GALENTINE’S DAY: WHAT PINTEREST IS ALL ABOUT

 

Go ahead.  Scroll through and look at the pics first.  Feel free to drop your jaw a few times or say that’s ‘So effin gorgeous!’ as many times as you want.  I won’t even be offended if you don’t end up reading my post.  Pinterest is about to get some new pins.

So here’s the story of how I got to participate in one of the most beautifully curated photo/video shoots of my blogger life.  Last weekend I had the privilege of spending a mock Galentine’s Day with 6 other beautiful influencers.  The brainchild of this whole concept, Heather of @heather_roams, reached out to each of us with this magical, boho vision.  Though I have never met any of the other ladies before this beach day, I was immediately welcomed with bright smiles and warm personalities.  How we got away with no egos, no complaints and no drama is beyond me.  It can be a bitch (pun intended) to get 7 women who are complete strangers to act like they like one another, but it’s a whole other experience when we all actually get along.  We truly embraced the idea of Galentine’s Day as well as each other.


What made this shoot even more beautiful and special was that the crew and talent were predominantly women.  Other than the film crew, the rest of the team were all women.  #hifive

I know I’ve used the word beautiful a gazillion times already, but that’s literally what this shoots was…fucking BEAUTIFUL.  I wouldn’t be surprised if you googled the word beautiful and one of these images pop up in your search.

I’m going to be doing more videos and Vlogging, so be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

I’m so glad I got to share this experience with these 6 gorgeous women.  Be sure to check out their Instagram feeds!

@heather_roams

@withjenrachel

@kendall.fuhrman

@amy_marietta

@themadgrace

@brendawasylucha

Other than the images that are shown here, I also shot some other looks with two very talented and gorgeous photographers, Carrie Rogers and Lauren Newman, who are both new to the LA area.

 Btw, I left the images in the filtered edits that were provided by the photographers so you can distinguish between their work.  Carrie’s images have a more soft and romantic hue, while Lauren’s images are more bright with high contrast.

Thank you to everyone who made these happy moments possible!  Happy Galentine’s Day ladies! Xo!

Planner: Weddings By Sabrina / Videographer: Alpha Wolves / Photographer: Lauren Newman Photography / Photographer: Carrie Rogers Photography / Florals: Sibyl Sophia / Makeup Artist: Tami Bernard Makeup / Catering: Urban Palate / Calligraphy: Ink Topiary / Table: American Wood Importers

MY DTLA

I am ashamed to say that I don’t know LA well outside of my little WeHo bubble.  I have lived here for over 9 years, and I still don’t venture out much from my mid-Wilshire/WeHo area.  And by “don’t venture out much” I mean I have only driven 54,000 miles on my car since 2009.  The average person drives 12,000 miles per year.  I have driven half of that.  I know that Arcadia is a city east of where I live, but I couldn’t tell you if it’s north or south of I-10 or how to even get there.  So when my now boyfriend tells me he lives in #DTLA, I was ignorant enough to think of only one thing, “that’s where Skid Row is, right?”

The DTLA that was 9 years ago…shit, the DTLA that was 2 years ago, is not the same DTLA that is today.  From Arts District, to The Broad, to Little Tokyo, DTLA has flourished, (to say the least), and is growing and expanding by the day.  Expensive commercial and residential real estate are popping up everywhere taking over junk yards and worn down, vacant factories.  Before I started dating my boyfriend I only knew of Bestia, the rooftop bar of The Standard Hotel, and Bottega Louie.  I have a whole new insight to what IS Downtown Los Angeles, and I would like to share with you my fav DTLA spots.

FEED ME I’M STARVING

My options for where to eat are somewhat limited as I am a pescatarian.  God bless my carnivorous meat eating boyfriend for being so accommodating, and have taken me to some of the best restaurants in DTLA.  The ones that we tend to go back to are:

Bäco Mercat – We come here for dinner and always get their Double Mushroom Coca, which is essentially a flatbread pizza that will blow your tastebuds.  SO EFFIN GOOD!  I also highly recommend their Moxie cocktail if you like a good bourbon drink.

