Saturday, May 26, 2012

decisions decisions...for a fun weekend

My sister, Jackie, and I when we went out for dinner. Im going to the concert with her.
ME- top- vacation in Mexico, belt- moms, jeans- True Religion, shoes- Target, earrings-BeBe, glasses- The Usuals.
headband- Zumiez, sunglasses- Ray Bans, Shirt and Jacket- Azitzia, Pants- Rock and Rebublic, bag- Marc Jacobs
What to do, what to do.... there are so many fun things happening this Memorial Day weekend in the Bay Area and I don't want you to miss any of them. San Francisco seems to be the topic of conversation for a few reasons...
It is the 75th Birthday of the Golden Gate bridge on Sunday, so the city is hosting a fireworks show in its honor. The City will be filled with people, coming from all over. If you are thinking about driving I would leave really early on Sunday morning, just to make sure you find parking. Another great alternative it to ride the public transportation into the city. The Bart is a good option when heading to the city and then you don't have to worry about finding a D.D. for the evening.

San Francisco Carnival is this weekend. It is a Saturday & Sunday day time event in the Mission district on Harrison between 16th & 24th Streets.  Spanning eight blocks, the festival takes place on Harrison Street between 16th and 24th streets between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. They will have all the food tents and street vendors that you love, plus several stages hosting multiple artists.

I Love This City is happening this weekend in the Bay Area and San Diego. There will be over 40 different artists at the event and its taking place in Mountain View at Shoreline Ampatheater. I'm going to go tonight and I am so excited to see David Guetta, which I'm pretty sure everyone else. Some other artists to see are TIESTO, Laidback Luke, R3HAB, Steve Aoki, Chuckie, and A-TRAK.

Last but not least, in the South Bay there is the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras. The festival is celebrating it's 33rd year and takes place in the quaint downtown area. Admission is free and there are a lot of great local bands playing throughout the weekend. If you must try the Mansmiths BBQ (and you know I love BBQ) you wont be disappointed. There are some of the coolest arts and crafts booths and the vendors come from all over so a lot of the pieces are very unique.

So if you're looking for some fun activities this weekend- check out my list and pick one. or leave a comment about some fun activities happening in your area this weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2012

homemade protein/fiber bars ♥

in one word, these bars are delectable.

I have been a fan of nutrigrain bars since I was a little girl, the blueberry flavor was my favorite. Now that I'm older I know that the measly 2 grams of protein and astonishing 12 grams of artificial sugar is not what I want to be putting into my body. Plus I know that it wont keep me full and I don't need to consume empty calories.
In light of my epiphany, I wanted to find a recipe that would fit my needs, while tasting still good. I found this recipe online and thought that it would be a great base to work with.

here's how I tweaked it.

10 dried dates in food processor ¼ cup of fig butter & 2 TBSP blackberry preserves
½ cup each of walnuts and almonds in the food processor.
¾ cup of Soy Flour
½ cup packed cup light brown sugar & 2 TBSP honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups Gluten Free Oats
1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
I also added 1 teaspoon of Cardamom and 1/3 cup of flax seed mix from Trader Joe's

Instead of oiling the baking dish I used Reynolds new foil/parchment paper combo (cuts down on unwanted fat) I made the crust recipe with out the honey and divided it in half. I flattened the first half into the bottom of the pan. Then I mixed up the filling recipe and put that down as a second layer. Then I added the honey to the second half of the crust and laid that down as the third layer. Then I baked it for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Let it cool completely, the bars need to set before you cut into them.

I sliced mine into the size of Nutrigrain bars- for nostalgia sake. But you can slice them however you like. With my substitutions I approximated that there are about 6 or more grams of fiber in each bar and about 9 or more grams of protein.

Let me know if you substitute anything else or if you try a different flavor for the filling.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

weekend fun

Crepes, thrift shopping, bike rides, date night, snapping photographs... these are a few of my favorite things.

