One of the things I love about the world inside of the internet is the ability to find and connect with super rad, like-minded friends. The latest of those connections, Jen of Toast Meets Jamhappened to be a local lady and became my latest brunch co-host. Jen interviews millennial female founders to tell their start up stories. I discovered this fellow LA lady on Instagram, shot her an email, got together for a cocktail, and BAM! A party was born.

The idea behind our party was to bring together a group of inspiring LA ladies to network (and have lots of sparkling wine and giggles) over brunch. The group we invited ranged from founders to managers to designers to engineers, all with one thing in common: they were true lady bosses. The amount of drive, passion, and straight up girl power in the room was

We named our brunch “TOAST,” and hosted in Jen’s pretty Venice backyard. In typical party and carb-loving fashion, we had to make a toast bar. We toasted and topped the tastiest bread (from this awesome bakery) with fun combos like smashed avocado + lime + radish, cashew butter + truffle salt, and herby ricotta + walnuts + honey. We divided and conquered the rest of the meal–I handled the salad and Jen the frittata. She made an egg white frittata in a wok, which is one of the coolest egg tricks I’ve seen. I tried to throw everything colorful into my salad, so I tossed rainbow carrots, edible flowers, vibrant radishes, and crunchy pepitas with a homemade pistachio vinaigrette.

Did I mention that Tatiana from Troubled Ice made a strawberry-fields-forever-esque ice sculpture for housing champagne? How do I meet these bonkers amazing ladies? This brunch was really what it’s all about for me–building community over champagne, success stories, and really tasty breakfast foods.

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We’re mid-makeover over here on the DPA, but I wanted to pop in and give a little update on what I’ve been up to. I’m in the process of showing this site a little love and planning a couple fun parties for this summer, plus planning a couple trips to Denver, Santa Cruz, and Portland.

1 // I’ve been hosting more yard and porch parties in Pasadena. I feel so lucky to live in a place with a yard, mountains, palm trees, and sweet friends to come over to have rosé and popcorn with me.

2 // I celebrated two years in Los Angeles. I sort of can’t believe it’s been that long, but I sure am thankful for all of the things that have happened in that time. I’m in such a good place right now–happy, loving my job, and excited for opportunities ahead.

3 // I took two short trips to San Francisco to start and finish a really special tattoo. I stayed in the marina with some of my favorite people ever, went out for meatballs and wine, perused bi-rite grocery and had A LOT of good coffee.

4 // I catered an event for the first time! I made a giant taco bar with Thug Kitchen’s beer & cauliflower tacos (plus lots of slow roasted pork shoulder). It pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me realize I’m capable of party-throwing for bigger groups than I thought.

5 // I went to vegan beer fest with my homegirl from Brewing Happiness. We had a lot of beer and treats, my favorite probably being fried brussels sprouts. This cake from Bramble Bake Shop was just beautiful.

6 // I’m home in Indiana right now for my brother’s graduation party. We made a taco bar to feed an army and three fun agua frescas (coconut guava, pineapple mango, and cucumber watermelon). I guess taco bars are kind of my thing right now?

Meet my friend Zach. He’s one of those people that come into your life like: HI, we’re going to be friends forever now. Zach is an incredible musician and a lover of life’s best things (peanut butter, red wine, dark chocolate, jumping into cold oceans). He’s doing big things and going places. One of the places he’s going is Vermont, to live for a while and make lots of music. We threw a little going away fiesta in my backyard, complete with homemade horchata, Zach’s favorite fruit cart, roasted root veggie tacos, and lots of avocado. Cause extra avocado makes saying bye to your friends just a tiny bit easier.

Miss you already, Zach. Come back soon!

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If you’ve been following along with the DPA for a little while, you’ve heard me talk about my girl Haley of Brewing Happiness. We threw a SNOW party for 100 of our friends and then decided we should be friends for like, ever. She is the goddess of vegan food and takes the prettiest pictures, plus she’s really great at getting things DONE (I like those sorts of people). We mashed our styles this weekend and met up at my place for a homemade brunch for two. What I mean by mashing styles: everything we ate/drank was vegan, gluten free, and sugar free (Haley’s style), and there was lots of booze (my style).

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One thing I love about hanging with other bloggers is that they teach me a bunch. For instance, who knew that most bloody marys aren’t vegan?! Traditional bloody marys have a dash of worcestershire sauce, which has lots of ANCHOVIES up in there! All of the vegan versions we found contained sugar or gluten, so we took matters into our own hands and DIY’d the worcestershire sauce. The result is a smoky, tangy sauce that completely ROCKS when mixed with vodka and tomato juice.

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While I shook up cocktails, Haley made some seriously amazing vegan corn cakes for our brunching pleasure. We paired the bloody marys and corn cakes with 3 coffee (our favorite cold brew for eva eva) and then relished the good friend, good brunch moment. Head on over to Brewing Happiness for a recipe for those vegan corn cakes, but not before snagging this kimchi bloody mary recipe!

2 oz vodka
2 oz cabbage kimchi, plus more for topping
4 oz tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon coconut aminos
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 dash hot sauce
juice of 1/2 lemon
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Mix the apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos, and liquid smoke in a small bowl and set aside. In a blender, mix kimchi and tomato juice until Pour over ice and add vodka. Add the vinegar mixture, hot sauce, and lemon and stir with a cocktail spoon. Top with LOTS of kimchi and enjoy.

Let’s talk about girlbosses for just a minute. My friend Tatiana is the artist and owner of Troubled Ice, an ice sculpting business in sunny California. DO click the link and see the things she makes out of giant blocks of ice. Any girl who rocks a chainsaw is automatically a girlboss in my book, and the fact that Tatiana owns her own business is (lots of) icing on the cake. She lives in a warehouse with her husband to keep her ice business going and has transformed the space into a rad little apartment. Tatiana had me over for work one night and I immediately went into party planning mode. We dreamt up “the ultimate house party” that night, called up all of our favorite food and booze friends, and planned ourselves a dang good party.

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Planning a giant house party is sort of like creating a bar with only your favorite drinks and music and then adding ping pong. I’m going to gush about the rad vendors who partied with us real quick, because they were SO great and made the party what it was. Ray Bros Photobooth was THE best booth I’ve ever been in. You could choos between color and black & white for each photo, plus style yourself with tons of fun props. Photobooths (and everything, really) are more fun with booze, so Brewyard Beer Co & Caorunn Gin and Ludlow’s Cocktail Co livened things up with lychee beer and gin & tonics and artisanal jelly shots (WHAT?!). We balanced the booze with a pot roast and root veggie taco bar from Chef Kerry Prince and beer ice cream cones from Great Hops Ice Cream. Our DJ KILLED it with an all vinyl set (check her out!).

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Everyone’s favorite part of the evening was (hands down!) Tatiana’s live ice sculpting performance. She carved the word ROAR and then set it on fire. What?! How?! It was totally theatrical and inspiring. Currently trying to figure out how everyone in LA can see this lady rock a chainsaw. Maybe a DPA roadshow?! Coming to a warehouse near you.

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