Poppy + Rose – My favorite weekend brunch spot that doesn’t take reservations.  It’s in the middle of the Flower District, and yet people drive in from all over the city to wait in line for 30-45 mins to dine here. Yup.  It’s that good.  They only offer the Eggs Benedict on the weekends, and the hollandaise sauce is worth every calorie.

Lao Tao – As if fate couldn’t have been more perfect, one of my boyfriend’s favorite restaurants is a Taiwanese street food restaurant in the heart of Chinatown.  (In case you didn’t know, I’m also Taiwanese).  There aren’t many vegetarian options for me, but everything here reminds me of home.  We normally come here when Pine and Crane seem too far out of the way.

KazuNori – I wasn’t sure if I should list this place as it seemed too obvious of a choice, but it would be wrong of me to not mention it as we probably come here once a month.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would know of the deliciousness that is the hand rolls of KazuNori.  Once again, no reservations, small dining area, and the hand rolls are made to order right in front of you.  If you want an under $30 quality Japanese-cuisine meal, this is your holy grail.

SEE AND BE SEEN WITH A COCKTAIL IN HAND

We’re old and we don’t go out much, but when we do, this is usually where we end up:

Broken Shaker – The rooftop bar of the new hip Freehand Hotel has some of the best sunset views you can find in DTLA.  We haven’t day partied here, but there’s a pool (only for hotel guests) and there’s an award winning bar.  Nuff said.

Pattern Bar – Somehow we normally end up here after dinner in downtown.  They play great house music, and often fly in DJs from around the world to play there.  Their drinks are reasonably priced, and t’s also just down the street from my boyfriend’s place.  We can stumble back home without too much hassle (i.e. #NYE2018).

Cliftons – I can’t explain this place well enough but to say, “you just have to go there to experience it”.  Every floor has a different theme and genre, and you feel like you might be in a fun house/cafeteria/bar/dance floor.  We went here on our first official date and I can’t wait to go back.  It’s just a really cool f*cking fun place.

DO IT FOR THE ‘GRAM

None of this would become what it is if it wasn’t for the power of social media.  Artwork, murals and graffiti are placed all over DTLA for the sole purpose of being ‘grammed.  These are some of my favorite places to explore and take pics:

The Broad – Yes, the Infinity Mirrored Room is sold out.  Yes, the general admission tickets are also sold out.  Getting admission to see artwork here is like trying to get front row tickets to Taylor Swift’s concert.  However, if you have the patience and are free next month on a Tuesday at noon, you can get free general admission tickets to wait in line for an hour to see the Infinity Mirrored Room for 45 seconds.  Worth the InstaStory post.

Jesus Saves – The landmark neon signs of the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles is right outside of my boyfriend’s window.  It’s definitely a cool spot to take pictures, but the Ace Hotel offers so many more nooks and crannies for you to snap pics.  The hotel rooms can be quite small, and their brunch can be quite salty, but overall this is a cool place to hangout.  If nothing else, do it for the ‘gram.

There are still many new places within #DTLA that I have yet to explore.  Any suggestions of places I may not know about?  Let me know!

Top: ZARA (sold out | similar look) / Jumper: Free People / Glasses: ZeroUV / Bag: The Daily Edited / Earrings (main hoops): Luv AJ / Earrings (assorted hoops): Luv AJ

Photographed by Laci Havens

BLACK BEAN AND BROWN RICE KALE SALAD

BLACK BEAN & BROWN RICE KALE SALAD

I’ve always been a lazy cook.  I wish I was more like my mom, and knew how to make fancy dishes that would take hours of marinating and prep work.  However, I’ve got a busy life juggling 4 PT jobs so I need quick. delicious reciepes if I plan on ever eating at home.

My go-to one-stop-shop store is Trader Joes.  It never does me wrong.  I can create a gazillion different quick fix salads from their store, and the black bean and brown rice kale salad is one of my favorites to make.  It has the protein and fiber I need in my vegetarian diet, and a mexican flavor I crave for everyday.  This salad takes no more than 10 mins to make since everything is pretty much ready to eat.  Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think!

