The California Lookbook

VTNF Picks


After five days, I am quite taken with California.

I will not be moving here, mostly because there is not enough St. John’s Wort or diet spiked seltzer in the world to correct my well-ingrained, East Coast neurosis, and I’d hate to ruin a good thing for everyone else. That said, the western seaboard does require a type of nonchalant presentation even of its visitors — one that does not often come naturally to those of us who spend the better part of the year either shivering under or sweating through a Brooks Brothers blazer. Where DC and its urban counterparts are stylistically stark and deliberate, the LA area’s cliff- and palm-strewn beaches shape style choices that are a little blurred and less contrived, like an off-the-cuff Instagram you Facetuned but didn’t filter.

While traveling, I like to collect little outfit trinkets from the people I encounter. I think of them as mental souvenirs I can use to adjust or expand my style perspective moving forward — like I’m a sartorial anthropologist except with a lot more creepy staring.  Lucky for me, we were fortunate enough to encounter a wedding cocktail hour at the bar we were visiting in Santa Monica, which proceeded to yield the hottest group of homegrown West Coasters the world has ever known. It’s not often you get to outfit creep on a bunch of locals looking their best, and you better believe I went all in. Bright colors, big earrings and layers of patterns soon surrounded us, in a way that managed to avoid the showiness that often accompanies over-accessorizing.  

You can tell that setting is a major consideration for Californians, and it was as if each color was chosen to complement the sunset, each turquoise cuff was selected to accent its owner’s fresh glass of Simi Char, and every shoe choice to gracefully challenge the textures and patterns already at play, uneager to simply blend in. In LA, sunglasses are upgraded from omnipresent prop to supporting character, with many pairs serving a statement all their own — think ardent tortoise cat eyes and geometrically progressive aviators. Hemlines ranged from can’t-bend-over to dragging-through-the-sand, and yet no one looked overdressed.

Overall, the micro styling decisions of Californians seem to mirror one macro philosophy; “We care, just not as much as you do.” Point taken. 

One more thing to note: California gets cold at night!!!! While our fair swamp clings to the heat of the sun in diligent preparation for a sporadic Ice Age, California cools almost immediately after sunset. I think there’s a metaphor in there somewhere. 

Lookbook theme: small budget, big earrings. At best it will inspire, at worst it will help you kill three more minutes at work. XXOX



Similar overalls // Tortoise Sunnies // Similar earrings // Bandana
Floral Gaucho Jumpsuit // Mules
J. Crew Tortoiseshell Earrings
Las Brisas // Laguna Beach


Tortoise Sunnies // Gabby (NOT FOR SALE)
The Bungalow // Santa Monica
Eyelet Dress


White peplum top // Favorite white jeans // Similar Earrings
Fred’s // Huntington Beach

FullSizeRender (12)

Dress // Nude Slides
Pier // Newport Beach


Striped One-Piece Suit


Eyelet Dress


Floral Gaucho Jumpsuit // Tortoise Sunnies


Celebrate the Blossoms with a Booze-Infused Layered Cherry Tart

Food + Recipes, VTNF Picks

The cherry blossoms are allegedly blooming this weekend, which, apparently, is a horticultural phenomenon ripe with controversy. I can think of about 9,000 other controversial topics our time may be better spent pondering, but I suppose in a city of nerds, peaking early is something with which we are not accustomed. 

For our intents and purpose, an early bloom is great, because we now have a few more weeks to enjoy this booze-infused cherry layer tart without the Memorial Day Weekend calendar square peering over us judgmentally. So, pull up a seat and prepare for a layered dessert that brings a tidal of flavor (with no trip to the Tidal Basin required.) 

This recipe yields two dessert jars. 

What You’ll Need 

cherry-blossom.png 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen cherries. 

 cherry-blossom.png 3/4 cup of cherry pie filling

cherry-blossom.png One cup of heavy cream.

cherry-blossom.png One or two tablespoons of Maraska Maraschino Cherry Liqueur.

cherry-blossom.png Two dark chocolate Hershey’s bars. (Three if you know you’re probably going to eat one on the way home.)

cherry-blossom.png Two tablespoons of shredded coconut

cherry-blossom.png One pre-made graham cracker crust. 

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The Moves 

Booze-Infused Whipped Cream 

x1f352.png.pagespeed.ic.-ZRiMmAyar.png Start by beating 1 cup heavy cream in a large mixing bowl until ~*soft peaks*~ form with a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or your arm and a whisk if you’re looking to add an element of drama. 

x1f352.png.pagespeed.ic.-ZRiMmAyar.pngAdd a generous tablespoon of Maraska Maraschino Cherry Liqueur and gently fold in and taste. Feel free to add more liquor if you like, party girl, but only if you plan on enjoying it in bed — this stuff is strong! 

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Layered Cherry Tart

x1f352.png.pagespeed.ic.-ZRiMmAyar.png Once your frozen cherries are thawed, combine your cherry pie filling and halved cherries together. You should prepare about a cup and half. Bonus points if you let your cherries soak in liquor overnight! (Apparently, rum is the best for this.) 

x1f352.png.pagespeed.ic.-ZRiMmAyar.png After that’s finished, put your Hershey’s bars in a Ziplock bag and crush them into pieces with something heavy. Again, you could just buy pre-made dark chocolate morsels, but I like to ham up the drama when I cook so I can use my hard work as leverage against my boyfriend during our next argument. 

x1f352.png.pagespeed.ic.-ZRiMmAyar.png While you’re at it, smash up that pie crust, too. From there, put the chocolate morsels, broken-up pie crust, and shredded coconut into a Pam-sprayed pan and heat on low until the chocolate gets gooey. 

x1f352.png.pagespeed.ic.-ZRiMmAyar.png While that’s cooking, start by adding a bottom layer of cherry mix to the jar. 

x1f352.png.pagespeed.ic.-ZRiMmAyar.png Next, add your boozy whipped cream, which can be transferred by spoon or turkey baster if you’re concerned about #aesthetics. 

x1f352.png.pagespeed.ic.-ZRiMmAyar.png From there, add your warmed pie crumbled-chocolate-coconut concoction as the next layer.

x1f352.png.pagespeed.ic.-ZRiMmAyar.png Repeat the process until your jar is full. Feel free to take some creative liberties on the proportions of the layers — there’s literally nothing that isn’t delicious in this dessert. A bigger mason jar will hold about six or seven layers, and this recipe makes enough for two jars. 

x1f352.png.pagespeed.ic.-ZRiMmAyar.png Nuke your masterpiece for 10-20 seconds, top it with some leftover chocolate or coconut, and enjoy something cherry in the comfort of your very own, tourist-free home. 

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