How to throw a party

Alright, before we get into it, I feel like we need to set the scene.

College parties were pretty basic… Cram everyone into a house & drink. Or was that just SDSU?

Now that we’re in our 20s ( late 20s—GAH! ) parties are definitely a little different so these are my tips for throwing a party now that we’re a bit older.

Create a drink station

Is it ironic that this is tip #1? Let’s go with it…

If you’re serving alcohol, create a drink station so guests can make their own drinks. This makes it so much easier for you to mingle and for everyone to get a drink if they want one. No delays.

Even if you’re making drinks for friends / family everything is laid out so it’s much more efficient.

If you can, provide a few different types of alcohol, a bowl of ice ( with a large spoon or ladle ), mixers ( I always include Perrier or Pellegrino ), plastic cups, straws, & slices of lemon and / or lime—these also come in handy when you convince everyone to take shots with you ; )

( P.S. even if you’re not serving alcohol—I still recommending making a drink station without the alcohol, because it’s still very convenient & you can play around with it and make it cute )

Have a mix of healthy & not-so-healthy snacks ( it’s a party—live a little )

I like to offer a variety of snacks so everyone can find something to munch on ( hopefully! )

I usually put out fresh veggies and hummus, some fruit, and the usual chips / salsa / guac. Oh and cheese and crackers, and popcorn. And sometimes nuts. I sometimes go a little overboard.

Also, I love those spicy Takis chips so I usually get those too. I use it as an excuse to have a little bit of something I’d probably never keep in the house. They’re just so good. It’s a problem.

Remember the sweets

My friend Jodie was helping me prep for a surprise party earlier this year and she put out a couple bowls of candy and chocolate & I loved it—everyone loved it! So from now on I always put out bowls of candy and chocolate during parties. They look super cute in these Anthropologie bowls.

OCHO is my favorite right now & these bite-size, wrapped OCHO minis are perfect for parties.

They also have these egg-shaped ones right now that are perfect for Easter.

Cool little tip… Chill your OCHO’s in the fridge before the party ( & after, if there’s extras, but I doubt it… ) because it’ll keep the chocolate shiny and it just tastes really good chilled. Try it!

Have some finger foods you can pop into the oven

If there’s alcohol, you’re going to get hungry. And so will your guests.

Honestly, even if no one’s drinking—you’re going to want more than snacks after a few hours. That’s why late-night eating is a thing.

So plan in advance and get some frozen appetizers you can easily heat up in the oven after a couple hours.

If I’m hosting more than 10 people I like to pick them up from Costco. Otherwise, I usually pick them up from Trader Joe’s. I look for finger foods and make sure there’s a vegetarian / vegan option in the mix. Last time, I got dolmehs ( dolmas ), potato samosas, and orange chicken—we put toothpicks in the orange chicken to make it a finger food.

Play music

Obviously… No surprise here. I love playing music on our Amazon Tap. Easy peasy, and the sound is great.

Have some games

Am I a kid? Maybe? I love games. & apparently my friends & family do too, or I’m just really good at convincing them to play with me ; )

Some fun games to play after a few hours of mingling… Card games, Cards Against Humanity, Phrase Party ( download the app )… Anything you can play as a group that hopefully makes you laugh and get a little competitive… It’s all in fun.

Okay, these are my tips. What are yours? Tell, tell.

Chat soon!

<3,
Bita

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How to go from hike to dinner ( without taking a shower )

EEK, sometimes you gotta do it…

This past Valentine’s Day Arrash & I hiked Big Basin in Boulder Creek ( in Santa Cruz County ), & saw the “natural bridge” at the Natural Bridges State Beach.

& then we went straight to dinner.

Well, technically we stopped by a local restaurant for a drink and an app first, but the point is there was no time for a shower before our vday dinner.

Clearly, Arrash made the plans ; ) LOL

But really… That was part of the fun—hopping from one activity to the other, without spending too much time on hair & makeup.

It was refreshing.

& super exciting! ( it was mostly surprises )

So I had to figure out how to go from hiking to dinner at a restaurant without looking or feeling gross.

[ Arrash & I at the top of Big Basin ]

Here’s what worked for me…

If you’re going straight from hiking to dinner at a restaurant…

Bring these items with you:

  • Baby wipes to wipe your face ( & armpits, LOL, if you want to… Pretty sure I did )
  • Your makeup ( so you can apply fresh makeup before dinner )
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume ( a small bottle or rollerball )
  • A change of clothes for dinner… I recommend bringing a top that doesn’t cling too much and is sleeveless or has cap sleeves ( sleeves after a hike suck because you’re still warm & that can make you sticky… Or is that just me? ) I brought black skinny jeans that I could put on in the car and a vneck. Yes, we changed in the car… So stretchy jeans were KEY. For shoes I wore white Keds. I think going for a casual, effortless-but-cute look makes it SO much easier!

Also, remember to put on sunscreen—so important! 

If you can, choose a restaurant that’s not too fancy so you can get away with a casual look & be comfortable with it.

