We’re Layer-ing it on a little thick.

posted on: February 26, 2015

Most of you know, I’m no stranger to the homebody lifestyle. In fact, I know it well – we’ve done coffee dates, painted each other’s nails, and bought Justin Bieber Valentine’s as a joke-that’s-not-a-joke. We’re old pals, me and the homeyness.

But sometimes, you have to live in the world. You have to experience life! Even when it’s cold out. I saw this firsthand in New York recently, and I have to give major kudos to all my friends living there and in even colder climates right now – I could push through the sub-freezing temps for a vacation but another couple of days of that and I would have gladly accepted perpetual hermit status (…maybe that’s how I’ll be able to afford NYC someday?)

So when ModCloth asked me to pick several of their layering items and create a look that is both cool and warm (har har), I was game for the challenge. A little too game, as it turns out – I couldn’t pick just one look! So I made four.

(I’m not sure if leggings count as a layering item in their eyes, but, they do in mine…!)

 

modclothchallengeThe first look is my absolute favorite – I love mixing prints and textures, like the taupe polka dots with the black leather leggings, and I also love adding a bit of edge to an otherwise girly or preppy outfit. The skull pullover sweater would be a very rocker addition to the taupe polkas and those chic boots! The bucket bag pulls it all together so that it is still sophisticated and on-trend – if you can’t afford a Mansur Gavriel just yet, that bucket bag would be a great compromise.

The other outfits are similarly me. I really dislike being too matchy matchy, so all of the boots and bags are different tones, but all work well as neutrals against the prints of the tops. I also enjoy mixing up patterns like the polka dots with the striped print cardigan in #4 – however, I tried to balance this out with deep colored accessories, and kept all of the prints a black-and-white theme.

I have to be honest, this challenge was incredibly dangerous for my bank account. Those cut out boots in #2? The bag from #3? And you know I wanted to buy ALL of the polka dots. However, I managed to restrain myself, and satisfied my shop-lust with this collage.

If you want to check out the rest of ModCloth’s sweater collection for yourself, you can find them here! In fact, I highly suggest you do. There were a ton of cute cardis that didn’t jive with the leather leggings vision I had but would be so cute with jeans or a dress.

…Thank goodness I recently purchased a pair of leather leggings, though. For real. Those look so cool.

 

Which one is your favorite style? Would you mix these up in a different way?

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1. leggings / polka top in taupe / skull sweater / boots / bucket bag
2. red top / cardigan / cut out boots / tote bag
3. black blouse / stripe pullover / boots / bag
4. polka dot top / stripe cardigan / burgundy heels / bag

Farfalle with Salmon Cream Sauce | FORK IT OVER

posted on: February 25, 2015

The minute I posted this snapshot on my instagram two nights ago, friends were asking me left and right for the recipe. The very minute! Left and right! I’m so popular, you guys.

But really, I have a knack for making pastas look appetizing – it’s just a thing that I do. Some people cure diseases, others complete unthinkable athletic feats, and still others just make fatty, cheesy foods look good on social media. Hey, I’ll take my talents when and where I can get them.

I may someday go back and re-photograph this dish, since these two snaps are definitely not doing it ooey gooey lemony justice, but for now they will have to suffice.

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Ingredients (for approximately 4 servings with salad or 2 large servings):

- approx 1lb Farfalle pasta (I used about 1/2-3/4 of a 13oz bag, so it all depends on how much you’re making – aim for 4oz pasta per person!)
– 4-6oz salmon fillet
– dill (dried or fresh), thyme, lemon, capers, salt & pepper
– 1 small carton cream (or half and half, but may be slightly more watery)

Step 1: Cook your salmon fillet. I used leftover fillet from when I had baked salmon with lemon and dill on top a couple of nights previous, but you can cook it any way you want! In a saucepan is just fine, just make sure it’s thoroughly cooked through. You can even dice it up a bit with your spatula since you’re going to want it to be distributed throughout the sauce.

Step 2: Put on water for your pasta. It’s going to take a while for the cream to cook down, but it will also take a fair amount of time for the pasta water to heat up. Also, the pasta can sit in a colander for a bit if need be; bow tie pasta is fairly gummy-resistant.

