Valentine’s Day Recap

Valentine’s Day has come and passed, and it was the best day ever over here! I was lucky that the day coincided with one of my days off, which meant that I got to spend the majority of the day being festive with my honey. I shared a lot of the day on my Insta-stories, but I love doing holiday recaps here too. So here we go!


Mark had some morning clients, so he was gone when I got up. While he was out I set up my main surprise for him, which was pink post-its in the shape of a heart, each with a different trait/thing I love about him. He loved it! We giggled together at some of the funnier traits I had written down (his ability to quote Family Guy verbatim, his inability to dance well), and I think he felt valued reading some of the more sentimental items (his loyalty, his impressive wealth of information, how kind he is to our families). 

He surprised me with a bouquet of fresh roses and a bag of fun-sized crunch bars (my absolute favorite)! Flowers are my love language, so I was ecstatic. We had a few hours to kill until our lunch date so I made us both lattes and we snuggled in bed drinking coffee and eating a few too many crunch bars before getting ready and heading downtown.


This year we’d decided to go out for a lunch date instead of a fancy dinner. It worked better for Mark’s work schedule, but we also realized that it would be waaay less expensive and we wouldn’t have to battle as many crowds. It was the best hack ever! Mark took me to a beautiful restaurant in DTLA called Cafe Pinot, where we sat in the almost-empty garden section. The cocktails, food, and dessert mousse we shared were all incredible and the whole thing cost us half of what their dinner menu would have cost! We could talk at normal volumes (no crowds!) and nobody was around to look at me strangely while I took pictures of our food. 😉




After lunch we got to spend a few more hours of quality time together, and I even convinced Mark to work out with me so we could burn off some of lunch. While he was with his afternoon clients I went home, cleaned up a little, painted my nails pink, and watched Enchanted because it just felt right for the occasion. I also finished his second lil surprise, this cute card that’s just so perfect for the two of us!


For the grand finale of our perfect day, we decided to make a homemade heart-shaped pizza. Why the hell not, right?!


I feel so loved and in love. Can you believe this is our 7th Valentine’s Day together? Some have been more extravagant than others (pretty sure this year is topping the list so far) but at the end of the day the thing that always makes it one of my favorite days is that we get to focus on being together. We don’t (or shouldn’t) really need a holiday to do that, but I like the cheesiness of it all just the same. Love you Mark Bell, lucky to have you as my valentine!

Hope you all felt loved and had a great day! I’m sad to see it go, but at least we have Mark’s Birthday to look forward to!


How I Decorated for the Holidays

Every year (and every holiday) I like to share my decorations here in a home tour kind of thing. It’s fun to see how different things look this year compared to last. I never get things quite exactly how I’d like them to look, but I feel like I’m getting close. And truly, my discontent is mostly because I live in a rental with roommates that’s furnished with things from Craigslist and Ikea. Regardless, I still get a lot of compliments on my decorating game. So I thought I’d share a few tips along with the pictures of each space!

First things first: I wanted so badly to get a LOT of garland this year. But since I didn’t get to start celebrating till halfway through the month, and I’m one of the “decorations come down January 2nd” kind of people, I didn’t think it was worth spending the money. Last year the garland died so quickly anyway. It’s too warm in L.A. Needless to say, when we live somewhere with seasons again, garlands will be hung over every window, archway, and on most surfaces. That’s my first tip: hang real garlands and wreaths for classy decor that you don’t have to store (Home Depot is cheap…the tree farms are not!)



I keep things pretty simple in the kitchen. Tip #2: In the kitchen, display things that won’t get in the way but will make you smile while you do some holiday baking. There’s a few ornaments that match the kitchen colors on the shelf above the sink, I pulled out my gingerbread house tin, hung a fake wreath on the wall behind the stove, and brought out some festive plates, cups, and mugs. There’s also a few holiday dishtowels that go into rotation. I was going to put something green above the coffee machine, but my roommate put one of her decorations up there instead (a strange cardboard reindeer head). Alas, compromise.




This is without a doubt my least favorite area in the apartment. Everything would look different in here if it were up to me: the color scheme, the furniture, the layout. But I do the best with what I’ve got, and I’ve been promised by Mark we can start over and do things right when we move to our next place. I use the boring white bookshelf-made-TV-unit as a mantle to display a Christmas village (and a weird ornament stand that belongs to a roommate). Fun fact: As a kid, I always dreamed of collecting Christmas village parts that were sold in Hallmark stores. I remember being entranced with them. I still am.

I use the chalkboard on the wall to write funny holiday movie quotes like the one from Christmas Vacation (“we’ll be the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nut house!”) and other festive sayings. A simple way to add some holiday cheer!



I think a versatile method for decorating is to invest in throw pillows. More specifically, invest in some good throw pillow inserts (go for down material) and then just buy some seasonal pillow covers. Pillows are the only holiday decoration I spent any money on this year. I got these adorable tartan plaid ones from Etsy! I love them. And I love that when I’m done with them I can swap them out for something different, fold them up, and they’ll take up no space at all. Plus, with a fuzzy white throw blanket, it’s the perfect place to cuddle up and watch Elf!

It’s all in the details with the living room. Anything to distract from how weird the space looks otherwise. I add some cute vignettes to the sofa table, a mitten garland goes across our paintings, and a gold tray, a bowl of candy canes, and a sentimental decoration goes on the otherwise horrible coffee table.


I got the dog figurine for Mark a few years ago because it’s likeness to his dog Ollie. She passed this year, so it’s extra sentimental for us now. I like to think she deserves a perch front and center in whatever room she goes.




There are two types of people when it comes to bar carts: people who keep every liquor/spirit they have on the cart with no rhyme or reason, and people who see it as an opportunity to display and decorate. I fall into the latter category. I like to sub out alcohols that are appropriate for the season. And with the free space, I like to decorate it with flours and figurines. For Christmas, I think St. Germaine is a given, as is gin (my favorite) and champagne. Red wine, too. I snuck in a tree branch, some poinsettias, a garland, and a funny sign that says “what the elf?” for some added cheer. You could also place a bowl of peppermints!




Ahhh, my favorite sight in my home because when I’m facing it it means I’m about to drink some caffeine! Luckily, my coffee station stand is already painted green, so the festive look was already well underway. I added a red tray to keep my holiday mugs on and to display some copper coffee accessories. I hung a wreath, because why not? And I subbed out my usual towel for a festive dish towel. It’s a sight that truly brightens my mornings!





The coziest part of our home, if you ask me. I think it’s so calming and tranquil in here! Not a lot of people think to decorate their bedrooms, but I love doing it. I added some more holiday themed throw pillows (I found them at Homegoods, who knew?!) and we strung red and white twinkle lights around our headboard. For the bedroom, use as many twinkle lights as your outlet situation/significant other will allow. At night there’s nothing cozier than snuggling up in bed with the twinkle lights on and all other lights turned off. And again, pillows really transform the vibe in here.

We also added some Christmas village trees to the nightstands & shelves and hung our little itty bitty stockings! Our essential oil collection lives on the shelves as well, and you better believe we have all the holiday scents up front so we can make one of our favorite diffuser blends. On the desk, next to the diffuser, lives my mini manger scene that my dad gave me last year. I love that little decoration. It’s so meaningful but not an eye sore and not at all in your face. Good job, dad!


That’s it! Did you like it? I already feel so sad thinking about taking all the decorations down. Everything looks so bare for those first few days after the holidays. Hope you all have an amazing, long holiday weekend!