Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I....

1. Received my online orders from Saks during their Friends and Family event. I kinda went click happy while browsing the site and when I saw several of these rather large boxes filled with clothes, I knew this was getting a bit out of control. Thankfully a couple of the clothes didn't fit well so I will be returning those items. Phew.

2. Finally tried Bikram Yoga. I bought 10 sessions to try out several weeks ago and finally went to my first class. It was experience. I'm not used to all that gross sweating within 90 minutes but thankfully I survived the class with out having to leave the room during the session. Gonna head back again this week and am actually looking forward to it. Not sure if it was the class itself or if I was really tired that day but I seriously had the best sleep that night.

3. Met up with my friend for brunch at Vinoteca, located in Washington, DC. I've been there several times during their happy hour and dinner but this was my first time checking out their brunch menu. They have bottomless mimosas for $15 which is always a pleasing thing to see on a menu. Needless to say, my friend and I seized that opportunity for a boozy Sunday. Good times.

4. Painted my nails with a fresh coat of Essie's "Turquoise and Caicos," which by the way is now on my travel list after hearing about my friend's recent trip to Turks and Caicos. I'm by no means talented when it comes to nail art and adding stripes on top of the polish is probably the best I can do.

5. Relaxed with a new glossie while drinking mint green tea. Ever since I bought my mint plant, I've been adding mint leaves and agave nectar to my green tea and it has been a total game changer to my tea game. I think I may have developed an unhealthy obsession with mint green tea.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

NomNom: Baked Ziti

Hi everyone! Hope you're enjoying the weekend so far. It's beautiful here in Washington, DC and my agenda for the next couple of days will include baking some nutella brownies (!!), meeting up with friends to grab food, and getting last minute errands done before I leave for Germany next week. To kick off the weekend, I made this wonderful one dish wonder of Baked ziti that really was the most perfect, comforting and cheesy filled meal.

I was surprised at how much depth of flavor the dish had and I think it's because whole can tomatoes (instead of crushed) are used and the pasta is actually cooked in the sauce which makes for good sauce absorption. I recommend using whole-milk or low moisture mozzarella cheese versus the pre-shredded kind because well, Test Kichen says it best, "the flavor-to-convenience compromise simply isn't worth it."

I highly recommend making this hearty and comforting meal for your next culinary adventure in the kitchen because it is a guaranteed home run. I promise this recipe will bring a satisfying smile to your face, as it did to mine.

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients (Adapted from America's Test Kitchen) Yields: 4 servings
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed (recommend the hot Italian sausage if you like a little spicy kick)
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
3 cups water
12 ounce (3 1/4 cup) ziti
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Pulse tomatoes and their juice in food processor until coarsely ground and no large pieces remain, about 12 pulses.

2. Cook sausage in 12-inch oversafe skillet over medium-hight heat, breaking apart meat until lightly browned and no longer pink, 3-5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and continue to cook until fragrant about 1 minute. Stir in processed tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes no longer taste raw, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in water, then add pasta. Cover, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat to maintain vigorous simmer until past is tender, 15-18 minutes.

4. Stir in cream, Parmesan, and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over top. Bake until cheese has elated and browned, 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spot On

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Cardigan-J.Crew outlet (buy here)
Belt, Top-H&M (from last year)
Skirt-Maje (eyeing a similar one here)
Cuff-John Hardy
Shoes-Pour La Victoire

Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope your week is going well so far. Mine has been annoyingly busy and tiring so far which makes my upcoming vacation that much more rewarding. Officially started to count down the days;)

Have a great rest of the week! Xo.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I....

1. Received my 1st order of skincare products I ordered from Sephora since they were having (use code CHIC until today if you're VIB member) a 15% discount on everything last week. This came at a perfect time since I had to replenish on my favorite skincare products such as Ole Henriksen's Vitamin C serum and Josie Maran's Argan Oil. Some new products I purchased was a moisturizer from Lancome and TARTE Amazonian 12 hr blush in Tipsy which is the perfect matte coral color. I also have another shipment coming in today of Fresh Rose Petal face mask (currently sold out at Sephora) and AMOREPacific eye gel. Both are also new products to me but after researching and reading several reviews, I think that they will do the job I want it to do. Well, here's hoping.

