Trendy LA Restaurants Worth the Hype

LA is notorious for having trendy eateries and hotspots. But everyone who lives in LA knows many of those places are a little overhyped and overpriced. Luckily I’ve done my research (aka a lot of eating) and have come up with a list of some of some of my favorite restaurants that are worth the hype and the terrible valet costs.

Beverly-Grove

  • The Bazaar: I celebrated my 30th Birthday here and absolutely loved it. My friend called this place a “dining experience” and that describes it perfectly. From the service to the décor to the unique food, it’s a foodie’s dream come true. This place is definitely a splurge, but worth it. Recommend so much on the menu, but especially the Philly Cheese steak.

the bazaar

West Hollywood

  • Norah: This place is currently all the rage and getting in without a reservation is tricky. But their drinks, food and decor are worth the extra effort to make reservations. My biggest tip is to arrive early, as there is no valet or parking lots in the area, so you’ll need to drive around to find metered street parking.

Norahs in LA

  • The Church Key: Most people love or hate Sunset Blvd, I tend to avoid the high-traffic location, but make an exception with The Church Key. The ambiance, drinks and food are killer. While the service is hit or miss, their food makes up for it. Highly recommend for brunch or dinner. Order the donuts!

church key

  • Connie & Ted’s: If you love seafood, you’ll love this place. Great menu selection, location, service and ambiance. Everything we’ve tried we loved as it was fresh and perfectly seasoned.

connie and teds

Fairfax

  • Jon & Vinny’s: This place became popular so quickly and got such a backlash just as fast due to long waits and high prices. But the food is delicious, we love their pizza and their meatballs are amazing. If you want to go, I highly recommend reservations. But my top suggestion? Order take-out!

jon and vinnys

  • MILK – For desserts, this tiny little place knocks it out of the park. They literally have everything you could ever want, which is why their Yelp reviews don’t lie – this place is good.

MILK

Santa Monica

  • Blue Plate Taco – This place has views of the beach, the cutest patio seating and delicious Mexican food. It’s the perfect combination for brunch, lunch or dinner. While it can get touristy from being so close to the pier and Third Street Promenade, I highly recommend the margaritas and tacos.

blueplatetaco outside

Venice

  • Rose Café: There are plenty of trendy eateries in Venice with all the gentrification, but Rose Café rises to the top of my list. Great atmosphere, strong drinks and unique dishes that leave you stuffed to the brim. Highly recommend: Cauliflower T-Bone, Hanger T-Steak and Carbonara to name a few.

rose cafe

Hancock Park

  • Republique: We love this place! Not only is this place esthetically pleasing, but the food is no joke. You can see the open kitchen and how they make their breads and pastas. Everything is delicious. The lines start forming after 10am on weekends, so I recommend arriving early or making reservations for dinner.

Republique

 

Downtown

  • Perch: This place is the classic Downtown restaurant. Everyone comes here for the views, but their drinks are great and select bites are good on their menu. I can’t imagine not having a great time here, so it must be on the list.

Perch

Do you have any favorite LA restaurants? I’d love to hear what you recommend!

*All images are my own or from Yelp.

Drugstore Favorites

As a huge makeup junkie, I love watching the makeup hauls and reading the latest product reviews. Sephora is the ultimate candy land, and while there are so many great pricey products and brands I love, I’ve discovered some equally amazing drugstore items. Below are some of my favorites that I highly recommend.

Drugstore makeup

  1. Essence Eyebrown Designer: This brow pencil is the reason I’m writing this post. It’s $1.99 and it’s AMAZING! It’s creamy, lasts all day long and is so simple to use. I’ve stopped using my Anastasia eyebrow powder AND my Benefit brow pencil, because this one gives me much better results. I picked this pencil up at Target, but can also be found at Ulta and online.
  2. ELF Tone Correcting Powder: This one is an old favorite and a powder I use on a daily-basis for under the eyes. After applying my concealer, I dust some powder and I’m ready to go. Most of my other powders I’ve used are too white or too thick, but this one is perfect as a correcting powder or a touch up powder. Plus, it’s $3! You can’t beat that deal. 🙂
  3. Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters: With the summer months coming up, I love a lip product that’s moisturizing and not fussy. These lip butters add a touch of color, while being moisturizing and don’t require a mirror to apply. I toss them in my bag all the time and never have to worry about them because they’re so inexpensive and the color pay off is great!
  4. L’Oréal True Match Foundation: This is one of my Holy Grail products. I love the formula, the way it wears, the color matches my skin tone perfectly and it just lasts all day. I chose this over my Chanel foundation all the time, especially when I want a more natural look. For a great foundation under $10, you can’t beat the price.

What are some of your favorite budget friendly makeup products?

