Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend Snapshots


This weekend I...

1. Spotted the most amazing snakeskin Mulberry bag while shopping with my sister. I haven't seen this texture before so when we saw it hanging on the display window we stopped dead in our tracks and immediately went inside the store to take a look. My sis was very close to purchasing it but held off until she heads to New York over the summer. I've been eyeing this bag for over a year but I put myself on a 'big purchase" shopping freeze after the Hermes purchases. Sigh, this bag is definitely on my wish list.

2. Attended CB2's DIY Saturday event on *ahem* Saturday. They were teaching people different ways to style a chandelier and turning planters into art. It was fun to learn new ways to be creative on beautifying your living space.

3. I finally found a vanity chair! I've been searching for quite some time to find the perfect chair for my vanity table and was drawn to the luxe design of this chair.

4. Made eggplant parmesan, poured glasses of vino, and plopped right in front of my tv to catch up on missed episodes of Game of Thrones. A home cooked meal seated in the comforts of my home along with watching my favorite series=perfect evening.

5. Stopped by H&M and found these super affordable ($12.95) capri pants that fit me oh so well. I loved them so much I bought them in 4 colors! (Khaki colored ones aren't pictured because I was wearing them while taking the pic and was too lazy to take them off=P)

6. Spent Sunday afternoon exploring Old Town Alexandria. It was a gorgeous, sunny day out that was perfect for shopping, people watching, and stopping for a froyo break.

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 27, 2012

NomNom: Shrimp Burgers with Creamy Chipotle Chile Sauce

I have a funny relationship with seafood. Back when I was in college I endured the most excruciating stomach pains ever--I got food poisoning from seafood. The night before, my friends and I went to eat at a seafood buffet and I must have consumed something bad because that whole night and following morning I was throwing up and running to the bathroom. Things were coming out from both holes (I'm sorry if that was TMI but that's the truth!!) and I had the worst stomach pains. Ever. I had to be rushed to the hospital because my stomach hurt so bad that it became this whole ordeal of having to be wheel chaired in because I was in so much pain to walk and the nurses putting IVs in me due to dehydration. Truly the worst experience with food.

After going through that, you can only imagine how much I steered clear of (raw) seafood for many, many moons--specifically anything raw shellfish. I've sloooooooowly started to incorporate seafood back into my diet a couple years ago but I'm still somewhat hesitant when a friend is like, "let's get oysters!" Ever since my food poisoning incident, I've felt indifferent towards certain seafood such as shrimp and crabs. They're aiight.


As I was perusing through my America's Best Kitchen magazine (best recipe source btw) I came across this shrimp burger recipe. I've never had shrimp in a burger form before and thought it might be worth exploring because the shrimp would be would be pulsed in a food processor so it wouldn't look like I'm eating shrimp. Am I weird for justifying it like that? Maybe.

Let me tell you--I was so very extremely and pleasantly surprised at how these burgers came out, so much so that I made it twice in one weekend. For reals. Have you tried crab cakes? Well, this has a very similar texture to crab cakes and good grief it is SO NOMNOMNOM. I can't even tell you. The recipe calls for simple seasoning and as the recipe mentions, the lemon zest really does accentuate the sweetness of the shrimp. Another great thing about it, is that it's much healthier for you than a regular beef burger. Win.

Top it off with the creamy chipotle chile sauce (highly recommend), fresh tomatoes, and your favorite burger topping, and you'll thank me for this recipe.

Have a great weekend.

Ingredients for Shrimp Burgers, Serves 4 (Adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
1 slice of hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 scallions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil
4 hambuger buns

Procedure
1. Pulse bread in food processor to coarse crumbs, about 4 pulses and transfer to bowl (you should have about 3/4 cup crumbs). Wipe food processor clean and pulse shrimp until there is an even mix of finely minced and coarsely chopped pieces, about 7 pulses.

2. Whisk mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and cayenne together in large bowl until uniform, Gently fold in processed shrimp and bread crumbs until just combined.

3. Scrape shrimp mixture onto small baking sheet each into 1-inch thick patty. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Gently lay shrimp burgers in skillet and cook until crisp and browned on both sides, 8-10 minutes., Place burgers on buns and serve.

Ingredients for Creamy Chipotle Chile Sauce
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove,inced
1/2 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
water
salt and pepper

Procedure
Combine mayonnasie, sour crea, lime juice, cilantro,m garlic and chipotle in bowl, dd water as needed to thin sauce consistency and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate to 30 minutes before serving.




Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let's get brunch

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shirt-Old Navy
Jeans-JBrand
Necklace-H&M
Shoes-KORS by Michael Kors
Sunglasses-Stella McCartney

For the past couple of days, the weather has been cold, rainy and dismal. Today, the sun is finally shining and it actually feels like spring. I'm headed out to meet a friend for brunch and wanted to wear these beautiful eggplant colored jeans I bought recently for an amazing price at Nordstrom Rack. For what JBrand normally costs, the price I bought these for ($47!!) was such a steal. 

Awhile back, I mentioned I love pairing yellow and purple together. They were my favorite colors I loved pairing together growing up and nothing has changed=) If you're hesitant to play with bright or bold hues, start with one bold color and incorporate the other color with ease. The yellows from my top are noticeable but it's not over the top where the the only color you see is yellow. The cream color offsets the yellow and tones it down. I also couldn't resist adding a bit of "bling" to the outfit;)

Hope you're having a great week so far. Talk soon xo.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend Snapshots



This weekend I...

1. Stopped by the mall to do a return and stopped by Ann Taylor Loft since they were having a weekend sale. I found this cute, striped sweater for $12! I have a lot of stripes in my wardrobe but I couldn't resist buying this sweater because it was so cheap. I always end up finding the greatest deals when I'm not looking for anything specific.

2. Bought Dry shampoo. I've been seeing it mentioned in magazines lately and was curious to see what the hype was. Several companies have their own dry shampoo line but I ended up buying Suave's because it was on sale haha. I don't like washing my hair everyday because it drys my hair out, so I wash it every other day. Sometimes, on the 2nd day my hair looks slightly oily so I tested the dry shampoo and was AMAZED at the results. Lets just say that it really does hold true to the name.

3. Experimented with tahini for the first time. It's a puree of sesame seeds that is used in Middle Eastern and Turkish cooking such as hummus, which is exactly what I used it for. Recipe will come soon;)

4. Had a craving for my favorite burger--the Hell burger from Ray's Hell Burger. It is by far, the best burger I've ever had (In N Out is 2nd on my fav burgers list) because the meat is unbelievably juicy and seasoned well. Oh, and you gotta order it with sweet potato fries. Those fries are so on point.

5. Ended my Sunday evening with a glass of wine and some magazines. The Washingtonian magazine had a great article on home decorating ideas and recommendations for furniture shops in the DMV area and well, I just loved every page in the Domino Mag. Home decor is a fairly new area for me so I'm always looking for inspirations on utilizing space, colors, and furniture. Magazines and blogs have been my go to source.

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Stroll

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shirt, belt-J.Crew
Jeans-7FAM
Shoes-KORS Michael Kors
Bracelet-Hermes
Sunglasses-Stella McCartney

Several posts ago, I featured this gingham shirt here and mentioned that I'd show you various ways to wear it. Today I wanted to pair it with classic, white jeans. As the weather warms up, one of the colors I tend to gravitate towards is the color white. I love the classic look of white denims because it can easily brighten up an outfit and give an overall, crisp look. 

Readers, do you like wearing white denim during the spring/summer time?
 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

NomNom: Pimiento Cheese Spread

About a month ago, I came across an article online that talked about the popularity of pimiento cheese sandwiches in the South. I'll be honest with you, I never even heard of pimiento until that article, so the curious side of me quickly googled it and found a bunch of recipes online that used pimientos in a cheese spread or in sandwiches. It was one of those things I bookmarked and told myself I would come back to. Anyway, a couple days later I was flipping through a HGTV magazine and saw the dip featured in their 'chip+dip party' page. I took this as a sign that I needed to make this dip ASAP.


Pimientos are a variety of large red chili peppers so I expected them to be spicy, but instead they were sweet. Totally not what I had in mind. Totally had my reservations at that point. I followed the recipe as is, and took a bite of the cheese spread and was smitten!! The combination of the cheese with the creaminess of the mayo & sour cream, along with the sweet peppers tasted so comforting. The first time I made this, I made it creamy. After making it several times now, I prefer mine to be a bit chunky instead but that is totally up to you. Adjust as you will.


The awesome thing about this easy spread is that it gives you options.

Who doesn't love options?