2.  Started researching for my upcoming vacation to Germany. I leave in a couple of weeks and couldn't be more excited for this trip, especially after a busy month. I'l be headed to Munich and Berlin so would love your suggestions/input if you've visited.

3. My beloved Bodum French Press cracked as I was making my daily cup of coffee. I've had it for about 8 months and was surprised that the glass portion cracked already. Fortunately I still had the original box and took it to Bed Bath and Beyond and they let me exchange it for a new one.  Such great customer service.

4.  Met up with Mel to grab Korean BBQ at Honey Pig for dinner. We were both in the same area and close to the restaurant so it was a no brainer to meet up to eat, which is what we do best;)

5. I bought and potted mint. I've been growing cilantro for the past couple of months and now have included mint to the mix. It smells so beautifully fragrant. I took a Moroccan cooking class about a month ago and the class introduced me to the glorious world of mint green tea. Oh my gosh, adding mint to the tea takes it to another level. Since the temperatures unexpectedly dropped over the weekend, I brought my herbs inside so the cold temperatures wouldn't kill it.

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 19, 2013

NomNom: Key Lime Pie

When it comes to desserts, I'm a bit particular with pies. In fact, I'm not the biggest fan. Yea, I know.

Key lime pie is no exception.....until about two years ago. Not sure what exactly happened but the change of attitude began when a friend of mine ordered it for dessert and kinda coaxed me to just give it one more chance. I believe in 2nd chances so I gave it a bite. Or two.

It didn't taste as bad as I remembered it but it wasn't a game changing moment either. It was just okay. I think what happened was that over the years, my palette for all things tart and citrus changed progressively changed. I used to not like anything lemon flavored for the longest time and when I told one of my besties who happens to love anything with a citrus taste, that I was beginning to turn a corner, she was shocked. It was the equivalent of telling someone you started to eat meat when you've been a vegetarian all your life. That sort of caliber.

This recipe tops all the key lime pies I've tasted in the past, meaning I've ordered it from many restaurants. I'm a curious soul by nature, especially when it comes to food, so trust me when I say I've tried them all. The silky smooth texture of the filling is almost custard like but with the addition of some serious citrus punch. It tastes amazing buy itself, especially if you love things tart, but if you want to mellow out the citrus flavor, you can add a dollop of whipped cream. I prefer mine unadorned.

One of the wonderful thing about pies is that it yields many slices. This charming dessert is meant to be shared amongst loved ones over tea or coffee and bonus points if there's good, solid conversation involved.

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Ingredients for Pie (Adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
4 large egg yolks
4 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1/2 cup juice (5 limes)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 recipe Graham Cracker crust (recipe follows)

Topping (Optional)
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup (1 ounce) confectioner's sugar

Procedure for Pie
1. Whisk egg yolks and lime zest together in medium bowl until mixture has a light green tint, about 2 minutes. Whisk in condensed milk until smooth, then whisk in lime juice. Cover mixture and set aside at room temperature until thickened, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare and bake Graham Cracker Crust. Transfer pie plate to wire rack. Do not turn off oven. (Crust must still be warm when filling is added).

3. Pour thickened filling into warm pre-bake pie crust. Bake pie until center is firm but jiggles slightly when shaken, 15-20 minutes. Let pie cool slightly on wire rack, about 1 hour. then cover loosely with plastic warp and refrigerate until filling is chilled and set about 3 hours.

4. For the topping, if using: Once pie is chilled, use stand mixer fitted with whisk to whip cream and sugar to medium low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1-3 minutes. Spread topping attractively over top of pie.

Ingredients for Graham Cracker Crust
8 whole graham crackers, broken into 1-inch pieces
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons sugar

Procedure for Crust
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Process cracker pieces in food processor to fine, even crumbs about 30 seconds. Sprinkle melted butter and sugar over crumbs and pulse to incorporate, about 5 pulses.

