Friday, December 26, 2008

I Lied, I'm Sorry

I lied before. This is the last one, I swear. The last one before the 27th, when Mixwit shuts officially down. Hopefully these will work after that day, but no guarantees. I thought I'd shove as many as I could get in before I never could again. 

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

1. Etta James - At Last
2. Kings of Convenience - I Don't Know What I Can Save You From (Royksopp Remix)
3. Feist - Inside and Out
4. John Legend - P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care)
5. Lykke Li - Tonight
6. Kings of Convenience - Love Is No Big Truth
7. Bjork ft. Anthony Hegarty - Dull Flame of Desire
8. Rachael Yamagata - Be Be Your Love
9. Jens Lekman - A Postcard to Nina
10. Adele - Best for Last
11. Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love
12. Joshua Radin ft. Ingrid Michaelson - Sky
13. LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great
14. The Postal Service - Nothing Better
15. Broken Social Scene - Stars and Sons
16. Band of Horses - Detlef Schrempf
17. Mates of State - My Only Offer
18. Lavender Diamond - Open Your Heart
19. Feist - How My Heart Behaves
20. Sade - By Your Side
21. Frente! - Bizarre Love Triangle
22. New Buffalo - I've Got You and You've Got Me

My Sister's Famous Bread Pudding

For all of our family get togethers, my sister has established a tradition. That tradition is Banana Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding. It's simple, easy, moist, and delicious. I love it especially for the fact that it's not overloaded with sugar. Most desserts these days overkill the sweet factor but this one has it just right. 

Bread Pudding with Chocolate Chunks and Bananas
(adapted from Zov: Recipes and Favorites from the Heart)
Yields: Enough for 15 - 20

3 tbsn. unsalted butter
3 medium bananas, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup sugar
8 large eggs
1 tbsn. vanilla extract
6 oz. of coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 lbs. of coarsely chopped challah, hawaiian bread, or croissants 
powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 13x9x2 baking dish with 1 tbsn. butter. Melt the remaining 2 tbsn. of butter in a small skillet. Add the bananas and toss to coat. Using a fork, mash the bananas, set aside to cool. 

Whisk the cream, milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Fold in the mashed bananas and chocolate. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat. Let mixture stand for 25 minutes, tossing occasionally. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and spread evenly. Bake until center is set and the top is golden brown, about 35 - 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Cut, sprinkle with the powdered sugar, serve, and enjoy!

* Also great with vanilla ice cream or vanilla sauce!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Last One

This may be my last, and definitely my most treasured mixtape. Mixwit was an easy way to jumble all of my random tunes into semi-organized categories that were easily accessible and pretty to look at, and I will sure miss it. But alas life goes on as it always does. A special mixtape as a gift to all my special people for this Christmas!

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

1. Nujabes - Kumomi
2. Common - Be
3. Nujabes ft. Fat Jon - Aurarian Dance
4. Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton - Our Hell
5. Nujabes - Summer Gypsy
6. The Cinematic Orchestra - Exit Music (For a Film)
7. Nujabes - Feather
8. The Twilight Sad - Cold Days from the Birdhouse
9. Nujabes - Blessing It (Remix) ft. Substantial & Pace Rock from Five Deez
10. Adele - Chasing Pavements
11. Nujabes - Lady Brown ft. Cise Starr from CYNE
12. Royksopp - Poor Leno
13. Nujabes - Reflection Eternal
14. Greg Laswell - Come and Goes (In Waves)
15. Nujabes - A Day by Atmosphere Supreme
16. Thievery Corporation - Omid (Hope)

The Selby

Definitely loving The Selby right now. From the website, "The selby features intersting photographs, paintings, and videos by Todd Selby of interesting people and their creative spaces."

Especially love the one of Alexander Wang. Perfectly personifies him as well as his designs. Simple and to the point. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Homemade Holiday Gifts

For a simple and super addictive holiday treat to your friends and family this year, try chocolate drizzled golden grahams! Kinda weird, I know, but one day as I was strolling through the vast amount of serve-yourself barrels at Sprouts the other day I came across these little munchies. I had a small sample and then wouldn't you know it, a couple minutes later, I found myself filling a bag up to bring home. My sister and I always make little snacks to give out for Christmas and I immediately knew I would be making these this year. They're super simple and a total crowd pleaser. And in addition, we added some of our annual goodies: chocolate covered pretzels. But this year we wanted to change things up a little so we sprinkled chopped nuts all over them. I really wonder why we hadn't thought of this earlier. TO DIE FOR, really though, I'm gouging my eyes out as I'm typing.

Chocolate Drizzled Golden Grahams:
Yields: Enough for 8 - 10

1 box of Golden Grahams
1 12 oz. bag of semi - sweet chocolate

In a double boiler melt the chocolate. On a cookie sheet, spread out a single layer of the golden grahams. Once semi - cooled but still melted, pour into a normal ziplock bag and push it to one edge on the bag. Snip the corner of the bag and drizzle the chocolate over the layer of golden grahams. Repeat. Let cool until the chocolate hardens. Bag up for gifts and enjoy!

