Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Smiles

I hope you're having a beautiful weekend. In case you missed them, here are some links from around the web this week that made me smile...

"Hey, hey, hey, hey!" (hint: blast from the past).

Great interview with one of my favorite bloggers.

Watch this video to be inspired (and maybe depressed) about a current global statistic.

Pumpkin cream cheese for the fall.

Classy winter style.

Someday.

Photo via.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Utah Mountains Majesty



I'm flying to Utah today and hoping to see some beautiful fall colors in the majestic mountains. It's funny. I lived in Utah for four years but never fully appreciated the beauty of the state until after I left. I'm hoping to soak it in this weekend.

Au revoir!

Photos by Lauren Jackson

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hearty Chicken Quinoa Soup


Sometimes, the easiest way to eat healthy foods is to blend them all together in a soup. I've just recently started cooking with quinoa and I'm getting used to it's soft, curly texture. I've found that it cooks very fast (almost as fast as couscous) so it's great to have on hand for last-minute meal preparations. Back to the star of this post, the soup. It's delicious and easy and the perfect way to kickstart your hearty fall cooking.

Hearty Chicken Quinoa Soup
Yield: about 8 servings
Total Time: about 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
4 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 tablespoons pre-minced garlic)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chicken broth, divided
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 bay leaf
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with juices
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and garlic to the pot and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until onions and carrot are tender. Add quinoa, 2 cups chicken broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked.

Once quinoa is cooked, add chicken, black beans, diced tomatoes with juices, tomato paste, oregano, rosemary and remaining 2 cups chicken broth. Let simmer about 5 minutes, until all ingredients are heated through and ingredients are melded together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parmesan cheese.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wanderlust: The Pacific Northwest








Lately, I've been dreaming of the Pacific Northwest. I think it's my desire to cozy up in a big warm sweater and drink a hot beverage while I listen to rain drizzle outside. Instead, I'm here in Los Angeles where summer doesn't actually get started until July and tends to last well into October. Most days, I'm thrilled by the perfect beach weather, but staring at endless pictures of green, green, and more green makes me want to grab a pair of Hunter rain boots, hop on the next plane to Seattle, and frolic through the beautiful forests of the Pacific Northwest.

Click each photo to view the source.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dear Prudence

Monrow Scoop Neck Top - $98.00
Spot On Blouse - $38.00
Citizens of Humanity Avedon Luxury Corduroy Skinny Pants - $198.00
Pam Breeze-ly Tunic in Black and White - $34.99
Verona Knit - $39.00
Lovers and Friends Pretty Hearts Skirt - $148.00
In Living Monochrome Blazer - $79.99
Cashmere Hooded Longline Sweater - $198.00
Swish and Spin Skirt in Green - $42.99

There's a new aggregated shopping site in town. It's called Dear Prudence. Perhaps you've noticed that I tend to dress fairly modest. I don't believe in showing too much skin, mainly because I believe women should be noticed and respected for how they act, speak and work not by how "hot" they are. Which brings me to Dear Prudence. Dear Prudence is a shopping site that selects modest clothing styles from various shopping sites online and consolidates them all into one place. This is a great tool for those looking for stylish, modest clothing online. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Caramelized Onion Gruyere Quiche



I always had this thought that quiches were filled with tons of eggs, like 8 of them. I'm not sure if this is true for all quiches, but it turns out you can make an extremely delicious one using only 2 eggs. 2 of them! I think the best part about a quiche is you can pretty much fill it with whatever you want. Don't like onions? Leave them out. Want some more protein in your breakfast? Add bacon. I'm the type of person who always likes to be trying new thing so I'm excited to make this quiche (with slight variations) over and over again.

Broccoli Gruyere Quiche
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: one large quiche (about 8 servings)
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Baking Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: about 1 hour 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

homemade savory tart shell
1 small head of broccoli or cauliflower
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
2 large eggs
1 7-8 oz. container mascarpone cheese (I substituted sour cream)
1/2 cup whipping cream (I used milk)
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Begin  by caramelizing the onions. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until the onions are a deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. While the onions are cooking, prepare the broccoli or cauliflower. Cut into individual florets and toss with two tablespoons olive oil. Spread on a foil-covered baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes in the 425-degree oven or until slightly browned and tender. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 350 degrees.

