Create & Cultivate, Seattle: A conference for women, by women

Over the weekend, I went to a conference for female creative entrepreneurs called Create & Cultivate. There were bossladies everywhere, and nonstop gorgeous interactive booths by amazing brands. I went with my friend and fellow blogger Sam Song Seeking.

The conference itself was pretty straight forward: there were panels, keynote speakers, and breakout groups. It's really the Instagram-able aesthetic and female-focused energy that made this event stand out.

My favorite panel by far was titled Radically Creative, and included the woman behind Geronimo Balloons, the creator of Studio DIY, the daughter of Robin Williams (apparently she's a horror screen writer!), and professionals from Wedding Wire and Refinery29. They spoke candidly about how they found their calling, not being afraid to push for what you want, and learning how to turn "no's" into "yes's."

Other highlights were a breakout session with Gaby of What's Gaby Cooking, a gorgeous flower wall photo booth by LaCroix, and an amazing styling bar hosted by Marajo.





The theme of the day was florals and amazing seating.


My favorite panel of the day, discussing radical creativity and fearlessness.




Burrow had one of the prettiest booths!


LaCroix totally killed it, duh.






The best seat of the day!

My internal interior designer died and went to heaven.




Nonstop gorgeousness and so so so many florals.

Can Lauren please come with me everywhere I go and give me this amazing loose side braid every day?



Nonstop inspo for the soul and the eyes.





Also, can't forget the bags full of swag!!!


Thanks C&C! Can't wait to go again <3

City guide: Seattle

I just got back from one of my favorite cities - Seattle - and want to share my fave places to go!

The reason that I absolutely love Seattle is that it feels like you're in a park no matter where you go. It's SO green and is surrounded by water (reminiscent of SF). There's less traffic and life is a little calmer all around, but there are still amazing places where you can eat and explore.


Where to eat

The London Plane  


The London Plane is a cute brunch place in the middle of Pioneer Square, a really fun area near the water and Pike Market. The menu is limited, but everything we tried was amazingly delicious. They also sell coffee, pastries, and flowers at the front, in case you need a quick stop. Unfortunately they took avocado toast off their menu, but still a lot of yummy options, and the menu changes often.


Young Tea


You know I had to find a boba place stat! It was literally my first stop in Seattle. I looked through a bunch of options and decided on Young Tea, which I promptly fell in love with (and visited daily). They have a good variety of fresh teas and don't user powders - just real foods. They also have soy milk and their balls are excellent. I tried the Mountain Oolong and then stuck to Jasmine Green.




YOU GUYS. This is the best and most authentic Japanese food that I've ever had!!!  I won't even say anything else. Just go here. It's near the popular Pike/Pine area, so lots to do after dinner!


Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen 


I only took one (crappy) photo because Isarn was just too darn yummy. We ordered a feast between the 4 of us and enjoyed every bite! It's located in Kirkland, which is an amazing coastal town (and the inspiration behind Costco's in-house brand). You can walk in the marina after stuffing your face! 


Fresh Flours


Great pun and great croissants!


What to see 

Pike Place Market 


Pike Place Market place is famous and packed with tourists, but totally worth the trip!  Local vendors of produce, flowers, and all kinds of handmade goodies fill up this huge marketplace. There are also tons of restaurants, and the very first Starbucks is here! (Expect a line for that.)


The Gum Wall


Gross, but right under the Pike Place Market and worth the walk down for the photos. The wall art down here is awesome!


Gas Works Park


My favorite park in Seattle! It's some kind of old energy plant with super cool structures all over, and the views of the city are gorgeous. Lots of people also kayak and paddleboard here on warm days! 


Lynn Street Mini Park


I randomly stumbled across this adorable littler park in the Eastlake district! The perfect quiet place to sit and reflect on life while looking over a gorgeous view of the water. There's also a cute little mosaic bench, with a cat on it!


Pike and Pine Street


These two parallel streets are filled with fun stores, bars, and street art! We had a great time just walking around. 


Where to get tattooed and pierced 

Laughing Buddha 


I had to come here because my septum piercing got ripped out, but I'm so happy I found this place! The staff is amazing and the shop is decorated extremely well. I'll definitely be back for a tattoo! 


Hope you enjoyed this guide! I can't wait to go back!!

City guide: Los Angeles

Some of you may know that L.A. is like a second home to me. I go there as often as possible, and love every second of it. There is an inexplicable energy in La La Land - it's a creative mecca, where people go to pursue their dreams.

L.A. gets a bad reputation for being fake, but there are actually an incredible number of amazing views, restaurants, museums, and neighborhoods to explore.

Check out some of my favorites from my last trip to the city of endless creativity!


Where to eat


by chloe lunch
Alfred Tea Los Angeles lifestyle blogger

You're not vegan? I don't care! by CHLOE. is hands down the best "fast food" place there ever was, is, or will be. They only have locations in NYC, LA, Boston and Providence (cry), so anytime I'm somewhere where they are, I absolutely stop by. With the quinoa taco bowl, guac burger, and beet ketchup (it's literally pink - whaaat!), you'll actually forget that you're eating vegan and will experience the pure joy of delicious food. Plus their aesthetic is

With the quinoa taco bowl, guac burger, and beet ketchup (it’s literally pink - whaaat!), you’ll actually forget that you’re eating vegan and will experience the pure joy of delicious food.


Alfred Tea/Coffee

Alfred Tea Los Angeles lifestyle blogger
Alfred Tea Los Angeles lifestyle blogger

If you know me, you know I'm obsessed with boba tea, and not only is Alfred Tea one of the best boba tea places I've ever been to, it's also BEAUTIFUL (think nonstop Millennial Pink, neon signs, and greenery). Also, can we talk about their perfect slogan: "Tea, yes. You, maybe." !!! Get your phone ready if you're heading over and don't be shy, because there will inevitably be at least 3 other people already taking photos here. Make sure to visit both the front entrance and the back alley, as they're both absolutely adorable. Don't know what to order? Be cool like me and get the coconut tea with coconut milk and extra boba (zero added sweetness). They also sell yummy salads and snacks. Oh, and you can get A WHOLE COCONUT AND ADD MATCHA AND/OR BOBA INTO IT. Not even kidding.

