Tuesday, November 30, 2010

'Tis the Season

to exfoliate.  And I will get to that in a minute because with the wind blowing, the temperature dropping (freaking 32 degrees last night at the beach - wth is happening in the land??), and the heat turning on seemingly all day long my skin's taking a beating and it's time to strike back.  Seeing as I'm in California and many of you live in much colder parts of the country and world there is no way I'm in this alone.

However, first I must have an impromptu Kum Bah Yah festival and say I freaking love the readers of this blog.  And I'm not saying it to kiss butt, I seriously mean it.  So many times I'll be having a less than stellar moment and then read a comment or check email, and someone will make me roll with laughter or say something so nice it turns my mood around entirely.  High five to internet friends!! (and to me being a big ol' hypocrite - as evidenced here and here as well - I used to guffaw at peeps who met peeps on the internet and am now happily gnawing on a foot sandwich.  my own foot and no one else's thank you very much because i am terrified of feet).

Take yesterday for instance - I didn't have a bad day per se, but the wheels definitely flew off the Cyber Monday shopping bus and I had to reel it in.  Lucy in the sky with diamonds did I see some major deals  out there!!! I even managed to buy a gift for someone other than myself.  'Imagine that idea, Carrie,' she says to herself.  Cut to evening.  I open up recent comments on yesterday's post on the fur, tp and Mary Kay Cadillac and there's Ashley from Milk Teeths (vintage shopper extraordinaire):  
"seeing a mary kay pink cadillac is seriously on par with sighting a unicorn--I wanna see one!!"
In a spontaneous fit of laughter I spit water all over the computer screen and hung off the chair gripping my sides.  Then proceeded to re-read, rinse and repeat.  It really doesn't get any better than this!!

 image via te quiero
ps-I do this move like 14,000x/day

And earlier in the day I left a comment on Frankie Hearts Fashion (where Nicole was wearing the sickest Prada booties you ever did see and she said "weak sauce" in her write-up aka fave phrase ever) describing my brunch of banana cream pie.  Moments later I get the following tweet 
"I hope your eating the hell out of that banana cream..something has to make up for being back at work"
Mmmmkay?  Kindred spirits or what?  Somehow I managed to keep the pie in my mouth, but only because I was entirely miserable that the weekend was over and I STILL hadn't seen each and every Harry Potter meaning I STILL can't go to the theatre for what will inevitably go down as a crowning iconic moment in pop culture history.  By the time I get there it'll be on some wanky little screen at the dollar theatre!! Weak sauce! See what I mean??  The girl is hilarious.

And never mind how excited I am that Anna Jane got her dress this weekend, Carey's been wearing the sickest outfits lately, Katie's got 7000 ornaments on her tree, Valerie's getting geared up to rip around the skating rink to kick off Holiday season 2010, and Josie's almost done with her semester even though I think I've got the poor girl so hooked on Felicity she may have to be pried from her dorm room n order to make it to exams...Josie's parents?  I apologize nowThat Ben Covington - he'll steal your heart every time. Swoon!  Gotta love my fellow Canadians!

Kum Bah Yah...lalalalalalalalala I love everyone until the bills come rolling in from Cyber Monday lalalalalalala

So while 'tis the season to exfoliate, I guess we can get to that in an upcoming post seeing as 'tis also the season to value your friends - internet ones included - and I didn't even get to rattle off an eighth of you...December here weeeeeee come!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hand in (Fur) Pocket

With Black Friday and Saturday having gone by, it was time to face reality:  there remained less than a quarter of a roll of toilet paper, zero razors and my deodorant was dangerously low meaning I'd have to leave the house (curses for not planning ahead). Of course that entails combing one's hair and, in the spirit of 45 degrees, donning something warm.  How does one recover from 4 days of sheer nothing? Go big and leave home in a fur coat to traipse about completing mundane tasks while strangers in the local neighborhood give odd sideways glances at your moderately overdone Sunday attire as you prep for operation buzzkill aka Monday morning by leaving your beloved sweats, UGGs and fuzzy sweaters behind.