Step 3: Make the sauce! With the cooked salmon in a saucepan, pour approximately 3/4 of the carton of cream over it. Add dill liberally, and add about half as much thyme. I used a lot because I love dill (including calling it by its full name, “Dillweed”) but this should be to your own taste. Add some salt and pepper too. This should be approximately what your sauce looks like, seasoning-wise:

UntitledNow comes the boring part: STIR. Just keep stirring, just keep stirring. Stir some more. Use a spoon or spatula to keep that creamy creamy sauce moving. The whole point of this endeavor is to slowly cook down the cream so that the whole sauce is a little thicker without creating that gross film on top (if you turn your back and that happens, just stir it in, it’ll be fine.) Somewhere along the line, add in about half a lemon’s worth of fresh squeezed lemon juice, or more, if that’s your style! Just don’t forget the capers will add some bite too.

This…takes a while. I estimate that my actual cook time was close to 40 minutes because I didn’t want to burn the sauce, and that was using pre-cooked salmon. This dish probably takes somewhere closer to an hour…but oh, my friends, is it worth it.

Once your sauce has sufficiently cooked down but is still liquid (you want it to be able to cover all of your little bow ties, after all!), smother your pastas in this concoction. Add a couple of tablespoons of capers (again, to taste – I love capers, others may not as much) and stir well.

Step 4: Garnish and serve! You can grind some cracked salt and pepper on top, and maybe some freshly grated parmesan! Nom nom. Delicious.

(You could also eat this with a side salad if you were really ambitious, but personally, I wouldn’t bother.)

Say hello to my little friend…

posted on: February 24, 2015

His name is Oscar, he’s not a grouch (or a slouch for that matter – pretty sure he only wears tuxes), and he lives in a high security vault until such time when one lucky person gets to finally cut through all the red carpet (er, tape) and take him home.

That’s right folks, I’m talking about that little gold statuette.

While not everyone who attends the Oscars is nominated or presenting, the ones who are definitely get that extra couple of minutes to show off their style. Awards season is a time for stylists to gain a little street cred, for designers to dress that year’s hot topic star in their threads, and for celebrities to fear the dreaded Worst Dressed lists.

I thought this year it would be nice to only congratulate those whose looks I really love, so without further adieu, I bring you my Top Ten Oscar Fashions:

oscarpic1Naomi Watts in Armani and Rauwolf clutch; Emma Stone in Elie Saab Haute Couture dress and Tiffany Blue Book Collection jewelry.

oscarpic2Keira Knightley in Valentino; Jennifer Lopez in Elie Saab Haute Couture.

oscarpic3Gwyneth Paltrow in Ralph & Russo Couture; Chloë Grace Moretz in Miu Miu and Forevermark Diamonds.

oscarpic4Kerry Washington in Miu Miu; Zoe Saldana in Atelier Versace.

oscarpic5Laura Dern in Alberta Ferretti; Marion Cotillard in Dior Haute Couture dress and Chopard jewelry.

The first thing I’m going to go ahead and proclaim is that I’m loving the ultra-feminine neutrals this season. There’s something about awards season being in winter that automatically draws me to dresses that are a little more subtle and evoke that sense of the natural world. While several big name stars wore gorgeous jewel tone gowns, and looked stunning in them — see e.g. ScarJo, Rosamund Pike, Jessica Chastain — I really prefer the softened look of Keira’s dress, or Kerry in Miu Miu, or Chloë’s gown. Miu Miu is one of my favorite designers right now by far!

I’m also noticing that metallics are making a big comeback. I love the structure of Laura Dern’s dress, and I think the metallic silver allows her to be flashy and glamorous without trying to dress a bit too young for her age. Then again, screw it, she can wear whatever she wants! She’s an independent woman! Who cares what the patriarchy thinks! But no, seriously, I think this dress was perfect for her.

My two absolute favorite looks, however, are the ones that are a little more off-the-wall: Naomi Watts just slayed the red carpet in that bandeau-top gown (first picture), and I cannot get over the sophisticated style of Marion Cotillard’s banded dress (last picture.) I think those dresses were perfect for the occasion, while also stepping out of the traditional floor-length box for a minute or two to twirl around with innovation.

