Update your Wardrobe with Spring Accesories

Monday, May 23, 2016

*This is a Sponsored Post*

To help fashion-lovers maximize their wardrobe this Spring, Ontario Mills invited me to ambush a few fashionistas to gift them with this springs essential trend pieces as part of their first-ever, month-long Accessorize Your Spring Sale, which ends on May 31.

So to get the party started, so-to-say, I went to three of my favorite shops and picked essentials from the top three Spring trends (stripes, florals and metallic) that anyone could add to their existing wardrobe and get Spring ready.


Not only are stripes the trend that most women associate with Spring, (blue and white anyone?), but men are now enjoying this trend because of its versatility.

For the stripe trend I stopped by the Original Penguin boutique, and picked a light tan bowling hat with a striped ribbon and paired it with with horizontal striped socks, that even the most fashion adversed men will love and wear beyond Spring.


While florals seemed to have been relegated to the ladies that brunch crowd, the modern fashionista can also select floral pieces that don't overwhelm their simple style.

Inspired by the blue hues of Santa Monica beach I so love, I selected floral-inspired pieces from J. Crew for their modern take on traditional stonework and fabrics found in the American Southwest to style this floral-adversed gal.


I LOVE metallics, but I especially love how gold, silver or bronze will make the most casual outfits look more pulled together.

So for this trend I mixed rose gold aviators with a simple knotted gold metal bracelet from
Fossil, because who said you can't mix metallics?

Choosing any one of these Spring trends, you too can update Spring wardrobe when shop at the Ontario Mills.

Take advantage of the additional savings at all of the centers’ over 200 brand-name retailers, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Steve Madden, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Bahama Outlet, Tommy Hilfiger, and J.Crew.

Make sure to also tag your #founditatsimon accessory finds by tagging them with #accessorize so I can check them out and like them on social media.

Happy Shopping!

Ana Lydia

Bare Burger opens in Santa Monica

Monday, May 9, 2016

*This is a Sponsored Post*
Westsiders rejoice!

The eyesore that the empty Omelette Parlor on Main St. was, is no more - Bare Burger, the East-coast organic burger institution, joined the neighborhood!

Before opening it's doors, Bareburger made a few upgrades to our local brunch favorite, while keeping a few touches from it's original design...and kept the original white metal Omelette Parlor sign!

For folks like me, that have way too many memories and brunch stories to boot, I expected to lose a few breaths when I walked into the updated Main St. restaurant. But I didn't.

What I did, instead, was smile. Bareburger is gorgeous! It's light and airy, with an updated urban country house feel, and looks like it's been part of the neighborhood forever.

There's plenty of space for single lunchtime diners and large families, and while the outside patio is much smaller than before, the indoor dining areas are set-up in such a way that you don't feel boxed in.

But as beautiful as the new space is, the stars of Bareburger are the unique menu offerings like elk, bison and duck patties, salads, bowls, house-made fries, sandwiches and milkshakes, which are all made with organic, local and non-GMO ingredients.

Some of my favorite dishes included:

Onion Rings, which were coupled with paprika mayo and smoke sauce.

Sprout & Shroom side dish, which included a marinated brussels & bulgur freekeh, topped with fried oyster mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, and habanero mayo.

The Hudson Salad, made with baby spinach, blue cheese, duck bacon, sunny side egg, hass avocado, grape tomatoes, red onions and topped with buttermilk ranch dressing.

Falafelwraptor, a collard green wrap sandwich with chickpea falafel, feta, spicy pico de gallo, alfalfa, cucumbers, pickled red onions, and lemon tahini dressing.

Hot Honey Chicken sandwich made with a buttermilk fried chicken breast, topped with brussel slaw, grilled pineapple, crispy lotus root, and hot honey on a sprout bun.

The So Cal Turkey burger, topped with aged cheddar cheese, pickled red onions, alfalfa and guacamole on a sprout bun.


Bareburger also prides itself in being able to alter the menu or prepare dishes individually to ensure that they are able to serve folks with most (if not all) allergies and food sensitivities - and of course, all done with a smile.

While everything my hubby and I tasted at Bareburger was absolutely delicious and worthy of a second time order, for those that want to create something more unique, you can enter the “Build Your Own Burger" contest. The contest runs now through May 15th and more information can be found at Bareburger.com/contest.


Bareburger is located at the former Omelette Parlor building, 2732 Main St., Santa Monica, CA, 90405.

Ana Lydia

Meet me at the Ontario Mills 'Accessorize Your Spring Sale' Makeover Event

Thursday, May 5, 2016

*This is a Sponsored Post with Images Courtesy of Simon Center*

As most mom/daughter relationships go, we have a thing: We LOVE to go shopping! As in, shopping is not just something that we have to do, but is instead an all-out event that we look forward to.

Shopping to us always includes breakfast, lunch and dinner....in between checking out what's in, hot and now...and of course some much needed mother/daughter bonding time happens in between the racks.

Sometimes we shop for an event, say a wedding, while other times we just look through aisles in the hopes that we find something that we "need."

I tend to be all over the map with my style inspirations (blame it on my inner creative), while my mama has a classic style that is so uniquely her...so shopping is always a great time because I give her options that she might not otherwise think about; and mom, of course, has made me fall in love with accessories. Or, in my mom's own words, I have learned to live by the motto that "a pair of shoes, purse or accessories, will instantly elevate an outfit."

Now it's my turn to share my love of shopping by giving moms accessory styling tips during the Ontario Mills Accessorize your Spring Sale on Saturday, May 7 starting at 1 p.m.

When you stop by to meet me I promise to also share a gifting ideas for the moms in your life and hand-out a few $50 Gift Cards when you follow my tweets, Facebook updates, and Instagram photos...And just in case you can't meet me on Saturday, don't worry - the sale runs until May 31st!

