MARGARITA OF THE YEAR // TIKI RITA

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If you know me, you know that tequila is my alcohol of choice, and the margarita is my all time favorite cocktail. I like to mix up the ingredients to keep it interesting, so when Patrón asked me to be part of their #MargaritaOfTheYear contest I said without a doubt, YES! 

I was lucky enough to attend the Margarita Of The Year party in NYC a few weeks ago, where I got to taste all seven and vote on my favorite. One that took me by surprise was the Tiki Rita. I never thought to combine tiki flavors with a margarita, but I'm telling you it's delicious. So delicious in fact, that after my shoot a few friends and I ended up drinking them all. night. long. 

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Recipe // Tiki Rita

Ingredients:

2oz Patrón Reposda
.5oz Patrón Citrónge Orange
.5oz Fresh lime juice
.5oz Fresh grapefruit juice
.25oz Vanilla syrup
.25oz Allspice Dram
Grated nutmeg
Lime wheels
Hawaiian sea salt rim

Directions:

1. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice to chill.
2. Strain onto fresh crushed ice in a high ball (or tiki!) glass that has been rimmed with Hawaiian sea salt.
3. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg, a lime wheel and fresh cloves.

Make sure to head on over to the Patrón website to see the other 6 recipes, and vote on your favorite. You can also vote for the Tiki Rita on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #TikiRita.

They ALL were amazing in my opinion, but the Tiki Rita, the High Plains & the Tropicante were my personal favorites. I'm excited to have new margarita recipe ideas just in time for Cinco de Mayo. 

This post is in partnership with Patrón. The perfect way to enjoy Patrón is responsibly.

SWEET SOUND // 30

1. Mini Mansions and Brian Wilson // Any Emotions

2. Part Time // Night Drive

3. Richard Swift // Would You?

4. Beach House // Space Song

5. Tame Impala // The Less I Know The Better

6. The Arcs // Put a Flower in Your Pocket

7. The Dø // Trustful Hands

8. Whit Hinterland // Icarus

9. Christine and the Queens // Saint Claude

10. CHAMPS // Vamala

11. So Many Wizards // Lose Your Mind

12. Junip // Line of Fire

13. Superhumanoids // I Want To Believe

14. TV On The Radio // Careful You

15. Jamaican Queens // Water

16. Built To Spill // Never Be The Same

17. Jungle // Drops

18. Tei Shi // See Me

19. Leon Bridges // Coming Home

20. Shakey Graves // Family and Genus

21. Beiruit // No No No

22. Jamie xx // Gosh

{listen on spotify}

It has been far too long since I posted a mix so I thought I would change that. I just went on a solo road trip through the Eastern Sierras and this mix kept me company on those open roads. Enjoy!

SWEET SOUND // 29

1. Lower Dens // To Die In LA

2. Tame Impala // 'Cause I'm A Man

3. Future Islands // Haunted by You

4. Jessie Baylin // Kiss Your Face

5. Other Lives // Reconfiguration

6. Unknown Mortal Orchestra // Multi-Love

7. Harriet // 10 Steps

8. Little Dragon // Pretty Girls

9. BØRNS // 10,000 Emerald Pools

10. Ivan & Alyosha // All This Wandering Around

11. The Range of Light Wilderness // Perfect

12. Villagers // Courage

13. Holly Miranda // All I Want Is to Be Your Girl

14. St Vincent // Teenage Talk

15. Sufjan Stevens // Should Have Known Better

{listen on 8tracks or spotify}

SWEET SOUND // 28

1. Hanni El Khatib // Moonlight

2. J. Roddy Walston & The Business // Take It As It Comes

3. Jessie Baylin // Creepers

4. Panda Bear // Tropic of Cancer

5. Mutual Benefit // C.L. Rosarian

6. Father John Misty // Chateau Lobby #4

7. The War On Drugs // Under The Pressure

8. Mr Little Jeans // Don't Run

9. LCD Soundsystem //I Can Change

10. Milky Chance // Stolen Dance

11. Bahamas // All The Time

12. Echo and the Bunnyman // Bring on the Dancing Horses

13. Spoon // New York Kiss

14. Penguin Prison // Calling Out

15. Lucius // Turn it Around

16. Unknown Mortal Orchestra // Swim and Sleep (like a shark)

17. Kings of Convenience // Misread

{listen on 8tracks or spotify}

OJAI TRAVEL GUIDE // FROM A LOCAL

Yes that's right, here is the Ojai insiders guide you've been asking for. At least once a month I get an email from a friend or blog reader asking where to stay and what to do in Ojai. Their seems to be a new guide or article written about Ojai weekly and I can't say my guide is any different. It is however more extensive than most and written by someone who grew up there. 

