Weekend Reading #24

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Okay is it just me or do the weeks seem to be going by soooooooo slow. I swear I thought it was Thursday like 3 different times throughout the week. It’s finally the weekend THANK GOD! I’m thinking of keeping it low key this weekend, maybe get a massage and just hang around the house. What are you guys up to? Here are my favorite links for this week!

1. Natural ways to cure an illness.

2. I have a serious love/hate relationship with Corrine from The Bachelor.

3. Relaxing beauty products to use before bed.

4. Health benefits of honey.

5. Tricks to eat less sugar.

6. Slow cooker recipes that can help you lose weight.

7. Healthy snacks for the new year.

8. Things every grown woman needs in her apartment…I’m almost there!

9. Travel tips to get the most bang for your buck.

10. The top 10 things pro home organizers use.

 

 

Brunch Diaries: Jackson Kalb from Bottlefish

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Hey hey hey! I’m back!! It seems like it’s been forever, and it has been. Sorry I’ve been MIA but I was on the east coast enjoying the holidays with family and friends and then I got super sick so time just escaped me. Can you believe it’s already 2017?! Like what?? I wanted to kick off 2017 with a brand new Brunch Diaries! Ladies and gents I introduce you to my friend Jackson Kalb. I’ve known Jackson since moving out to LA and he’s a bomb chef and is currently the executive chef at Bottlefish. Bottlefish is a new restaurant that just opened over in Brentwood, here in Los Angeles. Created by the same owners as California Pizza Kitchen, Bottlefish is a hip new upscale seafood restaurant. I had the pleasure of going to Bottlefish’s friends and family preview night, and let me tell you…the food was BOMB thanks to my friend Jackson! Get to know Jackson a little more below.

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CAREER LIFE:

What is your occupation?
I’m the executive chef at Bottlefish.

How did you get involved with Bottlefish?
Total coincidence. My friend Danny was playing a pickup game of soccer with the GM, Arthur, before the restaurant had a chef. Arthur and Danny started talking and Arthur mentioned that he was looking for a chef. It turns out we all went to the same high school, so we had that rapport immediately.

What has been the hardest part about opening a new restaurant?
Pretty much everything. There are so many moving variables. Between staffing, training, HR, operations management, and everything in between, it’s all done by management and we’re all doing our part to get it done. Luckily, our founders are some of the most successful, experienced restaurateurs on the planet, so it goes without saying that we’re in good hands.

What is your favorite dish on the new menu?
My personal favorite is the scallop crudo. It’s so simple, but not easy. When you clutter a plate with garnishes and sauce, it’s easy to hide behind B-grade ingredients or improper execution. With our scallop crudo, everything has to be executed perfectly, because it’s only five ingredients.

We’re really showing off the intensely sweet flavor of the Nantucket bay scallops in this dish. It also shows off the natural product itself, which is the true star of the show. Often chefs take credit for the dish, but if the ingredients aren’t top quality, it doesn’t matter how much manipulation a chef does to it.

What advice would you give to future chefs?
Don’t watch TV and think you want to be a chef. Do it only if you are passionate about it. TV has glorified the occupation. There’s nothing wrong with glorifying it, as long as you know the reality of the job. If you’re spending more time on your hair then you are learning the fundamentals of cooking, you are in it for the wrong reason and will never be satisfied.

I’m all about showcasing chef’s capabilities on TV and hope to do something in front of the camera myself one day soon. Just don’t consider yourself a chef after going into massive amounts of debt to graduate from culinary school. If you want to learn culinary skills, go to a restaurant (or come work for me) and learn the trade. You’ll actually get paid to learn, and if you’re hungry, the shitty pay in the interim will pay off dozens of times over.

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SOCIAL LIFE:

Where is your favorite place to brunch?
I don’t really eat out during brunch in LA. We’re working on a brunch menu at Bottlefish which will hopefully be happening in Spring 2017, so let’s just say Bottlefish will be my future favorite spot.

Favorite restaurant to take out of town visitors?
Sotto for a nice sit-down spot. Leo’s taco truck (which is also the best restaurant in LA) for pastor tacos.

Favorite cocktail?
I’m classic for cocktails. Negroni or a Hendrick’s martini, sub cucumber for olives.