Nutty Crunchy Chocolate Covered Pretzels:
Yields: Enough for 8 - 10

1 medium bag of salted pretzels
1 12 oz. bag of semi - sweet chocolate
1 cup of walnuts (pecans or almonds would also be fine), chopped 

Over a double boiler melt the chocolate. Using a butter knife spread the chocolate on the pretzel (it doesn't matter how messy it looks). Repeat. Before the chocolate hardens, sprinkle the chopped nuts all over. Let cool completely, bag, and enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

My cupcakes bring all the GIRLS to the yard!

I am blessed at work to be in the company of mostly all girls. That's why when Christmas is just rolling around the corner, I thought it best to treat my girls with some home baked goods. What gift could be better than a homemade treat, made with love? Don't get me wrong I love my boys, but can they chat over seriously addicting crap like The Hills, or gush about the new to-die-for Spring collection from J. Crew, or shop for hours until your feet practically disintegrate? I think not...

I am definitely not one of those girls who prefer men over women as friends. There are just some things that a girl can't talk about with boys and I like it that way. Give me a girl who can relate to monthly freakouts and boy problems any day! 

Black Bottom Cupcakes, from Smitten Kitchen
Yields: 12 cupcakes

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 oz. chopped semi-sweet chocolate

1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of light brown sugar, packed well
5 tbsn. of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water
1 tbsn. white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and egg until well mixed. Then stir in the chocolate and set aside.

For the cupcakes: Prepare a cupcake pan and line with cupcakes liners. Preheat oven to 350 F and adjust the rack in the center of the oven. In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl combine the water, vinegar, oil, and vanilla. In the dry ingredients, create a well it the center of the bowl and pour in the wet ingredients. Slowly mix them together moving from the inside out. Be careful not to over mix the batter! Divide the batter among the cups evenly. Then drop about 1-2 teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate batter so that they are about 80% full, make sure not to fill completely! Bake for about 20 minutes or until tops are slightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Let cool completely and enjoy!

Easy Peasy Rainbow Cupcakes

Yields 15-20 cupcakes

1 box of plain white or yellow cake mix
1 can of white or vanilla frosting
food coloring, more variety the better
various sprinkles and jimmies

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare the batter according to the directions on the box, then divide the batter into 5 bowls. Add different food coloring to each to create a rainbow of colors. 1 - 2 drops should create a perfectly vibrant color, but add enough to your preference. Prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Drop tablespoons of each color into each cupcake well to create layers of colors, filling it 3/4 full. Bake according to the directions on the box. Let cool completely. Decorate, frost, and TASTE THE RAINBOW!

* I would highly suggest using white cake mix rather than white. Yellow cake mix kind of muddled up and dulled my coloring into Easter themed cupcakes. If you want more vibrant colors, go for the white.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Paulette {Los Angeles, CA}

As part of an early Christmas present to me, my sister, bless her heart, drove through three hours of major traffic to get me a box of French macarons from the Paulette Bakery in Beverly Hills. I've been drooling over photos of these macarons for months upon end and to finally get my hands on them? You have no idea how it felt! Let me describe my first bite into my first French macaron ever, my teeth gently broke into a delightfully crisp and light outer shell while the ganache sandwiched in between oozed into my mouth full of intense flavor with just the right amount of sweetness. It was like biting into a little slice of heaven. And honestly after a 6 month wait for these little nuggets, I thought the anticipation would get the best of me. But nope, everything that I expected was everything that I got! Can't wait to try my hand at making these beauties.

Peppermint Bark

During Christmas time, I love to give home cooked gifts to my friends and family. One recipe that never fails to please is peppermint bark. It's simple and represents the epitome of the season for me. 

Peppermint Bark:
Yields: About enough for 10 - 15 people (as gifts)

2 12 oz. bags of semi-sweet chocolate
2 12 oz. bags of white chocolate
1 bag of starlight mints or 1 package of candy canes, 1/2 chopped and 1/2 pulverized*

To melt the chocolate you can use a double boiler or if you do not have one, you can simply simmer water in a large pot and place a bowl that fits in the rim on top so that the heat from the simmering water will hit the bottom of the bowl. Melt both the white and semi-sweet chocolate separately. On a large sheet of wax paper, pour the melted semi-sweet chocolate and spread evenly to about 1/2 centimeter thick. Mix the pulverized candy canes into the melted white chocolate, then spread over the semi-hardened semi-sweet chocolate and spread evenly. Sprinkle the chopped candy canes on top. Let cool and harden for 24 hours. Break apart and serve!