Ojai has changed quite a bit since I was a child. Growing up it was a hippie town, where you knew practically everyones name and could leave your car door unlocked. A place that drew all sorts of creative and spiritual types. I guess none of that has changed exactly, but It got a little more conservative somewhere in there and now I think it is having a little bohemian resurgence. Young people are realizing what a wonderful oasis it is less than two hours from Los Angeles and therefor it's becoming, dare I say, hip. Not to get ahead of myself here. It still has a ways to go. Well known actors and musicians are moving here to get away from the city life and it seems to be "the" place to get married these days. I feel really lucky to have been raised in such a sweet town. I also feel lucky that my parents still call this place home and I get to spend holidays here and visit whenever I like. People ask me if I mind that it is getting more and more popular, but truthfully I am glad. With popularity comes cuter shops and better restaurants. Here are some of my favorites below.

To Stay //

Ojai Rancho Inn

- there is no doubt this inn is the hippest spot in town. the rooms have that rustic/bohemian vibe. burn some palo santo, lounge by the pool or have a picnic on the lawn. you can even bring your dog. make sure to stop by their bar cheif's peak to have a beer and listen to vinyl. 

Ojai Valley Inn

- looking for a more luxurious getaway, than this is your place. a sprawling resort known for it's spa, golf course and celebrity guests. they have three pools and six restaurants on the property. both couples and families alike flock here. a slightly older crowd. 

Caravan Outpost

- this place could not be cuter. stay in one of eleven decked out airstreams and end your nights around the cozy fire pit getting to know the other guests. there are picnic tables, a shop for all your needs and yes there is wifi. borrow one of the many bikes they have available for guests and ride a short distance into town. 

Airbnb

- looking to have a more authentic Ojai experience? check out one of the many cute vacation rentals. 

Emerald Iguana Inn

- a peaceful boutique inn about a 10 min walk from town. perfect for couples or friends looking to relax. no kids allowed. some of the rooms have kitchens, wood burning stoves and clawfoot tubs. 

Lavender Inn

- this charming schoolhouse from 1874 was turned into a bed and breakfast with 8 guest rooms. it sits right in the center of town, walking distance to most restaurants and shops. 

To Eat //

Farmer and the Cook

 - an organic grocery store and restaurant where you'll find me most days.  on saturday and sunday from 8:30-11:30am they serve my favorite huevos rancheros and other yummy breakfast items. friday and saturday from 5:30-8:30pm they have a weekend farm cafe with yummy salads and wood fired pizzas. other daily favorites are the salad bar, the dairy free chai and their acai bowl. 

Azu

 - a tapas restaurant great for lunch or dinner or to just grab a drink at the bar. one of my favorite spots in town. 

Knead Baking Co

- my favorite place to go in the mornings for coffee , housemade pastries and baked goods. their seeded bagel with cream cheese and their breakfast sandwich are my go-to's. closed mon and tue. 

Osteria Monte Grappa

 - go for a romantic italian meal and a bottle of wine. closed mon. 

Hip Vegan

- delicious and healthy. grab lunch and a date shake and sit on their shaded patio. 

Ojai Tortilla House

- the perfect place for a quick and easy lunch. there is no seating, so I take my tacos to-go and eat them at beautiful libbey park across the street. 

Bocalli's

 - this homey italian restaurant is a staple in Ojai. It's the one and only restaurant on the east side of town. they're known for their delicious tomato salad and strawberry shortcake. 

Bonnie Lu's

 - if you're looking for a classic american breakfast with a kitschy diner feel this is the place. closed wed. 

East End Restaurant & Bar

- this gastropub on the east end of town has become a go-to for my family. they have a full bar and really good pot pies perfect for a chilly night. 

Coffee //

Ojai Coffee Roasting Co

- right in the center of town. you'll see the locals here every morning (including my dad).

Coffee Connection

- organic coffee in the meiner's oaks part of town.

Bars //

Deer Lodge

- grab a beer and see some live music at this classic Ojai spot that feels right out of a different era. on sundays a sea of bikers come from far and wide to have brunch here. 

Ojai Beverage Co

- pick up a bottle of wine, beer or liquor from their large selection to drink back in your hotel room or order beer and bar snacks in their tap house.

Chief's Peak

 - a charming beer and wine bar located at the Ojai Rancho Inn.

