December 30, 2013

not-so-music mondays

In case you're looking to do something special for New Years Eve with your makeup, here's another simple, smokey eye look from Bobbi Brown.

December 27, 2013

finally, friday

A very festive scene from Christmas dinner at my Aunt's house

It's been a wonderful (and busy) past couple of days since Christmas. Now that it's over, there's the New Year to look forward to, but until then I will be unwinding/relaxing as much as possible and enjoying the last few days of 2013. I hope you too, will enjoy the rest of your year!

If you're in the market for a new pair of glasses, check out Barton Perreira, I'm swooning over this pair of frames.

I know what 2013 was like for me, here's a glimpse of what it was like for the world.

For me, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a home and these are pretty awesome each in their own way.

Interesting, maybe in a few years Japan will have a mini Silicon Valley of it's own-- besides all the American companies that are already there.

Creativity is so cool.

December 23, 2013

December 21, 2013

a christmas eve night cap

I personally love a homemade or handmade gift, and this year for the holiday I made a "Christmas Eve Night Cap" gift to give, which in my opinion turned out pretty great. I made mini pecan tarts as I have for the past couple years, added homemade peppermint chocolate marshmallows, a few packets of hot cocoa, and peppermint schnapps (totally optional) to give the gift a more adult feel. I wanted to put them in cute little boxes, but alas, didn't have enough time so ended up using recycled boxes and gift baggies.

Hopefully this inspired you to come up with a cute gift basket of your own or for those of you that are looking for a last minute gift to give, maybe this solved your dilemma!

December 20, 2013

homemade peppermint chocolate marshmallows

Okay, let me start off by saying these peppermint chocolate marshmallows are the perfect holiday treat. Perfect.

Homemade marshmallows are hands down far superior than any store bought kind. My first experience making them was a few years ago and happened to be one of my early blog posts. It was then that my eyes were opened to the world of marshmallows. I don't normally gravitate towards eating them, buying, or cooking with them. On the occasion I will fancy them in my ice cream, or once in a blue moon when I have a s'more, but that's really about it. The idea of them doesn't get me excited, rather making them, well, my eyes light up... at the thought of them being fresher and fluffier, the endless flavor combinations you can try, the soft and tender pillowy-ness. And to boot, they are just too darn cute. They're going to be a perfect addition to my Holiday gift baskets (post coming soon).

I used this recipe for the peppermint mallows, but split the candy into two same-sized pans and used just shy of a full teaspoon of peppermint extract instead. Immediately after making the peppermint batch I went right into making a chocolate batch and put about 3/4 of the candy on top of one peppermint pan (I put the remaining 1/4 into a separate pan for mini chocolate mallows). Immediately after I spread out the chocolate I carefully pry the other peppermint mallow from it's pan (make sure to put foil in the pan first and it will be much easier) and place it on top of the chocolate (press gently) to create a white and brown striped marshmallow. It's important to put the last peppermint layer on immediately after this step so all layers "meld" and stick together, this will ensure that there are no visible seams. Wait about 4-6 hours (the recipe says longer, but I've always done it sooner) and cut with a lightly greased pizza cutter, then toss in the powder sugar/cornstarch mix. Tip: I like to use a 1:1/2 ratio of cornstarch to powder sugar because I don't like my coating too sweet.

I think the next step in my marshmallow adventures will be making them sans the corn syrup and with just sugar instead. Have you tried it this way? If so let me know how you liked them!

**Update: The marshmallows taste great on their own, but I tried it in a cup of hot cocoa tonight and it was so, so good.

December 16, 2013

music mondays

A Christmas Song, that isn't so Christmassy.

December 13, 2013

finally, friday

I thought this tree was pretty rad. It's Glassybaby's Christmas set up at their new Sacramento Street store in San Francisco, and I must say it's pretty creative. I've come down with a cold so I'm trying my hardest to get rest and up my intake of liquids to get better for the busy weekend I have. Hope you are having a lovely day and an even better weekend!

This video has been floating around the interweb and if you haven't seen it, it's with Conan, Ice Cube, and Kevin Hart. Pretty freakin funny.

These photos of the day serve as a great reminder of all the things happening elsewhere.

These are the kind of selfies I like.

This year, try baking your favorite Holiday cookies with whole grain.

Decorating for the Holiday season with succulents-- super cute!

