Thursday, August 21, 2014

You Only Live Once


Happy late Thursday everyone!
Also, happy early weekend. It will be a busy weekend for my favorite person and I. We will explore the surrounding areas again, and hopefully experience a fun weekend. I'm so thrilled. We might have spent time away in Orange County {with me three days/nights away from him} but we still need to get out of our apartment more often and explore NorCal. Granted, by being homebodies we save money, and drama...but our tiny place cannot offer what the world has to offer. We only live once...we gotta lick the bowl. Trust me I am starting to lick {or shall I say devour} more and more. Sugared or not. ;)

Have a great weekend.
See you all Monday.

image via keep

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Potato, Zucchini, and Tomato Gratin



Since my job search isn't the best at the moment, my recipe searches and ideas are blooming. Also, as a soon-to-be wife to an I-eat-everything-you-cook-honey man I think I can easily try new things. So glad we are no picky eaters (except for him not liking bell peppers!!! How on earth am I going to convince this guy it's actually really yummy?!). Lately, I have tried to incorporate more veggies and fruits to our diet. I love meat and fish, but it also gets rather pricey over time. Plus, we both need to eat more seasonal veggies and fruits; what is better than looking for fun recipes online or in magazines while trying to safe money and stay healthy?! Nothing! Maybe.

Temperatures have cooled a little and by that I mean we still have temps in the lower 90s, but it is a start. With fall around the corner I was eager to try something new, something that reminds me of home, my mom, and cooler temps. A gratin of any kind would be the solution, and that is how I came up with the potato gratin with a twist aka zucchini and tomato. 

Here is what you need (servings of four) :
  • 5 tsps olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced) - I didn't use the garlic press this time and cut it in slices only
  • 1 lb gold potatoes (peeled)
  • 1 zucchini (medium, about 8 ounces)
  • 2 tomatoes (vine-ripened or other ripe, about 3/4 pound, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds)
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt or regular salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme - fresh or not, finely chopped
  • 2 oz finely grated cheese (cantal or cheddar cheese)

Here is what you do:

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in upper third (I did it in the middle and it came out fine)
- Coat a 9-by-13-inch gratin dish with 1 teaspoon oil, and sprinkle with garlic.
- Slice potatoes and zucchini as thinly as possible into rounds. 
- Arrange potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in overlapping layers around the dish.
- Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. 
- Lastly, drizzle with remaining 4 teaspoons oil, and sprinkle with thyme and cheese

- Cover the whole thing with foil and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
- Remove foil and continue baking for about 25 more minutes, until the top is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and serve immediately.



It was an easy dish. I used only two potatoes, and added more tomatoes. Also, I sprinkled more cheese on top. Next time I will use another cheese. As delicious and lightweight the dish was, it lacked the cheese flavor I was hoping to get. Despite my disappointment in the cheese the dish was still good and we finished the whole thing. :) Plus, the slightly burned cheese on the side was delicious; just the way I like it.

A gratin can be a side dish, too. I chose to do this as the main dish since I did not want to cook too much {in other words, I am lazy and didn't want to cook at all}. If you choose to make this as a side dish you can easily pair this with pork chops, or spicy chicken. Overall I liked its simplicity and healthy aspect. :) 

Just sharing this with you makes me hungry again!

xoxo

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wedding Inspiration #3

When it comes to weddings it is usually all about the bride. Her dress, hair, nails, make-up, and shoes are very important on that beautiful day. However, that is not all. The groom's outfit is just as important. I believe in details, and they especially come in handy when it comes to his outfit.

Today, my favorite person and I are going shopping - it is his day. We will not stop until he is comfortable in whatever he is wearing. I am excited to see what he chooses. We decided to do this together because I am more into fashion than he is, and also because he needs someone by his side to make sure he doesn't end up walking into GameStop at some point. Just saying.


We both looked at photos to get ideas, and he seemed interested in something less traditional that still showed a hint or two of tradition. Ha, easier said than done. I personally like the first idea but I am biased, it is after all purple. It would go well with my dress that is for sure, since my dress is anything else than traditional white {yes, you read right, it may not be white - but I won't spoil the fun here}. The third one is also on my "like list" and the seventh one as well. There is just something beautiful about a rustic wedding theme. Also, since we live in the wine country, we better have something rustic going on at our wedding.

What do you think? 
Traditional? Less, and more rustic? Or a combination of all of it?

