Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fall Ready-to-Wear 2009

Sifting through the finest of New York's Fall Runways was amazing as always, but the most amazing of the endless amount of talent are the five below. They depict everything I'd love to wear, feel, or even look at. The gorgeousness will never cease to astound me. Here are my favorites from Fall 1009:

As always, Tory Burch delightfully surprises me, so gorgeous:
Georgina Chapman sure knows what a girl wants to wear:
Artfully disheveled menswear all around:
My absolute favorite show this Fall? Can you guess it - it's quite unexpected actually?
I even surprised myself!
To celebrate her 50th anniversary, Barbie threw herself an unbelievable fashion show.
Who knew Barbie & I could be style soul mates?
I loved the glamour, the punch of color, and the versatility in design, basically I loved it all!

Friday, February 27, 2009

FFF (Friday Flickr Favorites)

As you can see, I am a woman obsessed. They are so beautiful to look at and even better to eat! If it weren't for school, I'd probably be baking these things for all the days of my life. Once things start to settle, and time frees up, I am going to attempt these again. Just you wait!

You can find the rest of my favorites here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Banana & Nutella Ice Cream

I wish I had an ice cream maker or even the time to attempt making real homemade ice cream or sorbets, but I don't. Does that mean I should deprive myself of some really good, fresh ice cream? I think not. I've recently fell in love with Kirkland (or Costco brand) vanilla ice cream; it's so creamy and rich! And I've also been falling in love with little ice cream shops that serve up unique flavors, such as Bi-Rite Creamery and Scoops. So I decided if I didn't have the time nor the means to make such homemade goodness, I'd have to fake my way towards it. It's semi-homemade just like Sandra Lee (except much, much better than her if I do say so myself)!

The end product was really good! Of course it helped that I started with an already great tasting vanilla ice cream but the chunky bananas and nutella went really well together (I had no doubt) and it brought texture and freshness to the vanilla which was really nice. Every time I got a little chunk of nutella swirl I swear almost died, it was just THAT good!

Banana & Nutella Ice Cream
Yields: enough for 3 - 4

6 scoops of really good vanilla ice cream (I like Haagen-Daaz or Costco brand)
2 bananas, roughly chopped
3 tbsn. melted nutella
Leave the ice cream out for about 5 - 10 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, chop the bananas. In a medium bowl, fold in the diced bananas, softened ice cream, and nutella. Do not overmix! Remember to work quickly, this is imperative because if the ice cream melts too much, when it refreezes it will be icy and no longer creamy. You want the nutella to be swirled and the banana to remain chunky. Pack into tuperware and put back into the freezer until it hardens again. Once hard enough, serve with whipped cream, shaved chocolate, fresh bananas, or whatever your heart desires. You can even try caramelized bananas... YUM! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chocolate French Macarons

After a complete failure with my first attempt at French Macarons, I was determined that I would get my turn at making those precious beauties that I've been drooling over all around the internet. I've been craving and dreaming of them ever since I laid my hands on a box from Paulette. Since LA isn't a hop and a skip away from where I am, I thought the better alternative would be making them at home myself.

After learning many lessons from my first attempt, I realized that room temperature egg whites were the essential core to the French Macaron. This cookie is ALL about technique, which I should have payed attention to the first time but alas, I was much too lazy for my own benefit. The reason why my first batch was so flat and spread so much was because the whites started as cold and as they became room temperature, they expanded and loosened up. Thanks to some great pointers, these cookies turned out wonderful! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside (my favorite part), and filled with Nutella-y goodness.

Tips to making a successful French macaron:
1. Use room temperature egg whites, aged egg whites (for up to 48 hours) are supposed to give a better end product.
2. Sift the dry mixture at least once to ensure your macarons will be smooth as a baby's bottom. 
3. Completely fold the dry mixture into the egg whites, this is what differentiates a macaron from other cookies; the batter should be thick, almost like a paste or as Veronica calls it "Magma."
4. Some recipes tell you to flatten the macaron using your fingertips and water, DO NOT DO THIS! I did this for my second batch which produced ugly, bubbled tops, example below:

5. Pre-draw 1 1/2 inch diameter circles on the back of your parchment paper to ensure equal sized macarons, then you can make perfect sandwiches!
6. Some say that the cookies will taste better after a full days of rest, but of course I was much too impatient for this step in the recipe.

Chocolate Macarons
Yields: 15 - 20 Sandwiched Cookies
from Art of Dessert (I cut the recipe in half just in case it didn't work out)

Printable Recipe

1 + 1/8 cups of finely ground almonds (You can find this at natural food supermarkets such as Whole Foods, Mother's Market, or just ground your own using a food processor!)
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 cup egg whites, room temperature
1/4 + 1/8 cup granulated sugar
3 drops of red food coloring

Whisk the egg whites in a stand-up mixer until foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. In a medium-sized bowl combine the ground almonds, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder and sift together. Mix well and then fold the mixture gently into the egg whites. Add the food coloring until well combined. 

