Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall Layers

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Sweater, jeans-Gap
Polka dot shirt-Uniqlo (similar style HERE)
Boots-Saks 10222
Bag-Mulberry (similar color HERE)
Leg warmers-shop in Portugal
Bracelets, rings-David Yurman

Happy Wednesday/Halloween everyone! Hope you survived Hurricane Sandy if your area encountered it. The East coast got hit hard with the hurricane and the DMV area suffered from it with flooded roads and lost electricity. I keep reading and seeing these updated reports and horrifying images from the major impact the hurricane had on NY/New Jersey and it's a definite wake up call to be thankful that this area wasn't on that same level of disaster. Praying for those that the road to recovery is a fast one.

Wishing you a safe and warm rest of the week. Xo.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Saw this "29 Ways to Stay Creative" image floating around the web and decided to print it and put it on my mini inspirational board as a reminder. It's a great note to oneself.

2. Checked out Northside Social Coffee & Wine in Arlington, VA. My friend brought me there since I've been meaning to check it out and were nearby so we noshed on some artisanal cheese, mixed nuts, wine, and coffee. I will definitely be going back when in need of a great cup of jo and because the atmosphere is so cozy.

3. Had some major help from my awesome photographer friend with hanging up a painting that's been sitting on the floor for the past month (partly due to laziness). So happy that wall doesn't look so bare anymore. Thanks so much, Sung=)

4. Stocked up on some Halloween candy for possible trick o' treaters on Wednesday. Since I knew one of my friends would be coming over, who happens to love candy corn, I bought it for her to she could nibble on it while I was prepping for dinner.

5. Hosted a little dinner party for some of my good girlfriends. It's been awhile since I've seen them due to scheduling conflicts, so I invited them over my home for diner. It also gave me a good excuse to finally use the napkin holders I bought from Zara Home while in Portugal;) For the centerpiece, I filled a vase I already had with scented cones. I wanted to give off a no fuss, Fall-like, cozy atmosphere and the candles, along with the votive I bought from Ikea finished off the look. It was a great time of enjoying eating together while catching up with good friends. My kind of evening.

6. Went terrarium plant shopping for the home and came out with three of the cutest cactuses (not pictured). I'll post it once I find a glass bell jar to make the terrarium.

How was your weekend?

Friday, October 26, 2012

NomNom: Apple Brownies

Happy Friday everyone! I'm so relieved that I have a day off today because I'm a bit stresssssssed. I am hosting a little dinner party for some of my favorite girls tonight and I have much to do. I've been thinking about the menu for a couple of weeks now and finally settled on what to make for dinner (linguine with clams and a baked olive & cheese bread) and dessert. With Fall season upon us, apples and pumpkins are sorta a big deal. As in, too many recipes in your face big deal  My parents recently went to the orchard and brought back bushels of apples and gave a bushel to me too so now I have an influx of apples in my fridge. With that said, I decided to make an apple related dessert for my ladies, naturally. I was debating between apple brownies or an apple crisp and let me tell ya, it was a difficult one. 

I taste tested both of these recipes and kept going back and forth between the two because both were so heavenly. It's like you can taste Fall in your mouth--does that make sense? You're probably thinking I chose apple brownies because I'm posting about it today but actuaaaaaaally I chose the apple crisp. HA! The only deal breaker was that my friend offered to bring some fancy smanchy gourmet ice-cream to add to my warm apple crisp and well, it was a done deal. End of conversation. At the end of the day, the ice-cream won. Story of my life.

These apple brownies are extremely easy to make and so dang good. They're moist in the interior, but have a bit of a firm crust like a brownie, with the taste of apples and walnuts. Oh and let's not forget about the hint of cinnamon. I mean seriously, doesn't that sound like quintessential Fall to you? You can also think of it as getting your daily fruit intake but ahem try not to stare at the butter content in the recipe.

Listen, make this recipe because it will surely not disappoint. When you tell your friends you made apple brownies instead of just brownies, they'll be like, "What? Ohhhh." You know you love those kind of reactions.