This past weekend was a whirlwind, but I can still remember all the fun things that I did. Some of the highlights include. Saturday after work I went and laid out with a big stack of magazines, ones that I have been neglecting and have been waiting to read. It was beautiful weather and Maddie and I enjoyed sun bathing on the grass. I got to visit with a friend from San Diego, who I haven't seen in seven years.. I have been wanting a silk Indian style top for some time now, but I haven't been able to bring myself to spend almost 200 dollars. While at the local Salvation Army I picked up a gorgeous one for only 4 dollars!! basically, a great steal! On Saturday night I attended the Strikeforce fight held at HP Pavilion. I felt so special sitting ringside and getting to rub elbows with all the famous fighters who I admire. I guess it was what celebrities experience on a regular basis.
Sunday we met friends at the dog Park and then went out to eat at Saras Kitchen. One of my favorite breakfast spots in Santa Clara. If you go, you just have to try the pineapple chicken sausage! We live about 3 miles from the restaurant, so we decided to ride our bikes and take Maddie in the basket- she loved it. After lunch we rode around the Rose Garden area and admired all the beautiful residences. The neighborhood is older and most of the homes have been remodeled and upgraded to original designs- they are remarkable. After our long bike ride we came home and watched the Ides of March- which I thought was very good. We finished up the evening with a shopping trip to Whole Foods, dinner at TGISushi and swung by to see our friends' new house, which they just bought! All in all a fabulous weekend!
Enjoy the photos... ciao xx

Smores dessert before dinner, at CreParis

vintage shopping, sadly no boots came home with me

top-thrifted, jeans-True Religion, shoes- Converse, belt-stolen from mom,
bracelets- Chan Lau, glasses- Electric, bag- Marc Jacobs

I am IN LOVE with the back detailing

my bf, @lenscaption, doing his favorite thing- shooting

top- dress worn as a top (seen here), shorts- Sevens, shoes- Club Nico, glasses- Dior, bike- Electra

someones beautiful garden with famous Banksy art

Friday, May 18, 2012

Summer INStyle

It's happening... all the magazines I love are starting to print all the best summer looks for this season. Just thinking of sandals and bright colors and sun dresses makes me all giddy inside. Although, I feel like the summer trends are very similar to the spring styles- just a little less of the blazers and a little more bikinis. I have been keeping my eyes on all the new outfit choices popping up in the stores, and makes me a little giddy seeing all the shades of blue that designers are using. In the new issue of Instyle they have a great spread featuring some of the pieces that you need to buy for the upcoming season.

I have my eye on the...
:: R.J. Graziano resin bangles- Even though I can't afford a tropical vacation this year, wearing these will make a regular night out seem special.
:: Banana Republic cotton pullover- The light weight cotton blend is the perfect alternative to a sweater on a summer night. Plus, I can never say no to stripes. :)
::Acacia Swimwear- all the styles featured. These bathing suits are HOT!!I don't think you can say no to any of the them. The blue Aztec print on the last page is my ultimate fav. <3

What are your Summer must haves?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

first fridays

A couple weekends ago I attended the First Fridays Art Walk in Downtown San Jose. I had such a blast walking around and visiting all of the hidden gems that the SOFA area holds. The one for June is quickly approaching ( I can't believe it's already near the end of May ) on the first. That night the SubZERO festival will make its return to downtown- and that makes First Fridays like 10 times better. It hosts multiple performers, street artists, gift and art booths, plus a ton of food trucks. It is a fun party in the streets, type atmosphere that carries on 'till after midnight. If you're in the area you should totally come check it out.


We walked around and saw some amazing exhibits, as you can see from the pictures :) After we walked to Trials, which is a great local British Pub near our building. I got to have my favorite drink, a Lambic

beautiful quilts

of course <3

a crisp Lambic

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

brownie mugs

So I was craving something sweet... well, when am I not? but I didn't really have any dessert type things in the house. I have been wanting to try a microwave dessert, and after a few different sites- decided on a brownie. The recipe consisted of everything I had at home, so that was perfect. I grabbed one of my coffee mugs and added the following...

