Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Shine On

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Sequin sweatshirt-Alice & Olivia (similar here)
Leather (faux) pants-BlankNYC
Shoes-Pour La Victoire
Sunglasses-Karen Walker

Happy (almost) New Year! Wishing you a joyful, prosperous, and healthy 2014. Thank you so much for following along this past year and the continued support whether it be from your sweet emails/comments or kind words while meeting in person--it truly means a lot to me. Xo.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Weekend Comfort

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Leather jacket-Theory (old, this years version here)
Gingham shirt-J.Crew
Leather (faux) pants-BlankNYC
Sunglasses-Karen Walker

Hi everyone! Hope you had a nice and relaxing holiday surrounded by loved ones. This weekend is all about family time, hanging out with my sister who's visiting from NYC, and getting errands done before welcoming the new year.

Cheers to the last weekend of 2013! Xo. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

NomNom: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Popcorn

Happy Monday everyone! First, I want to apologize for the lack of posts last week. Some unexpected things came up in my personal life last week and I've been trying to deal with it one day at a time, so blogging was honestly the last thing on my mind. I blog because I enjoy sharing things I love with you, not because it's my job or I have to keep a "blogging schedule," so with that said, my personal life will always comes first. Social media falls after. Although blogging is such an open space to allow random people to peek into your life, I am very much a private person. The irony, right?

Be patient with me. Please and thank you.

Over the weekend, I started to slowly bounce back into my social life and get back into things that make me happy, such as being in the kitchen. Every year, around this time I make something that deals with peppermint candy because not only does it get me in the holiday spirit, but I just love the cool minty flavor when it's mixed in baked goods. This popcorn was an easy-no-BS-once-you-start-to-eat one-you-can't-stop type of recipe that also required very little thinking which is exactly what I needed.

The recipe calls you to crush/whack peppermint candies. I did so with a rolling pin. It was therapeutic.

I then decided to add another layer of chocolate at the end because….I felt like it. I mean, why stop at the white chocolate? It's the holidays so you mine as well go big. Worry about the calories after the holidays.

We'll deal with it together. Xo.

1 bag lightly salted microwave popcorn
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candy (~12 small candy canes)
8 ounces of white chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Pop your popcorn and transfer to large mixing bowl.

2. Unwrap candy canes and put them in a zip lock bag. Put the bag on top of kitchen towel and whack with a rolling pin to crush peppermint candies.

3. Melt the white chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave until completely melted and smooth. Add the crushed peppermint candies to the melted chocolate and mix well.

4. Pour melted chocolate/candy mixture to the popcorn and stir well to evenly coat the popcorn.

5. Spread the popcorn mixture evenly on lined baking sheet (I used parchment paper).

6. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments until completely melted and smooth.

7. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn with a spoon.

8. Let it set until the chocolate hardens. You can also pop it in the fridge (~15 minutes) to expedite the process. Once it's hardened, break up the popcorns into chunks and enjoy. Store in airtight container for 2-3 days but trust me, it will be gone by then.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Apples and Dried Cranberries

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, invites to holiday potlucks and parties might be a bit more frequent. I tend to get slightly stressed when I read the words "potluck" on the invitation and my brain automatically goes into recipe thinking mode. This obviously applies to hosting as welll but that's another kind of stress we won't get into today.

When I come across a dish that is easy, tasty, and visually appealing, I immediately bookmark it under "potluck contenders" and today's recipe is such that.

To somewhat prevent the possibility of *ahem* holiday weight gain which has the tendency to creep up on us around this time of year, I present to you a healthy dish that surely will be welcomed with open arms by your guests (and your stomach).

Not only is this salad gorgeous to look at, with the vibrant colors coming from the cranberries, green onions, and apples, but it makes me feel pretty darn good knowing that a dish that tastes as good as it looks is also nutritious. Win win situation over here.

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Adapted from Food52) Yields: 4 servings
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 1/2 cup water, for quinoa
tablespoon of olive oil
small onion, finely diced
stalks of celery, finely diced
cup chopped, toasted almonds
bunch (about 5 to 6) green onions, chopped (green parts only)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped *see note
gala apple (really, any kind of apple will do)
1 large lemon, juiced
Generous drizzle of any kind of oil (I used olive oil)
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Rinse quinoa well. Boil the water with a pinch of salt, and add your rinsed quinoa. Turn your stove down to medium-low and let it cook for roughly 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork, and let it cool in the fridge.

2. Preheat a skillet with 1 tbsp of oil and soften your finely chopped onion and celery. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Try not to brown them, 5 to 7 minutes on medium - low heat should do the trick. Set aside in a large salad bowl.

