8.26.2015

ARE THE LEAVES FALLING?


You guys ready for fall yet? Eeek, me neither. Well luckily the new arrivals in stores have me looking forward to the season. I want everything on this page (especially that bag, those shoes!!) I love the mix of causal, distressed and glam ladylike. It makes for the perfect pairing! What are you coveting for fall?





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8.24.2015

WINE AND DINE


I'm so excited to share this treat with you today. It involves cheese and wine--how could we go wrong? First off, I love entertaining people and I'm a firm believer that no matter how small your space, you can still throw a fabulous gathering. Just use what you've got!

Les Dauphins wines sent me three of their signature wines to try (just look at those beautiful labels!) and I thought it was the perfect excuse to throw a little shindig (key word being little since I live in a studio). Since they sent me three kinds of wines, I wanted to try each of them with the perfect cheese, fruit and meat pairing. In my mind all cheese goes with all wine (good + good = good) but having the right pairings really does bring out the best flavors in each of the wines.

I bought these itty bitty tasting glasses at Cost Plus because I thought they would be perfect for our tasting (and would make great little dessert dishes later on down the road) Then I set to work pairing the perfect foods with each of the wine. I like the idea of this tasting because guests can try different types of wine and create their own mini-wine flight.

What resulted was a crazy amazing spread with of every kind of cheese imaginable, delicious meats and fresh fruit. Here are some pairing recommendations so you can recreate on your own...

Les Dauphins - Rose
deliciously ripe strawberry aroma, full body with refreshing flavors of red cherries and strawberries
Cheeses: Goat cheese, Roquefort, Manchego
Charcuterie:  pork or duck rillettes, lamb terrine
Accompaniment: Strawberry, spinach and goat cheese salad

Les Dauphins - White
a fresh, floral nose, good minerality, bright acidity and citrus flavors on the palate
Cheeses: Brie, Camembert, Tallegio,
Charcuterie:  Jamon Serrano/Iberico, Chorizo
Accompaniment: Cashews

Les Dauphins - Red 
violet and earth aromas, soft palate with rich blackcurrant and spice flavors
Cheeses: Pecorino, Gouda,  Fontina
Charcuterie: salami, Bresaola,
Accompaniment: Smoked almonds

My last piece of advice is keep it super casual with how you serve everything. Use rosemary to add a little green and help separate the different areas. I also love the idea of using Weck jars with a votive for a little ambiance. 


Make sure to turn on some tunes. I always love some Bluegrass to set the mood. 



Never forget the flowers. These reminded me of the shades of the wine.




Create little markers denoting which cheeses go with what wines.








If you're guests are laughing and smiling then you've done your job. 


Create mini-flights with the tasting glasses. 



Finish it off with a nice piece of chocolate and a mini-glass of red. 



This post was done in collaboration with Les Dauphins Wines. Thank you for supporting the brands featured on the blog!  

8.19.2015

BRIGHT BEACON


Let me tell you I am SOOOO sick of hearing the term "pop of color" To me it was like one of those songs on the radio that you first absolutely love. Like the song really captures everything you are feeling and you are jamming to it all of the time. Then the radio plays it too much and you get totally sick of it and it loses its magic.

Well, the reason I bring it up is because I absolutely love a bright couch (a "pop of color" if you will). You can keep the room pretty simple and give it so much personality with a vibrant couch. For those that are a little scared of this trend, I suggest you go with deep navy but if you really want to take it up a notch think about pink or kelly green. Simple clean lines work best with a bright couch so there isn't too much going on. I saw the navy one at West Elm and couldn't get over how perfect it was. What do you think? Could you commit to a bright couch?






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8.17.2015

ICE ICE BABY


This weekend we had higher-than-normal temps in San Francisco. It is so funny because people in SF always complain that it's too cold then temperatures rise and they complain it's too hot. I mean come on people, enjoy the sunshine.

It was crazy warm and all I wanted to do was consume as many iced drinks as possible. These handy Starbucks Via Iced Coffees were perfect. All you have to do is add the packet to cold water and, almost like magic, ice coffee is created. I added a little milk and I was enjoying a tasty, refreshing treat in no time. I love how easy and portable they are. Imagine if you are running around and just pick up a bottle of water and add one of these? The perfect cold treat!

To pair with the ice coffee I wanted something that was tropical and refreshing as a dessert/snack/breakfast. I love how simple it is to make chia seed pudding. The texture is a bit like tapioca pudding but you get all of the nutrients (including lots of omega 3s) from the chia seeds. I like to top my pudding with some fresh fruit and coconut chips for a little crunch. These are the perfect warm weather treats because you can store in the fridge and they dont require any heat.