2 tablespoons of watter, mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter.
Then add in a couple drops of vanilla extract and a sprinkle of salt.
mix well
Take 2 tablespoons of Ghiradelli cocoa powder and mix that in as well.
I added 3 tablespoons of brown sugar ( I totally would have tried this recipe using honey or agave, but I really just wanted a treat and didnt have time to play around with the recipe.)
Mix it up really well
Add in 4 tablespoons of Red Mills Bobs Gluten Free Flour
Put it in the microwave for 60 to 90 minutes... I think mine cooked for 70 seconds?

I chopped up some almonds and put some dried cranberries on top. Then poured some vanilla almond milk over the top.
It tasted gike the best part of a brownie, the chewy- gooey center. Then mixed with the almond crunch and the tangy cranberries. The almond milk makes it so creamy and a little more moist. The brownie is hot and the milk is cold, so together it makes for a perfectly balanced bite.
It was a great little treat and the best part was... there wasn't the rest of the cake to taunght me the remainder of the week.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mothers Day

This Sunday is Mothers Day... for all of you that missed the giant card sections at the store devoted to them and the pop up tents on the side of the road selling flower arrangements. Either way, now you know for sure.

So what are your plans for the weekend? There are a bunch of brunches being offered around the Bay Area... if that's your cup of tea. Growing up we have always gone out for Mothers Day Brunch, my mom, dad, sister and Nana are staples. This is the first year that my Nana wont be joining us, which does make me a little sad. So, instead of brunch- I will be hosting dinner in my home. I tossed and turned all week over this dilemma... seated dinner or tapas style? I like the idea of a menu filled with small dishes, because that way everyone can have a bite of what they like. But, my family tends to lean to the formal side of every event so a seated 3/4 course meal would also be appropriate.. decisions decisions.

After spending a good portion of the morning on Pinterest, I made the final choice. It was actually quite easy- I saw too many things that I wanted to cook, so I couldn't stick with a small dinner. Ill share with you a few of the recipes that will be consuming my time on Sunday ( I don't believe in pre-made) I hope it inspires your plans for mothers day or a regular supper during the week.

enjoy xx
Happy Mothers Day to all the beautiful women out there!!
Roasted Eggplant, Tahini, Tomato Mint Brushetta

Goat Cheese, Fg and Spinach Puffs

Asparagus Cheese Tart

* all images via my pinterest

Thursday, May 10, 2012

National Bike to Work 2012

This is Betty, yes those are dice valve caps
Today is National Bike to work day, and the Silicon Valley is representing!! I have a relatively short commute, so I really had no excuse not to ride. It was a great way to start my morning and I got to work faster than I normally do taking the lightrail. There were pop up tents along my route, and I suppose along every major roadway. They were giving away free energy bars, bagels, reusable bags, juice, water and my personal favorite coupons for the Sports Basement (my favorite sports store) and other great retailers. I might ride my bike more often. Check out this site if you want to find out more information about riding in your area.

If you haven't left for work yet, toss your car keys to the side and jump on your bike. If you already have and didn't know about the event, go for a nice ride after work. Or just do something good for the earth if you're not able to ride. This event is all about health and sparing the air from excess pollution. So get out their and get involved. ;)

xx ciao

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

::hot streets :: bring cold treats::

The other day my parents gave us the most amazingly delicious oranges. They were so sweet, but the still had that zing of tartness at the end of each bite. Since they gave us an enormous bag I decided to squeeze fresh juice. I filled an entire pitcher and didn't add a drop of sweetener or water, it was like tasting liquid sunshine. I had extra, so I looked up some sorbet recipes online to see if I could make some. Well, what do you know.. an ice cream maker comes in very handy when making sorbet... which I do not own. hmmm..

