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Archive for August, 2011

muy caliente

**Edited for the link to the dress and to correct a particularly egregious grammar error**

In case you couldn’t tell, the title refers to the weather, not my awesome makeup-free face! It is HOT here in San Diego, friends, which means that I don’t wear anything that’s 1) fussy, 2) hot, or 3) not sweat-proof. I also partied a little too hard last night at an event (once I finally found it and not before I accidentally crashed someone’s retirement party), so please excuse the dazed look on my face. I got out of bed with the prospects of coffee, bagels, and gossip time with my friend T.

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dress: Forever 21; sandals: Rainbow

The colors of this dress are a little bit “fall,” but considering how Einsteins was toting their Pumpkin Latte, bagel, and cream cheese already, I didn’t feel *that* out of place. I don’t often find age-appropriate items at Forever 21 anymore, which is a shame, because their clothes are so cheap, but once in a while I luck out! The cats have repurposed the belt as their own personal toy, so I’m going belt-less.

Here’s a close-up of my hair. Just a quick little braid I did while T and I firmed up breakfast plans and I contemplated the minefield that is my closet.

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Keep cool! And to my east coast friends, stay safe!

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colorblocked

Yesterday was a busy day! It started off with a mandatory work training at 10 am (which my office genius-ly tailgated with coffee and donuts), then a personal shopping mission for my friend C, and then our coworker’s bride/groom/wedding shower, because what people really want to do is hang out with a bunch of lawyers on a Saturday night. Fiancee R, who also happens to be a lawyer, was a really good sport about dealing with our court team’s insanity.

The party was at my friend C’s amazing beach house, which is perfectly decorated with blues, greens, and greys, and since I was in charge of decorations, I figured it was the perfect occasion to wear this dress:

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Colorblocked with absoultely no effort on my part!

dress: anthropologie; shoes: steve madden; watch/rings: the usual

This dress is amazing, and I got it on sale for almost half the original price! It’s not listed on their website, but there were a few sizes left in my local store, so if you love it, you should definitely peruse their sale section! I absolutely adore buying things on sale, and thankfully living in San Diego gives me almost double the summer months (although my favorite clothing season is actually fall/winter.) The dress is made of silk, and has a full slip to avoid see-through mishaps, and I love the colors, but my favorite detail is the button work on the shoulder. Here’s a closeup:

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Buttons, SmartWater in the background

Random life lesson #21: stay hydrated. Your skin, hair, and entire body will thank you for it. Especially if you’re planning on drinking a lot. Someone brought a bottle of Hpnotiq to the shower, so I managed to coordinate with my friend’s house and the drinks. Amazing. Hpnotiq is certainly not my drink of choice (I prefer wine) but how could I resist a drink that matched my dress? The liqueur is fruity and super-sweet, so if you like that, more power to you!

I also decided to break out the big-girl makeup for the occasion. Colored eyeshadow makes me nervous (because I’m hopeless when it comes to anything more complicated than liner + mascara + lips) but I couldn’t resist this NARS palette when I saw it at Sephora.

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NARS duo eyeshadow in Rated R

I put a reeeeeaaaaalllly thin layer of the green over my lid, and then a slightly darker layer of the green closer to my lash line. I then lined my eyes with black liner, dipped a q-tip in the bright blue, and reinforced the line.

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Super-bad lighting, sorry!

For someone who never wears much eye makeup, I was pretty proud. Until I saw what this girl did with it. Then I felt all inadequate again 🙂 Seriously, that’s amazing to me, although I’m not sure I could actually pull off that much shadow.

As I mentioned, I was in charge of decorations and the playlist for last night’s shower. The groom loves showtunes (yesssss) and I once caught him humming Lady Gaga before court, so I threw those songs in there, along with “Single Ladies” and “The Final Countdown,” because I’m a classy friend like that. I bought a “make your own occasion-appropriate sign” kit at Party City, which was basically a bunch of silver letters, bells, and fasteners, and instead of the usual “Congratulations R + R,” I opted for something a little less subtle:

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Yaaaay wedding!

I used all of the As in the box to do that! Below the sign is the pinata referenced in my last post, but C and I gave the bridge and groom brown magic marker highlights. R + R have survived their bachelor/bachelorette parties, as well as R’s legit bridal shower, but I hope their work wedding shower was special in its own way. At any rate, the temporary tattoo of sharks on R’s head should be a good keepsake 🙂

Hope you all had a good weekend!