What were your favorite Oscar looks this year? Or, if you didn’t watch – what are you favorite looks from the ones I’ve listed here?

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*all photographs except of Marion Cotillard are from here; Marion’s photo is from here.

 

Refinery Rooftop Bar | HOT SPOT

posted on: February 23, 2015

Where did we leave off on our whirlwind tour of the City that Never Sleeps?

Ah yes, we were drinking!

More specifically, Dhruvi and I were headed over to Refinery Rooftop, the (gorgeous, breathtaking, stylized) rooftop bar of the Refinery Hotel amidst the Garment District, with year-round (and might I add completely stunning) views of the Empire State Building.

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We got there promptly at happy-hour-hour (that is, as soon as we felt we could take no more of the frigid winds outside) and happily (gratefully) waited under the strings of twinkle lights for Dhruvi’s friend Krystal of The Feisty House to join us.

RRfireplace(photo by Refinery Rooftop)

RRempirestate(photo by Refinery Rooftop)

The rustic style of the rooftop bar – replete with exposed brick, ivy, and wooden furniture, and completed by a fireplace in the elevator entryway – contrasts perfectly with the stark exterior of New York in wintertime. The chrome, the glass, the iron, and the cold snowy scene outside made us all the more appreciative of the welcoming decor and the drinks warming our bodies.

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While many cocktails (and a snack sampler or two at the next table over) caught my eye, I was recommended the Chef’s Cider, a mix of spiced rum, mulled cider, and lemon. This concoction kept me cozy and comfortable wee into the hours of the…evening (hey, I had a dinner date with friends!)

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I should mention that this spacious bar area was completely packed a mere hour and a half later – when I left around 7:30pm for Brooklyn, you could tell it was just the beginning of a bustling Friday night on the Refinery Rooftop’s rooftop. Thank goodness we got there when we had, or we wouldn’t have had a snowflake’s chance in you-know-where of getting a table!

But before the masses descended upon this watering hole, Dhruvi, Krystal, and I enjoyed the view (and our cocktails – D let me try her delicious Luster cocktail and Krystal’s Empire Martini almost had me convinced I was sophisticated enough to begin ordering martinis regularly) as we chatted about upcoming trips, fashion events, and the State of Blogging in our generation. It was a very mature conversation, you guys! Really!

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Ok, maybe we exchanged a few bad dating stories too. It’s a Friday night in New York City, aren’t those required?

To cut to the chase, I can’t say enough good things about the Refinery Rooftop. The atmosphere was miraculously casual-chic (a difficult feat to achieve), the views were astounding, and the cocktails sated us spectacularly. I almost didn’t need a second Chef’s Cider…but then again, I was on vacation! I had to indulge. And Refinery was the perfect place for it.

(A big thanks to Dhruvi for suggesting the evening’s locale! I strongly, strongly suggest you go check it out if you’re in the NYC area or heading there anytime soon. I can’t wait to go back.)

 

———-

Refinery Rooftop & Hotel
63 W 38th Street
New York, NY 10018

open 7 days a week

Cold Brrrrrew Coffee | FORK IT OVER

posted on: February 19, 2015

Hey do you guys remember when I said I was going to show you the easiest recipe ever?  I think I may have lied. You see, the only way a recipe that involves stirring three store-bought ingredients together (thank you Lentil Dip) could be beat on the easy scale is by a recipe that involves mostly waiting.

I present to you Cold Brew Coffee, your new summer/springtime/whenever-if-you’re-like-me-and-like-cold-beverages-time favorite.

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First you’ll need:

- coffee beans (ground or unground, but if ground then choose a coarse grind)
– a french press OR if you’re like me, a pour-over coffee filter, paper filters, and a jug.
– water
– maybe some cute straws

That’s literally it. Told you this would be easy!

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Here’s the only catch — you have to prepare this puppy at least 12 hours in advance, because that’s how long it needs to sit to properly “brew.” Toss it together on a Friday night and you’ll have coffee all weekend; or, make a big batch Sunday night to spread throughout the week! You can add cream, sugar, agave, honey (my honey actually dissolved in the cold iced coffee, it was miraculous), milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hell ANY KIND OF MILK – you can make this your own.