Avoid curls—choose a hairstyle you can’t mess up while hiking. I went with straight hair. Easy-peasy.

After the hike:

  1. Wipe your face & put on fresh makeup ( if you want to )—point is, don’t leave on old makeup or pile on more makeup without taking it off first. It’s not good for your skin since you’ve been sweating ( it’ll clog your pores ). And layering on more makeup never looks as good as a fresh face, don’t you think?
  2. Apply deodorant & perfume. I took my small perfume bottle but if you have a perfume rollerball that works too! I might do that next time.
  3. Put on your change of clothes & fricken enjoy that dinner. YOU EARNED IT! Have dessert too : ) I did!

Speaking of dinner & dessert… If you guys are in the Bay Area or planning a visit you HAVE to check out the restaurant we went to because I still day dream about the food. It was that good!

We went to Au Midi, a French restaurant in Aptos ( also in Santa Cruz County )

It’s kind of a hidden gem.

From the outside, you’d never know how amazing their food is. It’s drool worthy.

& the experience was perfect!

P.S. when we walked in we saw a lot of French people dinning there, which I always think is a good sign considering it’s a French restaurant. If you go to a Persian restaurant, for example, and there’s no Persian people there… You should find a different restaurant ; )

Here are a few snapshots of what we ate ( demolished )

[ Au Midi’s soup de jour ]

[ Au Midi’s Stuffed Zucchini & Sea Scallops entrees ]

[ Au Midi’s Bergamote dessert. OH MAN, this was good!!!! ]

We started with the soup de jour ( AMAZING! ), and then got two entrees to share ( so we could try more, hahaboth of them were delicious! ), and then we had dessert.

Oh, and we ordered a bottle of wine and some dessert wine, too, to pair with our dessert…

Does anyone else make noises when they eat something they really like? Because I do…

I’m kind of like Wally Mars ( played by Jason Bateman ) in The Switch.

& boy did I make noises eating that dessert… Not sorry about it : )

Okay, I’m off to shower. Chat soon!

<3,
Bita

[ Loved this wine! ]

“Hike to Dinner” vibes:

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Foods + drinks I always have in the house

Or at least I try to…

Sometimes I run out sooner than I expect.

But more often than not, you can find these foods & drinks in our house at all time, regardless of my food cravings or “food swings” ( LOL )

I’m VERY moody when it comes to food.

I get really into something and I’ll eat it day after day, meal after meal, and then, eventually, I’ll need a break so I won’t buy it for awhile.

I go through phases.

But THESE are my staples.

Most of these foods are nutrient dense, versatile and easy to enjoy.

They’re available & affordable year round, and stay fresh for a pretty long time—or they’re versatile enough that’s it’s easy to use them into different meals and recipes within their expiration date.

This list definitely helps me with grocery shopping & creating a healthy kitchen, so I’m hoping it helps you guys too! ( You can repin it here for convenience )

Okay, let’s dive in!

Perrier / Pellegrino

I’m OBSESSED with sparkling natural mineral water—& I like to drink it from a champagne flute as you might have heard ( LOL )

Personally, I prefer Perrier because it has larger bubbles, but I’m more than happy sipping either.

Also, there’s something super refreshing about having sparking natural mineral water at night or in the middle of the night when I wake up, which happens more often than I’d like, haha.

P.S. If you’re looking for a soda replacement, definitely try Perrier. It’ll make it easier to break the habit.

Coffee pods

Right now I’m obsessed with Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend—it’s a dark roast.

I have it every morning & I legit go to bed excited to wake up and have my coffee, through a stainless steel straw, of course ; ) It helps me avoid stains on my teeth & keeps my teeth white.

Coffee is also my favorite “pre-workout”. I have so much more energy when I workout after having coffee, than when I workout without it.

&… It keeps things regular.

You know you love coffee for that reason too, be honest.

Coconut creamer

All credits go to Arrash’s sister, Michelle, on this one!

Michelle ( Meesh ) introduced us to So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer and it is so, so good!! Definitely a big reason why I look forward to my morning coffee, and why I prefer having coffee at home.

I stick with Original to avoid “natural flavors”.

I avoid them because “natural flavors” can refer to so many different things & I’d rather take out the mystery when it comes to food ingredients.

Tea

Okay, so, lately I’ve been starting my day with coffee & ending it with tea—usually peppermint tea. There’s something therapeutic about it, for me—and it helps me wind down for bed. It kind of signals my body and brain that it’s had dinner & it’s done eating… Which keeps me from binging / constantly snacking before bed.

Sometimes I’ll have a cup or two during the day too.

Very Persian of me, right? My parents sip Persian tea all day & night.

Peppermint tea is non-caffeinated so I feel good about having it at night. Plus, it’s delicious.

I drink my tea from a stainless steel straw. Gotta keep those teeth white ; )

Coconut water

I use coconut water in homemade juices & smoothies so I try to buy this in bulk too.

