Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer leather

Leather in the summer is not ideal, especially when the weather turns sticky.  Nothing seems less pleasant that wearing something that's not breathable, trapping in all that heat.  But when the weather turns a bit cooler in the evening, a sleeveless light-colored leather top seems appropriate, especially when paired with a light, feminine skirt.

I wore this outfit out on a double date at RivaBella, an absolutely gorgeous outdoor space in West Hollywood with tall wooden rafters, hanging lanterns, and trees in planters.  Food was delicious too, especially their octopus carpaccio special and the uni linguine.  You can't beat perfectly al dente pasta smothered in uni!

Leather sleeveless top: Patterson J Kincaid from Shopaholic Sample Sales.  Skirt: Zara, from their summer sale.  Gray suede pumps: Kathryn Amberleigh (gray snakeskin version here).  Gold belt: J.Crew (similar here).  Clutch: Banana Republic.  Bracelets: Gift from mom, Vita Fede, Anthropologie.  Earrings: Forever21.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Floral Shorts & Paris Part One

Our first full day in Paris, Mr. J deemed it the "day of death."  He wanted to explore Notre Dame and its underground crypt, the Pantheon, and the Catacombs. It was sweltering hot so I wore my favorite shorts from last summer -- a surprising find from Zara kids.

The Notre Dame crypt turned out to be closed on Mondays so we toured the cathedral and the towers instead.  We then headed across the Seine, passed La Sorbonne and turned left until we reached the Pantheon.  Exploring the Latin Quarter, where so many great minds once roamed, was amazing beyond words. I particularly enjoyed viewing the tomb of Marie Curie.  After the Pantheon, we were done with death and decided to skip the Catacombs and instead, enjoyed a lazy afternoon in the Jardin du Luxembourg.  Mr. J and I feasted on les baguettes avec le jambon et les fromages as well as a chilled bouteille de vin blanc.  The sun was beating down on us so we, along with the rest of the city, hid under the shade of the beautifully manicured trees.

Striped t-shirt: BCBG Max Azria (old). Floral shorts: Zara kids (old) (similar here). Patent belt: J. Crew. Sandals: Zara (old). Sunglasses: Fendi. Amethyst studs: Tiffany's (generous graduation gift from my bosses). Purse: Mulberry 'Alexa'

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Throw-On Summer Dress


When the temperature heats up, it's nice to have a go-to dress that you can simply throw on and be out the door in a few minutes.  This dress is perfect because it's not at all constricting with its swingy skirt and breathable fabric.  I often wear flat sandals with this dress, but I decided to jazz it up a bit with some gold lace up wedges from Rachel Comey.  I love my stiletto heels and all, but wedges are awesome since you get the extra height with some added stability.

Dress: Lucca Couture (gift from my bff!).  Gold lace-up wedges: Rachel Comey.  Handbag: Torula Bags.  Bracelets: J.Crew, random from Korea and Peru, and Olivia Welles.  Sunglasses: Chloe.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Work Outfit Series: Under My White Coat #4

This post draws on the previous three "Under My White Coat" posts featuring bright colored pants, bold print, and a statement necklace!  This is one of those outfits that I probably wouldn't wear to work if I didn't have a white coat covering it, fearing that the pants are too loud and casual for the work place.  But under my white coat, these patterned pants add just the right amount of fun and color to brighten up my day.

I don't normally shop in the kids' section but purchased these pants on sale after seeing Jean's great review.  The fit is better than most adult-sized pants on me (once you adjust the waist) and I was impressed with the quality of the material and construction.

Box-pleat blouse: Loft.  Apple-print cropped pants: J. Crew Crewcuts (similar in solid colors here). 
Neon ribbon gold chain necklace: Forever 21. Tan leather wedges: Tory Burch (similar here). 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Spicy Coconut Mussels with Lemongrass

One of the perks of living in the same apartment complex as your best friend is that you always have a cooking partner.  We have enjoyed playing chef and sous chef to one another for the last two years and will miss our time in the kitchen together.  For one of our last home-cooked meals, we decided to try our hand at mussels after enjoying a delicious coconut curry version at Hinoki & the Bird.  While the mussels are tasty, the best part is the flavorful broth -- either drinking it straight from a spoon or sopping it up with some thick crusty bread.

