Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I have to say I've been procrastinating all evening over this post.  I'm conflicted.  Torn I guess you could say.  Hehe - couldn't resist.

Subject:  ripped up clothing.  To rip or not to rip?  To get ripped or not to get ripped?

Maybe I should categorize the following as the good, the bad, and the ugly (or just simply ridiculous).  Let us proceed with Category One:  The Good.

Let me begin by saying I've been in a tete-a-tete with this trend for over a year. About a month ago I was with the Chef in Ever.  He was grabbing something when I saw these ripped up jeans.  Now I should preface this by saying I am a huge Ever fan and have a bunch of their stuff.  It's California cool - denim included.  Anyway.  Seizing the moment I scampered off into the fitting room to give them a try just for curiosity's sake because I didn't think I'd actually like them, and basically wanted to see what the rips all down the front would look like. 

Famous last words because here they are on my body.  When I put them on in the fitting room I also considered that I might be caught up in the elation of something potentially new.  So I strolled out of the fitting room where the Chef had his back to me checking out a coat.  I said, "hey what do you think?".  He turned around and without hesitating responded, "you know I actually like them.  You're getting those right?"

And now here we are.  The Good.

And I do think they are good.  I didn't buy them too tight so my skin's not busting through the torn leg areas.  I've shown them here with a wedge, but to be honest I completely see myself wearing them rolled up just one more time to ankle level, paired with black rainbow flip-flops and a thin white t at a beach bonfire this summer.  Ideal pants for that type of occasion.  See?  Versatility.  Another reason for Category Good.

I am, however beginning to wonder if it's ever going to warm up.  This picture was taken 2 days ago when it was 55 degrees at 6pm.  For those of you in Celsius that is 12.5 degrees.  In late June. Shudder.  The wind was just brutal.

And now let us proceed cautiously to Category Two:  The Bad

Please help me to understand this because I must not have been there that day.  I mean I get it that Rihanna and the Kardashians can pull these off, but I just don't get it.  If there is even an ounce of extra flesh on one's leg and these things are tight it's a fat bulge between the shreds and, pardon me, but that is not attractive.

Don't get me wrong - David Lerner (item pictured here) makes a mean pair of leggings. And if I wasn't on a wallet fast over at American Apparel I might consider investing in a pair of his....but why not just get a cheap pair, grab the scissors and slice carefully and accordingly if you want to achieve this look?  So long as you don't get too close to the side seam and can cut in a straight line you might be able to pull it off and save, oh, a hundred bucks. (these are currently on sale at Shopbop with only 2 pairs left in this style - so someone out there is pulling it off with a sky high bootie)

And finally, buckle your seatbelts and get ready for Category 3:  The Ugly.

The Balmain Slashed Army T-Shirt.  I am referring to it as The Ugly because with a price tag of $1625 I just can't resist.  Now everyone knows about the Balmain boots.  They're sick, they're fantastic, they're beyond.  At this point their reputation goes before them.  Seriously - I saw the Buckled Suede Pair at Net-A-Porter yesterday and only one day later (at a price tag of $1605) they are gone.  But that still does not explain this ripped atrocity, that is coincidentally now on sale for a mere $1,137.50.  It looks like some acid got loose and ate a bunch of holes out of it.  Call me practical, and maybe my age is catching up to me (or all my mother's lectures on being responsible with money and, like, paying for rent), but if you want a ripped up t-shirt how about this one by LnA?  Or maybe just rip up your own? 

Anyway.  Thus ends my brief synopsis.  I do have mad love for my new jeans - rips and all.  And I do rock the Siwy Camilla shorts in wonder and snowstorm - both with minimal ripping and fray - but I've personally drawn the line at the leggings and the t's.

How about you?  Any takers on the $1K t-shirt??  I'd seriously like to know just out of pure curiosity. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


If you've been following my blog for even the shortest period of time you've likely noticed that I like to mix studded elements into my outfits. I've recently added a new piece to my wardrobe that many of you have likely seen and some of you probably even own.  Before we get to it - here's a glimpse into my love for studded perfection.  This might be a good recap for my new readers...Welcome everyone!

The Matt Bernson KM Gladiators are one of my absolute favorite pairs of shoes.  This will be their 3rd year with me and they are still my go-to summer sandal:

By adding studs Matt Bernson takes the bad ass factor of the shoe up a notch.  The shoe itself does the same to a more feminine or casual outfit.  You've seen me wear them here and here with sheer glee.  If you are considering I would highly recommend you take the leap.  Remorse Factor = next to zero.

