cod Carpaccio with Wild Salmon with pistachios, capers, olives, and tomatoes.}

taberna 3

{Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with Almond Garlic Pistachio Sauce}

taberna 4

{Scallop with Bacon in a Cuttlefish Reduction}

taberna 5

{Hen Noodle Soup with Poached Quail Egg}

taberna 7

{Monkfish with Crab Cream}


{Yellowfin Tuna Tataki with Potatoes and Bell Peppers}

taberna 2

{Lobster paella}

taberna 3

{Veal Sweetbread with Chanterelles}

taberna 4

{Coulant of Red Berries}

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Le Weekend

Gray Malin

November is flying by which means Christmas is around the corner. I love the Christmas season, but I’m grateful that my family doesn’t go crazy for Christmas. It’s about family and not the gift. This week has been tiring. I know I gained an hour of sleep, but I still don’t feel like I’m adjusting well. Plus, the sun is setting before 5pm and I’m not feeling that at all.

  1. Most people know I love to travel, but hate to fly. Then I read an article like this and guess what? It makes me hate flying more. Will that stop me? Nope but the hate is intensified.
  2. My friend Andrea wrote a great story on cornrows and cultural appropriation.
  3. I really want to try relaxing with an adult coloring book, but I don’t want to add another hobby to my already never-ending hobby list.
  4. I went kind of nuts when I discovered these Beekman soaps. Natural, moisturizing, and good.
  5. I can’t wait to make this dish. It’s perfect for the chilly and rainy weather we’ve been having.

Photo: Gray Malin


Le Weekend

Throw Kindness Around

I’m currently in New York City but headed home shortly. It’s been a quick trip full of shopping, good food, and lots of laughter. I can’t wait to relax tonight with my favorite boyfriend, Netflix. It’s been a great week because it wasn’t super cold. I don’t mind this mild weather at all. I’m looking forward to seeing my other boyfriend, James Bond too.

  1. If you haven’t read the craziest story to hit Twitter last week you should. It seems something for the movies and it just might be made into one.
  2. I love wine. No. Seriously. I have a deep admiration for vino and can’t imagine my life without it. I’m trying to stick to a wine buying budget. It ain’t happening. And this is another reason why.
  3. I never met a list I didn’t like. I use Evernote for lots of them, but I probably should use the notes section on my phone for restaurants.
  4. Momofuku finally opened up in DC. I have a reservation next week and can’t wait. It better live up to the hype because I loved my experience in NY.
  5. Giada has a new cookbook which means I can’t wait to cook from it. Between her and Ina, I’ve learned so much about easy and fast meals.

Oak by Absolut Vodka


As a wine girl, most people don’t think I drink anything else. I enjoy a good cocktail with fresh ingredients and even better liquor. Absolut Vodka is a major vodka brand and is currently on my bar cart. So when they asked me to try their barrel crafted oaked vodka I was skeptical. Vodka. Being oaked?


If you are going to oak vodka, my expectations are going to be high. I expect it to be smooth, can stand alone on its merits, and doesn’t need a mix to make it taste good. Needless to say, I don’t want my vodka any other way now. Absolut Oak is so smooth. At first I tried it with cold apple cider in a cocktail, but the best way in my opinion is straight up on the rocks.

Here’s a great recipe for a fall gathering. Talk about a grown-up hot toddy.

  • Half a bottle of Absolut Oak;
  • One gallon of apple cider (fresh is the best);
  • Thinly sliced Honey Crisp or Fuji apple;
  • Mix all the ingredients in a large stock pot and simmer on low for 20 minutes;
  • Serve in a mug with an apple slice on top; and
  • Your guests will thank you.

Wellness Wednesday: Seek Retreats

Seek Retreat

It’s that time to start planning 2016 adventures of sun, sand, and surf. Three of my favorite things. One retreat group I like is Seek Retreat. Seek Retreat handles your lodging, your wellness, and your workout. They have retreats all over the world and you select one according to the destination and you will be on your way.

I always advise people when they are planning to attend a retreat solo to go with an open mind. I’ve met some of the best people in the world on a yoga retreat or wellness vacation when I was by myself. Also, you learn so much about yourself traveling alone. You discover the real you.

One of my favorite yoga teachers Mary Beth leads a retreat in Sayulita every year through Seek Retreat and it’s on my list to go in 2016.

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