You can eat it as a dip with chips (or just by the spoonful--that definitely happened), use it to make sandwiches (hello finger food for party!!) or spread it on a burger or a warm, toasted bagel <-----SO DELICIOUS.

One cheese spread that gives you that many choices? That must mean it's some good stuff.

Ingredients (Adapted from HGTV magazine, March 2012)
1/2 lb each grated extra sharp cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup each mayonnaise and sour cream
2 tablespoons diced pimientos
Hot sauce
Onion powder
Garlic powder

Procedure
1. Mix cheeses, mayo and sour cream, and diced pimientos.

2. Season with hot sauce, onion powder, and garlic powder.

3. Serve with potato chips or use to make a sandwich.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Electric Blue

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Tank top-F21
Jeans-F21
Clutch-Nancy Gonzalez
Sunglasses-Chanel
Bracelets-David Yurman, Neiman Marcus
Shoes-Loeffler Randall

Happy Tuesday everyone! For some reason, summer came early for the east coast yesterday because we experienced really warm temperatures. I bought these colored denim jeans a couple weeks ago and have been wearing them nonstop because they add a great pop of color to my regular denim jeans collection. It was hot enough to wear a tank top so I paired the jeans with a casual gray color so the focus would be on the fantastic color of the jeans. During the summer time, I love wearing these white framed Chanel sunnies because the white color just give offs a cool summer vibe so you'll be seeing her more as the weather warms up.

I hope you guys enjoyed the brief summer weather we had the past couple days. Thanks for visiting:)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekend Snapshots


This weekend I...

1. Found these cute cone shaped appetizer things at TJMaxx! I see home made french fries or spiced nuts in the near future.

2. My good friend Mel from www.labellemel.com came over for a mini potluck dinner. I made shrimp burgers using a recipe from Cook's Illustrated which turned out to be SO GOOD that I'm actually making them again today. Mel made fried avocado rolls with a mango chutney dipping sauce that was equally delicious. I imagine that mango chutney would also taste good on chicken...mmmm. Trading recipes with my girlfriends and sharing the food we cook makes me happy.

3. Stopped by the Hermes store on Saturday to "visit" an accessory piece I've been eyeing since last year. The Hermes store has a strict store policy where you can't return an item once you buy it. My SA said that she would hold the piece for me until Monday so that I could think about it more over the weekend because I want to be 100% sure about the purchase. After much thinking, I decided I'm going to get it. I'm going back to the store today to make the purchase. So excited--will share soon.

4. Did some spring cleaning for my place and couldn't resist buying some gorgeous peonies (one of my favorite flowers) I saw while running errands for my freshly cleaned home. When peonies bloom, they're full, lush, and simply gorgeous.

5. Ordered sushi to go and stuffed our faces silly...story of my life.

6. Enjoyed the beautiful warm weather we had this weekend by basking in the warmth on my patio, drinking a glass (or two) of wine, and finding inspiration from my food and fashion magazines.

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 13, 2012

NomNom: Cheesecake Parfait

When I have guests over, I like to have a little something delicious waiting for them. However, I'm all about efficient, simple, and obviously delicious food, so when I came across this ridiculously easy cheesecake parfait recipe, I knew I had to try and make it for my friend.


Growing up, my mom was a stickler (and still is) for manners and etiquette. I would watch her host dinners or have a simple get together at our house where fruits would always be peeled and cut up or fresh baked goods would be waiting to be placed on a pretty plate. She was definitely the hostess with the mostest. Food is love in my parent's household and that motto has now become something I live by. Whether it be the last delicious bite I offer to my friend or the last piece of cheese I give to Mandu (my lovable dog), food represents something more then just having something to fill your hunger with.

This parfait tastes exactly like a cheesecake would without the baking involved--how great is that?! A deconstructed cheesecake (and a major time saver), if you will. Each layer is what you'd find in a slice of cheesecake, and topping wise, you could alternate with another fruit of your choice. No biggie.

The weather is finally starting to warm up again starting today, which is a perfect way to start the weekend. Make yourself this easy cheesecake parfait, enjoy the beautiful weather, and have a great weekend.