It's sad to hear we could no longer have fish to eat one day... that's why we need more Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and California is celebrating year one of it's MPA's.

December 11, 2013

ice cold

I take for granted living in the Bay Area where the weather is pretty moderate compared to other areas of the country where they really get the four seasons, but this past week it has been insanely cold for us. So cold that I don't even want to head outside to do anything. Luckily, it's supposed to get back to it's normal winter weather (for us) which I couldn't be more pleased with.

On another note, I love an outfit that has a bit of masculinity to it and this one is just that.

Charter Club cashmere sweater (men's), Brandy Melville tee, James Jeans, coat from Japan, Alfani booties

December 10, 2013

holiday party looks

If you celebrate Christmas, it's only two weeks away, can you believe that? As we inch closer and closer, people are rushing to get their loved ones gifts, busy decorating their homes, and attending many a Christmas party. I've thrown together three looks that I'm loving for this Holiday season and are perfect for just about any Holiday party you'll attend. I'll be attending my first Holiday party of the season tomorrow and while I haven't quite figured out what to wear I know I'll use these as inspiration and hope you do too. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Party Look

Holiday Party Look 3

Holiday Party Look 2

December 06, 2013

finally, friday

For a couple years, every year my bf and I would go over to Half Moon Bay to pick out and cut down our own Christmas tree at this farm, but let's face it, it's not something him or I wanted to keep up with every single year. The first year we didn't go, the bf's housemate came up with this tree made of books and for the past couple years we've continued doing it. Why not save a tree and make one out of something that was once a tree? Have a happy weekend!

I love Ellen Degeneres and this video will keep you laughing throughout.

If you're in your late twenties you'll definitely get this.

I always knew I had a thing for color, some say I own five of the same nail polish color, I say they are all different. After taking this test and scoring perfect it's confirmed and a no wonder I love color so much (not speaking of my wardrobe though, ha).

Even more reason to try and avoid as much plastic as possible. Say no to plastic!

Such an inspiring story of a man swimming the Strait of Gibraltar for a good cause.

December 05, 2013

gift guide: for the girl who has everything

gift guide: for the girl who has everything

With Christmas just around the corner, I've basically finished my shopping with the exception of a few people and it feels good to be almost done, but I know there are those that are just getting started. Here's a few suggestions of mine ranging from low to high end prices, some very practical gifts and some luxury, and some for the fashion, food, home, or tech obsessed. I hope with all these bases covered you get some inspiration to buy for the girl(s) who has everything.

1. A nicely constructed weekender in canvas and leather. (Everlane, $95)

2. The perfect mini eye and lip palette in flattering colors for anyone. (Bobbi Brown, $30)

3. Minimalist wool coat with leather sleeves, or go for basic black or camel. (Aritzia, $350-$450)

4. Silpat silicone cookie sheet liners, excellent to bake on, and tucks away for easy storage. (Williams Sonoma, $21.95-$24.95

5. For the woman that loves a little glitz and glamour, you can't go wrong with this cuff. (David Yurman, $550-$750)

6. This little bluetooth speaker packs a punch, the sound quality makes you feel like you're right there watching your favorite artist live, can travel with you anywhere, and comes in a range of fun colors. (Photive Cyren, $49.95)

7. There's nothing better than a pair of boots that get better with age. (Frye, $288)

8. You can never have too many dutch ovens and this one is a real winner, it's French made, comes in an array of beautiful colors, and differs from Le Creuset and other brands from it's self-basting dimples on the lid, black enamel, and comes standard with metal hardware. I love mine and would highly recommend investing in one. (Staub, $338)

9. There's no one who wouldn't love these hand-blown, beautifully crafted glass votives and they donate part of their proceeds to charity. (Glassybaby, $44)

10. Warm feet never hurt anyone, especially during the colder months and these wool ones work with your body temperature to keep you more regulated. (Smartwool, $24)

11. A throw blanket is essential to relax in at home and I could not recommend this classic brand more for it's heritage, quality, and cool patterns. (Pendleton, $188-$228)

12. These candles are such a treat, why not gift her with ten of them from this adorable gift set? (Diptyque Candle Set, $130)

13. Personalized stationery is chic, unexpected, and something you wouldn't normally buy for yourself not to mention it shows you put some thought into picking the design. (Minted, $35)

