Five Senses


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Today we’re sharing with you all the fun things we that we’re currently experiencing with our senses.


Hearing…Kenny Chesney song, “Setting the World on Fire.” My daughter and I sing it in harmony in the car every morning.

Watching…the political circus and excited that it’s almost time to vote.

Smelling…The linger of homemade pizza.

Feeling…excited about tonight’s football game and nervous about Saturday’s Dodger game. Bring on the Reign!

Tasting…Trader Joe’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes. They only come around this time of the year and I hoard them.


Hearing…”Keepin’ It 1600” – my favorite political podcast hosted by hilarious and whip smart Jon Favreau and Daniel Pfeiffer.

WatchingHow to Get Away with Murder which has been especially good so far this season.

Smelling…Narcisco Rodriguez For Her Perfume – just got the rollerball version from Sephora.

Feeling…utterly exhausted to the bone. You know, that level of tired where you feel like you may puke at any given moment if you don’t have a nap? Between being crazy busy at work, non-stop touring/interviewing/play dating elementary schools for our son, prepping our house to go on the market next week, looking for a new home and this psychotic election season that will never end, I NEED A VACATION BADLY. LIKE BAAAADLY. Or wine. Wine is good too.

Tasting…the homemade taco salad I just made us for dinner. Ole!


Hearing…Ingrid Michaelson’s new CD and gearing up for the concert next week.

WatchingSurvivor, The Good Place, Big Bang Theory and Parenthood. On rotation.

Smelling…my lavender body lotion from All Good. O. M. G. I use it for my hands and the smell is so amazing. The lavender smell makes me feel immediately transported to a spa. Aaaaaahhhh!

Feeling…so happy to have shared a wonderful catch-up phone convo with my best friend, Shay, in Seattle. Close to 30 years of friendship and still going strong.

Tasting…a refreshing glass of raspberry-flavored water. The heat and high-winds have made me mighty thirsty!

20 Questions: Fall Edition



Fairmont Lake Louise

I love watching Vogue’s “73 Questions” video segments. I recently watched this latest version with Emma Stone and it inspired me to do my own, 20 Questions-version, fall edition.

Starbucks or Coffee Bean’s pumpkin spice latte? Coffee Bean.
Fall fashion item currently coveting? Hunter rain boots.
Pumpkin bread or pumpkin Pop Tarts? Starbucks pumpkin loaf.
Favorite Halloween candy? Mini Twix bars.
Must have fall beauty product? Burt’s Bees Lip Balm.
Movie you’re looking forward to seeing? Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
What is your favorite game night game? Continental. A card game my family plays.
Next book on my fall reading list? Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
One thing you need to have on a road trip? A great playlist on my iPhone.
Favorite fall exercise activity? Yoga.
If you could have a glass of wine with someone from the past, who would it be? Lucille Ball.
When was the last time you cried? Yesterday, during an episode of Parenthood…again.
Favorite holiday? Christmas
Sweaters or scarves? Cozy sweaters.
What’s the last thing you bought? The softest, comfiest after-shower robe.
On your fall travel bucket list? Fairmont Lake Louise.
Fall handbag must-have? Hand lotion.
What’s on your calendar for next week? Going to the Ingrid Michaelson concert at the Ace Hotel with my sister and having a drink on the rooftop bar.
What signifies the start of fall for you? There’s a slight change in the air, almost a smell of the beginning of crisp weather. That, and all the pumpkins!
What are you most excited about these days? Celebrating all the fall birthdays and holidays with my family and friends.

Pumpkin Spice It Like a Boss



If aliens land on earth tomorrow, they’ll assume we humans use pumpkin spice as our only form of sustenance based on the ridiculous amount of products available in stores right now. (They’ll also probe Donald Trump during their visit – obviously.)

With such an insane selection of pumpkin spice yumminess to choose from, where do you start? Well, my friends, I heard your cries for help and have carefully curated a list of 11 pumpkin picks you never knew you needed…until now:

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios
Cheerios are good. Honey Nut Cheerios are better. But Pumpkin Spice Cheerios are a whole other level. Stock up on boxes while they last.

Trader Joe’s Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Think pumpkin-spiced shortbread cookies with a white icing frosting. These will go great with a hot cup of tea and Jennifer Weiner’s new book Hungry Heart.

Thomas Pumpkin Spice Bagels
Delish with real butter. Even tastier with a nice schmear of cream cheese and a lazy Sunday morning in bed reading the New York Times.

Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
Perfect for football season as you cheer on the Dallas Cowboys or LA Rams. After all,  those are the only two teams worth rooting for.

Quaker Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
A cozy and quick breakfast before you head out the door to work and take over the world!