If you’re throwing a dinner party, what is your go-to meal?
I don’t think I’ve ever made the same dish twice at a dinner party. Most people know that they’re my guinea pigs during dinner parties. **cough cough Jackson, where’s my invite??!**

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REAL LIFE:

Who inspires you?
Josiah Citrin. He made me who I am today. As distant as we’ve become over the years, I still owe most of my culinary capabilities, and all the opportunities and personal drive that came from it, to him.

Best advice you’ve ever gotten?

Be kind.

What’s the one thing you cannot live without?
Friends and family. Material objects don’t carry the same value. If you don’t believe me, try being alone (no human interaction, no social media) for a week. You’ll go crazy, I promise.

Where is one place you would love to travel to?
Japan. Such a huge cultural difference, as most parts of the world are. I’m just very interested in visiting there right now.

What’s next?
If this pans out long-term, we plan on growing Bottlefish to multiple locations. When we reach our limit, we have a few other concepts in the works. I’m also helping with a small startup downtown and planning a wedding, so I’m extremely busy and couldn’t be happier about it.

Thanks Jackson for the interview! If you guys are ever in the Los Angeles area, definitely go check out Bottlefish and say hi to Jackson!

My Vitamin Routine

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It’s that time of year again where everyone seems to be getting sick. There is nothing worse than being sick when it’s the holidays and you have plans with family and friends. My friends know me as the girl who always gets sick, but ever since I’ve started taking the vitamin and supplements above I’ve been feeling great. Here are my favorites:

Olly Undeniable Beauty – This gummy vitamin not only tastes great but it’s a great beauty supplement to take. It has Biotin, Vitamin C and E and Borage Oil. All of these wonders help to make your hair and nails grow, and keeps your skin looking great. My hair has really been growing nicely ever since I started taking this.

Olly Hello Sunshine Vitamin D – A few months ago, my doctor told me I was deficient in Vitamin D. Shocking I know because I live in sunny California, but I’m not much of an outdoor person. He said my lack of Vitamin D could be a reason why I was always getting sick. After he told me this I went out and bought this Vitamin D gummy. I haven’t had a full blown sickness ever since. I’m seriously obsessed with this stuff!

VitaFusion MutiVites – This is a great multivitamin. It’s a complete multivitamin so it has all of the essential vitamins you need daily. I take two of these religiously. Not only that but the gummy’s taste really great. If you can’t tell, I’m a child and love my gummy vitamins.

Natural Factors Acidophilus & Bifidus – This is the newest addition to my vitamin routine. It’s a probiotic. I’m notorious for having stomach issues. After a bad fluke with some sort of food poisoning, I went out and bought these Probiotics. Probiotics are great for your gut. These specifically help to keep you regular, and help balance out your pH.

Source Naturals Wellness Formula – This stuff is a miracle worker. For real. It has about 100 different natural ingredients that help to boost the immune system. I don’t take these every day but whenever I start to feel a little run down, I take a couple of these throughout the day and the next day I feel amazing again. The only downsize is these pills are large and taste disgusting. But 100% worth it.

Vitality Works Oregano Oil – Oregano oil is another one of those miracle natural remedies. Oregano oil is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. Basically it’s a wonder drug. I had a friend turn me onto oregano oil a couple years ago and I have been obsessed ever since. Whenever I have a cold, I make sure to take this to help beat it fast.

What vitamins or supplements do you guys use? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Marble Phone Case with CaseApp

phoneTop: Zara // Jeans: Frame // Purse: Gucci // Rings: LVL Collective, BaubleBar {similar} // Phone Case: c/o CaseApp // Sunglasses: Boutique {similar} // Necklace: BaubleBar

Okay, I admit it. I have a slight marble obsession. If I could make my whole house marble, I would. That’s why it was no brainer to me that I should make a marble phone case. This way I can carry around a little bit of marble with me every where I go.

When I was first introduced to CaseApp, I immediately fell in love. CaseApp allows you to create custom iPhone cases and laptop skins. Their site is also incredibly easy to use. You can either chose from a pre-made design (like the marble I chose), or customize it with your own photos. You can add texts and clip art, and basically whatever else your heart desires. When I was creating my phone case on CaseApp, I decided to go with their classic marble design. It’s clean, simple and works in any setting. I’m seriously OBSESSED.