I’ve also been drinking it straight since from the bottle ( LOL ) since I started drinking Harmless Harvest—it’s SO good, and naturally sweet ( & pink ), so you can treat it like dessert ; )

Though it’ll never replace chocolate… Scroll down, dark chocolate is on this list, too.

I feel like Harmless Harvest is the closest you can get to fresh coconut water from a bottle.

A fresh coconut on the beach is pretty damn good, too. It’s the BEST.

I also love coconut water because it provides potassium.

Eggs

I’m a big fan of eggs because they’re versatile, easy to cook and full of protein.

I’m very particular about my eggs. I buy Vital Farms pasture-raised organic eggs from Whole Foods because they’re organic and have one of the most humane practices I’ve seen when it comes to hens and eggs.

How I use them:

I like to make hard boil eggs a couple times a week and keep them in the fridge to have with my morning coffee and / or to eat as a snack during the day.

I also love a quick omelet with spinach and sometimes, mushrooms + onions.

I’ll eat the omelet on it’s own or I’ll add it to toast to make an open-faced sandwich… Quick lunch idea you can fall back on! You’ve seen me make this on Snapchat if you’re following along : ) ( add me—username: joyfetti )

Cuties

I eat these like chips. Really.

They’re so good, plus, they’re in season during the winter when most of the fruits I’m obsessed with ( like berries ) are not. So, I’ve been eating a lot of these, which doesn’t help with my tooth sensitivity, but it’s worth it, with semi-moderation.

Also, I’ll usually put them out in an Anthropologie bowl during dinner parties so people can snack on something healthy if they want.

Another Persian move… We always have fruit on the table.

Bananas

What is a smoothie without a banana?

Really though…

I tried to make a smoothie without a banana once ( because I ran out—GAH! ) and it was NOT good. It was gross.

I know you can make a smoothie taste good without a banana ( Google told me ), but for now, I’m happy plopping a banana into my smoothies at all times. YUM! Plus, bananas provide potassium and magnesium.

I also like topping them with peanut butter & cinnamon for a quick treat, or putting them on toast.

& I also eat them on their own…

And I feel like that quote “never make eye contact while eating a banana” was something I should’ve learned a long time ago. Whoops.

Same with lollipops…

I got weird looks when I was eating a lollipop in downtown Burlingame Avenue last month. Anyone else experience this?

Apples

Apples are a great staple. I use them in homemade juices, add them to salads, or slice them up and dip them in peanut or almond butter.

I also bite right into them —Adam & Eve style.

Apples are great when I need something sweet or crunchy, and they’re a good source of fiber and magnesium.

Lemons

Okay, lemons… I LOVE lemons! ( Oprah Winfrey Weight Watchers ad moment HAHA you know what I’m talking about? LOL, I LOVE her! )

I add lemons to soup ( usually bone broth ), homemade juices, fish, and a bunch of other recipes like this shrimp ceviche recipe I’m totally OBSESSED with!

I’m also planing to get back into drinking a glass of lemon water first thing in the morning… Anyone else doing this right now?

Read about the health benefits here.

Spinach

Spinach is SO versatile and full of nutrients like protein, calcium, iron and potassium.

I add it to omelets, pasta sauce, smoothies, homemade juices, yogurt ( after I cook the spinach ) and not surprisingly I use it as a base for salads, too.

Plus, you can freeze it if you buy too much, and can cook it / add it to the blender later, which is very convenient!

Frozen fruits

100% a staple! I buy these mostly for smoothies.

My favorites include strawberries, raspberries ( high in fiber ), blueberries, mango, pineapple, & peach. Berries are full of antioxidants and raspberries, in particular, are a good source of fiber.

Chia seeds

I add these to smoothies, my peanut butter, anything I can think of really… They have so many health benefits. They’re a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids & they provide a modest amount of protein as well!

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for optimal health & wellness, and they’re also anti-inflammatory.

Ground flax seeds

I love these for smoothies & peanut butter.

I get ground flax seeds because it’s easier to absorb the nutrients when they’re grounded vs. whole.

Like chia seeds, they’re a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids & provide a modest amount of protein.

Hemp seeds

I didn’t start eating hemp seeds until recently because compared to ground flax seeds and chia seeds they have more Omega-6 fatty acids ( which are pro-inflammatory ) than they do Omega-3 fatty acids, and it’s important to have a balanced ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 in our diets.

A 1:1 ratio is ideal, but most people today are getting a 16:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 so it’s important to incorporate more Omega-3 rich foods in our diet.

This balance is really important for overall health.

BUT ( !!! ), I started eating hemp seeds because they have more protein than chia & flax seeds & they taste SO GOOD!

If you like nutty flavors, you’ll love hemp seeds! I especially love them in my smoothies for an added crunch & nutty flavor.

Nuts

Nuts are great to snack on & they’re a great source of protein and healthy fats.

I usually get raw, unsalted almonds ( which also provide calcium & magnesium ) & slivered almonds, and sometimes walnuts ( a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids ) and cashews.

I’m also a big fan of sunflower seeds though I try to limit them because they’re high in Omega-6 fatty acids.