We shall see what we come up with today. One thing is for sure, it will be a long shopping day for him. I'm sorry honey, you wanted to look perfect {and you should}, so that is what we girls do on a daily basis...you will get over this day, trust me!

xoxo 

 images via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

Monday, August 18, 2014

Missing Southern California


Early August it was time for us to hop into one car and drive 7+ hours south to Los Angeles. The excitement I felt prior to our departure is indescribable. Packing was no fun, but to know that I will be in an area where I feel home and safe was needed. It was time to rejuvenate. We both needed that. Also, it was time for me to pack up more of my belongings and completely move up north. As of a few days ago I officially moved to Sacramento. Yay. 

I drove most of the time down which was a pleasure for me. The second we drove closer to Los Angeles I got excited. I might have yelled out a few signs and locations that were dear to me and meant I finally arrived home. During our trip we both understood what we had been missing, and how much we had longed for this place. I always told him that Southern California will be in our hearts and souls, and that no matter where we end up going we will miss it. He always disagreed with that; until we drove into Los Angeles. His mind was set to moving back and finding a job down south once we will be done with our education. Really looking forward to that. Until then, we will visit often and it will feel fabulous.


I missed these doggies. Aunty Selma was greeted with love and kisses, and some slobber. I enjoyed my snuggle time with them. It is funny how much I had missed the company of a dog, or a pet in general. We have no pets in Sacramento {yet} so this was long overdue!

 

My friend performed at the Improv so it was a must to show up and cheer. It was a fun night filled with jokes, laughter, good drinks, and a clapping crowd. Also, and so not related to the Improv, I love my new tumbler...so made for me!

Eating is one of my favorite activities. Exploring new places, or going back to old favorites was one huge highlight during my ten-day vacation. Also, yes, I ate that bread and it was delicious. I also paid for it later on that day when my stomach rebelled. I was so hoping it was gluten free. In fact I tried to convince myself it was gluten free even though I knew it wasn't. Bread simple is made out of wheat flour, unless otherwise stated.
In short, I ate a ton; no wonder my pants won't fit me anymore. I kept my photos to a minimum...so please use your bright imagination, I know you can!

 

A trip to the beach was on our list as well. Plus, a trip to Gelato Paradiso in Laguna Beach after the beach was also a must. Neither disappointed.


I consider these people my family. We may disagree, we may frown, but we also laugh, share, and love. I am so glad I had the opportunity to see and spend time with them during my stay. We shall see each other soon again. I promise. And yes, I am the one on the far left - wearing my very comfortable Kate Spade sunglasses; it was a sunny day in Santa Monica!


Hope you enjoyed my little recap. It was wonderful, and I cannot wait to go back!  

Linking up with Monday Morning Gossip.
Join the fun and hop on over!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wedding Inspiration #2

Our wedding will be anything but traditional. It will be quick, short, and simple; only very close family and friends will attend - we will have less than 20 people attend. Yes, THAT small of a big day!! :) And, it will be sooner than anticipated.
Am I ready for this? I think so. What is there not to be ready for? I will be marrying my best friend, the one I share anything and everything with, the one I can be myself with, and the one that accepts me for who I am and what I do. Can't complain. Can't complain at all.


Now, having a small intimate wedding doesn't mean boring; and it shouldn't be boring. It also shouldn't be overwhelming. It should be filled with things any bride {or groom} wants to have on that special day, and it should show some personality. I went through millions of websites to get hints or ideas on what to do when it comes to a small wedding. There isn't a lot on what not to do, or on what to do but there are definitely a few things that I have come across everyone agreed on having - small wedding or not. 

Wedding Favors
Big weddings, with bridesmaids, and groomsmen, and flower girls and what not usually have more than just one favor. It usually begins when you enter the venue. You have signs up {apparently, some say it's decoration, others say it's part of the favors}, name tags {a favor actually}, cookies, candies, jars, and what not. Tables are decorated, chairs are colorful, the music in the background, the lights and what not. It's part of decoration, and also part of those favors. Quite interesting.

Now, smaller weddings...they shouldn't lack favors. In fact, they should actually pay attention to the favors. In our case, we want it simple, and we have a budget we really don't want to go over unless it is very very necessary. I feel like a bag of colorful almonds is just boring. Besides, my future mother-in-law is allergic to ALL nuts, so that is already a no go. So I browsed around and came up with a few ideas:


Personally, I love wedding favors. Since our wedding will be very simple I want this tiny, cute touch added to our big day. Details are important here. Everyone driving to see us get hitched and spending time with us that day should end up going home with a little thank you resembling the two of us. I want it personalized without the super duper personalized touch. Does this make sense? 