If you're in the market for a brown option, Matt's Barracuda is another excellent option and it's got just a little more stud to it:

Look at the sun catching that one stud on the right giving it just a little gleam!  These ones are entering their second summer and they go great with simple summer dresses or a pair of shorts.  Even though it's been very cool I've paired them with a jersey dress and military jacket for a late afternoon dinner and loved the way the shoes added a spark to the outfit.

And then there's the Alexander Wang Coco.  Remember the story of how I got this bag for my birthday last year?  Complete shock.

That story still brings a tear to my eye - and so does the bag.  The studs are what make the bag.  FACT

And how about the freaking bare-bottomed denim debacle that almost left the Chef  in a muted state.  Neither one of us has fully recovered, but we both agree the rewards of the battle were worth it given this $35 studded score:

This vest has been worn several times already with shorts, dresses and leggings.  It is extremely versatile and adds the perfect punch of za-za-zoo to a very basic outfit (of which I own many).  I almost consider it an accessory.

And finally - how about this little baby?  I paired it with the Lemlem Tiru Tunic and got so many compliments on this particular outfit.

At the end of the day I think it was the soft breeziness of the tunic contrasted with the sharp studded element of Rebecca Minkoff's Studded Rocker that really brought the look home.

Sometimes when people think of studs they think hard or harsh, and I hope these images prove that doesn't necessarily have to be the case.  My newest addition is super simple, but has been a show-stopper each time I've worn them.  J.Crew's Redwood Misfit Chino Short - studded, of course - and coincidentally paired with a belt by Old Stud Handmade.

Without the studs the shorts would still have a wonderful worn-in look and feel to them.  But with the studs added along the pockets it makes them just a little edgy - and the color couldn't be a more perfect compliment for the style.

Notice the worn spots on the shorts and the fray along the hemline.  How brilliant is that?  And the addition of the studs just knocks the shorts right out of the proverbial ballpark.  I had two women stop me on Sunday to ask if these were Current/Elliott.  Woop woop!  Nope!

That day I opted to keep it pretty simple and threw on a simple James Perse white v-neck, a pair of fringed Dolce Vita sandals from last year, and a light denim safari jacket I picked up at J.Crew (I think last summer?).

If the sun ever manages to emerge for more than 10 minutes here at the beach I might actually achieve a tan and the shorts will look even better.  I plan to pair them with a high wooden wedge and a nice blousy button-up for an evening out.

But in the meantime I'm more than content with the laid-back, casual vibe they give off because the studs make me feel like I've dressed up a little even if I'm just running out to the store.  They're on sale right now at J.Crew and if you don't see your size - don't despair!  Call the item locator person and they will find and ship your size to you. 

If you're interested in adding some of the studded element to your wardrobe this summer you might want to consider this super cute summer dress/tunic by T-Bags, this amazing Gryphon jacket (that will go on sale), these hawt Ash wedges, or how about this belt by Madewell or a Free People bracelet (have and love btw).  I'd direct you to this Marni bag, but it sold out within a day of being posted (as she breathes a bitter sigh of relief on behalf of the pocketbook).  Take it as a sign's a pre-fall bag meaning this trend will be around for awhile longer.

You know, there is certain je ne sais quoi about a bunch of studs that, when added to a piece of clothing, a pair of shoes, a handbag or really any accessory, - breathes new life into an outfit. Do you think it could be the bling factor? I mean we are girls after all...And what are your thoughts - studs or no studs?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Safety Essentials for Surviving 4th of July in a Beach Community

The 4th of July is a pivotal holiday here in the United States.  Historically it marks the day this country declared independence from Great Britain, and is celebrated with parades and barbecues and all kinds of celebrations. The 4th also marks the kick off to summer long weekends, vacations and trips for many Americans.  Since moving to Southern California and, more specifically, my beach community I greet this holiday weekend with mixed emotions.  Inevitably, despite warning signs for days and weeks in advance, some fool almost always purchases illegal fireworks and it ends up resulting in this:

I laughed out loud when I saw the name of this pyrotechnic.  About 3 years ago I spent the afternoon/evening with dear friends who annually celebrate the 4th with many neighbors on their block.  As evening falls upon us the more orderly neighbors will begin lighting off legal fireworks in the street while another blasts out patriotic Paul Revere tunes from massive speakers.  Think:  food, friends, fun, lights, and big oooohs and ahhhhhs for all.

