Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Getaway

This weekend, I visited San Juan Capistrano, down in Orange County, California. This quaint little town is one of my favorite places to visit. Home to one of the 21 California missions, downtown SJC is like stepping back into time. My boyfriend and I toured the mission (it was his first time there), had a delicious lunch in Los Rios District, and walked around the neighborhood a bit.

Beautiful view inside the mission

The mission bells

If you're in the area, I highly recommend having brunch at The Ramos House. I had the mac n' cheese with wild mushrooms and truffle oil, and the coffee cake. They were both amazing! The outdoor patio is also very charming. Perfect when the weather is nice.

So many pretty flowers in the area

Los Rios District, the oldest neighborhood in California

Have you been to SJC before? What did you think?


Friday, April 27, 2012

Dinner in a Pinch

It's feels like I'm always on the run. Juggling work, social events, and hobbies can leave very little time for cooking at home. I've been on a mission to create dishes that require minimal prep and cook time, and that actually taste good. I tried out a soba noodle and vegetable dish for the first time the other day. It was basically a trial and error process since I didn't use a recipe, but it turned out well!

Tired of cooking pasta? Japanese soba noodles are a great alternative, and can be served chilled or in hot broth as soup. They also contain beneficial antioxidants and all eight essential amino acids.

 Soba Noodles with Vegetables - The finished product

The great thing about this dish is that there are no real "rules" to follow. You can add or take out ingredients as you wish. As long as you have the noodles, you're good to go.

Ingredients (creates 1 large serving):

- 1/2 package of 100% buckwheat soba noodles (can be found at most grocery stores)
- Frozen vegetable medley of your choice*

*I used 1/2 a bag of Trader Joe's Asian Vegetables with Beijing Style Soy Sauce, and ditched sauce packet. If you're feeling adventurous, rinse, pat dry, and chop fresh vegetables. Carrots, green beans, mushrooms, baby corn, broccoli and bell peppers all work well for this dish.

Sauce Mixture (for 1 serving):

- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili oil (caution: this came out spicy so cut back if you want it more mild!)
- 1 clove of garlic (I like to use Dorot fresh frozen garlic)


1. Start by boiling water in a large pot, and mixing the sauce ingredients together in a bowl
2. Next, dump soba noodles into pot and follow package cooking instructions
3. While soba noodles cook, bring a skillet to medium high heat. Coat skillet with olive oil spray and place veggies in pan. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes or until tender. Add sauce mixture to veggies a few minutes in, making sure to stir thoroughly.

4. Once noodles finish cooking, immediately drain and rinse noodles with cold water.
5. Combine veggies with noodles, and enjoy!

Have you tried soba noodles before? What did you think?


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Jeweled Affair

 I stumbled upon this jeweled brooch the other day. I had pinned it to the side of my dress for a school dance years ago. This unexpected find in my jewelery box then sparked an idea - what about hair brooches? Hair accessories are a stylish throwback to bygone eras like the 1930s, and are an easy way to update any hairstyle.

Hair jewels go perfectly with vintage hairstyles
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A softer, more modern approach
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Try a jeweled hairband like Nicole Richie
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Etsy is a great website to find all types of hair accessories. If you already have something at home, try this D.I.Y. trick: Hot glue a brooch to a plain headband (but remove the pin first!).

Have you tried this hair trend before?


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fresh Approach to Flowers

I love Spring. It's such a beautiful season. The first thing that comes to mind are all of the fresh flowers, especially tulips (my all-time favorite). You don't even have to splurge - you can grab a great bouquet at the supermarket for less than 10 bucks.

An instant fix to the empty corner in my kitchen

Flowers are a quick and simple way to brighten up the home, but the standard vase can become a bit boring. With a little creativity and inspiration, you can use everyday items and a little D.I.Y time to come up with a fresh approach to flowers.

Hanging flowers become living art

Colorful mason jars
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A brand new way to use ceramic milk jugs
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 Do you have any tips and tricks for displaying flowers?