I like snacking on them, adding them to smoothie bowls, and sometimes, salads and yogurt.

Nut butter

Pure nut butter, without the shitty ingredients…

Trader Joe’s and Justin’s are good options for delicious and healthy nut butters. I’m a big fan of peanut butter & almond butter.

I dip apple slices in it, spread it on toast, and sometimes have it straight from a spoon.

I know you do too ; )

Plus, the dogs love peanut butter!

Bone broth

My mom’s been making us bone broth for as long as I can remember. It’s one of my favorite recipes of hers.

Being a chicken ( no pun intended ) and not wanting to making my own bone broth from scratch, I found some delicious store brands that aren’t full of junk and taste delicious with some added seasoning.

P.S. Seeing a pattern here? I always read ingredients.

My favorite brands right now are Epic Homestyle Savory Chicken Bone Broth ( made with organic chicken ), which is shelf stable, & Bonafide Provisions Organic Chicken Bone Broth, which is frozen ( I just defrost it in the fridge for 24 hours )

I heat it up with pepper, pink himalayan salt & chili flakes, pour it in a mug & add fresh squeezed lemon—SO YUM!

Protein / nutrition bars

I love having protein or nutrition bars on hand for a quick snack ( or dessert, if we’re avoiding cake ; ) ) so I buy these in bulk too!

My favorites right now are Larabar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Square Organics Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter.

What are your favorites? What should I try next?

Plant-based protein powders

I’m OBSESSED with Vega One—right now, we have the All-In-One Nutrition Shake in Natural and French Vanilla flavors, as well as the Vega Sport Performance Protein in Vanilla. I love that they’re protein based and taste amazing!

Dark chocolate chunks

So I have a sweet tooth…

I can limit my sugar intake and I’ve even gone months without dessert ( usually in preparation for a Vegas trip, LOL ) but I have low blood sugar so chocolate is basically my medicine ; )

I kid, kind of…

Sugar from fruits can help me from going dizzy when I’m low on sugar, but sometimes you just need some chocolate, you know? At least I do.

So I like to keep Whole Foods’ 365 Dark Chocolate Baking Chunks in the pantry. On a positive note, dark chocolate provides probiotics so it’s not only only good for your heart, it’s also good for your gut ; )

I add the chunks to my DIY goji berry trail mix and use them to make my chocolate covered almond haystacks—both of which I’ve made on Snapchat.

LMK if you want me to share these recipes on the blog?

& sometimes, I eat a few chunks from the bag : )

Dried fruit

If I need a quick treat… Something with natural sugar… I’ll reach for some dried fruit—usually dried apricot ( a good source of iron ), prunes or dried mango, without added sugar ( this is key! ) Fruit is naturally sweet, so there’s no need to add sugar. I also LOVE goji berries, which are a great source of antioxidants, and I’ll often add raisins ( & dried yogurt ) to my yogurt—raisins provide iron as well.

I always look for organic, unless it’s something with a think skin—like bananas & oranges.

Okay spill… What do you keep in your house at all times?

Would love to hear!

<3,
Bita

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Alone time

Do you guys ever eat lunch at a cafe or a restaurant, alone? How about dinner?

Not that long ago, this would be frightening. And super unpleasant. And awkward.

( for me )

But a few years ago I had an amazing brunch all by myself in Cleveland.

To be fair, I didn’t plan it.

I missed my flight home & I was hungry. LOL & to be 100% accurate—I slept through my flight.

So I tried to make the best out of a shitty situation.

I went downstairs to Urban Farmer ( I highly recommend it! ), sat down, alone—and had the most amazing brunch. I even learned how to make a Bloody Mary ( they had a DIY Bloody Mary bar )

& I actually enjoyed it.

I didn’t feel awkward. And trust me, this was VERY unusual for me. Normally I’d avoid sitting alone at all cost.

But instead, I ordered my favorite ( Eggs Benedict ), whipped out my notebook ( I went upstairs to get it—I was staying at Westin ) and used the time to “blog” in my notebook.

It felt amazing.

If eating alone at a restaurant scares you, try it.

Overcoming that fear felt so liberating, and while I’m not likely to make a reservation for one anytime soon, knowing I can sit down at my favorite restaurant and enjoy the experience all by myself ( because I’ve already done it ) feels weirdly freeing.

Which brings me to the topic of alone time…

If you asked me two years ago if I enjoy alone time, I’d probably laugh & tell you no… I’m actually 100% sure of it. And I’d tell you I’d much rather spend that time with someone else.

Wake up call ⇢ I love running. Alone.

Because it gives me time to disconnect—& reconnect, with myself.

Because I’m not trying to keep up with someone else’s pace and I’m just focusing on myself and the run.

I finally see how important it is. I benefit from the time I spend alone—& so do my relationships.

If we don’t spend time with ourselves how can we get to know ourselves? How can we stay in-tune with who we are and what matters to us?

I don’t know about you… But these things doesn’t just come to me.

I have to put in the effort & I have to tune out the noise to hear myself think.