The Hut

- an authentic dive, equipped with pool tables and karaoke. you may get starred down by the locals. 

Shops //

Bart's Books

- an Ojai institution. wander, sit and enjoy this outdoor bookstore where you can pay for a books on the honor system during closing hours.

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In The Field

- owners bianca and channon have that effortless, bohemian style I so admire and their shop is no different. for a mixture of both new and vintage housewares and clothing for men and women, you must stop in. closed mon and tue.  

Modern Folk Living

- I like to stop at this well curated shop to pick up a new cookbook, a gift for a friend or perhaps a jacket from ace and jig. make sure to buy an Ojai apolis jute bag before you walk to the farmer's market next door and load up on produce. 

deKor&Co

- a lovely new addition to ojai, dekor & co is the sister store to dekor here in los angeles and one of the few shops you can find stylish furnishings and rugs as well as housewares. they also have a little tea room inside the store if you need a shopping break. closed tue. 

Summer Camp

 - nestled in an old gas station is this adorable shop and custom framer. whether it's a vintage blanket, local pottery or a campfire scented candle I have trouble leaving here empty handed. closed mon.

Fig Curated Living

- as you walk down the hallway/entrance to this tucked away little shop you will feel like you're in on a secret. They have an array of gifts for both the home and garden. 

Tipple & Ramble

- stock up on beautiful home goods and table top decor at this new shop in town. you can even pack a picnic and eat on their patio under the oak trees. 

Hattie

- come to this boutique for a nice selection of denim, cozy scarves and cashmere sweaters. 

To Do //

Farmer's Market

- if you happen to be in Ojai between 9am-1pm on a sunday you must check out the farmer's market. since Ojai is surrounded by some of the best farm country in southern california it is one of the best (in my opinion). there is also a nice selection of hand carved bowls, baskets and artisanal goods made by locals.

Porch Gallery

- after you go to the farmer's market walk next door and check out this art gallery inside a house built in the 1870's. each month they feature new and established contemporary artists, including many locals. 

Ojai Meadow Preserve

-  a stretch of 58 acres owned and maintained by the Ojai Valley land conservancy. walk around, take a hike. In the spring months it is covered with wild mustard flowers. quite a beautiful sight to behold. 

Bocalli's Pumpkin Patch

- I absolutely love autumn in Ojai. while it's still quite warm during the day, the leaves are changing and the fall produce overflows from roadside trees. around halloween I like to roam around the bocalli's pumpkin patch and corn field. I try to get my fall fix when I can. 

Beatrice Wood Center For The Arts

- the famous avant-garde artist and ceramicist beatrice wood lived most her life in her beloved Ojai, until her death at 105. you can go visit the center named in her honor, to see her work as well as rotating exhibits and workshops. 

Meditation Mount

- I grew up down the road from this magical place and spent many a sunset here, so it holds a very special place in my heart. It is perched on top of a mountain on the east end of Ojai Valley. go to meditate, roam the gardens or to watch the famed "pink moment." the views are simply breathtaking. just remember to whisper. 

Spa day at Ojai Valley Inn

- if you're looking to relax and be pampered while in town you must head here. get a luxurious massage or just a day pass to use the pool, steam room and jacuzzi. 

Aa Relaxing Station

- a little chinese massage place right in the middle of town. get an hour foot massage for only $35. you will not be sorry. 

Sespe River

- hike to the sespe river and look for the hot springs (if they're open). 

Ojai Olive Oil

 - tour the olive orchards and go for an olive oil tasting. only open on wed or saturday. 

Old Creek Ranch Winery

- on your drive into town stop to do a little wine tasting.

Bike Ride

- many of the local inns lend out bikes to their guests. ride into town or on the bike trail. 

SWEET SOUND// 27

1. Panda Bear //Faces in the Croud

2. Mac Demarco // Brother

3. Blood Orange // It Is What It Is

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr // James Dean

5. Hozier // From Eden

6. Spoon // Inside Out

7. Mutual Benefit// Advanced Falconry

8. Alt-J // Bloodflow pt II

9. Phantogram // Fall in Love

10. Glasser // Apply

11. FKA Twigs // Two Weeks

12. Zola Jesus // Dangerous Days

13. Fool's Gold // I'm in Love (poolside remix)

14. Geographer // Kites

15. Deers // Banboo

16. La Luz // Morning High

17. Vows // Ghost Years

18. The New Pornographers // Champions of Red Wine

{listen on spotify or 8tracks }

This mix is long overdue, which is why it's my longest yet. These are all the songs that have been on repeat these last few months. Many of my favorite artists recently put out new albums and a few are new discoveries. I hope you enjoy!