On this particular 4th one neighbor had a weeeee bit too much of the liquor and hauled out her $3000 stash of illegal fireworks to light up the neighborhood.  It was a freaking gas-an-a-half to see a light show that contained some insanely big bangs that paralleled Disney in the distance.  Drunken antics aside, I almost passed out half hysterically and half fearfully when a big ol' firework landed on her roof and the son had to frantically get up there with the fire extinguisher to hose it off.  And I was seriously peeing my pants laughing when the police choppers started flying over looking for the illegal firework perpetrator who is a mid-50's mom.  But the fun and games came to an abrupt halt just as the neighbor's crew was about to light off the biggest whacker of them all.  Suddenly a very nice plain-clothes police officer came strolling out of the bushes and ruined all the fun by confiscating the remainder of the stash while poor neighbor sloppily sobbed out an apology never to do it again (and she is genuinely a dear heart who just had a lit-tle too much festive drink that day).  So with this, and several other horror stories in mind, I present to you my personal list of safety essentials that are crucial for surviving 4th of July at the beach....can you tell I'm just aching for the weekend to start?

Safety Essentials

1.  Flame Retardant Suit - If you are spending the 4th in your own beach community there is a high likelihood of you needing this suit.  One year I rolled up to my garage only to be greeted by a very large red fire truck in the alley.  Apparently the yahoo neighbors in back, who had been lighting off their illegal fireworks all week leading up to the 4th, missed one crucial pyrotechnic.  When they accidentally threw it in the trash it exploded under the heat of the burning hot sun thereby setting flame to the back of their fence, patio awning, the other neighbor's roof, and all the trash cans.  Can you say roaring blaze??  Even I know ya don't pull that one..from when I was a kid and my little brother left his illegal fireworks on the kitchen table IN THE SUN while my mom was at church.  Think zhooom BANG red sparks, zhooooooom BANG green sparks, ZHOOOOOOOM BANG mom's gonna kick your ass when she gets home if she can find you in the smoke filled house.  No jokes.  Uh, remodeled kitchen and living room anyone?

2.  Jet Black Mirrored Sunglasses.  The kind you can see out of, but no one can see in.  Brace yourself for this one:  in the chef's parents' neighborhood it goes completely hog wild.  You can't get in, you can't get out - it's a hawt mess.  And apparently it's not entirely unheard of to see the occasional drunken topless girl riding up and down the streets on a beach cruiser.  Ick nast.  You really do not want to mess with an inebriated fool so let the sunglasses mask your eye rolls - and keep your retinas from burning out of your head.

3.  Purell.  If you're brave enough to take on a very busy walk-through neighborhood with bars and such, unfortunately someone might throw up on your foot.  I'm not kidding.  Some people have no shame and are completely out of control.  Purell people, PURELL.

4.  Earplugs.  They help me to sleep in the days leading up to the 4th when the cuckoo birds in back light off fireworks until 2AM with no regard for the working folk.  They also block out the mayhem after the fireworks when everyone and their mother goes stomping by my house for hours to get to their illegally parked vehicles that I've had towed from in front of my garage.  Guess they thought the "NO PARKING" sign didn't apply to them. 

5.  Wet Ones.  Think #3.  Only in the event of a slightly larger spill.  Sadly it's not unheard of.  Chef's even seen guys pee in the street before.  Just thinking about the splash that could hit my toes makes me shudder.

6.  Band-Aids.  Happens without fail almost every year someone falls down in front of my house (not my fault - think tipsy or stampede).  Like any good neighbor I will help if I don't have my earplugs in.  They're going to need something to ease the pain when they get around back to my garage and their car is gone.

7.  Fire Extinguisher.  Imagine if I had come home to that raging trash can and no one was home to call the fire department.  My now much more grown-up brother is, ironically, a proud member of the fire department - and he is adamant about me having a fire extinguisher.  I imagine it could also come in handy if you had to hose a drunken passed out person off your front steps.  True story about the drunk person - not about the hose.  I just politely hollered "get up and keep it movin' buddy. This is not a rest stop!"

8. And finally, the Cocktail.  If you live at the beach and there is an evening fireworks display within walking distance, you will have people from all over in tarnation descend upon your neighborhood in droves.  To survive this day and hang onto your religion in the process, I highly recommend a cocktail or two to ease your pain.  This too shall pass.

All jokes aside - even though you can find many of the things I've listed on the 4th of July (especially at the beach) - there are many, many stand-up Americans both locally and nationwide who take great pride in celebrating and commemorating the day with integrity.  Like any other situation, there will be fools who act out of line - you just have to do your best to pick activities wisely and steer clear of mayhem - which can most definitely be done.  I am looking forward to celebrating with local "adopted" family and friends this year.  Not to sound corny or anything - but the US is a great country to live in and I am proud to have the ability to do so.