Alfred Coffee is across the street and while I don't drink coffee, it's still a must-see with their now insta-famous slogan "But first, coffee." They also sell reeeeaaallllly yummy breakfast burritos. Mmm.

Both of these are located on Melrose Place, which is a destination in and of itself. Definitely save some time to walk up and down this short but amazingly gorgeous street.


The Butcher's Daughter

The Butchers Daughter Los Angeles lifestyle blogger
The Butchers Daughter Los Angeles lifestyle blogger

This is a vegetarian (mostly vegan) restaurant in my favorite neighborhood of L.A. - Abbot Kinney. "What? Another veggie place?" you say? "What's your problem, Julia?" Well, I'm not a vegetarian or vegan, but I promise, this is another place where you won't even notice or care. I recommend coming here for brunch so you can take a million photos because the interior is insanely beautiful. Every place you look is gorgeous and so well designed and decorated. The food is delicious, it's affordable, I just can't say enough great things about this place. Just go. Go go go. Also, if you order a smoothie, it comes with a straw that has the cutest avocados on it!


Where to sleep

The Jeremy Hotel

The Jeremy Hotel Los Angeles lifestyle blogger
The Jeremy Hotel Los Angeles lifestyle blogger

This category only has one entry because this is very likely the coolest hotel in all of L.A. The Jeremy Hotel, located in my second favorite neighborhood of L.A. (West Hollywood), just opened in mid-August and Is styled after rock-and-roll's glory days (but not in an obnoxious way). The gorgeous wooden pool decks overlook the city skyline with a glass barrier that doesn't block any of the view, the multiple lobbies are huge with incredible art displayed in every corner and smaller inviting spaces created without walls, and the restaurant/bar with an outdoor deck serves literally the best salmon I've ever tasted (with the crispiest skin, I'm seriously drooling right now remembering it) along with amazing salads, apps, and desserts. Our room was playful and minimalist, but simultaneously posh, dripping with character. I can't wait to come back.

Our room was playful and minimalist, but simultaneously posh, dripping with character. I can’t wait to come back.


Where to play

The Museum of Ice Cream (temporary)

Museum of Ice Cream Los Angeles art
Museum of Ice Cream Los Angeles art

If you have the chance, you HAVE TO go to the Museum of Ice Cream. It's a temporary interactive art exhibit that is making its way through major cities like NYC, L.A. and coming soon to SF. It doesn't actually matter whether or not you like ice cream (although you are given an ice cream treat in every other room) because the fun of it is in the experience. There are approximately 12 rooms, each with a different color, theme, and interactive element. This place is honestly what dreams are made of. Hugging a human-sized gummy bear, swimming in a pool filled with sprinkles, and swinging on an ice-cream sandwich are only a couple of the experiences you get in this magical place. I definitely feel like adults get even more out of this experience than kids. Sure, it's a kid's literal dream come true, but adults get to have that childlike wonder that many of us lose as we "grow up" (blegh!).

I'm going to write a separate blog post about MOIC, which I'll link here when it's finished. Can't wait to share all of the photos with you!

Hugging a human-sized gummy bear, swimming in a pool filled with sprinkles, and swinging on an ice-cream sandwich are only a couple of the experiences you get in this magical place.

Famous street art

Los Angeles street art Paul Smith pink wall
Made in LA Los Angeles street art

There are countless amounts of ever-changing street art in Los Angeles. If you follow any bloggers at all on Instagram, you've probably already seen the most famous pieces of street art in L.A. The "Made in LA" sign, the wings, the pink Paul Smith wall. I recommend going on a street art hunt and seeing how many you can find for yourself.

I'll be writing about the street art that we found on this trip in a separate blog post (with addresses so you can find them too!), which I'll link here when it's live.


Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign

Griffith Observatory Los Angeles lifestyle blogger
Hollywood sign Los Angeles lifestyle blogger

The Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign are both iconic parts of Los Angeles. There is something so romantic about these two places. The observatory has an incredible view of just how expansive L.A. is, with white Greek-esque architecture that makes the whole experience even more dreamy. The sign is equally as incredible and holds in it the all of the secrets of the magic of this city.

Pro tip: visit the observatory super early, before it opens. Once it's open (and even the hour before it opens), way too many people pile in, making it difficult to take photos and enjoy the views in peace. Parking also fills up super quickly, so unless you want to hike up a huge hill, come early. Come back long after it closes for the nighttime view. 

There is a (sort of) secret hike up to the Hollywood sign. Basically, just follow the streets on your maps app (don't enter an address) to get as close to the Hollywood Sign as you can. At the very top, there is a gate where you can walk in and hike either 100 feet to be under the sign, or a longer hike to get above (and closer) to the sign. There is street parking during the week, and definitely expect to see other people. Also, don't get stranded waiting for an Uber up there! If you have a car, just take it up and park.


I love L.A.

I love L.A., and can't wait to go back! Hope you enjoy a little bit of my experience through these recommendations. Spam me with your pics if go to any of these spots! <3

Color Factory: An interactive art exhibit in SF

One of my favorite things in the world are interactive art exhibits, so when Color Factory opened up in SF, of course I had to go. As a former Burning-Man-attendee and a lifelong believer in fun and imagination, I find it to be the most amazing experience to step into someone else's creative landscape (how do people come up with this stuff?!).

Even seeing the outside of the building was a delight - it's painted in rainbow stripes of bright popping colors.

Color Factory San Francisco
Color Factory San Francisco

Once you're inside, there's a wondrous rainbow staircase that leads you into this other world.

Color Factory San Francisco

You get a card that lets you grab photos from photobooths throughout the different rooms.

Color Factory San Francisco

And first thing's first, you get a snack - your choice of rainbow macaroons and black lemonade (there's a person manually turning this on the other side of the wall!).