*The pulverized candy canes give the peppermint bark more flavor when mixed in with the white chocolate.

Italian Almond Macaroons

I have come to realize that the internet is one of my major vices. The internet itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but the amount of time that I spend on it... now that can be considered vile. One of my most favorite things to do on the internet is to look for recipes on food blogs. And while meandering around the web, I found this very simple and melt-in-your-mouth delicious recipe which the author titled "The Ultimate Holiday Cookie." I mean how could I resist with that title? If you like almonds, you'll absolutely LOVE love love this recipe!

Recipe via
Food Gal:

Italian Almond Macaroons:

Yields: About 32 cookies

16 oz. almond paste

1 3/4 cup sugar

4 large egg whites

16 oz. slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment or lightly grease it. Measure almond paste carefully or else mixture will be very sticky! Break into pieces, place in bowl of a food processor with the sugar. Pulse until crumbled finely, and evenly combined with sugar. 

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the almond mixture little by little. Once mixed, roll the mixture into 1-inch balls, keeping them as round as possible. Place the slivered almonds into a shallow bowl, roll each ball into the slivered almonds. Place on prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake until a pale gold color, about 15 - 17 minutes. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.

Crescent Pizza Rolls

When B and I go to Disneyland (which is often, since we have annual passports), we like to bring portable snacks with us. Don't get me wrong, you can find a plethora of good food and delectable snacks at Disneyland, but it comes to a point where sometimes I don't really want to spend $5.00 on a pretzel. These little babies are as portable as portable gets and uber delicious. I mean, I love crescent rolls on their own already but filled with cheese and pepperoni? Just stop right there!

Crescent Pizza Rolls:
Yields: 8 pizza rolls

1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1/2 cup of marinara, any kind you like
5 oz. of pepperoni or salami, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozarella cheese
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up) and butter it. Open the crescent roll package and divide the pre-perforated dough. Mix all other ingredients together and scoop into the larger edge of the triangle of the dough. Make sure not to overstuff! Roll the crescent roll as shown on the directions on the package, from the larger edge of the triangle to the tip. Place on the baking sheet and top with extra cheese, if desired. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!


Today I received some news that truly saddened me, Mixwit (the website I use to make my mixtapes) is shutting down (details below). It was an amazing website and I will miss it eternally! How am I going to post my music now?? Something I will have to dwell upon...

Message from Mixwit:

"We regret to announce that Mixwit will cease to exist at the end of the year.The website and profiles will be turned off around Dec 21st Dec 27th and all embedded widgets will stop playing before the end of December.

We’ve put a year of work into Mixwit so this choice wasn’t taken lightly. I won’t go into the details of our situation but state simply that we boldly marched into in a position best described as “between rock and a hard place.” We’re very grateful to be have been part of the mixtape revival of ‘08 and are satisfied to be able to to bow out while things are still good.

You guys are all amazing. It’s clear that all of you put a ton of time and effort into your mixes. For me personally, I was looking forward to all of the designs people created for their tapes. There was a lot of basic tapes and many lovely photos, but the designs and artwork - WOW!

We’re very sorry that this has to end. We’re going to try to figure out some way to archive the artwork and playlists, if for nothing at least historic value. As for now, everything needs to be shut down by the end of the year just to make sure we’ve got a clean start for 2009.

We’ll return early next year with a new company and new toys. Until then, enjoy the holidays and please take good care of yourselves, your families, and your friends =)"

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Victoria Beckham's New Collection

Victoria Beckham debuted her new dress collection just a little over a week ago, and with it released this super cute and zany video. It features models in her gorgeous, skin-tight dresses frolicking around a charming little house playing hide and go seek, or at least that's what I think they are doing. Her dresses are highly reminiscent of the designs of Roland Mouret, which never fail and despite the celebrity fashion line curse that has struck so many others such as Jennifer Lopez, Lindsay Lohan, and Heidi Montag, Posh delivers a collection that is substantial and most definitely desirable. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Eric Ray Davidson

"The Moment Blog" for the New York Times featuring scenes from behind New York Fashion Week. Absolutely stunning. 

People on people at Benhaz Sarapfour.
Gorgeous sequins seen at Thakoon.
Boys, boys, boys at Tim Hamilton.
Kanye on his way to Proenza Schouler.
Ladies & Gents at DVF.
The absolute calamity that is New York Fashion Week.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I got it.

I finally got it!



The one and only it!

The it I have been wishing for, dreaming for, longing for.

YES, that it.

For those of you who are confused (I'm guessing that's everybody), I finally got my Canon 30D. It arrived today all sweetly packaged in a beautiful toasted brown cardboard box, buried underneath a flurry of packing peanuts, wrapped gently in its plastic bubble blankets, waiting for me - it's new, overjoyed owner. I guess I was sort of in a rose-tinted glasses mood because everything that day wooed me over into perpetual bliss. For one, I'm just happy that I can finally submit photos to Foodgawker and Tastespotting that actually deserve it (to be honest, I'm quite sick of the rejection emails due to blurry, out-of-focus, dull images)!