Trader Joe’s Fall Harvest Salsa
Pumpkin, apples and butternut squash may not immediately sound good as a salsa. But believe me, it’s to-die-for.

KIND Caramel Almond Pumpkin Spice Bar
I love KIND bars because they are low in sugar and this limited edition fall version does not disappoint. No siree Bob.

Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts
Crisp fall mornings are the perfect time to recapture the bliss of childhood. Throw on some feety jammies, turn on Goonies and toss a couple Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts in the toaster. Instant time machine back to simpler days.

Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice Coffee
Bonus points for sipping a cup with a small box of DD Munchkins.

Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Caramel Squares
Put an interesting fall twist on your next s’mores campfire. Nom, nom, nom…

What are your favorite pumpkin spice go-tos? We’re always looking for more to add to the list!

photo credit: Look Human





Fall Favorites



Fall is all about comfort and warmth. This season makes my senses happy. The stunning color palette, the crisp air, the amazing flavors, it’s all lovely. Here are some of the things I am looking forward to this fall

Getting all of those college applications in. It’s been a mix of emotions as my son applies for college. So many choices. This past weekend my husband took him to tour two out of state colleges. The thought that this time next year he could be living away from home is exciting and sad at the same time. (And I wrote all of that without crying, yeah me!)

Wearing boots and sweaters. I know we don’t really have seasons in California but it will get cold cooler over the next few months. So I have my boots and light sweaters ready to wear. I’m adding this sweater from Loft and some ankle boots to my wardrobe this year.

Decorating with pumpkins. The kids will be carving theirs later this month but I will be decorating mine.  I saw this one and can’t wait to give it a try.

I’ll be drinking lots of coffee and tea this fall.  I usually have one cup of coffee a day but as we fall backwards and it gets darker earlier I always crave a hot cup of something in the late afternoon; tea, hot cocoa or cider.  I’m looking to add another mug to my collection and think this one from anthropologie would be a perfect addition.

Baking is a fun fall activity. I love making bread, pies and cookies to have with tea in the afternoon. This recipe for pumpkin cheesecake muffins is top of my list to make. But I’ll have to give them away soon after baking.

Candy apples. Caramel, chocolate and granny smith apples are my jam. I have a friend who makes THE BEST caramel apples for our fall festival. Definitely something to look forward to. But I will try making these caramel apple slices to enjoy more often.

Candy corn!

I always look forward to the fall movie line up. It’s all about the drama and awards season. But it’s my favorite time to go to the movies and get lost in a good story. I’m looking forward to seeing Loving and Allied in November. I also missed a few when they were released earlier this fall. I’ll have to catch The Light Between Oceans when it’s on Netflix.

Lots of candles. Summer is about outdoor lights, winter is about twinkly lights, but fall is all about candles. I’m looking forward to lighting the candles on the dinner table and having scented candles around the house instead of having the lights on.

Crafting is my favorite activity to do in the fall. One year I was totally into knitting, one year it was about painting and hand lettering, a few years I have made crafts for the house. This time around I want to finish what I started. I have a travel album to work on, I want to finish my December Daily album from last year and get ready for this year’s album. I also have a small Details book that I want to add to. Lots of creativity happening for me this time of year.

I realize it’s going to be 95 degrees this week but bring on the cozy!

Fall Recipes


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the third season of the year, when crops and fruits are gathered and leaves fall from trees; to come or go down quickly from a high place or position

There’s nothing like a crisp autumn day with a chill in the air, leaves on the ground and the feeling fall all around. Whether fall signifies a change in the season and the sense of a fresh start, or a time in your life when you may have fallen and had to brush yourself off and get started again, we celebrate it all.

And to kick off our fall week, we are sharing some fun recipes to try as the temperatures start to dip.


When I think of fall cooking I think of soups. I love making soup once a week for dinner. Chili and cornbread, Caldo de pollo with corn tortillas, or a creamy baked potato soup with all the fixings are just some of our favorites. This fall I am looking forward to making this navy bean, bacon and spinach soup by Skinnytaste. It’s on the menu this week for dinner and we’ll enjoy it with a baguette.


As the leaves begin to fall and the air turns crisp (okay, neither of these things happen in LA, but one can imagine) a Caramel Apple Mule sounds like the perfect cocktail to welcome sweater weather season. I love this recipe from Town & Country.


I’ve always wanted to try making slow cooker oatmeal and fall seems like the perfect season to try it. I hear there’s nothing like waking up to the smell of cinnamon and apples cooking and I can’t wait to try this recipe from Crockin’ Girls.

What are your favorite fall recipes?  Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to add to our recipe books! 