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Happy Friday, everyone! I had a rare non-court day, so I took full advantage:

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Top: Odille at anthropologie (no longer available on the website, but my store had plenty!); Jeans & Necklace: j.crew (link is for the jeans); Shoes: Frye; Fingers: Zoya Shay; Toes: Savina Light Mist; Watch: Nixon; Rings: Madewell/Swarovski.

This top is so comfortable, and very forgiving! Plus, I love wearing red, perhaps in homage to the mother country (China, in case you were wondering). The jeans are the Matchstick from J.Crew, and I adore them. I like that the leg is narrow, but not tight, and the dark wash is incredibly versatile. I got these tailored specifically to wear with flats, but I put them on with my Frye heels and kind of loved the look. I probably will stick mainly with flats for these though. I don’t think they’d look right with wedges, but I guess we’ll see!

What I love about Savina and Zoya is that both are formaldehyde-free, and therefore don’t smell as gross as normal nail polish! Shay is a really pretty nude color, which is a major change from the neon shades I’ve been sporting lately, but having a judge comment on my nail color isn’t really in my career plan :).  The toenail polish would be the perfect “something blue” for a wedding. Speaking of wedding…we’re hosting a bridal/groom shower for one of the attorneys in my courtroom, and I was tasked with decorations. When one of my coworkers mentioned that she had a wedding themed pinata at her shower a few years ago, I knew I had to find one for R+R! Behold:

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Yesssssssssssssssss

Isn’t this hilarious? Unfortunately, both the bride and groom have brown hair (and I’m pretty sure neither of them have neon pink skin), but this was the only one left at the restaurant (aptly named La Pinata). Please note that I’ve never actually eaten there, but it smelled yummy! I’ll update this post if I ever get back to eat there. Being from the midwest (and Asian) I’ve never actually filled a pinata. I bought a bunch of candy, temporary tattoos, and glow sticks, prompting the guy at Party City to say “I wanna come to your party.” Success??

Hope your weekend is filled with good music, love, and novelty pinatas!

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Shopping Hiatus

….yes, you read that correctly. After spending inordinate amounts of money online shopping while recovering from my wisdom teeth removal, I’ve decided that there’s no shopping for non-necessities for a month. (September 9th, but who’s counting?) Heaven help me.

Naturally, I’ve already started compiling a list of things I want once this self-imposed freeze is over 🙂 I’ll share my favorites in a future post!

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The cafe downstairs in my office building has the most amazing lentils and rice dish available as their “special” on Fridays. It’s such a perfect dish: hearty and a little bit sweet. However, there’s one major downfall: it’s only available on Fridays! So what’s a girl to do? Turn to the internet!

My cafe actually calls it “Mujadara” but the recipe I found online calls it “Mujaddara.” I tweaked the recipe a little bit (explanations below.) The recipe is virtually foolproof! Here’s what you’ll need:

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three onions, one cup lentils, 3/4 cup rice; 1 tbsp cumin/garlic powder; 1 tsp cinnamon

Plus 3 cups of water (divided into 1 cup and 2 cups), and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I also threw in one vegetable bullion cube to the cooking stock, and plenty of salt and pepper. Laptop optional, obviously.

The recipe only calls for the onions to be sauteed right at the end and thrown on top of the rice/lentils mixture, but the cafe makes it with caramelized onions, and it’s absolutely delicious. You’ll want to slice your 3 onions down as thinly as possible. I’d recommend using either white or yellow onions – I tend to think the red onions are too harsh for this recipe.

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onions, sliced

I’d start the onions over very low heat (I sprayed a nonstick pan with cooking spray) a full hour before you start the lentils/rice cooking because they take just that long. Thankfully they’re not high-maintenance (unlike yours truly) so they just require a bit of stirring once in a while. But make sure you keep the heat low! No burned onions!

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onions, starting to wilt

Next, bring two cups of water, the vegetable bullion cube, the spices, and the lentils to a simmer in a small pot. Reduce the heat and simmer 30-40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Ignore the fact that it looks like sludge. It’ll be okay.

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lentils; water; spices

 

Pour in the rice, 2 tbsp of olive oil, and another cup of water. (I know the recipe only calls for 3/4 cup of water, but I don’t think the rice can cook adequately like that.) Also: cuidado con los onions! (Translation: mind the onions.)