RECEIPE

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 5 mins

Serving size: 1 serving

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups pre-chopped kale
  • 1 stick of persian cucumber
  • 2 pearl tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green onions (usually one large bunch or two small bunches)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro (or however much to your tasting)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP chopped garlic
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 TBSP TJ’s Salsa Autentica
  • 1 can of TJ’s Black Beans

 

Pop the frozen pre-cooked brown rice into the microwave and cook for 3 mins.  With a small sauce pan, add the olive oil and chopped garlic over a med-low heat.  As soon as the garlic starts to brown, add the can of TJ’s Black Beans.  (Pour out some of the black bean liquid first, but leave some because the brown rice will be added to it later).  Stir the black beans and garlic and let that simmer on low heat.

In a large salad bowl, add the 2 cups of pre-chopped, ready-to-eat Kale.  I like my cucumber in big chunks, so I first halve the stick of cucumber then chop it into 1/2 in pieces.  Add that to the kale.  Then quarter the 2 pearl tomatoes, and add that to the salad.  Throw in the chopped green onions and cilantro.

The brown rice should be done cooking in the microwave now.  Turn the heat off on the black beans and add the brown rice to the sauce pan.  Stir the black beans and brown rice, then add about a cup of the mixture to the salad.  Add some TJ’s Salsa Autentica and you’re ready to eat!

I recommend also trying it with some fresh diced avocados or some fresh lime juice to add some additional texture and flavor.

 

HOW I ESPRESS-O MYSELF

If you ever watch any of my InstaStories, (as you should because I’m freaking awesome), then you would know that I have a thing for coffee.  It’s part of my routine: morning workout, then an iced coffee/espresso/matcha beverage of some sort.

I recently did some math and figured out just how much I was spending on coffee on a monthly basis.  You ready? $100!  Yes, I am spending close to $100 per month on just COFFEE!  It sounds like some serious first world problems, but I have an addiction for yummy, tasty espresso drinks that are served all over Los Angeles.  With this kind of expenditure, you’d hope that I would know a thing or two about what’s good around town.  So, here are my top 5 favorite coffee shops in LA:

ONE: BLUE BOTTLE

New Orleans.  That’s the one and only drink I ever get at Blue Bottle and it’s all I ever need.  It’s just an ice coffee with organic cane sugar and milk.  That’s it.  So simple, and yet oh so good!

TWO: VERVE

Avocado Toast.  I know we’re talking about drinks, but this particular dish is a staple at every coffee shop.  I live in WeHo.  Trust me when I say that I’ve had my fair share of avocado toasts from every freaking restaurant/cafe there is.  Verve offers one of THE best avocado toasts in LA.  It’s got butter on the toast before the avocado, which are in heaping chunks.  I’m salivating as I type this.

THREE: ANDANTE

Matcha, Chai, Espresso Latte concoction.  This Andante drink has no name, but the barista, (possibly also the owner?), asked me to trust him, and he made me a phenomenal iced beverage that consisted of matcha, chai, a shot of espresso and milk.  Sorry, I’m of no help here with the name of this drink, but their Lavender Latte is really delicious as well, (get it hot).

FOUR: CARRERA CAFE

Americano.  I was very pleasantly surprised as to how good Carrera‘s coffee was.  I went there simply to take photos of their beautiful interior, and I ended up falling in love with their Americano.  The espresso beans they used are flavorful and aromatic.  I recommend their hot lattes as well.

FIVE: ALFRED TEA ROOM

Iced Matcha Tea Boba.  Need I say more?  As an asian, I can say that their boba is right on point.  It’s always warm, yummy and fresh.  Their decor is just pink-rrific, and every spot is photo worthy.  Go in for a boba drink, and be sure to take a gazillion photos, stories, and snaps.

I don’t recommend anyone spending $5-$7 each day on a caffeinated beverage.  HOWEVER, if you were planning on doing it anyway you might as well make sure it’s worth it.  I’m always down to try new places.  Any coffee shops in LA that you absolutely love?

