Friday, July 27, 2012

Return to the Farmers Market

I finally made it to a Santa Monica farmer's market after several months of absence. It was nice to simply walk around, enjoy the fresh air and check out all the seasonal produce. Looks like we are in the height of stone fruit season and my favorite, tomato season is beginning. I picked up some peaches for one of my favorite summer salads, a grilled peach, burrata, arugula salad to go with some slow cooked short ribs (Mario Batali's Brasato Al Barolo recipe) over fresh rigatoni from Bay Cities.
My favorite summer salad: grilled peaches, burrata, arugula with a little drizzled balsamic and olive oil. Optional additions: grilled radicchio, speck

Some beautifully marbled short ribs from Whole Foods
Nothing beats fresh made pasta. A worthwhile splurge

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Isabel Marant Dicker Boots

FW 2012 Isabel Marant Dicker boots in Gris
I finally got my first pair of Isabel Marant Dicker boots this season as a little birthday gift to myself. I was never able to get my hands on them in previous seasons because they always sold out so quickly. It seems like they are more readily available this season, maybe because production finally caught up with supply or because everyone is more focused on her wedge sneakers (somehow she manages to come up with the "it" shoes which spawn millions of imitators every season). While I would prefer to save up for her original versions, I've had to resort to buying some of the "inspired copies" simply because her stuff always sell out so quickly. However, it's so much easier to find Isabel Marant clothes and shoes now versus even a year ago, especially via internet retailers. I bought a pair of Dickers in Gris, which is a sort of gray / brown / taupe color. It's hard to capture the color precisely in photos and it changes depending on the light. I already have a few pairs of brown / camel colored boots and plenty of black shoes, so this pair will complement my existing shoes well. I think that they live up to the hype; the boots are super comfortable, the suede is very soft and the heel is the perfect height. I love the color as it's quite versatile; works for spring and fall, and is not too light so that it shows dirt easily and not too dark so that the stitching detail gets lost.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thunderstorms in July

Thunderstorms in July are par for the course in the Northeast but quite rare in Los Angeles. It's been unusually humid (though nothing compared with back East or in Asia), warm, with some thunderstorms and rainbows.

Friday, July 20, 2012

On the Fringe...

Just a teaser shot of new Isabel Marant boots. I am not 100% that they are keepers yet, more pics to come..

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Simplified Tuna Nicoise Salad

We had a leftover sushi grade tuna toro steak from Friday's handroll dinner so I decided to make a tuna nicoise salad with ingredients that I had around the house, including lemons and cherry tomatoes from my parents' garden, olives from the pantry, salad greens, eggs, parsley, garlic, anchovies and capers from the fridge. I surprisingly had most of the ingredients around the house, even though I hadn't been cooking that much recently. The only things that I was missing vs. a traditional tuna nicoise salad were potatoes and haricot verts. I used Tyler Florence's recipe for the salad dressing, just omitting the tarragon since I didn't have any around and doubling the parsley in its place, and using a bit of anchovy paste and agave nectar. The dressing is similar to my everyday dressing, which is usually dijon mustard, red wine / champagne / balsamic vinegar, shallots, olive oil.  Not sure why I haven't tried this before, but I like his idea of shaking up the salad dressing in a jar in order to fully emulsify it; I find that whisking never quite gets it all the way there, and its not worth the hassle of cleaning to use a food processor or blender for such a small amount. The salad was excellent, I will definitely be making it again. Lots of strong and contrasting flavors; I love seared, peppery tuna, pungent anchovies, salty olives and capers, sweet and fresh cherry tomatoes, eggs, and garlicky and tangy dressing. Omitting the potatoes and haricot verts takes out some of the more time consuming steps, so it's a good salad to make for a quick, complete and tasty weeknight meal.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Isabel Marant FW 2012 Campaign

Image from
 I love the campaign images of Arizona Muse for Isabel Marant's FW 2012 collection. I liked the collection on the runway during Paris Fashion Week, though I found it a little more subdued than previous collections. However, the more I see of the collection in detailed closeups, styled by the retailers, on the street, and in this campaign, the more I fall in love with it. Isabel Marant just has a way of doing that to me, I end up wanting pretty much everything that she makes. I think this FW 2012 collection is super wearable, I really think a Western detailed shirt, something lace, a cool pair of pants, and some embellished cowboy boots should be on everyone's wishlist for fall, it certainly is for me!
Image from
Image from
Arizona is my favorite model of the last few years, and I know she is a Vogue favorite as well. She has these memorable strong features and can totally transform herself from designer to designer, fashion spread to fashion spread. She's so versatile yet identifiable at the same time. I love her hair in this campaign, it definitely gives a modern edge to the clothes. She was completely different in the Isabel Marant SS 2012 campaign, with a fresh, easy, laidback Californian look. I also loved her in the +J Uniqlo final campaign, her images were what definitely sold the coat for me, which has become one of my wardrobe staples. Plus, awesome name.
Isabel Marant SS 2012 campaign. Image from
+J x Uniqlo FW 2011
I've got an Isabel Marant shoe purchase on the way to me that I'm so excited about, early birthday present! More pics and details to come...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Saturday Night Carrot Risotto