Hmmmm I think I'll have a snack to go with all those other
snacks I've been consuming for days.  
Panic sets in as it dawns on me that Christmas is less than 
a month away and I have approximately zero gifts.
Suddenly I'm considering giving everyone I know coffee beans.
Yaaaaaaaawn.  Do I have to get that tp?  Don't I have some kleenex in my bag?
I stare listlessly into the tea as it steeps.  
All I know is this coat is fuzzy and warm, and the sleeve detailing is wonderful.
None of this, however, preps me to re-enter shopping crowds.
Check that woman tossin' elbows as she runs in the door at Target.
You know she threw someone to the ground like a rag doll for 
a 99 cent toaster oven left over from Friday.
I am happy to escape with just a tp purse (nifty catch phrase I came up with for
that little handle thing they attach...it always gets a smile from the Target ladies).
Joyriding around in the newfound "outdoors" (aka staying OFF the freeway) 
I spot a pink Cadillac and follow it around for 5 miles 
to ensure it is what I think it is...
Hells bells the recession hasn't hit everyone.  Mary Kay's selling like mad.
Next thing you know I come to, still in fur and chip in hand, at a fave
 local Mexican hangout.
The perfect end to a relaxing weekend.

Dear Monday:  Not now.

Outfit Details: Juicy Couture-Faux Fur Jacket, James Perse-Button-up, Juicy Couture-Riding Pants, Loeffler Randall-Boots, Foley+Corinna-Bag, Melinda Maria-Rings

Friday, November 26, 2010

No Justice on Black Friday

I just finished telling Nikki  and Taylor that Black Friday really isn't for me...and then accidentally stumbled upon the All Saints Rivo Sweater deciding maybe Black Friday isn't so bad after all - if you're shopping from bed.  After envisioning Rivo with leggings, military boots, and a shearling lined denim jacket, it turns out the sweater is, of course, sold out in my size.  Except for in Miami.  And All Saints doesn't ship from stores to customers.  *insert disappointment here*

Thankfully there are still 2.5 more days til Monday to recover while consuming all kinds leftovers.  Happy Weekend everyone!!  pssst - All Saints has 25% off right now!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

With Gratitude

{Table is ready!}

Kind of a late post today, but I thought I would take some quality time to help the Chef get ready for Thanksgiving, and just lounge around enjoying snacks and relaxing.  In the past week I've had some time to think about the many blessings in my life like: 
  • A roof over my head
  • Clothes on my back
  • A refrigerator filled with food
  • Access to clean water
  • Family and friends that love and support me
  • A boyfriend that, truth be told, puts up with a lot from me (thanks Chef!)
  • A job that lets me work from home
  • 2 super cats (meow!)
  • Good health
  • Common sense 
  • A sound mind
I could go on, but these are the things that immediately come to mind as everyday blessings that I sometimes take for granted.  The sound mind one really hit home yesterday in Santa Monica after I had a lengthy conversation with someone who was clear out of his mind.  It was very sad and as I walked away I was so thankful for the ability to think straight and keep it together (even though half the time I feel like I might be losing it).    How is it that the things we are so accustomed to having daily are the things we overlook the most? 

On that, er, happy note I want to wish everyone here in the United States a very Happy Thanksgiving!! And to everyone else who might pop by in the meantime - Happy Weekend!! (in the event I go into a food & movie watching coma and don't resurface until Monday.  slight possibility)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

White Pumpkin Ganache and Caramel Tart

I don't know about you, but I am ready for a few days off.  We are in full swing over here planning the menu for a special meal at home, as well as figuring out what to take for dinner invites we've received.  At one particular dinner party we are in charge of dessert, so last night spent the evening whipping up a couple "samples" to make sure they would pass expectations.  Upon completion I announced, "I think we might be coming down with something and unable to attend" aka do we have to share? I mean dessert is a well-balanced meal as far as I'm concerned.  (Diet respite for Thanksgiving, although overeating is not in the plans...then again you can never tell!)

White Pumpkin Ganache and Caramel Tart
Ingredients: Makes (4) 3.5 inch Mini Tarts

1/2C  flour (gluten-free blend here)
1/4C  butter
1/4t    salt
1t       cold water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
You can use a bought pie crust if you'd like, but you won't need all of it.  I quickly whipped up some homemade crust using my gluten-free flour blend and it was easy and awesome.  For the sake of ease, we just stuck to regular flour for the recipe.

 Begin by combining flour and salt. 
 Using a pastry cutter or fork to mash it until you get a crumbly texture
and then mix the remainder by hand...
to form it into a ball. *You may need to add a bit of water 
to form a ball, but I didn't.

Place the dough into the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.  Once chilled roll and press into tart pans. 

 Bake shell in 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

1/2C sugar
1/2C water
3T butter
3T heavy cream
1t salt

Mix sugar and water bring to a boil and let boil until sugar begins to brown (do not touch or stir as this will cause it to recrystalize). Once sugar is a light brown remove from heat and add the cream (be careful it is very hot and will splatter).  When you add the cream it will start to harden - just whisk it until incorporated.  Then stir in the butter and salt. Let rest in pot.