Dress: For Love and Lemons / Shoes: Nasty Gal (sold out | similar look) / Purse: Coach / Sunglasses: Mine (similar look) / Bracelets: SUGARFIX

Photographed by Mire Yang

UNCONVENTIONAL

Can you believe it’s already Thursday?  Sheesh…this week has flown by so quickly.  I have a few of my sorority sisters flying in this weekend, and I can’t wait to spend a long relaxing weekend laying out by the pool, indulging in delicious food, and just catching up with them.

Speaking of a relaxing weekend, Easter was just this past Sunday, and I got to celebrate it in an unconventional way.  Normally, I would do Easter the traditional way: get up and go to church, and then get drunk off mimosas at brunch with my girlfriends.  However, this year I got to just lay low.  LA was ever so peaceful and quiet due to #Coachella weekend one, and so I got to grab brunch pretty much anywhere I wanted.  We opted for LuLu’s Cafe, and I highly recommend their iced dirty chai.  It’s SO EFFIN yummy!

After brunch we stopped by Rolling Greens nursery because I’ve been obsessed with adding a big green plant in my studio.  Can I just say I found my new FAVORITE place to shop for home decor!  Everything in there was just mesmerizing and beautiful.  I walked in expecting to come home with an Elephant Ear plant, but ended up going with a medium sized Philodendron ‘Rojo Congo’.

After shopping for candles and plants, we decided we might stop by the Melrose Trading Post flea market, but decided to just take my dog out to LACMA and enjoy an afternoon stroll.  I have been living under a rock and haven’t had Indian food in like 9 years, so later that evening we ordered Indian food from a neighborhood Indian restaurant, India’s Tandoori.  You HAVE TO get the Mushroom Korma.  It is utterly mouth watering good.

Easter was nothing exciting, but I got to explore my neighborhood in peace and quiet.  It may not be the conventional way to spend Easter, but I kind of prefer it this way.

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Overalls: Nasty Gal / Bodysuit: American Apparel (similar look) / Bag: WAN Accessory / Shoes: Forever 21 / Lipstick: Bite Beauty / Necklace: Gorjana

Photographed by Laci Havens

ONE BAD EXPERIENCE

I’m typing up this blog post while I lay half dead in bed from a very bad food poisoning experience I had yesterday.  The worst part is that it happened in one of my favorite restaurants, ever.  It’s a very popular vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Venice, and I’m sure I’ll be back to dine after a few months of forgiveness.  I’m just so sad that this one bad experience has left me wondering about my diet and my consumption of food in restaurants.

I’ve been a pescatarian for 9 years and going.  I love my occasional raw seafood, and most of my protein comes from eggs and beans.  I had dined out at a well-known, quality seafood restaurant in Santa Monica the evening before, and then ordered a breakfast burrito for lunch the next day at said vegetarian restaurant.  I knew something was off with the eggs the moment I bit into the second half of my breakfast burrito.  However, the sickness and nausea came only 2 hours after my consumption.

I decided to place a courtesy phone call to the manager at the vegetarian restaurant to let them know that I was feeling sick and had been throwing up the past few hours, and perhaps they should check the quality of their eggs.  He informed me that food born illnesses don’t usually occur til 12-24 hours after consumption.  This would mean that I may have gotten sick at the seafood restaurant.  Raw seafood…more suspicious than cooked eggs, right?  But I had shared items with my friends that were dining with me at the seafood restaurant and none of them had gotten sick.  Just me.

Regardless of where I had gotten my food poisoning, the point is that I did, and I was completely out for the count yesterday.  My friends were from out of town and I had to cancel my plans with them the rest of the day because I couldn’t even stand up.  I had dined at two very popular and well-known restaurants and this unfortunate event still occurred.  Has this ever happened to any of you?  And if so, have you gone back to that same restaurant?  I’d like to hear about your experiences.

