Best Carry On Ever

by Koko on January 22, 2013 · 6 comments

in Review, Travel


I asked for the Lo & Sons “OG” bag for Christmas and Q, being the sweetest fiancee ever, bought it for me. My first trip with my new carry on was a big one: I was going to take it to Paris, San Francisco and finally LA over a 2 week span. Packing for international travel is tougher than a quick jaunt to LA for the weekend. I had to be prepared for a 15-hour travel day and have everything I would need on hand. And this bag did not disappoint. It has compartments for everything including a padded one for my computer and a separate zipped area for travel shoes. I LOVE that everything had it’s own little spot and I knew exactly where I could find it all.


It’s SO light, waterproof and durable, I had this pup loaded up with my goodies and it held up perfectly. And it looks good! I got the all black with silver hardware and think it is super chic. Those two zippers at the bottom open up so your bag can hook onto a rollie suitcase (genius design feature).


And here are my travel essentials that fit inside!


Neck Pillow:  I’m not going to lie, I stole this from Q on our last flight after seeing how cozy it looked. This is the best thing for sleeping on a plane and not having your head bounce around.

Scarf: Stella & Dot, this is a great in-flight blanket and it’s cute for travel days!

Accessories: I always take a face cream for my dried out skin, hand lotion and hand sanitizer!

Tech Gear: My Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Headphones are the best purchase for traveling. Yes they are pricey ($300), but they make being on an airplane with kids/people talking a breeze. They cancel out the noise and make listening to music amazing. My iPad and computer are also travel staples. Reading with my kindle app on my iPad and being able to watch DVDs on my computer make long flights fly by.

Snacks: I don’t like getting hangry (that place where hungry and angry meet), so I always carry a snack with me. Think Thin bars are some of my favorites.

DVD: The Good Wife is addicting. Q and I can’t get enough. Seriously watch it.


So if you couldn’t tell, I adore this bag. It was pricey for a carry on, but SO worth it. I can see myself using this bag for years to come and for other things besides travel like going to the gym. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Lo & Sons makes a smaller size carry on, if this one seems like too much called “The OMG” and also some other amazing bags on the website!

*I wasn’t paid or given the bag for free, I just loved it so much that I wanted to share it with you!

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Fancy Food Show

by Koko on January 21, 2013 · 6 comments

in Review, Travel

WOW. That’s all I can say. The Winter Fancy Food Show is a once in a lifetime experience. To put it simply, the Fancy Food Show is where products, new and old, are displayed for attendees (retailers, caterers, manufacturers, chefs, etc.) to purchase and become informed. Many of the exhibitors are looking for placement in retail stores and distributors, so they are SO friendly and pushing their products on you. Products range from chocolates to teas to gum to dried fruit to waters to sushi to spices, I mean everything!!!! The convention hall is filled with over 260,000 products and 17,000 attendees. And every booth is encouraging you to try their product with samples. I’ve never eaten so many different foods in one day in my life.

fancy1Literally full size samples EVERYWHERE! Full Fage (greek yogurt)? Yes please! Pastries galore!!

IMG_6540Me and Aunt Pat and the Jelly Belly mascot!


Olive bar, brownie bites, full size spice grinders and petit fours for tasting!


San Marzano display, a full frozen yogurt station, watermelon decorations and an enormous Walker’s Shortbread area.


In the Canadian food section, I found a Royal Canadian Policeman.

This was just a small, minuscule taste of the craziness that was Fancy Food. I feel “fooded” out and as much fun as it was, I couldn’t wait to get home! My mom and I flew home this morning and have spent the day recovering, unpacking from 12 days on the road and playing with the pups! It feels amazing to be home.


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The Best Of… LA

by Koko on August 14, 2012 · 4 comments

in Best Of, Restaurants, Review, Shopping

Since this is my last night as a Los Angeles resident (I guess that makes me an Angeleno, but I never liked the word), I thought I would share my favorite LA spots with you. Born and raised here, I have 27 years of knowledge on my side and like to think I’ve truly experienced Los Angeles.

1. Best Hiking – Runyan Canyon: I know it’s overly hyped and everyone tells you to go there, but for a hiker and dog walker I find this neighborhood hike the BEST. There are three different routes (easy (all concrete), medium (10 minutes of intense uphill) and hard (ridgetop) and it has the best people (and dog) watching around. This is a weekly go to of mine for an outdoor exercise.

2. Best Seafood – Son of A Gun: Last night my girlfriends and I went to Son of A Gun for my goodbye meal and I only wish I had gone here every week for a year before this. From the owners of Animal (they do crazy things with meat), this mainly fish restaurant serves some of the best food I’ve had. From lobster rolls to fried chicken sandwiches to oysters and linguini with clams, I didn’t taste a bad dish.

3. Best Produce Shopping – The Hollywood Farmers’ Market: For a foodie and cook, this is my favorite market ever. The variety of stalls and types of produce you can get is unmatched by anywhere I’ve ever been. We get our fresh fish from there every week as well as 90% of the produce we eat (the other 10 is normally offseason).  This is one of the things I will miss most about not being in LA.