3. Add dried cranberries and green onions to the onion and celery mixture.

4. Core and dice the apple, put your apple chunks in the bowl with the other ingredients. Squeeze the entire lemon over the apple to season the salad and prevent the apple from turning brown.

5. Add your quinoa and almonds to the mixture, drizzle with the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Season with more lemon juice if you like.

6. Mix well and cool completely. Allow the flavors to meld for 20 minutes before serving.

*Craisins also work but they tend to turn the salad a pinkish hue after a few hours.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Beanie and Booties

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Leather jacket-Marc by Marc Jacobs
Chambray shirt-H&M
Jeans-Rag & Bone
Boots-Vera Wang (old)
Scarf-Louis Vuitton

Hi everyone! Hope you've been staying warm in this winter chill we've been having this week. I'm not a fan of the cold and am always trying to stay warm by adding on winter accessories such as hats, gloves, and scarves. My ears and hands are always the first things to get cold so it's an absolute must for me to wear earmuffs/hats and gloves when I'm out and about. You can't tell from these pics but I'm super annoyed at myself for leaving my gloves in the car.

Stay warm. Xo. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

NomNom: Marshmallow Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I've been on a chocolate kick lately which is out of the norm for me. I've been eating anything in sight that's chocolate covered (almonds, pomegranates, pretzels, etc) and can't say I hate it one bit. Don't look at me like that.

While I was looking up cookie recipes online I came across Real Simple's brilliant monthly cookie a day posts. I mean, talk about having options. I'm a fan of options.

I'm just gonna cut to the chase. These cookies are EXCELLENT. I'm serious. Slightly crispy on the outside with the perfect chew in the middle, on top of the ooey gooey marshmallow goodness nestled in between the chocolatey pieces. Holy yum.

I'm sure my dentist will appreciate this cookie.

I initially had some reservations about this recipe because marshmallows have an extra sweet factor for me so I was concerned the cookies would be too sweet. But I was wrong. Nobody's perfect. 

If it's any indication of how much love I have for these cookies...I made it again the following weekend. Even after giving half of my second batch to my mom, she nonchalantly asked me later on during the week when I would be making the cookies again. Boom.

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Recipe adapted via Real Simple): Yields 44 cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
24 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set asides.

2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and half the chocolate. Microwave on high, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth; let cool slightly. Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.

3. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in the marshmallows and the remaining chocolate. Let cool for 15 minutes.

4. Drop mounds of the dough (about 1 heaping tablespoon each) 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until firm around the edges and cracked on the tops, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Black Leopard

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Coat-Ann Taylor (use code STYLE25 for 25% off)
Leather pants-BlankNYC
Shoes-KORS Michael Kors
Sunnies-Karen Walker

Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving break by eating and shopping to your hearts content. I overindulged a bit (per usual) with food and am trying to detox this week by eating more veggies and fruits. Emphasis on the trying. 

Have a great week. Xo.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I….

1. Went on a Black Friday shopping frenzy at Saks and Neiman and picked up the items I presaled earlier in the week. Thank God they gave customers the option to pre-sale this year to avoid the crazy crowds on the actual day. These are some of my favorite items I bought so far and have several more items that I bought online coming this week. I think it's time for a shopping hiatus. Again.

2. Restocked on my coffee beans from my favorite coffee shop, Stumptown Coffee, thanks to my sister who was visiting for the holiday break from NYC. I've been using these coffee beans on the daily ever since I was introduced to this brand by her and it's really hard to drink coffee from anywhere else now. You too would be converted once you take a sip of the coffee from glorious Stumptown.

3. Bought a new hydration lotion from a new to me Japanese skincare brand, Hada Labo. I initially read about this super popular brand in Elle magazine several months ago because it recently launched in the US and have been curious about the hydrator, especially since my skin is dry during the winter months. Apparently this stuff is so popular, the company claims it sells every 4 seconds in Japan. Considering it's fairly inexpensive compared to many high end skin care lines, I was quick to pick one up at Ulta. Fingers crossed it works well on my skin.

4. Spent much of my time with the family this weekend, especially since my sister was back in town. We have a couple of restaurants which we frequent when the whole family gets together, one of them being Maggiano's Little Italy (order the family style option!), which is where we dined at over the weekend. So much feasting has occurred since last week and now gym time is calling.

5. Picked up my brand new David Yurman bling from the store after receiving a call that my ring came in (my size was on order). I've been eyeing the citrine color for awhile now and am super happy with the purchase. I wore it all weekend, naturally.

How was your weekend?