*White Chocolate and Pumpkin Ganache
1/3C canned pumpkin(plain)
2/3C white chocolate chips
1/3C heavy cream

Place chocolate in a bowl.  Bring cream to a boil.  Once boiling pour all the cream over the chocolate and stir slowly until smooth.  Then fold in the pumpkin, and hold in a warm place.

To finish:
Pour caramel into each tart shell to completely coat the bottom.

Let chill in fridge until firm about - about 10 minutes.  Next pour ganache over to fill the shell.  Let chill again until firm - about 30 minutes.  Top with whip cream and serve. 

Don't let the shadows from making these by the light of the silvery moon 
fool you...they are good.  We have one left and I'm seriously 
contemplating tossing the diet to eat it for breakfast!

What are you guys making for Thanksgiving dessert?  I'd love to hear your family traditions and favorite recipes.  I'm wishing now that I would have done a recipe swap with all of you prior to Thanksgiving...maybe we can figure something out for December.  What do you think?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lunatic Fringe

A few weeks ago you may recall the lament over my existential closet crisis that then spurred on a hippie phase.  You probably noticed the hippie phase lasted approximately one blog post because I realized my hippie clothes were all packed away from the summer we never had (and ps it was 43 degrees with the wind chill at 4pm yesterday!! WHAT?!?).  The realization that I possess zero winter hippie attire - and am not even sure what that would consist of - led me to a foreign land I've spoken of, but never before braved due to sheer fear of looking like a deer in the headlights:  Vintage. 

To reiterate:  I have roughly zero ideas about vintage.  When she was in LA, Anna Jane and I had a deep conversation over lemonades regarding vintage, the summary of which was this:  "I think it's old crap" (figuratively speaking only, of course, because there is some majorly good old crap out there).  It could be a year old, 15 years old, someone's grandma's old thing, or maybe something new that has been run over by a car 140x so that it looks old and you can just be told it is and fall for it.  Anyway I wanted some legit old thing that looked like it came out of the maryjane tents at Woodstock or fell out of the back of an old turquoise VW Van like the one my favorite boss ever bought and restored for his hippie-esque daughter on her 16th birthday.

So off I headed to the internets (too scared to go to a store:  then I read Carey's account and realized major pain brings major gain) and after 2 days of searching off and on - during which time I almost gave up 700x - I found a treasure and placed a little bid to get the waters stirring.  And then I had to wait 3 days and come down to a bidding war in the last 30 seconds during which time I almost lost my one shot at winter hippieville to someone with an eBay handle of "backupoffit".  Famous last words to that person.  Sowee!

{wherever she is you know Pocahontas wants a piece of this}
 Fringe hem that hits the top of the boots with a swish when I walk...
the ladies at Sprouts were all a-swoon.  I wish I had some advice.
"Uh, eBay?"  met by blank.stare.
 I can't lie - I love it.  There wasn't an arm pit stain, a weird scent,
or a loose thread.  Check out the side slit!! If it was warmer outside
I'd have it on over ripped denim cut-offs and moccasins.
All I need is my trapper hat and some knee-high Minnetonkas and I'm set!
PANYC and Motif56 Bracelets, Brandy&Melville Fringe Bag, Banana Republic Suede Boots
Temperature: 43 degrees, Fringed Tunic:  VINTAGE!, Denim:  M+O (RIP),

If there were more hours in the day I'd be eyes glazed over staring at eBay, but I'm still working on "ward off muffin top 2010".  As well as work, clean the place up, do a load of laundry, read a book, finish watching the first Harry Potter movie and all the others before the weekend so I can take part in what is certainly going to go down as an iconic moment in pop-culture history (can you say late bloomer? and 'i've robbed myself?')...and then there's the Christmas/Holiday shopping.  *panic*

Is it Wednesday afternoon yet?  I taste caramel pumpkin tart.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Free People for Wee People!

This weekend was so blustery, rainy and cold we could barely drag ourselves out of the house.  Saturday's whistling wind kept me under the covers until almost noon...too lazy (and freezing) to get out of bed and race down the hallway to turn up the heat.  Wind + rain + cold = perfect conditions for an internet shopping storm (did you see that Rebecca Taylor dress from Saturday's post?? help.me.now).  It's becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that Christmas is around the corner, and I have approximately 2 gifts purchased. Eeps!

Rather than get too wound up swooning and crying over things no longer available in my size, I found myself shopping for my niece who is basically amazing and, at 5 years of age, already possessing a very unique sense of style.

