Not Going Out Like That

August 22, 2013
by jciriello

The Last Five

It’s been so long since I’ve written a post, that I almost forgot how to do it. I pretty much gave up on this blog thing because I was too busy, it had become a chore rather than a fun, creative outlet and did I say I was too busy ? But rather than close up shop, I just let the blog sit there until I felt the urge to write a post again …. and here I am.

This post is about that 5-7 lbs that are so hard to loose. After googling countless articles on the topic, I wanted to share the “tricks “that few people talk about. Most health & wellness magazines, sites and experts will tell you to drink more water, control your portion size, and exercise. Stuff we all know. For me, the hardest part is not snacking or stress eating. I can eat a healthy dinner, it’s the chips & hummus I decide to have after that are a problem.

I never really had to diet my entire life because I like to be active and I like to eat healthy foods. After my 2nd child was born, I did have to REALLY discipline my eating habits. And then this summer, work took on a stress level of 11 for me and I gained 6-7 lbs by just stress eating or by mindlessly inhaling my lunch, while I tried to get through my 92 unread emails. So here are some “tricks” that I hope to employ again and have helped me in the past:

  • Vitamuffins: My friend told me about these 100 calorie muffin tops that are sold in the frozen, breakfast section of most grocery stores (except Trader Joes). They have 9g of fiber, taste great and are a perfect afternoon snack to keep me full till dinner time. This prevents me from coming home and having a 500 calorie “snack” because I am starving and have not eaten in 5-6 hours.
  • Brush Your Teeth: I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and have little control over my sugar cravings. When I was trying to loose baby weight, I would brush my teeth immediately after dinner which would keep me from snacking or eating sugary treats.
  • Chew Gum: Similar to the tooth brushing trick, this gives you the sweet taste of dessert and gives your mouth something to do.
  • Go for a Walk: If stress or boredom is what triggers eating, go for a walk. A 10-15 minute walk will clear your head, get you away from your pantry and even burn some calories.
  • Drink Black Coffee: Simply by cutting out the half & half or milk and sugar from your coffee can save you 80-150 calories a day. I was using one packet of “sugar in the raw” and half & half in my coffee daily. I am now trying to drink my coffee black, with a half packet of Splenda.
  • Salad Dressing: I’m sure you’ve heard that there are a lot of empty calories in your salad dressing. Your salad may only be 400-500 calories, but you are eating 250 calories in dressing. Ask for olive oil & vinegar on the side or buy your own low-cal dressing from the market and use that when you make or order a salad.
  • Skip the Cheese: This is another item that adds a lot of calories to a salad & sandwiches. Going without can save you 100-150 calories. If you skip the cheese and drink your coffee black, you’ve already cut over 200 calories out of your daily intake.
  • How much to eat ? If you are active, try to eat 12-13 calories per pound (of your current weight) to loose weight. If you are not exercising, cut that down to 10 calories per pound.

Writing this post has been a good reminder how a few simple changes can result in weight loss.

Let me know what tricks you may have :-)

May 9, 2013
by jciriello


A colorful selection of cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, which is dangerously close to our house.


As mentioned in a previous post this week, we re-landscaped both the front and back yard toward the end of last summer. One of the things we added is climbing Jasmine plants along our fence. I said I would have a yard with Jasmine when I first moved to LA. It smells so delicious & velvety on a warm evening. Makes me want to camp out in the yard


Adventures in K-Town. If you don’t live in LA, you might now know that LA has one of the largest Korean populations outside of Seoul. Our friend took us out on an authentic food adventure which began with this dish that is basically the equivalent of Korean lettuce cups. Slice pork placed atop a lettuce or cabbage leaf of some sort with kimchi,  pickled cucumbers and radishes along with some other acoutrement. I lost track of what I was eating by the 4th or 5th round of soju & beer.


May 8, 2013
by jciriello


I was having trouble coming up with a title for this post, hence watchamakalit. This skirt is pretty ancient, from the days when I was addicted to Club Monaco. I am happy that their current in-store collection seems to be striking the colorful retro vibe that I always loved about CM.

I am also thrilled that cobalt blue seems to be a color that is wearable ALL year. I only own a few items in this color but they seem to get a lot of wear. These shoes are bright, fun and comfortable for a heel of this height. They have previously been seen here and here.



And this is the same garage gate where I had the run in with the “how’ya doing” dog walker. This time – no run ins. Phew !

Shoes – Jessica Simpson. Tank & Cardigan – Zara. Skirt – Club Monaco, so old.

Linking up with Fashion & Beauty FindsTransatlantic BlondeWardrobe Wednesday,Diaries of a BargainistaBecause Shanna Said So The Pleated Poppy I Feel Pretty the Mrs & The Momma,

May 7, 2013
by jciriello

Getting Your Backyard Ready for Entertaining

A few weeks ago I hosted a small ladies gathering in my backyard as a baby sprinkle (as opposed to a “shower”). It was a warm April weekend and a great opportunity to spruce up the backyard for Spring & Summer. We spent 4+ weeks re-landscaping our front and backyards last summer and only enjoyed the end result for a month or two post re-design. The new plants from last summer have matured a bit, the bougainvillea is back in bloom and the jasmine smells delicious. Here are a few pics of what the seating / dining area of our yard looks like.


