Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Baby Blue

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shorts-Banana Republic (old)
Shoes-Stuart Weitzman
 Necklace-Alexis Bittar
Cuff-Kenneth Jay Lane (similar here)
Sunnies-Karen Walker

Hi everyone! Hope you've been enjoying the gorgeous humidity free weather we've been having the past couple of days. This outfit was inspired by the cotton candy skies I've been seeing lately and for some reason, wearing this color palette and soft, flowy blouse is very soothing to me. Work has been super busy and a bit stressful so I welcome anything that has a calming effect.

Have a great rest of the week. Xo.

Monday, July 29, 2013

NomNom: Green Smoothie

When it comes to lifestyle and food, I'm a firm believer in having balance. I personally don't believe in all these crazy diets and restrictions people put on themselves because something is too fattening or blah blah blah. Rather, everything in moderation is the way to go. I personally enjoy food too much to not to have that piece of cheesecake or slice(s) of pizza...I mean what kind of life is that?

What works for me is to have a balanced diet with some sort of exercise incorporated during the week (any type of cardio to get your heart rate up!) If I overindulge on the weekend, which is pretty much every weekend, I try to eat a bit more healthier the next couple of days. Again, balance.

When I first heard about juicing/green smoothies, I was skeptical yet curious to see what the hype was about. After a couple of trial runs on both, I decided that I prefer making smoothies over the juicing process because fiber isn't lost in the process and quite honestly smoothies are just more convenient.

Green smoothies aren't visually the most appetizing thing to look at, but it is really, really tasty. Trust. You don't taste the vegetables that goes into the drink and the natural sweetness from the fruit(s) masks the vegetable taste. Ever since I found this way to incorporate daily vegetables into my diet (since I'm not by any means a salad eating, vegetable loving gal), I've been sharing this recipe (and converting) family and friends into being green smoothie drinking machines. After making one for a friend, she texted me the following day with, "Buying spinach now." The following week, another girlfriend texted me saying she's been feeling more energized in the morning after drinking her newfound love of green smoothies. True stories.

Feel free to experiment with different types of fruits. Lately I've been adding strawberries and blueberries to the mix so I can indulge in all the fresh summer fruits before the season is gone.

It's a brand new week so why not jump start it with a healthy, energy drink? Drink up that chlorophyll.

Happy Monday. Xo.

Ingredients (Serves: 1)
1 big handful of fresh baby spinach
3/4 cup almond milk (I use vanilla)
1 ripe banana, peeled and quartered (frozen bananas work too!)
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
2 tsp flaxseed (optional)
3 pitted Medjool dates, coarsely chopped (optional)
*I usually add a couple of ice cubes because I love to drink it icy cold

1. Place softest ingredients first (banana, spinach, Greek yogurt) into the blender and top with the remaining ingredients, adding the milk last. Blend until smooth and feel free to add more milk if you want a thinner consistency. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Black and Blue Summer

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Denim shorts-Zara
Shoes-KORS Micahel Kors
Sunnies-Karen Walker
Cuff-John Hardy

Happy Friday! One of the colors schemes I fell in love with over fall/winter was pairing black and blue together which is something I will carry through all seasons. I wanted to have pops of black show up from accessories in my outfit while paired against this super comfy and simple navy sweatshirt I bought last week. Comfy top, cut offs, and Chanel? This is basically my summer uniform;)

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wide Stripes

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Skirt-H&M (old)
Necklace-Alexis Bittar
Cuff-John Hardy
Sunnies-Karen Walker

Hi everyone! Sorry for not posting my usual Weekend Snapshots this past Monday but I  decided to take a short break from it. It's starting to become a bit much on the weekends to remember to document everything I did and quite honestly, I'd rather much enjoy being in the moment with out having to remember to take a food pic, get good lighting, edit, etc, especially when I'm in the company of my friends (most of them are not bloggers). I also find myself getting annoyed if I forgot to take a pic of something I did over the weekend because then I can't really include that into the Monday post. I suppose I could but let's be honest entry with out a picture is boring.

For the next couple of weeks or month my usual Weekend Snapshots posts might be replaced with either more food/outfit posts until I figure out what I want to do. Since it's become a surprisingly popular post, I don't know if I want to take it away just yet; but, in the meantime I'll be taking a break from it. Thanks in advance for being patient with me.

Wishing you a great week! Xo.

Friday, July 19, 2013

NomNom: Couscous with Apricot Vinaigrette

One of the many things I love about being in the kitchen and researching recipes to experiment with, is to be reintroduced to foods I may not have liked before. Truth be told, I was never a fan of couscous until I came across today's recipe. The ones I've come across prior to this recipe had a grainy, dry, texture to it and there wasn't much of a impressionable punch in taste. Not exciting therefore was never very interested.

I wanted to make a quick, easy, and light side dish for dinner and came across this recipe within my food magazine stack. I took a quick glance at the ingredient list and realized I had everything on the list (minus the couscous) which I took as a sign to the beginnings of a refound relationship.