Color Factory San Francisco
Color Factory San Francisco

There are rooms that confuse your eyes with patterns, and rooms where you feel like an ant...

Color Factory

... a forest of ribbons where you can get lost and bump into other lost souls...

... some friendly neon...

Color Factory San Francisco

... and even the bathrooms are legitimately cool (yes, we do look good in pink)...

Color Factory San Francisco
Color Factory San Francisco

... a confetti room where you don't have to worry about making a mess (I suggest making confetti-angels)...

... a room printing selfies (that's me!) and of course the yellow ball pit.

Color Factory San Francisco

The last room is huge and completely yellow, with a special treat at the end (you'll have to go to find out what it is). Don't forget to grab a map on the way out for a walking tour of other colorful experiences!

Color Factory San Francisco
Color Factory San Francisco
Color Factory San Francisco
Color Factory San Francisco
Color Factory San Francisco
Color Factory San Francisco

We as humans get so caught up in the everyday that we sometimes forget how amazing and full of wonder life is. Don't get lost in what-ifs and what-could've-beens, focus on enjoying every moment you experience. Don't forget to breathe and reflect and dance and adventure and do what you love, because if you don't, then what's the point?

Here's to never losing that childlike spirit, to exploring new adventures every day, and to always looking up into the universe and being grateful for the time we have here.


Color Factory

Tickets are sold out for August, but will soon open up for September. Sign up at for updates.

And the rose goes to... this jumpsuit

I recently had the chance to collaborate with Modcloth, an online shop that's all about body positivity and inclusivity. They challenged me to style a full outfit from their shop, which honestly wasn't that hard, considering that they have a large variety of styles and labels.

I was instantly drawn to this jumpsuit. I mean, love-at-first-sight style. Like, it would've gotten the first impression rose if it was a contestant on the Bachelorette.

As you probably already know, I'm lowkey obsessed with jumpsuits, especially in the culottes style. They fit any figure, hide all the imperfections, and are seriously the easiest and most comfortable piece of clothing I've ever worn. Babies wear these. Babies. So you know they're comfortable. They're also so easy to style because they're one piece. Wham, bam, thank you style gods.

This jumpsuit runs large, but I actually love the way it ends up looking because the waist tie makes it oh-so-feminine. I styled this Sugarhill Boutique jumpsuit with a pair of adorable Report bow-topped block heels. It's the perfect combo of comfy but feminine and put-together. I also added on a gorgeous GORJANA necklace from Rocksbox.

Did I mention that this jumpsuit has POCKETS? Because it does, and they're usable.

Do you have a fave jumpsuit? Link it in the comments!


Photos by Hannah Anisa

SHOP THE LOOK HERE: jumpsuit // heels // sunnies // necklace (use code juliaotestphotoxoxo for your first month free!)



Don't be afraid to fail (+ my fave summer OTS top)

I've been meaning to blog consistently for the past few months, but somehow it keeps getting put on the back-burner.

The cool thing is, if I've learned anything in life, it's that there's never a reason to give up on your goals. Even if you fail at completing your goals for months, or years, or even decades, you can pick up at any time and JUST. DO. IT. Just do it. It's that easy (Nike got it right). It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be anything other than what you can put out there. But just do it. Because what's worse than failing? Never even trying.

Here's me failing at swinging. Yes, the thing that first graders do.

Here's me failing at swinging. Yes, the thing that first graders do.

Aside from chasing goals, another place I've learned to be fearless is fashion. In the past, I'd watch awesome trends go by and feel like I couldn't pull them off. But nowadays? I find the style within the trend that looks great on me. Fashion isn't about looking perfect, it's about being interesting and finding the style or cause that makes your look unique.

Shop this look below! (Dog not for sale.)

Shop this look below! (Dog not for sale.)

Current example: off-the-shoulder tops. I love this look, but in the past would've just let it go by, never wearing it myself (common ways I used to talk myself out of wearing a cute top: my arms are too fat, my boobs are way too small, what about those love handles, etc.). Fast-forward to now, and instead, I've found an OTS top that flatters my body, and is on high rotation in my wardrobe.

Check out that lace detailing.

Check out that lace detailing.

I love this specific OTS top because it accentuates the shoulders with a lacy edge, fluffs out in the front and back to cover any muffin-top action, and is roomy and comfortable to wear all day. I paired it with my everyday pair of jeans and the cutest pink bow slides. It comes out looking ultra feminine without all the usual work of having to wear heels or dresses.

Shop the look:



#swinggoals (not the sexy kind)

#swinggoals (not the sexy kind)


Can we also talk about this view for a sec? Locals know about this spot, and it's one of my favorite lookout points in San Francisco: the top of Dolores Park. If you trek all the way up to Dolores Street and 20th Street, you'll be rewarded with incredible views of downtown SF, with a lovely bench to enjoy your time looking out. The area is also surrounded by an overgrowth of colorful flowers to set the mood. And in the summer, someone always brings out a huge tarp to make a slip-n-slide for adults, kids, and dogs. What could possibly be better?



So here's your daily reminder to just go for it (whatever "it" is for you). Don't be afraid, because the worst thing that could happen is that you learn and grow.

Photos by Hannah Anisa

A romper for summer? Yes you can!

I've been a fan of rompers for a while, but I never thought I could pull of the trend - most rompers I tried on were too tight and too saggy in all the wrong places (diaper butt anyone?). But then, I found it: the right romper. It was definitely a hallelujah moment.

Isn't it beautiful? So what was so different about this one? One word: the FIT. 

Here are some tips when you're looking for a romper:

Loose but still shows off your figure

Finding a romper for everyday wear means that it shouldn't be skintight, but should still cinch at the waist so you have an hourglass shape. You want to show off your overall figure while still leaving something to the imagination.

Side note: I actually got this romper in a size larger than usual because it just fit better, and I'd rather have it look good than try to squeeze into a specific number. Who made up these sizes anyway, and why should we care about them?

