Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rediscovering My Closet

I'll admit it, I'm a bit of a clothes hoarder!  When I was in Thailand a couple years ago for my friend Dian's wedding, I purchased this colorful handbag at a night market.  Sadly this is only my second time wearing it out.  Same thing goes for my pleated skirt, which has been hanging barely worn for years.  It's fun to rediscover items in your closet, and even better when you can use multiple long-forgotten items in one outfit. 

Green silk shirt: Robert Rodriguez (similar here).  
Pleated black skirt: Zac Posen for Target (similar here).  
Collar necklace: Anthropologie (different color here).  
Patent bow belt: Jigsaw (similar here).  
Multicolor clutch: night market in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Polka dot tights: Gap.  
Black peep-toe booties: Jil Sander (similar here).

Monday, February 25, 2013

Date Night Neutrals

The pager was going off non-stop last weekend.  It was a storm of emergencies and disasters and there seemed to be no end in sight.  Fortunately, my black cloud of call finally cleared -- just in time for me to make it to a dinner date I had ambitiously planned with friends earlier in the week.  With only 30 minutes to get ready before the sun set, I rushed home and wrestled my hair into a sloppy up-do, slapped on some makeup, and threw together this outfit.  Sarah and I ran up to the rooftop to capture these shots before we lost daylight.

I love to wear color but when I'm in a hurry, blindly grabbing some neutral pieces from my closet usually results in a somewhat put-together outfit without requiring too much effort.

Dress: Theory. Blazer: Gibson (similar here and here). Purse: Chanel Medium Flap Bag. Suede ankle boots: Adrienne Vittadini. Earrings: gift from Mr. J. Necklace: old (purchased from here when I lived in Denver)

My favorite dish of the night at Laurel Hardware -- the butterscotch budino with granola.  Paired with some French press coffee and I was in heaven...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Oscar Party

When we think of the Oscars, we think of glitz, glamour, and gold.  Inspired by the iconic golden statue, we created a honey champagne cocktail to enjoy with a fig and ricotta crostini.  

For a bit of glitz, we dabbled in the glitter ombre nail trend.  Maintaining a manicure isn't always practical in our profession, but it's the weekend...and the Oscars...time to toss practicality out the door!

We have our fingers crossed for Argo as best picture...who are you rooting for?

Fig Ricotta Walnut Crostini
1 lb dried mission figs
1/2 c balsamic vinegar
1/2 c water
1 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 c + 2 tbsp sugar
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 c walnuts
Sea salt 
1 baguette

Making the fig jam
Roughly chop dried figs in half.  Place in a medium sized pot with balsamic vinegar, water, lemon juice, and 3/4 cup of sugar on medium to high heat.  Once simmering, reduce heat to low and cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and once cooled for about 10 minutes, roughly puree the fig jam mixture (we used a Magic Bullet).  Cool to room temperature and store in an air-tight container.  If making ahead, can refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Candying the walnuts
In a small non-stick saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of sugar, pinch of salt, and walnuts until sugar is dissolved and walnuts are golden brown.  Remove from heat and spread the walnuts out on aluminum foil to cool completely.

Assembling the crostini
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Slice baguette into 1/2 inch thick rounds.  Brush with olive oil and spread on baking sheet.  Toast in oven for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.  Spread fig jam on toasted baguette slices (if fig jam was refrigerated, you may need to warm it to make it slightly more spreadable).  Layer ricotta cheese over the fig jam.  Lightly sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Top with a candied walnut.

Lavender Honey Champagne Sparkler 
1/2 c honey
1/2 c water
1 tbsp dried lavender
1 bottle of dry champagne (or sparking wine, we used prosecco)

In a small saucepan, heat up honey, water, and dried lavender on medium heat until boiling.  Then remove from heat and strain out lavender.  Refrigerate syrup until ready to serve.  

Pour two teaspoons of lavender-infused honey syrup into a champagne flute.  Top off with champagneGarnish with dried lavender.  Cheers!    