But first, you have to let it sit.

Step 1: Grind your beans or pour your ground beans into a jug. I put mine in a pitcher because the pitcher was bigger than the end capsule. As for the amount? This is up to you, but I recommend going with the normal 1 tablespoon per 1 cup water routine. Which means that I, in practice, just poured a bucketload of coffee grounds in the pitcher.

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Put it in the refrigerator for at least twelve hours. When you take it out, the grounds might all be at the top but the water will look more like coffee!

(If you’re using a French Press, all you have to do is put your water and grounds in the press container. Don’t put the press top on.)

Step 2: Put your filter over your desired coffee container and make sure you have a paper filter inside. Pour slowly!

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It might take a little while to get all of the grounds to empty out but not too long – this really is the easiest, you guys.

(If using a French Press, this is where you, you know, press it! Just like normal.)

Step 3: Add to ice (it will be VERY strong if you don’t) and adorn with your favorite crazy straws and sweetening agents. I went with honey because I was trying to stay off processed sugar, and I didn’t have any cream or that would have gone in too.

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IMG_2236Step 4: Impress all of your friends with your homemade iced coffee all summer long! Or all winter long, if you’re a total nutbar like me.

 

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Are you a cold brewed coffee fan? What’s your favorite coffee “recipe”?

 

Cloudy with a chance of neon | WEARABLES

posted on: February 18, 2015

Oh, hello there! Don’t mind me – I’m just strolling along Market Street, going to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, breaking in my newest summer sandals…

 

*record skips*

Er, wait. That’s not right. Where am I again?

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Oh that’s right, I’m in New York! Or rather, I was when these photos were taken. I spent three amazing days and four fantastic nights in one of my favorite cities on Earth (shh, San Francisco, cover your ears!) just over a week ago, and of course I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by for snowy outfit photos.

Let me not kid you – it was cold in the NYC. It was hovering around 30-38 degrees the entire time I was there, and that was ten degrees warmer than originally predicted! Their winters are no joke.

Dhruvi from Stilettos & Sequins (shout out to my girl!) and I spent a whole day together gallivanting around the city. We started at the Guggenheim Museum, where we saw the just-opened (!) exhibit “Silence” by On Kawara – thank you again Natalia! My favorite part was the “I Got Up” series, where he sent a postcard every day for years to different people with a stamped time saying when he got up that day. I loved that this exhibit was in the rotunda, as you spiraled around the entire museum following each piece to the next in the series.

I also really loved seeing the Kandinsky pieces on display – the colors and bold lines are just so different from anything else. What a guy, that Vasily!

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After the museum, we went to the Neue Galerie’s Café Sabarsky for a decadent hot cocoa, and continued traipsing around the city. Our tour included stops at Crossroads Trading Co. (where I found an amazing Steven Alan bag for $35, and a brand new Dolce & Gabbana men’s cardigan for $75! I need to do all my vintage shopping in New York…), Joe’s Pizza in the West Village, and finally a stroll through Washington Square Park.

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You guys, I love New York. It was twenty-five degrees out, my face was frozen and I couldn’t feel my fingers, and yet the fact that someone was playing Chopin on a piano in front of the archway in Washington Square Park just made my heart melt. There was a moment where a flock of birds made a grand, swooping turn over the park and I stood there mesmerized by the simple beauty of the moment, listening to gorgeous music and trying to soak in each detail of that scene.

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I have to move there someday. I just have to! I do declayuh!

After that, we made our way back uptown to Refinery Rooftop (the rooftop bar of Refinery Hotel) for drinks with Dhruvi’s (and now my!) friend Krystal. The Refinery Rooftop bar was just stunning – I plan to do an entire post about it and why you need to go there soon, but for now let me say, covered rooftop bar facing the Empire State Building. That’s all you need to know!

Between the copious amounts of snacks, coffees, and drinks had that day, to learning how to enter the subway with only one swipe, to seeing one of my favorite blogging-turned-real-life-friends for the first time in months, this was truly a fantastic New York day.