Fluffy and flavorful. That's what couscous should be like and this recipe delivers just that. I'm not sure if I just got unlucky with the couscous dishes I've come across in my life because this dish is truly outstanding. There is so much going on with this super simple dish starting from the texture you get from the almonds to the slightly sweet and tangy sauce that's weaved into the couscous. The fact that you just pour hot water over the couscous and let it stand for 5 minutes to "cook" is kind of amazing in itself. I mean, how easy is that? (said in my best Ina Garten's voice).

Have a great weekend. Xo

Recipe (Adapted from Real Simple mag: Easy, Delicious Meals): Serves 6
1 10-ounce box couscous (1 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup apricot preserves
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped

1. Place the couscous in a serving bowl. Pour 1 1/2 cups hot tap water over the top. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, warm the preserves in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the oil, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3. Fluff the couscous with a fork and toss with the scallions almonds, and vinaigrette.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Brights

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Shorts-Banana Republic (old)
Sandals-Jessica Simpson (old)
Belt-J.Crew (similar one at J.Crew factory here)

Hi everyone! Summer in the east coast could be brutal (humidity here is no joke) so comfortable, light weight material clothes are my go to staples. This recently purchased button down shirt is the perfect blend of cotton/silk so the fabric is very light and breathable. Pairing it with stark white shorts adds just the amount of bright punch for the summer;)

Hope you're staying cool in this heat. Xo.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I....

1. Started looking up vacation getaways for next month (pic from my Bahama vacation last year). I have a couple of weeks off from work in August and half that time will be used as a staycation to rest, sleep in plenty, and take care of little things I've been putting off. Hopefully the rest of the time will be for a quick getaway to either Mexico or The Caribbean. Still looking up for last minute package deals.

2. Started to plan recipe ideas for the next couple of weeks while enjoying my favorite summer salad, caprese salad. Fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, home grown basil, all drizzled with olive oil and balsamic glaze is perfection.

3. Received my online order from Cusp I placed early last week. I was hoping that these DVF leather shorts and Clover Canyon dress would work out but both items will unfortunately be going back. The leather shorts were a bit loose on the waist and the dress made a weird billowy shape around the midriff area when worn. I purchased a Clover Canyon dress (their cut and prints are amazing btw) with sleeves about a month ago, which fit nicely, so was a bit surprised that the sleeveless version didn't fit right.

4. Had dinner at Mussel Bar in Bethesda, MD. Fortunately the humidity died down after the sunset so we decided to sit outdoors. I just love dining al fresco during summer evenings.

5. Perfected my green smoothie game. I've been testing different green smoothie recipes and decided to add dates to my usual green smoothie. Unbelievably good. Trust.

How was your weekend?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Like a Lady

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

White denim-Zara
Shoes-Pour La Victoire (suede version here)
Purse, sunnies-Celine
Ring, bracelet-Alexis Bittar (here and here)

Nothing like a pretty little ombre lace number to make you feel feminine and lady like;)

Have a great weekend. Xo.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Leather Panel

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Leather (faux) shirt-Bailey 44 (currently on sale!)
Jeans-Rag and Bone (similar style here)
Shoes-Sam Edelman (old)
Cuff-John Hardy (old)
Pendant, Rings-David Yurman, Maison Martin Margiela
Sunnies-Karen Walker

Happy Wednesday everyone! At first glance, this black top looks very simple but the fact that the front of the shirt is faux leather gives it an edgier look than just your ordinary black shirt. The back of the shirt is a mix of spandex/rayon which makes it comfortable to wear when dealing with summer weather.

Have a great rest of the week. Xo.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Weekend Snapshots


This weekend I....

1. Invited a friend over for dinner. We haven't seen each other in a couple of months due to our work schedules (she's also a pharmacist w/ nonconventional work hours) but finally found a day to meet. Instead of going out for dinner like we usually do, I invited her over for dinner because there are just some days I prefer to dine in the the comfort of my home. I made baked tilapia with herb butter, couscous with apricot vinaigrette, caprese salad, and a trifle berry for dessert. The tilapia and couscous recipe have been bumped up to one of my favorite things to make--so good. The first thing my friend said after taking a bite of the fish was, "Linda....this is restaurant quality. Maybe better." Not sure if she was exaggerating but hey, I'll take it.  Our meal and conversation lasted for about 4 hours (we had tons to catch up on!) and she left happily stuffed.

2. Received a bucket full of fresh blueberries from my parents. They went berry picking at Butler's Orchard in Gaithersburg, MD and dropped off a huge bucket for me (thanks umma & appa!). One of the things I made with the berries was a berry trifle dessert. I bought some pound cake, made pudding, and layered it with the blueberries and strawberries. I had friends come over throughout the weekend and assembled this easy dessert for them to snack on.

3. Put together a little care package for my sister living in NYC. She's currently doing her anesthesiology residency and expressed to me recently that her program is wearing her thin. I decided to surprise and send her some of her favorite snacks and candy, along with a recent and highly addicting discovery (Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter spread). I've been shamelessly spreading it on everything from toast to bananas to apples, and just straight up eating it by the spoonful. The timing was perfect with the care package because she received it after working a 24 hour call. Mission accomplished.

