Best L.A. Cocktails

As you may have noticed, we at JLB Unscripted love a good cocktail. If it’s Friday night (shoot night for Jessica’s husband), you can usually find us in the kitchen, attempting to recreate our favorite restaurant libations. This tradition has led to some truly amazing cocktails, including our signature pomegranate mojito. But while we love drinking at home (and not having to put on real pants!), we also occasionally like to hit the town and have someone else do the mixing for us. The good news is that we don’t have to go very far because L.A. offers a wealth of great cocktails. Here are a few of my favorites:

La Piña — Mercado

Best L.A. Cocktails | JLB Unscripted

Margaritas are delicious. Margaritas that are both spicy and sweet are perfection. That’s what Mercado achieves with their La Piña — El Tesoro silver tequila, muddled pineapple, cilantro, and jalapeño.

http://mercadorestaurant.com/

Basil Ray — Black Market Liquor Bar

Best L.A. Cocktails | JLB Unscripted

Black Market Liquor Bar is one of my favorite places in the Valley – great food, great ambiance, great drinks, and best of all, the Basil Ray — vodka, elderflower liqueur, pineapple gum, lime, prosecco, and thai basil. But be warned: they go down dangerously smooth.

http://www.blackmarketliquorbar.com/

Apples & Pears — Akasha

Best L.A. Cocktails | JLB Unscripted

Full disclosure: this was a seasonal drink that Akasha offered last fall. But it was so delicious that I still sometimes fantasize about it, so it automatically gets a spot on this list. Consisting of pear infused slow hand whiskey, baked apple bitters, lemon juice, ginger elixir, this cocktail is essentially fall in a cup. And even though the Apples & Pears is no more, Akasha continues to be a consistent source of great cocktails (The Akasha, made with organic prairie cucumber vodka, pineapple, and cucumber juice is a solid staple).

http://www.akasharestaurant.com/

Holy Birthday, Batman!

Levon turned two! Here are some photos of his party, if you’d like to see.

Holy Birthday, Batman | JLB Unscripted

Holy Birthday, Batman | JLB Unscripted

Holy Birthday, Batman | JLB Unscripted

Holy Birthday, Batman | JLB Unscripted

Holy Birthday, Batman | JLB Unscripted

dsc_0138

Holy Birthday, Batman | JLB Unscripted

I planned to shoot gorgeous, blog-worthy photographs of the set-up and decor, but Daddy gave me a cold and I was lucky to even make an appearance at the the party.

You can shop Levon’s adorable pants here:

Hip Mingo

Holy Birthday, Batman | JLB Unscripted
Baby Boy Batman Harem Pants
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.etsy.com/listing/257384773/baby-boy-batman-harem-pants-toddler?ref=shop_home_feat_1″%5D

Halloween Recap

Batman Halloween | JLB Unscripted

His 4 AM out-of-a-dead-sleep-post-Halloween-meltdown was totally worth it. We hope your holiday was magical!

Batman Halloween | JLB Unscripted

Batman Halloween | JLB Unscripted

Batman Halloween | JLB Unscripted

Batman Halloween | JLB Unscripted

POTTERY BARN KIDS

Batman Halloween | JLB Unscripted
Batman Treat Bag
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”http://www.potterybarnkids.com/products/batman-treat-bag-2014/?pkey=e%7Cbatman%2Bbag%7C4%7Cbest%7C0%7Cviewall%7C24%7C%7C4&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH”%5D

Birth Family Book

Birth Family Books | JLB Unscripted

I first came across Pinhole Press via Joanna Goddard’s blog, A Cup of Jo. Joanna featured a simple board book she created for her son with photos of his family members from around the country. I thought it would be the perfect way to introduce Levon to photos of his birth family, so I made him a book featuring photos of Mommy & Daddy, his brothers, his dogs, his grandparents, and his birth relatives. It was a simple way to integrate his adoption story into his everyday life, which is something I highly recommend to all adoptive families. He loves looking at his book, especially the photo of Baby Levon.