EPIC 48

Last month I got to spend a weekend with Refinery29 for Secret Deodorant's Epic48, in my beautiful city Los Angeles. I road my bike to the farmer's market, picked up plants from my favorite plant store, had friends over for dinner in my backyard, went up to the Griffith Observatory and ended it all by watching the sunset at the beach. Of course we had a crazy heatwave that weekend with temps somewhere around 105. Not ideal or very fall-like, but we made the best of it. 

SNAP CLASS! | LOS ANGELES

Our second Snap Class! Los Angeles took place at the very cool Fifth photo studio in the Arts District. All of the lovely props and accessories were provided by Harmony Creative

Our friends at Sugarfina provided the students with the equally beautiful and delicious candies

A big thanks to Deluxe Screen Printing for making all of our gift bag totes

Our favorite baker Little Spark Cookies made us the most adorable summer themed cookies

Kim teaching the students how to capture movement

Urban Palate provided the most delicious spread for lunch. Still thinking about that quinoa salad

Velvetleaf Studio put together the gorgeous florals for the students to photograph and practice using their manual settings

Teaching the students how I style and photograph my Instagrams

SWEET SOUND // 26

1. Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks // Little Fang

2. Temples // Shelter Song

3. Smith Westerns // White Oath

4. Talking Heads // Road To Nowhere

5. Widowspeak // Gun Shy

6. The Morning Benders // Wet Cement

7. Dr. Dog // The Truth

8. The Horrors // So Now You Know

9. Little Dragon // Let Go

10. De Lux // Brighter End Of Dark

11. Sylvan Esso // Coffee

{listen on spotify or 8tracks}

This mix is the epitome of summer. It's light, it's dreamy, it makes me want to hop in the car and head to the beach. It's the perfect accompaniment to your Memorial Day plans, whatever they may be. Please enjoy!

SWEET SOUND // 25

1. La Femme // It's Time To Wake Up

2. Misun // Travel With Me

3. Little Dragon // Klapp Klapp

4. Future Islands // Light House

5. Mr. Little Jeans // Good Mistake 

6. Lana Del Rey // West Coast

7. Meshell Ndegeocello // Oysters

8. James Vincent McMorrow // Gold

9. Lykke Li // Love Me Like I'm Not Made Of Stone

10. On an On // Every Song

11. Flume & Chet Faker // Drop the Game

12. Big Data // Dangerous

13. RAC & Katie Herzig // We Belong

{listen on spotify or 8tracks}

I have a new mix for you. This is a fun one. It makes me want to do some major car dancing. Had to throw in a few mellow songs as well to even it out. I hope you enjoy!

SWEET SOUND // 24

1. Beck // Blue Moon

2. St. Vincent // Prince Johnny

3. Volcano Choir // Comrade

4. Blood Orange // You're Not Good Enough

5. Hospitality // Last Words

6. Future Islands // Seasons

7. Broken Bells // After The Disco

8. Metronomy // I'm Aquarius

9. Warpaint // Disco/Very

10. Flume // Sleepless

11. Hozier // Take Me To Church

12. 1,2,3 // Work

13. Mikal Cronin // Weight

{listen on spotify or 8tracks}

Wow, two blog posts in one week! Unbelievable, I know. Anyway, here is a mix for ya. It's all new music I've been listening to these last few months. Some really good stuff in here guys. Enjoy!

SNAP CLASS! | SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco was such a fun and welcoming city to have our first out of town Snap Class!

In the morning we had the most delicious pastries from Craftsman & Wolves.

Hunt and Gather Rentals provided all the cute serveware and props for the food

A huge thanks for JOBY for supplying our students with great camera straps and stands

The ladies behind Going Lovely helped us decorate the space and gave us all kinds of fun props to play and shoot with

Bi-Rite Market provided lunch and Black Jet Baking Co. gave us yummy sweet treats to end our meal

One of my favorite aspects were the adorable California cookies provided by Little Spark Cookies. She even made us Instagram cookies to go in all the giftbags

Melissa and Addison of Twigss Floral Studio came by to put together some beautiful floral arrangements for the students to photograph

Thank you to all of our San Francisco vendors and sponsors for helping make Snap Class! so special:

Going Lovely

Hunt and Gather Rentals

Twigss Floral Studio

Craftsman & Wolves

Little Spark Cookies

Bi-Rite Market

Black Jet Baking Co.