Teak is expensive but the best option for an outdoor wood table because of the natural oil found in teak. To protect it, try to keep it covered all week and in the winter, when the table is not in use. Much easier than sanding and sealing the table every year. Also be careful to select solid teak and not “other” wood that has been just treated with teak oil. If you see a large teak table priced under $1,000, it’s probably not solid teak and may warp over time.


A few design recommendations if you like this look … don’t buy an outdoor table with matching chairs. Our yard has a “paved” area in gray concrete so I wanted some color against the wood table. I found these awesome yellow chairs at Pier 1 and bought a couple of two-sided cushions for the end chairs. The cushion is floral on one side and striped on the other (my husband prefers the stripes)


We have bright turqouise lanterns against the posts of the pergola (hard to see in these pics) so I picked out these turquoise tissue-paper pom poms on-line. They are made by Martha Stewart. After seeing how simple it is to make them myself, I could see going the DIY route next time but these pom poms lasted several weeks outside … until it rained :(

Lastly – if you have a pergola or something that can accommodate a shade cloth, it’s a great way to diffuse light and block harsh sunlight without using a solid canopy. I found a shade cloth on-line that was installed on top of the pergola by our landscaping guys. It makes our seating area so much more useful.

To view more of my backyard inspiration, check out my Pinterest board here.

Chairs – Pier 1 (stacking chair and larger chair). Table – Pottery Barn. Pom Poms – Martha Stewart. Tablecloth – gift from friend. Flowers – White hydrangeas and irises. Inexpensive outdoor furniture covers can be found here.  We paid a little more for a large table cover from Pottery Barn.

Linking up with Style Sessions, Rolled Up Pretty, any My Thrifty Chic

May 1, 2013
by jciriello

Denim Remix

Denim Remix

Dressing for work is fairly easy for me because I am sitting at a desk most of the day. Weekends are tougher. I am running around, sometimes sitting in sand (at the park with kids) or bending over and squatting down a lot. So I need to be comfortable, avoid anything that easily stains but still want to look stylish.  In an effort to remix more of my wardrobe,  I wore these distressed black jeans for a casual weekend look. I wore the jeans with my favorite boots and to make the look a bit more feminine, added a bright pink sweater. I recently wore these Levi’s Skinny Boyfriend jeans for another post, pairing them with bright cobalt blue heels and a white blazer.


These boots are ridiculously comfortable and I find myself building my whole outfit around them sometimes, like when my husband & I stroll to dinner on a Friday night. I like the shorter shaft height because they are super easy to pull on and off. The shorter boot height also allows them to transition into some Spring looks with a skirt or dress, such as this look.

distressed pink

Sweater – Gap. Jeans – Levi’s. Boots – Eric Michaels. Bag – Steve Madden. Sunglasses – F21.

Linking up with Fashion & Beauty Finds, Transatlantic Blonde, Wardrobe Wednesday, Diaries of a Bargainista, Because Shanna Said So , The Pleated Poppy,  I Feel Pretty , the Mrs & The Momma,

April 30, 2013
by jciriello

How to Style a Mantle


We have a “formal living room” in my house. Formal in the sense that it is it’s own room, and not part of an open floor plan, like many newer and renovated homes are. This is one of the few rooms in the house, where the kids don’t play and there are NO toys. It’s the most traditional room in my house in terms of decor, although there is a mix of styles in the room. The great thing is that my husband & I get to enjoy this room all the time, because the main TV in the house is in here. As much as I like the idea of no TV in the living room, I am also willing to admit that 30-60 minutes of TV is part of my regular daily routine and I am not willing to watch TV in some small dark room while a beautiful, bright living room goes unused. So why am I ranting about TVs in living rooms ? I don’t know. My mantle is in the same room and that is what today’s post is about. It took me a long time to figure out what to do with my mantle in terms of decorating it. I started a Pinterest board just for mantles. And after a few different attempts, I finally settled on something I like, which you can see in these pics below.


There are certain design accessories that are very popular right now such as antlers or urns, and mercury vases, but I felt no personal connection with any of these.  I liked the way many of these things look but they had no connection with my life so I wanted to find objects with significance. I settled on seashells, coral and other sea insipired pieces because I grew up at the beach in Miami. My husband and I are both certified divers and we love the ocean. The piece of coral on top of the stacked books was actually given to my husband by his Grandmother.




As you can see, we have lucite nesting tables and modern architecture books in our home, coupled with regency style tufted chairs, and Chippendale inspired chairs. The rug is a hand woven oriental rug that is pretty traditional but feels updated because of the modern pale palate. I love mixing styles in one room, and there is no formula for this other than trying out different combinations until you find one that works.