Lady in Red

red dress

Red is such a great color for daytime and nighttime wear. While some people try to shy away from its boldness, I love to embrace it. What I’ve learned about red is that it’s key to accessorize with simple, neutral tones.

I found this dress on-sale for $20 at NY & Co.I’ve never really shopped there before, but glad I stopped in to browse because I fell in love with this dress. I wore this out on a movie date with my husband and it was so chic and comfortable. If you haven’t noticed, I tend to wear A LOT of dresses, I just find them to be easy to style and I feel much more put together.

I paired it with a skinny leopard belt and gold sandals from Target (both on clearance!) and a simple clutch from Nordstrom. After strolling through Dowtown Culver City, we stopped nearby to take some pictures on these lovely Spanish-style stairs.

Summer stylespring styleLA Street Style

Are you a fan of wearing red?!

#WorktheShirt

summer style

As mentioned in my previous post, I had ventured out to buy some fun accessories to spice up my Ann Taylor chambray shirt and came up with this fun budget-friendly look below. I love this particular chambray shirt because it’s so comfortable and cozy. The color is also a little darker than my other chambray shirts, so it makes it easier to dress up or down.

If you follow me on IG, you may have seen I paired the shirt with some Old Navy white-shorts, simple stripped flats from H&M and metallic jewelry I found at Forever21. It’s such a simple and classic weekend look, I love the way white just pops with dark denim, it provides a good balance.

For a more flirty-look, I paired my chambray shirt with a fun Forever21 floral romper, some cute Steve Madden sandals and fun jewelry from H&M and Windsor. This look is my go-to brunch date with the hubby or girlfriends.

LA street style

LA blogger styleromper outfit

What’s your favorite spring-time accessory?

Participant of Work the Shirt campaign with Ontario Mills. All thoughts and opinions are my own as always.

Accessorizing My Spring Style

work the shirt

Spring can be a difficult season to dress for given the drastic change in temperature, sometimes the sun is shinning, while the next day all you can see are grey clouds in the horizon. In terms of spring staples to combat crazy weather, a chambray shirt is my spring go-to. They’re so easy to pair up with pants, skirts, shorts and even dresses. From florals, to metallic jewelry, to fun stripes, chambray shirts are so easy to wear and accessorize.

This Sunday, I ventured over to Ontario Mills to load up on all sorts of spring accessories. Perfect timing considering they’re hosting their “Accessorize Your Spring Sale” through out the full month of May. Located at Guest Services they have a “Savings Passport” for shoppers that offers coupons on almost all shops. As a budget-conscious shopper, it made my little heart happy. I looked through the booklet and mapped out my shopping routes – if you’re a weekend shopper, you know having a shopping plan is key. 

Ontario Mills Mall

Ontario Mills

One of the biggest budget-tips is to remember what you have in your closet already. Envision different outfits – what will work with pants, skirts…etc and optimize your wardrobe. On this particular shopping trip my goal was to find pieces that I could wear with my new chambray shirt. Luckily, I managed to score some great finds and I’m so excited to share them with you this week. From new shoes, to a cute romper, a simple shirt and some fun shorts, I’ll be rocking this chambray shirt in a million different ways all spring and summer long.

Chambray style

Chambray outfit

{Shirt: Ann Taylor Loft (gifted) – Skirt: Old Navy – Undershirt: Target – Purse: Kate Spade – Sunnies: Unknown}

How do you wear your chambray shirt?!

*Participant of Work The Shirt with Ontario Mills. All reviews and thoughts are my honest opinion.

Michelada Station

Michelada

As the nice, breezy warm weather begins in LA, nothing feels more perfect than having a backyard BBQ. My family is huge on grilling during the spring and summer months. We grill meat and fish for tacos, burgers, hot dogs – anything and everything.

A couple weeks ago we started up the grill and decided to spice up our BBQ up by having a little Michelada station. If you’re unfamiliar with Micheladas they’re a beer drink with lime juice, some mix of spicy seasoning, and the optional tomato juice – it’s essentially a Mexican version of a bloody Mary. But when done right, I much prefer a Michelada over a bloody Mary.

To make our Michelada station easier, we used Don Chelada’s drink cups and Michelada mix, so all guests had to do was grab a beer. We had the Spicy cups, Lemon-lime cups (my fave!) and the Original cups for people to choose. I also sliced up limes and used cilantro as garnish, which couldn’t have been easier. Paired with carne asada and chicken tacos, the Micheladas were a hit.

DonCheladaDon Chelada

I’m a huge fan of cocktail stations at parties, but sometimes it can get expensive, messy and a little more time consuming being the hostess. I’ve recently turned to punchbowl drinks because they’re so easy. If you follow me on Pinterest, I have pinned quite a few of my favorites. However given the warmer weather outside, a punchbowl wasn’t fitting for this occasion, which made these drink cups perfect.