With a wide selection of jewelry, bags, shoes, hats, sunglasses, tech gear and accessories, moms, and those shopping for moms on their special day, can shop effortlessly to find stylish accents for spring - with my help, of course!

Savvy shoppers (you!) will also find additional savings at all of the centers’ over 200 brand-name retailers, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Steve Madden, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Bahama Outlet, Tommy Hilfiger, J.Crew and more with deeply discounted spring merchandise and a sneak peek of summer arrivals.

Make sure to find your #founditatsimon accessory finds by tagging them with #accessorize so I can check them out and like them on social media.

Ana Lydia

Bloggy Time at #LLBLOGHumpDay

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

When I announced that the world famous #LALLBLOG / #LBNC Lifestyle Blogger National Conference would be retired, I received emails, calls, messages and the such, to tell me that I was leaving an unfillable void in an otherwise (blogger) conference world filled with fluff.

Besides the educational value that #LALLBLOG / #LBNC brought to the blogging industry, attendees lamented the inability from other events to create a conference environment conducive to the same camaraderie that we encouraged.

Former #LALLBLOG / #LBNC attendees also compared conference food with the foodie delights that became our trademark, our speakers and panels against recycled content, and well, you get an idea...

Hearing these stories for the last few months has not only made me feel great about the work that I have done for the last six years, but has also made it truly hard to not go back on my decision to pivot the #LLBLOG blogging community.

Since my announcement earlier this year, I have been working under the radar in between Film School and life to create, yet another, series of Blogger/Influencer events that will 'inspire' others and shake-up the industry - in a good way, of course.

In addition to our first #LLBLOGnotaConf, which will be held in the GORGEOUS Carmel by the Sea, in mid-May, I just announced the first #LLBLOGHumpDay Lunch that will be hosted by the LA Oaxacan restaurant Tlayuda LA on Wednesday, May 4.

Besides the yummy food that we will delight on, I expect to have a great time chatting about blogging trends and the likes with other bloggers and influencers - and share more details about the pivot #LLBLOG is currently undergoing.

I hope you join me at either, or both events, by RSVPing here:

#LLBLOGNotaConf Blogger & Influencer Getaway

#LLBLOGHumpDay Blogger & Influencer Lunch

Ana Lydia

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Opens in Universal Studios Hollywood

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

One of the benefits of having a family member, in my case my hubby, work for a major Hollywood studio, is having access to things (activities, movies, et all) that normal folks, like me, don't have; and while rarely share these experiences or talk about them, let alone blog about them, I knew that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening up at Universal Studios Hollywood is all sorts of exciting for pretty much everyone in So Cal, let alone Los Angeles, so I made an exception.

So I got to see and experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter a couple of weeks back in a super exclusive, super private, like less than a few hundred people in the park, event. As in, there was NO LINE and we got on all rides twice (all rides being a total of two rides).

Let me get this out of the way: Other than my niece and stepdaughter being COMPLETELY obsessed with Harry Potter, I only recently saw the first two movies. So I am NOT a huge and lifelong Harry Potter fan. But I do like the movie series (because I haven't read the books) and especially love anything with owls. So there you go.

That being said, you can imagine that I was going in with childlike wonder yet not huge expectations about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but excited none-the-less.

Let's start of with what's important: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Hollywood IS a true representation of the production design and art direction of the movies.

Absolutely and beyond a measure of a doubt: GORGEOUS.

The Hogwarts Castle is especially breathtaking and perched atop a man-made hill that overlooks the San Fernando Valley, I promise you that no view outside of Universal Studios Hollywood could possibly compare to the beauty of this location. Period and end of story.

As for the entertainment and rides. Let me get right to it: There are TWO rides (The Hogwarts Castle and the rollercoaster); ONE interactive get-your-wand show (that is merely preparing eager eyed Harry Potter fans to walk into a wand shoppe and spend a pretty penny); and one occasional (possibly hourly) sidewalk/outside performance that was all sorts of -meh-.

As for the rides, because they are, ahem, "size prohibitive," (I saw several people get turned away because they didn't fit into the chairs), I suggest that before you get your hopes up and stand in line with a few hundred people to try out the chairs for size if you are a little on the hefty/pudgy/large/plus size. (and by pudgy, I'm a size 16 and 5'9" and had plenty of room - but I don't have a large *upstairs* or large belly, if you know what I mean)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has one large restaurant - which the architecture alone is worth the dining experience; two Butterbear stands, and several shops. Actually, most of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is composed of shops...lots and lots of shops, with so much branded and themed merchandise that I was overwhelmed going through it all (and I'm a shopper!).

Then there is the train as soon as you walk in, but even with a private super exclusive private party with very few people, it was very hard to get to it or take a photo from afar.


Did I like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood? Absolutely. Both my hubby and I enjoyed it VERY much!

Was the food good? I would rate the food above the amusement park norm; and the world famous Butterbeer was just a bit too sweet for me, but as liquidy foamy butterscotchey as it was, my hubby loved it so much that he ordered two and walked around with a sugar high for the rest of the day.

But, and this is my but: I was there with a few hundred people in mild weather...and the sidewalks already felt crowded and hot, so I can't possibly imagine what it will be like to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Hollywood when it opens or during the peak summer months.

That said, a true diehard fan will have the time of their life and the interactive ride inside of the Hogwarts Castle is definitely worth riding (given a choice, I would ride this one over the rollercoaster), and if you can't possibly stand the lines on a hot San Fernando Valley day, definitely try the restaurant. (Note: Rumor has it that folks will wait upwards of two hours, possibly more, to enjoy the rides - so be prepared).

Ana Lydia
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