Believe it or not, I have the favors done...well, in theory. Now I have to go out and prepare it all. No biggie!!!

Flowers
I almost forgot a bride holds a bouquet. Yes, I forgot. My future mother-in-law mentioned it and I was like "oh yeah,....". Oops!!!! I mean, I just didn't think it was important when you say I Do in front of a lovely judge. Literally. Well, then...let's discuss flowers because I am not a flower girl.


I really don't know. Do I really have to have a bouquet? 

You know what my biggest concern is?
Getting the right shoes to the dress I already have. Yes. It is that dramatic. I sent photos to three of my best friends and two of them chose the one pair I hate the most. I didn't want to go out and buy a new pair of shoes but it turns out I should do so. Also, my favorite person needs to be dressed. When it comes to fashion he is not fully into it. Granted, he has his moments and appreciates a great pair of shorts that goes beautifully with his favorite shirt. Yet, now, when it comes to our big day I know for a fact I need to dress him. That will be fun. For me; not so much for him. He will be dragged around until we get everything done...from tie to socks and shoes, and in between with shirt, dress pants and what not. A guy needs to look his part, too.

I am excited and I am a little nervous.
All I know is that our special day will be beautiful!

images via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 |

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Parmesan Tilapia


It is Wednesday, my lovelies. Time for another recipe {or my attempt to feed my favorite person and myself}. 

Weeks ago we went to Costco and bought a ton of fish and chicken, so we would have lean meat available when needed. So when I don't feel like going for a steak or a heavy load of food or cooking, I grab a couple of fillets or breasts. Ha. Anyways, this dish is simple and fast, and goes really really well with rice and fresh veggies. Thank you Tilapia for being such an easy fish to work around.

Here's what you need for four fillets:

3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon of fresh {or dried} parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 table spoon olive oil 



Here's what you do:

-  preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- mix together the cheese, spices, and salt
- drizzle the oil on the fillets
- dredge the fillets in the mixture, press the mixture onto the fish as well
- transfer to baking dish {with or without baking sheet}
- bake for 10 -12 minutes or until opaque
- serve with the fillets with lemon on the side {if desired}

I am sure you can use another fish, spice thing up with different other spices and what not. I will try my best next week to create something else...maybe over baked. I will keep you posted.

Do you eat Tilapia?
Any suggestion for me?

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Art of Threading

There is always a topic that people love not to discuss in public, or even in private. We talk about weddings, pregnancies, births, and birthdays - private, intimate moments - with the world. We post photos and tell everyone how we felt and what happened in detail. Yet, when it comes to personal stuff we simply shy away. I wonder why. As women, we take care of ourselves. Not only do we put make up on, find the prettiest outfit, but we also get rid of unwanted and often ugly hair. Legs, arm, armpits, eyebrows, and yes even upper lips, chin and neck. Blond or brunette we have hair. Some of us have more, others have less. We shave, we wax, we cut and use all kinds of methods to get rid of it. We spend a ton of money on it all, too.


My personal favorite part to remove hair is the art of threading. I love it because it doesn't involve sticky wax, or endless hours of tweezing. Also, shaving isn't exactly the best idea when it comes to eyebrows, or even ridiculously unwanted upper lip hair {why or why!!}. It only involves me going to a place that threads people's hair away, and doesn't take long. In fact, it usually takes 10 - 20 minutes, costs less than $20 and doesn't have to be repeated in a few days. Sometimes, once a month is enough, sometimes once every three months works, too. I love it.

Threading is an old form of facial hair removal. It uses a 100% cotton thread which is twisted and pulled along the surface of the skin to remove unwanted hair. It lifts the hair directly from the follicle. It is a completely natural skin removal process and works on all skin types {whether you have sensitive skin, damaged, normal or tanned}. It is an art of its own and removes hairs from eyebrows, upper lip, chin, neck, and well, the face. It has become an essential part of skin care and beauty. I would never go back to tweezing unless I really absolutely have to, but we all know, this is never going to happen again. After a few times of having hair threaded away, the hair hardly grows back which is simply fantastic.

Now, I just wish threading would exist for legs. That would be the best thing ever in the entire world!! Just saying.

So, am I the only one out there that uses threading?

Tell me!!!

image via pinterest

Monday, August 11, 2014

Zoe Saldana - Girl Crush


It has been a while since I shared my Girl Crush with you. I don't know if I should make this a monthly thing on my blog because we all have someone we look up to; whether it is an actor/actress, singer, politician, professor, you name it. We admire their story, beauty, their effort to change the world, their strength, and their intelligence.