Denim: Vintage Liz Claiborne (similar look) / Sunglasses: Oliver Peoples (sold out | similar look)  / Top: A.L.C. / Belt: Coach / Coat: MinkPink / Shoes: Forever 21 (sold out | similar look)

Photographed by Larry Wong

DALLAS DELIGHT

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As an actress and fashion blogger living in LA, it can be tough going home for the holidays.  I’m happy if I can go home for either Thanksgiving, Christmas or NYE.  I would be insane to think that I can actually get all three holidays off.  However, this year is special and I had the privilege of going home for the week of Thanksgiving and will be home again for Christmas AND NYE! Yay!

Virgin America had a wonderful special and I was able to get a roundtrip plane ticket between LAX and DAL for only $288 with tax and fees.  I love flying Virgin America because the planes are always clean, chic, and comfy.  This was my first time flying Virgin America between LA and Dallas, but I will most likely fly with them from now on when I go home.

PART ONE | DALLAS
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I’ve always been the stylish one of the family.  Between my mom and I, we probably have some of the best designer bargain buys of Dallas circa 1992 – 2000, which is before I moved to Atlanta to attend college.  With that said, I knew that returning home for Thanksgiving this year wasn’t going to be a simple task of wearing sweats on the plane.  If indeed comfy sweats, it will be stylish and with a pair of five inch platform heels, which is exactly what I decided to wear.  My next post will be about the outfit above.
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I’ve mentioned before about my love for Classpass, (read WORKOUT-AHOLIC).  Each time I head out of town I just change my city location on my app and I’m able to sign up for classes at my new location.  So far I’ve been lucky and have traveled to cities where Classpass is available, (i.e. Atlanta, Dallas, etc).

This time I signed up for a 6am Arms and Abs class at Burn Cardio Studio and I even stayed after for their Spin class.  It was rough getting up at 5am, but I knew that I had to get at least one decent workout in before we headed down to Port Lavaca for the grand Thanksgiving feast.  (I don’t consider playing with dogs and my nephews as a “real” workout.  See BABYSITTERS CLUB for outfit details above).

There were only three of us in class, but two of us were newbies and our instructor, Jennifer, was super nice and attentive.  I’ll definitely take class again from this studio when I head back to Dallas for Christmas in a few weeks.

PART TWO | PORT LAVACA
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This small beach town was a breath of fresh air for this city girl.  The town gave off that feeling of safety and quaint happiness.  I don’t think I could ever move to a place like this and feel content with life, but I can see why people love the quiet, peacefulness.  The weather was rainy and warm until the last day, so the mosquitos were on full force.  I went out for a jog or two to burn off some of that Thanksgiving meal, but I ended up coming home with at least ten bug bites.

Black Friday was a big success as all my shopping was done online so I didn’t have to deal with the chaos and the whole “waiting in line” ordeal.  More fashion posts to follow.  We also visited the Lighthouse Beach and decided to have dinner at Bubba’s in Seadrift, TX.  Nothing washes down cajun and fried food like a good Shiner Bock beer, (#onlyinTEXAS).

PART THREE | DALLAS
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We were back in Dallas by Saturday evening and ready to just chill and drink some whiskey after a long nine hour car ride.  Sunday involved football and putting up Christmas decorations with my nephews.  Monday was my last day in Texas, so we decided to have lunch at Astoria Caffe and Wine Bar in Addison, TX.  The waitress was nice enough to still offer us the lunch special after 1pm, and we chased down our meal with some Mimosas and Bloody Marys.

The topper of the day was when my sister and cousin-in-law suggested that we continue having drinks at the Whole Foods in Village On The Parkway.  I figure they meant we’ll just buy a bottle of wine and take it home and drink.  What they actually meant was to open up the bottle of wine AT Whole Foods and drink it AT their bar. You heard me correctly.  The Whole Foods in Dallas off Beltline offers craft beers and cork service at a bar located INSIDE the store. It was AMAZING!  Sure the wine is marked up a few more dollars, but they don’t charge a corkage fee for drinking the wine at their store.  I hear they offer this service too at one of the Whole Foods in Pasadena, CA.  Will definitely have to go and check it out!  dallasdelight_IMG_6681dallasdelight_IMG_6553

The week was just filled with laughter and good quality family time.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  Does the Whole Foods store near you offers craft beers and wine service?  Let me know!

