Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I left my heart in San Francisco...

I spent this past weekend in the beautiful, San Francisco. We couldn't have picked a better weekend to be in the city. Weather was great, not a cloud in the sky and the vino was flowing. Though we were mainly there for the ZAP wine festival, we had plenty of time to enjoy what the city had to offer us. I thought I would share my experience with you all and highlight some of the spots that I would definitely visit again. What are your favorite spots in San Francisco?

1. The Ferry Building Marketplace
This venue is home to various little shops and cafes. I could've spent MANY hours here. If you are lucky to go on a Saturday, the farmers market is setup outside with lots of great vendors. Some of my favorite spots were:
- Cowgirl Creamery: Cheese lovers beware! You will get sucked into this store. They even have a sidekick restaurant that features their yummy cheeses.
- Blue Bottle Coffee: If you know me, you know I love me a good latte. This place does it just right. Though there are several locations in the city, I only stopped at this one. While here, I also picked up a tasty bag of granola for my morning breakfast.
- Miette: What a lovely spot! Filled with all sorts of sweets, this place is sure to make you smile.
- Boulette's Larder: I felt liked I walked right into the real-life version of the movie, It's Complicated. Loved every bit of the no-hassle restaurant. Go on a Sunday and order the beignets (they only serve them on Sundays), you won't be disappointed.

2. Ghirardelli Square
An outdoor space that houses the famous Ghirardelli cafe and other small spaces. Go here, share a cupcake with a friend outside, and savor in the sun. Relaxing music is played in the background so you will be sure to have some quiet time.
- Crown Crumpet: Tea time here looks like a grand time. I can't wait to go back and try this place. so fun and girly.
- Gigi + Rose: Great little gift shop. Lots of electic items from jewelry to gifts. I picked up 2 cute glittered crowns.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Word of Mouth: dineLA Report

Hola! I'm reporting back with how my dineLA experience went. There was a slight change in plans with our restaurant choice from Lucques to the incredible "The Bazaar by José Andrés" at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. If you are not familiar with chef José Andrés, he is an world famous innovative chef who has made a name for his creative and molecular gastronomy techniques when cooking. I can't even begin to describe what a great time I had the girls, Alex and Kellie. Well, let's get started with breaking down the evening and the delish food we devoured. 

We enjoyed some pre-dinner cocktails at their bar, Bar Centro while we waiting for our table to be ready. I had their "Magic Mojito" which was brought over in a dry martini glass filled with cotton candy and then the mojito is poured into the glass as the cotton candy dissolves! Let me tell you, it tasted like pink lemonade! So good!!!

After cocktails, we were then guided to our table which was close to the kitchen so we were able to get a glimpse of the chefs hard at work.

Here is a shot of our special dineLA menu! The special priced menu for The Bazaar is $44 and it's a 3 course meal which is very well worth the price, you'll see. 

Now we move onto the first course. We all chose to go with the Philly Cheesesteak which was amazing. One bite into the air bread and the cheese melts in your mouth, it was the perfect combination with the Wagyu beef!

Next we selected 3 items from the second course dishes and they were great portions so you could share or enjoy all on your own.
First taste from the menu was the Papas Canarias which could be dipped in the mojo verde sauce. These potatoes had a powered salty exterior but as soon as you bit into it the potato it was cooked just right and for more flavor the mojo verde sauce made it even better.

We followed up the Papas Canarias with the Brussels Sprouts that made my taste buds oh so happy. The presentation was so cool with a air foam lemon topping that made each bite so tangy that even kids would like these Brussels sprouts!

We also tried the Sauteed Cauliflower Couscous which was an interesting dish. It was not one of our favorites from the menu in comparison to the other dishes but it was still a good choice. 

Since we were having a such a good time eating we ordered some dishes a la carte that we not on the dineLA menu. We devoured into their Tomato and Mozarella ball salad which let me tell you was an amazing surprise! The mozzarella is really not an actual ball of mozzarella cheese is one of their infamous liquid creations.  Once you bit into it, the ball bursts in your mouth and the liquid filling taste just like mozzarella. Soooo good! 

Another delicious dish is the Olives, traditional and non-traditional. We were instructed to taste the traditional olives which are the ones on the right and then to taste the non-traditional olives to the left. By non-traditional they mean the liquid olives which were just like the mozzarella balls that as soon as you bite it the olive bursts in your mouth and BAM it tastes just like an olive! So crazy that a liquid ball can taste so great! 