14. Sure everyone has a reusable water bottle these days, but do they have this super sleek stainless steel one that will keep your drinks hot or cold for days? (Klean Kanteen, $24.95-$29.95)

15. Noise canceling headphones with amazing sound quality, DJ approved. Great for travel on noisy planes or trains and in the office to block out any distracting noises. (Audio Technica, $150-$350)

December 04, 2013

back to the basics

Brandy Melville tshirt and pants, Forever XXI cardi,  Dolce Vita shoes, Rouge Dior 862 lipstick

I have to admit, I like a good seasonal trend here and there, but when it comes down to it, my one true love, and something I'll continually return to is a good basic. Not any basic though, one that fits right in every spot, almost like it was made just for your body. One that fits so well it's like the designer knew your exact measurements and preferences to make a piece that hugged all the right areas, would hang off your body in the most flattering way possible, and lay just perfectly where it should. Ahhh, that is perfection... but it's not that easy to come by. This top and pant have the perfect amount of slouch and drape-- and bonus! are made in a super comfortable material. Regardless of my never ending affinity towards minimalistic outfits, it only felt right to keep this look simple and allow the fit to do all the talking.

December 03, 2013

november favorites

Happy December everyone! I've decided to throw a monthly favorites into the mix so you can see what I'm loving/wearing/using each month. So here goes November...

1. Brandy Melville tees (similar style here, but you can likely find mine in store) - these are soft, drapey, and such a flattering shape. I've been reaching for them almost on a daily basis.

2. Bobbi Brown Extra hand cream - rich, moisturizing hand cream that doesn't stay oily on your hands.

3. Bobbi Brown Full Coverage face brush - I used to use my hands to apply foundation, but this brush works wonders and keeps my hands clean.

4. Anastasia brow wiz - I've switched from a powder to a pencil for my brows and am especially loving the dual ended pencil and spooly brush on this one which makes doing my brows so easy.

5. Bobbi Brown Antigua palette - Not sure if you can find this palette still, but it's got all the basic colors I need for everyday.

6. Lip combo of Dior Rouge 862 Hypnotic Red and Makeup Forever lip liner in 12C - The perfect deep, dark plum lip. Can be worn a little sheer, or layered for intensity.

7. Coco Cafe - Coconut water and espresso. Two of my faves combined. Thinking about ordering a case since it's much more economical that way.

8. Noosa Yoghurt - I'm used to buying the regular sized cartons which I eat in two separate servings, so finding these minis (4 oz.) was awesome, they are the perfect single serving size. My favorite flavors are honey, peach, mango and passionfruit, but sadly these minis only come in the flavors of blueberry, lemon, and raspberry. Still delicious flavors though and even more perfect for on-the-go. Have you tried their newest flavor of tart cherry?

November 28, 2013

giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that whatever you're doing today, whether it's spending time with family and friends, camping out through the wee hours of the night for a Black Friday deal, or simply veg-ing after a turkey dinner, you take some time to think about all the things you have to be thankful for. Here are a few of mine, in no particular order...

1. My family.
2. I have a Savior that died for me.
3. Blankets to keep me warm.
4. Eyes to see all the wonders of the world.
5. Adventures.
6. Friends that are like family.
7. Food, water, shelter.... all the basic necessities in life.
8. Ability to experience joy and happiness.

What are you thankful for?

November 26, 2013

in plain view

Brandy Melville tee, high waisted James Jeans, TNA sweater, Born Oxford shoes

These oxfords had been collecting dust in my closet for a while until I pulled them out a couple weeks ago. I knew that if I hadn't pulled them out they would be out-of-sight, out-of-mind and unworn. With them sitting in plain sight, I decided wear them this past weekend, and am so happy I did. I had forgotten how comfortable these shoes are! By looking at them alone, you wouldn't think I could, but I can last all day in these puppies without a complaint.

November 22, 2013

finally, friday

Some of the things I miss from my trip to Japan last year are the excellent on-the-go food options. At major train stations they have little shops that sell bento boxes full of goodies, and vending machines and konbini (convenience) stores everywhere that sell drinks and snacks. Besides being able to get food or drink basically almost anywhere, an added perk is being able to get the drinks hot or cold. There were many times I got a hot milk tea from the vending machine and took it on the train with my onigiri to the next destination. In doing so, I got to try various brands of milk tea and some definitely stood out as superior to the others. I haven't been able to find a good, ready-made one here in the states, until recently. I tried this one (pictured above) and it's pretty good, though not quite up to par with the ones in Japan, but it comes close. Hope you all enjoy your weekend!

