Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Friday!

And a very happy Friday at that! Not for any particular reason other than keeping a positive mindset :)

What will you do this coming weekend? I have to clean my apartment a bit, as I am still slowly redecorating, and I will be showing my friend the ropes of how to care for my dogs while I'll be in Europe. (It's almost a month away now!) Here are some links for what to buy, what to make, what to do, what to see..

An Everlane Seed Stitch sweater, to pair with anything.

This Hammered Gold Couplet Ring. (Swoon.)

Skinny chicken & broccoli alfredo with spaghetti squash (my new favorite!).

The Last Bookstore in DTLA, to stock up on some good reads.

The last weekend of the LA County Fair! (My friend Ingrid went and blogged about it, here!)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Welcome to the world, baby Zoe!

When I was working as a newborn photographer at a hospital nearby, the last thing I'd say to the babies prior to leaving their room was "welcome to the world!" I know they didn't know what I was saying--and that wasn't the point--but as such teeny little things entering this big, big's really all that made sense for me to say.

I don't have any children of my own, but I still think it's crazy how people can create life. When I photograph these tiny little guys, it's kind of amazing to think about how they started. And now they are here, as their own little beings, with me taking their picture.

My friend and old neighbor, Farah, just had a darling baby girl named Zoe. I went to visit her last weekend and meet baby Zoe, and I got a chance to put my new camera to use!

Congratulations again to the new mama and family :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Because he asked.

Well, because he mentioned...

"I wanna make the blog!"
The boyfriend has made low profile cameos on the blog here or there, usually accompanied with the respective abbreviation "bf."  I was explaining that to him when we were talking about it yesterday, and he said "bf" means "best friend." (Womp.) I think on a rare occasion, I've actually spelled out the word "boyfriend"...but back to the point.

I'm pretty private. He's pretty private. So I guess it makes sense that for me--or for us--this blog isn't one to flaunt our relationship. But I'm not going to lie, it can get tricky about what to share vs. what not to share. (At least in my opinion.) There are times when I really want to post photos and share stories I particularly love; but then I think again and usually decide to keep the more sacred things closer to my heart. My mother and grandmother would say I'm like my father in this regard, ie "too private," but hey. It works for me.

Two of my favorite blogs, A Cup of Jo and Love Taza, share pretty much every aspect of their life. And I completely adore it. Part of me wishes I was able to be more open and willing to share certain parts of me and my life. Maybe I feel as though I'd be putting myself in a more vulnerable, or a more honest place if I did that. Not to say I'm not being honest now, or that I haven't been in the past...

Don't misconstrue this next point, because I'm not trying to compare myself to a celebrity by any means, but think of relationships a la Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, or Jay-Z and Beyonce--you rarely see photos of them together, and they certainly are not parading their relationships around town. And considering the amount of failed celebrity unions, I don't think having their relationships intact and being low-profile is coincidental. And with that said, I'm not saying that people who don't mind putting their personal lives out there are necessarily flaunting or parading it, nor will they come to an end because of it. I guess what I'm still trying to figure out is a good balance of the personal life share. I don't think there's a blanket solution for all, hence my ongoing struggle. Or maybe I'm just over-thinking the whole thing. But in a small effort to be more open and share some things I love, below are a couple of my favorite photos of my boyfriend, Joe (he has a name), with my dogs Ziggy and Nellie.

And, you can almost see his whole face ;)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Echo Park Lake.

Echo Park Lake is my new go-to place. Since my friend Jane introduced me, I think I've been there weekly. It's a great place to go for a walk, take young kids, bring your dog, or even have a cute picnic (which I did with my friend Carli last week)! You can even go paddle boating or take a canoe ride. Seriously, it's that cute.

This past weekend, my friend Monique and her son Nate (from this post) met me at the lake. I was excited to have the little guy in tow to show him around; it's always fun to watch young kids take in a new environment and get excited over the little things.

^^Point proven right here. How exciting a lily pad can be! It makes you remember to appreciate the beauty in the small things.

^^You know it's mine if there's a lipstick stain.

^^Did I mention there's even a playground for the little ones?
^^And then we went paddle boating! Nate was probably enjoying it more than Monique and I did. We didn't want to wait for the 2-seater boat, and struggled peddling the 4-seater just as 2. My legs definitely got a good workout though.
^^What makes the lake even more fun is their cute little cafe! They have the best selection of food (sweet potato bites, frozen bananas, breakfast, burgers, kale salad--everything!), and an amazing watermelon-mint lemonade. The best part? It's all so well priced!
^^This one enjoyed the lemonade, too :)
^^Hard to get more handsome than this guy ;)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Friday!

