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.

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!

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”.

 

Brunch Diaries: Annie Spano from Style Collective

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Hi loves! I’ve decided to start a new series on the blog called “Brunch Diaries”. The Brunch Diaries will consist of a Q&A with influential and inspiring individuals. We’re going to be talking to them about everything, from career, social life and you guessed it… brunch. As I was thinking about who I wanted to interview for this new series, Annie Spano immediately popped into mind. Annie is not only a childhood friend (she used to babysit me, and is my best friend Catherine’s big sis) but she’s also a major #girlboss. In the past year alone, she has started two companies; The Lovely Girl and Style Collective. If you don’t believe me, just keep reading.

CAREER LIFE:

What made you start The Lovely Girl and Style Collective?
Style Collective was formed as a reaction to an experience that should never happen to other women. In late 2015, I left my corporate job after being bullied and harassed by another woman in the workplace. The experience had left me feeling defeated and emotionally drained. I really wished that there was a better way for women to work together and help each other achieve success.

During this time, I had started The Lovely Girl as a creative outlet and became friendly with other female influencers. I started a chat group with my new friends to share ideas and support each other with the intent of promoting community over competition. The result was amazing – not only did everyone eagerly share their blogging tips and tricks to help each other grow, but also we formed friendships that added a meaningful dimension to what we already loved doing. Our small group quickly grew into a large influencer network that was officially incorporated as Style Collective LLC in early 2016. It’s been a wild ride for sure!

What has been the hardest thing about starting your own company?
The hardest thing about starting my own company has been wearing ALL of the hats and doing everything. There is literally not enough time in the day to do it all, so you have to prioritize and be smart with the money that’s coming in. I’m lucky enough that I’ve been able to save up so that I can now delegate and reinvest for some big projects that I’m working on for this fall. Balancing a personal life with a startup is my other struggle. When Cat came to visit, I was on the phone with AmEx for an hour trying to get setup as a merchant because AmEx transactions were getting declined. My payment processor never told me that I needed to setup a whole separate account for that. It’s these little things that drag you down and you have to fix immediately, that’s stressful and hard to manage at times. You have to work whenever you can fit it in.

What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
In business school my strategy professor talked about this quote in class. It’s so good and really give you good perspective! “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

Who inspires you?
I love Ivanka Trump because she built a fashion and lifestyle brand that is founded on empowering the multifaceted working woman. She wants success for other women just as much as she wants it for herself. Her articles are relevant, inspiring and just really refreshing. She understands driven, goal-oriented millennial women and strives to empower them through her brand. I just love that.

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SOCIAL LIFE:

Where is your favorite place to brunch?
There is this AMAZING hipster place in Portsmouth, NH called The Friendly Toast. It’s crazy inside and they have the best brunch food. Huge portions and really chill. I love going there when people come visit.

Dress up, or dress down?
Dress up.

Favorite place to go for a night out?
Netflix and chill. JK. I just found out what that means last week LOL. I love going to Blue Moon Evolution for dinner and drinks. I’m over 30 now so that’s what I call a night out LOL.

Favorite cocktail?
Vodka soda with a splash of cranberry and lime.

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FASHION AND BEAUTY LIFE: 

Favorite item in your makeup bag?
I literally just bought this new Tarte gel foundation and it is life changing. It has taken me 31 years to find my holy grail foundation.

If you could only bring 3 items to a deserted island, what would they be?
Coffee, phone and my hubby for company.

How would you describe your style?
Classic/Preppy.

Best beauty hack?
I learned about baking my makeup this past June! This is my favorite tutorial.

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REAL LIFE:

Favorite cause/charity?
Foundation for Women’s Cancer. I ran a fundraiser last month so that I could donate in memory of my Mom.

What’s the one thing you cannot live without?
Coffee. 

Where is one place you would love to travel to?
Europe! Italy and Paris are high on my list.

What’s next?
Everything! The sky is the limit and I want to do it all.

Be sure to check out Annie’s blog The Lovely Girl, and her company Style Collective. Also be sure to follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

 

Weekend Reading #22

weekendIt’s the weekend, yay! This week was crazy busy for me so it seemed to fly by! Last weekend was jam packed with my friend Amy visiting. We ran around all of LA, including seeing the Venice Canals in the picture above. How pretty, right?! Serious GOALS for one day. This weekend I’m going to try to keep it a little more low key and catch up on some much needed sleep. My roommate and I are taking a spin class tomorrow at Cycle House, bright and early! I’ve been seriously slacking on working out lately so I’m hoping this will kick my butt into shape. What are your plans for this weekend?

1. Do your friends actually like you?

2. Is salad making you fat?

3. The ultimate anti-inflammatory meal.

4. 9 tips for more energy.

5. Never post this pic while traveling.

6. 11 times you should skip the gym.

7. Totally crushing on this bag right now.

8. Hair products you need.

9. How to remove every type of stain.

10. Obsessed with Sophia Bush, and her new home.

 

Hiking Headband

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Headband: Albion c/o // Sunglasses: Ray-Ban // Top: Adidas // Pants: Alo Yoga // Shoes: Nike

This past weekend, my friend Amy visited me from New York. She loves to be active, especially when traveling somewhere new. She asked if we could hike Parker Mesa Overlook in the Pacific Palisades. A little nervous about the hike (it was a 6 mile hike!), I obliged. I’m happy I did because the view at the end was incredible! This was honestly one of the most stunning views in LA. It overlooks the water, and you can see all of Los Angeles as well. It was well worth the struggle I had during the hike.

Normally when I hike, I like to just throw on whatever is comfortable and weather appropriate. Since I wore an all black outfit, I decided to spice it up with this super cute headband from Albion! It adds such a chic element to my otherwise very plain outfit. Lucky for you guys, my friends at Albion has given GWB readers 15% off any purchase using the code: ESTHERCOLLINS. So go check out out Albion. I’m absolutely obsessed with their stuff! I especially love this swimsuit, and these workout shorts (that also match the headband!).

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A Day At The Getty

gettyShirt: H&M   // Jeans: Frame Denim {similar} // Bag: Gucci {similar} // Sunglasses: Foster Grant {similar} // Necklace: LVL Collective {similar}  and BaubleBar // Ring: LVL Collective // Earrings: Anita Ko // Shoes: Anthropologie {similar}

Last week my mom came to town which was super exciting because it had been a couple years since she was in LA. Most of the week we just hung out around the house while my mom cooked all of my favorite home cooked meals (#winning)! On the last day of her trip, my roommates and I took her to The Getty museum. We went to the Brentwood location, not the Malibu one. This was my first time at The Getty. I had heard great things from a lot of people, but I was still shocked to see how beautiful the grounds were. The Getty has one of the most spectacular views of all of LA.

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While at The Getty, we checked out one of the buildings with paintings and photography. We saw Monet and Van Gough paintings, which were really awesome to see up close. After checking out the artwork, we walked over to the garden. The garden was so beautiful, serious GOALS. The scenery was incredible. I enjoyed walking around and just looking at the architecture of the buildings just as much as the artwork inside of them.

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If you like museums and are in the LA area, I highly recommend checking out The Getty. I would definitely go back again and check out some of their other exhibits!

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