Balanced amount of material

Because rompers show off a lot of leg, balance that out with a classic, covered top. Long bell sleeves, off-the-shoulder, a simple boat neck - all of these work well with shorts, so they also work well as the top part of a romper. 

Keep the accessories simple

A romper is already a statement piece, so keeping accessories simple and classic is a great move. I chose to pair my romper with ankle boots, but you can also easily pair it with slides or sandals. Watch out for tall boots - they might take you a bit too far into go-go-dancer territory.

The thing I love most about a romper is how versatile it is. It works in different kinds of weather, and easily goes from day to night. It's also extremely comfortable, and showing off leg (without anything else) made me feel sexy and confident. So find that romper, put on those boots, and stomp it out girl!

Hawai'i: Hawaiian Crown (eats)

I randomly found this place on Yelp when we were searching for acai bowls in Hilo - it's a nondescript storefront that doesn't look open, so we definitely wouldn't have found this if we weren't searching specifically for it.

But once you're inside, oh boy! One of the owners was there and he was so sweet and so knowledgeable. He made a special acai bowl just for me (their regular acai bowls contain pineapple, and I'm allergic). The bowls were fresh and delicious, and they told us about their chocolate plantation and the drying process while we waited. There's a cute little shaded backyard overgrown with plants where you can sit and eat outdoors.

The most amazing thing about this place? They have UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE. That's right, chocolate nibs that are just pure cocoa plant. No sugar or added ingredients of any kind. What does this mean? This is chocolate that I can actually eat!


The little brown flecks you see on the bowls above are sugar-free chocolate nibs (you can buy them online here). I hadn't had chocolate in 3 years, so this was an amazing experience.

Highly recommend this place if you're ever in Hilo, and make sure you ask lots of questions of whoever is working there, and try out all their samples! They also sell pineapples, macadamia nuts, different chocolate bars and chocolate-dipped fruit, and mixing chocolate (their coffee drinks are half hot chocolate).

Check out my #ootd that day (and their lush patio):

Address: 159 Kaiulani Ave #105, Honolulu, HI 96815
Hours: 8AM-6PM daily

Why every woman needs a jumpsuit in her life

I'm one of those people who likes the idea of putting together complex outfits with tons of accessories, but in my day-to-day reality, running from photoshoots to meetings to appointments, I usually just end up putting on something easy, comfortable, and quick in the morning. My go-to for a long time was trendy jeans, but about a month ago I discovered the unicorn of the fashion world: jumpsuits.

Jumpsuits are magical. A cute jumpsuit is literally the only piece of clothing you have to put on before walking out the door (though don't forget shoes!). You can accessorize a jumpsuit if you want, but you don't have to, and you'll still look put-together.


  • it's really a hard piece to mess up style-wise (just make sure it's a bit flowy for office and everyday)
  • it's super comfortable to wear (no bulges here)
  • it easily goes from office to night out
  • there are endless different styles that are flattering on any body type - culottes, wide leg, skinny, off-the-shoulder, open-back, halter-top... and so on


  • going to the bathroom involves taking off your top (not the worst)

I've basically been living in this floral culotte waist-cinched jumpsuit that I bought last month. I pair it with my tan oxford slip-ons or brown booties and cute sunnies, and I'm good to go, which is so perfect for those mornings when I have to run out the door.

So for those days when you're feeling down, rushed, or just lacking creativity, throw on a cute jumpsuit and life will instantly get better.

Scroll down to shop this look!

jumpsuit similar here | shoes similar here | sunnies similar here

Photos by Hannah Anisa

Hawai'i: Golden Goat (eats)

I'm really bad at writing long articles with lots of recommendations, so instead I decided that I'm going to recommend one spot a day from my trip to the Big Island (Hawai'i).

We didn't find this amazing hole-in-the-wall cafe until the end of the trip, but it turned out to be one of our faves! They have a tiny menu - acai bowls, smoothies, beef or pork lunch bowls, and tacos - but the food is so delicious that it doesn't get old. We tried the acai bowls and the lunch bowls, and both were extremely flavorful. The lunch bowl, especially, was filled with so many delicious goodies that our mouths exploded from happiness; goodies such as sauerkraut, peanut sauce, fresh veggies, brown rice, and flavorful marinated meat.

Aside from the food, the owners and clientele are also chatty and awesome. Both times we came, a variety of people came and went, and we enjoyed chatting with all of them. On the second day, we had a prolonged conversation with 3 different Californians who moved to the Big Island for different reasons, and a family on vacation who just made the decision to move as well. The owners of this shop bought land and built a completely off-the-grid house, so they their only bill is property tax - a whopping $200 per year. 

The cafe is just a tiny kitchen with a small bar and stools outside, but the it's the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast or lunch. It sits on the main street of Pahoa. "Main street" is a loose term, because while it is the street where all of the restaurants, bars, and stores are located, don't expect any city vibes here. The town and the main street are tiny and bohemian, and overrun with nature. People don't wear shoes or shirts because it's forever 85 degrees, and they don't have to. For the size of the street, it's surprisingly packed with incredible eats (this is coming from a San Francisco foodie, so it's a tall order to impress me).

If you're ever on the Island of Hawai'i, you have to come here. It's worth the drive.

Tip: lunch bowls and tacos don't start being served until 11am. This place also taught me that "spider" in Hawaiian is "nananana," which makes them a lot less scary.

I'll be sharing my faves from Pahoa and other parts of the island over the next few days and weeks, so stay tuned!

Address: 15-2929 Pahoa Village Road, Pāhoa, HI 96778
Hours: 9AM-4PM mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri/Sat

Allison in La La Land

I had the most amazing trip to LA a few weeks ago, and had the opportunity to shoot with some new bloggers, as well as one that I shot with previously in Palm Springs - Allison of We had a ton of fun romping around Melrose Ave, and actually ended up finding a lot of the Palm Springs vibes in Los Angeles (not surprising, since we both love succulents).

Two locations that we came across that were especially Palm-Springs-y were a shop that was being painted with palm leaves and a cactus garden (both within a 1-block radius!). Allison styled the cutest date night outfit for these locations, with a lacy crop-top and gorgeous wide-leg striped pants. Moral of the story - you don't have to go far to find amazing backgrounds. Just keep your eyes open and your styles ready!

