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4.30.2013

Favorite Links: Online Shops


Since I'm often asked where I shop for my clothes, shoes, jewelry etc... I figured I'd list a few of them here. Although I have favorite stores that I frequently visit such as some of the ones listed, I am more of a local boutique shopper for their intimate personal and more individualized service you experience. More importantly, I also know whatever pieces that I buy at a boutique is not mass-produced, so you always end up with one-of-a-kind pieces which is a big draw for me.

1. I need more colorful clutches in my collection. This Aldo Bernell Fuschia one is lovely.

2. These earrings are so classy- sold at another favorite store of mine...Anthropologie.

3. A must-have statement necklace for the summer from Topshop would look great with a plain grey T-shirt, skinny jeans, and a pair of heels.

4. Complement an outfit with this multi pink baker boy cap on a bad hair day from RWC

5. I'm obsessed with wrap bracelets and watches. This one is on my wish list from Gorjana + Griffin.

How about you? What are some of your favorite shops?


4.29.2013

Steel Cut Oatmeal


True, oatmeal isn't everyone's favorite. It wasn't my favorite for a long time, especially after being teased in grade school by kids that would yell out,  "eww, you're eating spit...hahaha...giggling kids echoing..." after every time I'd pour out the hot gooey, slimy, runny oatmeal prepared by mom out of my slim long silver thermos. Needless to say, I was turned off by oatmeal for a long while. It can definitely be a texture that is hard to overcome for sure.

However, as I started to appreciate healthier eating, I began turning back to foods that although aren't necessarily my favorites, were worth giving a second chance since I know they're good for me. My approach is to always find ways to doctor up a not-so-favorite traditional dish (like the oatmeal) in ways that I make it my own while keeping it nutritious and palatable. When I discovered steel cut oatmeal, I decided to give it a try for all the good things I heard about it. I have to say it isn't like the kind of oatmeal that mom made when I was a kid.  I guess it's because I make mine totally different by adding some extra ingredients that give it viscosity and I make it more visually appetizing as well (since you eat with your eyes first).

Here's one way I approach my steel cut oatmeal. First of all, I make a whole pot in one day to last me almost a week. Following these directions will help your oatmeal not end up like a hard lump of rock....


Ingredients

2 cups Almond milk (I use Blue Diamond unsweetened vanilla)
2 cups water
2 tbsp. agave syrup or honey
1 cup steel cut oatmeal
Dash of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Dash of cinnamon powder (optional)
1 tbsp. of unsalted butter (optional)


Directions

In a pot add the milk, water, agave syrup, pinch of salt, then bring to a boil. Then add the oatmeal and simmer for 1 minute. Turn off fire. Cover pot and let sit for 25 minutes. Add butter and cinnamon. Stir and enjoy with your favorite fruits/toppings sprinkled on top.

TIP: Every morning instead of rushing out without eating, you can easily warm up your already prepared oatmeal by just scooping out your portions into a bowl and stick it in the microwave for a minute or two. Then stir in your favorite fruit toppings such as blueberries, strawberries, craisins, cranberries, coconut flakes or whatever your palate desires and you've got a healthy start to the day.



4.28.2013

Ripe Lemon

Lemon yellow jeans, polka-dot shirt (similar), floppy crushable wide brim hat (perfect to protect your skin from the sun...similar), Glitter belt (similar), Mixed old jewelry pieces, Short necklace and earring set c/o Moesha

It's amazing how injecting a little color into your wardrobe can brighten and apparently even boost your mood. I wore this outfit the day after the Boston tragedy. The lemon yellow skinny jeans paired with a polka-dot shirt along with my floppy hat for a relaxed summery flair really picked up my saddened mood, while at the same time keeping with my goal (check!) to add more color into my rather gloomy dark closet figuratively and literally.

How was your weekend? Hope it was fun and a restful one. Here's a little sneak peek video of my weekend.


 
Happy Monday!
 
