Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Milan Fashion Week SS 2012

Prada. Images from
I should have known from Gwyneth Paltrow's black Pucci midriff baring dress from the Emmys that bare midriffs were going to be a trend for Spring 2012. I'm definitely not a fan of the look; I just don't think bare midriffs are a good look in your 30's (Gwyneth just turned 39 and obviously looks great, but I thought the dress looked wrong on her, like she was trying too hard). Other trends from Milan included some loud prints and embellishments, and a couple of the Great Gatsby / flapper looks. Not as many athletic inspired looks, although not surprising for the Italians. Prada was all about ladylike pleats and bare midriffs separates, Armani was shades of all icy blues, Gucci had strong black and gold looks, Pucci had a gypsy influence, Versace was "Under the Sea" inspired, and Missoni was all about bold prints and embellishments. It's hard to pick a favorite as I didn't really see anything I would wear, but I thought Prada's collection was strong and interesting, and I liked some of the dressier looks from Gucci and Versace. Final stop...Paris
Prada. Like Marc Jacobs, I feel like Prada's collections always somehow look "fresh" and not derivative. Images from
Gucci. A couple of vaguely 20's inspired looks with the dropped waists. Images from
Gucci. Makeup was a little strong; the models looked a little scary. Images from
Some pretty typical Versace looks with all the studs. I'm definitely interested to see how the Versace x H&M collection is going to turn out. Images from
I quite liked the Versace gowns, although the one on the right was too literal "Little Mermaid" for me. Images from
Pucci Gypsy looks. The one in the middle was the one that Gwyneth wore to the emmys. Images from
Missoni. Lots of fringe, prints, and layers. Images from
Giorgio Armani. I preferred these casual looks to the more suiting looks. Very cold and icy feeling. Images from
L-R: Roberto Cavalli, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana. Between the midriffs and the bustiers, I feel like we're back in the 80's. Not a good thing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Not Just Soup

3 lbs combination of roma tomatoes and Early Girl tomatoes from the farmer's market
Despite the still warm fall weather, I couldn't wait to make Smitten Kitchen's roasted tomato soup with broiled cheddar as soon as I saw the mouthwatering pictures and while tomatoes are still abundant and in season. I love grilled cheese and tomato soup, as well as french onion soups, so I knew I was going to like this dish. There's nothing better than a big bowl of warm soup covered by plenty of bubbly melted cheese and soft broth soaked bread. I pretty much followed the Smitten Kitchen recipe exactly with the exception of substituting vegan Daiya cheddar cheese on top, using half a sprig of rosemary and basil (removing before serving) instead of thyme, and using an immersion blender in a Le Creuset pot as opposed to the food processor. It's a little time consuming as you have to roast the tomatoes, then make the soup on the stove, finish it in the oven for another 20 minutes, and wait for the piping hot bowls to cool, but its worth it, although in the winter time I will probably use organic Cream of Tomato soup from Trader Joe's for a really quick meal. It's really filling with all the bread and cheese and makes for a great lunch or quick dinner. I now have french onion soup crocks on my wishlist!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pizzeria Mozza: Good for Infants Too

Pizza alla Benno
We had friends with a 7 month old baby staying with us over the weekend so we took them to Pizzeria Mozza for a late lunch on Sunday. It's a really good place to take a baby; it's noisy with lots of distractions for a baby, plenty of highchairs, and continually serves food from noon through dinner so can accommodate unpredictable nap schedules. Best of all, plenty of delicious food and wine for the big people. There were several tables with babies when we were there for a 2pm lunch so we fit right in. We ordered the fried squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta (we devoured them so quickly I didn't have a chance to take a picture), bone marrow appetizer, fennel sausage pizza (we order this every time), pizza alla Benno, proscuitto, arugula and tomato pizza, gorgonzola dolce, grilled radicchio and rosemary pizza, and a nice earthy bottle of 2009 Lagrein. Everything was great; I loved the very generous portion of bone marrow (ask for extra toast), and the pizza crusts were thick and chewy as usual. Since I've been on a bit of a spice kick, my favorite pizza was probably the pizza alla Benno with nice smoky speck, a very thin shavings of pineapple and jalapenos.
Bone Marrow with roasted garlic, parsley, flake salt and toasted bread
Fennel sausage pizza with panna, red onions and scallions
Proscuitto, arugula, tomato pizza

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Isabel Marant Lexy Jacket

I still feel a little guilty, but I bought the Isabel Marant Lexy Jacket in Anthracite from this season's Etoile fall collection from Traffic a few weeks ago. I totally balk at paying so much for a jacket, but I've always wanted the perfect classic boucle jacket and it quickly sold out pretty much out of everywhere, so I just asked for an advance on a Christmas gift. I finally got to wear it today as the weather has started to cool off. It's not too scratchy and fairly stretchy, I like the stripey pattern, shoulderpads and leather trim. It's the perfect weight for LA fall / winter so I imagine I will have lots of chances to wear it for the many years to come. See more pics of the Lexy jacket here.
Outfit: Etoile Isabel Marant Lexy Jacket, Etoile Isabel Marant grey cords, J Crew t-shirt, Hermes belt, Balenciaga bag, Prada Minimal Baroque Sunglasses