2. Sprinkle mixture into 9-inch pie plate. Using bottom of measuring cup, press crumbs into even layer on bottom and sides of the plate. Bake until crust is fragrant and beginning to brown 13-18 minutes; transfer to wire rack.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shirt-Gap (buy here)
Sleeveless blazer-H&M (old)
Jeans-Rag and Bone (buy here & use code WEAREFAMILY13 for extra 20%)
Shoes-Sam Edelman
Sunnies-Celine (buy here)
Necklace-Alexis Bittar
Cuff-John Hardy

My current obsession these days are my new Rag and Bone destroyed skinny jeans, Celine sunnies, and my Chanel purse which are all being worn repeatedly. Knowing me, these three players will be showing up on the blog again;)

Have a great rest of the week! Xo.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Hosted a casual dinner for some of my girlfriends. I cooked them shrimp burgers (recipe here from a previous post) a 5 layer dip, and a key lime pie for dessert. My friend Mel made delicious butter beer for our drinks (along to having a bottle of chocolate wine another friend brought over) and was basically a great night that involved lots of laughter catching up on each other's lives and some good ol' girl talk.

2. Went to Frizzles hair salon located in Virginia to get my hair re-ombred. When I first got the ombre done on my hair almost a year ago, I had the pleasure of having the talented Barbara from the salon color my hair. I was so happy with how it turned out that I wanted her to redo my color again. Very satisfied with the results...again:)

3. Painted my nails with Essie's 'Pretty Edgy' from a nail polish set that Aquaphor sent over a couple of weeks ago. It's a gorgeous emerald green color that is vibrant to the eye. Couldn't resist modifying one nail with a different shade;)

4. Dined at Yechon, a 24 hour (!!) Korean restaurant in Annandale, VA to satisfy a craving for Korean food, specifically dol sot bibimbap. It's a beautiful, flavorful dish that involves a medley of pickled vegetables, marinated beef, and steamed rice that's all mixed together with a spicy hot pepper sauce called gochu jjang. It can be eaten hot or cold but I prefer mine hot served in a clay pot so that the rice on the bottom is still cooking and becomes crispy. Such a comforting meal. Major nom.

5. I bought Sheryl Sandberg's (COO of Facebook) new book, Lean In. There have been some unexpected but very good changes the past couple of weeks which involves my career. I had lots of restless nights from researching ways on how to successfully negotiate and trying to mentally prepare myself to take on a major leadership role. Coincidentally, that same week I happened to read an interview Oprah did on Sandberg for her O magazine on Sandberg's book and thought the timing was a bit eerie. The book is about women and their role in the workplace and touches upon subjects involving the lack of voice heard from successful women at work and the road/experience to get to that place of full potential. I began to question why I felt so much anxiety during the negotiating period and started to wonder if men go through the same feelings. Basically it came down to me questioning myself on what compelled me to initially hold back. Definitely looking forward to reading and utilizing this book as a stepping stone for better insight into these areas and to help me progress professionally in my career.

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Daytime Sparkle

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Boyfriend jeans-Gap (buy here)
Sequin cardigan-Lover and Friends (buy here)
Shoes-Pour La Victoire (buy here)
Blouse- Gap (love the gingham version here)

Happy Friday! Just a quick hello to wish you a great weekend that hopefully includes a bit of sparkle. The weekend couldn't come soon enough for me because it's been extremely busy work wise and it doesn't look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. There's going to be changes in the horizon and am looking forward to progressing and challenging myself in my professional career. Will share with you more in details soon.

In the meantime, I am going to use this weekend to finally relax and purposely do nothing in particular (but after tonight's dinner I'm hosting for friends!) and am totally okay with that decision. I really am.  

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Few Favorites

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Blazer, pearls-J.Crew (buy here and here)
Pants, chambray shirt-H&M (affordable option for chambray shirt here)
Shoes-Pour La Victoire (buy here)
Purse-Mulberry Alexa

Happy Wednesday everyone! The beautiful weather we've been having as of late makes me gravitate towards my favorite pieces I tend to wear when it starts become warmer such as a chambray shirt, light blazers (striped ones are a bonus, obviously) and pastel colored anything. I wore this outfit before Mother Nature decided to give us a preview of Summer yesterday and am hoping we will revert back to Spring before transitioning into higher temperatures.

Enjoy the beautiful weather this week. Xo. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I...