 She's a little bit hippie (with a side of sparkly Doc Martens boot).
A whole lotta lovely.
 And can rock a self-chosen mix of animal prints 
better than any girl I know.
(leopard print juicy couture jacket c/o auntie carrie)
First day outfit and she threw on that jacket and the zebra flats fearlessly!! 
(swallows homesick lump in throat)

Her eclectic taste and love for things outside the regular rules of kid fashion led me straight to Free People's new Wee People line.  It is so fun and completely Free People-ish...I can't wait to pick up a few things.  Check out some of the items I'm eyeballing:

They're like mini boyfriend jeans!!
My niece is not so much a denim fan yet though :(
She does, however, LOVE fur!
Can you imagine this thrown over that T and jeans?
 Or how about the Thumbelina Sweater Coat to mix it up?
How adorable!!
She could swing this little Fringe Purse on over top...
Toss on her Metallic Clogs
and be off to school, gymnastics or a rad birthday party!!

Then again it IS winter in Canada so she may have to carry
those fabulous clogs along and put them on when she arrives.
But that's no problem.  She can still keep warm and 
in super style with these Wooly Mammoth Boots!!!
Karl Lagerfeld?  Are you out there?

I don't know about you, but I think Free People has knocked it out of the park with this new line.  It is almost entirely sold out.  My fingers are crossed for re-stocking within the next couple weeks so that a few treasures can be added just in time for Christmas.  If you have little girls to buy for take a hop over to their site and get ready to have some fun.  Giving gifts is fun as it is, but when you can really get creative for kids it's even better.

Happy Monday everyone!  Anyone done with Holiday shopping?  I'm almost afraid to ask...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Twinkle, Twinkle

 {holy mother of pearl}
Rebecca Taylor Twinkle Twinkle Dress
here at Tobi
on sale at Rebecca Taylor!!! (sold out of my size! *insert tears here*)

This dress is whispering 'New Year's Eve' and I'm trying to turn down the volume. If it doesn't stop raining soon, I'm going to have to hand my wallet and the computer over to the authorities (aka the Chef)....p.s. check out that cuff on her arm.  swoon

Friday, November 19, 2010

Can't Get Enough - Sparkle and Shine

My obsession with Melinda Maria Jewelry all started with this shiny ring:

I can't remember exactly where I was when it happened, but I had come eye to eye with Vanessa Hudgens sporting the ring and it was game on.  After that it seemed every time I opened a magazine, there she was wearing my that ring. 

 Oh look there she is with the ring again.

Before long my tracking skills (you know those handy ones right ladies? hehe) led me to Melinda Maria (jackpot!) and I discovered her studio wasn't far from the Chef's house.  Like any awesome boyfriend he snuck over to pick up a treat for me - at which time he met Melinda and narrowly escaped having his vehicle towed from in front of the building.  We know how to make an impression over here at the bird?  The following day when I met her, Melinda sparked an even greater love for her designs because of how kind and genuine she is as a person.  She has a certain lighthearted, warm quality that quite literally shines through in every piece she creates.

Earlier this month I was so excited to receive an invitation to an event unveiling her new Holiday line.  It took place this past Saturday and was an amazingly fun evening filled to the brim with more glitter, sparkle and shine than any girl could ask for.  As people were departing I managed to capture a few photos to share with you.  Prepare to swoon.

Can you imagine walking into a room filled with all this amazing jewelry?

I had come to fill my quota of silver and there were so many 
wonderful things to choose from.

Suddenly I glanced up to see all these bracelets...
note Pyramid Spike Bangle on right.  Must. Acquire. More.
 And how about a few of these piled on with them?  Okay - sure thing!
Before you knew it plan 'Acquire More Silver' had been forgotten 
and plan 'Acquire Gold, Silver and Whatever I'm in the Mood For' 
had been adopted. 

All I can say is it was a great time and my jewelry box is aflutter with old and new friends getting to know one another.  Oops!  One of my favorite things about this jewelry line is how Melinda has designed the pieces to be built upon.  You are never left feeling like something is "out", but rather a new item comes alongside to be added to your current collection. Slowly, but surely is my motto with this one!

I hope you've enjoyed this little glimmer into Melinda's latest pieces - if you're making your Christmas/Holiday wish lists, take a peek on her site (I know several of you are already loving it!) and let yourself get excited! Yahoooo for treats for us at the Holidays!!!

Have a great weekend everybody!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Elusive Back Door

When I was in university a couple of my friends attended college in the US and we only got to see each other on winter and summer breaks.  These guys were super fun, and my girlfriends and I looked forward to their return trips home where they schooled us about life outside Canada and seemed so very worldly.  Randy and Kenny loved a good rave and after regular club scene hours where we'd rip it up to favorites like 'Jump Around' by House of Pain, they would drag us to these after hours places that looked like abandoned buildings.  I remember being a royal pain (read: scared nerd) the first time we walked up at 2am to dead silence and pounded on the door of some warehouse in the middle of nowhere, "There's no one in there you fools!  Let's go home!!" only to have the door mysteriously swing open revealing thundering music, blinding strobe lights, and hordes of sweaty dancers who weren't ready to retire for the night.  More than once we'd lose track of time only to wander out into broad daylight on Sunday morning and head straight to breakfast.  Ahhhhhh the good old days.