Press your tart shell dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Use a spoon or brush to spread the bottom of the crust with dijon mustard. Spread onion over the crust and top with roasted broccoli or cailiflower. Whisk eggs, mascarpone cheese (or sour cream), cream (or milk) and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in grated gruyere cheese. Pour mixture over filling in tart pan and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake until tart is golden and center is set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wanderlust: Puerto Rico





I've had Puerto Rico on my mind lately. I can't explain why. Maybe it's the slammin' good deals Travelzoo keeps sending me for this sandy locale. As a former volleyball player, I seem to hear Puerto Rico come up a lot in conversation, mainly because it's pretty common for American volleyball players to play professionally in Puerto Rico. It always sounded like such a good gig to me: poolside in the morning, volleyball in the afternoon, beach in the evening. While I think it's safe to say I won't be playing pro volleyball in PR any time soon, I'd love to visit there and walk around Old Town San Juan, eat some amazing fresh produce and, yes, take a dip (or two or three or four) in the warm Caribbean Sea.

Click on each image to view the source.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Invisible Hand


Pants: William Rast for Target, Shirt: Gap, Shoes: Gazith, Bag: H&M, Watch: Nixon

The New York Times published a fascinating read last week on street fashion and how professional blogging has transformed street style from a pure, commerce-free expression of self to a marketing-based platform for fashion labels to advertise their goods.

A while back, my economist-minded husband taught me about the self-regulating nature of the marketplace. This concept is also known as the Invisible Hand. Essentially, this is the idea that most people will act in their own economic self-interest (i.e., if they can make more money, they will) and while this may seem selfish, greedy and inconsiderate, it is actually this individual ambition which drives change, breeds progression and ultimately benefits society. It seems a strange and sometimes insincere thing that many bloggers receive compensation for wearing certain labels and promoting them on their blogs (read: getting paid to shop). But then, maybe this behavior is only adding to the progression and change that makes our culture so amazing and so great. Does your brain hurt?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Savory Tart Shell


It wasn't long ago that I first christened my new tart pan. Let me tell you, this tool is just a beautiful thing. It makes beautiful and delicious food. I've always loved quiche, since I was a little girl, so it seemed pretty eventful the other day when I decided to finally tackle making my first-ever quiche from scratch. While it may seem like a daunting task, if you break up the tart shell from the filling, it is actually quite easy. Below is a great recipe for a strong and luscious savory tart shell.

Savory Tart Shell
From Smitten Kitchen
Yield: one large tart shell
Prep Time: about 15 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter, chopped
1 egg

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two forks and combine until butter is in very tiny bits. Add one egg and mix with a fork until dough forms. If this does not happen easily, take your (clean) hands, stick them in the bowl and knead the dough a little until dough is one cohesive ball.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle and transfer to a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan. Press down to remove any air bubbles. (Alternately, you may skip the rolling pin and simply press the dough down to the tart pan using your fingers.) Crimp the edges and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Proceed with the filling of your choice.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Smiles

One of the perks of being an adult and having a full-time, year-round job is that summer doesn't necessarily end in August "when school starts". As long as the weather is still nice, weekends can be just as enjoyable in September as they were in July. In my city, the weather seems to stay warm and gorgeous until October. So, wherever you are, I hope you can enjoy the outdoors this weekend.

(P.S. How cute is this picture of "three little bears"?!)

In case you missed them, here are some links from around the web that made me smile this week.

Pools and beaches from above (super cool!)

Kids with serious dance moves.

Infographic supporting the importance of breakfast.

Amazingly shot fireworks.

An awesome new way to be inspired by the internet.

Photo via

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wanderlust: Santorini, Greece









Did you know that the official name of Santorini is actually Thera? Like most of people, I've lusted over Greece and especially the Greek Isles for a long time. Santorini (it's just more fun to say than Thera) is situated in the southern Aegean Sea, about 120 miles southeast from Greece's mainland. Like many islands (read Hawaii), it's beautiful existence is the result of severe volcanic explosions thousands of years ago. Now, a quiet vacation destination that attracts tourists wanting a relaxing, indulgent break from big cities, Santorini looks and sounds (and probably tastes) just dreamy.

Click on each photo to view the source.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Be / Look



Shirt: Caslon, Pants: adidas, Sandals: Steve Madden, Sunglasses: Jee Vice

When I was a kid, I used to dream about becoming a fashion designer and attending New York Fashion Week. Now, I wonder what life would be like if I had taken that route--a life consumed by clothes. I still believe in the power of clothes to build a woman's confidence and help her express her personality, but I don't agree that you need a million-dollar wardrobe to do this. And you definitely don't need to spend your time wishing for more and more stuff.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend last weekend about how freeing it can be to remove thoughts of want from your mind. There are so many more important things in your life. I love the fashion industry for the innovation and fun it creates, but it seems that, all too often, women concerned by style get distracted by looking the part and easily forget about being the person they are trying so hard to look like. In my opinion, it's far more important to be a cool, confident, organized, happy woman than it is to look like one. The funny thing about this whole thought is that the more you become the person you want to be, the better you will look because you will have more confidence. (And we all know that confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear.)