It's been a bit of a tiring week for me, so I'm very much looking forward to the end of today. It's a bit dreary out in Los Angeles--and I love it. It makes me want to order take-out, curl up on the couch, and watch a movie, which is exactly what I'll do later. What will your plans be? If interested, here are some things to buy, to make, to do, to see...

USA coffee table.

GEFU spiral cutter, to make spaghetti out of any vegetable.

Embellished bobby-pin tutorial.

Glitter mason jars.

End of summer Reggae Fest, Venice Beach.

Portrait photography exhibit at LACMA (by Edward Steichen).

Sixth Street Mural at the Standard, downtown LA.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Must Make: Crockpot turkey chili.

Are you surprised to see another crackpot crockpot recipe? Because I'm totally not surprised I'm posting another one.

I like ground turkey versus ground beef when cooking, just to up the health factor a bit. This makes me feel a little better when making chili, for example, because it's obvious I will be making accompanying french fries. (Duh.)

Here's my recipe, which is essentially throwing all of the ingredients (below) in the crockpot.

  • 1 package lean ground turkey (browned first)
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, depending on preference
  • 1 can tri-bean
  • 1 can golden corn
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 (ish) red bell pepper (I use less for my boring pallet)
  • 1t chili powder (more if you like the spice, or use cayenne pepper for a good kick)
  • 1t black pepper
  • 1t cumin
  • 1/2t onion powder
  • 1/2t garlic powder
  • Green onion topping, to taste
  • Shredded cheddar topping, to taste
  • (Sour cream and avocado also make for good toppings, for you non-boring folks)
I actually saute the onion and garlic first until soft, and then I add the turkey until browned. Once finished, I put it in the crockpot and mix in the rest of the ingredients, and serve over oven-baked fries! The seasonings pretty much depend on what you want, or what you have in your kitchen. I encourage experimenting a bit, so you can get a good sense of what you like. And, it feels a bit more like you know what you're doing in the kitchen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Over the over-tweezing.

Lets talk brows...

I don't know what it is about being younger and obsessing over tweezing your eyebrows. Well, obsessing over over-tweezing them. Looking back, the whole tadpole eyebrow thing is so embarrassing (and it's unfortunate there is still photographic proof of it), but if there's one thing I can tell my future daughter, it will be leave your eyebrows alone!

I'm not sure what exactly changed--maybe it was just years of staring at photos of my early teenage years--but something inside of me finally snapped: I realized there is nothing more beautiful than a thick, full brow (think back to Brooke Shields in the 80s). Tweezing too much and creating insanely high arches winds up giving you almost a Botoxed look, kind of like you are surprised all the time. (Or kind of like you are surprised all the time?)

Eyebrows can completely change how your face looks. A well-shaped and properly groomed brow will open your eyes and bring balance to your face. I love both Miranda Kerr and Diane Kruger for their fashion sense, but above all, for their gorgeous eyebrows:

Here are some eyebrow shaping tips from ELLE. And here are a bunch of examples of how not to shape your brows.

PS- Eyebrow expert Anastasia Soare further explain why eyebrows should be thick, here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"You're my wife? Holy sh*t!"

This is such a great video. It made me smile and laugh the whole time.

That's all.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Palm Springin.

From LA to Palm Springs and back we went! My friend Nadia and I had a great girls' getaway this past weekend to celebrate her birthday, complete with good food, drinks and fun in the sun. (Fun in the sweltering heat is more like it.) It was only for one night, but sometimes a little jaunt away is just enough.

I work alone, which I don't know if I've mentioned before, but because of this I usually just throw on some sort of workout gear and head out the door. (In my defense, I workout at lunchtime to get some free time in the evening, so the attire does have a purpose more than just being lazy with getting dressed.) I do love clothes and accessories though, so whenever I get the chance, I like to sift through my closet and see what I can put together for where I'm going. And I always make sure to complete the look with a bright lip--I think it makes for a better photo! 