Otis' New Best Friend

Thursday, September 22, 2011

London Fashion Week SS'12

Burberry. Love the coats as well as the strong separates.  Images from
London Fashion Week seems to have come and gone quickly and the Milan shows are already underway. My favorite collections were Burberry and Vivienne Westwood Red Label lines. The athletic trend as seen during NYFW still resonated in the London collections. Overall, I found the colors and cuts to be a little more "fall / winter" as opposed to spring / summer.
Vivienne Westwood. She is such a master of draping. Really crazy hair and makeup. Images from
Temperley. Some beautiful sheer delicate looks in this collection. Love the red lips. Images from
A couple of the athletic looks. L-R: Acne, Christopher Kane, Burberry. Images from
L-R: Mulberry, Vivienne Westwood, Matthew Williamson. Always a fan of dogs on the runway. Images from

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Very Missoni Living Room (Updated)

Updated: the complete Missoni for Target pillow family: chevron pillow, loops pillow and oblong pillow (I have a pair of each)
My Missoni for Target toss pillows arrived in the mail today thanks to Mom W. who was able to track it down in upstate New York after a lot of persistence. She managed to snag a pair of the loops ribbon pillows as well as a pair of the chevron / zig zag embroidered pillows both in the passione / fuchsia colorway. As previously posted, the home goods were the part of this Missoni x Target collection that I was most looking forward to. We completely refurnished our family room few months ago and I'm really happy with all our new furniture. It's a little monochromatic; everything is a shade of brown, from the sectional, to the coffee table, to the jute rug, to the media stand. The room definitely needed to be livened up with a little color and personality and I think these awesome Missoni pillows do the trick. I've been looking for the perfect throw pillows for awhile, and I knew these would be the perfect pop of color and pattern for the otherwise traditional brown room. The rainbow of ribbon loops on the smaller loops pillow is so cheery and fun and the chevron embroidered zig zags on the other pillows are signature Missoni. I think the bright fuchsia really goes well with the brown sectional, plus there are similar tones of brown in the zig zags as the sectional. The quality of the Missoni for Target toss pillows are really good; the covers are 100% cotton and the ribbon loops are 70% wool. The fill and embroidery is rayon / polyester. The chevron embroidery is stitched well and cleanly, the edges and seams all appear straight and the pillows are really soft. They seem pretty durable, my dogs love them, especially the loops pillow and clearly have been testing them out even though they are not allowed on the couch... Unfortunately the lighting today has been bad for pictures, hopefully better pictures to come later.
Updated 9/26/11: I was able to find a pair of the copper / beige patterned oblong toss pillows in the famiglia colorway today which are perfect, as I needed a pair of lumbar pillows for lower back support as our couch is so deep. These famiglia pillows are perfect as they blend in with the couch really well as they are a little more neutral than the loop pillow and zig zag pillows. I really like the slightly raised velour lighter beige color and slightly shiny copper darker color pattern.
Family room before:
And after:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Penne with Sundried Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Rosemary and Pancetta Cream Sauce

Here's another pasta sauce that we learned to make at our Sur La Table pasta class. This was probably S. and my favorite sauce, although it has cream in it so it's probably the most unhealthy of the sauces. I tried to balance out the cream sauce by substituting half and half (though I think I should have stuck with cream for the right silkiness) and using whole wheat pasta. I also added some mushrooms for extra earthiness and texture. It's a really good sauce, I like the strong, fragrant rosemary with the sweet chewy sun dried tomatoes, earthy mushrooms and of course, pancetta.

Sun-Dried Tomato, Mushroom, Rosemary and Pancetta Cream Sauce (adapted from Sur La Table) Recipe (serves 3)
  • Dice 4 oz of pancetta, mince 2 small shallots and 3 cloves of garlic. Chop rosemary leaves from 1 stem of rosemary and chop 1/3 cup of drained sun-dried tomatoes. Clean 4 oz of mushrooms
  • Cook pancetta over medium low heat for 8 minutes until crispy and remove to a paper-towel lined plate
  • If necessary, add some olive oil to the pan, and cook the garlic and shallot over medium heat for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until they have released their juices and the juices have evaporated, about 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper
  • Add the rosemary and sun dried tomatoes, increase the heat to medium high. Add a little over 1/2 cup of dry white wine, bring to a boil, then add a little over 1 cup of heavy cream, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for about 8-10 minutes
  • Add the cooked pancetta and season with salt and pepper if necessary
  • Meanwhile cook 3/4 lbs of penne until short of al dente, and add the pasta to the same pot as the sauce to finish cooking