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rice + water + olive oil

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Once that’s done, and the onions are caramelized (dark brown), combine them in the giant saucepan, and stir together.

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voila! mujadara (mujaddara?)

Sorry about the quality of this last photo – the pitfalls of iPhone photography. You can serve it plain, with pita, or our cafe adds a fresh salsa that’s almost like pico de gallo on top. Delicious!

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Here’s my take on the lace trend, but keeping in mind that I am too old and too self-conscious to go out in a semi-sheer top without something beneath it:

 

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Lace tank: Madewell (and it’s on sale!); Cami: Victoria’s Secret; Shorts: J.Crew; Watch: Nixon; Rings: Madewell/Swarovski; iPhone cover: Kate Spade; Bag: Coach; Nails: OPI – Skull and Glossbones

This tank is so comfortable, and with the camisole underneath it, blessedly sans “illusions of nudity.” I’d say I’m all for girls just wearing lace tops with bold bras underneath, but I’d be lying. I don’t like the look, and I find it kind of tacky (although not as tacky as the “match my purse to my shoes to my lipstick to my jewelry”).

While we’re at it, please excuse the sly, slightly-pained look on my face. All four of my wisdom teeth came out this weekend (14 years later than they should have) and while there’s no more immediate pain, I’m still a teeny bit puffy and trying to figure out how to best close my mouth without clenching my jaw and potentially rupturing my sutures. Sexy, huh?

Now on to the ring: I’ve had a resurgence in liking gold jewelry lately (if you knew me 10 years ago, you’d know that all I would wear was silver), and I found the PERFECT bow ring at Madewell. Buy it here!

 

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It’s delicate, but big enough to be noticed, and I just adore the rope detail. All of the other bow rings I’ve seen/tried haven’t been exactly what I was looking for, and I’m so glad I held out! The best thing about this little guy is that he was only $18! It was also my first experience ordering from Madewell, and it’s not going to be the last. Their customer service is outstanding – UPS and I are engaged in a turf war where they will not even attempt to deliver to my apartment (or leave the “it’s not us, it’s you” sticky on my gate), and I refuse to give up shopping online, so I usually track my packages online and have them held for pickup. Well this time when I called, the customer rep told me that this package couldn’t be held for pickup, so I called Madwell, and lo and behold: I picked up my package the next day. They’re also really good at answering their customer service emails in a polite and personable manner (things I deem important still) and their clothes are affordable and cute, so you’ve got a new customer, Madewell!

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A few weeks ago, I met up with my good friend M at Barrio Star near Balboa Park for some much-needed tequila and sympathy (and some good old-fashioned gossip!) It also happened to be Preview Night for ComiCon, so the people-watching was even more amazing than usual. So, what *does* one wear for tequila and spying?

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Top: Anthropologie; Jeans: Citizens of Humanity; Shoes: Steve Madden.

The huge bonus of embracing the flowy top/dolman sleeves trend is that you can eat as much as you want! Just remember to balance the look with a streamlined bottom–no need to look big everywhere! I love how long these jeans are. I always wear them with super-tall wedges (these add five inches-and not in the perverted sense-and were on sale at Nordstom a while back!) or monster heels.* At first I wasn’t sure about the “natural” canvas and the fraying, but these are so comfortable that I’ve gotten over the fact that they’re a little more hippie chick than I tend to go.

If you haven’t been to happy hour at Barrio Star, here are some things you should know: 1) it’s delicious; 2) if you park on the other side of the street (by the church) there are more spaces and Jesus likes you more (kidding!); 3) bring your outside voice because that place gets LOUD.

After ogling her new engagement ring, M and I split some fried squash blossoms, shoestring plantains, and house-made corn tortillas with jalapeño butter. It was all pretty fantastic, except I was hoping for fried plantains, and ended up with teeny strips of fried plantain, not unlike a shoestring french fry, that didn’t taste much like anything at all. However, I definitely still ate them. Just probably wouldn’t get them in the future. My drink, a blood-orange margarita, was fantastic and the service was fast and attentive, although I definitely caught a few would-be diners eyeing our table towards the end.

I’ll leave you with my favorite Spanish-language toast (as relayed to me by my Zumba aficionado and friend, T):

¡Arriba, abajo, al centro y al dentro!

*Although my driver’s license says I’m five feet tall, the only places where that’s actually true are the gym and when I’m barefoot at home. The rest of the time I’m hovering between 5’3″ and 5’5″ 😉

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