Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

day of the dead

BF and I decided to get off our lazy arses last Friday and actually go out and do something.  Friday nights usually involve vegging out on the couch to unwind from the work week.  Him- occupied with video games.  Me- Zoning out with a marathon of House Hunters or whatever else is on.  Earlier in the day, he sent me a link for the Dia de la Muertos procession in the Mish…and I thought, why not!  Sounds interesting and creepy.  Let’s have a go at it.  We arrive at the meeting point and immediately are surrounded by flocks of people with scary painted skeleton faces dressed in bohemian garb…high neck collars lined with lace, long velvet skirts, black on black.  We were dressed “normally,” so felt totally out of place.  There were lots of children hanging out, too…which totally surprised me because if I were a kid, I’d  freak out and start crying.  (Kids are too cool for school these days.)  Anyway, the procession begins, as well as the singing and dancing.  Behind us, I think I heard an Irish band with bagpipes, which I thought was odd and out of place, but hey- to each their own.  People can mourn their loved ones whichever and whatever way they want.  I have to admit, it was really cool.   Sure, there were crowds, but they were orderly.  Sure, there were moments where the darkness left me stumbling to catch my steps, but good thing I was wearing my comfy shoes.  The culmination of the event was the arrival at Garfield Park, where the Festival of Altars were displayed.  I imagined it to be eerie and weird.  It was, but also serene, peaceful, and reflective at the same time.  There were altars honoring soldiers.  A huge clothesline where you could write a note to a loved one who had passed. I wish you could have been there to see the scene.  Here’s a little glimpse at what it was like…

day of the dead

dia de los muertos

skeleton

Cozy Navajo Sweater & Tribal Earrings

A perfect weekend outfit:  Cozy sweater (like this Navajo inspired Vince one) + a pair of comfy, worn-in boots.   If you’re up for it, dress it up with tribal inspired jewelry like these cool earrings.  And if it’s cold where you are, I would suggest wearing pants and not re-creating my Tom Cruise Risky Business moment.

tribal earrings

Perks of Being a Wallflower Book Review: Depressing, but Good

When I saw the preview for this movie, I thought to myself…yeah, another teen flick!  I’m totally into those movies where there’s a misunderstood, angsty teenager just trying to make it through high school.  Think Can’t Hardly Wait, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club.  I didn’t actually see the movie, but that was my understanding of the plot before reading the book.  This book is WAY more depressing than that.  At a high level, it’s about a high school freshman that is taken under the wing of 2 seniors who welcome him into the real world.  Surprise, surprise…Charlie is a wallflower, shy, unpopular…and living life in his head and not reality.  There’s a somewhat poetic irony in that he is both innocence, oblivious about life’s ugliness, yet enlightened and perceptive at the same time.  I’m not going to give anything away, but just know that this might not be the best book to ready during the holidays if you’re down.  However, it’s a quick read and written really well.  One of my favorite quotes from the book:  “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”  I’ll just leave you with that to marinate on.

(A special thanks to Cinderella in Rubber Shoes for the pix of the book.)

Fall Fave: Pumpkin EVERYTHING

They’re everywhere, but I still can’t resist.  Fall is not fall within pumpkins.  Sure, they’re infiltrating every magazine and blog you probably read, every local grocery store display, every porch around the country….but they’re only with us a few months out of the year, so I think that makes it OK to talk about them non-stop and obsess about them.  Don’t you?

Pumpkin Patch

A thing of beauty- warts and all!

Pumpkin Ale

OK, I’m cheating a bit.  These are not liters of pumpkin ale, but you get my drift.  🙂

Pumpkin Pancakes 

For the recipe, check it out here at All Recipes.  I like to add chocolate chips to my batter to add a little oomph.

Wedding Update: Lemons and Other “Un-Traditions”

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my wedding….probably because I’m trying my hardest to make it NOT consume my life.  I’ve witnessed friends on the verge of a breakdown because they can’t find the perfect color napkins or the DIY favor she was obsessing about turned out ugly or her Bridesmaids went postal on her.  I so do not want this to become me.  I have a list of things to do and really just want it to be as simple and as painless as possible.  I’ve already come to terms with the fact that it probably won’t be the prettiest or most meticulously planned wedding.  To me, that’s totally fine.  I just want to have fun and not stress out too much about it.  There are also wedding traditions that I just find un-necessary and wasteful, so I’m just omitting them all together….No bridesmaids, no paper invitations, no wedding cake.  Some might find this to be sacrilege, but it’s our day, so we’re just going to do what we want.  I almost opted for no flowers, but thought that it was a bit much to walk down the aisle with nothing in hand.  I did, however, decide instead of flowers as centerpieces, I wanted lemons.

I like the idea of using lemons because they’re photogeni and they can be re-used to make lemonade.  I’m not particularly eco-friendly, but don’t like to be wasteful.  My vision is to find glass bowls (like the Crate & Barrel Charleston one below) and fill them up with a bunch of lemons and one lime on the top (as a finishing touch).  This was also the inspiration for the color palette of the wedding….lemon and grey (see Pinterest inspiration board below).  Yeah!  Making progress on wedding planning.