If you're in your late twenties, or have been there, you'll definitely get this.

Beauty is absolutely in the eye of the beholder, and most times, we are our worst critic.

Just a reminder of how wonderful our Creator is.

Need a tablet case? Here are a few cute DIY's to consider.

November 21, 2013

chevron glitter nails

I like to get a little creative with my nails sometimes, and will now especially beacuse I picked up a few new polishes from Sephora's new line "Formula X". It claims to have super intense color, extremely high shine, and really cool, innovative polishes that give your nails different looks or as they put it, effects. I'd heard many people raving about the polishes so I knew I had to give them a try. After trying them out, the verdict is that they are amazing, I'd almost claim them as game changers. The colors are super opaque and the glitters really are unique like they claim. Many have also said these polishes are like the ever popular gel polish that stays on longer than regular polishes, and retains it's high shine. There's a system that is used to achieve this, which requires a few different stages: cleanse, prep, polish, then top coat. I actually decided to forgo the system and just got a few of the different polishes which have held up well without the system so far (the photos above are after about a week of wear).

With my new polishes I decided to have a bit of fun and do a simple chevron nail. I used a nude Zoya polish and the Formula X polish in "Opposites Attract" which is packed with tiny pieces of gold glitter, and with only two coats it appears you dipped your entire nail in glitter. After applying the Zoya polish I let it dry fully (this is important) before applying tape to expose the area I was going to paint with the glitter polish. After painting the exposed areas I took the tape off, let my nails dry, applied top coat, and voila! You've got fun, nude nails that can be worn practically anywhere!

November 19, 2013

fall and winter fashion favorites

Fall and Winter Fashion Picks and Favorites

With the cold weather undoubtably here there are a few items that are (or will be) in rotation and will be staples for this season's wardrobe. I've chosen a few of my current favorites to share with you.

1. Long sleeve tops - Perfect for layering. Uniqlo's heattech is warm, lightweight, and good for layering, but just as good for wearing on it's own.

2. Rain boots - a comfortable pair of rain boots makes all the difference in keeping your toes dry and happy. There are always the good 'ol Hunter brand, but if you want to stray away from it's popularity, try the Kamiks. They are so comfortable, stylish, and come in a range of patterns and colors.

3. Beanies aka toques - I love me a good beanie. It keeps my head warm and adds an element of style to boring outfits. I love this cashmere one from Aritzia that I have in three different colors.

4. Scarves - Not just any scarf, a scarf so big it can double as a blanket. This one in blackwatch fits the bill just perfectly.

5. A super warm jacket - There's nothing worse than being cold, it handicaps me to the point where I don't like to do anything, so a warm jacket is essential. This North Face is lightweight, super warm, tailored for a woman's body, and can fold into a small pouch perfect for traveling with.

6. A versatile sneaker - It's important to have a sneaker that can carry you from outfit to outfit and still look stylish and put together. Jack Purcell's are my favorite for their comfort and simplicity.

7. Cross body bags - Cross body bags are good for all year round, but I find them especially good for winter. They are no fuss to just sling on your body and you can be hands free to either hold umbrellas or keep your hands in your pockets for extra warmth. This Celine bag is on my wishlist and can be transformed from a clutch to a cross body, but there are some really great affordable options here and here.

8. Leather Jacket - This is an essential for me. Leather jackets are perfect for layering, keeping the wind out, and can instantly make an outfit. My favorite that I've been wearing is this one from Mackage.

9. Ankle boots - I love ankle boots as a Fall and Winter shoe since they keep your feet warm and can be paired with dresses, skirts, jeans... basically any bottom you want to wear will work. I'm loving these and these.

10. Chunky, oversized sweaters - I love keeping cozy in oversized sweaters in wool or cashmere. They are easy to throw on and can look totally chic (versus sloppy) when worn right. ZaraMadewell and my favorite, Aritzia all have a great selection.

Check my beauty favorites for Fall and Winter here.

November 15, 2013

finally, friday

Homemade Vietnamese ice coffee in the morning, why not? Love that this morning was super chill and relaxed, hoping the same for this coming weekend!

San Francisco turns to Gotham City for a day and I'm hoping to catch the action.