Lastly and sadly, we ended the night with dessert which were so good that we inhaled them so fast before I could get a good shot of them. So bad but so good! We had their traditional spanish flan, warm chocolate with pear and greek yogurt penna cotta which were all top notch desserts!!!

Overall our dineLA experience at The Bazaar was incredible and we had such a good time!!! I definitely recommend this restaurant for their great ambiance, drinks, service and FOOD!!!! This dineLA experience was a great opportunity for us to be able to go out, try a new place and have a great time. It's definitely worth it! 

The Bazaar 
at SLS Hotel Beverly Hills
465 S. La Cienaga Blvd
Los Angeles, Ca 90048

Friday, January 27, 2012

THE PEAKS and the pits!!!

- Walking on Sunshine!
Enjoying the nice sunny weather outside while doing a little shopping and eating without a care in the world!!!
- Spontaneity
Just do it and don't think about it. I am usually a planner, but sometimes I feel that I make the best decisions when I just act fast.
- Making your own schedule
Use your vacation days, they are earned for a reason. Heading out to San Francisco with family for a much needed 3 day weekend.

... and the pits.
And that's the way the cookie crumbles -
You just have to accept certain things that are out of your control, even though they may not work to your advantage.
Not your lucking day-
Seeing and wanting something so cute it's a must have item but having to be let down because they don't have your size, just my luck!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

DIY: Save a ring!

Don't you hate it when you buy an inexpensive ring, wear it a couple of times and then you notice its already tarnishing??? I know I do!!! It's happened so many times to me. I'll wear it a couple of times maybe wash my hands while wearing it then the silver or gold shine starts to fade and starts to turn into a rusty color around the edges. I know you get what you pay for but sometimes when the ring is so cute I just can't help but be a little annoyed. So what I've done to preserve my inexpensive rings and a few of my earrings and necklace pendants is to layer them first before wearing with a coat of clear nail polish. It's been really effective ever since I started doing it and my jewelry looks just as when I bought it.

What you'll need is just a bottle of any brand of clear nail polish & a little patience to let the rings dry.

Below are a few pictures of the polish I use and the rings I've been able to preserve.

 Any clear nail polish will work so chose whichever one you prefer. 

 Start with coating the top of the ring with the clear polish and apply as many coats as you'd like. I've used one coat and it's been successful but again apply at your own discretion. 

Once the top of the ring is dry then place it face down and apply the clear polish to the back of the ring. 



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Word of Mouth: Ramen Jinya

Question: What do you do for dinner when it's freezing outside and you just can't get warm? Answer: Ramen!

I'm very spoiled when it comes to ramen. I first experienced the wonderful soup while in Japan last year. I was in Sapporo, tired from working, it was freezing, and I was starving. If you know anything about me, the combination of freezing and starving makes me a bitch on wheels! While desperately looking for dinner, my colleague and I stumbled into a restaurant that was teeny tiny and only allotted for bar seating. The restaurant was run by 2 men and the chef was SO old, all I could think was, "whatever, I'm too hungry." The ramen with yummy pork and prawns was just heavenly. I was so sad when I was done because I knew I would never be able to get that same dish again.

While back home, I was craving ramen but knew that no restaurant here in the states would be as good as in Japan. I was already judging. A friend recommended a place in Studio City, so I broke down and gave it a try. I was desperate.

Nestled in a strip mall on Ventura Blvd. next to a Marshalls, you will find Ramen Jinya. Although they don't serve it with prawns, they do serve up some awesome ramen. Very flavorful and fulfilling, there is even vegetarian options. I opted for the spicy chicken ramen. Warning: only get spicy if you can deal with the heat. The menu is basic and very reasonably priced. A great little gem in the valley, although there are other locations in LA.

Try it out and let me know what you think. It's the perfect meal for those cold winter nights.

Ramen Jinya
11239 Ventura Blvd
Studio City CA 91604
(818) 980-3977

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

dineLA is here!!!

Image via dineLA Restaurant Week

dineLA is here! Starting January 22-27 and January 29-February 3. Although it started this past Sunday it's still not too late to be a part of this experience. For those who are not familiar with dineLA, it's an annual 2 week event here in Los Angeles where over 300 restaurants participate in creating specially priced three course menus for lunch or dinner for their guests to enjoy. This event is all about encouraging people to venture out by trying something new and what better way then with food!