 

———-

sweater | H&M (similar)
jacket | Land’s End (similar)
boots | Børn (similar)
black jeans | BDG from Urban Outfitters
bag | MZ Wallace (similar here and here)
hat | earthquake state designs (feel free to special order one!)

 

*outfit photos by Dhruvi of Stilettos & Sequins

Top Five (er, Three.)

posted on: February 12, 2015

If you’re following me on Instagram (and if you’re not, why aren’t you?), you already know that I spent several days in the mecca of all things cool, the bastion of badassery, the place where Frozen takes on an entirely new meaning. Yes, ladies and gents, I was in New York!

There’s a point to this story, I promise.

While en route to the The Big Apple (that’s what you call it, right? Right guys?) I forked over nine of my hard earned dollars to watch Chris Rock’s newest movie, written and directed by Mr. Rock himself. In the movie, one of the running bits is Chris (in character) asking his friends and family who their Top Five hip hop artists are; it’s been a while since I’ve done a One Two Three post, so I figured we’d change it up a bit today and I’d recommend a few of my favorite movies, books, and music of late!

This is by no means a comprehensive list, even of the most recent releases, so please don’t take this to mean that I dislike anything out nowadays. You should all know by now that I like…everything.

/// MOVIES

1. Top Five

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Besides the fact that this movie is the first one Chris Rock has done in a while that has gotten critical acclaim (at least, to my limited knowledge!) – this movie is just straight up funny. Rock is an aging comic who is sick of hamming it up for audiences with dumbed down flicks. Rosario Dawson is fantastic as a reporter interviewing him for a review of his character’s new film (and refusing to accept canned responses), and even Gabrielle Union shines (literally – she’s got bling) as his superficial fiancee who, turns out, has her own issues. The only negative thing I will say about this movie is that it’s awkward to watch while on a cross-country flight next to an older couple – there are a couple of sex scenes that are pretty vivid! But, even those scenes are hilariously written and add to the point of the movie. See this one.

2. What if
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The roomie and I decided to watch this one night after engaging in a trailer-viewing-marathon that left us slightly befuddled as to which movie we’d actually picked (we actually watched another one with this same actress a previous night that was slightly less cute and more sci-fi weird), but after the first couple of scenes, we were hooked. I love Daniel Radcliffe as an actor, and this movie shows his ability for comedic timing (up against the likes of Adam Driver, no less) and Zoe Kazan is one of my favorite new actresses. Such a cute film!

3. Birdman
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I don’t know how to describe Birdman without giving away key points, so I’ll just say this – I’m not a huge fan of Michael Keaton, and even I think he should win a lot of awards for this one. The cinematography is inventive, the cast is wholeheartedly compelling, and the story has you wondering where it’ll lead until it finally climaxes at an explosive plot point. If you haven’t yet, see Birdman before the Oscars so you can form your own opinion.

/// BOOKS

1. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandelstationeleven

I will admit, I haven’t started this one yet – but my stepdad read it and has been telling me all about how fantastic it is (including giving me his copy for Christmas), so I figure it’s got to be great. That and about thirteen other people have recommended it to me too.

2. And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie
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I think I’ve read this book before, but not recently enough that I remember the major (or any) plot points, so when my work book club chose this as February’s book pick, I was excited to pick it up again. Also it gave me an excuse to finally go to SFPL and get myself a darn library card! So far I’m about halfway through, and it really reminds me why Agatha Christie is known as one of the most engaging mystery writers of our time.

3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
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I went on a self-imposed Spending Fast (ok it was more like a Spending Juice-Cleanse-Where-You-Drink-Smoothies-All-Day) for January and the one thing I was itching to buy was this book. I know, I know – it seems silly to buy a book about minimalizing your lifestyle, but sometimes people can phrase things in a different way or present them to you in a new fashion so you’ll actually comprehend and, god help me, remember the points. So far here’s what I’m taking away from it: if something in your life doesn’t give you joy, thank it for its time, and let it go. I’m definitely working on that part…even going so far as to sell some of my belongings on Poshmark.

/// TUNES

1. Style, Taylor Swift1989

I signed up for the SF Half Marathon this coming July, so I’m in dire need of new running music. While I love all of T.Swift’s newest album, this song in particular has gotten me hooked – she sounds like a completely different artist, and I really like the shift. She’s branched out but does so in a way that pays homage to the new genre (pop vs. country) without mocking or stereotyping it. It’s great!

