Sunday, August 26, 2012

True Food Kitchen

My parents came to visit me other day, so we went out to lunch in Santa Monica near the promenade. After mulling over potential restaurants, we chose True Food Kitchen, which is known for their healthy dishes and seasonal ingredients.


 I loved the modern interior and open, airy space



True Food Kitchen has a great selection of drinks, since they don't sell regular sodas like Coke. I had "The Natural," made of fresh ginger, agave, and soda.



Shirataki Noodles - green curry, snap pea, asparagus, oyster mushroom and cashew. This tasted great, although I wish it came with more noodles.



 They had these adorable herb gardens outside the restaurant. Great idea!



Have you tried out any new restaurants lately?

-Lauren


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Garlic Pasta with Chicken & Red Bell Pepper

Do you ever find yourself planning a meal around one ingredient? That happened to me the other day. Instead of giving up on the lone red bell pepper I had sitting in the fridge, I found a really delicious recipe that saved the day. Click here to view the full recipe.


 Garlic Butter Pasta with Chicken and Red Bell Pepper





I substituted the crab with chicken, used less butter, and didn't use pine nuts. The great thing about recipes is that there is (usually) room for adjustments. I loved the taste of the garlic butter sauce, and the red pepper was a great compliment to the overall flavor of the dish. I highly recommend!




Try using whole wheat pasta. It's healthier for you, and tastes just as good as regular pasta.




Do you have any tips/recipes for cooking with bell peppers?

-Lauren


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Central Coast Road Trip Part II

Sorry for the lack of posting - last week was really busy! As promised, here is the second part of my central coast road trip. Once we got to San Luis Obispo, we walked around downtown for a bit, which is really quaint and charming. We also checked out the Madonna Inn, a quirky hotel known for it's outrageous pink decor and crazy themed rooms.


View of the river that runs through downtown SLO



Downtown SLO



Outside the Madonna Inn. The kitschy architecture is unlike any hotel I've been to.



Inside the Madonna Inn. Loving the pink floral carpet...



There's a giant tree in the middle of the restaurant - pink explosion!



The central coast is also known for its countryside and open land. I love this shot.



Solvang, the Danish town. We had aebleskivers, Danish pancakes shaped like spheres. Delicious!


Overall, it was a nice little vacation. I think part of the fun is the drive itself, and seeing your home state through new eyes.

-Lauren



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Central Coast Road Trip Part I

I had last week off from work, which was the perfect amount of time to relax and fit in some fun activities into my schedule. I accomplished two things from my Summer Top 10 list - drove up the California coast, and took my very first yoga class (which was really fun!). My road trip consisted of many stops: Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, San Simeon, and Solvang. It's such a beautiful drive along the central coast, filled with wide open countryside right next to the ocean.

Here are some photos from Santa Barbara:


Perfect day at the beach



View of the wharf



We tried out this restaurant for lunch on the wharf, which has been featured on TV for its fresh seafood



Lobster pasta. So good.




Art vendors by the beach


I'll be posting the rest of my photos in a second post. Where's your favorite place to road trip to?

-Lauren

Monday, July 30, 2012

Inspired Design

I'm a huge fan of modern decor and bright color (think Jonathan Adler), but I also appreciate simple, clean lines and more natural, earthy tones. It's a very sophisticated look for any home. I came across this beautiful house in New York on Architectural Digest's website, which is home to film director Shawn Levy.


(image via - Photography by William Waldron)


You can create a similar look using leather upholstery, wood accents, and neutral colors. Add fresh cut flowers as a finishing touch.

 Collage using Polyvore



 -Lauren

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pork with Orange-Bourbon Sauce

I like to cook with a variety of ingredients, but for some reason I always forget about pork. I just tend to gravitate towards meats like chicken and fish. This weekend, I decided to switch things up and cook with pork for dinner. I followed the pork with orange-bourbon sauce recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Simple Suppers book. It was really easy to follow, and most importantly tasted great.



Ingredients (Two servings):

-4 boneless pork cutlets (thin sliced)
-Salt and pepper
-1 tablespoon of thyme (fresh or dry)
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1 small red onion, thinly sliced
-1/3 cup (80 ml) orange juice
-2 tablespoons Bourbon, or Madeira

Steps:

1. Get your ingredients prepared. Start by peeling and cutting the onion into thin slices. Season pork generously with salt, pepper, and thyme.


2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.
3. Add the pork to pan and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and barely pink in the middle (Took me about 6 minutes total). Transfer meat to a plate.
4. Add the onion to the pan and saute over medium heat for about 4 minutes. 
5. Next, add the orange juice and bourbon to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally for 1 minute.


6. Return the meat to the pan, cover, and cook for another minute.
7. Let meat rest on a cutting board for 2 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


What ingredients do you like to cook with?

-Lauren

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Breakfast at the Beach

Santa Monica is one of my favorite cities within Los Angeles. Not only is it beautiful, but it's very walkable (rare for a city where everyone uses cars).


 One of the many rows of palm trees in Santa Monica


My boyfriend and I were walking around the area when we stumbled upon a restaurant called Le Pain Quotidien. I had eaten there in May when I was in NYC, so it was exciting to find a location here.

We stopped in for brunch, and it was amazing! I had whole wheat french toast with fresh strawberries and agave syrup. They used a fresh baguette and all I can say is it was DELICIOUS! I recommend eating there if you have a location near you.




What's one of your favorite breakfast spots?