 
 
 

4.25.2013

Grateful Moments

{The city spring blooms from our home office window}

This week it occurred to me that if we were to move back to Long Island we could easily become hermits (potentially like Howard Hughes except without all the cash) as we work at home. As much as we love the island and remember how peacefully beautiful it is - it misses life!  It takes too long to drive to everything and nothing is within walking distance.  With experience living in different locales, we have discovered that we're cut out for the conveniences and energy of suburban living. Suburb + urban = suburban life. It's the best of both worlds for our situation as the hubby hates living directly in the city with all the crowds, traffic and all, and I'm not quiet ready as of yet for the deadness of true country life.  In the meantime, here are a few of the things that inspired me, and kept any stress at bay this week.

{It never hurts receiving some sweets from a friend's visit in Hawaii ~ thanks Jean;}
 
{Why settle for boring masking tape when you can get these at Madewell...}
 
{These rainbow cake pops make eating cake even more attractive}
 
{When one door doesn't work...I try another one...gotta keep on trying until it works} *image: via
 
 
 
 

4.24.2013

Bringing Cafe Style Home


I'm my happiest when I'm sitting at a sidewalk café on a nice spring day in NYC with a favorite glass of wine or a cup of tea and dessert chatting with a friend or the hubby. Admittedly, at any given time, I find my mind drifting (especially during menial tasks or uninteresting company) with blissful thoughts of... 'I wish I could be sitting at a quaint little sidewalk café right about now sipping on my wine...' Especially wine in a café in Paris with French music echoing in the background. I must say that is truly my happy place.


Obviously, most of us including myself probably can't just hop to a Paris café when our hearts desire, but it's an easy trend that can be created at home with a few necessary items. Think of using café chairs in an eat in kitchen or breakfast nook. Also, an outdoor patio offers the chance to create a quaint café setting.









Here are a few items to help recreate the look:


1. Bistro round table and chairs set (other less expensive ones not pictured) $387
2. Cozy afternoon teapot set $18.99
3. Round polyester checkered tablecloth $25.15
4. Tazo calm chamomile tea $4.99
5. Giara water bottle $8.99
6. Jonathan Adler muse mug $24
7. Bistro chair cushion set - red $52.99

*images: (1), (2, (3 + 4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (personal image)



4.23.2013

Favorite Links: Perfect For Mental Stress Relief

I'm sure we all could use some light...mental de-stressing kind of reading right about now, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite links that are not only interesting but will definitely bring a smile, and lighten any heavy heart.

1. Get rid of the Xanax, try doing this instead...

2. Want to relieve some stress quickly? These tips will sure come in handy...

3. Music is such a soul soother. Here are 25 most inspirational songs of all time...

4. Five ways to improve mental health... a must keep ...

5. I found this link the most interesting thus far... what do you think about them apples?


4.22.2013

Balenciaga Bag

2. Guess satchel $228

Are you in love with the Balenciaga bag, but don't have the budget for the splurge? Fret no more. This GUESS leather satchel in cognac is an amazing sensibly stylish rival to the much desired Balenciaga handbag. I personally think the Guess bag is pretty and at the same time very handy, practical and versatile!

What do you think? Don't you agree it's very close in style?

*image: {1}



4.21.2013

Happy Earth Day


I love the planet earth! It is so beautiful! I love even more, the people who make the effort to treat it as the valuable gift that it truly is. Now, here's something to ponder over - if we were given this beautiful planet to enjoy (sans all the atrocities that mar our vision of its beauty at times...), why would we only live on it for a short time?










I'm curious to hear your opinion. Please share your thoughts in the comment box below the post.


* images: {1}, {2}, {3}, {4}, {5}, {6-10}

4.19.2013

What I've Learned & What I've Always Known


There have been so many incidents this week that confirmed something that I've always known: even when people don't acknowledge you for your talents, or give you commendation - just know they still copy you because you inspire them. So continue to do what you truly love and are passionate about for others are looking up to you. Nothing feels better as seeing what I do make a difference in someone else's life in a positive way. That alone is motivation to continue.