Looking for a great pair of black leather ankle booties and I'm drooling over these.

What does your favorite condiment say about you?

It's no wonder I love space and the fact that they can capture this is amazing.

Deforestation, a really sad reality.

Whales have earwax, and unlike ours it tells a lifelong story.

November 14, 2013

visiting angel island

The last time I went to Angel Island was in elementary school on a field trip, and while I don't remember too much about it, I do remember it's where the Chinese were detained for days to months at a time before actually getting to immigrate to the U.S. This most recent visit definitely brought back those memories of writings on the wall that I saw as a young child, but this time around meant so much more.

They carved poems into the walls
What their sleeping quarters would have looked like - everything is so close together
More carvings
Most of the barracks are new, but this is an original, a bed someone would have slept in
More of the sleeping quarters
Whatever they brought with them is what they had for entertainment, clothing, or for snacking

All detainees were held on a very specific schedule of when to wake, when to use the bathroom, when to eat, and all with minimal allowance outside. They were also interrogated and asked questions to prove they were related to family members already in San Francisco, but the questions were sometimes ridiculous ones that not even you or I could answer (an example, how many windows are in your house, and this answer would have to match your other family member's exactly). There's so much more I could tell you, but if you're interested I highly recommend taking a visit on your own. You'll get to hear and read about stories of the immigrants and what it was like for them. My grandmother went through Angel Island to get to San Francisco, and there's even old letters from the days she was there. It wasn't just the Chinese that were detained there either, there were small pockets of people from Italy, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Africa, etc.

While this is one of the things many people visit/do on the island, there are also great hiking trails, and some days they have live music events at their cafe. You can tour the island by foot, bike, tram or even segway. If you've got interest, Ferry on over to the island and check out a piece of history.

November 11, 2013

music mondays

Definitely nothing to watch here, but it's 50 minutes of old school listening pleasure.

November 08, 2013

finally, friday

I made a super tasty and flavorful seafood paella for my sister's birthday this past weekend from this recipe. It's perfect for feeding a large party, looks gorgeous, and of course what I loved best is that it's a one pot wonder (I love things cooked in one pot, all the flavors meld and it's easy cleanup). It was so, so good and I would absolutely make it again. Just make sure you add some lemon slices for your guests, it really gives that dish a little something extra. Now, on to other things... (and the weekend!)

Don't forget the holidays are coming up, and if you're a DIY-er like me, you'll appreciate this and can get even more creative with yours.

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a great workout and fun, but I can only imagine how much more exhilarating it is at night!

I love the sunshine so much, I bet these folks are crazy happy that they don't have to live in the shadows for half the year.

Love this idea instead of buying tons of wrapping paper (and it's also chic).

To the man I saw throwing plastic garbage out his car window today: you suck.

November 07, 2013

fall and winter beauty favorites

winter beauty faves

My beauty routine changes from time to time, and with the shift in seasons it definitely calls for switching out a few of my normal go-to items for a few more seasonally appropriate favorites.

Le Weekend de Chanel - this is a new find of mine and an item that will likely be a staple in my every day, every season routine. It works wonders and my skin looks amazing.
Hydrating Gel Cream Bobbi Brown - gives my skin just enough moisture and leaves it feeling soft and supple
SK-II Advanced Eye Treatment Film - a great every day eye treatment for me that's not too rich
Bobbi Brown Lip Balm - one of the best winter beauty essentials for chapped, dry lips and it also has SPF 12
Bobbi Brown Face Oil - the perfect night time treat for my skin which I use on occasion if it needs a little extra moisture boost and it has the most perfect neroli scent

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy - the perfect pink/beige neutral lip with a little sheen
Bobbi Brown Antigua bronzer - pink toned so it works as the perfect blush with a little glow
Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Black Ink - a gel liner that lasts all day, this stuff will not budge
Shu Uemura eyelash curler - curled, flirty lashes make all the difference
Bobbi Brown brow kit - I almost never leave the house without defining my brows, it's a must for me
Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte lipstick in Crushed Plum - my favorite berry toned lip for Fall and Winter
Chanel Vitalumiere foundation- - a beautiful formula leaving skin looking healthy and radiant
NARS Cruella - a deep, dark red that will vamp up any look
Shu Uemura waterproof mascara - holds a curl, defines, lengthens, and gives a little volume