Place parchment paper on some baking sheets. Using a normal round tip, pipe the batter into 1 1/2 inch in diameter rounds and about 1 inch apart from each other. Leave the baking sheets out for 1 - 2 hours to let shells harden around the oustide (I did not do this step for lack of time, I didn't think it was that important since I did not see it mentioned in any other macaron directions). Preheat the oven to 300 F. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until tops are just set. Let them cool completely before adding filling. I used Nutella spread and the strawberry buttercream I had leftover from my strawberry cupcakes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tailored Tuesdays

When I was a bit younger, my style involved mixes of patterns, bright colors, and trendy pieces. And though I still have a bit of that trendy mix in me, I've learned the importance of timelessness. Most of the clothes I wore in my past is shoved into a corner, begging to be allowed out in the sun every once in a while, but their days have long gone. Now my purchases are mostly comprised of blacks and neutrals with some key flair pieces that take the boring out of a somewhat drab color scheme. Attention to details such as layered ruffling, pleating, soft buttery leather, and the sparkle from a jewel is necessary!

1. Helmut Lang "Smoking Tuxedo Jacket"
2. By Malene Birger "Big button top" 
3. Monica Vinader "Zodiac quartz necklace"
4. Celine "Silk roll hem shorts"
5. Chloe "Selby Shoulder Bag"
6. Giuseppe Zanotti "Ankle cuff sandals"

all images can be found at

Monday, February 23, 2009

Abby Try Again

I think these photos from Abby Powell Thompson are just amazing! 
So simple and colorfully rich. 
You can find and purchase all of these prints here.

Here are some of my favorites:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Best and Worst of the 2009 Academy Awards

Not only are the Academy Awards a celebration of the great actors, actresses, screenwriters, costume designers, directors, etc., they are an event in which to showcase the amazing works of designers from the recent runways. 

It seemed like a lot of cream made its way to the red carpet this year, which I am always a fan of. Like always, Freida Pinto arrived in an astonishing royal blue gown which was a daring choice and also my favorite of the night. Heidi Klum delivered a sexy side vented gown while Taraji glowed in layers of towered fabric. 

From the left to the right:
1. Penelope Cruz in vintage Balmain
2. Freida Pinto in John Galliano
3. Anne Hathaway in Armani Prive
4. Heidu Klum in Roland Mouret
5. Taraji P. Henson in Roberto Cavalli

And though there were many highs of the night, there was also some lows, unfortunately. Miley Cyrus called attention to herself with an over-the-top scalloped dress while Vanessa Hudgens' frock was extremely dull and tacky looking (and my love for Marchesa could not save her from this one). It looks like this year, the younger generation with their inexperience with the red carpet, failed to deliver. Tilda Swinton has always had a quirky sense of style but her choice really did nothing for her. And as for Beyonce, I just thought it was plain hideousness. 

From the left to the right:
1. Miley Cyrus in Zuahir Murad
2. Vanessa Hudgens in Marchesa
3. Tilda Swinton in Lanvin
4. Beyonce in her mother's (Tina Knowles) own creation
5. Amanda Seyfried in Valentino

It seems like the real stars brought out their best dresses for the after parties. I loved the cute knee length dresses in more daring cuts and colors. 

1. Claire Danes in Zac Posen
2. Kate Bosworth in Alexander Mcqueen
3. Ginnifer Goodwin
4. Naomi Watts
5. Marion Cotillard
6. Zooey Deschanel 
all images above from Yahoo Movies

From the left to the right:
1. Naeem Khan (Fall RTW 2009) - Just pillowy and dreamy. 
2. Valentino (Spring Couture 2009) - I love the neck line and the intricate detail of the fabric and you would need little accessories except maybe some Harry Winston earrings.
3. Reem Acra (Fall RTW 2009) - I love the gorgeous jewel tone of this dress, just not sure if it would work against the red carpet but I can tell this dress would be so fun to pair with some beautiful costume jewelry.
4. Elie Saab (Spring Couture 2009) - Ruffles can be unflattering but the cinch at the waist really makes the difference for this one. 
5. Naeem Khan (Fall RTW 2009) - Love the crystal waist definition that moves along towards the shoulder.
6. Oscar de la Renta (Fall RTW 2009) - If I could make it long of course! I love black so much and the sparkle just makes me love this dress even more.
7. Halston (Fall RTW 2009) - The bright yellow would be really pretty with the upcoming spring.
all images from

Spotlight On...

The winner for for fresh, new style anyway! 