1. Went into the Chanel store to browse and walked out with an unplanned purchase. I've been looking for a daytime to evening black purse that is roomy enough to carry the usual things I carry in my bag (still looking for a black everyday bag) and this beautiful one caught my eye. The price was reasonable compared to some of the classics (the price increase on Chanel is RIDICULOUS) and when the SA checked to see how many were in the database, there was only two left meaning only two left in the US. Since the black color is hard to find on the classic styles, I decided to take the plunge and treat myself. After all, I had reason to celebrate after hearing some good news last week:)

2. Looked through my usual go to recipe magazines to make a list of things I want to cook for a dinner gathering I'm hosting for some girlfriends this coming weekend. It's going to be a small casual gathering that's gonna involve good food, good drinks, and as always, good conversation. Definitely looking forward to a good ol' girls night in.

3. Stopped by Bloomingdales since they were having their Friends and Family sale. I went in with the intention of buying one pair of Rag and Bone jeans and ended up buying 3 pairs instead. Ugh. I'm becoming such a Rag and Bone denim hoarder. Not good for the wallet.

4. Signed up for bikram yoga. Whenever I get stressed out or work long hours at work, I get crazy knots on my back which can become pretty painful. I get monthly massages to loosen the knots but it always seems to come back so I decided to include some yoga in my life. I've taken a couple of classes before and was bored by it (a good stress reliever though) but have always been curious about bikram yoga. I'm hoping that practicing this on a regular base will help alleviate the muscle pain.

5. Dined at Mussel Bar, located in Bethesda, MD with my photographer friend. It's my usual go to place when I'm craving mussels while in the Maryland area. We caught up over life happenings over beer, mussels/frites, and flat bread pizza (not shown) and then wrapped up my weekend with watching Game of Thrones.

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Switch it Out

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Blazer-H&M (old)
Long tee-J.Crew (love this color here)
Coated denim-Rag and Bone (buy here)
Purse-Louis Vuitton
Shoes-Pour La Victoire (buy here)
Sunglasses-Stella McCartney

Happy Friday everyone! There are days when I get lazy with outfits and what I'll do is switch out a shirt/pants to "change" it up a bit. I wore a similar outfit like today's on a previous post, except I wore a mint green sweater underneath the blazer. Wearing existing pieces in my closet again and pairing them differently against another color makes me feel like I'm getting my moneys worth on it. Anything to justify a purchase;)

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Black and White

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Sweater-J.Crew (buy here)
White button down-Banana Republic (buy here)
Skirt-Maje (love this version in lace here)
Shoes-Pour La Victoire (buy here)
Ring, watch-David Yurman  

One of the biggest trends for this Spring is black and white. This timeless color combination has been ubiquitous on all the runways for Spring 2013 and will surely be one of the most popular trends among people this season. Whether it shows up on mod prints or classic dresses this Spring, one can never go wrong with this favorite (and safe) color palette of many. 

Have a great week. Xo.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I....

1. Made a key lime pie for the first time. I'm hosting a dinner party for some close friends in a couple of weeks and I'm thinking about baking a key lime pie for dessert. I wanted to test the recipe prior to the party so I know if it'll be a go or no go and this is definitely a go. Sorry I don't have a picture of the final product but I was too busy enjoying the dessert while FaceTiming with my sister. Priorities. 

2. Checked out a wine and cheese bar in Arlington, VA which has been on my radar for awhile. It's called ScrewTop Wine Bar and Cheese Shop and is now my go to wine bar for Virginia. The atmosphere is laid back and decorated with a wall full of different wines that you can buy off the shelf and also serves entrees other then cheese and charcuterie if that's not your thing. We enjoyed the wine we drank with our meal that night so much that we bought two bottles to bring back home. Definitely will be back.

3. Went shopping for a black bag. I've been considering buying the Celine Trapeze bag for awhile now (not a fan of the Luggage style) but the store didn't have the color I wanted in stock that day so the sales associate said he would call me when they get another shipment in a month. I'm still not 100% certain I'm going to buy it only because the weight of the bag is a big heavy for me. Keeping my options for a black bag open for now.

4. Didn't buy the Celine bag but instead bought Celine sunglasses I've been eyeing for awhile. I love my Stella McCartney sunnies to pieces but it's time for a change and with the warmer weather ahead of us, these are kinda perfect for summer time. Love them!

5. Had a little Game of Thrones viewing party that involved drinking the wine we bought from the wine bar this weekend and munching on various cheeses and cured meat. I don't follow too many TV shows religiously except for Game of Thrones so I was stoked to finally have the new season start again. 

How was your weekend?