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If you’re looking for a gift for this holiday season, check out CaseApp! Whether it’s a gift for your best friend, parents or even your significant other, CaseApp will help you find the perfect customized gift. I’m still debating getting another phone case from CaseApp with a picture of my dog Baguette…it would be so cute! If you want 20% off a fabulous custom case use code GIRLSBRUNCHXMAS20 at checkout! 20% off is such a steal! These cases are seriously so cute and so affordable!

marbleIf you end up getting a new phone case or laptop skin, tag me on Instagram @esthercollins. I would love to see them! Also, don’t forget to use my discount code GIRLSBRUNCHXMAS20 for 20% off your order! 

Thank you to CaseApp for partnering with me on this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Girls Night Out Feat. Dove Dry Spray

dsc02881Deodorant: Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant // Bomber: ASOS // Shirt: Style Delivers {similar} // Jeans: Frame Denim // Belt: ASOS // Shoes: Burberry {similar} // Bag: Gucci {similar} // Ring: BaubleBar  // Choker: Forever 21

The other night a bunch of my fabulous blogger girlfriends and I got together for a fun girls night out. We all got ready together and then headed to a comedy show at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. Getting ready for a night out is almost as much fun as the actual event. But let’s be honest here…it’s all fun and games until you realize you’re sweaty and smelly. That’s why I was happy to partner with Dove to share my favorite deodorant with you! The Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant is perfect for on the go! All you have to do is #ShakeSprayGo and you’ve got full protection for 48 hours!

For real though, am I the only person that gets slightly weirded out when someone asks to borrow your deodorant. Major germaphobe vibes here. But with the Dove Dry Spray, you don’t have to worry about that! I would let anyone borrow my Dove Dry Spray, and actually I insist on it. It seriously smells amazing. I love that it goes on completely dry and also cares for my skin with Dove ¼ moisturizers. There are eight different scents and they’re all so good! I love their Soothing Chamomile scent the best, it’s mild but it leaves you smelling completely fresh.

dsc02860Along with smelling great, my friends and I wanted to share with you some of our favorite beauty tips for getting ready. My beauty tip for a night out is to always do your eye makeup first! This is especially good if you’re doing a smokey eye. When you’re applying eye shadow, liner and mascara it can sometimes get a bit messy and there’s a lot of fall out. If you do your eyes first, you can wipe away the fall out and then cover with a concealer. My favorite concealer of the moment is the Bye Bye Undereye Concealer from It Cosmetics. It’s thick so a little goes a long way!

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Krista: “My major secret for getting ready for a night out, is all about my SKIN. If I feel dry, puffy, red, or just anything out of wack, it can ruin my mood! Of all the crazy beauty products there are, I am really obsessed with a good primer. The one from Smashbox I use all the time, and it fills in any fine lines, smooths everything out and just makes your skin that porcelain dream texture so your BB Cream or Foundation glides right on. Otherwise, your foundation can get caught in any creases, and not look at buttery. It’s been a game changer too for how long my makeup lasts! I love love it.”

Lauren: “For a night out, I always like to make sure my hair is all set to go. With curly hair, it can get frizzy in an instant, so I use my T3 wands for beach-y waves and then finish with hairspray. One tip for getting the perfect beach-y wave, be sure to leave the ends out when using the wand! This creates a loose, no-ringlet wave that is perfect on anyone!”

Michelle: “An important tip which I’d like to share that’ll ensure a successful night out and (more importantly) a refreshing morning after is to use a good firming under eye gel pads. I pop them on for a little over 10 minutes while I sip on a nice glass of wine and relax before an eventful night. It’s my way of unwinding and prepping myself before the makeup, fitted clothes and uncomfortable heels go on for who knows how long. My go to gel pads are by skyn ICELAND. It de puffs, tones and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to give me the confidence needed all night!”

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After we all got ready, we headed to the Laugh Factory. My favorite comedian of the night was this woman who spent her entire set talking about the Bachelor. A woman after my own heart. It was HILARIOUS! With all the laughing I was happy I put on some Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant to keep me dry throughout the night!

Thank you to Dove and Simply Stylist for partnering with me on this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photos by Brooke Taffet

The Gilmore Girls Tag

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It’s that time!!! Thanksgiving is this week, which means that Gilmore Girls premieres on Friday! I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. My roommate and I have been binge watching the series in preparation of this weeks Gilmore Girls revival. Thank you Netflix for making this all possible! When I saw the Gilmore Girls tag on Reigning Beauty I knew I had to fill it out myself. Here are my answers to the Gilmore Girls tag. I tag all of you to answer these questions as well!