2. Geronimo, Sheppard
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This song makes me happy whenever it comes on. I just think of popsicles and cowboy boots and picnics and flowy shirts. Basically, I think of a crazy music festival – except one that sounds fun and not overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. Props to Sheppard for that sensation.

3. Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran
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There was a period a couple of months ago where I kept playing this song on repeat, even watching the music video (gorgeously done, if you ask me) on repeat on YouTube. Think about current loves, think about past loves, think about the love you’re looking for – this song just gets under your skin.

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Do you have any favorite movies, books, or music you’ve discovered lately? Share your suggestions in the comments!

Get Your Moto Runnin | WEARABLES

posted on: February 10, 2015

That joke is only really funny once you scroll to the bottom of the page and see that I’m wearing a “Moto” jacket, but I just couldn’t resist a good pun.

Isn’t it fun when your friends become friends, and you can all be friends, and go do friend things like get coffee or ice cream or go to the beach or pretend to bike around your office campus because your friend’s friend just started working at the same place you’re working and you can finally get lunch and take outfit photos all at the same time?

You’re probably thinking, “Maddy, you had me until that last little ramble.”

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Rachel‘s friend Julia, the proprietress of Technically Sweet, just started doing UX design at Google. I’m doing e-discovery at Google! We both have blogs! Therefore, we automatically became friends.

…You might not think it, but sometimes it really does just work that way. Especially when said new friend is fun and bubbly and super (not even just technically) sweet!

We thought it only fitting to do some outfit photos with the iconic (and infamous, and sometimes hated – sorry guys!) multicolored bikes.

I should let you all know, this is my version of dressing up at work. Google has ruined me for other jobs. On the flip side, working somewhere else eventually (my contract is up this summer) will give me a chance to actually wear the nice things in my closet?

I’m the queen of flip sides, y’all.

 

———-

jacket | Tela Moto Jacket from Anthropologie (on sale)
denim | grey Gap 1969 jeans
bag | from Therapy (similar)
flats | Circus by Sam Edelman
necklace | by Haej.Co
sunglasses | Ray-Ban (similar)
watch | Mint green Viscid watch by Anthropologie

Chia Seed Pudding Two Ways | FORK IT OVER

posted on: February 2, 2015

Are you ready to parrrrtayyyyy?

This is mostly a rhetorical question as, yes, of course you are. My Bloggees are always ready to pump the jams, raise the roof, get jiggy with it. And today! You are in luck! Because we are going to rock the house with some Chia Seed Pudding recipes.

…You see what I did there?

I know not everyone is as happily homebound as I am most of the time, but I still think these recipes can be fun for those moments you want to make something a little different that takes just about zero effort.

chia seed pudding

Chia seeds are a great source of energy (for going to the clurb!) and are packed (overweight baggage limit reached here, baby) with fiber and protein, for very few calories. They are also naturally gluten free and a whole grain! I’m loving what I’m hearing here, people.

Luckily for all of us, I have a real pro helping me here today. Ms. Rachel Fischbein has graciously agreed to share her favorite chia seed puddings (which means these dishes have been duly tested, it’s not just me making things up in my bizarro kitchen world where I like putting parmesan on everything) and show us how to make them!

So, let’s get to the recipes. The best parts about these are that you can change them according to the season, your taste buds, or even based on what you have lying around the kitchen.

For these puddings, you’ll need:

– 2 tablespoons chia seeds for each pudding you’re making
– 1 cup milk or liquid (here we used Vanilla Almond milk for one, and Tazo Chai for the other)
– toppings! of any kind! as much as you want! (We used apples, pears, cinnamon for one, and raspberries and dark chocolate chips for the other.)

(NOTE: The pudding must be prepared ahead of time to allow the seeds to absorb the liquid. This is a great dish to make the night before you want to eat it, or to prepare in the morning as an afternoon snack.)

Step 1: Measure out your chia seeds. Let your little canine helper do a sniff test if you’d like?