4. Best Workout – Dove’s Bodies: During the week, I worked out at Equinox in West Hollywood (a dream gym), but on Saturdays I stepped out of my usual schedule (spinning, sculpt, swim) and took this boot camp. My mom has been going to Dove’s for 20 years…and Dove has only gotten better with time. 75 minutes of cardio/weights/lunges/jumping rope/abs and everything in between. It leaves you breathless and sweaty. An AMAZING workout (and worth the schlep to the valley).

5. Best Brunch Spot – Luna Park and CheeboLuna Park has the more funky brunch choices and is located on La Brea and Wilshire, which is more south than I usually travel for brunch (who wants to drive 20 minutes when you are hungover and in need of some grease?), but we make the trek for the bloody marys and greasy brunch options. My favorite are the chilequiles (tortilla chips, eggs, cheese, chorizo). Another favorite brunch spot (and convienetly located 10 minutes from my house) is Cheebo. Healthier options, good atmosphere, great Arnold Palmers. My go to here is the fried egg sandwich (ciabatta, fried eggs, lettuce, tomato, a little aioli).

6. Best Sandwiches – Mendocino Farms and Larchmont Wine and Cheese (tie): Mendocino Farms quickly rose to the top of my all time favorite sandwich restaurants in the best year when it opened a location on Fairfax and 3rd Street. Their sandwiches are pretty much perfect- the sandwich combinations are right on (turkey, avocado, salsa), the staff there is superb and the location is ideal. Larchmont Wine and Cheese has a list of 6 sandwiches (think turkey, caprese, tuna, or salami) and they recommend you get them loaded (garlic aioli and olive oil and balsamic). They are classic sandwiches served on fresh out of the oven baguette and are truly mouth watering. The line can get a little long on weekends (only two sandwich makers), but it is well worth the wait.

7. Best Cupcakes – Sprinkles: You just can’t beat this cupcake. There is a reason the line is always out the door, they are that good. I recommend going online to pre-order or to see what flavor cupcakes are baking that day (the salted carmel is a favorite).

8. Best Shopping- The Grove: If you can’t tell, I’m a J. Crew girl through and through, so for me The Grove is a one-stop-shop. I head over to J. Crew to gather my essentials, get some basics at Gap and if I’m feeling like spending money head to Nordstrom’s. There’s a Sur La Table for my baking/cooking needs and a TopShop is opening in the next few months (think Forever21 but a little cooler and pricier) for my trendier needs. And if you spend over $250 in one day, you get free valet (let’s not discuss how many times this has happened to me…).

9. Best Outdoorsy Store – REI: This is much more Q’s expertise than mine (can you tell I’m not outdoorsy just because I used the word outdoorsy?), but REI is the best place for camping/fishing/hiking/skiing gear, basically all things Alaska. Before my first trip up to Alaska (and before I knew what to expect), I headed into REI and bought Sorels (big 10 pound waterproof boots that have been worn once), Merril hiking boots (to my fashionistas, just turn your eyes away), a fleece (lifesaver) and some socks that cause my feet to be a size larger than usual in shoes. But I wouldn’t have been able to find this stuff anywhere else (and I am reassured that when it is -40 I am going to want those socks and ugly shoes). Also when Q was deployed and needed some goods (foldable coffee filter/coffee mug/small pillow), this was my first stop. The customer service is superb also.

10. Best Restaurant (General) – Mercato di Vetro: I have to give it to them, although the customer service can be iffy (especially on a Friday or Saturday night), the food makes up for it. If I haven’t been here in a while, I miss the food. Mercato serves fresh, but comforting food. Think kale pizza, burrata with grapes and balsamic, mussels and fresh bread. The cocktails are good too (and make the wait on a Friday night a little more bearable).

So that’s all folks. Tomorrow I’m hopping on a plane up to Alaska to start the next chapter! I can’t wait to tell you all about the adventures this LA girl has in the last frontier!

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by Koko on July 22, 2012 · 2 comments

in Restaurants, Review, Weekend

 On Friday, my parents and I went to dinner at Papilles, a small French bistro in Hollywood. The restaurant seats 30, has an open kitchen and their wine list  equals a wall with a rack of wines. Since there is no wine menu, you just tell the waiter what you like and he goes to the wall and brings what he thinks you will like back. The food is prix fixe. You pick between two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts. The choices were a simple soup or salad to begin and then salmon or steak for your main. Dessert was a choice between a chocolate pot de creme and cheese. We all had salad and then my mom had steak and my dad and I had salmon. The food was incredible and the service was amazing. I loved the feel of the small neighborhood restaurant and as a family we promised to come back again.

Saturday was a pool day.

And a shopping day. I told Q that J. Crew was having a sale and since I’m trying to not spend so much on myself, I might as well buy him some stuff. 40% off sale items = $20 per shirt. I couldn’t hold back.

And then a sushi night. My girlfriends and I went to Sugarfish, our favorite sushi restaurant in Brentwood. For $30 you get 6 courses of sushi. Yes please.

My mom is the green thumb of our family. This is the fourth haul of tomatoes from her summer garden. She just planted the second round of plants. We are so lucky. Caprese pasta here I come.

We went to the market and picked up some small guys too.

And then made tuna salad with fresh ahi from the market, avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers and a little sesame oil and soy sauce. Amazing.

And tonight is The Dark Knight! SOOO excited.

PS don’t forget to enter my Chanel number 5 giveaway!

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