What was your first introduction to Gilmore Girls?
My best friend Cat was absolutely OBSESSED with the show. I watched it here and there with her but then in college I decided to binge watch, and I’ve been obsessed ever since.

Who is your favorite character and why?
I love Lorelai. I know, I know, what a basic answer. But she really is the best character. I love her witty come backs and her fast paced speeches. Even when she does something you disagree with you still can’t help but love her.

Are you on Team Jess, Dean or Logan?
Team Logan all the way! First off, look at Matt Czuchry. He’s hands down the hottest boyfriend. I also liked that he went to Yale with Rory, so he’s clearly smart. Logan also was a mixture of bad boy and sweetheart.

How many of the books have you read from Rory’s reading list?
Umm…probably only one or two that were school required. Oops.

Would you rather; only be allowed to drink coffee, or never be able to eat Pop Tarts again?
I don’t think I could survive on just coffee so I would have to unfortunately never eat a Pop Tart again.

Who is your least favorite character?
Taylor. Granted he’s supposed to be annoying, but I feel how Luke feels anytime Taylor talks.

Are you on Team Luke or Team Christopher?
Okay this is a tough one because I really love them both. However, if I had to pick I would be Team Christopher. Christopher will always be Rory’s father and it would have just made the family complete. Also there’s so much history with Lorelai, and her parents love him. Plus, have you seen him? He’s definitely a DILF.

If you went to Stars Hollow, where would you most like to visit?
Luke’s Diner for some coffee and a burger.

What would you steal from the Gilmore Girls set?
Probably one of those giant mugs from Luke’s Diner.

Finally, what do you hope happens in the revival?
I hope all the characters are happy and established in their lives. I also just really want to see Logan.

5 Easy Ways to Drink More Water

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We’ve all heard it before, our bodies are made up of mostly water. Water is crucial for your health, both internally and externally. I used to struggle HARD with drinking enough water. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized how important drinking enough water is to my body. Not only does it help clear your skin, it also helps to flush out all the gunk in your body. I’ve noticed on days I don’t drink enough water, I feel lethargic and my skin feels dry. Let’s be real, no one wants that. Here are a few tips that can help you drink more water daily.

1. Infuse your water with fruits

This is one of the easiest ways to make your water more fun. My friends at Live Infinitely have this awesome 32 ounce fruit infuser water bottle that’s perfect for infusing water on the go. I love this water bottle because it’s super cute with the fun colors, and it’s large enough to fit a lot of fruits and veggies. Some of my favorite combos are strawberry + raspberry (pictured above), strawberry + basil, cucumber + lime, and orange + lemon. For a chance to win one of your own fruit infused water bottles, check out my Instagram for a giveaway!

2. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning

Drink a big glass of water as soon as you wake up. Make it become a habit so you don’t even think about it. Eventually your body will start to crave water as soon as you wake up. Also, drinking a glass of water is a great way to get things moving, if you know what I mean.

3. Sip before every meal

Whenever you go to a restaurant, you’ll always find have a nice glass of water at the table. Drink as much of the water as you can before your meal. Not only will this help you not to overeat, it will also just become a good habit.

4. Choose sparkling water

If you’re anything like me, I love soda. I know, I know, soda is terrible for you but sometimes you just want that fizz. A great alternative is sparking water. I love the La Croix brand, they have some amazing flavors! It’s a great way to get your daily water intake, but also replaces that soda craving.

5. Eat water-based foods

Many fruits and veggies are filled with water. Some of my favorites are watermelon, cucumber and grapefruit. Add some into your daily meals, and you’ve got some added water!

Be sure to check out my Instagram to see how you can win your own Live Infinitely water bottles!

Sephora VIB Sale!

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It’s that time again! The Sephora VIB Sale is in full swing. If you’re a beauty junkie like me, the VIB sale is super exciting. I was lucky enough to shop a little earlier through the Sephora Friends and Family Sale (thank you Jackie!). Here are some items I picked up, and my first impressions.

1. Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil – I’ve used Josie Maran’s argan oil before and LOVE that stuff. I was in need of a new cleanser so I decided to try this one out. I’ve used it a couple times and it does an AMAZING job of breaking down makeup.

2. Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Beauty on the Go Set – I got this because I wanted to try out the Bum Bum Cream. OMG. It smells like heaven. I’m in love. Also the lip butter is great for daily use.

3. Urban Decay All Nighter Spray – Shout out to my friend Amy for recommending this to me. This really does a good job in helping your makeup last. I hate the scent of it, but it does work.

4. Bite Beauty Multistick in Blondie – I got this because a YouTuber I watch said it was amazing. Unfortunately the color is too light and washes out my face. I’m definitely going to return this.

5. Anastasia Brow Primer – Another recommendation from Amy! This stuff is great. It’s a wax that you can put on before or after filling in your eyebrows. This will definitely be a holy grail item for me.

6. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer – This stuff is GOLD. For real, it’s one of the best under eye concealers I’ve ever used. The shade is perfect for my skin tone, also a little really goes a long way.

7. Hourglass Vanish Foundation – I’ve never tried a stick foundation before but I really love this one. It really does vanish into the skin. I’m thinking about doing a review post on this, if you’re interested let me know in the comments!

8. Tarte Lip Facial Lip Scrub – I’ve been meaning to get a new lip scrub, and I love that this comes in a stick vs. a pot. So far, I’m loving it.

These are all the goodies I recently got from Sephora. If you get any from the sale, or want me to review any of these let me know in the comments below!

Weekend Reading #23

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#23 my favorite number! So this should be a good one! I’m still recovering from Halloween weekend. I went about non-stop for 6 days, but it was all in good fun. I got to see Ingrid Michaelson in concert again last week which was INCREDIBLE! I absolutely love her. If you’ve heard of her or even if you haven’t, go listen to her new album. It’s fire. With all that being said and done, I’m excited to do nothing this weekend. Maybe I’ll do a little cleaning and cooking at the house this weekend, but I can’t wait to just chill. What are you guys doing this weekend?

1. Habits of a financially smart woman.

2. ClassPass is ending their unlimited classes.

3. Should you cut out nightshades too?

4. Best dessert options in LA, need to try them all!

5. I made these brussel sprouts and they are the BOMB.com.

6. Spiralized butternut squash? Yes, please.

7. This is why you weigh less in the mornings.

8. How does your November horoscope look?

9. Shopping is now coming to Instagram.

10. Netflix is working on going “offline”.

 

Best Food in Oahu

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Romper: Blue Life // Tank: Brandy Melville // Necklace: Songbird Co. {similar here and here}

I just got back from Oahu a few days ago. Oahu (the island Honolulu is on) is absolutely stunning. The beaches were incredible. Definitely take a trip up to the North Shore if you are there, it has some of the most beautiful beaches around! As a self proclaimed foodie, I love to find authentic and delicious foods anytime I’m traveling. I did my due diligence and stumbled upon some real gems in Oahu. Here were my top three places you must visit!

The Dole Plantation (picture above) – Go. Seriously just go. It’s a tourist spot, but they have the best Dole Whip and roasted nuts. I wish I had gone back multiple times while on my trip. I’m seriously having major cravings for some Dole Whip right about now.

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Koko Head Cafe

Koko Head Cafe is run by Chef Lee Ann Wong, who appeared on Top Chef. This cute little restaurant was packed with a long line when we went. But it was well worth the wait! Everything on their menu sounded absolutely delicious, I wish I could have tried more! I ended up getting the Vanilla Sea Salt Biscuit with their famous Koko Moco, which is their take on the Loco Moco, a traditional Hawaiian dish. Loco Mocos are seriously my new favorite dish. It’s basically rice with beef and gravy topped with an egg. Basically everything I love in the world in one dish. The Koko Moco was great because they used garlic rice which really amped up the flavor. I also love that they served this in a cast iron skillet because it really allows the rice to get crunchy. YUM.

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Moena Cafe

Another spot that I loved was Moena Cafe in Hawaii Kai. Located in a little strip mall, from the outside you wouldn’t think it was anything special, but the inside is incredibly charming. I got their Loco Moco (obviously) with brown rice. Their Loco Moco was quite different than Koko Head’s. This Loco Moco used a much more tender meat that literally just melted in your mouth. This dish was so delicious, I couldn’t get enough.

These were my top food spots in Oahu that I visited during my trip. If you make it out to the island of Oahu, definitely check these spots out! Also, if you’ve ever tried Loco Moco, let me know in the comments below!