For me, alone time is usually spent running outside, reading a book in bed, or jotting down my goals & priorities, & creating a game plan.

Realistically, alone time doesn’t have be eating alone in a public place.

It can be whatever YOU want it to be—whatever allows you to connect with yourself.

There’s nothing selfish or weird in doing that—it’s healthy & productive.

What do you guys think?

Do you carve out time to be alone? Would love to hear!

<3,
Bita

Alone time faves:

[ PC ]

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Mugs that say nice things

HI GUYS!

I’ve been working on a morning and nighttime routine for some time now ( probably over a year ) and I haven’t quite nailed it yet. LOL.

But something I’ve been really enjoying is starting my day with a small bite ( ideally 1-2 hard boiled eggs ) and hot coffee with coconut creamer—& ending it with peppermint tea.

So we go through our mugs pretty fast.

When I was putting together this round-up I came across these adorable mugs that say “love is love” all around the rim—I love them!

So I started looking for more mugs that say positive or flattering ( ‘babe‘ haha! ) messages & found these.

I think it’s fun because it helps start & end your day on a good note. You know? So here they are…

Because why not take a compliment from your mug? ; )

I love this because it has a “no excuses” kind of vibe. & btw, it’s on sale right now!

How cute is this? I’d much rather be sipping tea from a cup that says “happy” than a cup that says “I hate Mondays” LOL, that’s just me…

YES!! Love is love is love all the way! Love this message & the mug itself is super cute, too.

Have you guys seen any other mugs you love? Link to them below?

Also, what are your thoughts on morning / bedtime routines?

I’m always fascinated by what people do right when they wake up & before they go to bed. Would love to hear about your morning / bedtime routine if you have one.

Chat soon!

<3,
Bita

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Audrey Chaney on home design, building a business, and healthy habits

[ Audrey & her cutie pup, Ebi ( PC ) ]

HI GUYS!

I love collaborating and sharing knowledge, so when I came across Audrey Chaney and her company, Botanica Specialty Rentals, I instantly reached out to introduce myself and get to know her.

We jumped on a call shortly after and instantly clicked!

It was such a fun, natural conversation.

I was so impressed and inspired by her design sense, her launch and growth of her own company, and her overall outlook on life I HAD to have her on the blog.

I’m super excited to introduce you to Audrey!

Let’s dive in…

HI AUDREY! Please introduce yourself:

​Hi there!  I’m Audrey with Botanica Specialty Rentals. I’ve been in the design-world for over 15 years and have had Botanica for over 10 years now. I absolutely love running and operating a business within the creative field!

Can you tell us more about your company, Botanica Specialty Rentals?

We specialize in providing unique and one-of-a-kind rentals for weddings and events. From tabletop to lounge furniture and interesting decor items, we have a wide array of fun items to infuse some serious style into your next event.

[ Gorgeous Moroccan poofs! ( PC ) ]

I ABSOLUTELY love your design style! How would you describe it to us?

Thank you!  My style is eclectic; I enjoy pairing items that aesthetically compliment each other. ​​I love that our inventory makes spaces​ interesting ​and​ creates curiosity. Whether your next event is infused from styles of rustic nature, ballroom elegance, city industrial, vineyard romantic or eclectic boho, we have so many fun pieces to use!​

How has your style developed over time?

I was the child who moved her furniture around in her room, changed out her decor and ​painted her walls. I believe in developing your eye-for-design through practice, study and implementation. I’ve found the more I analyze my work and see what can be improved—whether that be a photo I may have stylized or seeing what gaps there are in our inventory, I am always trying to improve and expand what I can offer.

LET’S CHAT ABOUT DESIGNING A HOME…

How can someone communicate their personal style through their home? How should they get started? What are some easy tips & tricks you recommend?

The first step is to identify what you are drawn to.

Is there a particular style or feel you are trying to accomplish? Knowing this first is quite important in all of the other factors you will decide upon moving forward.

Secondly, what items are you working with?

Maybe you have a piece of furniture that has been handed down to you. How will you utilize this? Maybe the room is planned out from that one piece and built around it.

I recommend keeping your space functional so that it is easy to use for yourself and whomever you live with. You want the space to be a place you’ll enjoy spending time in.

Quick fixes and ways to liven up a room would include:

  • A fresh coat of paint
  • Repainting a furniture piece within the space
  • A new rug
  • Pillows and blankets are a great and inexpensive way to brighten up a space and add a new feel instantaneously
  • De-cluttering and removing items or hiding items rarely used can help make a space feel more open and airy

What if someone doesn’t know what their style is or they’re all over the place… How can they hone in on it?

​I suggest keeping things simple if you are just getting started.

There are so many great resources such as Pinterest and home design blogs. Study and see what you like and try to re-create a style you see for a coffee table for instance.

So, as you know… My boyfriend & I moved into our first place together semi-recently. What’s your #1 tip for making a new space feel more home-y?

​My recommendation would be to add a few plants into the space.