Happy Monday everyone!!  Only a few more days!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Strawberry Lemongrass Crumble With Whipped Ginger

If you're anything like me (and it's summer where you are) you've been eyeballing half flats of strawberries at farmer's markets and beyond, ultimately giving in to the $5 pricetag only to get home and wonder what the sam hell you were thinking and how quickly you can come up with recipes before the berries go bad.

 Suffice it to say the Chef has come to the rescue in a big way.

Today while I was racing around trying to finish up work and get ready to jet off for an early afternoon shindig I walked into the kitchen after hearing a bit of a thud only to discover a miracle underway.  There was smashed up lemongrass and a pile of strawberries on the counter - and all kinds of baking ingredients being pulled from the cupboards (think thud).  I have to tell you dating a real life Chef has its perks.  And in a weak moment I'll also say that it helps very much to have someone cook for me once in awhile because I don't have any family close by to visit and I miss them terribly - not just for my mom and dad's amazing cooking, but also for the love and comfort that comes from having someone make you something to eat -  even the simplest thing - and sit and eat with you.  (chokes back tears in a big way.  can you say homesick?)

With this admittance I will now press on to the recipe.  I'm going to include a gluten-free version for the actual crumble itself because that is the reality I live with.  Everyone else can go ahead with regular ol' flour - simple as pie.  I mean crumble.

1        Stalk Lemongrass
1C     Water
1/4C   Sugar
2lbs    Strawberries halved
1T      Lime juice
1T      Corn starch
1T      Fresh Ginger minced
3T      Cream
1/4C  Cream
1T      Powdered Sugar 

Crumble Topping Ingredients
1/2C    Gluten Free Flour Blend (or regular All-Purpose Flour) *listed below*
1tsp     Baking Powder
1/4tsp  Salt
4T        Butter or Margarine
2/3C    Brown Sugar
2/3C    Gluten-Free Quick Cooking Oats or Quinoa Flakes (non-gluten free people use regular Quick Cooking Oats)

Gluten-free Flour Blend (for crumble topping)
*I use this blend in place of regular flour in a one by one substitution for cookies, pancakes - you name it.  Only took 3 years to finally get it right and now I can't tell the difference in any cookie I bake.  This will make a large batch of the Flour Blend that can then be used for future.*

1C        Brown Rice Flour
1 1/4C  White Rice Flour
1/4C     Potato Starch Flour
2/3C     Tapioca Starch Flour
3/4C     Sweet Rice Flour
1/3C     Corn Starch
2tsp      Xanthan or Guar Gum

Begin by preheating the oven to 350.

Grab your lemongrass and a cutting board.  I'm going to plead ignorant and admit I'd not actually seen lemongrass in its raw form prior to today.  Here it is.

What you want to do next is smash the lemongrass to release its fragrance (he used the back of a mini cast-iron skillet, but a meat mallet or the back end of a kitchen knife will work just fine too).

You'll know you're done smashing when the lemongrass looks like this:

It should basically be somewhat pulverized like so (but not too much because you have to be able to cut it up)

From here what you do next is cut the lemongrass into one inch pieces,

 place it in a small to medium sized sauce pot, and cover it with 1C of water.

Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce until only 1tsp water remains (approximately).  I'm going heavy on the pictures because I would need them.  You may very well be more familiar with lemongrass, but I'd rather give you more than less so you can make this dish.  It is ridiculously good.

Once the lemongrass is boiled down to the above - remove it from heat and stir in 1/4C sugar until dissolved (if sugar does not dissolve return to heat).

This picture is pre-stirred in sugar.  When you're done stirring it should all be dissolved and just slightly more pale in color like so: 

Once the sugar is dissolved set the mixture aside and allow it to cool (this will steep the lemongrass flavor into the syrup).

Next halve the strawberries and set them aside in a bowl.

                                                           (strawberry fields forevah)

When the lemongrass syrup is cool to touch strain it into the strawberries, pressing on the lemongrass with the back of a wooden spoon to get all the liquid out.

Seriously.  Who ever thought this up?  A genius - that's who!  Wait until you taste it.  Unbelievable.

Anyway.  From here stir a tablespoon of cornstarch into the berries like so:

Once the cornstarch has gently been mixed into the strawberries the mixture can be transferred into an 8 inch square baking dish (or we used (2) 6.5 inch mini skillets for fun).

Now set the berry mixture aside and get out your ingredients to make the crumble.

In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles.  Here's a two stage progression to give you an idea.

 Next stir in the brown sugar and oats and voila! 

Grab your strawberry/lemongrass filled baking dish and sprinkle the crumble over top the mixture.