Photo of the Week


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As this wackadoodle week comes to a close, we Sense & Serendipty gals are reflecting on some picture-perfect moments that stood out. Some beautiful, some boozy, some warm and cozy.

Wishing all of you a very happy, fun-filled weekend! See you Monday!

Even with all that LA smog, once in a while, this crazy town pulls off a sunset for the ages. Here’s the stunning view from our balcony the other night.

Hers and His: Pineapple martini for me and whiskey for Jessie. And lots and lots of Parenthood. Yeah, it’s been that kind of a week.

img_0076This week was about enjoying a day off of work, celebrating my daughter’s birthday…again, and college visits. Memorable moment was getting to enjoy a cup of coffee quietly and slowly. Not much of this around here these days, so this was special.



Jennifer’s Favorite Instagrammers Right now



For me, Instagram, is the perfect way to decompress and escape for a few minutes at the end of a long, hectic day – an online oasis in life’s sea of chaos…and stuff. The majority of accounts I follow tend to be fashion bloggers, decor and party planning, and anything that makes me laugh really hard. Here are some of the Instagrammers I can’t get enough of right now:

I love really oddball people who make me laugh, so whenever I need a big giggle, I turn to graphic designer, Samantha Raye’s, crazy-ass Instagram account – Taste of Streep. It’s basically pictures of actress Meryl Streep photoshopped with food. Hello, what’s not to love?

Fashion blogger, Jules Sariana’s, Sincerely Jules Instagram account was one of the very first I ever followed and I haven’t stopped since. Her style gives me tons of inspiration for my own wardrobe, and she always does with a wink and some fun.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing LA photographer, Laura Izumkawa, for a work story and her hilarious Instagram account hooked me ever since. She styles her baby daughter, Joey, during naptime in the craziest ensembles – all while Joey sleeps! Her account also features behind the scenes videos of eactly how she does it. If you’re looking for incredible Halloween ideas, this is the place to go!

Au Fudge is the hottest restaurant in LA right now for families with young kiddos. I love their chic Instagram account because it’s full of whimsy, beauty and inspires great ideas for kids parties and how I can make my own son’s meals a little more fun. Fish sticks can be fun, right?

Soul Pancake is a swell place to visit when you’re looking for a some thought-provoking positivity. And who among us couldn’t use a little of that right now during this insane election season? You’ll definitely come away from here with a smile.

If you’re a foodie and want to keep up with the grooviest places to grab a meal in town, look no further than Infatuation LA. With drool-inducing food photography, you’ll want to check out every new spot they visit.

I’ve long been obsessed with Chriselle Lim’s gorgeous Instagram account and recently had the privilege of interviewing her for work. As one of the top fashon bloggers in the biz, she makes me want to empty my closet, chuck everything out and start over. Not only that, the shots of her jet setting around the world have awakened my own travel bug. Perhaps she needs someone to carry her luggage?

What are some funny Instagram accounts you guys love? I’m always looking for new ones!

Gioconda’s Favorite Instagram Accounts


img_5145Instagram is my media of choice. I check Facebook but post on Instagram. I appreciate the storytelling you get from a single photo or short video. I find that I go through stages of loves. But a majority of my favorites are food, crafting and travel.

Check out my current favorite accounts.

Planning, stamping and watercoloring make Aina’s Instagram page lovely and one I check everyday. I use a Traveler’s Notebook as well for notes, art, and journaling. This account inspires me and makes me want to plan, create and write.

Before going on our European vacation I studied up on David Lebovitz instagram and blog to get recommendations for places to eat and things to do in Paris.  We had the best ice cream, and baguettes. We found a great restaurant in our Arrondissement after seeing it on his IG.

Another great account that focuses on sketches. My favorite posts are the ones where she sketches her coffee for the day.  I get excited when I see she posts her IG story actually creating her coffee drawings. I’m going to give it a try.

Food, coffee, drink, baked goods, New Orleans, travel, photography. You get it all here. I love her style and sense of humor.  It would be awesome to live a day in her life. I’d have a full belly and a smile on my face.

Instagram was made for photographers like Penny de los Santos. Every post is a story. You can feel the mood, taste the flavor and feel the emotion. It’s just a snapshot of a moment that makes you want to know more.

A great place to look if you need some inspiration for what to make for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or if you just want to look at good food check it out.

A little fashion, a little creativity and a lot of beautiful styling. A little bit of everything that makes for a fun collection of inspiration.

I’m always looking for new accounts to follow. Let me know if you have any can’t miss Instagrammers.