The green vibes bring the outdoors in and it’s something that is often overlooked, but makes a big impact on a space. I love plants!!

I also love adding personal touches, whether it be fun coffee table books that reflect your personality or cozy blankets and pillows that make your space inviting and a place where your friends and family will want to come hangout and enjoy a glass of wine. I’m all about entertaining… That’s what makes a house a home!

What about for making the most out of your space?

​Functionality and how you will use the space is always a topic that shouldn’t be overlooked.

You can have a picture perfect room, but if it doesn’t work for your needs, it’s useless.

It’s important to keep this in mind when selecting and designing your room layout, furniture, and finishing touches. After all, you’ll be living and using these spaces everyday!​

You mentioned you’re a “plant nerd”… Let’s get nerdy. What plants do you recommend for inside the home & why? ( I absolutely LOVE plants – indoor & outdoor! )

​Great question!

An easy rule of thumb for a “non-green-thumb” would be : Select plants with thicker, dark leaves.

Some of my favorite, easy to care for indoor plants are: Pothos plants, Dracaena, Ponytail palms and succulents are all great choices. If you have indoor pets, be sure you don’t select any poisonous plants. Most plants are noted at your home garden store if they are poisonous.

How do you figure out what to put up on the walls? Is this a weird question? LOL! Any tips here?

​Great question! It depends on your style; generally, for larger walls, I prefer a larger print or piece of artwork as it makes a bold statement. Too many items on your walls can make a space feel cluttered, so make sure you keep things simple when it comes to dressing up your walls.

[ Love the colors in the tablescape! ( PC ) ]

[ Similar peacock chair ( PC ) ]

What are some of your favorite places for getting home décor & furniture?

If you’re looking to shop retail and aren’t feeling like a seasoned designer, I suggest a design retailer like West Elm or World Market. You can rely on pieces that coordinate well together based on their store displays and staffing. If you’re more advanced, you can piece together items from many sources. I love a good bargain, so I love going to flea markets, shopping ​at discount stores, and shopping online.

OKAY, LET’S GET A LITTLE MORE PERSONAL…

It sounds like you’re an early riser ( I LOVE that! ) Do you have any tips for waking up early? We want to hear allllll of them! ; )

​Haha, yes! Getting to bed early is super important for me.

I love a routine and schedule and I personally need 8 hours of sleep to function optimally. I’ve heard limiting your caffeine ( though I don’t drink much ) to no later than the afternoon will also help your quality of sleep. I start my day off with a workout, and I’ve found that it’s much easier for me to get going in the morning if I’ve laid out my workout clothes the night before. It leaves me little time to search for socks and clothes to throw on and get straight to the gym. I’ll admit, it’s not always easy!

What do your mornings usually look like?

I get in a workout first thing, then shower and prep for work, eat breakfast​ and head to the office. I like to look at my schedule the night before and fine tune any timing and time blocks I have set for the following day so that I am ready to work and get things done when I get to work.

Since you love to run, are there any marathons or races you recommend?

I haven’t ran in any marathons, and I wouldn’t rule that out of ever accomplishing, but for now, I run shorter distances. : ) There are a lot of cool “themed” marathons that sound like they would be a blast!

What’s your favorite book? Or a book you read recently & LOVED?

My favorite book is The Alchemist. Though I normally read a lot of non-fiction, this book is a parable and I love the teachings within the story. I think I’ve listened to this on tape about 7 or so times, lol.

Favorite healthy recipe?

​I love brussel sprouts!  ​

Drink of choice?

​Water with lemon essential oil. This is always so refreshing!​

LET’S CHAT BUSINESS…

What inspired you to start your own business?

​I was inspired to start my own business from my passion for design and flowers.

What’s been your biggest challenge with your business thus far and how’d you overcome it?

​Growing the business and taking into consideration a framework and a system to have the business run with processes without my own involvement has been very challenging. Having a team you trust and can get the job done is so essential. Transitioning from working alone to teaching a team and providing the resources has been a great challenge, but an immeasurable necessity to get to where the business is now.

If you could give someone one tip before starting their own business, what would it be?

Be sure you are prepared to work harder than you ever have, face challenges like you’ve never faced and create something you can call your own.

[ This little cutie pie!! ( PC ) ]

+ Want more? Follow Audrey & Botanica on Instagram & check out her rental inventory here. I love her purple goblets, this coffee table, this pink bohemian rug & this teal bohemian rug ( love! )  

Cute finds with bohemian vibes:

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Lovey-dovey hearts

HI GUYS!!!

Happy ( almost ) Valentine’s Day!

Do you guys notice all the pinks, reds, and hearts in every store? LOL, it’s hard to miss.

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day I figured it’s the perfect time to share some lovey-dovey heart items with you.

Side note… Once, when I was living at home ( I think it was about 2 or 3 years ago ) my mom looked around at all the stuff I had around ( my laptop, my laptop case, all of Minty‘s things ) and said with such disgust ( & in Farsi ), “I think I’m going to puke if you bring one more pink thing into the house.”