Ingredients (Adapted from Food Network Magazine Apr 2011) 
8 ounces cream cheese (I used low fat)
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 Teaspoon of graham crackers
Fresh pears or chopped canned
Sliced crystallized ginger (optional)

Procedure
1. Beat 8 ounces softened cream cheese with sugar and heavy cream.
2. Put a heaping teaspoon of graham cracker crumbs in each glass
3 Top with the cream cheese mixture, chopped canned or fresh pears and sliced crystallized ginger.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Balance

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Blazer, shoes-Alice&Olivia
Shirt-H&M
Leather shorts, ring-F21
Clutch-Nancy Gonzalez
Sunglasses-Chanel
Bracelets-David Yurman, Neiman Marcus

I like to have balance when I wear clothes, especially when I'm choosing a "going out outfit." If what I'm wearing on the bottom is tight fitting or short, I like to keep the top part covered or loose fitting. You could wear this outfit to a night out with friends or to a date. The leather shorts give the outfit somewhat of an edge, pops of color are found from the shirt and clutch, and the blazer brings together a polished look.

What are some going out outfits you wear?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

NomNom: Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa

Over the weekend I celebrated Easter Sunday with my family and one of the side dishes I helped make was this quinoa dish. I've been curious about quinoa for quite some time now because I see it popping up in several recipes and in articles regarding the health benefits from it. It's basically a type of grain that originates in the Andean region that is highly packed in fiber and protein. I'm usually weary (aka low expectations) when it comes to dishes that only contain vegetables, especially when grain is the main ingredient, but this dish proved me wrong in so many ways.


When cooked, it has a fluffy texture and a nutty taste. It reminds me of couscous but texturally not as tough. The bold citrus flavors of the lime butter dressing really make this dish stand out, along with the freshness of the tomatoes and cilantro. I could probably eat this as my main meal and still feel happily satisfied--it's just that good. Now that I have turned into a quinoa fan (along with the whole family) I'll be on the hunt for more quinoa recipes so get ready for some healthy stuff coming atcha.

Oh! Here is the link to the BYT spring work wear photo shoot I participated in a couple weeks ago that I mentioned yesterday in my weekend snapshots. The full editorial came out yesterday--enjoy!

Ingredients (adapted from www.epicurious.com)
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Procedure
1. Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

2. Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

3. Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.

4. Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

video 



This weekend I...

1. Scored a pair of J Brand jeans in a gorgeous eggplant color for an amazing deal at Nordstrom Rack. I bought it for $47 which is such a bargain because they're normally priced over $100.

2. Made my pimiento spread again and made sandwiches out of it. I also made a really easy cheesecake parfait the same day. My friend Melanie from LaBelleMel came over to visit and I wanted to make something yummy for her. I'm pretty sure she left my place happily stuffed;)

3. Also made rasberry and chocolate ganache macarons with Melanie for the first time. It was definitely a trial and error session but the end result was worth it. I love to cook and try new recipes but when I can share that experience with friends, it makes it that much better.

4. Dined at Vermilion. I've been wanting to try this restaurant (located in Alexandria, VA) for awhile now and finally had the opportunity this weekend. Everything, and I mean everything, tasted heavenly. You know you had a good meal if you're still thinking about it a couple days later. It's a bit pricey but worth it. If you're looking for a place to dine for a special occasion, I'd highly recommend this restaurant.

5. Finally found a rug!!! I've been searching for months to find the perfect color and design that would mesh well with my furniture/color scheme in my living area and found it at CB2, along with an awesome lamp (not pictured). So happy that my place is finally starting to come along to my liking.

6. Several weeks ago I was contacted to see if I was interested in "modeling" a spring work wear shoot for Brightest Young Things (BYT) and Pleathertte. It was a fun experience to play dress up in cute clothes and play "model" for the day. The full editorial is coming out today but the preview behind the scenes video debuted this weekend. Please check the video out=)

7. Helped cook Easter dinner with my family. The menu consisted of Hoisin marinated pork tenderloin, black bean and tomato quinoa (a huge hit at dinner and will post recipe this week) and sauteed green beans with bacon. Everything was nomnom worthy.

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wanderlust: Bahamas


These are snapshots I took through my phone while vacationing in the Bahamas. I didn't take my DSLR camera with me on this vacation because I actually have been to the Bahamas twice already so it wasn't somewhere new to me. I usually love to travel to places I've never been before but this time around, I just really wanted a relaxing getaway so I went back to the Bahamas.

I love to travel as much as I love food and fashion, which should speak volumes. If you can, I highly encourage you to see the world, visit another country, and experience different cultures. It will change you.

Have a great weekend.