Monday, July 30, 2012

Time Off

Due to an emergency family situation, I'll be taking some time off this week from blogging. Thanks in advance for understanding.

Friday, July 27, 2012

NomNom: Chicken Chimichangas

I love mexican food and that is a fact. The bright flavors that are usually involved in this cuisine just sings to my food loving heart--no lie. Several years ago I went to visit my friend in San Francisco and he took me to this glorious area known as the Mission District. It is a neighborhood where the majority of the people living there are of Mexican descent so there is obviously a plethora of Mexican food places. Bliss. I had my first taste of a "Mission burrito" and it was Chipotle got nothing on a Mission burrito.

While browsing the magazine section of the supermarket about a month ago, I noticed the new issue of Cook's Illustrated with the title in bold print: "Mexican Favorites." Now I don't know if you've noticed by now, but I am a huge fan of recipes from the fine people of Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen, so it was an obvious decision to buy the magazine. Zing.

The first thing I decided to cook was this chicken chimichanga recipe and am SO happy I did because it really set the bar for my expectations on the rest of the recipes in the magazine. I love chimichangas because it's a burrito with a twist. It has a little oomph in it because these babies are deep fried. Can you just picture what happens to the fillings when it enters that oil, all rolled up in a tortilla? The cheese gets oozy and the tortilla shell becomes crispy and slightly flaky. It's glorious.

These are best eaten hot out of the oil with toppings such as sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. I made a quick pico de gallo prior to making the chimichangas so the flavors could marinate in the fridge while I was prepping the chimichangas. Good decision on my part.

Please make these so we can share our penchant for Mexican cuisine. Have a great weekend. xo.

Ingredients (Adapted from Cook's Illustrated: Mexican Favorites 2012) Serves 4
1 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
salt and pepper
2 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
1 tablespoon plus 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon water
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas

1. Whisk broth and chipotle together in 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Combine 1/2 cup chipotle broth, rice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl. Cover bowl and microwave until liquid is completely absorbed, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook until fragrant., about 30 seconds. Add remaining 3/4 cup chipotle broth, parcooked rice, and beans and bring to boil.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low, add chicken and cook, covered, until chicken registers 160 degrees and rice is tender about 15 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Cut chicken into 1/2 inch pieces and combine with rice and bean mixture, cheddar, and cilantro in large bowl. Wash now-empty pot.

4. Whisk flour and water together in bowl. Stack tortillas on plate and microwave, covered, and pliable, about 1 minute. Working with 1 at a time, place one-quarter of chicken mixture in center of warm tortilla. Brush edges of tortilla with flour paste. Wrap top and bottom of tortilla tightly over filling. Brush ends of tortilla with paste and fold into center, pressing firmly to seal.

5. Heat remaining 3 cups oil in clean pot over medium-high heat to 325 degrees. Place 2 chimichangas, seam side down, in oil. Fry, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 300 and 325 degrees, until the chimichangas are deep golden brown about 2 minute per side. Drain on wire rack and set inside rimmed baking sheet. Bring oil back to 325 degrees and repeat with remaining chimichangas. Serve.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Colorful Summer

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shoes-Dolce Vita
Sunglasses-Stella McCartney

Happy Wednesday everyone! I mentioned in my last outfit post that I bought the skirt version of this dress I wore HERE. I love the vibrant green color which screams summer to me and wanted to pair it against this beautiful cobalt blue blouse. The colors of the blouse and skirt are fun, flirty, and perfect to wear during these summer days. I like to keep colors in my outfits consistent which is what I wanted to do this time with my accessories (shoes, bracelet, and belt).

Have a great rest of the work week and I'll talk to you soon. xo.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Made some brown butter brownies w/walnuts using a recipe from Bon Appetit while the boy assembled a new desk chair for me. Since he loves anything chocolate, this home cooked dessert was his reward;)

2. Also made pork dumplings. I will definitely have a recipe post for you on these soon because these are worth making if you love dumplings. This weekend was a rainy one in Washington, DC which usually makes me want to stay in and bake/cook.

3. Took a trip out to Ikea to look at frames, plants, and other random things. I couldn't resist leaving the place w/o eating their famous Swedish meatballs. SO good.

4. Saw the much anticipated and worth seeing movie, The Dark Knight Rises. While waiting in the long line to get into the theatre, I couldn't resist getting some froyo from Pinkberry which was nearby. Regarding the movie though, it's a must see. Lets just put it this way--this is my favorite summer movie I've seen so far.