Check out the dineLA site to find a restaurant you would like to visit and make your reservation. It's really easy just find a restaurant, check out their menu and if you like it then book your reservation. I made my reservation for dinner with the girls at Lucques in Hollywood! So I'll be reporting back to let you know how it goes! 

Venture out, try something new and tell us where you enjoyed your dineLA experience! 
Image via dineLA Restaurant Week

Monday, January 23, 2012

Simple Breakfast

My friend turned me on to this great, filling, healthy breakfast. It's easy to put together and requires no cooking at all, great for any person on the run. I hope you all enjoy it. What is your go to breakfast?

What you need:
- Greek yogurt, a great source of protein.
- Any type of berry. I usually choose blueberries, but anything will be great.
- Granola. Try and find one that doesn't contain too much sugar.
- Honey or agave nectar.
- Mix all the ingredients and enjoy.

Image via Andrea

Friday, January 20, 2012

THE PEAKS...and the pits

- Ups and Downs!
Realizing when one door closes it's not the end of the world because there will be a few more opening soon!
- The F-Bomb
Did anyone see Modern Family this week? This was some pretty hilarious stuff, had me laughing so much I was in tears!

... and the pits.
Aches and Pains -
Trying to fight 24 hour stomach bug that just doesn't want to leave you alone no matter how much 7up is consumed!
That "iffy" feeling -
Do you ever have that feeling that something is going to go wrong or that something just isn't right? It's the worst.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Pretty Men of Pitti

I feel Pitti...oh so Pitti. Ok, I'll stop :)

Last week, Pitti took place in Firenze, Italy. Pitti is a trade show that is mainly based around menswear. Below are pics of the very stylish men who attended. I got really inspired looking at these photos and can't wait to incorporate some of their style into my outfits. Also, guys reading this take note, everyone loves a man dressed in a suit.

All Images via GQ and Pitti

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Word of Mouth: Charlie's Pantry

Last weekend, Andrea and I decided to treat ourselves to a yummy breakfast. It was too nice of a day not to venture out to enjoy a good meal so we chose to head on over to Charlie's Pantry on Ventura Blvd. It's a great neighborhood cafe with a nice marketplace atmosphere for dining in or take out. As soon as you walk in, you can either take a minute with a menu by the door or if you're a regular just walk right up to the counter to place your order. They have a full counter display filled with pastries, vegetables and food for you to choose from. Trust me, it's really hard not to want to get everything because it all looks so good and fresh!
 So once we placed our order, we decided to park ourselves inside at their large picnic table which is really spacious and different than the usual table setting. The ambiance is so clean and uncomplicated you'll be comfortable anywhere you sit whether inside or outdoors.

Now onto the food!!! We started off with one of their amazing apple cinnamon muffins and Andrea enjoyed a cup of coffee with a full pot of extra coffee for refills.
 I, on the other hand enjoyed an old school coca-cola from a glass bottle.  So good but yet so bad so early in the morning!!! They have a great selection on beverages from fresh lemonade, iced tea, bottled orangina, sparkling water, to soda pop. It'll quench any thirst!
Andrea dug into their "Charlie's Breakfast Burrito" which is so delicious, I had to take a fork full because it looked too good to pass up! The tomatillo sauce topped with the avocado slices just adds more to the already delicious burrito. 
I basically inhaled their "Classic French Toast" with fresh maple syrup which is made with thick slices of fresh bread. It's so fluffy and tasty I couldn't help but eat every last bite! Trust me the plate was super clean once I was finished, no shame when it comes to good food! I just can't help myself.

Overall, we give Charlie's Pantry TWO forks up! We thoroughly enjoyed our meals plus we especially liked how we were able to relax and just hang out without feeling rushed to leave. We already feel like regulars! 

12265 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604
phone: (818) 509 9085

...by Rebecca...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DIY: Ribbon Necklace

While reorganizing my jewelry drawer, I came across a few necklaces that I have become rather bored with. Using some of the pretty ribbon I received via my holiday gifts, I came up with the below. I hope you all like it and try it out :)

What you need:
- Necklace
- Ribbon (the length of the ribbon needed will depend on the desired length of your new necklace)
- Scissors

Step 1: Lay out your design. It also helps if you singe the ends of the ribbon with a lighter to prevent fraying.

Step 2: Affix the ribbon to each side of the necklace using a cow hitch knot.

Step 3:  Voila! Tie your new piece of jewelry around your neck with a pretty bow. Enjoy!

All images via Andrea