Place the dish into the oven and bake until golden brown and bubbly ( the strawberry mix must bubble for cornstarch to thicken completely). Approximately 20 minutes.  Gluten-free people you need to know the crust will not be as crisp or golden brown for you, so really keep an eye on the bubbly mixture below it to gauge readiness. The crumble will get somewhat brown, but not the exact same look conventional flour would yield.

While the crumble is in the oven, it's time to make the Whipped Ginger topping.  (brace yourselves for goodness).  First peel and mince the ginger like so.

Next combine the ginger and 3T cream in a sauce pot. Bring it to a boil then remove from heat.

Now follow the same procedure you did with the lemongrass.  Allow the creamy ginger mixture to cool in order to steep the ginger flavor into the cream.  Once it is cool to touch strain the mixture into a separate bowl.

It's okay if a little bit of ginger falls through into the bowl.  Once you are done straining place the bowl into the refrigerator to chill - about 30 minutes (the cream must be thoroughly chilled or it will not whip).

Once chilled add 1/4C cream and powdered sugar, and whip until firm peaks form. Chill until needed.

In the meantime your crumble is likely ready to come out of the oven.  Ta-da!!

I was so freaking excited to taste this dessert you have no idea.  The smell inside the house was just wonderful!  While the dishes were still warm we finished one with a dollop of whipped cream.

Holy Moses or what??  We had to run off this afternoon, but over my dead one were we not going to eat at least one of these babies warm.

First bite.  And yes that is a trace of my hand in the upper right.  Poor Chef.  I heard him mumble as he was looking at my face, "please say you like it".  I almost felt like crying.  I was like, "DUDE - I like EVERYTHING you make!! Are you crazy?!"  There's a lot of pressure preparing food for others - you want them to be happy and like it.

Chef-a-roonie does it again!  This is approximately 1min30sec into consumption.  This dessert is off the charts good and, may I dare say, my favorite thing he's made to date.  INCREDIBLE.

We dusted the whole thing off in under 5 minutes and jammed out the door saving the other portion for tomorrow morning.  I say breakfast!!

Enjoy everyone!  Can't wait to hear your thoughts - especially if you get the opportunity to bake it.  This crumble has several steps, but they are easy and the prep time is only about 30 minutes.  Woooohooooo!!

Happy Weeeeeeeekend...head to the market and get your strawberries - but don't forget the hazard signs!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Embracing Your Inner Hippie

Can you say swing the pendulum to the opposite end of the spectrum?

Just yesterday I was rambling on about my love for summertime nautical attire and now here I am today about to gush on boho chic.  I guess the truth is I relate more to the actual boho vibe.  I've always been the girl with the moccasins, the frayed denim, the fringe and all that goes with it.  It's just me. 

And hey, the beauty of fashion is its versatility right?  One moment we're in one situation or mood dressed for the occasion, and the next our scenario has changed and so, therefore, must our outfit.  Being a girl is so all encompassing.  How do we do it?? (chuckle chuckle. uh, sorta)

In any event I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about my summer wardrobe - specifically how to work with what I've got and save some moolah.  My inner hippie is just waiting for the weather to consistently warm up so I can dig out the goods and be zen all summer.  Last week I shared with you my desired summer hair...this week I polyvore'd up just one version of what you will likely see me wearing this summer. I hope it provides you with some insight in case you have an interest in this style, but are wondering where to start.

boho 2

Image details (clockwise from top):  Winter Kate Gypsy Rose Vest,  Marie-Helene de Taillac Lemon Quartz Ring, Lucky Brand Jaelyn Belt, ASOS Wooden and Enamel Bangles, Mango Mulita Fringe Flat Ankle Boots, Siwy Camilla Cutoffs in Loveless, Urban Outfitters Medallion Ring, Linea Pelle Double Wrap Triple Stud Bracelet, Sabina Mini Pouch, Fossil Summer Wrist Strap

If I'm not wearing a tunic or dress, the denim shorts with a white t or tank are always the foundation of my boho chic look.  From there I may layer on a vest of some sort (silk is also a great option because it's super flowy and can add a bit of color),  a mish-mash of bracelets be it gold, silver, wood, lucite or a blend of each, rings to coordinate, either a brightly woven bag (if going with neutral top) or as pictured above a crossbody pouch, and finally a choice of shoes which may be fringed moccasins, a mid-calf to knee-high boot, or a strappy gladiator.  This is where the summer hair becomes crucial.  Remember my wavy quest from last really does compliment the look.  And of course you can always throw on a headband if you like.  I'm not much of a headband girl, but I've seen others carry them off quite beautifully.

And now please do share with me ladies:  your thoughts on the hippie vibe...oui ou non?


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