Gaby’s Fave Instagrams to Follow Stat



If I had one social media guilty pleasure, it would absolutely be Instagram. I have spent many an hour(s) scrolling through my feed, searching hashtags and generally getting lost in the beautiful photography. I love seeing how creative people get with their photos, subject matters and compositions.

I have a long list (maybe too long) of Instagrammers that I love to follow. But I wanted to share my top favorites that I’m lovin’ right now.

I’ve been following Kelly Purkey’s blog for a longtime now and I’m a big fan of her IG feed. This girl is an entrepreneur, world-traveler, planner, foodie and graphic designer. Her feed always makes me wanna pack my bags and travel to new places. And not to be overly frivolous, I LOVE her penmanship. Like, seriously, wish it was a font I could use all day.

I somehow stumbled across Sophie’s feed when I was scrolling through Weight Watchers posts. She always has great recipes, wonderful meal and snack ideas, and awesome motivational tips and mottos. She doesn’t make WW seem perfect and is honest with her struggles and sometimes setbacks. But she puts such a positive spin on it that it is very relatable. Definitely a motivator to get healthy.

I could just stare at this feed all day because it’s so beautiful. She knits and crochets and beautiful snapshots to go with it. Her feed makes me want to buy all the yarn and stock closets and closets full of it and spend the day crocheting my heart away!

I don’t know how many people know this but Carrie Underwood does her own hair and makeup when she’s on tour. I think I learned that through one of her IG posts. I love seeing the behind-the-scenes shots of what a celebrity’s life is like when they’re not “on.” Carrie’s feed is full of tour photos, what she does when she’s not onstage, family pictures and candid shots with friends and family. Totally fun.

Great name for an Instagram feed! Gaby’s feed is full of beautiful pictures of the most amazing-looking food. There’s great links to yummy recipes, wonderful cookbook recommendations and the reminder that food is meant to be savored with all of your senses, including your eyes.

I mean, a feed full of beautiful shots of books and reading opportunities? Come on! Alyssa is a book blogger and every time I look at her feed, I realize I need to be reading much more than I am. And not only that, I need to have a set-up with the perfect cup of coffee, a cozy blanket and a great view to look at between pages. I don’t know how many books this girl reads but, boy, does she make me want to pick up a book…as soon as I stop scrolling through her feed.

My sister and I took one of Laura Hooper’s calligraphy classes a few years ago, which was so wonderful. We’re both huge fans of beautiful penmanship and had always wanted to learn the art of calligraphy. What I love that Laura sometimes does, is that she’ll post a short video of her doing calligraphy and makes it look so easy. But easy in a way that’s accessible and encourages to give it a try. I particularly love how she shows different surfaces she writes on. Makes me want to take another calligraphy class.

What are some of your favorite Instagram feeds? Let us know in the comments below.


Our Tips for Instafabulous Instagram Pics


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img_3164photo: Jennifer O’Brien

the act of reposting on Instagram using the hashtag #regram

Here at Sense & Serendipity, one of our favorite pastimes (read: time wasters), is sneaking in a few minutes each day to troll Instagram. Whether we’re oogling gorgeous pictures of food, laughing over dogs dressed as Donald Trump, or we’re following our favorite celebs for some swell beauty and fashion tips, Instagram is a deliciously fun way to forget about the stress of our days and relax for a spell. This week, we’ll each be sharing our current faves on Instagram, but to kick things off, how about a few tips for improving your own Insta-game?

The main tip I always try and remember when taking a good “Instagram-worthy” picture is following the Rule of Thirds, which is when you divide a photo into three parts, both horizontally and vertically, and you place your subject within one of the intersecting points or guidelines–horizons are placed towards the top or bottom line. I love pictures that look “off balanced” and following this photography concept makes pictures seem much more appealing and interesting to me.

My tip for Instagram is to get the details. I love taking pictures that show the whole scene, especially if you are traveling or taking group shots. But the kind of photos that get my attention are the ones that focus on the details. Get close on your subject and show something that is interesting or different. I have tons of food photos on my personal account but the ones that I love looking at are the ones that show the layers of food or the colors. Get close and shoot the details.

One of my favorite tips for Instagram is to use your environment to your advantage – interesting backgrounds and negative space are your friends. Los Angeles is filled with such incredibly beautiful murals, bright colored buildings and street art, I love showcasing them as interesting backdrops for pictures – especially when it comes to shooting photos of my son, Jack. In fact, I just wrote a story for another outlet about the most Instagrammable spots around LA for kids. But no matter where it is that you call home, there are unique backdrops, artwork and even textures you can find on the sides of buildings, in alleyways, and in places you’d never expect – you just have to keep your eyes peeled.

Have any great Instagram tips of your own you’d like to share? Give us a shout below!