Back to cleaning and food prepping for my dinner guests. Have a lovely weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Adapted from Yields 20-30 bars

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups apples (about 2-3 apples), peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnut
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF ( 170ºC).

2. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in apples and nuts.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Fold into apple mixture.

4. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached. The top will have subtle cracks.

5. Let it cool before you cut into bars.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Leather Love

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Chambray shirt-Old Navy
Leather pants-United Colors of Benetton
Shoes-Same Edelman
Purse-Chanel WOC
Sunglasses-Stella McCartney

Hi everyone! I am back from a fun and interesting time in NYC and sluggishly heading back to work today. On my last day in NYC yesterday, I ventured out to the YSL sample sale and stood in line for 6 hours. When I arrived at 8:45am (doors opened at 9am), the line was wrapped around 34th street (bldg was on 33rd) and down 9th Ave. It was insane. 

You're probably thinking I'm crazy because that's what I'm thinking too but after standing for a couple hours, you start to think, "I can stand for a little more." But then that little more turns into a lot more. Ugh. That was my first time standing at a sample sale for that long and I've been to several in the past so it was a definite experience. I came out with an arty ring and a clutch so I'm pretty happy with the purchases. I wasn't impressed with the shoe selection, RTW, or the bags though I saw many, many girls walking out with shopping bags filled with shoes/bags. It's still going on until tomorrow so if interested, the sample sale is located at the Soiffer Haskin, 317 W. 33rd St. (near 8th Ave.)  

Ok so let's talk about today's outfit post. I mentioned a couple of posts back that I love everything leather this season and was on the hunt for leather pants while I was in Portugal. I found these pants at United Colors of Benetton and have been pairing them lately with lots of knits and button downs.

Leather can be tricky if worn wrong because it has a tough look to it which can easily translate to biker chick, which isn't exactly the look I normally gravitate towards. I wanted to pair it down with a conservative top to soften the look against the leather. I have another pairing coming up with these leather pants which completely transforms the look into something completely chic.

Are you getting into the leather trend? 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Sent out a card to a friend the old fashioned way before email became so prevalent. There's something about sending and receiving snail mail that is so honest, no?

2. Put together a small care package to bring to my sister in NYC. I didn't have time to make any baked goods so gathered some of her favorite snacks along with new nail polish, naturally. My love for nail polish is slowly influencing her as well;)

3. Enjoyed walking around NYC with my friend, sis, and Mandu in the perfect Fall weather. The weather for the next couple of days is going to stay in the mid 60's with plenty of sunshine which works for me since I'll be here until tomorrow.

4. Wanted to check out Bleeker Street Pizza after reading many, many reviews stating that it's the best pizza in NYC by the NY Times and Jimmy Kimmel. I'm always curious to try food establishments that are labeled with such a bold statement and then try to formulate my own opinion with out being swayed. I'm going to have say though, that I wholeheartedly agree with the raving reviews. We each had a slice of the the Nonna, mushroom pizza and Sicilian. Each bite gives you the most wonderful crisp sound and the sauces on the pizza were SO flavorful. Each slice is about $3.25-$3.50 which is expensive for a slice but hey, it's NYC.

5. Stopped by the C.Wonder store. I know that there's a store coming to the Tysons Corner Mall in Virginia soon so I wanted to see what it was all about since they claim to be a home decor, accessories, and clothing store. The store is bright and colorful with lots of cute home decor items and accessories. In terms of the clothing selection, I wasn't that impressed, only because the quality of the material seemed a bit cheap with the price point being expensive for what you're buying. The set up reminds me of Tory Burch but you can think of it as the more affordable version of it. I ended up buying a cute display plate for myself and my friend bought one for my sis (as a belated housewarming gift) to use for our everyday jewelery.

