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post travel rituals | designlovefest
 image via

it doesn’t matter what type of trip i’m coming home from (road, plane, work, fun) or the length but somehow i always come back from traveling feeling disconnected from my body. i think i’m more a creature of habit than i realize and when i leave town i am not good at maintaining my structure. i’ll skip workouts, eat differently, sleep differently, forget to drink water, drink more alcohol, etc and the whole combo of things leaves me feeling like a bit of a mess. i’ve realized this pattern by now and have some post travel rituals that i usually do as soon as i get home that help me feel back to normal quickly. i’d love to hear if you experience the same thing, i know people who absolutely love to travel and don’t share this same feeling at all but i’m sure there are plenty of people who feel thrown off, even from a long weekend trip (like me!). what sorts of rituals do you have? what makes you feel connected to your body or relaxed after you travel?

for me, i want my first meal back to be healthy and for some reason i always want either pho or a baked sweet potato, i dry brush and take a bath, drink tons of water, unpack almost immediately, and go to bed early. then the next morning, i drink hot water with lemon, honey and apple cider vinegar and move my body in some way, take a brisk walk, jog or pilates. oh, and i’ll lay off drinking for a few days because time away usually means one too many glasses of wine. that combo of things generally has me feeling back to normal in no time. i didn’t actual realize how intense i was about my post travel rituals until my husband pointed it out, he calls it the “joanie detox” which it basically is but i don’t like not feeling like myself so the rituals are important to me and my sanity! i’d love to hear your pre or post travel rituals that keep you feeling like you! – joanie



Nancy's chopped salad | designlovefest

it would be rare to be a foodie in los angeles and have not heard of Nancy Silverton. she is the hero of bread and the owner of (among other restaurants) which makes some of the best pizza in town (and also has a mozzarella bar!). if you ever go you have to order her focaccia, it’s truly unbelievable. one of her other famed dishes is the chopped salad, which i’ve never had in person but have heard wonderful things about. i’m not typically a salad ordering person when i go to a restaurant but i do like to make them at home and both bri and my aunt had just made her recipe so we thought it was time to give it a test run for the blog. some of the chopping can get tedious but the homemade dressing is really easy to whip together and the end result is worth the chopping pain. it is definitely a main dish salad. we served ours with fresh bread and i’d recommend that combo. – joanie

Nancy's chopped salad | designlovefest
Nancy's chopped salad | designlovefest

what you’ll need:
for the salad –
we took this straight from the that published her recipe back in 2011. 

•  1/2 small red onion cut in half from top to bottom
• 1 head iceberg lettuce
• 1 head radicchio
• 1 small pint of cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
• kosher salt
• 1 1/2 cups chickpeas drained and rinsed
• 1/4 pound aged provolone, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, then cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
• 1/4 pound Genoa salami, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, then cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
• 5 pepperoncini (stems discarded), cut into thin slices (about 1/4 cup)
• 1/2 lemon juiced
• dried oregano as garnish

for the dressing:
• 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons dried oregano
• 1/2 lemon juiced
• 2 garlic cloves smashed
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

• for the dressing whisk together the vinegar, oregano, lemon juice, smashed garlic (we used a pestle and mortar) , salt and pepper in a medium bowl. let the mixture rest for 5 minutes (to marinate the oregano). add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to form an emulsified vinaigrette. taste for seasoning. the yield is a generous 1 1/2 cups; you’ll use up to 1/2 cup for this salad, and the remainder can be refrigerated for another use (up to 3 days).

Nancy's chopped salad | designlovefest
Nancy's chopped salad | designlovefest

• for the salad cut the onion in half and use a mandolin to thinly slice.

• cut the iceberg lettuce in half through the core. remove and discard the outer leaves, and discard the core. separate the lettuce leaves, stack two or three leaves on top of one another, then cut them lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. repeat with the remaining leaves; thinly slice the radicchio in the same way. cut the tomatoes into quarters, season them with salt to taste, and toss gently.

Nancy's chopped salad | designlovefest
Nancy's chopped salad | designlovefest

• combine the lettuce, radicchio, tomatoes, chickpeas, provolone, salami, peperoncini and onion in a large, wide bowl. season with salt to taste, and toss to thoroughly combine. drizzle 6 tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the salad, then sprinkle with the lemon juice; toss gently to coat the salad evenly. taste, and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette, salt and/or lemon juice as needed.

• Transfer the salad to a large platter or divide it among individual plates. sprinkle the dried oregano leaves on top and serve. i love serving salads on a salad board the one i have (pictured below)  is no longer available but is!