Zoe Saldana is no exception. I think the first time I fully noticed her was in Guess Who. I might have seen her here and there in a few roles on TV, but when Avatar landed in theaters the craze about Zoe went spiral so to speak. However, even today not many know her or pay much attention. Maybe it's her laid-back and no-drama life. Either way, I like her. She's not only stunning but makes Hollywood glamorous, she's also one of the cutest pregnant actresses currently walking around. Plus, she has style, and represents timeless beauty. So glad I bumped into her years ago, she was sorry for not paying attention and being on her phone that day. Totally made my day, or back then my year!


Who is your Girl Crush, and why?

For more girl crushes, click here.

xoxo

images via here: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Friday, August 8, 2014

I got my First Fix!

 

Have you heard of Stitch Fix? 
I did not until a few weeks ago. I couldn't sleep one night and browsed around on my phone {yes, I know, not at all good for my precious eyes} and stumbled upon Stitch Fix. I don't remember how I found this but I did. I desperately needed to update my wardrobe, so I was interested from the beginning. 

Stitch Fix, basically, is your personal stylist. It is easy, accessible, affordable, and it is also delivered to your doorstep. It is a different shopping experience that is personalized just for you. All I had to do for my first fix was to fill out their Style Profile, and then let their stylists handpick a selection of five clothing items or/and accessories for me that they think would fit my budget, lifestyle and taste. Once delivered I had time to try the items on, mix and match with my own clothes and whatever I didn't like send back within three days. A prepaid envelope is included {awesome!}. I would only pay for what I choose to keep. If I keep all five items, I pay for all five items {and as a thank you get 25% off}. Best part, I can schedule fixes if I feel like "shopping" on a regular basis. Since my budget won't allow this luxury at the moment {I haven't gone shopping in months!!!} I don't do this {yet} - but I had to give Stitch Fix a try and see how it fits my lifestyle. 

Here's what I received:

1) Daniel Rainn - Lara Lace Detail Silk Blouse
2) Kut From The Kloth - Keslie Braided Detail Belted Maxi Dress
3) Bay to Baubles - Marcia Faceted Stone Teardrop Bib
4) Sweet Rain - Azalea Heathered Open Cardigan
5) Pink Martini - Joshua Colored Ankle Jean


While I loved the vibrant summer colors, and the new approach to silk {I don't own a single silk blouse}, I had to send all clothing items back and only kept the bubble necklace. All of my clothes came in small, which normally would be fine but not this time. The dress was way too big {no idea how that happened}, the pants I could not close {I have big hips; after all I have a Turkish figure}, the silk blouse was phenomenal but so see through I just felt like I wasn't wearing a thing, and the cardigan fit perfectly except on my arms. It would not stretch; it would probably rip before it stretched. The necklace...oh the necklace. First big necklace I got, and it feels glamorous. Kept it because it looked and felt good. Once I had sent all unwanted items back I had to give Stitch Fix my feedback on each item. Feedback is necessary because if you choose to use their service again, you want your stylist to improve. Honest feedback is the best way to let your stylist know why you chose not to keep the item{s}.

The lovely necklace...I wasn't sure about the gold-pearl lookalike but it looks awesome on. :) 


Excuse the flash light...it is dark at home due to me having closed off all blinds so the heat won't come in as fast.

Just because my stylist {which I think did a fantastic job} couldn't fully satisfy my size {not my style, I loved every single piece} doesn't mean I will give up on this service. I love the idea of having a stylist help me find new items to add to my wardrobe. I will try it again in the fall, and I know my stylist will succeed. 

You may wonder why I don't just go out and shop on my own, and try it all on in the store. One thing is this: I don't have a car, so always borrowing my favorite person's car just to go shopping isn't my thing. Also, I am kind of tired of the stores available at the mall. You see, since I left Los Angeles/Orange County it is not easy to find a decent, nice-looking store to buy from. I get tired easily by seeing the same stores over and over again. I love J.Crew, Anthropologie, The Gap {yes, even that place}, Nordstrom, and what not...but in the end it is not exactly appealing to me when I only have those options. So, getting new brand or designer names added to my already existing wardrobe spices things up for me, and who knows, I might even fall in love with a new brand and spread the word. 

xoxo


Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. I was NOT asked to write for Stitch Fix and was not gifted anything.

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