Joby

Hip Apotheca

Lilikoi Design

Today we are announcing our second Los Angeles Snap Class! on April 12th. Go sign up, before it sells out!

SWEET SOUND // 23

1. Beachwood Sparks // Forget This Song

2. Jake Bugg // Me And You

3. Father John Misty // O I Long To Feel Your Arms Around Me

4. Dan Auerbach // When The Night Comes

5. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss // Killing The Blues

6. Bon Iver // Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)

7. Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros // Man on Fire

8. My Morning Jacket // Wonderful

9. Kings of Leon // Last Mile Home (acoustic)

10. The Envy Corp // The Cursing Choir

11. First Aid Kit // Emmylou

12. The Fleet Foxes // Lorelai

13. Dr Dog // Distant Light

14. Daniel Rossen // Silent Song

15. Matt Costa // Ophelia

16. Nick Drake // Pink Moon

17. Sharon Van Etten // All I Can

18. The Tallest Man on Earth // To Just Grow Away

19. Jim James // A New Life

20. Phosphorescent // Ride On/Right On

{listen on spotify or 8tracks}

If you've listened to my mixes, you know I am a big fan of indie rock and indie electro, but deep down my favorite music tends to have a folky sound. It's the kind of music you sing around the campfire, it's the kind of music that is part of our history and makes us feel connected. I put together a mix of some of my favorite modern folk(y) music for you. It's a long one, I hope you enjoy!

SNAP CLASS! | LOS ANGELES

Our first Snap Class! was held at the beautiful Beachwood StudiosGeronimo Balloons was sweet enough to give us a bunch of balloons to decorate the space

Disregarden provided all the furniture, accessories and fun vintage props for the students to photograph

The amazing Rebecca Buenik helped us style the space and made us all the confetti

In the morning, Stumptown Coffee Roasters provided us with the much needed cold brew and Figgy Bakery made us all kinds of yummy vegan and gluten free pastries for our students to snack on

One of our local favorites, P.F. Candle Co. gave us the most amazing smelling campfire candle to burn in class and a little something for each of the students

Urban Palate provided the most delicious lunch, perfect for practicing our food photography skills as well as eating, of course

The adorable Clöe from Bon Puf came and surprised the students with cotton candy

Snap Class! Los Angeles was such an amazing day and experience. Kim and I had only taught mini workshops in the past, so teaching a full day was a slightly terrifying, yet exciting challenge. I can't get over how creative, fun an eager to learn each and every one of our students were. You all made our hard work and months of planning worth it. I can hardly believe Snap Class! San Francisco is less than two weeks away. If you'd like to join us, we still have a few spots left!

Thank you to all of our amazing sponsors and vendors, who all contributed in making our first Snap Class! so special:

Beachwood Studios

Disregarden

Rebecca Buenik

Geronimo Balloons

Urban Palate

Figgy Bakery

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Bon Puf

Samy's Camera

P.F. Candle Co.

Alien Skin

VSCO

Riffle Paper Co.

Lilikoi Design & Letterpress

HAPPY NEW YEAR & A SNAP CLASS! GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the New Year and Snap Class! Kim and I are giving away 1 spot to our LA Snap Class! on January 11th to one lucky Sweet Thing reader. We will be teaching all kinds of photography techniques and post processing tricks. All you have to do is sign up below. You can even get extra entires for tweeting about it and following us on all of our social media channels. A winner will be chosen at random and announced here on Sweet Thing on January 8th 10am PST. For more info on Snap Class! check out our website here

*$375 Value (travel & hotel not included) Snap Class! will be held in Los Angeles on January 11th 9am-5pm. One winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday January 8th at 10AM PST. The winner will be announced on Sweet Thing

THE WINNER IS RYANN MOORE! CONGRATS RYANN!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SWEET SOUND // 22

1. Wildcat! Wildcat! / Garden Grays

2. Lower Dens // Hours

3. Cage The Elephant // Telescope

4. Grouplove // Tongue Tied

5. Jake Bugg // What Doesn't Kill You

6. Hearts // Wings

7. Lovelife // Your New Beloved

8. Son Lux // Lost It To Trying

9. Tom Odell // Another Love

10. The National // Lean

11. La Sera // Love That's Gone

{listen on spotify or 8tracks

I made a new wintery mix for you. Incase you need a break from the Christmas tunes. It's music that makes me want to dance with some haunting love songs in there too. I hope you enjoy! 

photo via