Birth Family Books | JLB Unscripted


Custom Board Books for Kids

Birth Family Books | JLB Unscripted
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://pinholepress.com/c/custom-board-books-for-kids”%5D

The Best Sweatshirt

The Best Sweatshirt | JLB Unscripted

I love sweatshirts. Seriously, if I had my way, I would wear one every day. And sometimes I do, until it’s been so many days in a row that Jessica tells me it’s becoming a little worrisome. Feeding my addiction is the fact that I have a job where dressing up is considered anything that is not pajamas. And sometimes, even pajamas are acceptable. But, as Jessica has often pointed out to me, that doesn’t mean they should be acceptable. So I find myself in a quandary – how do I dress like an adult (sometimes!), but also hang on to my beloved sweatshirt? The answer: American Giant’s Essential Crew. It’s extremely comfortable, but it’s also fitted and therefore more stylish than the shapeless hoodies I gravitate toward. I can wear it with jeans, black pants, or even a skirt. It’s one of my proudest clothing finds.


American Giant Essential Crew

The Best Sweatshirt | JLB Unscripted
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”http://www.american-giant.com/essential-crew/W1-1C-5.html?dwvar_W1-1C-5_size=l&dwvar_W1-1C-5_color=jet-black&cgid=womens-sweatshirts-essential%23start=14″%5D

JLB Book Club – Noah Hawley

JLB Book Club | Noah Hawley

This month, instead of recommending a single book, we’re recommending two books by a single author – Before the Fall and The Good Father, by Noah Hawley. We were first drawn to Hawley because he also happens to be the creator/executive producer of one of our favorite TV shows – Fargo, on FX. Turns out, he’s an amazing novelist as well. Both books feature compelling mysteries, but at heart, they’re fascinating character studies. Whether you just have time to read one, or feel ambitious and devour both (like we did!), we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Tell us, what books are you currently loving? Any recommendations?

Before the Fall

“On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members–including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot–the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers’ intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.” (Synopsis via Amazon)

JLB Book Club | Noah Hawley
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/Before-Fall-Noah-Hawley/dp/1455561789″%5D


The Good Father

“As the Chief of Rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. Paul Allen’s specialty is diagnosing patients with conflicting symptoms, patients other doctors have given up on. He lives a contented life in Westport with his second wife and their twin sons—hard won after a failed marriage earlier in his career that produced a son named Daniel. In the harrowing opening scene of this provocative and affecting novel, Dr. Allen is home with his family when a televised news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot at a rally, and Daniel is caught on video as the assassin.

Daniel Allen has always been a good kid—a decent student, popular—but, as a child of divorce, used to shuttling back and forth between parents, he is also something of a drifter. Which may be why, at the age of nineteen, he quietly drops out of Vassar and begins an aimless journey across the United States, during which he sheds his former skin and eventually even changes his name to Carter Allen Cash.

Told alternately from the point of view of the guilt-ridden, determined father and his meandering, ruminative son, The Good Father is a powerfully emotional page-turner that keeps one guessing until the very end. This is an absorbing and honest novel about the responsibilities—and limitations—of being a parent and our capacity to provide our children with unconditional love in the face of an unthinkable situation.” (Synopsis via Amazon)

JLB Book Club | Noah Hawley
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/Good-Father-Noah-Hawley/dp/0385535538/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=”%5D

Where To Shop for Party Decor

We’re gearing up for Levon’s Batman-themed birthday next weekend and wanted to share links to our favorite places to find party décor. We’ll be reusing some of our favorite decorations from last year, including these adorable garlands.

Where To Shop For Party Decor | JLB Unscripted

Tell us, what are your favorite sources for party decorations?

For more inspiration, click here to view our Pinterest boards.


Pandafunk Creations

Where To Shop For Party Decor | JLB Unscripted
Batman Birthday Invitation
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”http://pandafunkcreations.com/”%5D


CheriePaperArt

Where To Shop For Party Decor | JLB Unscripted
Batman Silhouette Cupcake Topper
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.etsy.com/listing/254024734/set-of-12-batman-silhouette-cupcake?ref=shop_home_active_2″%5D


Endearing Creations

Where To Shop For Party Decor | JLB Unscripted
Batman Mask Banner
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1183711035″%5D


Pipsqueak & Bean

Where To Shop For Party Decor | JLB Unscripted
Paper Garland: Blue and Gold Hues
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1066478024″%5D


Paper White {Designs}

Where To Shop For Party Decor | JLB Unscripted
Tissue Fringe Garland
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1069171161″%5D

How Grilling Changed My Life

Grilling Essentials | JLB Unscripted
Up until about three years ago, the extent of my culinary repertoire consisted of spaghetti with marinara sauce (from a jar) and a chicken and rice casserole that my mom taught me to make when I was in college. I’m not kidding. That’s it. Which meant that most of my meals were take-out, or best case scenario, from a box. My grandmother is an amazing cook – she made (and still continues to make, at age 81!), the holiday meals for our entire family. My sister inherited her knack for cooking. I did not. Many people find cooking relaxing, but I’ve always found it tedious. Which is problematic, because as you can imagine, my diet wasn’t really in line with a healthy lifestyle. I wanted to eat better, but I also didn’t want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen each night, particularly after coming home after a long day at work.