Nancy's chopped salad | designlovefest
Nancy's chopped salad | designlovefest
Nancy's chopped salad | designlovefest

images by: 
styling by: joanie cusack + ivan solis
recipe adapted from: “,” by Nancy Silverton, Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreno



i’ll admit it’s a challenge to keep your home organized. even when the house is clean and organized it feels like that fresh organized feeling fades within a few weeks (even days sometimes!). the new year is a great time for you to focus on getting the clutter out of the way. it’s a daunting task to start, so the next few weeks i’m sharing some ideas for getting organized by room. take one thing that needs done and work away at it for the weekend, then move to the next one. whether it’s your makeup that needs organization, your pantry, or your closet–choose one space each weekend to work on. i’m starting with the pantry and kitchen since mine is a total mess right now. lot of storage solutions and inspiration for you to get organized your pantry sorted for the new year below! stay tuned next week for the next space i’m organizing. –

shop them





favorite LA spots | designlovefest

i moved to los angeles in 2006. i lived downtown across from where i finished college, FIDM. i later moved to west hollywood, silver lake, the arts district, back to silver lake, and now glassell park. many people hate on los angeles for obvious reasons: traffic, crowded, pretentious, so spread out…but i love it here. it may take a little time, but if you open your eyes to ALL of the wonderful things about LA, you will fall in love. lately i have been spending more time at home, exploring my neighborhood, eating at small hole in the wall spots, admiring the vibrant pink sunsets, and remembering how grateful i am to live here in los angeles.

here’s a few things with history that i love to see & do here…

favorite LA spots | designlovefest
favorite LA spots | designlovefest

The Hollywood Farmers’ Market

we try to go on sunday mornings to the . sometimes sleeping in sounds better, but i’m always happy when we make it there for flowers, vegetables and herbs. there’s a really cool mushroom stand at the very end near the arclight. and my favorite greek stand is there with the best sauces and cheeses! (in the middle, on the end. they will give you tons of samples!)

it’s also entertaining to walk around the at the grove.

favorite LA spots | designlovefest

The Vista and The Los Feliz Theater

established in the 20’s and 30’s, two of the cutest movie theaters. is one big room with an egyptian decor and a whimsical vibe. the a few streets away is also adorable (and so much cheaper than the big theaters. especially the matinees!) we saw lady bird there last night after eating at a fave pasta spot, .

favorite LA spots | designlovefest

The Huntington Botanical Garden

in pasadena is one of the LA places that takes my stress away. flowers everywhere, bring a blanket, someone you love, and spend the afternoon. i also love the having lunch in the japanese garden there. a great spot to bring your mom or grandma when they visit. also check out (cheaper and also pretty)

Chinatown, Los Angeles

have you had the amazing chicken sandwich from !? (the line is too long on the weekends, go mid-week) and i really want to try the new spot,





i’ve so excited for gift guides this year! i love creating them and i love looking at the guides that other people make. i wasn’t always a gift giver and really struggled with what to give people and if they’d like it, etc. but as i’ve gotten older i’ve really started to enjoy it. for me, it’s about getting a head start and not saving it for the last minute. which can be hard to do but even picking up little thoughtful items in the months leading up to the holidays helps a lot. gifts don’t have to be big or expensive. it’s really about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and thinking about something they might enjoy. i’ve given a lot of gifts that i really loved or that i wanted the person to like but that doesn’t always turn out so well. every year for my birthday bri creates a pin board for me with about 20 items that she has curated from all over the web that she thinks i’ll love. it’s such a sweet gesture because looking at the board i can tell that every item she picked she did so with me and my taste and style in mind.  cheers to gift giving! – joanie

$18 – bri just got sent a few pairs of these socks and they are the coolest. their designs are so cute and they would be great all winter long peeking out of your closed toe shoes.

 $15 – nothing says i love you than a pound of good coffee, am i right? i feel like coffee, wine and candles are the most universally accepted gifts that truly any one would enjoy.

 $42 – one of our favorite candle companies just started making their candles in terra cotta! i’d get the lavender but all of the scents are nice.

 $42 – a little pop of color to go with all that cold grey winter weather.

 $7 -the packaging at bottega louie is reason enough to buy a gift for someone there. i have been sent a box of their macaroons by my aunt before and i can attest that they are instant happiness.

 $50 – a nice lightweight scarf that can be worn as an evening wrap. this is also a great travel gift if you need a gift that’ll fit in your suitcase!

 $40 – i wear this every single day and i love it. , i feel good about the fact that i’m actually wearing sunscreen and protecting my skin. a gift that keeps on giving!

 $42 – would be a nice double gift with a pound of coffee but i love these mugs alone. they are sturdy, handmade and come in lots of cool glazes.

 $38 – when the yellow hoops are a bit too much these baby heart studs will do the trick. give these to your bff or sister!


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