5. Had an intense craving for sushi so the boy took me to favorite go to sushi place in MD--Yuraku.

How was your weekend?

Friday, July 20, 2012

NomNom: Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles

When I think of summer fruits, my mind turns to watermelon, cherries, and strawberries. Lately I've been on a strawberry kick and have been eating them as is or cooking them in recipes I've come across, particularly this one that involved these fruits to turn into popsicles. With the summer heat wave we've been experiencing recently on the East coast, what better way to cool down from the scorching temperatures then with refreshing popsicles? 

By the way, this was my first time making popsicles and I can't even believe to tell you how easy they are to make. High five for easy snacks.

Mixing yogurt gives the popsicles a creamy, smooth taste. Smooth like butter.

Whether you stay indoors or brave the hot weather outdoors this weekend, I hope it's a great one. Oh, and don't forget to include these popsicles into your summer rotation;)

Btw, please check out the Washingtonian article I (along with other fashion bloggers) was featured on yesterday regarding summer outfit ideas HERE!

Have a great weekend.

Ingredients (Recipe adapted from Yields: 6
1 pint strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6-8 ounces (about 1 cup) Greek yogurt

1. Combine the strawberries and sugar in a small bowl. Let stand about 20 minutes to macerate the fruit, stirring occasionally. The fruit will soften and become syrupy.

2. Pour the strawberries and syrup into a food processor or blender. Add the lemon juice and pulse a few times until the fruit is pureed.

3. Stir the yogurt into the strawberry mixture until combined. Pour into molds and freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight. To remove, run hot water over the outside of the mold until you can gently pull the popsicle out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Dress

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Dress-Abercrombie&Fitch (recent)
Purse-Mulberry Alexa
Jewelry-David Yurman, Kenneth Jay Lane
Sunglasses-Ray Ban

The hot weather has reared it's ugly head again and nothing says summer like wearing an easy, light fabric dress. I haven't stepped into Abercrombie&Fitch in forever until recently, but I've been on the hunt for boyfriend jeans and looking for it at stores I usually don't shop at since I can't find them in the stores I normally do shop at. I was initially enticed by the big red SALE sign in front of the store but was hesitant to go in there because I always feel like I'm transported back to some nightclub with their music blaring and quite frankly, I feel old shopping in that store! Anyway, I decided take a quick look to see if they had any boyfriend jeans on sale and instead saw this cute dress on sale ($20!). I love the vibrant green shade and the fun wide stripes to the dress that I also couldn't resist buying the skirt version they had on sale as well.

I love wearing dresses in the summer whether it be short or a maxi. Do you have a favorite go to dress for the summer?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I....

1. Was craving chili cheese fries so I went to Ben's Chili Bowl to satisfy that craving. Ordering a half-smoke sealed the deal for a content stomach.

2. Caught up on some new magazines during "me time."

3. Restocked on my gummy vitamins. I've been taking gummy multivitamins for awhile now but noticed the grocery store had Caltrate gummy vitamins now! I know that I don't take enough calcium in my diet, which makes me fearful of getting osteoporosis down the road especially because I'm Asian and petite-framed. I know that I could take regular Caltrate pills but I love gummy vitamins. Don't judge.

4. Bought new nail polish. Essie has a new Mirror Metallic collections summer line and I absolutley love some of their new colors. I'm wearing "Good as Gold" and am obsessed.

5. Cooked some delicoius chicken parmesan this weekend using a recipe from the pioneer woman. Recipe will be posted soon.

How was your weekend?

Friday, July 13, 2012

BlingBling: Mulberry Alexa and Tips on Saving

Hi everyone! I want to introduce you to my latest addition to my purse collection: Alexa. I've been eyeing the Mulberry Alexa for over a year now after falling in love with the relaxed yet chic schoolboy look to it and the fact that you have the option of wearing the bag two ways. It comes with a long strap so you can wear it as a cross body bag and if that doesn't suit you, you can tuck it away and wear it as a hand purse. I personally love cross body bags because it's more comfortable for me when I run errands to have two free hands and the weight of a purse isn't emphasized on one shoulder.

I initially saw this snakeskin purse at the Intermix store in D.C. about a month and a half ago and fell in love with the texture of it. The Alexa's I've encountered up until that point all had the smooth, soft leather texture which I really liked but then I saw this snakeskin bag and it was game over for me. I loved the fact that it was a bit different. It is more expensive then the traditional leather so I was hesitant about purchasing it and I walked away.