LOL. Whoops! ; )

So, when it comes to furniture and home design I lean towards neutrals ( usually white )… But when it comes to things, I love pink & I love hearts. LOL. Am I 5? ; )

Alright, enough about me… Let’s get into these cuties!

Okay, so obviously I had to find us some PJs with hearts on them—so perfect for Valentine’s Day! 😍 If I’m splurging on PJs, it’s definitely for these.

These are basically the grown up, “I’m into fashion but I make own rules” version of those bright red, heart-shaped sunglasses we all wore when we were little. Remember those? Definitely another splurge, but I’m always down to window shop ; )

These mugs are adorable ( !!! ) & even better, I love their message—the inside says, “love is love is love” all around. So perfect for Valentine’s Day & really every day. Makes for a great gift idea too!

I’m OBSESSED with my bkr bottles—& you most likely already know this. This one is especially great for Valentine’s Day. I also love this black / copper one & this baby pink / silver one. Super cute!

Okay, so I’m a big fan of writing things down on paper so I’m always kind of on the hunt for cute notebooks. This one is fun & personal because they print your name & initials on it, which I love. Also, Minted has great products. I love their quality.

ban.do is SO MUCH fun—this is the perfect dish to have on your nightstand. Doesn’t it just make you smile? : )

These pens are great! They’re cute but practical & also look great on Instagram ( let’s be real, that’s part of their appeal ; ) LOL ) But really, they’re great pens—I love writing with them.

Okay, how are you guys getting ready for Valentine’s Day?

If you’re looking for a quick and easy VDAY recipe ( something sweet ), definitely try these chocolate covered strawberries. They’re delicious & VERY easy to make.

<3,
Bita

More lovey-dovey hearts:

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Sunday Splash: a Sunday in ( kind of )

HI GUYS!

Who’s ready for Monday?

For once ( LOL ), I’m actually ready. We didn’t have any plans today, other than hiking in the morning, so I flowed through my day pretty relaxed and got to most the things I needed to get to, to get ready for the week.

For me, some of those things include having clean clothes ( LOL reasonable right? ), stocking the fridge / getting groceries, working out & let’s get sappy for a moment… Spending time with Arrash ; ) Sappy, but true.

[ My favorite creamer—I stalked up on this yumminess at Whole Foods today. Stainless steel straw is from Bed Bath & Beyond. I love them! ]

[ bkr bottle ( similar ) + Kayla Itsines foam roller ]

It’s super basic, but I feel like if I relaxed, exercised, stocked the fridge & washed my clothes… I’m ready to start the workweek.

What about you? How do you usually spend your Sundays?

<3,
Bita

[ If you’re following on Snapchat or Instagram you know I’m obsessed with this smoothie bowl recipe! Just blend 1 banana, frozen pineapple + mango & ZICO coconut water. ]

Shop my faves:

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Podcasts I’m loving right now

HI GUYS!

Switching gears from the other day—I want to share some of my favorite podcasts with you.

These are podcasts I’ve been listening to for months now & am still obsessed with!

Full disclosure… I discovered Tony Robbins’ podcast about a month ago. But before that I was constantly listening to his YouTube videos—so there’s that ; ) I’m really glad he has a podcast—he’s so good!

Here’s a quick blurb about each podcast & why I enjoy it so much:

  • WHAT IT IS: Shopify Masters provides the knowledge and inspiration you need to build, launch and grow a profitable online store. Join host Felix Thea each week as he interviews successful ecommerce entrepreneurs and unpacks how they’re building businesses that allow them to live the life they want.”
  • WHY I LOVE IT: I love learning about ecommerce and how these brands built their online businesses. Also, the host of the podcast, Felix, asks really great questions so I get a lot info & great insight from each episode. He’s an awesome interviewer!

  • WHAT IT IS: “‘Why live an ordinary life, when you can live an extraordinary one?’ Tony Robbins, the #1 Life and Business Strategist, has helped over 50 million people from 100 countries create real and lasting change in their lives. In this podcast, he shares proven strategies and tactics so you, too, can achieve massive results in your business, relationships, health and finances. In addition to excerpts from his signature events and other exclusive, never-before-released audio content, Tony and his team also conduct deeply insightful interviews with the most prominent masterminds and experts on the global stage”
  • WHY I LOVE IT: I love the way I feel after listening to Tony Robbins—I feel motivated, determined and so much more energized, and I LOVE learning about his strategies! He does a really great job communicating them in a constructive, positive way.

  • WHAT IT IS: “On each episode, Nasty Gal founder and author of #Girlboss Sophia Amoruso interviews world-class girlbosses who have made their mark in creative, cultural, and business ventures to extract solid advice from the lessons they’ve learned along the way.”
  • WHY I LOVE IT: I love hearing about the guests’ first job. This is a question Sophia asks every guest in the beginning of the episode & it’s always super interesting to hear. I also enjoy hearing their story about how they got to where they are professionally, and their Girlboss Moment. I love the overall vibe that Sophia brings to the podcast and the conversations she has with the guests. The guests are awesome! ( Heads up, Girlboss Radio is “on hiatus” until March since they’re working on the Girlboss Rally )

  • WHAT IT IS: “The Art of Charm Podcast is where self-motivated guys and gals, just like you, come to learn from a diverse mix of experienced mentors, including the world’s best professional and academic minds, scientists, relationship experts, entrepreneurs, bestselling authors, and other badasses.”
  • WHY I LOVE IT: I like the variety of topics on the podcast. I also love that it’s focused on growth, and that a lot of the content is backed by science and psychology.