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Restaurant Roundup

It's easy to gripe about the ridiculous traffic in Los Angeles, but there is definitely one thing you can't complain about: the food. This city caters to every type of cuisine you can think of, and then some. Last week, I was able to eat at a couple restaurants I had been wanting to try out. Read on for my reviews!

After reading the great reviews online and learning this place was featured on Food Network, I had to try out Gloria's Cafe. Located in Culver City, this neighborhood restaurant serves up Salvadorian and Mexican dishes. The dining area evokes feelings of being outside in a Central American country, with bright colors and paintings on the wall. I ordered the house special pescado, which came with rice, tilapia topped off with homemade garlic sauce, lettuce and diced tomatoes (I opted out of the beans). I was slightly disappointed with the rice, which was a bit bland. The fish was really flavorful - but be prepared - they don't lie about the garlic!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I have driven past FOOD many times, and was dying to try it out. This casual dining spot has a very open, modern feel - part restaurant, part market. They serve breakfast all day, and healthy lunch options. The dining "system" wasn't very intuitive (you have to order before you can claim a seat), but once we got our table, things went smoothly from there. I ordered the Thai grilled steak salad, accented with cucumbers and peanuts. I'm not a huge salad fan, but this is one of the best salads I've ever had. Definitely recommend!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Which restaurants are you wanting to try out?


Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Day at the Museum

Yesterday, I took a trip to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). I had never been before, so it was exciting to finally visit a place I've heard so much about. My favorite part was the California Design exhibition. It featured all types of design - fashion, architecture, furniture, etc. - from 1930 to 1965. These are my favorite decades in terms of style, so it was really interesting to see it firsthand and learn about how it shaped modern culture.

 Entrance to the exhibit (love the Airstream Trailer)

 Furniture on display

 Love this photo - I want all that art for my apartment!

What's your favorite type of design?


Monday, April 9, 2012

Wardrobe Wake-Up

I am guilty of staring at my closet in the morning and feeling like I have nothing to wear. Unless you are a fashion genius, it can be overwhelming and stressful coming up with new outfits time and time again. One simple solution (which I need to utilize more often!) is looking to other women for fashion inspiration. Spend an afternoon looking up your favorite looks, and try to recreate them at home. My tip: splurge on key pieces like well made jeans, and create outfits around them with less expensive items.

Take these Paige jeans, seen on celebrities like Olivia Palermo and Minka Kelly.

(photo via)

Once you have the pants, you can recreate these celebrity looks with more affordable pieces.

See, that wasn't too hard!

What's your source of fashion inspiration?


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dining L.A.

I've been living in L.A. for quite some time now, but there are so many places I still need to visit. My goal is to create a list of all the landmarks, restaurants, and attractions that I want to see within the next year. Of course, food is on the top of the can you resist all of the eateries this city has to offer? Take a look of some of the restaurants that are high priority:

A-Frame in Culver City

 (photo via)

I found out about A-Frame on the Food Network Show The Best Thing I Ever Ate. One of the chefs on the show was drooling about their "Cracklin Beer Can Chicken," which look absolutely delicious - just look at the picture above! The dish comes salsa roja and verde dipping sauces, too. Aside from the food, the restaurant is true to the name - it's located in a really cool A-Frame building.

Locanda Positano in Marina Del Rey

(photo via)

I've passed by this restaurant many times, and always make note of how cute this place is. It's located in a charming little building, perfectly suited for an intimate Italian restaurant. The pasta dishes look so delicious...looking at the menu is making me hungry!

The Fountain Coffee Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel

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The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of my favorite L.A. spots. It is so iconic, with its famous banana leaf wallpaper and pink decor. I've been wanting to check out The Fountain Coffee Room within the hotel. It's a casual dining spot, reminiscent of old soda fountains.

Do you have any restaurant recommendations?


Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Simple Touch

I'm thinking about doing a design makeover to my apartment. It's time to try something new with the place. I'm leaning towards a clean, modern look filled with natural wood accents, white linen and fresh flowers for a pop of color. Pinterest has been so helpful in pulling together my vision, and I think it's coming together nicely. Take a look at some of my inspirations:

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(image via- also includes DIY tutorial)

What would your dream apartment look like?


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