All you have to do for the chia seed pudding is mix together one can of coconut milk (lite or regular, it's your choice) with a 1/2 cup of chia seeds and three tbsp of honey or maple syrup. Then let sit overnight and serve the next day. Add fruit on top or chopped nuts or coconut pieces. The possibilities are endless.








Ice coffee glasses are from Not Neutral. Chia pudding glasses are from Cost Plus.

This post was done in collaboration with Starbucks. Thank you for supporting the brands featured on the blog!

8.12.2015

SOPHISTICATED MODERN BED


Every once in a while, I get the urge to switch things up. Maybe it's the changing of the seasons, maybe I've just been in my apartment for a while but it's always good to add a little life into your living space.

I re-imagined my bed with a few new changes. First off, I just discovered Biscuit Home. It is the cutest home store. Biscuit is filled with bright quirky patterns and beautiful accessories. While it is a little on the pricer side, the distinctive pieces will make your bedroom feel unique and special.

I paired their vibrant kelly green Euro shams with sophisticated dotty pillow cases and a pop of leopard. To counteract the girly bedding choices, I would recommend a bed frame with strong, modern lines like this one from Room and Board. The finishing touches are a beautiful photo that reminds me of mornings in Europe, serious pendant lights with a splash of gold and a textured rug for coziness. Overall, I think the combination is sophisticated but still approachable and modern.






Bed, art, sheets, rug, lights

8.10.2015

IN SEASON: FIGS


I was so excited to see figs pop up again at my local farmer's market. I love figs so much--they have this delicious greeney, sweetness that is perfect in desserts and goes amazing with blue cheese. Here are my favorite fig recipes to make the most of the season...

Fig Jam
Fig Frangipane Tarte 
Honey Fig Goat Cheese Ice Cream
Yogurt with Figs
Roasted Goat Cheese Stuffed Figs with Lavender Thyme Honey



8.07.2015

LIGHT A FIRE


I like my candles like I like my perfume: it seems that there is one for every occasion. The smokey/moody ones are perfect for cold winter nights, the fresh florals are great for Sunday cleaning, the sweet ones are good for having people over. I could go on and on. I'm pretty sure that I have owned one of every candle from Anthropologie at some point in my life.

Given my love of candles, I decided that I might try and take matters into my own hands, and make candles of my own. I was wandering the isles of the craft store (as one does) and I saw this whole section on candle making. I was initially afraid because it seems like candle making is one step closer to being a cat lady. But hipsters are doing it, so it can't be that uncool. Yeah, that's what I told myself.

I grabbed the wax and wicks at the craft store. I visited a local natural store to pick up essential oil. You can also get it at Whole Foods for online from Amazon or Etsy. I prefer my candles pure white but you can pick up coloring wax at Amazon as well.

Ingredients:
Soy wax chips
Wicks
Bamboo skewers and rubber bands or clothes pins
Weck Jars
Essential oil

You don't specifically need Weck jars, you can really use any type of container but I like the utilitarian look of the Weck jar (plus you can reuse after your candle is finished)

Step No 1

It is pretty easy to make candles. First, assemble the ingredients. I found it pretty hard to estimate how much wax I needed for my candles. I heated up the amount in the bowl there and it only filled up one candle. I would recommend melting more wax than you think.


Step No 2

Most sites I read said to use a clothes pin to keep the wicks straight. I didnt have one so I made these makeshift wick holders using skewers cut in half and hair rubber bands. You can use either. I also recommend supergluing or hot glueing the wick to the bottom of the candle. This will keep it secure when you pour in the wax. I was moving the wick around and I think it caused the candle to cure in an odd way.


Step No 3

Melt the wax on your stove using a double boiler system. Put enough water in a saucepan to fill about an 1-1.5 inches from the bottom. Put a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water doesnt touch. Put on med-high heat and stir constantly. The goal is to get the wax to about 170 degrees.

Step No 4

After the wax is melted, add in your essential oil. You will only need to add a few drops. You want the ratio of oil to wax to be somewhere around 7-10%.

Step No 5

Wait until the wax is about 100 degrees then pour into your containers. I didn't wait and this resulted in cracked candles because they cooled too fast when they were poured in.


Step No 6

Allow wax to cool about 30-45mins. Then trim the wick so it is a few centimeters from the top of the wax. Light and enjoy your homemade candle! These would make awesome presents during Christmas, or the perfect favor for a bridal or a baby shower.