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?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Repeat Offender

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin (thanks for braving the cold with me!!)

Chambray shirt, scarf-H&M
Boots-Vera Wang Lavender Label
Sunnies-Karen Walker

Hi everyone! One of my favorite low key outfits I tend to wear, especially on my lazy days, is the double denim look. It's simple and effortless and can be the base for anything else you want to add on (i.e. blazer, jacket, leopard print, solid color scarf, etc) I wore this look initially on the blog by just adding a leopard print belt to separate the two denim pieces HERE but, today, I decided to throw some color to the mix by wearing a red blazer and a warm scarf for added warmth--this is usually my go to look for running errands/shopping/lunch date with friends.

Hope you guys are enjoying the short work week thus far and thank you SO much for visiting. Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with delicious food that's shared amongst your loved ones. Xo. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I….

1. Baked marshmallow chocolate chunk cookies via Real Simple again. I first made these cookies last weekend and it was such a hit with my loved ones that I had to make it again. I'll share the recipe later this week because it's too good not to share.

2. Finally made it to Yamazato Sushi in Alexandria, VA. I've been trying to find a good sushi place in the VA area and this place has been bookmarked for awhile now. The sashimi (not pictured) was fresh and melt in your mouth delicious and the variety of rolls available on the menu was pleasing to the eye and taste. Highly recommend.

3. Stopped by the mall to do a quick return and noticed the Anthropologie store next door. Every time I walk into the store, I always walk out empty handed because the clothes are not really my style. However, I saw these super cute monogram gold plated coffee mugs that I couldn't resist buying. I love my West Elm monogram coffee cup I bought last year so I just had to add a gold one to my cupboard;) I ended up purchasing the monogram mugs for myself, mom, and sister. A little Thanksgiving gift for them I suppose:)

4. Gloriously slept in (as did Mandu) and caught up on some of my favorite blogs and websites in the comfort of my bed. I love having lazy mornings once in awhile with no set agenda and I definitely needed that over the weekend.

5. Rented a movie (Now You See Me), made my PB&J S'mores, popped some popcorn, and devoured the marshmallow chocolate chunk cookies I baked over the weekend. A movie night in pretty much closed out the weekend on a relaxing, low key note which is exactly what I needed.

How was your weekend?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fall Jacket Revisted

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Tweed Jacket-J.Crew (from last year, love this years version HERE)
Silk Blouse-J.Crew
Jeans-Rag & Bone
Sunnies-Karen Walker

Happy Friday everyone! Before Winter comes at us full force, I like taking advantage of the Fall weather we have during the afternoon to wear my favorite Fall jackets from the closet such as my trench coats, blazers, and tweed jackets. It's always the classic pieces that get the most wear repeatedly season after season and I'm a huge believer with investing in several, nice closet staples that aren't necessarily deemed trendy. They will last you for years to come. Trust. 

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shades of Red

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Leather leggings-Donna Mizani
Shoes-Pour La Victoire

Hi everyone! I don't know about you but I am so happy this week is halfway over. Last week and this past weekend has been really busy/tiring/stressful due to work related stuff which has been occupying the majority of my time. I pretty much put my social life on hold the whole week/end. Sad. Between working and studying over the weekend, taking a training class all day Monday to get my immunization certification (3/4 done with process!), and staying after hours to help my work partner get our pharmacy ready for a special event, I am so ready for my upcoming 4 day weekend. Catching up on sleep is high on my list. Anyway, long story short, life has been a bit busy to have my usual scheduled blog posts ready in time so thank you for being patient with me:)

Stay warm and have a great week. Xo.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

NomNom: Moroccan Harira Soup

Now the temperatures are starting to drop even lower to the point it feels like winter, I begin to crave warm, hearty meals. I'm kind of particular when it comes to soups and only take a liking to a few, but this Moroccan soup I'm sharing with you today has become one of my favorite soup recipes I've come across so far.

Now this is one of those type of soups that actually tastes even better the day after, if that's possible. The spice mixture is a wonderful combination of warm and earthy with just a hint of heat and really just works beautifully into this soup. Ultra satisfying and comforting for a cold Autumn/Winter day. Oh yea, did I mention that the soup is also super healthy? Winning on so many levels.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Xo.

