Monday, December 31, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I....

1. Received most of the things I ordered online and in-store while shopping in NYC. I wanted to avoid the crazy high tax in NYC so I shipped the pricey purchases to my home haha. I'm waiting on one more box and that should be the end of it. I went on a bit of a shopping spree over the holidays and I have officially put myself on a serious shopping ban for one month. I'm gonna try and see if I can extend it to two months. Really. Wish me luck.

2. Two of the items in the big box were two pair of shoes I ordered online. I was hoping that when I received them, they'd be uncomfortable or not as fabulous in person so I could return them after spending so much over the holidays but sadly this is not the case. I love them. The leopard ankle booties from Stuart Weitzman are surprisingly comfortable and well, it's leopard. You know how much I love leopard. There are also gold metal details on the heels which is hard to see on the picture but that chic detail was the topping on the cake. The second pair I bought are going to be my everyday, casual shoes. I've been looking for a pair to casually wear on a daily basis and these Stella McCartney wedge shoes are it for me. I love the color, the warm shearling inside lining, and the wedge heel makes it extremely comfortable to walk around in while running errands and such. Both are keepers.

3. Finally had the chance to sit down and look through one of my new cookbooks I received as a Christmas gift from my photographer bestie. Mexican food is one of my favorite cuisines to eat so I'm looking forward to cook (and share with you) through this book.

4. Started doing some intense cleaning around my place. I don't know if it's a Korean thing but whenever the new year is approaching my mom likes to clean/vacuum out the dust and welcome the new year fresh and clean. I've picked up on this tradition and will be finishing the cleaning today.

5. Met with my friend Mel to catch up over dinner at Matchbox Pizza. We're both big fans of their sliders so that was an obvious item to start off with. I ordered a prosciutto and black mission fig pizza, which was something new to me. It had a great combination of flavors consisting of salty prosciutto, savory gorgonzola, topped with sweet drizzles of black pepper honey, along with bites of peppery arugula. Perfect. We haven't seen each other for about a month so knowing us, I knew we would have lots to catch up much so that our dinner conversation lasted 4.5 hours. You just can't beat that combination of good food and great company.

Hope you had a great weekend. I just wanted to take this time to wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year. This past year has been an amazing and surprising ride with my blog and I'm thankful that you have been part of that journey either through visiting or your sweet comments. I'm looking forward to what 2013 has in store for me and hope you will continue this blogging journey with me. Have a safe and happy new year. Cheers to 2013. Xo.

Friday, December 28, 2012

After The Holiday

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Blazer-Theory (love this color HERE)
Ring, necklace-David Yurman

Hi everyone! Hope you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday spent with loved ones. I had an amazing time in chilly NYC with the family, but I'm finally back home. I wanted to do a quick outfit post for you since I'm heading back to work today. Nothing like a blast of high winds and some morning flurries to greet you after the holidays

I'm sure you keep hearing this, but seriously, can you believe the year is almost over? 

Have a great weekend tying up 2012:) Xo.   

Monday, December 24, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Wore my new J.Crew sequin top for date night. They are having an extra 30% sale everything in store and I snagged several great pieces from the promotion. We went to dine at Poste Brasserie located in Washington, DC and ordered the truffle fries, Chef's special (snapper on a bed of gnocchi), and braised short ribs. The decor was romantic and the food was wonderful. I ordered the Moscow Mule as my drink but wasn't impressed with how the cocktail turned out from this place. The only negative to the experience, but nothing to keep me away from.

2. Drove up to NYC with the family Saturday afternoon to spend Christmas with my sister. The traffic was insane on the way which delayed us a couple of hours but we arrived safely, nonetheless.

3. Went to the Guggenheim museum to check out the Picasso exhibit which is on display until Jan 23, 2013. No pictures are allowed inside the museum other than the front entrance but the exhibit is highly recommended. There are many beautiful, original works of Picasso on display as well as Kandinsky's vibrant work, which was just lovely.

4. Went to Katsu Hama for dinner, a restaurant that specializes in katsu. They specialize in katsu with an array of different kinds of breaded and deep fried meat. The star dish of the night was the katsu with the American cheese. I've never had this odd combination before but will order this from now on because it was unexpectedly scrumptious. All of the katsu we ordered were perfectly fried, crispy, and lightly breaded. They also give you sesame seeds for you to grind at the table for the katsu, which was a nice touch.

5. Went to the overcrowded Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree. I love NYC around the holidays because the city is especially beautiful with their festive lights adorning the stores. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

NomNom: Copycat Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark

I am so, so excited to share with you today's food post on these perfect holiday treats that taste exactly like Williams Sonoma peppermint bark. If you've been following my blog for awhile now, you may have noticed that I have lots of love for anything peppermint based around the holidays. Last year I made these scrumptious peppermint bars and this year I've made these rich chocolate peppermint sandwiches so far. Have you noticed the theme going on here?

When I came across the page in the December issue of Food Network magazine, which boldly stated Copycat: Williams Sonoma Almost Famous Peppermint Bark, I was floored. I eat these things every year around this time but they are severely addicting as well as pricey. They're so popular that it's not that surprising to know they sell out before Christmas. They have a cult following and I am shamefully a follower but, not anymore because the recipe is now in my hand, thanks to the geniuses at Food Network!!

I love you Food Network. Really, I do.

I was excited to test this recipe out to see if it really would be close to the real thing and let me tell you, the people at Food Network are brilliant. I honestly can't tell the difference between theirs and Williams Sonoma and that's saying something. Now, if you've never had peppermint bark it tastes very similar to Hershey's York Peppermint Patties but with the crunch of the cool, peppermint candies. Gosh, it's so darn good.

This right here is magic happening. Wait patiently for the chocolate to harden up--this is probably the toughest part of the recipe. I probably could've crushed up more of the candy canes but I actually liked mine with that extra crunch. Feel free to break it up to your liking.

The crazy thing about this recipe is that it is so simple and only requires very basic, but quality ingredients. What's not to love?

I'll be leaving for NYC this weekend with the family to visit my sister and will definitely be toting these along with me on the trip. I might have to hide these in the trunk so I don't get tempted to eat them before it gets to my sister. Precautionary measures. I'm just saying.

Wishing you a bright and wonderful holiday surrounded by lots of love and good food. As always, thank you so much for visiting.

Happy Holidays and have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Adapted from Food Network magazine Dec '12): Yields 2 lbs 
12 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (I used Baker's chocolate)
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 pound good-quality white chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (I used Lindt)
3 candy canes or 12 round hard peppermint candies, crushed

1. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, shiny-side up; smooth out any wrinkles. Heat 1 inch of water in a saucepan over low heat until steaming.

2. Put all but 3/4 cup of the semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan of steaming water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until one-third of the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan; keep the steaming water over low heat. Gradually stir the reserved 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate into the bowl, a few pieces at a time, until all of the chocolate is melted. Return the bowl to the saucepan, 5 to 10 seconds at a time, to help melt the chocolate, if needed. Do not rush this step: It may take up to 10 minutes to melt the chocolate.

3. Wipe off any moisture from the bottom of the bowl. Stir 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract into the chocolate, then quickly pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Firmly tap the dish against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Set aside at room temperature until almost set, about 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, put all but 1 cup of the white chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and repeat the melting process over the steaming water; dry off the bottom of the bowl. Stir in the remaining 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract; pour over the semisweet chocolate and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle immediately with the crushed candy canes, gently pressing them into the white chocolate. Set aside at room temperature until firm, about 1 hour. Lift the bark out of the pan using the foil and break it into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Sweater, Blazer (J.Crew, blazer currently on sale, love this color HERE)
Shoes-Vera Wang Lavender Label
Necklace-Sequins via Neiman Marcus

Happy Wednesday! Nothing like a mid morning coffee pick me up to get me through the day. After working 14 hours yesterday, I am exhausted. I'll be running some last minutes holiday errands on my day off by wearing something bright such as my new blazer with a cup of coffee on hand to keep me energized;)

Talk to you soon and thanks SO much for visiting. Xo. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Picked up this little guy from Neiman Marcus to add to my jewelry collection. I've been eying this Alexis Bittar piece for awhile now and when my wonderful SA (sales associate) lady at Neiman's notified me there was a sale, I knew that this was the right time to bring him home with me.

2. Made this stove top mac n' cheese again. I found the recipe last month and have now dubbed this my new go to recipe for stove top mac n' cheese. It's cooked all in one pot while the pasta cooks along with the roux. Recipe coming soon.

3. Was shopping at my nearby Bed Bath and Beyond and discovered they merged with World Market. Amazing. Half of the store is Bed Bath and Beyond products while the other half is World Market products. I've been sorta obssessed with ginger beer ever since I had it at my friend's potluck last month and was so happy to discover it at World Market. I had an amazing cocktail (Moscow Mule) at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago and found out the ingredients needed were ginger beer, Stoli, and lime juice. Easy and really good. Trust me.

4. Had a craving for Korean BBQ so made my way to Honey Pig in Annadale, VA, otherwise known as K-town. We ordered the boneless short ribs, spicy chicken, and pork belly. Craving satisfied.

5. Needed some down time for myself and relaxed with by painting my nails with my new nail polish by Essie (Saint Tropez) and the latest Elle magazine. Glass of wine not pictured;)

How was your weekend?

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Holidays

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

 Striped blouse-J.Crew
Skirt-T.J. Maxx (love this one here)
Shoes-Pour La Victoire
Necklace-Alexis Bittar (similar style here)

Happy Friday everyone! With the holidays coming up, I'm very much attracted to all things that glitter. I found this festive skirt unexpectedly at T.J. Maxx and thought it would be perfect to wear around the upcoming holidays;)

I also decided to wear this outfit for a fun and exciting feature I want to share with you today. In my past weekend snapshots, I shared with you home decor things I would find over the weekend or mini projects I was doing around my place and well, my home has finally come together (for the most part). The kind people at Apartment Therapy asked to feature my place so I invited them over last weekend. Apartment Therapy was one of the first websites I would frequent when I first bought my place because it focuses on small spaces, so to have them want to feature my place was a bit unreal....

This feature was actually something I wasn't sure if I wanted to do because I feel like your home is a personal and private space, and quite frankly, interior decor is something I'm still learning as I go. It's not something I feel 100% confident about, but as of now, I think I'm satisfied with what I've done to the place. So, please visit my home tour HERE to see more pictures of my place--I'd love to hear what you think of it! The lovely photos from the home tour were taken by Nicole Crowder of She's awesome.

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Black and Blue

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Sweater-A.P.C. (love this color HERE)
Shoes-Vera Wang Lavender Label
Sunglasses-Stella McCartney

Hi everyone! Over the weekend, this outfit was my go to uniform with the DC area experiencing very mild temperatures. It's simple but adding a hat kind of elevates that simplicity into something a bit more chic, no?;)

Hope your week is going well. Work has been rough and tiring the past couple of days and I am so thankful to have a day off today to get some much needed rest. It's been a whirlwind, past couple of weeks with personal and blog related projects and I can not wait for a little break with the holidays coming up. I have a very exciting (well, to me at least) announcement on Friday that I can't wait to share with you;)

Have a fantastic day. Xo.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I....

1. Picked up a gorgeous bouquet of white roses from the market to add to my home. I just love the quiet sophistication white roses give to a home and couldn't resist leaving the store with out these.

2. Dined at Cedar restaurant, located in Washington, DC for the first time. We were first served an amuse bouche of sausage and funnel on a bed of pumpkin puree and fruits, courtesy of the chef. It was the perfect blend of savory and sweet which made me look forward to my dish even more. I ordered the Texas wild boar which was quite good--I only wish it was a bit more tender but the flavor profile which focused on savory and sweet (from roasted apples), was perfect.

3. Was surprised with macarons from Le Petite Caprice. They were good but I still think macarons from Bouchon Bakery and  Maison Lauduree are the best ones I've had so far. More importantly though, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the surprise.

4. Decorated my place with Christmas ornaments and other festive things such as fresh garland, with the help of my photographer bestie. I love seeing holiday decorations this time of year and bringing some of that to my home makes me happy.

5. Stopped by CB2 and bought this chalkboard pen/pencil holder. I love that you can write on it and decided to put up a little reminder to myself, so I don't forget to enjoy the little things.

How was your weekend?

Friday, December 7, 2012

NomNom: Chocolate Peppermint Sandwiches

The month of December means that we are now entering peppermint flavor galore. I love anything with the hint of peppermint flavor, which means my all time favorite holiday treat (white chocolate peppermint bark) will be consumed in masses. So thankful that I have a gym in my building for seasonal situations such as this.

I mentioned in my last weekend snapshots that I bought the latest America's Test Kitchen magazine which focuses on Holiday cookies and tell me why page 2 had this glorious picture of these chocolate peppermint sandwiches.

I was intrigued. Interest was peaked. This was gonna get baked.

Earlier this week, I took one of my girlfriends out for a birthday brunch and decided to wake up a little earlier that morning to bake these for her. She has kids so I thought that they would love these little holiday treats as well. I wasn't sure what to expect with this dessert since I've never made them, but after taking a bite, or two, or three, into these sandwiches, I was sold. The sandwich texture is the perfect  hybrid of a brownie and a soft chewy cookie. The filling is sweet on its own but having it in between the chocolate sandwich offsets the sweetness and gives the sandwich a great balance. There's also just the right amount of peppermint hint to these fillings that doesn't overwhelm the chocolate flavor. It's pretty much awesome.

When my friend took a bite into these, she laughed and said something along the lines of "this might be really hard to share with my kids." I'm sure she was kidding.....

I hope you're enjoying the month of December and taking in all the holiday festivities that come along with it. If you're in a holiday baking stump, try making this dessert--I promise it will become a seasonal dessert you'll keep coming back to.

Oh, and you can find the interview Washington Life magazine did on me HERE regarding the Military Lady outfit post. Have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Adapted from America's Test Kitchen: Christmas Cookies): Yields 18 cookies
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons whole or low-fat milk
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioners' sugar
Red or green food coloring (optional)

1. Adjust over racks to upper-middle and lower-middle poitions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. Heat chocolate chips, brown sugar, 5 tablespoons butter, and water in medium sauce pan over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Transfer chocolate mixture to large bowl and whisk in egg until incorporated. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.

3. Working with 2 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into balls and space them 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake until puffed and edges are set but centers are slightly soft, 8-10 minutes, switching on rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 45 minutes.

4. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons butter, milk, and peppermint extract together in medium bowl until combined. Add confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth. If using food coloring, add 3 drops and mix until combined. Spread 1 teaspoon filling over bottoms of half of cookie then top with remaining cookies to form sandwiches before serving.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Winter Pastels

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Oxford shirt-Juicy Couture
Sweater, coat-J.Crew
Shoes-Loeffler Randall

Hi everyone! These days my go to outfit choices have been picking similar shades of color for my top and bottom piece. I love the cohesiveness it brings to the outfit when playing with the same color story. I bought this J.Crew sweater about a month ago when they were having their extra 30% sale and fell in love with its soft mint color and texture. It's one of those type of sweaters that doesn't fall under a trend, but a simple classic piece that never goes out of style.

Have a wonderful rest of the week and I'll talk to you soon. Xo.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Read that there was an Alexis Bittar sample sale happening in NYC and told my sister, who lives in NYC immediately about the sale. She went the last day when they were having an extra 20% off the sample sale prices and came home with these two gorgeous pieces. The bracelet is for me and the necklace is for her. I have the black version of this necklace that I've worn on the blog before so it was a no brainer to tell her to get the piece for herself.

2. Dined at Columbia Firehouse, a cozy and unpretentious restaurant located in Old Town Virginia. We ordered several small plates that consisted of mussels with chorizo and apples, cornmeal crusted oyster salad (best dish) and tuna tartar tacos. The least favorite dish was the tuna tartar due to the bland taste of the dish but that alone wouldn't deter me from coming back to this restaurant again. The drink I ordered was called the Moscow Mule which was a concoction of f lime juice, ginger beer, and stoli. Let's just say I was close to ordering 2 more of these but had to restrain myself from doing so, otherwise my Monday morning wouldn't have been very pleasant.

3. Bought the lastest holiday recipe magazine from America's Test Kitchen and baked a delicious chocolate peppermint sandwich from it. I made the festive dessert this morning so I could bring it for my friend whom I was meeting for brunch. She took a bite and loved it, so I'll be sharing this recipe late this week;)

4. Purchased this YSL clutch that I've been eyeing for awhile. I had a $350 gift card I received from Neiman Marcus after purchasing this Chanel pearl necklace a couple weeks ago and decided to use it on the YSL clutch. My choices were limited since the gift card could only apply to full priced items with jewelry being excluded so this clutch was the obvious choice for me. It's simple yet chic, which is something that comes in handy for frequent wears.

5. Visited the ZooLights at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. Every year around the holidays they put up lights around the zoo and display amazing gingerbread houses made by local kids/adults inside the visitor center. It's free and just a fun way to kick off the holiday season.

How was your weekend?