4.18.2013

Grateful Moments

{Traditional pilgrimage to Vegas: times spent with friends over food and of course drinks}
 
If I were to describe these past couple of weeks, I would liken it to being on a roller coaster ride that is going full speed with sharp unexpected whip lashing twists and turns followed by brief smooth stretches and suddenly- boom, there comes the drop! Apartment/house hunting is exhausting and making important decisions on where to live to get the most bang for your buck has been very difficult. Adding to that, is all the unrest of crazy world developments that can at times make life appear very grim. However, it's important while we have the resting periods, to note the good moments; because things certainly could be a lot worse. So make time for those that are dear and relish every second spent with such ones! Here's a little glimpse of some of my treasured moments for now. Thanks for reading always - happy Friday!
 
{A drive from Vegas to Los Angeles...}
 
{A very windy sunny day in Santa Monica}
 
{A Beverly Hills house that almost made the cut...}

{Dinner at BOA: one of the best steak houses in Santa Monica}
 
{Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica..from left to right: Sweet Kumamoto oysters with a glass of Moscato D'Asti, Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese, Lobster roll - this is an amazing oyster place - a must go to}
  
 
 

4.17.2013

Fuji Apple And Cucumber Salad

 
Now that we’re on the cusp of warmer days, I'm starting to crave all those colorful light fresh dishes that require little time in the kitchen. This salad couldn't be any more simple.  It is light on the tummy and visually sensational which in my book is always a plus. It's perfect to pack for summer picnics, a day at the beach, or any other outdoor event.



Ingredients

2 fresh Fuji apples (I used Granny apples in mine)
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes (for color...optional)
1 tbsp. sesame seeds (toasted)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger (see my tip here)
Dash of pepper (1/8 tsp)
Salt


Directions

- Put sesame seeds in a small skillet and lightly toast over medium heat, stirring often to avoid burning for about 3minutes; set aside.

- Combine EVOO, vinegar, sesame oil and ginger in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and a little dash of pepper.

- Quarter and core apples and cut into thin slices. Add them to the dressing with cucumber slices. Toss gently to evenly mix. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for a least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours before serving, stirring once.

- To serve, arrange the salad on plates, drizzling a bit of the dressing over the salads. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top.


TIP: You can also make the dressing in a tight lid jar, (or these cuties) for later use as I did here.



 

4.16.2013

Praying For You Boston

"The eyes of God are toward the righteous ones, and his ears are toward their cry for help." - Psalms 34:15

Sadly today's post is on the somber side. Being away on business and going in and out of meetings all day yesterday left me with no time for contact with the outside world until I quickly took a glance at my twitter account for a light read and distraction while in between appointments and was shocked at the tragic news event that was happening in Boston. These cruel acts unfortunately seem to have become daily occurrences. My heart is always saddened seeing the horrific scenes of such needless atrocities which for some of us always reminds us of 9/11. Just know these strife will not last forever.

As human beings we often feel the need to be comforted, especially in cases like this when we're experiencing difficult situations. Most often family members and friends can usually give us a degree of comfort. At times, however, extreme conditions like this may cause us to call for help from a much higher power for guidance. In the meantime, what each of us can do as individuals besides of course praying for the victims and their families is to make sure to rid ourselves of any hatred, intolerance, ignorance and bigotry. Instead let's practice kindness and neighborliness to ordinary people from day to day. As humans we ALL have the potential for being compassionate and kind instead of being cruel. And remember evil will not last forever.


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4.14.2013

Classic: Black & White

Leather jacket (Old. Seen here + similar here), Topshop lace peplum top (seen recently here), White skinny jeans (similar here), MIA studded wedges (seen here), Franco Sarto sunglasses (similar here), Black clutch (similar here, I'm also craving this one)

I couldn't be any happier with this year's black and white trend! It means that my wardrobe will be on point this season. Black and white has been my uniform since early teens, translating into a closet that consists of mostly those colors (It must be the New Yorker in me, other than the fact that it's classic). So putting this outfit together for an early spring BBQ party was a no brainer. Pairing these white skinny jeans with the black lace peplum top and leather jacket added texture, edge and dimension to an otherwise classic casual look for a day out. Also I used a touch of red lipstick for a subtle pop of color.