Major weekend sales from some of my faves!

This morning I woke up to major sales from 3 of my fave brands! So I had to share the excitement (and savings) with you:


Rocket Dog

Rocket Dog is a little brand that most people haven't heard of, but they have super cute and affordable shoes, and I've been a huge fan of theirs for over 5 years. Their shoes are high quality and last a long time - I've bought many pairs to test this out.

They're currently having a Cinco de Mayo spring sandal sale on their site (only for the next 24 hours) - use the code RDCINCO25.

Click below to shop some of my fave styles:

Blowfish Shoes

Another one of my fave shoes brands that most people haven't heard of is Blowfish Shoes. They have the most comfortable boots and booties ever, and their styles are super cute.

This weekend they are offering 50% off sale items with the code CINCOX10. Ladies, that means the shoes are basically free! Don't miss this.

Some of my favorite styles from them:


Anyone who knows me knows that I love Forever21. Yes, it's fast fashion, but that means it's cute, affordable, on-trend, and I don't have to worry about accidentally getting it in the dryer (shrink alert!) or getting dirt on it.

They're having a 55% off summer kickoff sale this weekend! Omg, so excited! You don't even need a code, just go to their site and shop the sale.

Shop some of my current season faves below:

Julia recommends: Best nail salon

I have been THE WORST at blogging over the past month. I profusely apologize. It definitely is a bigger time commitment than I ever imagined.

BUT, I'm getting my butt (hah) in gear, and we're doing this thing, together. I want to start writing about recommendations because I've lived in SF for 24 years so I definitely know a few places here and there. Plus, people ask me all the time where to go to get/do [insert need/desire here]. So here we are.

This edition of Julia Recommends is ... (drumroll please) ... my nail salon! I usually just go for a pink/nude/grey color, but this week I was feeling extra saucy so I got this adorable (schizophrenic?) mixed canvas kind of deal. Take a look for yourself (and notice that pretty much anything I hold, ever, has to do with boba tea, obvs):

I've been to quite a few nail salons in the city, and Sophia's Beauty Lounge is definitely the best. This is the only place that consistently gets the correct nail shape that I want, and where my gel mani doesn't chip.


The location is easy to get to (not far from 24th Street BART), the space is relaxing, the women who work there are super sweet, and there's always a chick flick going on TV (what a great excuse to waste an hour watching Clueless for the 100th time!). When you first walk in, they put a hot or cold compress around your neck and offer tea or water. Their massages area strong and amazing.


They book up pretty quickly, so if you want a weekend spot, definitely schedule a few days to a week ahead. They're also a bit pricier than some other places ($40 for a gel mani), but honestly, it lasts 3-4 weeks so you're paying for quality.

Also, you'll likely meet Sophia (the owner) and she is the sweetest person ever! Tell her Julia sent you ;)


Sophia's Beauty Lounge

3420 Cesar Chavez Street, San Francisco

(415) 285-9777

Open Monday-Saturday 10:30am-7pm

Blooms + tassels + first time bloggers

One of my favorite things to do is take photos of bloggers who haven't worked with a professional photographer before. The vibe is a mixture of excitement, anxiety, and endless possibility, which is intoxicating. It's so fun to answer questions and guide them through the experience, while also watching progress into getting comfortable, having fun, and finding the rhythm of being in front of a professional camera.

I've found that bloggers are driven ladybosses who know what they want and work hard to get it. I love being around that energy and sharing tips with each other, since I've started blogging too.

I recently got to shoot with Kara from in one of my favorite locations - above Dolores Park! She styled the perfect California Spring outfit - a floral jacket, sunny yellow statement tassel earrings, and gold glitter heels. Seriously though - florals, yellows, and gold are my favorite accents right now. Kara was super sweet and has a great personality that shines through the lens. I instantly spotted this beautiful house with a brick and metal gateway and lots of greenery, and we knew it'd be perfect for this outfit.


Check out all of the photos from our session below, and don't hesitate to email me if you want to book a session! I promise you'll have fun and come out with great photos <3

My guide to Palm Springs (Part 1): Where to eat

Last week, my hubs and I went to Palm Springs for the first time to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary. It was honestly our best vacation ever! I've heard so many great things about Palm Springs, and yet it was still even better than I imagined it.

We have a tendency to not plan activities ahead of time, which often leads to not doing a lot when we go on vacation. This time, I wanted to make sure that we took advantage of our time in the desert, so I created a surprise advent calendar (I'll post a step-by-step DIY tutorial for it soon) and wrote down lists of places to go and things to do. I'm so glad I did this, because we ended up enjoying so many activities and restaurants, and came across a few surprises!

I finally sat down to write my guide to Palm Springs. In part , lets talk about the food! There are some seriously delicious spots in the area. I even came across an amazing sushi place. Fresh fish in the desert? My mind was blown. Keep reading for all of my recommendations, plus the places I wish we'd gone!


Raw Remedy

I almost don't want to admit it, but we came here literally every day of the 10 days that we were in Palm Springs (one day I even went twice). That's how good it is. It's also right in downtown Palm Springs - super convenient and soooo cute! All of the storefronts there are covered in blooming bougainvilleas (and no, I still can't pronounce that word, haha). What we had:

Everything we tried was totally yummy. They also have soups, salads, burgers, tacos, and wraps, and they're all raw! We didn't try any of those, but I can only expect that they're also delicious. We met the owner, who was super nice! He was excited about healthy living and enthusiastic about his shop (so committed, he even has a custom license plate on his Jeep!). The cafe itself is cute and strangely eclectic, as if a hippie from the future decorated it. There's awesome outdoor seating, and little cups full of puzzles that you can do while you hang out.

Summary: Natural healthy smoothies and snacks. Go for the food!