I usually listen to podcasts when I’m driving or while I’m doing something routine… For example: doing dishes, cleaning the house, folding laundry, showering, doing my makeup, straightening or curling my hair, doing my nails, walking Minty, stretching, cooking, etc… You get it : )

Since doing dishes, cooking & showering are all pretty loud, I connect my phone’s bluetooth to our Amazon Tap so I can play the podcast louder & hear it more clearly—I love Amazon Tap for music too! It’s really good!

Okay, spill… What are your favorite podcasts?

<3,
Bita

Shop accessories:

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It’s okay to get political.

[ This little boy’s ball says “BE KIND TO ALL” ]

I don’t even know where to start…

But I’ll start with what I saw today.

I went to SFO to protest against Trump’s unlawful, ill-advised ban against refugees and citizens of 7 primarily Muslim countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran ( where my family & I are from ), Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

[ The lawyers were working behind this post ]

This is what I saw:

+ I saw a mother protesting with her kids—her toddler by her side and her baby in a stroller—and each of them had a poster. The baby’s poster was the size of a flashcard.

+  I saw HUGE crowds on both the 2nd and 3rd floor of International Arrival with people of all ages, and religious and cultural backgrounds—not just Middle Easterns—protesting against the ban. It was beautiful.

+ I saw so many signs that said “Jews for Muslims”.

+ I saw protestors wave the American flag and the Iranian lion flag.

+ I saw tons of lawyers helping… They had name tag stickers on their shirts that said “Lawyer”. There was an area on the 2nd floor next to the protestors where they were working to get the people released—many of them had their laptops out ( they looked very busy ).

[ One of the many areas where people donated food and drinks for protestors ]

+ I saw multiple areas with donated food and water for protestors. People would go around the crowd passing out water bottles to anyone who was thirsty.

+ I saw LOVE and UNITY.

That’s also what I heard and felt.

The crowds were loud and passionate and peaceful and loving all at the same time.

There were drums and music, and even a Chinese dragon dance.

We chanted:

+ “We are people, we are not illegal.”
+ “The people united will never be divided.”
+ “Let the families out. Let the lawyers in.”
+ “All the walls have got to go from Palestine to Mexico.”
+ “No ban, no wall.”
+ “You come for one, you come for all.”
+ “Tell me what America looks like. This is what America looks like!”

& “Move Trump. Get out the way. Get out the way, Trump. Get out the way.”

[ Artist, Naomi Alessandra, created these incredible signs to bring awareness to who this ban is actually keeping out. Read about Samira’s story here & follow her on Twitter for updates ]

[ Award-winning Iranian filmmaker, Asghar Farhadi, who delivered this beautiful acceptance speech at the 2012 Oscars wrote this statement about the ban ]

If you don’t know who these people are who are being detained at airports or on the way to the U.S. I encourage you to learn about them with me.

Learn about Samira Asgari, a research scientist who was moving from Switzerland to Boston to start her post-doctoral fellowship at a Harvard Medical School laboratory. She was stopped from boarding her connecting flight into Boston.

Learn about Marzieh Moosavizadeh, a 75-year-old grandmother who’s held a green card since 1997 ( 21 years! ) and visits her family in the U.S. almost every year. She was detained at LAX.

Learn about the 5-year-old boy—an AMERICAN CITIZEN and Maryland resident—who was detained for 4 hours at Dulles airport.

Learn about these people and their stories so when someone says this is a ban against terrorists you can say, confidently:

No, this is NOT a ban against terrorists. This is a ban against Muslims. This is a ban against humanity. 

If you’ve read articles about other people who are being wrongfully detained or are unable to travel to the U.S. with their green cards or visas, please link to those articles below. Or if you’d like to share your personal story with the community, please share your experience with us below. We want to hear from you. 

Last week, on Saturday, January 21, I participated in the Women’s March in San Francisco and that too was incredible.

It was my first march and it meant so much to me for so many different reasons.

It’s amazing to see all these important issues… Women’s rights ( which are human rights! ), LGBTQ rights, immigration, education, the prison system, the Black Lives Matter movement, the environment and so much more… All come together into one, united, powerful movement.

If you’re feeling down… If you’re angry… If you feel helpless… Go to a peaceful protest. Your presence makes a difference.

You CAN make a difference.

Whether you choose to write, protest ( I highly recommend it! ), create art, sing, donate your time and / or skills—you’re making a difference.

Thank you to everyone who stood with me and continues to stand for what’s right.

<3,
Bita

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