DIRTY SOUTH PT. ONE

ATLANTA

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This past weekend, I had the privilege of traveling to Atlanta, GA to watch the Georgia Tech vs Florida State Homecoming Football Game at Bobby Dodd Stadium.  I haven’t been inside the stadium in almost a decade, and it felt really good to be home at a college football game.  We ended up winning the game at the very end in the most epic fashion, (no pun intended), which just made the weekend that much more memorable.    
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Living in LA has it’s perks: sunny, clear skies, and 80 degree temperature year round.  What I miss though from the east coast is the foliage, the feel of fall air, and the southern hospitality.  I found red and purple maple leaves on the ground and it just brought back nostalgic memories of college and camping with my friends in the Blue Ridge Mountains.dirtysouth_barcelona_brunchdirtysouth_atlanta_barcelona_food

I stayed with a friend who lives in Inman Park, and I absolutely fell in love with this part of town.  From the trendy restaurants to the graffiti and sculptures that line The Beltline, everything about this area was unique, artistic, and hip.  Still, it had a quaint, neighborhood vibe that attracts the young families with small children.

We had brunch at a Spanish tapas restaurant, Barcelona Wine Bar.  The decor inside was dark, industrial and sexy.  They offer a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar, which is what I got, and their brunch menu contained a very delicious, vegetarian-friendly dish, Coca del Dia.  I was a bit worried that the south wouldn’t be as kind to my California-spoiled diet, but I didn’t have any problems anywhere finding yummy dishes that fit my dietary restrictions.

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After the football game we came back to Inman Park and had dinner and a night cap at Bartaco.  Talk about a cool, fun restaurant.  The vibe here was young, diverse and lively.  I got the Portobello Rice Bowl, which was just perfect with a little of their house Jalapeño hot sauce.
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Now for the good stuff that I normally blog about: my outfit.  I chose a very comfortable and easy outfit for the football game because, well, it’s a football game.  Then again, I also wasn’t given many options.  I didn’t do my homework and check to see if there was a theme for Homecoming, and it turns out it was a “White Out”.  I brought only ONE white item, my UO Out From Under Woven Placket Henley Top.  I paired that with my black Zara High Waist Jeans and my old black Zara Leather Platform Ankle Boot.  

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I saw all kinds of interesting art along The Beltline.  I was at awe at some of the graffiti and sculptures made out of recycled trash.  Once complete, the Beltline is suppose to be a grand twenty-eight mile loop.  I didn’t get to see much of the loop since we were short on time, (and the fact that I was wearing 5-inch platform boots), so I’m going to make sure to come back and visit wearing appropriate footwear.dirtysouth_IMG_5147dirtysouth_IMG_5148dirtysouth_IMG_5143

Sunday I had brunch plans at The Haven Restaurant and Bar in Brookhaven with my best friends and sorority sisters from college.  We are the L’s.  I have known these girls for almost half our lifetime.  I am proud that these great wives and mothers are my closest friends, and that we are able to pick back up exactly where we left things each time we meet up.  They are my true inspirations in life.

I packed very light for my three day trip and kept my weekend wardrobe casual.  For brunch I wore J.Crew Petite Keep Chambray Shirt (sold out, similar look), Zara High Waist Jeans and my black Zara Leather Platform Ankle Boot.

This is the first time I took photos and blogged about food.  I apologize for the pictures, but I promise you the food was amazing.  I had another Bloody Mary, (extra spicy), and it was PERFECT.  I also ordered Shrimp and Grits (with no sausage), and devoured my whole plate.  We sat outside on the back patio and it was just the perfect setting for our reunion.
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My stay in Atlanta was short and sweet.  Special thanks to Chris for being such a wonderful Atlanta host!  Now it’s time to head to LaGrange, GA to see the countryside and smell some real fresh air!

Vintage Chanel Caviar CC Drawstring Shoulder Bag / Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic Sunglasses / Coach Black Skinny Belt with Brass Buckle