Here are a few photos to sum up the trip:

^^A typical / atypical selfie (I'm not a huge fan of mirror photos, but hey, whatevs).
^^(Complimentary) birthday drinks and my new wallet which I absolutely adore.
^^French fries, which I absolutely adore. 
^^& Off  for some birthday fun! I should have taken a close up of my necklace, which is surely one of my all-time favorite pieces of jewelry. It's a beautiful crystal necklace I got in Singapore, which I probably spent too much on, but it was so worth it.
^^Because I can't resist--ever--more fries from our last pool day. I think as long as there are fries wherever I am, I'll surely have a good time.

Happy birthday (again), Nadia!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Happy Friday!

(Google Image)
This Saturday, I am going to Palm Springs for the night with my friend Nadia, where we will celebrate her birthday! I have never been, so I'm looking quite forward to it. And as much as I love my dogs, it will be nice to have one night off from doggie-duties. (Thank you in advance to my wonderful boyfriend for taking over.) I just need to make sure I don't do much shopping; the last hotel of my upcoming European trip was booked today (so excited, by the way), so I need to be sure to stick to some sort of budget for the next 60 days. (I'm totally counting down.)

I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you want some extra reading (or viewing), here are a few links that had caught my eye:

Wise words.

Surprising pregnancy photos (shot by Karl Lagerfeld!).

More crockpot recipes to sift through.

Toasted pecan and blueberry cous cous salad.

And olive oil tuna toast

Fashion week parties.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

To my washer and dryer, with love.

I never fully understood what having a washer and dryer meant--until I didn't have one...

It all began 9 years ago, when I moved to LA. I moved into a gorgeous apartment complex that had many great amenities, but it did not have a washer and dryer in the apartment itself. Now, I had done laundry prior to living on my own, but I never really gave much thought to having a washer and dryer. Or to not having them. I didn't think twice about moving into a place without one. As long as there was somewhere to do laundry, I'd be fine.

Yeah, well I was wrong. I quickly learned to appreciate what it was like having a home back East where I could do laundry without lugging laundry baskets and detergents down hallways and elevators, and  then climbing stairs to reach a laundry room that had machines which only took quarters or required a laundry card in order to use. (I'll also note the annoyance of always needing to have rolls of quarters handy, or loading money onto laundry cards--that only accept $5 or $10 dollar bills nonetheless--just to even do the laundry.)

Fast forward to the present (or kind of present): A few months back I had heard some sort of buzzing about my apartment complex ordering new in-unit washer and dryers. When I moved into this complex (downtown), my apartment actually had a washer/dryer "in one"-- that never, ever worked. I immediately had maintenance pull it out of the closet it was in, so I could at least utilize the extra closet space. But the thought of the potential ease a new washer and dryer would bring to my life had me day dreaming...

I promptly bugged the apartment manger to put me on "the list" for those wanting the new washer and dryers (who wouldn't want one?); the units they were currently leasing would receive them first, versus the tenants who had lived there oh, almost four years or so. (I wasn't particularly happy about that.) And wouldn't you know, patience pays off! Nine plus years of it, too, because months later, my apartment and I are now complete with our new--and working--(separate!) washer and dryer.

KB+WD = <3

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Must Make - Turkey & quinoa stuffed peppers.

The quinoa killa is back at it: quinoa stuffed peppers are the business.

I don't think I had to use my crackpot crockpot for these at all...but I went ahead and used it anyway. I was trying to find more crockpot recipes and came across stuffed bell peppers -which I never would have looked at twice before since I never used to eat peppers - but I thought hey, I've tried them here and there more recently, so why not make stuffed peppers. That way, I could always dump the filling out of the pepper and not eat the actual pepper if I didn't want to.

And that's kind of what I did. (For the red pepper at least.)

  • 1 package of lean turkey
  • 1-2T oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1C Quinoa (rinsed)
  • 2C Chicken broth
  • 6-8 Red/Green peppers
  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Green onion
  • Toppings: cheese (I shredded cheddar and Jack), salsa, sour cream and guacamole!
Cook 1C quinoa in 2C broth. In a separate pan,  saute onion until soft, and then add garlic for about 1 minute. Throw in the turkey, and cook until just browned. Add corn, bean, tomato, green onion, and cook for a few minutes. Finally, add the quinoa. Once all mixed, hollow the peppers and then stuff!  This is when I threw the peppers into the crockpot, and slow-cooked them until I got home from work. (It was probably 3-4 hours or so.) About 30 minutes before I took them out, I added a bunch of cheese on top so it would melt. And because I'm boring, that was my only topping :)  For you non-boring people, top with whatever you please, and as always, enjoy!