Saturday, September 17, 2011

NYFW SS'12 Review Part II

My most eagerly anticipated show (me and everybody else) of New York Fashion Week has always been Marc Jacobs' show. His SS'12 show did not disappoint; I would love to wear pretty much all of his looks from the runway show. His shows and collections are always original, exciting and modern. Even when he references looks from the past, like the 1920's flapper / Great Gatsby look that was quite popular for SS'12, he manages to make it look fresh and uniquely Marc Jacobs, as opposed to simply pretty copies of the past (ie Ralph Lauren and Marchesa looks which I think are lovely, but overly referential). He also is able to combine seemingly disparate inspirations, from the previously mentioned 1920's looks to more athletic looks and even western and grunge looks, and still manage to create a stunning cohesive collection. I love the beautiful colors, shine, interesting silhouettes and freshness of his newest collection.
Marc Jacobs. Images from
Marc Jacobs. Images from
Marc Jacobs. Images from
I surprisingly also really liked Calvin Klein's ethereal minimalist collection. Reminded me of his simple yet lovely looks from the 1990's. Calvin Klein was quite popular last season on the red carpet with the younger actresses with the minimalist looks, and Francisco Costa continues to carry on the tradition. Not sure I could pull off these colors, but the dresses are beautiful.
Calvin Klein. Images from
A couple other looks that I liked from the last few shows:
Vera Wang left, L'wren Scott middle and right. Images from

A little overly referential, but I liked several of Ralph Lauren's looks. Some of them were too resort and overly accessorized, but I thought these were lovely.
And so, after about 200 shows, another season of New York Fashion Week concludes.I was a little disappointed with a couple of my favorite designers, like Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, 3.1 Phillip Lim. I didn't find the clothes that wearable and there were some jarring colors. But, there definitely some beautiful collections as well. Overall pretty good, and I'm already looking forward to spring to see many of the looks in the stores.

Friday, September 16, 2011

ink.sack Review: Sandwiches Voltaggio Style

 I had lunch today at Michael Voltaggio's Ink.Sack today with my mom before heading to Koreatown for some groceries for the weekend's bbq. The shop is located on quite a posh stretch of Melrose, near Alexander McQueen, Marc by Marc Jacobs, etc, west of Fred Segal. I was so mad, I brought my camera, but forgot the memory card, so all I have are these crappy i-phone instagram photos. Can't wait for the new i-phone 5. The space is small with the order counter, blackboard walls, a few standup counters and and no seating. We ordered the Jose Andres, Banh Mi and Spicy Tuna Sandwich. Each sandwich was about $5-6 and on a mini hoagie roll / ficelle. It's actually fun to have these mini sandwiches; more to try. 3 was perfect for the 2 of us. I really liked all three sandwiches with interesting and unique flavors that you don't really find elsewhere. They were perhaps a touch too salty (and unfortunately they don't give out tap water there), but still very tasty. I actually think LA is lacking in good sandwiches, so this really hits the spot. Favorite might be the banh mi with the nice crunchy chicharrones which set it apart from the traditional banh mi. All the sandwiches were cold although the bread seemed slightly toasted. They were unfortunately out of the chicken liver mousse, which I really wanted to try. It's a pretty short menu, so I'm sure I will be back to try the rest of the menu soon.
Banh Mi: love the crunchy chicharrones with the pork, a little pate and pickled vegetables
Jose Andres: a hoagie with really good meat
Spicy tuna: just a little heat, very filling, meaty sandwich
What I'm really excited about is a Saturday night Ink reservation that I scored today for K's birthday next month, a few doors down from inksack. Reservations are available 30 days in advance through their website here. I haven't been this excited for a restaurant opening in awhile. I'll have to remember my memory card for that meal!
8360 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NYFW SS'12 Review

New York Fashion Week Spring 2012 is partway through so I thought I would take a pause and post some of my favorite looks so far. There are way too many fashion shows (I mean seriously, does J. Crew need a presentation? I love J. Crew, but I went through the photos and it just didn't seem necessary), but I've gone through at least the ones that interested me the most. So far, not surprisingly Theyskens' Theory is my favorite by far; I know he is more of a contemporary designer rather than really high end, but I would wear pretty much ever piece in his collection as it just fits my lifestyle. I really like his tailoring and materials, reminds me a little of Isabel Marant, but much more accessible to find in the US. Looking at these pictures of Fashion Week makes me miss NYC!
Theyskens' Theory. Image from
Theyskens' Theory cont'd. Images from
Some other looks I found interesting. My criteria was basically things I would wear, so it may not be for everyone. As for general themes, sporty athletic wear seems popular. Also bright colors and colorblocking are still popular.
Alexander Wang (first two), Marc by Marc Jacobs. The sportiest of the collections, although I probably chose the least two sporty A Wang looks. Hard to tell from these pictures, but the hair was really awful at A Wang. Images from
L-R: Band of Outsiders, Helmut Lang, Marc by Marc Jacobs. Images from
The celebrity collections: Rachel Zoe left, Victoria Beckham center and right. Can these people even sew? I haven't been impressed with the quality of Rachel Zoe clothes that I saw in person at Nordstroms, but both fall and spring looked nice in pictures. I rather like the silhouette of Victoria Beckham on the right, doesn't seem very Posh Spice. Images from
Ok, I have no use for eveningwear, but I thought these were pretty with a dash of sparkle. L-R: Marchesa, Monique Lhuillier, Oscar de la Renta. Images from


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