116 La Plaza, Palm Springs, CA (menu)



Part of the Arrive Hotel, this place was hands-down my favorite place to eat lunch+dinner. You can either sit in the open-air patio, indoors, or at the pool bar on the other side of the restaurant - all of these sitting choices are magnificent! The hotel is gorgeous - mostly wood and cement, every last detail is thought out and beautifully designed.

We came here a few times for both lunch and dinner. For lunch, I recommend the tacos, which you can mix and match. I tried the Carne Asada, Korean BBQ, Chicken Pastor, Tamarindo Shrimp, and Sesame Tuna. The tuna one was the only disappointment - the rest were delicious! For dinner, the side of coconut rice and peas is a must, and I had the Arugula Salad with added Carne Asada. It was the best salad+steak If you're Paleo, or just a fan of salads+steaks like me, then you have to try this.

The staff is so nice, and the vibe is chill, whether at night or during the day. They have misters during the day to cool you off from the desert heat, and a super cute (IG friendly) Ice Cream & Shop[pe] right next door. Go here!

Summary: fresh American food with Southern American influence. Go for the food and ambiance!

(inside Arrive Hotel) 1551 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA (menu)


Gyoro-Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise

I stopped here for lunch and was in a major hurry. The staff was so sweet, and brought my food out super quickly so I wouldn't be late to my shoot! Their fish is amazingly fresh (the chef said they fly it in from LA). The space is huge but really well decorated in an old-fashioned Japanese style. There's both indoor and outdoor seating.

Their dinner menu is a little on the pricey side, but their lunch specials were super affordable! I had a Chirashi Bowl and it was one of the most delicious ones I've ever tasted. The restaurant is in downtown Palm Springs, so it's super convenient. Seriously, no excuse - if you like Japanese food, come here!

Summary: fresh Japanese. Go for the food and ambiance!

105 S Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA (menu)


Workshop Kitchen + Bar

This place was on my list of must-go's, and Brad agreed to come here even though it was a bit out of our price range. The entrance is strange because there are actually three entryways, and you end up coming in through the patio, but the hostess is inside and on the other end of the restaurant. Once you successfully find the hostess, though, you're all set. The decor inside is breathtaking - cement, metal, and hanging light fixtures create a dark and romantic ambiance with tall booths and a long center table.

We sat outside on the patio, which was also a beautiful environment. String lights and desert trees are in abundance, and the patio is sheltered by buildings on all sides.

The food was all styled to perfection, and very tasty. This place was one of my favorites. We had the Roasted Heirloom Carrots, Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo, and Wood-Fired Pizza. Every dish was a magical blend of art and flavor. I was dying to try the Truffle Risotto, but couldn't justify it at $45 a pop.

Definitely come here for the experience, and make a reservation!

Summary: gourmet American food art. Go for the food and ambiance!

800 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA (menu)


The Farm

We had brunch here - it's a tiny space that seems to always be packed, so a prior reservation is definitely recommended. You walk in and sit in a gorgeous courtyard that feels straight out of France. The restaurant is French-themed, with picnic-feels during the day.

I ordered the Croissant Breakfast Sandwich and Brad had an omelette. The omelette was good but nothing special. My sandwich was delicious, but really heavy (so prepare to be stuffed!). They had really yummy fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice that I thoroughly enjoyed. I'd probably come again for the breakfast sandwich, but not very often - it's a bit pricey and the wait is long.

Summary: French-influenced American brunch. Go once for ambiance.

6 La Plaza, Palm Springs, CA (menu)


Customs Coffee

This cafe is too cute! Very Instagram-friendly, with tufted seating, wood ceilings, metal + glass chandeliers, and marble tables on the patio. They serve local coffee from Joshua Tree Coffee Co., and baked goods. Plus, all of their details are blogger-chic-pink (like #thatpinkdoor). Customs is connected to the Arrive Hotel (my fave - more on that later). Make sure to ask for some stickers when you order!

Summary: Blogger heaven. Go for the coffee and decor!

1551 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA (menu)


El Jefe

This is a hipster Mexican restaurant inside of the Saguaro Hotel. They have a Happy Hour menu during the week 3pm-6pm, and a Taco Tuesday menu. The food was delicious and the decor reminiscent of old-timey Wild West movies. We were there during the week, so it wasn't too loud or rowdy, but it seems like the kind of hotel where it gets that way on the weekends. Even on a Tuesday afternoon, we ran into a rambunctious group of girls.

I had the Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Brad had tacos (I don't remember which ones). Both the soup and the tacos were very tasty. Also, if you like to drink, they have an impressive wall lined with fancy tequilas.

The one disappointing thing about this spot was that we came on a Tuesday specifically for the Taco Tuesday menu, where you can order tacos a la carte for cheap (rather than the regular taco plate that comes with 3 of the same taco). To our surprise (and to the waiter's surprise), the Taco Tuesday menu is only available from 6pm-9pm. The waiter actually let us order off of it, and then came back 5 minutes later only to say that actually we couldn't. Frustrating! I'd definitely come back for the Taco Tuesday menu, but the regular menu was a bit pricey for the amount of food.

If you come here, also make sure to explore the hotel a bit. The interior design is colorful, fun, and a blogger fave!

Summary: hipster Mexican. Go for Taco Tuesday.

(inside Saguaro Hotel) 1800 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA (menu)



The name of this restaurant is a cute play on words because it's very much a fancy pub/sports bar, but the theme is actually blue drafting paper with technical drawings all over. I came here for both lunch and dinner. The reviews on Yelp say that the staff is rude and the kitchen is slow. It's not true about the staff, but the kitchen is indeed very slow. I do recommend coming here, but preferably for lunch on a weekday. Also save some time to play with the jumbo-sized Connect-4 and Jenga on the patio! They have a few other games as well, but these two are as tall as you!

They have some super fun menu items, like a Thai PB&J, asparagus fries, and a grilled mac and cheese sandwich. Brad tried the mac and cheese sando, and it was really amazing - not too gooey, just the right amount of crunch. I had the Pilsner Tomato Bisque soup and the beet salad for lunch. All of the food was great, but it did take a while to come out.