4. Stopped by the Saks designer sale and came out with a Nancy Gonzalez crocodile purse, Alexander McQueen scarf and a pair of Michael Kors shoes. I also ordered some clothes online that should be arriving earlier this week....

5. Went to May's Restaurant for all you can eat crabs. Growing up in Maryland, this is a summertime tradition for me so when I read reviews on this place a couple of months ago, I put this place on my radar for places to try soon. I asked Mel if she was interested in going and she immediately said yes. I love having friends who have such enthusiastic attitude about food (a common thread amongst my group of friends). The AUCE comes with hush puppies, fries, and crabmeat soup which were all mediocre at best; but, the steamed crabs were good. All were good sized, seasoned with Old Bay (a must), with plump, juicy meat when cracked open. Will be going back again.

How was your weekend?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Easy Breezy

Photos courtesy of Sung Shin

Floral cropped jacket-Patterson J. Kincaid
Denim shorts-Zara
Sunnies-Karen Walker

There's nothing more easier in the summer than to wear cut offs, a plain white tank, and maybe a fun lightweight jacket to give it that something extra;)

Have a great weekend! Xo. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

NomNom: Watermelon Salad w/ Mint & Lime

You know what tastes like summer? This watermelon salad recipe I'm sharing with you today. It has all the it factors to qualify for a summer staple: easy, refreshing, tasty, sweet, and citrusy. You guys, this is legit summer on a fork.

I've been growing mint on my patio for several months now and have noticed that it's been thriving since then, which I'm sure has nothing to do with me. Green thumb is something that's not part of my I killed my cactus plant. Who does that? Me. Yeaaaah....

When I proudly told my sister how much it's grown, she responded with, "Well it's not a's a weed." So matter of fact, that little one. Did you guys know that? I sure didn't but it definitely makes sense as to why it's been growing at such a rapid pace with very little effort from me other than watering it. Since I didn't want to waste my fragrant mint leaves, I've been on the search for recipes that utilize mint into their ingredients and surprisingly came across several recipes that use mint and watermelon together.

Ever since I discovered the bright flavors of mint and watermelon together, this salad has been on frequent rotation in my kitchen. A good friend of mine was over my place a couple of weekends ago so I made this as our dessert and she, too, was surprised at the amazing pairing of these two. We easily had second helpings of this salad/dessert, which by the way was after a very full dinner. But, that's just how we roll.

I wanted to share this recipe today seeing that tomorrow is July 4th and lots of BBQs/get togethers will be happening. If you're stuck with what to make and want something incredibly easy, refreshingly tasty, and impressively worth making, assemble this watermelon salad. Trust and believe this will wow your family/guests. They don't even have to know how simple it is---that'll just be between you and I.

Have a safe and relaxing holiday. Xo.

Recipe (Adapted from Servings: 8
8 cups seedless watermelon chunks (1 inch), from a 6-pound melon
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn

1. In a large bowl, toss the watermelon with the lime juice and cayenne. Fold in the mint leaves, season with salt and serve.

*The watermelon salad can be refrigerated overnight. Fold in the torn mint leaves just before serving.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Weekend Snapshots

This weekend I....

1. Went to go visit my grandma, but not with out stopping by to pick up flowers for her first.

2. Tried Chasin' Tails in Arlington, VA for the first time. The first time I had crawfish was in Las Vegas several years ago at Hot n' Juicy and wasn't that impressed (they opened a location in DC) with the crawfish/flavors...I dunno. So much work for such little reward from those critters. The place wasn't bad but it wasn't mind blowing either so I never bothered checking out their place in DC. But, I was curious about Chasin' Tails since it's been consistently getting good reviews and am really happy I did. We ordered 1 lb each of the crawfish and shrimp which came in a steamed bag with corn and potatoes. What impressed me was the sauce smothered and marinated on the crawfish and shrimp. Oh my Lord. There are 3 flavors you can choose from (cajun, lemon-pepper, and garlic-butter) or you can choose to get the whole "shebang" which is a mix of all 3 sauces. Trust me on this--get the whole shebang. I was so happy there was leftover sauce in the bag for the sausages we ordered later to be dipped in. I will be coming back again. Soon.

3. Placed some orders from Shobop earlier last week when they were having an extra 25% sale items and the items finally arrived over the weekend. One of the purchases was this Maison Martin Margiela ring set which I've been wearing nonstop since getting it.

4. Have been experimenting with watermelon recipes. One of the recipes that's been a huge hit in my kitchen is a watermelon mint salad. It's so easy to make that I'm almost embarrassed to call it a recipe but I'll still share the recipe on the blog this week because sharing is caring.

5. Discovered a cute little wine bar in Bethesda, MD called Vino Volo. I met up with a friend to catch up on life over vino/cheese/charcuterie which is pretty much my happy place.

How was your weekend?