Glitter ombre nails. Base color: Sephora by OPI I Need Space. Silver glitter by FACEit

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Purple Suede Shoes

I started scoping out thrift stores about a year ago when I was planning my best friend's bridal shower (I was looking for mismatching vintage tea cups for a whimsical tea party theme).  I became addicted, and I've now found art pieces, quiche pans, and serving platters for awesome prices.  I spotted these bright purple suede ankle strap babies in the back corner of a dusty case at a nearby thrift shop.  The size listed was a whole size smaller than my normal size, but they fit beautifully.  Lucky me!  

Silk floral tie-front shirt: Zara. Leopard print jeans: Current/Elliott 'The Stiletto'. Leather motorcycle jacket: S.W.O.R.D. Black and gold grommet belt: J.crew. Bracelet: Target. Purse/Gift from Dr. S: Chanel medium flap bag. Purple suede pumps: Christian Louboutin.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Black and Gold

We're still getting the hang of taking outfit pictures.  As novice photographers, we are learning about lighting, depth of focus, and all those fancy options on our Canon dSLRs.  As subjects, we are trying to get over feeling awkward and embarrassed in front of the lens -- don't know if that will ever go away.

Peplum sweater: Ann Taylor Loft. Brocade skinny jeans: Forever21 (similar here and here). Necklace and Bracelet: J. Crew. Shoes: YSL.

My favorite dish from our double date to Superba Snack Bar in Venice -- the cauliflower T-bone topped with orange & olive pistou and drizzled in a parsley puree.  Veggies never tasted so good!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Neon Reflections

While the northeast got several feet of snow last week, we enjoyed a sunny Saturday here in LA.  We spent the day shopping, enjoying a picnic by the beach with some college girlfriends, and going on a double date with Dr. S and Mr. J.  When you're working six days a week, you learn to maximize your free time.

Jacket: J.crew. Top: Madewell. Pants: AG Stevie. Flats: Madewell Calf Hair Sidewalk Skimmer. Necklaces: H&M and Forever21. Sunglasses: STUNglasses
Bag: Longchamp Le Pliage Cuir.

Our delicious lunch.  If you live in LA and you haven't had the Godmother from Bay Cities Deli yet...RUN...don't walk...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Furry Hearts

It's rare for us to both have a weekend day off at the same time.   So when our Saturday off coincided with the Decades shoe sale, we just couldn't pass up the opportunity to score some gently used designer shoes at a hugely discounted price.  These pictures were snapped after we left and I was definitely in a state of post-shopping bliss.

Winters in California are nothing compared to those brutal East Coast blizzards but it can still be a bit chilly in the mornings and when you're in the shade.  This faux fur vest was a favorite from last year -- great for layering under or over jackets or just on its own!

Vest: Zara kids. Shirt: Modcloth. Faux Leather Leggings: Zara. Flats: Tory Burch. Monkey necklace: gift from Mr. J. Bracelet: J. Crew. Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs. Bag: Mulberry Alexa. (super generous gift from my bffs Tony and Deb)

A little preview from our Decades shoe sale haul...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Give Your Valentine Some Whoopie

For Valentine's Day, we made Dr. S and Mr. J some red velvet whoopie pies.  Smooth vanilla cream cheese filling sandwiched between two fluffy chocolate-y cake-like cookies...this scrumptious treat screams "I love you!" 

Red Velvet Whoopie Pie Recipe
(adapted from this recipe)

1 ounce semisweet or milk chocolate (or a combination of the two), chopped
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar (we used regular white vinegar, but you can use apple cider vinegar too)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking bowder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper (or you can use a silicone mat).

Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50 percent power in 1 minute intervals, until melted.  Stir often and whisk until smooth.

Whisk the melted butter, sour cream, eggs, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring in a bowl until combined.  In another bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in four equal batches, mixing each batch completely before adding the next.  Stir in the melted chocolate.

Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheets and smooth the tops with a damp finger.  Bake until cookies spring back when lightly pressed, about 8-10 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer until smooth.  Beat in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla seeds.

Sandwich a heaping tablespoonful of filling between 2 cookies.  Try not to eat all whoopie pies in one sitting.

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