6. Tried Totto Ramen for the first time. When it comes to ramen in NYC, I always go to the ever popular Ippudo but this time we wanted to try somewhere else. The wait was nearly 2 hours since they don't have a wait list and the place is super small, but we're so glad we waited because I think the ramen is much better then Ippudo. When it comes to ramen, the broth is the key player and Totto Ramen uses chicken broth which makes my heart sing. We also ordered the pork buns, which was delicious but the pork buns from Ippudo really are number one in my book. So moral of the story? Go to Ippudo for the pork buns and Totto Ramen for ramen.

7. Stopped by Stumptown Coffee to introduce my friend to the awesomeness of this java joint and he also agreed that it was the best coffee he's had. I'm telling you, this place has become my favorite coffee place and my coffee beans now come from this store. 

How was your weekend?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Easy Weekend Wear

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Sweater-J.Crew outlet
Boyfriend jeans-Zara (similar style HERE)
Bag-Mulberry (similar color HERE)
Shoes-Vera Wang Lavender

Happy Friday everyone! It's rainy and dreary today which is a total change from the weather we had a couple days ago. The weather has finally started to feel like fall with the crisp air but some afternoons are warm enough where you can forgo a jacket and be comfortable in a light sweater. I bought these Zara boyfriend jeans while shopping in Portugal and have been trying to get much wear out of them before the weather turns frigid. I love boyfriend jeans because they give off such a relaxed look that is perfect for running errands, meeting with friends, or walking around the city. 

I'm heading to NYC this weekend with Mandu and company because I have some vacation days to use up, so I'll be staying there until early next week. I'm very much looking forward to eating, museum hopping, shopping, and just relaxing in one of my favorite cities. 

Hope your weekend is filled with fun filled agenda as well. Xo. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Green and Black

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shirt-American Apparel
Anorak trench-Ali Ro
Shoes-Sam Edelman
Necklace-Alexis Bittar
Rings-David Yurman
Bracelet-Mango, Neiman Marcus
Sunglasses-Stella McCartney 

Hi everyone! One of my staple pieces for fall is the classic trench. I bought this Anorak trench over the spring and it has been my go- to coat as of late. I wanted to wear it over strong colors such as green and black and to keep it consistent with the colors of the trench. I love that the pop of color comes from the beautiful green color of the skirt.

With the new fall season upon us, I've been meaning to do something with my hair. I've been loving the ombre looks that's been circulating the web and was contemplating if I should take the plunge. Right before my trip to Portugal, I received a personal invitation to Frizzles Hair Salon's Fall Fete. They were celebrating their nomination from the DMV's popular radio station, HOT 99.5 as being one of the top salons in the DMV area and wanted to invited me to join in on the celebration. They offered me complimentary hair and color services and asked if that was something I'd be interested in and I took that as a sign that I should finally take the plunge;) It was a great afternoon that consisted of sangria, giveaways, catered Greek food, and delicious cake pops from Kylie's Pop Shop.

Barbara was my assigned colorist for the day and I can't begin to tell you how wonderful and thorough she was with my hair. I expressed my concerns on how I didn't want my locks to be too light and that I wanted more of a subtle ombre look. She suggested colors to me and listened to what I had to say and voila, here is the end result! I couldn't be more happier. Thank you SO much to the Frizzles team for extending your salon to me and your kindness that day. 

It's amazing how blogging has opened up opportunities and friendships along the way that I never would've imagined. I'm always so grateful for the support of you readers who visit this blog everyday--thank you. 

Wishing you a great rest of the week. Xo.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Made an unexpected purchase at the David Yurman Sample Sale that occurred in NYC. I told my sis (who lives in NYC) to check out the sale that started from Thursday-Sunday to see if there was anything worth buying for the price point. She bought a watch for herself and I bought the matching stone pendant to the ring that I own! Prices were 30-50% off the original price which is awesome because David Yurman doesn't go on sale. Score.