Spicy Coconut Mussels with Lemongrass
(adapted from this recipe)

2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks of lemon grass, trimmed and finely chopped
1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
1 12.8 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
2 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed and rinsed well
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 cup whole cilantro leaves
1 loaf of crusty french bread, cut into thick slice
Olive oil to drizzle
Pinch of salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot with lid until hot.  Cook the shallot, lemon grass, pepper, and garlic over medium heat until soft, be sure to add garlic last to avoid burning.  Add coconut milk and mussels.  Cover with lid and cook until mussels open, 5-7 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a large bowl, leaving the liquid in the pot.  Stir in lemon zest, juice, fish sauce, and cilantro.  Remove from heat and pour over mussels.

While mussels are cooking, turn the oven to broil.  Place bread slices on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Broil until just golden.

Serve in a large communal bowl or in individual bowls.  Dig in and don't forget to have a piece of bread handy to soak up the sauce!  Pairs well with a crisp white wine or cold glass of Belgian-style beer.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Casual in Vegas

This was an easy travel outfit, perfect for some window shopping.  Normally I hit up the outlets whenever I go to Vegas, but with the 110+ degree weather, an outdoor outlet mall was just simply out of the question.  Instead, we strolled around in the air-conditioned comfort of both the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace and Fashion Show Mall (I love how they have Topshop!).  I made no big purchases this trip, but picked up a couple fun, inexpensive items that were on sale.  

On a side note, I was super excited when I saw a Joe's Stone Crab restaurant in the Forum Shops.  It was one of my favorite restaurants when Dr. S and I visited Miami a couple years ago.  We stopped in for lunch, and had some deliciously juicy crab claws dipped in their irresistible sweet mustard sauce.  I highly recommend it!

Cashmere tank: Neiman Marcus (similar here).  Floral skirt: Joie 'Sisily skirt'.  Gold heeled sandals: Sam Edelman 'Trina'.  Handbag: Torula Bags.  Bracelets: Vita Fede and Anthropologie.  Sunglasses: STUNglasses.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Work Outfit Series: Under My White Coat #3

So far in this series, we've talked about wearing bright colors and bold prints under your white coat to jazz up your hospital wear.  Today, we're focusing on jewelry...specifically the statement necklace.  I can't tell you how many compliments I got when I wore this necklace to work.  The little bit of bling really shines under the big shapeless white coat.

I usually keep my jewelry pretty simple.  Even with the statement necklace, you'll always find a thinner, more simple chain or necklace around my neck.  I use this to hold my rings when I'm scrubbed in the OR.  I rarely wear bracelets, as they get in the way during physical exams, and are one more thing to lose when I'm changing in the OR locker room.  And lastly, I always wear earrings since a common phrase is "look straight ahead at my ear" when examining my patients at the slit lamp.  Therefore, I am always looking for embellished necklaces and fun earrings to add to my collection.

 White flutter sleeve blouse: H&M.  White tank: J. Crew 'Perfect-fit Tank'
Gold pencil skirt: Custom from Shanghai (props to Mr. J for making me a bunch of these on a business trip to China). 
Crystal and neon necklace: J. Crew Factory (similar here). Tan leather wedges: Tory Burch (similar here).

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blueberry Crumb Bars

The last time I saw my mom, she gave me a huuuuge container of blueberries from Costco.  Since it's only the two of us at home, it's hard to eat so many berries before they get spoiled.  These blueberry crumb bars were perfect dessert to bring to a girls' night potluck dinner with some coworkers.  They are full of fresh blueberry flavor with a sweetness that's not cloying.  The added lemon brings a bright flavor and counterpoint to the blueberries.  I just love blueberry and lemon together!  The crumbly buttery crust works as a topping too, making these super easy to throw together.  Plus, they are perfect at room temperature, but are also delicious served cold.  I had just a few leftover, enough to make for a quick breakfast with my coffee the next morning.

Blueberry Crumb Bars
From smittenkitchen.com (one of our favorite food blogs!) and adapted from AllRecipes.com
.  Yield: Cut into 18 rectangles
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. (This took an extra 10 to 15 minutes in my oven.) Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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