I've been slowing easing my way back to cooking, about once or twice a week. It's been at least a few months since I've been cooking regularly, and it's still a bit hard to find the time, but I'm making more of an effort as I still find it relaxing and therapeutic, a way of getting life back to normal. While I can no longer cook things that take 4+ hours to cook, I've been looking for inspiration and new recipes. Saturday night, I decided to give this carrot risotto recipe via S. a shot, primarily because I wanted to use up this bag of carrots that had been sitting in my fridge for a few weeks. It's hard to really get inspired by carrots, and I thought this was a nice way to use a lot of carrots. Only changes were the addition of some peas and omission of thyme. It was pretty good; I think it could have used a little more salt and seasoning along the way and probably would have been even better with fresher carrots in season, but it was a comforting and hearty one pot Saturday night dish that went well with a bottle of our wedding white wine, a 2006 Morgan Metallico Chardonnay.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hammer Time

Zara numbers t-shirt and studded sandals, Lululemon hot n sweaty crop
Sometimes I love them, sometimes I hate them...I can't quite decide. They are definitely weird, baggy in some areas, fitted in others, and gathered in random spots. I don't think harem pants ever really caught on in the US, but they were quite big in Europe over the last few seasons. I'm not sure I would have bought these Lululemon harem style pants if I had actually tried them on in the store, but at the time, they were quite heavily marked down (by Lululemon standards) so I figured I would give them a shot, after all, as long as they were in my size, how bad could they be? However, given that they were on markdown, that also meant they were final sale, so here I am stuck with them. From some angles I don't think they look that bad, but then sometimes I think they look ridiculous. Oh well, at least they are super comfortable and lightweight in the sheer luon, and fine for walks around the neighborhood, lounging around the house and working out, which is what they are meant for anyway.
Worn with some of my Zara sale purchases: a linen red "numbers" t-shirt and studded flat sandals. I love the linen t-shirt, it is oversized yet drapes well with some fuzzy texture on the numbers that you can't see in pics, and will go with lots of my wardrobe. I like the look of the studded flats, matches my Balenciaga bag, but they aren't very comfortable right now, hopefully just needs a little breaking in.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Target + Neiman Marcus??!!

Image from
 Target announced today that it would be collaborating with Neiman Marcus to launch a holiday collection in both stores starting December 1st, featuring 24 CFDA member designers. Some of my favorite designers are represented, including Marc Jacobs, Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung, and Derek Lam. As far as I'm aware, these designers have never done a mass market collaboration (I don't count Altuzarra and Prabal Gurung x J Crew), so I'm really excited to see what they come up with on a Target budget. Hope that material quality and construction is up to snuff. Prices range from $7.99 to $499.99, with most items less than $60.

It still seems a little strange to me that two huge retailers would work together like this, but we shall see!
It's hard for me to imagine how some of the fancier red carpet designers, such as Marchesa and Oscar de la Renta will translate to Target, but we will soon find out...
All 24 designers. Image from Proenza Schouler via
Alice + Olivia
Jason Wu
Proenza Schouler
Judith Leiber
Rag & Bone
Band of Outsiders
Lela Rose
Robert Rodriguez
Brian Atwood
Carolina Herrera
Marc Jacobs
Derek Lam
Oscar de la Renta
Thom Browne
Diane von Furstenberg
Philip Crangi
Tory Burch
Eddie Borgo
Prabal Gurung
Tracy Reese

Friday, July 6, 2012

Afternoon Tea Venice Style

I've been wanting to try afternoon tea at Jin Patisserie on Abbott Kinney for awhile; there's nothing more relaxing than spending an afternoon with good company in a lovely room with some tasty sweet and savory bites, accompanied by a fragrant comforting pot of tea. S. invited us to afternoon tea at Jin Patisserie, but unfortunately we couldn't make it due to multiple doctors visits in the same day, but she was sweet enough to bring me some sweet treats from their afternoon. It was almost too pretty to eat (even the packaging was lovely), but I'm happy report that everything tasted as good as it looked, delicate and refined yet concentrated with flavor as well. Can't wait to check Jin in person for the proper afternoon tea experience!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red, White and Bleu Isabel Marant

Etoile Isabel Marant Hana Romper, Prada sunglasses, Toms red striped wedges
A patriotic red white and blue outfit in honor of the 4th today. I picked up the Etoile Isabel Marant Hana romper / playsuit (what an awkward term, sounds like something small fry wears) from Barneys' second markdown a few weeks ago. The Beverly Hills salesperson was kind enough to track it down for me at the San Francisco store and have it shipped to me. I really love this piece; I tried it on when it was still full price at Heist in Venice and really liked it back then, but I like it even more now at such a good price. I think this print is one of the most identifiable patterns from Isabel Marant's S/S 2012 Etoile collection and the whole style and look is signature Isabel Marant. I really loved both her mainline and Etoile collection this season, and this is my first piece of the season from either her mainline or Etoile collection, and it also happens to be one of my favorites. The fit is billowy and loose and I love the airy cotton voile and bright and happy blue and white print. I love rompers, but they can sometimes be too juvenile looking, but I think this one is carefree and easygoing, but not too childish. A perfect addition to any summer wardrobe, fitting for fourth of July BBQs in Venice (thanks for a lovely afternoon S&J!).


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