When the Chef pointed out a cool looking alley the other day all I saw was the door, and it immediately took me back to a time when it seemed so cool to gain access to a place reserved only for those in "the know". 
Juicy Couture Fur Vest, Zara Pleated Leather Skirt, J.Crew Thigh Highs
The SKIRT!!  I saw this thing over a month ago taking a quick spin 
through Zara.  Like a fool I thought I could come back and grab it. Gone
Thus began the quest...which was completed just the other night when 
my fave shopgirl snagged the LAST one from the window display just for me.
Whew!  Cue "The search is over, you've been with me all the while..."
This is pretty much the condition we'd be in rolling into that secret door.
Okay maybe a bit less chic...but the door didn't smell like joranvandersloot urine.
And it wasn't flanked by palm trees holding crumpled up Marlboro packages.
Uh, anyone use garbage cans anymore?
Before you knew it we'd be rolling back out, donning our shades and heading
off to some diner or pizza joint for breakfast.  Ohthestomachofthecollegestudent.
T Luxury Apparel T-Shirt, Marc Jacobs Shoes, J.Crew Thigh Highs
I'm apologizing now - you may see this skirt several more times in the near future.
Imagine with a grey chunky knit sweater and military boots.
How about with flats, a poufy blouse and a denim jacket thrown over?
The possibilities are endless...a woman wanted to toss me for it in the fitting room.
It was a narrow escape thanks to the workouts.
Here's to the rest of the week going by just as quickly as the past few days.
Happy Thursday everyone!
Woop Woop (that's my rave sound - ahahahaha)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Since leaping back on the workout wagon I've had so much energy - good energy, positive energy, happy energy.  Yesterday afternoon I got a rad call from a shop girl informing me she'd nabbed a leather skirt I've been coveting that's been sold out for weeks.  Score!! Rather than freaking out about work I let myself quit a bit early and scoot out with the Chef for a game of cat and mouse aka skirt.  The night was whimsical and fun; lighthearted, filled with shared smiles and laughs with people we've grown to love and appreciate in LA - a city that once seemed so unfriendly, but has become a warm community.

After I nabbed my skirt - oh yes I did - AND made a great new friend in the fitting room (who says you can't make friends in LA??), the Chef and  I found ourselves wandering about semi-emptied stores admiring the early phases of Christmas/Holiday.  I do love this time of the year.  It leaves me nostalgic and hopeful, sentimental and happy - but also just enjoying every moment.  Sounds cheesy, but couldn't be more true.  So in the spirit of the season (before someone jacks my parking spot and flips me off) I thought I'd share some of the things that are topping my giddy list right now...whether for self or others - they bring a healthy dose of cheer!

$5 from each purchase will benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
(pardon me while I purchase all 3 - this takes my newfound sequin love to a whole new level
and satisfies a need to give back to innocent ones who need our support)
  • Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I'm thinking this golden wishbone might need to arrive within the next week.  We've got a lot of wishes over here at this free bird!!
  • The Weepies newest album - 'Be My Thrill'.  To say I adore The Weepies would be an understatement.  I've been listening to their music from the beginning and am so happy to have their current album mixed into my faves right now and for always. 
  • Last night when I was strolling Anthropologie I saw the cutest Christmas tree ornaments.  Admission: my tree is filled with quirky cat ornaments, but I sense a change.  Thanks Anthro!!
  • The Holiday season is upon us...let's fill our homes with sparkle and shine like this peony candleholder from Eighteen Karat.  Makes me want to run to Vancouver right now.
  •  Speaking of sparkle and shine, I can't seem to escape these Siwy sequin pants...I might need an intervention.
  • But not before I get this ring on my finger.  I can't seem to get enough silver right now.
We closed the night at one of our fave restaurants - a place we started frequenting when we were "just friends".  It was heartwarming to have familiar servers sit down with us to catch up and dish on the latest in all our lives - people who have become our friends.  Suddenly, in the middle of everything, I recognized feeling so ridiculously happy, content, and at peace.  Living in the moment is where it's at.

Happy Wednesday everyone!!  Thanks so much for sharing your Holiday lists recently...so many great ideas to contemplate.  If you get a chance check out a list I contributed to over at Elleinad Spir - super fun!


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