Ingredients for Ras El Hanout Spice Mixture
8 teaspoons ground cumin
8 teaspoons ground ginger
6 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
6 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 

6 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground 
4 teaspoons coriander 
4 teaspoons cayenne 
4 teaspoons all-spice
4 teaspoons saffron 

Ingredients for Harira Soup (Yields: 2 servings): Adapted from Amy Riolo

1 small yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup lentils, sorted, rinsed, and drained 

1 celery heart, finely chopped
1/4 cup tomato puree
2 cups of low sodium vegetable stock, or water 

1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout spice mixture
1/8 cup medium grain rice
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/8 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup frozen lima beans, thawed
1 teaspoon tomato paste 

1. Place onions in a large saucepan or stockpot.

2. Add lentils, celery, tomato puree, vegetable stock, and Ras el Hanout spice mixture.

3. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Carefully remove the lid and add rice, cilantro, parsley, chickpeas, lima beans, and tomato paste to the pot.

5. Stir, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

6. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until vegetables and rice are tender, and soup has thickened. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NYC and Leopard Hearts

Outfit photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Leopard blouse-Cooper & Ella
Leather (faux) skirt-F21

Hi everyone! Sorry for the week long absence of posts, but it's been a bit busy this past week and I just didn't have the time to get my posts scheduled and ready. I went to NYC over the weekend to visit my sister and had a great time just hanging out, trying new food places, and of course, shopping;) I got back really late Monday night and was too tired to have my usual Weekend Snapshots ready so I decided to share it with you today. If you follow me on twitter, I was much more diligent with posting the pics over the weekend;)

Some of the highlights from the weekend was grabbing brunch at ABV to have quite possibly the best breakfast torta ever (my sister insists their pork torta served during dinner is even better) and the strangest yet delicious and most dense flavored donuts from Dough Loco. Pictured are the blueberry rosemary lime (my favorite) and miso maple which was a bit too sweet for me. We also decided to try the raspberry Sriracha donut after we were finished with the first two flavors more out of curiosity and it was….strange. The raspberry flavor is prominent but at the end of the bite, the heat from the sriracha kicks in. Still not sure what to make of this one. Oh and I come to find out later that both ABV and Dough Loco are owned by the same people--go figure.  

Hope you enjoyed your weekend and are having a great week so far. Xo.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Color Burst

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Chambray shirt-H&M
Coated skinny jeans-Rag and Bone
Pearl necklace-J.Crew
Sunnies-Karen Walker

Nothing better than bursts of colors to make an outfit pop, right?;)

Have a great week. Xo.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I….

1. Received my online order of this Theory leather jacket. I've been on the hunt for a black moto leather jacket and haven't had much luck due to either fit or cut but this Theory one is something that comes close to what I'm looking for. I have two more leather jackets I ordered online which is on its way later this week so we shall see.

2. Needed some downtime to myself and relaxed with some food magazines for some inspiration on upcoming meals. Glossies, coffee, and my favorite tunes in the background is my idea of a total relaxation in the morning.

3. Met up with a good friend for a catch up and work venting session at Victoria Gastro Pub. We've both been stressed out due to work and since we share a love of the restaurant's duck fat fries and libations, it seemed like the obvious choice to dine at. We also talked about planning a trip together in late February to someplace warm…perhaps Belize?! Oh and sorry for the slightly blurry food picture! I was too hungry to care enough to retake the picture. That's just real life.

4. Found the gold hardware Hermes CDC leather wrap bracelet that's been on my wish list forever! I always see the sliver hardware wrap bracelet in stores but the gold one is rare to find and while I was just window shopping, the sales lady informed me that one just came in that day...in the size I was looking for (it comes in two sizes). I mean, talk about good timing.

How was your weekend?

Friday, November 1, 2013

School Girl Chic

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shirt-J.Crew (Love the dress version here)
Purse-Chanel WOC 
Sunnies-Karen Walker
Ring, bracelets-David Yurman

Happy Friday everyone! There's something about peter pan collar shirts that remind me of preppy school girl uniforms which I love; but, pairing it with a (faux) leather skirt updates that conservative look. I love gray and red together, so naturally I gravitated towards my trusty red Chanel WOC to finish off the look;)

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Xo.