I chose to try it anyway and improvised :)

I cored my oranges and and put them to the side. I squeezed some grapefruit juice and mixed that with the orange. Then I looked in the back of my freezer and found an unused container of foloodeh. I let the foloodeh soften and mixed it with the juice... then just stuck it in the freezer. Every ten minutes or so, I would scrape the mixture with a fork just so it wouldn't sit and turn into an ice block. When it looked like it was done, about an hours or so, I scooped it into my orange halves and served them. This was so easy and effortless on my part, and my boyfriend was thoroughly pleased. I squeezed a little lime on top for extra tartness, I love sour things. I can easily make this again when friends come over or when headed to a BBQ. It's light and refreshing, and perfect for the Northern California weather we've being experiencing lately (high 80's) 
orange / cored

letting the mixture melt together


Friday, May 4, 2012

Downtown San Jose- First Fridays Art Walk


Just a little publicity for this great event in Downtown San Jose this evening. It is one of my favorites to attend because of the overwhelming feel of creative energy found at each stop (over 20)... it gets better and stronger with each gallery you visit. If I walk the whole way and start at my building I can get a little Irish music, Jazz at the Fairmont, Robot art, and maybe a quick bite... and those are the only stops that I know of right now. If I see something that looks interesting, I always stop to see what they are showcasing. Last time I went I got this awesome "Big Lebowski" tee for boyfriend and we sipped wine while listening to this great garage band.

The event starts around 7 and lasts until the final person leaves. Some of the galleries I'm tickled about are...

SLG Publishing Comics Art Boutiki & Gallery
Downtown Yoga Shala - My friend Nadia Nasiri is showing her project Made in Nature
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles ( they are doing a fabric swap tonight)

So if your plans aren't set in stone for tonight, I highly suggest you head downtown and check out the amazing shows tonight. Wine and appetizers are free at each venue and there are usually some food trucks parked. But if you are looking for some great restaurants in the area look at this last post or this site always helps me out. If you cant make it this month... next month Should Not be missed..
Next month is the 5th Annual SubZERO Festival returns on JUNE 1, 2012. check out their website.
It is located in the SOFA district of downtown and feels like an outdoor festival with art booths and musical groups and local food and mini boutiques. It lasts until midnight, so you can still go after you get off work.

Hope to see you tonight and next month too... ciao xx

sorry I'm totally am geeking out over some of the displays for this evening...

Art by Nadia Nasiri
c/o galleryONE
TechShop San Jose 

c/o ICA


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rabbit Food

my dinner creation the other evening
 I have to be honest... I have been made fun of before because of my love for salads. I can go out anywhere and probably find a salad on the menu that I love. A lot of times, when I'm at home I like to try and re-create my favorites.. or come up with some of my own. Salads are one of the easiest meals to make and eat. you can whip up everything and throw it in a Tupperware with a side of dressing and your good for lunch or dinner on the go.. heck I've even had salad for breakfast before. I love a salad that is filled with a ton of ingredients. I always pick very flavorful items, that way I can taste the individual fresh flavors and most times I only add a little balsamic vinegar to enhance.

Most of my salads start with Romaine or Spinach as a base, and then I build from there. I like to add nuts, dried fruit, lots of other vegetables, a protein, different spices... and if I'm really cheating I'll add some goat cheese. It's really up to you what you add, and the possibilities are endless. I have added some of my favorite salad recipes.. hopefully it inspires you to create some of your own or just enjoy mine.

A Trip to the Golden Coast

Spinach (2 cups)
hard boiled egg (x2)
cherry tomatoes (a good handful)
raw broccoli (1 cup)
green olives (x5, finely chopped)
Avocado (1 med, sliced)
English cucumber (1/2 cup)
golden raisins (1/4 cup)
grilled shrimp seasoned with Cheyenne pepper and 21 seasoning salute (from Trader Joes)
spicy roasted pecans (sprinkled on top)
dressing: 1 lime, 1 lemon, one clove chopped garlic