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Step 2: Mix with your liquid (about 2 tablespoons per 1 cup liquid) and cover. Refrigerate overnight.

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They should look like this when they’re done:

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Step 3: Set up your additions!

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For a great breakfast variety, we mixed Apples, Pears, and Cinnamon with the Vanilla Almond Milk. Another great addition (though you don’t need the protein) is to add almond slices or pistachios to make an even heartier batch.

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For an afternoon snack or a fun dessert (although chia seeds perk you up, so don’t do this too close to bed time!), we tried Raspberries and Chocolate Chips with Tazo Chai. Another delicious dessert variety would be persimmons, almond milk, and agave nectar!

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The texture takes a minute to get used to, and you kind of feel like you’re eating alien food at first… but this is so easy, so filling, and so (frankly) delicious when you find the right combination that it’s worth the culinary experimentation.

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Branch out, people! You can do it!

*A hearty, happy Thanks to Rachel Fischbein for the recipes in this post.

 

_____

What’s your favorite breakfast food? 

 

“To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This.”

posted on: January 30, 2015

There are often articles that make the rounds of the internet – first, circulating from a friend or relative who has read it directly on site; transitioning later to the Facebook post, where it garners many “likes” and perhaps even a few “shares”; it might leapfrog over to Twitter where endless RTs are possible depending on the size of your following; and, finally, the circle of life is complete when your mother forwards you said article and asks, “Have you seen this?” Inevitably, yes.

Mandy Len Cantron’s recent article is one such phenomenon – but unlike other times, where I feel satisfied reading and moving on, not even mentioning it to others, this time I feel compelled to share and, dare I say, discuss.

Her article shows an acquaintance and her following the directive of an Arthur Aron study (from twenty years ago) to answer thirty-six questions that are supposed to invoke feelings of intimacy and closeness within a ninety minute period. While Cantron admits she and her partner spent more than the allotted time (and probably more than the allotted alcoholic beverage amount, seeing as a lab should have none), she confesses that there was an increased feeling of closeness after answering these questions.

Which leads me to the ever Carrie Bradshaw-esque question: “I had to wonder… is love something we can manufacture, or is it that we can love anyone, all along?”

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Stephanie from A Sparkle Factor and Hallie from Corals + Cognacs have both posted their answers to several of the questions, and I’ve decided to follow suit. Not just to try to get everyone to fall in love with me (I’ve seen Teen Witch, I know how quickly that can go sour) but to test the theory that these questions lead the listener to a newer, deeper, more nuanced understanding of the question-answerer.

Will you all feel you know me better after reading this? Will you look at me differently? I dare to say, I hope so.

Oh, and, P.S. – Canton and her partner fell in love. She says she’s not sure whether it would have happened eventually without the questions, but that the queries definitely left the pair in a more intimate space to explore their relationship sooner.

(I’m omitting some of the questions that are directed at a partner in favor of brevity and readability. No one wants to see me make up a boyfriend here.)

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Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

At this moment, I would say Agatha Christie – her books are amongst the most famous in the world and she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s best selling novelist. I would love to know how she accomplished that and what her life was like.

Would you like to be famous? In what way?

I would like to be remembered – whether that is through an achievement, through charitable donations (which, at this moment, are mostly me feeding myself on each week’s paycheck), or by some other means. I wouldn’t say I’d like to be “famous” but I definitely have that very human urge to not be forgotten so soon after I depart this world.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

Not usually, but sometimes if it’s a nerve-wracking phone interview or professional call.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

First, the ability to sleep in beyond 7:15am. That would be lovely. Then I’d go get a croissant and coffee, and maybe some fresh flowers. I’d somehow expand the time-space continuum so I’d have time to go to yoga or for a run, read a book or knit while rain falls outside, and then cook dinner with friends. Maybe I’d end the evening with a snuggle from my family’s dogs. Or, in an ideal world, a snuggle from another human.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

To myself? Doing dishes, last night. To someone else? My friend had a birthday party last weekend and we sang to her with cake.

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or the body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

Assuming I would only have the usual signs of aging and not some debilitating disease at 90 years old, I would rather retain my mind. You can always create with a strong mind.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die? 