-Lauren

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer Style

I love summer - the weather is great, it's the perfect time to go on a vacation, and there are lots of events to check out around town. However, it can be challenging to pick out an outfit since it's so warm outside. How do you dress lightly yet still look appropriate for the occasion at hand?




Tired of wearing jean shorts? Try a more polished look like these Juicy Couture bright orange shorts. Pair something bright with a more subdued color like this silk grey top. You can take this outfit from day to night with black pumps and a fun necklace.

What's your go-to summer look?

-Lauren

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An Outing in Orange

I love visiting Old Towne Orange. It's a small historical district located within the city of Orange. When you walk through the streets, it feels like you've been transported back in time to the 1950's. The buildings have been preserved really well, which gives the shops and restaurants a charming feel. There are also tons of antique stores, adding to the old time feel. Even though our definition of  "old" doesn't go that far back, it's still a nice little snapshot back in time.


The circle in the heart of Old Towne. I love that there are actual orange trees there.



A view down one of the streets 



I stumbled upon this old school soda fountain inside a drug store



One of the many unique restaurants in the area



Even the Starbucks sign is cute



 The Bruery Provisions sells specialty beer, wine and cheese. You can find pretty much anything here.


What cities/towns do you like to visit?

-Lauren

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Quick & Easy Pasta

Yesterday, I celebrated the 4th of July with friends and got to watch firework shows across Los Angeles from the rooftop. It was a great view! Before I went out, I made this quick pasta and mushroom dish for lunch. It's super easy to make and tastes great. You can also add a protein like chicken or shrimp to the dish.



Ingredients (Makes 2 servings):

-2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-1 package of baby bella mushrooms
-2 servings of linguini
-Parsley (optional)
-Parmesan (optional)

Steps:

1. Wash and pat dry mushrooms. Trim off the stems and slice mushrooms evenly.
2. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat.
3. Once the butter is melted, add in mushrooms. Next, add a swig of EVOO.
4. Make sure to stir around mushrooms frequently so that they cook evenly. Sauté for 10 minutes. The mushrooms will start to shrink and become darker. The mushroom "juice" will begin to combine with the butter and EVOO, creating a nice sauce.
5. Plan ahead so that your pasta finishes cooking by the time the mushrooms are finished.
6. Combine pasta with mushrooms. If desired, finish off with some Parmesan and parsley.


Enjoy!

-Lauren

Monday, July 2, 2012

Food Finds

Can you believe it's already July?! I feel like time is flying by. I'm excited to have the day off for 4th of July and celebrate the holiday with friends. Hopefully the weather continues to stay sunny and nice. This past weekend I got to see some friends who were in town from New York, which is always nice. We went to Primitivo Wine Bistro in Venice, located on Abbot Kinney Blvd. I've passed by it many times, but it was my first time eating there.


We sat outside on the patio, which had a really nice, charming feel to it. There was even a community garden behind our table.


 They had these really cute chandeliers hanging all over the place.



I was tempted to doodle on the paper table cover...



I had tempura Mexican white shrimp and shiitake mushrooms, kung pao, peanuts and spring onion. Super filling but SO good!


Have you tried out any new restaurants lately?


-Lauren

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Home Improvement

Decorating your home can be time consuming and expensive. I usually find myself adding one new piece at a time, or slowly improving a corner of my apartment that needs some TLC.

I recently purchased this lamp from Cost Plus World Market, of all places. You can mix and match their shades and stands, which is really convenient.




 I thought the owl was cute :)







I bought this kitschy antique dish last summer, but never quite knew what to do with it. Then it hit me - this would be a great place to put my frequently worn jewelry. Now it's neatly organized in one place.



 Have you made any home improvements lately?

-Lauren

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Beach Town Living

This past Saturday, I spent the day in Venice and Santa Monica. It's been so nice and sunny here in Southern California, so it was the perfect weekend to spend outside. Venice is such a unique mix of people and places. It's unlike anywhere else in Los Angeles. Santa Monica, which is right next to Venice, is such a beautiful beach town. I love walking along the ocean, and spending time at the Third Street Promenade. Check out some pictures from my weekend:


The Venice boardwalk. There is never a dull moment here!



One of the street bands performing



View of the ocean in Santa Monica



Main Street in Santa Monica. Great shops and restaurants.


What did you do this weekend?

-Lauren

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Top 10 List

Today is the first day of summer, which I'm so excited about. I usually don't make "things I must do" types of lists, but this year I'm feeling inspired. It's my goal to do most, if not all, of the things on this list before fall comes along. Here are my top 10, in no particular order:


10. Go see a concert at the Hollywood bowl. This is an amazing outdoor concert venue. You can see pretty much any performance here.


(image via)

 9. Go to more farmers markets in L.A. You can't beat fresh produce and food stands.

8. Figure out what to do with this wall in my apartment. It's so sad looking!


7. Take a yoga class. I've never taken one before, surprisingly.

6. Do a D.I.Y. project from Pinterest, like these mason jar labels

5. Eat more fruits and veggies. I'm starting to discover how much I love raspberries (how did I avoid them for so long?!)


4. Take a road trip to Santa Barbara. It's a beautiful town along the central California coast.

3. Start practicing guitar again. I've been playing on and off since I was 16, but haven't played much this year.

2. Watch the HBO series Game of Thrones. I've only seen one episode, but it kept me hooked.

1. Bake these tiramisu cupcakes that I posted a while back on my blog. I'm getting hungry just looking at them.



What's on your summer to-do list?

-Lauren

 
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