Throwback Thursday: Vintage Gold Earrings

A month ago, BF and I were in LA, so we decided to check out the Los Feliz/ Silver Lake area, rated the #1 hipster hood in the US.  After brunch on the patio, we strolled up and down the streets and stumbled across Co-op 28 Handmade, a store with a cool collection of vintage digs and décor in the back.  I spotted these gold drop earrings, made eye contact with them, and the rest was history.  Love at first sight!  To me, shopping is all about gut.  You either get a feeling, or you don’t.  I can’t stand going shopping with friends that are too indecisive.  Drives me insane!  Anyway, back to the earrings.  Here they are paired with one of my favorite dresses from H&M with gold buttons.  Oh, and my new black suede Ash booties that are hot hot hot!

black dress

 

Bright Sweaters & Scarves to Fight the Dark & Gloomies

Just because it’s fall, doesn’t mean that you have to turn frumpy and boring with your wardrobe.  Sure, the weather says grey, dark, brown and gloomy, but that doesn’t mean you have to look that way.  I try to NOT let weather affect my mood by fighting it off with some brightly colored sweaters and scarves.  See below.  Not sure if it’s actually works, but it does make me feel slightly better when I slip ‘em on!

Deets: Forever 21 sweater | Madewell Skinny Skinny Ankle Jeans | Aldo booties | Alexis Bittar necklace | Knit Scarf- gift from Mom

sweater

My Mom, the Fruit Whisperer…and 5 Fruit Picking Tips

My mom never pretended to be a good cook, but there were (and are) a few culinary skills she’s good at.  She excels at making boxed brownies and cake mixes look homemade.  She’s great at fruit cutting, a skill that is just as important as cooking in the Asian culture.  Oh, and she is a rock star when it comes to picking fruit.  That’s why I call her “The Fruit Whisperer.”  In other families, there are secret recipes handed down from generation to generation.  In my family, it’s the art of picking fruit.  Growing up, without fail…after every meal, we’d have a plate of perfectly cut fruit.  And I knew, before even taking a bite into it, that it would be juicy, sweet, and the perfect texture.  So how does one go about picking the perfect fruit?  It’s an art and a science, and takes years of practice, but here are a few tips to get you started:

Apples

Let’s start with the basic apple.  I like mine firm and crispy, and don’t understand people who like them mushy.  That’s just plain weird.  To select a firm and crispy, it should feel and sound like just that.  What does that mean?  Pick up the apple and feel it.  It should feel firm with no mushy spots.  Mushy spots mean mushy apple or rotting.  Ew!  Once you’ve confirmed it’s firm, flick it like you would if you were to flick somebody’s ear.  The sound of it should be crispy, vibrant, and sort of echo (vs. flat and dull).  Check out the demo here (sans noise, which would have been helpful.  Working on it!).

Apple flick

Created with cinemagr.am

Berries

Berries are usually in wrapped packages, so difficult to feel…but usually it’s more about the fragrance and smell.  For example, with good strawberries, you can usually smell them with a simple sniff.  The smell of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are a bit more faint, but still there.

Grapes

Grapes should be firm and you can usually feel them through the plastic bags they come in.

Watermelon

OK, here’s the big kahuna and one that’s taken me years to really “get.”  Watermelons are complex and take a combo of sight, sounds, and touch.  The overall shape of it should be symmetrical and not lopsided.  Color should be bright green (if it’s light green, it’s over ripe) with a spot of yellow (where it used to rest on the ground in the field).  The belly button should be small.  And finally, you need to give it a good slap to really know if it’s the one.  Imagine that you are make believe slapping somebody’s face…palms open, good amount of force.  Whack it and then listen.  It should sound hollow and you should be able to feel a slight vibration.  I was at the Whole Foods the other day slapping away and taught this technique to the fruit guy who worked there.  It works…for real.

Other Melons

Melons are a bit like watermelon.  Their shape should be smooth and symmetrical.  Cantaloupes are better if the surface is smoother/ pattern is denser.

Hope this is enough to get you started.  If you have any other fruits you’re curious about, write ‘em down below in the comments and I’ll ask mama if she has any words of wisdom.

Leather Bound

Every girl (no matter how prim and proper or straight laced) wants to feel a little rock and roll edgy (slash naughty) every now and then. 🙂  So how about them leather?  From leather pants to moto-chic boots and jackets, it’s one of the hottest trends right now.  I’m totally on the hunt for some leather leggings, so if you find some them that are cute, fit well, and don’t break the bank, then holla at me!    The one thing I did find the other day is this fantastic faux leather dress from the new Nicole Richie line for Macy’s Impulse.  The southwestern inspired neckline is so boho-moto chic!  I love that former wild child Richie has turned into a fashionista with a mini empire.  First, House of Harlow and now this.  Keep it coming, girl!  And to complete the motorcycle-inspired look, how about this fabulous clutch with zipper and grommet detail.  I got it a while back at Barney’s, but can’t figure out the designer.  Sorry, you’ll just have to find your own!

nicole richie macy's