I came again for dinner and that was a bit of a disaster. An hour into waiting for my food (their signature burger, no bun), I ask the waiter and he found out that they accidentally gave my order to another table. Super weird because I had a very custom order (maybe someone else in the restaurant also ordered lettuce instead of buns and asparagus instead of potato fries.. but somehow I doubt it). They brought out my order 5 minutes later, but it was wrong. I finally ate about an hour and a half after sitting down.

Summary: playful American food. Go for weekday lunch!

1501 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA (menu)


King's Highway

This is the restaurant inside of the Ace Hotel. The hotel itself is gorgeous, with desert hipster decor (Ace Hotel is a favorite for me and the hubs). The restaurant is a throwback to a road-side diner from the 70s. The vibes in the restaurant were fun, but I personally was disappointed by the food.

I tried the Karma Burger, which is their vegan option - I'd had one recently at By Chloe in NYC and I was craving it again. Unfortunately, it tasted nothing like the one I was craving, and in fact, I couldn't finish it because I really didn't enjoy the taste. Brad had the Desert Highway Burger and said it was good.

The one super cool thing about this place is that they host Bingo on Monday nights during dinner. The woman who leads it is a retired performer and a staple of Palm Springs - she and her co-hosts are super entertaining, plus you can choose to share your booth with strangers! We met some awesome Canadians in town for work. If you're coming for Bingo night, definitely make a reservation. They have two rounds per night, and it fills up.

There's also a coffee bar during the day that serves Stumptown, and a bar at night called Amigo. There is a photobooth, but it was broken when we stopped by.

Summary: mediocre American diner food. Go for Monday night Bingo.

(inside Ace Hotel) 701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA (menu)



Really popular pizza place, they offer gluten-free and cauliflower crust. The vibes here are amazing, especially at night. Most of the restaurant is outdoors, with romantic lighting and a wall of shrubs protecting you from the street. The restaurant seems to fill up, so I'd recommend making a reservation. They do have first-come-first-served seating on the outer edge (on couches!) as well as at the bar if you do happen to come here on a whim.

We had the Three Kale Salad and a custom pizza. The salad was incredible - beets, avocado, seeds - a ton of flavor. The pizza, however, was really sauce-heavy and made me feel super gross afterward. I didn't even eat the leftovers the next day (whaaat!). Brad enjoyed the pizza but agreed that it was heavy. We tried to order the cauliflower crust, but they were out, so we stuck to gluten-free.

I'd recommend coming here for the vibes/decor alone, but maybe steer clear of the pizza (unless you like the heavy stuff).

Summary: hipster pizza and Italian. Go for the ambiance.

622 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA (menu)


Fruit Wonders

This is a smoothie shop on the main strip in downtown Palm Springs. To be honest, we only came here because Raw Remedy was closed that day, but this place was good as well! I had a bit of trouble communicating what I wanted (unfortunately I always have to customize my smoothies because they always come with honey and other sweet things that I don't eat), but ended up with a great drink.

Their specialty item is aguas frescas, and the staff happily give out samples. We didn't try those, but the reviews are very positive about them online. I'm not sure if the shop is being renovated, but the decor is definitely lacking - not a place we wanted to hang out in. Definitely a great backup for a quick in-and-out smoothie or bowl!

Summary: fresh juices, smoothies, and bowls. Go if Raw Remedy is closed.

264 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA (menu)


Places I wish we'd gone (but ran out of time):

  • Wilma & Frieda's Cafe - popular American brunch spot among bloggers
  • Rooster and the Pig - Vietnamese
  • Eight4Nine - American brunch + dinner with fun high-gloss white decor
  • The Barn Kitchen at Sparrows Lodge - farm-to-table pre-fixe dinner
  • The Edge Steakhouse at Rancho Mirage - steak with an amazing view
  • Coachella Valley Brewing - local brewery and taproom

Part 2 of my Palm Springs guide with activities to do is coming soon! Also watch out for a post on the inaugural season of Desert X (an art show all over the desert!) and the how-to for the DIY advent calendar.


Introducing: nicecream! (recipe inside)

Some of you know that I eat Paleo, which means no dairy, no processed sugars or processed foods, no alcohol, no gluten, minimal grains. Basically it's mostly meats and vegetables, and some fruit. It may sound terrible at first, but it makes you feel great, is super healthy, helps you naturally lose weight, as well as other benefits like clearer skin and more energy, and honestly it's not that difficult once you pass the 1-2 month addiction/craving period. I can go on and on, but I'll save that for a later post.

It's exciting to me to see more and more businesses popping up that sell alternative foods that fit into a Paleo lifestyle. With summer coming up, I wanted to share a much healthier alternative to ice cream - nicecream!


I bought this one during my trip to Palm Springs at an awesome juice bar called Raw Remedy, but it's actually super easy to make at home. Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 bananas (thickly sliced and frozen)
  • 1 cup frozen berries of your choice (I love strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
  • 1-2 teaspoons coconut milk (or any creamy nut milk, such as cashew milk)

Blend everything together in a blender until it has a thick, ice cream consistency, and ta-dah! That's it! You can top it with your favorite toppings, such as fresh berries and coconut shavings. You can also put any ingredients in there that you'd put in a smoothie, such as pre-frozen pitaya or acai.

I want to see photos of your nicecream! Tag me in them on IG if you make this at home! <3

Mixing fashion with killer views

I love it when bloggers want to step out of the box and try something different, so when Christina ( asked if there were any city views where we could shoot, I knew just the place!

Billy Goat Hill Park has been my favorite lookout over San Francisco since I found out about it when my husband and I moved to Glen Park last year. The view spans from the Bay Bridge over to the Peninsula. There are huge trees, a lookout point, a swing, and a great mini-hike down into the Mission. The houses in this area area also incredibly gorgeous, and a great background for blogger shoots.

But back to Christina and her outfit! This girl is usually very demure, so I was surprised to see her rockin' this sexy velvet jumpsuit and showing off some cleavage. It looked great on her, and the city background brought it all together.