2. Met up with a friend at Matchbox Pizza. She's never been so I wanted to take her and treat her to dinner since she got the bill last time we met. I recently met her this past year and the last time we met for dinner was about two months ago, so our catch up session lasted 4.5 hours. Don't you love those type of conversations that lasts for several hours yet doesn't seem like it until you notice the clock? After hearing about the bad week I was having last week, she snatched the bill and paid for our meal. Her reason? "This is on me--you had a bad week. My treat." I tried to dispute her reason but she wouldn't have it. This act of kindness reconfirms my initial good feelings about her and makes a lasting impression on me. I also gotta learn how to be faster at getting that bill first when dining with her.

3. Read through food magazines to get some ideas on dinner recipes for next week. I invited a couple of girlfriends over for a dinner get together and wanted to get a head start on things to cook that night.

4. Cared for my sick doggy. Mandu had to be taken to the vet because he kept throwing up throughout the day. Thank God he is better now---seeing the little guy sick and miserable really broke my heart.

5. Signed up for a vegetable cooking class at Williams Sonoma. I'm not that big on vegetables (I eat it because I know it's healthy, not because I love it) so I wanted to learn more on that area. The class talked about ways to roast/cook vegetables such as seasonal produce like squash. The cook also made an amazing tasting portobello mushroom grilled panini that blew my mind. I never/make a veggie sandwich but this is one I will definitely be recreating.

How was your weekend?

Friday, October 12, 2012

NomNom: Cocoa Bownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Confession: I used to make brownies out of the box all my life. There I said it. I actually still think the brownies out of the box are tasty but after coming across this cocoa brownie recipe from Bon Appetit that uses browned butter, I have to say that these take the cake (har har). 

I prefer my brownies to be chewy and fudgey and this is the perfect recipe to produce brownies just like that. I was blown away that the recipe doesn't call for any chocolate and the source of the chocolatey goodness from the brownies come solely from the cocoa powder. Awesome.

Adding walnuts to the brownies gives it a nice additive texture to the chewiness of the brownies and elevates a plain brownie into something glorious. I gave some to my parents to try and they gave me the stamp of approval, which is huge considering they don't like sweet things. So, if anything, listen to my parents when they say this is good stuff. Trust us.

Wishing you a chocolatey, brownie filled weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Adapted from Bon Appetit) Yields:16
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces

1. Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray.

2. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot).

3. Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

4. Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tweed Revisted

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Tweed jacket-Sugar Lips (c/o)
Necklace-David Yurman
Shoes-Pour La Victoire

Hi everyone! Hope your Wednesday is going smoothly so far. I have a confession to make: this outfit post was supposed to be scheduled prior to my vacation but due to poor planning on my part, it never uploaded on time. Better late then never, right?

As you know by now, I'm a huge fan of tweed and so when Sugar Lips contacted me, I was immediately drawn to this tweed jacket. Another trend I'm all over is leather. While shopping in Portugal I was on the hunt for leather pants and I came across a pair at United Colors of Bennetton and I can't wait to show those in an upcoming post. I love the leather trimmings on the the jacket because the mix of tweed and leather gives it a bit of toughness to a lady like jacket. Oh, and a pop of red never hurts;)

Coming back from vacation is definitely a smack into reality. I have backed up emails that need to be responded to and a couple of things in my personal life I need to repriortize. Looking forward to getting back into the groove of things. 

Thank you so much for being patient while I was away. Xo. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I....

1. Got back from vacationing in Portugal. Spain was also supposed to be included in the trip but due to the recent riots, I decided to cancel that portion of the trip. Instead, we traveled to Porto, the northern part of Portugal which was gorgeous.

2. Unpacked and did laundry. Not very exciting but it was something that needed to be done after a couple of weeks of being away.

3. Bought a couple of new nail polishes and repainted my chipped nails to this newly obsessed color from Essie called Mink Muffs.

4. Wore my new Alexander McQueen wrap around bracelet I bought at the Harrod's duty free shop in London Heathrow airport, which I'm in love with. Long live McQueen.

5. Overdosed on sushi. It was the very first thing I wanted to eat when I got back from the trip and boy was it good.

How was your weekend?