For as much as I fear dying (and I do, a lot) I haven’t thought about how it will actually happen, realistically. Which is probably best for everyone.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

My family and friends. I could survive anything with those fools around me (Note: Mom, fools is a term of endearment here.)

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I would make myself do more chores? In all honesty, my parents were incredibly loving and supportive, to the point where I didn’t want for anything and I got away with a lot just by a cute smile and some witty comment — but I didn’t often have to take out the trash. I’m not sure whether my current household work ethic has been affected by this.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

If we’re talking superhero qualities, I would want to fly – I think invisibility would be too tempting (does anyone really need to overhear conversations of their loved ones? Some things are better left unsaid.) If we’re limited to “regular” old personal abilities, I would love the ability of Peacefulness. I mean that in the sense of having an even keel attitude, not letting others get to me so much, and being able to spread this feeling to those around me.

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?

In the interest of honesty, I would want to know whether I’m going to get married and have children. If I knew that, I could just let it happen and focus on the flobbity jillion other things that are important in life. Also, this question doesn’t mention whether you have the ability to change your future once you know it – I think the possibility of hope and change once you have that knowledge is an important caveat.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

I want to write a book. A novel. I haven’t done it because starting is the hardest part.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

So far, in my meager 28 years, passing the Bar was my greatest accomplishment. It was three years and three months in the making and I never want to have to do it again.

What do you value most in a friendship?

I value loyalty – not blind, unwavering, undying loyalty like Spencer Pratt seems to believe in, but a sincere fondness for and support of your friends. I also think this includes not speaking badly about your friends, and supporting them even when it’s difficult for you.

If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

I would travel, a lot, more than I already have and plan to. I would immediately book a ticket to Greece and figure it out from there.

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What does friendship mean to you?

“Friendship means never having to say I’m sorry…” No, wait, that’s not right. Friendship means support, companionship, joy, laughter, camaraderie, someone to build your lemonade stand with and get into giggle fits and drag to that horrible move you wanted to see. It also means someone having your back when you are devastated and all you want is to cry and look ugly and watch bad television and have someone drag you out to a coffee shop. One of the things Sex and the City got right is that I think your friends can be your soulmates, and sometimes men can just be these nice guys to have fun with.

What roles do love and affection play in your life?

Huge roles. I’m not sure how else to put it. Love and affection are very important to me, whether this be familial, friendly, or romantic love and affection.

How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

Yes, to be honest. I think I had as great a childhood as I could have asked for, and I feel incredibly close to my family — to the point where I go home at least two weekends a month and three weeks without seeing my family is a long time for me. That said, my family lives about 20-25 minutes away from me right now… if I lived further away, and only saw them a couple of times a year, I would be able to survive. That’s what smart phones are for.

How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

She’s my best friend? Yes. That’s probably true.

Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…”

My silly jokes. And my desire to go snorkeling in Iceland.

If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

I am a morning person, and a night owl, but when I don’t get enough sleep I just complain about being tired all the time. And also I laugh out loud while watching television – any television.

Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

That time when I went in to audition for Trial Team in law school and was basically a raging B-I-you-know-what to the fake witness on cross examination because I had watched too much Law & Order and thought that’s how you were supposed to do it. I didn’t realize until a few months later that there’s this thing called “finesse”…

This may not seem that embarrassing but for me it screams AMATEUR HOUR and I still have flashbacks.

When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

In front of another person? Probably watching The Killing with my roommate last week. By myself? Watching the new Budweiser Super Bowl puppy commercial. Also this Subaru commercial does a number on me (I just watched it so I could link it here, and teared up at work.)

Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save one item. What would it be? Why?

In theory I should say my laptop because it has all of my pictures and writings on it, but a lot of those are backed up on Flickr and on here… so if I was thinking clearly I would probably grab a framed picture of my mom and me when I was really young (and so was she, har har) and I look like the cutest little ginger baby you ever did see.

Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. 

How do I figure out what I want to be when I grow up? No, but really. How?

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What do you think, are we in loooooove yet?

If you want, answer your own thirty-six questions and link back here so we can all get to know each other! If you’re not a blogger and still want to participate, feel free to answer some (or all) of the questions in the comments below. I’m sincerely interested to learn more about you!