Billy Goat Hill Park
300 Beacon Street
San Francisco, CA 94131

Mom goals with Dita

I love working with new bloggers because I get to help them feel comfortable in front of a professional's lens for the first time, and to figure out their esthetic. Last week, I got the chance to photograph Dita, a young, super fashionable mom who recently moved to San Francisco from Stockholm ( Not only did I get to photograph her... but she brought her daughter to the shoot as well! It was my first time doing a shoot with a baby in tow! She was adorable and I loved every second of it. We even got her into some of the photos, which I think is the sweetest thing. To share your love for fashion with your little girl, so much so that you want your fashion blog photos to include her? Swoon!

We walked around gorgeous Noe Valley and the weather was PERFECT. It was sunny and around 72 degrees, despite the fact that it was actually supposed to rain that day. This look was Dita's last one, which was super fun because it fit perfectly with the weather and this white brick wall we found.

I really enjoyed watching Dita interact with her daughter because it was so clear how much she loves her. All of my friends are having kids at this time in their lives, and it's really inspirational to see them juggle having a family, careers, hobbies, health, and just life. I've always known that I never wanted to have kids, and I'm happy that it's becoming more mainstream to choose that path because when I was younger all I was met with was "Oh, you'll want kids when you find the right man" (found him, still don't want them), or "Once you hit 30, your hormones will kick in and you'll want to make babies" (I'm 31, no baby-making hormones yet).

People sometimes ask me why I don't want to have children. There's a lot of reasons I could say (overpopulation, global warming, political turmoil, etc.), but really it's none of those things because it's not a choice; it's just part of who I am. Some girls dream of being moms from childhood, but although I played house as a little girl (I've always wanted to be married), I never played mom. It's just not in my DNA to grow and care for a little human. It's like asking someone who doesn't like strawberries why they don't like strawberries - no real reason other than the fact itself. And that's definitely reason enough!

I believe it's so important for women to have choices and to be respected for choosing the right path for ourselves. I love meeting moms, but I also love meeting women who don't want to have children. We're a minority, and it took me a long time to feel like I was still a bona fide woman, even if I didn't want to grow another human in my belly. I have lots of love and nurturing in me, it just isn't directed towards wanting to raise a child.

But don't get me wrong - I love baby socks/clothes/toys/everything (they are the cutest)! I'll just forever be the cool auntie <3

My summer smoothie recipe

Breakfast has always been a difficult meal for me. I'm often in a rush in the morning, so something quick and easy is best. Unfortunately, a lot of breakfast foods take time and effort, and those that don't are often very unhealthy. For a long time I just ate cereal or a baked good for breakfast, but a few years ago I went on the Paleo diet (meaning I cut out processed sugar, dairy, gluten, and alcohol from my diet, as well caffeine) - best decision I've ever made. It also meant that I had to find something else to have for breakfast.

I don't fully remember how I came to the realization that smoothies make a great breakfast (I add chia to make mine more filling), but I'm so happy I did. It's really the perfect breakfast - not too heavy, full of Vitamin C, easy and quick to make. Over the years I've experimented and perfected the recipe to include the flavors I love: sweet and tangy. Below are the ingredients and the super easy steps to make this deliciousness for yourself.


    What you'll need:

    • a blender (or Vitamix)
    • 1 banana
    • 1 white nectarine
    • 4 frozen strawberries
    • 6 frozen blackberries
    • 8 frozen raspberries
    • 1/3 cup Chia seeds
    • 1 kale leaf
    • 1/4 cup grapefruit juice
    • 1/4 cup water

    Some tips and tricks:

    • I prefer to buy fresh berries and wash and freeze them myself. Store-bought frozen berries are not as fresh and don't have the same amount of nutrients. It's also tastier to freeze the berries rather than just use berries out of the fridge because it makes that smoothie colder (I don't add ice).
    • Any kind of kale works (I prefer Lacinato kale). To make the smoothie more green, just add more kale! Kale has a very distinct flavor, so if that's not your thing, you can also substitute in spinach, or whatever greens you like.
    • Fruit juices can be really sugary and from concentrate, so I recommend being really careful with what you purchase. My favorite brand is Evolution Fresh - it's organic, cold-pressed, 100% juice, has Vitamin A, C, Calcium, and 20 grams of sugar (which isn't bad for juice). If you aren't a fan of the tanginess of grapefruit juice, you can substitute it with coconut juice, which is a lot sweeter.
    • I add chia seeds because they are filling and add thickness. I used to add granola, but it's actually very sugary and gluten-heavy, so it ends up being unhealthy (even the kind that's advertised to be healthy).
    • I love spring and summer because it's stone fruit season, and white nectarines are seriously one of my favorite fruit. During winter I skip this ingredient because it isn't available.
    • If you love coconut as much as I do, I highly recommend adding frozen raw organic coconut meat - you can do this instead of the stone fruit.
    • You can also add frozen organic acai if you're a fan, or to turn this recipe into an acai bowl.
    • I add water to the smoothie because fruit juice is really intense in flavor and high in sugar. You can skip this step and just use more juice if you prefer.

    This recipe makes 1.5-2 cups of smoothie, depending on how thick you want it to be. You can add more water if it's looking too thick, or less water if you want to turn this into a smoothie bowl!

    Step 1:

    Start by throwing the banana and berries into the blender first.


    Step 2:

    Add the chia seeds. I like to add them before the kale so that they are more evenly distributed.


    Step 3:

    Rip the kale leaf into pieces off of the stem and throw the leafy parts into the blender. Toss the stem away (it's too thick and sinewy to eat).


    Step 4:

    Cut the peach into pieces and throw them into the blender.


    Step 5:

    Pour in the grapefruit juice and water.


    Step 6:



    If it's not blending well or looking too thick, just add more water or juice.



    That's it - easy right?


    This is my solution for a quick and easy breakfast. I just pour it into a tumbler (my favorite is this Wow Wow Lemonade one I got in Hawaii) and run out the door!

    Go try it and let me know what you think! <3