I consider it an early Christmas present to myself. I once wrote, once upon a time ago, that I was still a working gal saving up for a professional camera. Well, I'm still that same working gal but now I'm a working gal with a fully functional, working camera. And after all of my hard work, I think I deserve it and how appropriate that it would arrive at such a quintessential time (right after my finals)! Now can someone buy me some lenses please?

Time for me to learn how to use this baby, Ciao!

Cranberry, Goat Cheese & Candied Pecan Salad

It's hard balancing life when you're a full time student, have a part time job, a boyfriend, friends, familial obligations and on top of that have desires to travel the world, dabble in photography, cook, and spend countless hours reading fellow blogs. Let me tell you, it takes a lot of negotiation. I often find myself having such conversations inside my head, "If a finish overviewing one lecture on cancer, I can spend a maximum of 15 minutes online... NO dilly dalling!" Of course that 15 minutes usually exponentially grows and I often have to pay for my procrastinations over and over, when will I ever learn?

Procrastination will always be a vice of mine but multitasking? Multitasking is my savior and I'm damn good at it too. Just ask B, he's witnessed me driving while curling my eyelashes, eating breakfast, AND talking at the cell phone all at once, and not a ticket in sight!  See, look at me below: eating my perfectly packed, crunchysaltysweet salad while studying! That deserves some kind of medal... or I could do without the medal, give me an A instead! 

Cranberry, Goat Cheese & Candied Pecan Salad:
Yields: Enough for 1

2 oz. of fresh baby greens
3-4 tbsp. of crumbled goat cheese, any variety
2-3 tbsp. of cooked diced pancetta, can also substitute bacon
2-3 tbsp. of dried cranberries
2 oz. of candied pecans (I get mine from Trader Joes)
Balsamic Vinaigrette, any variety
salt and freshly ground pepper

Wash and dry the greens, put on a plate. Top with everything else, drizzle with the dressing and enjoy.

Note: You can also add sliced granny smith apples for some bite. 

Vietnamese "Shaking Beef" Salad

My mom is an excellent cook, which probably has a lot to do with the reason why I love to eat and why I love to cook. The only problem? She is so reluctant to teach me! I always guilt her by saying, "If you don't teach me, your grandchildren will never know what Vietnamese food is, they'll forget their roots and become obese on french fries and hamburgers!" This is not something she wants, especially since she has already seen some of my own Vietnamese culture lost (since I cannot speak the language), which makes her extremely sad. It's not exactly that she doesn't want me to know how to cook Vietnamese food, it's just hard for her to teach me when she doesn't know measurements or exact amounts. The way she knows how to cook is not by measuring cups but by feel, estimations, and memory. I just make sure to watch her cook as often as possible to learn her methods at the least. The following recipe is my mother's as best as I could reconstruct it. Don't worry, no flavor was lost in the translation...

My mom's Thit Bo Luc Lac or Vietnamese "Shaking Beef" Salad:
Yields: Enough for 4


1 lb. sirloin steak, cubed
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 or 2 pinches salt
3 to 5 cracks black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water

4 cups of washed watercress
2 tbsn. canola oil


Combine all ingredients for the dressing except the onion, mix well until the sugar is dissolved. Next, add the onion and allow to it to marinade in the dressing and soften.

For the marinade, combine all of the ingredients and then add the steak cubes. Toss to coat and allow to marinade at room temperature for a minimum of 20 minutes. Heat the canola oil in a large wok over high heat (if you do not have a wok, you can also use a large skillet). Add the beef in a single layer, allowing the meat to sear well, about 1 minute. Shake the wok around to sear all other sides, about 30 seconds on each side. Cook in batches if necessary (you don't want to overcrowd the pan and steam the meat). Total cooking time should be about 4 minutes until the meat is browned and medium rare. 

Once the beef is done, lay it on top of the watercress and drizzle with the onions and lots of dressing.

Note: It is best served alongside rice and sliced tomatoes

Nervous System

Tell me this isn't beautiful:
From the website: "We created Nervous System to explore a design approach that relates process and form in a context of interactivity and openness. Our trajectory focuses on generative design methods using both algorithmic and physical tools to create innovative products and environments."

There's something about the design that seems so unmethodical and unplanned even though the whole design theory itself stemmed from a meticulous process based on algorithms and specificity. What makes Nervous System so special is that they create one-of-a-kind pieces only. Once purchased, you'll be happy to know that you are the owner of something so special that there only exists one of it in the entire world. I am absolutely dying to get my hands on a piece from their coral collection.

P.S. If you're wondering what these random posts about fashion are doing on my food and music blog read the "About This Blog" section for my attempt at an explanation.