I’m looking forward to more BBQ’s and new drink ideas.

What’s your BBQ go-to drink?

Coachella Style

Palm Springs outfit(Romper: Charlotte Russe – Hat: Melrose Trading Post – Choker: F21 – Sandals: Jessica Simpson – Purse: Gifted)

As a woman, I love buying new clothes and going on a trip provides the best excuse to buy some new outfits. However being on a budget I try to be mindful not to overspend on trendy seasonal pieces. Luckily, this little romper was on sale for $15! I bought it immediately and I’m so glad I did, as it’s now sold out online.

I received so many compliments when I wore it in Palm Springs. It was so comfy and fun. I paired it with a simple belt, comfy sandals, fun choker and a pretty purse that provided a nice pop of color. It has a very fun Coachella-look, which I loved.

My best advice when buying vacation-wear is to have fun. Don’t pay attention to labels and spend a lot of money on a dress or shirt, save the money to spend on your trip. Memories are much more important.

coachella stylepalm springs stylecoachella outfit

What are some of your favorite vacation outfit pieces?

Don’t forget to follow my travels and adventures of IG: @vanessa_boudreau or Snapchat: Vanessasrunway

 

 

Palm Springs Style

off the shoulder dress

Shopping for Palm Springs was so much fun. I gravitated towards bright colors, light dresses, rompers and cute sandals; all the great things you pack on a spring vacation. I saw this dress online and knew I had to order it for my trip. I love the color and I’m such a big fan of off-the-shoulder anything!

I wore this when my husband went to lunch to Norma’s at The Parker and he loved it. I can’t wait to put it to good use as we get further into spring and summer. Best part? I bought it on sale for about $20.

Palm Springs outfitPalm Springs stylecoachella style(Dress: charlotte russe – Sandals: TJ Maxx – Sunglasses: Quay – Handbag: Francescas)

palm springs fashion

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram: @vanessa_boudreau or Snapchat: vanessasrunway

Palm Springs Guide

Palm Springs Guide

I recently went to Palm Springs to celebrate my hubby’s 30th birthday and we had a blast. Palm Springs has easily become one of the top vacation destinations in California and it’s easy to see why: it’s a small little desert oasis with fun shops, delicious restaurants and some of the best resorts.

If you’re planning a trip, checkout my guide below!

WHERE TO STAY

  • The Riviera Hotel We love this hotel, it just screams old Hollywood glam. This is a large resort and definitely makes you feel like you’re on a getaway. They have two large pools with bars located at both – If you’re looking for a pool party on the weekend, this is a great spot to go to. However if you’re looking for a nice getaway, the weekdays are party-free and the pool area is perfect. They also have fire pits at the Bikini Pool, which is the largest pool. The hotel also has Circa 59, a tasty restaurant that we enjoyed breakfast at, although I’ve read dinner is awesome as well. While the halls may need a bit of a facelift, the rooms are a great size and the grounds are gorgeous. It’s located at the beginning of the main strip on N. Canyon Drive where the free Buzz Shuttle picks up, which is super convenient to get to downtown.
  • The Saguaro Hotel We ventured over to this hotel to check it out and have added it to my list to stay at next time. They’re notorious for their fun pool parties and colorful décor. Plus, they have the tastiest restaurant (more on that later).
  • The Ace Hotel – This is the first place we stayed at when we first visited Palm Springs. It’s a hipster paradise from the décor, fun music and cool bar. If you stay here be sure to check out their photo booth, their Amigo Room bar which cranks out delicious drinks, and the Kings Highway Cafe for breakfast. It’s a little off the main drag, but worth exploring.
  • The Parker Hotel This little expensive gem is off the main drag and caters to guest looking to get away and lounge. It’s decorated by Jonathan Adler, so it’s trendy and unique. Their grounds are beautiful and guests get to take advantage of the super popular Lemonade stand, which is not open to the public. However, if you’re looking for the same drink, you can still order it at their lobby bar called “Mini Bar”. While the décor and the restaurant is nice, it’s a drive from downtown and other local hot spots.