The Sweetest girl you've ever met

Spinach (2 cups)
cucumber (1/2 cup)
carrots(x2, shredded)
Roma tomato (diced into 1/2 inch cubes)
pistachios(sprinkled on top)
Pink Lady apple (chopped)
dried cranberries (large handful)
quinoa (1/3 cup cooked)
garbanzo beans (1/3 cup)
dressing: balsamic vinegar and a little honey/agave nectar

THE Dinner salad

Romaine lettuce (1 head)
Spinach (1 cup)
Cherry Tomatoes (1 cup)
Avocado (1 large, diced)
carrots (1/2 cup, diced or shredded)
mushrooms (1/2 cup, sliced)
pepperchinis (as spicy as you like)
grilled chicken seasoned with lemon pepper.
Kalamata Olives (1/3 cup)
black beans (1/3 cup)
toasted walnuts (just a handful)
toasted pine nuts (sprinkle on top when serving)
sprouts (put on top when serving)
goats cheese (2 TBSP, sprinkle on top)
dressing- Non fat Balsamic Vinegrette or salsa verde mixed with lemon juice.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wine Tasting

I have never been wine tasting before... until this past Sunday. I took my first trip to Napa (photos to come) with my boyfriend's family for his mothers birthday. It was so beautiful- scenery and weather wise. Even if you don't live near Napa Valley there are many different spots to visit for a fun afternoon. If you go wine tasting at a winery, the prices start at around $20 a person... and go up from there. Often times there are cheese or fruit plates that accompany the tastings. I love the magazine Food and Wine, and they have a great list of popular tastings from around the U.S.

These area few spots I would really love to travel to, for the rest of the list you can click here

Kazimierz World Wine Bar
Owner Peter Kasperski has compiled the ultimate list of world wide wines, including ones from Serbia, China and Hawaii. Even if you aren't able to travel to all the countries where each wine originates from, a visit to this restaurant will make you feel like you've been around the world in 80 minutes. The wine list is a whopping 75 pages, while the modest appetizer menu compliments it well.  7137 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale; 480-946-3004.

The Black Olive
I am in love with Greek food...and at Baltimore's best Greek spot, authentic dishes are matched by a terrific Greek list compiled by owner Stelios Spiliadis's son Dimitris. With the light, simple, airiness of Greek food, I can only imagine what wonderful wines that they would suggest pairing with it. Now, if only they offered hookah with your baklava and wine. A highlight: five vintages of Skouras Megas Oenos Agiorgitiko Cabernet. 814 S. Bond St., Baltimore; 410-276-7141.

33 Lantern
What is better than enjoying a nice Italian dinner with a sharp Italian wine? ummm.... having the same dish with a sweet wine from Turkey. At 33 Lantern- they are all about mis-matching ethnicity's. Indian food is great with beer, and just as great with a light-bodied, peppery German red wine. Lantern offers brilliant matches like this on weekly wine-pairing menus that might feature dim sum with Champagne, for instance, or Vietnamese food with GrĂ¼ner Veltliner. Late at night, wine-industry insiders hang out in the cozy back-room bar. 423 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill; 919-969-8846.

If you like the idea of Wine tasting but you know that your budget cant easily accommodate, I would suggest hosting your own at home. Tasting wine doesn't have to equal big dollar signs- swing by your local grocer and see what looks appealing (taste and price wise). Then grab some great things to pair with the wines you have chosen. Remember that wine flavors are best with paired with a similar tasting food. Sweet wines with dessert- full bodied reds with red meat- and spicy wines with Mexican/Thai food. Wine and chocolate pairings are also a great idea. Here is a simple list of some things you could try at your party at home.

Dark Chocolate-Cabernet Sauvignon , Zinfandels, Pinot Nior, Merlot
Milk Chocolate- Pinot Nior, Sparkling wine or champagne, Riesling, Port
White Chocolate- Sherry, Saracco Moscato d'Asti, Saracco Moscato d'Asti, Zinfandel

Let me know if you decided to host your own party and what wines you tried.

ciao xx
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