A couple of things I consider when purchasing designer purses or high end jewelry is that I ask myself, is it a classic item that I can see myself wearing years down the road and is the the price worth it. I personally don't like spending money on trendy or cheap accessories because to me, it's sort of a waste of money. I'd rather save that money and spend it on one big investment piece that I know I will absolutely love. Classic Chanel, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton bags will never go on sale BUT there are ways to go about saving money on them and I want to share with you some tips on what I've done in the past.

1. Look for special events such as Friends and Family or gift card events. Usually high end department stores such as Saks and Neiman Marcus will have biannual Friends and Family events where designer items will be included and a 20% discount will be given. This is the prime time to buy those designer items you've been coveting. Sadly over the years, I've noticed less designers have been included in these events but it never hurts to check/ask. I know that David Yurman will participate ONLY in charity events held at department stores, so that would be the best time to buy Yurman jewels (all of my David Yurman jewelry have been bought during the charity event). Another event to look out for is the gift card events. There will be times when department stores will announce a "spend some give some" event where for example, if you spend $1000 on an item, they will give you a $200 gift card. That is another way of saving money on an item because you can see it as a 20% discount. These are way better then walking away paying full price for that item and not saving money in some way.

2. Choose shipping over tax. Whenever you go to an actual designer store versus finding the item at the department store, check to see if that store exists in your state. This Mulberry bag I bought happened to be in NYC. I wanted to check out the store while visiting my sister because Mulberry isn't sold at Saks or Neiman and there isn't a stand alone store in the DMV area. I wanted to window shop while in NYC and I happened to see the SAME snakeskin bag I saw at Intermix and on top of that it was on SALE. Needless to say I was overcome with joy and bought her on the spot. I knew that the DMV area didn't have a Mulberry store so I asked the sales associate (SA) how much shipping would cost and she said $20. Now NYC has about a 8.8% sales tax rate and the tax on a bag over $1000 is way more costly then a $20 shipping, so if you can, just have that item shipped. I was able to avoid tax on the bag and saved money because she was discounted to 20% off the ticked price. Patience is key. I didn't think the snakeskin would go on sale (the SA said the traditional colors such as brown and black will never go on sale) but it did and I am so happy that I waited.

Hopefully these tips have helped you and given you insight on ways to save if you're on the search for a designer item. I would love to hear you share any tips/suggestions on how you go about saving money on big purchase items.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Polka Dots

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Polka dot tank-J.Crew (recent)
Shoes-Sam Edelman
Cuff-Kenneth Jay Lane

I am so relieved that the weather here has finally cooled down somewhat--and by cool I mean mid 80's. It was so disgustingly hot last week that it made wearing work attire feel uncomfortable and somewhat unbearable. Now that the weather is a bit more comfortable, I love wearing my go to white summer blazer. This recently purchased J.Crew top is fun and whimsical because of the polka dot print, but because it's a tank top, I wanted to wear it underneath a blazer to make it look more work appropriate. 

Hope you've been having a great week so far. xo.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I....

1. Finally received my Mulberry bag in the mail! I took her out this weekend and will post pics soon=)

2. Went to BonChon chicken for dinner because I was having a craving for it. For those of you who haven't heard of the greatness that is BonChon, it is Korean fried chicken (most crispiest, flavor infused skin) done right. Locations in the DMV area include Virginia and now Maryland. Get on that.

3. Received another package I've been waiting for in the mail--my Vera Wang sparkly shoes I purchased on sale from Neiman Marcus. Who doesn't love adding a little bit of sparkle to their shoe closet?

4. Dined at Little Serow located in Washington, DC. It's a recently opened Thai restaurant that has very limited seating (about 28 seats) and reservations can NOT be made. It's a fix prixe menu (7 courses involved) that is basically a hidden treasure. We got there around 5:20pm (doors open at 5:30pm) and a line was forming already. When we got inside the restaurant, we were told that we wouldn't be seated until 7:30pm! If you are a Thai food lover, I highly recommend this place. There are dishes I've never tasted before and the flavor profiles on each dish is beautifully aromatic, pungent, sweet and salty. I asked our waitress (btw the entire waitstaff we encountered were so friendly, including the chef who came over to our table to explain one of his dishes to us) how often the menu changes and she said every 4-5 weeks, so I will definitely be back.

5. Watched the Amazing Spider-Man. I love the whole series on Spider-Man and was doubtful if it would be good this time since the cast changed, but I LOVED it. This time around, the movie focused less on battle scenes and more on character development. Andrew Garfield did an amazing job portraying teen angst and well, I just wanna be bffs with Emma Stone. I loved her since watching her in Easy A and it's easy to see why Peter Parker is smitten with her character. Two thumbs up.

6. Stopped by Saks to check out their designer sale and am so glad I did because I found this Ali Ro trench coat for $69 (original $320)!! I love finding interesting twists on classic pieces and this is the perfect example of that.

How was your weekend?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dressed up White Tee

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

White shirt-H&M
Tweed skirt-J.Crew (recent)
Scarf-Banana Republic (old)
Shoes-Loeffler Randall
Cuff-Kenneth Jay Lane

Happy Friday! One of my (many) purchases from the J.Crew sale (still going on) was this beautiful tweed skirt. I'm a huge fan of tweed and always looking to add more classic pieces to my wardrobe. I wanted to pair the skirt with the classic white tee. The white tee is such a staple item that needs to be in every girl's closet because it's so versatile. I have to admit though, I'm pretty picky when it comes the white tee because I look for specifics (v-neck, pockets, loose fit, form fit, etc). This white shirt I bought last year was about $6 and has had many uses from it, especially when worn repeatedly with jeans or underneath blazers. I love the idea of dressing a plain ol' white t-shirt with a tweed skirt because mixing hi/low pieces is something I enjoy doing.
Have a great weekend. xo.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Upper East Side

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shirt-Banana Republic
Shorts, belt-J.Crew 
Cuff-Kenneth Jay Lane
Shoes-Jessica Simpson
Necklace-Alexis Bittar

Happy 4th everyone! I apologize if you were expecting a red, white, and blue related outfit post because that's not gonna happen today haha. I tend to shy away from themed posts because I know that a lot of people will dress the part already and I feel more comfortable dressing the way I want to dress on any given day--holiday or not. 

I wore this outfit in NYC this past weekend while exploring a gorgeous park in the Upper East Side as it's simple, comfortable, but still polished. I bought this belt and shorts last week at J.Crew during their final sale and fell in love with the pale shade of purple and the pop of yellow that came from the belt--it's something that could be the center of attention in an outfit;) I wanted to keep my jewelry in the same color family of the belt so I accessorized with gold jewelry.

Hope you have an amazing and safe 4th of July surrounded by friends/loved ones enjoying delicious food. Talk to you soon. xo.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Went to NYC again with my parents to help my sister with her big move. She''ll be in NYC for at least 3 years doing her anesthesia residency. Good luck boo, you're going to be great and do great things.

2. We spent all day waiting for boxes of new furniture to be delivered and her clothes from MD to come. It was a very productive but tiring day. Mandu passed out easily from him...helping.

3.Took Mandu to Central Park everyday since my sister lives a stone throw away.

4. Went to Korea town to help stock up her fridge with grocery. We ate dinner at Shila Restaurant because I read it got good reviews on their mool naeng myun (buckwheat noodles in a cold broth) which definitely led up to it's hype. The weather was extremely hot this weekend so this cool, refreshing dish hit the spot. After dinner, we went to a nearby Korean bakery to pick up some dessert and breakfast pastries for the following day.

5. Came across an outdoor flea market that was selling Greek and Middle Eastern food, along with handmade jewelery. It was a great, unexpected, lively sight to stop by and look around.

6. Stopped by the Mulberry store to take another look at the Alexa bag, which has been on my wishlist for over a year. I had no plans on purchasing anything at that store--just window shop (personal torture, I know) until I saw that they had some of the Alexa's on sale! There's a story behind this but I ended up buying the color I've been eyeing (not shown) and the rose gold bracelet (on sale too!). Both are being shipped today from NYC and should arrive at my place by the end of the week. So excited.

7.  Passed by several flower shops everyday because my sister has many that are located near her apartment. Loved seeing fresh flowers every morning.

8. Wanted to try New York pizza so I picked some up from Don Antonio. The size of their pizzas is about a personal size so I ordered several to try for my family, friend, and I and we unanimously agreed that their Montanara Starita was the best. It's a lightly fried pizza dough. Enough said.

How was your weekend?