 

WHERE TO EAT

El Jefe Palm Springs

  • Cheeky’s – This place is all the rage in Palm Springs. They open at 8am and I was shocked to see there was already a line at that time! The dishes are unique and the spicy bloody mary is no joke. A must-try little spot. I recommend patio seating and arriving really early, as it’s only open until 2pm.
  • Norma’s at The Parker – This cute little place has such tasty food, although it’s extremely overpriced. They do offer free smoothie shots which is a nice little bonus. We ordered the fish tacos and lobster mac and cheese and everything was delicious. Highly recommend.
  • El Jefe – Located in The Saguaro Hotel, it’s a must-stop. The drinks are the best! Strong cocktails, delicious tacos and nachos – could there be anything better? My favorite place by far. Checkout their HH from 3pm-6pm.
  • Circa 59 – This place is gorgeous. I recommend eating in the pretty outdoor patio area during the day, which has a more affordable menu. This place would also make the perfect dinner date with its stylish booths and glam chandeliers inside.
  • Bill’s Pizza – The pizza is amazing and affordable, order the Elton pizza – you won’t regret it.
  • Las Casuelas – One of the most liveliest places in Downtown – open patio, live music and margaritas!
  • Great Shakes – I wasn’t able to try their shakes on my trip, but it’s still on my list to check out. The reviews are great and their shakes look delicious, so I’d recommend everyone check it out.
  • Bar – The rave reviews made me add this too the list, but unfortunately we didn’t make it out. Still, I’d recommend any visitor to checkout and brag about it.

WHAT TO DO

Moorten Botanical Gardens Palm Springs

  • Moorten Botanical Gardens This little hidden gem is a great spot to check out. A great place to enjoy and observe desert wildlife for only a $5 fee, it’s tiny, but pleasant.
  • Palm Springs Art Museum – We loved the museum and highly recommend it. Great exhibits, friendly staff and lots to enjoy. On Thursdays they have free admission after 4pm, so add it to the list!
  • Village Fest – If you visit on a Thursday, be sure to checkout the Village Fest in downtown, where they have street vendors, music and tons of food options.
  • Downtown Palm Springs – Lots to do and see in downtown, from shops, restaurants to bars and the old Walk of Fame – you won’t get bored.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Buzz Shuttle – It’s free to everyone! It picks up at the beginning on N. Canyon Dr. right in front of The Riviera Hotel and takes you downtown and to plenty of other great stops.

Lemonade Stand Palm SpringsEl Jefe Restaurant Palm SpringsCoachella StylePalm Springs The Riviera HotelPalm SpringsPalm Springs Art MuseumPalm Springs Pool PartyCheekys Palm Springs

Have you been to Palm Springs – what are your favorite places to check out? I’d love to hear.

Local Spotlight: Venice Beach

VeniceBeach Guide

Venice is such a fun and colorful place, and while traffic and parking can be a pain – there’s so much to do and see, it’s definitely worth a trip to explore. I’ve complied a quick little travel guide of must-see stops and current favorite recommendations below.

Here’s my quick guide to exploring all of what Venice has to offer!

Venice Beach Boardwalk (2108 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291) is a great place to walk thru – it’s weird, it’s urban, it’s what made Venice popular. Plenty of vendors, outdoor workout gym and the sandy beach a few feet away. Parking around the area is a complete nightmare. It’s worth just parking in the beach parking lot. Many lots nearby will try to lure you in with fake signs that boost cheap prices – but only for a certain amount of time – I recommend parking in the lot and exploring.

Venice Sign

Venice Sign (80 Windward Ave. Venice, CA 90291) – As you walk your way through the vendors and overpriced cafes. Be sure to visit the snap some pictures of the Venice sign. From the beach parking lot you can walk down through the vendors and beach walk towards Winward Ave to find the sign.

Venice CanalsVenice Canals in CA

Venice Canals (Carroll Ct & Eastern Canal Ct Venice, CA 90293) – Many people often miss these hidden canals, but they’re what make Venice special. It’s about a 10minute walk from the beach and can get tricky to find, I would recommend using google maps and typing in “Venice Canals Walkway” and it will guide you – it’s what we did and it was super easy from the boardwalk.

Abott Kinney

Abbot Kinney – The infamous street known for trendy shops and tasty restaurants. I highly recommend getting there early on weekends to find parking. There are so many fun shops & eateries to explore, some of my faves include:

  • Gjelina – The reviews speak for itself honestly. Great food and drinks! It gets pretty loud inside, so I recommend patio seating.
  • Salt & Straw – The must-stop dessert spot: Homemade ice cream with a twist. I had their almond brittle with salted ganache and salted malted chocolate chip cookie dough – are these flavors insane or what?
  • The Tasting Kitchen – This has great reviews, but I have yet to try it. Definitely on my list to explore!
  • Burro – Everything here is so fun and colorful.
  • Junk Food Co. – I’m a sucker for fun T-shirts and this place has the best of the best.
  • The Piece Collective – The outside is just as alluring as the inside.

Aside from the eateries and the shops, another thing I love about Venice is the fun street art.

Venice Street Art

Are you familiar with Venice Beach? What are your favorite spots? I’d love to hear!