I don't know if Freida Pinto is using a stylist or this is all of her own doing, but whatever it is, it's amazing. Each one of her choices lately have been spectacular! They fit her amazingly well, convey a personality, and are never, ever boring. She has definitely been a breath of fresh air on the red carpet, not to mention today's Academy Awards (my personal favorites will be up later).

(An attempt at) French Macarons

Over this President's Day weekend, I decided that it was time for me to attempt making the ominous French Macaron. I've been scourging food blogs left and right for a recipe that was in cups/ tablespoons/ etc. rather than grams, since I don't have a scale. Finally, after much detective work, I found myself comparing three recipes: one from Martha Stewart, one from David Lebovits, and one from Gale Gand (of the Food Network). I finally decided on Martha's since hers did not involve chocolate (like David's) and also due to the fact that I love her so dearly!
So after getting a result like this from the recipe, you wouldn't think I would have been happy with my results at all:

Though I was quite disappointed with my complete utter failure at French Macarons, I continued to heave ho and popped the flat, ugly, misshapen thing in my mouth. To my surprise, it was very delicious! They were slightly sweet, crispy on the edges, and chewy in the center. When I look back, I probably shouldn't have been so surprised at what my results were since I overlooked a couple of steps and maybe even skipped some crucial ones too but I really love these! I am nixing the title of "French Macarons" and hereby naming them "Crispy Almond Wafers." More fitting indeed. 

In case you are wondering, this is what French Macarons really look like:

Via chotda: 

Here is the recipe if you would like to attempt them yourself:
P.S. I added my notes in red if you would like to try my "Crispy Almond Thins"

French Almond Macarons

Original recipe can be found here

3/4 + 1/8 cup of confectioners sugar

1/8 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup of slivered almonds, ground finely (I think I ground them for too long, turning it into a paste)

2 small eggs (I used two large and they also weren't at room temperature, which is vital)

pinch of salt

1/8 cup granulated sugar

food coloring, if desired

Preheat oven to 300 F. Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl. Whisk in ground almonds, and sift again, set aside. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat (I just used foil). Using a mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the salt and then slowly add the granulated sugar one spoonful at a time. Continue beating until medium peaks form (I might have overbeaten them, since I wasn't sure what "medium peaks" meant). Add the half of the almond mixture into the egg whites, fold gently. Add the vanilla and the rest of the almond mixture, incorporating well (I got impatient folding the mixture, and just mixed).

My "medium" peaks:

Transfer the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip. Pipe the mixture onto the baking sheets, making them 1 1/2 inches in width. Bake until they are slightly firm to the touch, about 18 - 25* minutes, making sure to rotate the pan halfway. Let them cool completely before spreading the insides with filling.

I noticed when I piped the mixture onto the sheet that it was very liquidy and that it started to spread out as soon as I put it on the sheet. 

* I only cooked mine for 10 minutes since they were so thin.

Going into the oven:

Friday, February 20, 2009

FFF (Friday Flickr Favorites)

Hope everyone had a great week! Hopefully I'll get back to the kitchen soon.

You can find all of my favorites here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fall Ready-to-Wear 2009

Making shoulders look uber sexy:
Beautiful jewel tones enhance elegance:
A budding designer establishes his quirky point of view with the latest:
Sensual fabrics and feminine embellishments:

Chris Benz photographs by: Jefferson Gaddis. All other photos by: Marcio Madiera.

Fall Ready-to-Wear 2009

The latest and greatest from the NYC tents for Fall 2009 (much more to come soon):

A complete wardrobe for the uptown girl:
Modern day romance:
Perfection found in cocktail dresses:
Boho chic paired with bright tones:
Strong silhouettes and shoulders, the epitome of Posh:
Jenni Kayne photos by: Don Ashby. All other photos by: Marcio Madiera.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Eggs in a Hole

I love eggs. I love bread. I love quick. I love easy. That's why eggs in a hole are perfect for me! They make a quick and delicious lunch, not to mention healthy too. A definite keeper.

My love for these things is undoubtable!

Eggs in a Hole
Yields: one serving
Yep, this is as simple as it gets!
1 slice of whole wheat bread
1 large egg
1/2 tbsn. butter
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh herbs, whatever you have on hand is fine (optional)
salsa (optional)
Burning love.
Heat a medium sized pan on medium high heat. Using a cookie cutter or a knife, cut a hole in the center of your slice of bread. Add the butter into the pan, once melted, lay down the slice of bread. Next crack your egg into the center of the hole and cook until the bottom is set, about 1 - 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the toast and cook the other side until done, about 1 -2 minutes as well. Toast your extra bread in the flame (because I hate wasting food). Remove from heat, top with herbs and fresh salsa. You can use any herbs you liked, I'm not even sure what I used here but that's what I had on hand. Enjoy!

Nothing beats a perfectly cooked, perfectly gooey yolk! (P.S. taken in my new light tent)