Seashells on mantle – Etsy. Stands for shells – Etsy. Purple vases on mantle – Z Gallerie. Nesting tables – CB2. Mirro above mantle – Mortise & Tenon on La Brea in Los Angeles. Purple chairs – vintage and re-upholstered. Bamboo chairs – Ballard Designs but with my own cushions.

April 25, 2013
by jciriello


These brogues are one of my favorite pair of shoes lately. They look great with skinny jeans, or a short sundress or skirt. This particular pair has a bright blue sole for an extra fun kick.


Beautiful flowers that my husband surprised me with … just because. Our 6 year anniversary is coming up, and I am proud to have a husband that will still surprise me with flowers, despite our very busy lives.



Hmmm… now that I am thinking about it, maybe he got me the flowers because I got him a nice bottle of tequila while grocery shopping. We live walking distance from a great, old school, tequila bar called El Carmen. We walk to dinner and stop in there for a drink sometimes, always sampling new tequilas. The bartenders in there are super knowledgable AND friendly. We tasted some Tres Generaciones Anejo this past time. I love good tequila !


April 24, 2013
by jciriello

Watch’ya doin ?

Last week, on a warm day, I had a day of visting clients all over the city. As I was driving to my first appointment, I pulled over behind a bright orange building that I thought would be great for photos. Then I saw this graffiti garage gate and decided to use that as a backdrop. As I was taking photos on this quiet street, a woman walks by with her dog and does one of those “watchya doing ? ” things. I was so embarrassed, and she did not want to leave. Definitely my most direct run-in with a passerby while engaged in taking photos for this blog.



I previously blogged about my love of green & gray but I also realized how great green looks with tan – especially for a warm Spring day.


Pencil skirt – Club Monaco (old), sim here. Shoes – Via Spiga. Blouse – Gap, sim here. Jacket – Merona, sim here. Belt – JCrew, sim here.

Bag – Tory  Burch, similar.

Linking up with Fashion & Beauty Finds, Transatlantic Blonde, Wardrobe Wednesday, Diaries of a Bargainista, Because Shanna Said So , The Pleated Poppy, Rolled Up Pretty, I Feel Pretty , the Mrs & The Momma, Mix & Match Fashion, Toby’s Tails,and Penniless Socialite

April 23, 2013
by jciriello


One of my favorite parts of my house is my entryway. It’s a space that is often neglected, but it’s the first part of the house that you see, so I want it to be a cheerful welcome to my home. This was one of the first parts of the house that I decorated when we moved in 3 1/2 years ago. It called for a very specific piece of furniture as I needed something slim enough to fit the small recessed space and wanted something with small drawers that can be used for keys, sunglasses and such.


I fell in love with the idea of a painted, distressed piece when I came across some Asian furniture for another part of the house. We painted the walls a French blue and I thought the red would look great against a pale blue. The lines of this piece are very modern but the distressed finish and Asian styling make it a perfect cross-over between modern and antique. To accessorize the area,  I used a brass owl (thrifted), and some metal fruit sculptures that I already owned. Then I found this great blue bird canister at Room Service LA. It pairs perfectly with the walls and the limited edition print above. I don’t really like birds (the live kind) but I love decorating with images and sculptures of them. Strange, huh ?


To save money on framing this print, I asked the local frame store to make me a custom mat that would fit into an  off-the-shelf frame that I bought for $30. Wish I could remember where the print was from. I had found a great list for on-line art dealers from Design Sponge but since then, DS has removed all these lists from their site.



These drawers are perfect for keys, sunglasses and anything else you don’t want out in the open. We live in a permit parking area so we keep all of our visitor parking passes in the center of this table.


Entry table – Legend of Asia. Blue bird canister – Room Service LA. Frame – Aaron Bros. Brass owl and fruit sculptures – old.

April 17, 2013
by jciriello

Sweater Remix

After a few warm weeks, the weather in LA cooled down with highs around 64 degrees. I figured this would be one of the last opportunities I had to wear a sweater, and any other winter wear. So I was happy to have a chance to wear this sweater again for a blog post. I previously paired it with Zara camo pants and blue suede heels.


This time I added a punch of color with these super-cute and comfy hot pink shoes from Donald J. Pliner. The pants I have on are from Boden and I LOVE THEM. They are slightly higher waisted so they are perfect with a slightly cropped or tucked-in top. They fit amazing on my body type ( smaller waist, fuller hips) and I only wish they came in more colors.

sweater remix

Love these new shoes by DJP, which also came in black and a bright teal color. I was on the hunt for red shoes for summer but so glad I bought these in hot pink instead.

sweater remix

Sweater – Zara. Shoes – Donald J. Pliner. Pants – Boden. Sunglasses – Marc Jacobs.

Linking up with Fashion & Beauty Finds, Transatlantic Blonde, Wardrobe Wednesday, Diaries of a Bargainista, Because Shanna Said So , The Pleated Poppy, Rolled Up Pretty, I Feel Pretty  , the Mrs & The Momma, Mix & Match Fashion, Toby’s Tails,and Penniless Socialite