But all of that changed when I met Jessica. Her husband, Warren, is an amazing cook who was (and is) generous enough to provide me with many, many delicious home cooked meals. In the course of eating dinner with the Butler Bells, Warren let me in on a not-so-secret secret – many of his favorite dinners are cooked on the grill. And better than that – many of them are extremely simple. Which meant there was hope for me after all. So I went out and bought a grill (a Weber 3-burner gas grill, to be exact), then learned how to use it (and by learned, I mean Warren taught me). And I know this sounds dramatic, but that grill really did change my life. By learning how to grill just a few meals, I completely overhauled my eating habits. The best part is that grilling is so incredibly easy. The time investment is low, but the payoff is extremely high. All it takes is a good rub or marinade, a piece of meat, and about half an hour of mostly hands off time. Pair it with a salad or a vegetable, and voila – dinner is served.

A few of my favorites: pork chops, grilled chicken breasts, and swordfish (marinated for an hour in lime juice and olive oil). You can shop my grilling essentials below.


Epicurean Recycled Poly Cutting Board

Grilling Essentials | JLB Unscripted
How many shirts/pants/shoes do you have to ruin with meat juice before you realize that a cutting board with a juice groove is EVERYTHING?
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M1NADJW/ref=twister_B004TJNPGY?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1″%5D


OXO Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs

Grilling Essentials | JLB Unscripted
Extra long tongs are a must.
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Grips-16-Inch-Locking-Tongs/dp/B00004OCM3/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1475813544&sr=8-5&keywords=long%2Btongs&th=1″%5D


Lavatools Javelin Digital Instant Read Digital Meat Thermometer

Grilling Essentials | JLB Unscripted
Fast, accurate, and easy to read.
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GRFHVXQ/ref=twister_B00GGMFK9M?_encoding=UTF8&th=1″%5D


Mr Grill Basting Brush

Grilling Essentials | JLB Unscripted
Baste without burning your hands.
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.amazon.com/Grill-Basting-Brush-Stainless-Guarantee/dp/B00DTIKBY0/ref=sr_1_7?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1475991394&sr=1-7&keywords=silicone+grill+brush”%5D


GrillGrate

Grilling Essentials | JLB Unscripted
Evenly distributes heat and reduces flare-ups.
[maxbutton id=”2″ url=”https://www.grillgrate.com/”%5D

Parmesan Peas

Parmesan Peas | JLB Unscripted

To those of you who hate peas (and I know there are a lot of you), I urge you to give them one more try. This side dish is a staple in our house, easy enough for weeknights and elegant enough for holiday dinners. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned peas, but we highly recommend Le Sueur® Very Young Small Sweet Peas. And freshly grated Parmesan. Not the green can. Ever.

Parmesan Peas | JLB Unscripted

THE MODERN MOM’S BABY BOOK

The Modern Mom's Baby Book | JLB Unscripted

I take a lot of photos of my family.

A lot.

Our house is full of framed prints, not to mention the photo board that hangs over our dining table, but until recently I had never compiled our prints into albums. I blame my mother, whose wedding album is still in its original box in the top of her closet, next to my baby book, also in its original box and still blank inside.

Inspired by Ashley Campbell’s photo books, I’ve started printing yearly albums using Mpix. The quality is amazing, and once you build the album, you can print multiple copies. Levon LOVES looking at pictures of himself, so I order two for our house – one for his sticky fingers and one as a keepsake. Plus, they make perfect gifts for his many, many grandparents. I’ve tried multiple printing sites, and Mpix is my favorite by far.

The Modern Mom's Baby Book | JLB Unscripted

The Modern Mom's Baby Book | JLB Unscripted

The Modern Mom's Baby Book | JLB Unscripted

LBB’s sweater by Zara Kids. Shorts by Target.

The Modern Mom's Baby Book | JLB Unscripted

%d bloggers like this: