Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I....

1. Finally bought saffron to add to my spice rack. I've been on the fence about getting this because it's so expensive to "experiment" in the kitchen with but I've been wanting to make a Moroccan lentil soup and chicken tagine which requires saffron in the recipes, so expect to see recipes for it soon!

2. Organized an apple picking outing for my friends and I. My friend and I have been wanting to go apple picking now that Fall is here so I looked up various orchards last week and happily found one (Homestead Farm) that grew Fuji apples (my favorite type). During the research, I found that most of the farms only sell Fuji apples in their market and not grow them so I was excited to check out Homestead Farm for that sole reason alone (they also have more varieties then any other farms I looked into such as granny smith, cameo, sun crisp). I asked Melanie if she was interested in the outing and she was just as excited as we were. The farm is one of the largest I've seen and they have a plethora of freshly grown vegetables in their market. Along with the 17 lbs of apples I picked, I also bought heirloom tomatoes.  I highly recommend this place. Great place for kids as well with pumpkin picking and hayrides going on now.

3. Went to brunch at Sugo Cicchetti (same owners as Cava) after apple picking. I've been here for dinner which left a good impression on me so I was curious about their weekend brunch. We didn't realize that brunch was unlimited ($30 including drinks) which was fine by us since it was a better opportunity to try as many dishes as we wanted to. Highlights for me from the brunch were the chicken and waffles, deviled truffle eggs, and the breakfast pizza. Great place for brunch with friendly service.

4.  Met up with my mom for a mother/daughter shopping date. She's been on the hunt for a new bag to wear casually and wanted my input on a couple of bags she had in mind. While shopping at Neiman Marcus, we noticed Christmas decorations were displayed already. What happened to Thanksgiving?? I'm still trying to enjoy Fall...let's slow it down. I mean, really.

5. Wanted to share a couple of new hair care products I've been loving lately. Aside from the fact that I need to get a haircut, the ends of my hair have been dry and damaged from the coloring. I will openly admit that I am the worst when it comes to caring for my hair so I decided to change that and look into hair products that might help. So far I've been using a keratin treatment from Pantene after showering which makes my hair feel so soft once it dries. I decided to also start using a heat protectant spray for my hair when I either curl or use a flat iron to my hair and the 'heat defeat' one from John Frieda is excellent. So...I haven't used hair spray since...high school? But I got a blowout at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon a couple of weeks ago and I noticed they used hair spray to set my curls so while talking to the hair stylist on suggestions for good drug store brands, he recommend Loreal Elnett. I've also read such good things about this hair spray in magazines so I've been using it for my curls to set and it really does its job. After being out for 14 hrs, my curls still stayed in place without it having the hair look like it has any product on it (pic on the left).

How was your weekend?

Friday, September 27, 2013

NomNom: Banana Mocha Chip Muffins

Bananas have the tendency to give me a bit of anxiety. It's the one fruit I always have in my kitchen because they're included in my green smoothies, but it's also the one fruit that ripens really quickly. Can't.keep.up.

Usually when they get to the point of looking bruised and beyond ripe, I'll freeze the bananas to use for later. But this time I had a hankering for banana bread and decided to try a different take on it with this recipe today. It involves banana, chocolate chips, and coffee granules which in my world is a nom nom nom trifecta. Not only are these muffins moist, packed with natural banana flavor, and oozing with chocolatey goodness, but they make your house smell amazing. Fact.

Since I made 2 dozen of these little goodies, I gave half of these out to friends and they texted me the day after requesting I make these again <insert huge grin>. This recipe is definitely now on my baked goods recipe file and should also be added to yours. Just saying.

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Adapter from Taste of Home: Recipe Card Collection) Yields:2 dozen
5 tsp instant coffee granules
5 tsp hot water
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. In a small bowl, dissolve coffee granules in hot water. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat well. Beat in the bananas, vanilla and coffee mixture. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Little Camo

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

3/4 sleeve Painter tee-J.Crew (They're so comfy, I have these in 2 other colors)
Leather (faux) skirt-F21
Clutch-Marc Jacobs
Camo baseball cap-Express
Rings-Gorjana & Griffin, Urban Outfitters
Sunnies-Karen Walker

Happy Wednesday everyone! The camo trend is something I've been having mixed feelings about. I'm personally not a fan of prints on pants so camo pants aren't something you'd find me wearing, no matter how trendy they are. However, I do like to slowly ease my way and experiment with trends that aren't in my comfort zone which is why the camo print on a baseball cap is the perfect starting point. Not only do baseball caps give you a downtown cool girl touch but the military-inspired print on the cap makes it super stylish. For now, this is all the camo I need;)

Have a great week. Xo.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I.....

1. Dined at Nostos, a Greek restaurant in Vienna, VA. It was my time eating here and was completely blown away by this hidden gem. From the food, ambiance, and warm and welcoming staff, this restaurant is definitely a happy discovery. Some of the stand out dishes that night we ordered were the htapodi (grilled octopus), paidakia (lamp chops), and melitzana fournou (baked layer eggplant w/ feta, tomatoes, mint and parsley). I'm still thinking about the perfectly grilled octopus...

2. Received my online order of this moto jacket. I've been on the hunt for a reasonably priced one and this one from Cusp NM fit the bill. It has a metallic sheen to it which ups the cool factor. 

3. Started reading a new book from J.K Rowling. She wrote this crime fiction novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith and since I'm a fan of her writing from the Harry Potter days I'm curious to see how she branches away from fantasy writing. 

4. Finally received this necklace I ordered about a month ago that's been on back order. It finally got restocked and was delivered over the weekend. I've aways been a fan of statement necklaces and this pearl cluster necklace from Kenneth Jay Lane is a perfect addition to my jewelry collection. 

5. Went to eat at a hole in the wall, off the beaten path, Bolivian restaurant in Arlington, VA with a friend who highly recommended this place to me. It's called Perla del Valle and they only serve Bolivian cuisine on the weekends. Since this was my first time eating Bolivian food, I was asking our server about the dishes and she explained to me that all of them would have some sort of bean, rice, or potatoes which are traditional Bolivian staples. I ordered the Silpancho which is breaded beef (reminds me of a schnitzel) over a bed of rice and potatoes, topped with two fried eggs and pico de gallo. The beef was incredibly juicy and flavorful considering it was breaded and when you mix it with the buttery rice and runny eggs...OH MY WORD. Solid. And I finished my plate. Boom. 

How was your weekend?

Friday, September 20, 2013

NomNom: Chickpea and Tomato Salad with Fresh Basil

I know that summer is pretty much a goner but I've been having a hard time letting go of basil, my favorite summer herb. Attachment issues, much?

I'm pretty sure I ate my weights worth of caprese salad over the summer and I'm totally ok with that. Fresh mozzarella tossed wtih tomatoes and fresh basil leaves which are all together drizzled in olive oil and balsamic glaze is serious bliss to me. So when I came across a variation of the caprese salad, I knew I had to make it my last ode to summer.

The original recipe called for just tomatoes, chickpeas, and basil but I decided to get fancy and add avocados and mozzarella to the mix. Not having any sort of cheese in my salad is blasphemous and that's just not allowed.

I decided that every time I get nostalgic about summer during the fall/winter I'm going to whip up this incredibly easy, flavorful, not to mention healthy, salad to take me back to those warm, sunny days.

Let's reminisce as we eat this awesome salad together.

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Adapted from

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
About 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (I used beefsteak tomatoes)
25 large basil leaves, chopped
1 ripe Hass avocado, cubed
Fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp honey
pinch of salt

Toss all the ingredients together and let the flavors settle for 25 min. in the fridge.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall Colors

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Coated jeans-Rag&Bone
Hat-H&M (old)
Shoes-Stuart Weitzman
Purse, sunnies-Celine

The drop in temperature the past couple of days is a welcoming change for the new season. I tend to gravitate towards Fall colors such as browns, burgundies, and grays which is what I wanted to incorporate into this outfit. The cropped sweater is also a perfect transition into Fall because of its soft, thick material and versatility of using it as a layering piece. Xo.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Crop It

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Top-Express (use online code 1822 for $25 off every $75 you spend, ends today)
Shoes-Pour La Victoire
Sunnies-Karen Walker
Watch-David Yurman

Happy Monday everyone! Ever since cropped tops have exploded all over the pages of fashion magazines and the runways of NYFW recently, my interest in them have peaked. I'm not brave enough to wear the extremely cropped tops but was happy to discover this semi cropped sleeveless turtleneck one and (faux) leather skirt while in NYC last weekend. I actually wore this outfit to the Reward Style rooftop party that was hosted for fashion bloggers last weekend in the city but with a striped version of this top.

Keeping an outfit all black is sleek, simple, and chic which is the look I wanted for a night out. For a casual look to transition into Fall, I foresee wearing this top with a blazer and finishing the look with my favorite pair of denims.

Have you embraced the cropped top trend?

Friday, September 13, 2013

NomNom: Blueberry Almond Butter Smoothie

My blender has been getting lots of uses the past couple of months (I'm secretly waiting for my blender to break down so I can have an excuse to buy a Vitamix). Green smoothies are a regular drink at my place but I've been on the hunt for more smoothie recipes. After searching the web for one that spoke to me, I decided to give this blueberry almond butter smoothie a go. I mean I love blueberries, am a fan of almond butter (specifically Justin's Almond Butter), and Martha Stewart's recipes so this seemed like a no brainer.

But I had one small problem with this recipe which involved the 2 cups of water the recipe called for. I had an inkling that this might make the smoothie taste a bit bland....and I was right. I mean I'm all about healthy food but it had better taste good or else it won't go past my lips (just ask my mom for relatable stories). After experimenting for a bit, I concluded that substituting with 1 cup of (sweetened) almond milk instead yielded just the right amount of sweetness for me. 

This smoothie is great for breakfast or a mid afternoon snack which is what I've been drinking it for. I've been trying to be a bit more health conscious lately and making sure I get my fruits and veggies....but don't expect this blog to turn into a healthy food blog anytime soon. I still love my bacon.

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Adapted from
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (6 oz.)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseeds
  • 3 dates (Medjool or Deglet), pitted
  • 2 cups water (I used 1 cup water and 1 cup almond milk)

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Double Denim

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Chambray shirt-H&M
Ring-David Yurman
Sunnies-Karen Walker

Hi everyone! The past couple of days that I've been off from work have been dedicated to getting my errands done and doing some major cleaning around the house since both have been neglected due to recent travels. I'm a fan of the laid back double denim look and it's one of those easy casual looks to put together. I wanted to break up the denim with a leopard belt so there's a small bit of print mixed in, but another option could be to add a colorful or printed scarf. A simple yet chic look that will take you from your errands to lunch/dinner with friends;) 

Have a great rest of the week! Xo. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Modern Suit

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Blazer-Helmut Lang
Leather (faux) shorts. hat-F21 (old)
Sunnies-Karen Walker

Happy Monday everyone! The last couple of days have been a bit of a whirlwind with heading back to work after my vacation and then taking a quick trip to NYC over the weekend. It's NY Fashion Week right now and after seeing incredible street style and runway collections from designers, I feel very much inspired. Needless to say, leather (!!!) and cropped tops were everywhere on the runway. Ladies, start doing your crunches. 

Have a great week. Xo.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Leather Peplum

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Peplum top-Amanda Uprichard
Jeans-Rag & Bone
Shoes-DKNY (old)

Happy Wednesday everyone! I'm back from my vacation and feeling rejuvenated and well rested. It was one of the most relaxing vacations I've had in awhile because it really required no work other than laying on the beach under the warm sun. I'll share pics later this week:)

Now that summer is pretty much over there are a couple of transitional items for Fall I'll be wearing constantly, starting with this leather peplum top. It's perfect to wear for date night, girls night out, and pretty much whenever you want to add a bit of feminine edge to your outfit;)

Enjoy the rest of the week! Xo.