Festival Time; Life Changing Events

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I got back from Miami on Sunday night. Lots of stuff happened during the weekend!

  1. My sister found out she got into her #1 pick for graduate school
  2. I met Chromeo and took a picture with them at a club
  3. Timbaland made a surprise appearance and performed a short dj set at the festival
  4. And then THIS happened while Cut Copy played Hearts on Fire:








And I guess because this IS a fashion blog:

Abercrombie shorts, AA cross-back bra, F21 pocket tank, The Sisters Campbell moccasins, H&M scarf, UO sunglasses

Warm Weather

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F21 tank, A&F shorts, The Sisters Campbell moccassins, F21 feather necklace


What I wore to eat BBQ.  Yummmm creamed corn smeared on white bread. Delicious!

It's getting warmer and warmer in Houston.  Unfortunately, it will soon become difficult to wear anything but tanks, shorts, and flip flops, as this outfit suggests.

For some reason, whenever I go out of town, I feel it's appropriate to wear a hat.  Especially to a "beachy"destination.  Since we're leaving for Miami in a couple days, I was trying on hats at F21 this past weekend.  So much fedora.  Aren't fedoras done yet?  I feel like they've been around for a long time.  I left the store emptyhanded.

Thursday Night

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Libertine for Target blouse, F21 "leather" shorts, F21 booties and necklace


I miss the old Go International lines at Target.  The newer ones are so disappointing (I'm talking to you, Thakoon).


BF wanted to go out last night.  I wanted to watch Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice.  Since BF would be working this weekend, I knew we wouldn't be able to go out so I obliged.  Threw on this outfit to go out to a couple bars on a Thursday night.  

The first bar we went to was pretty empty as it was barely 11pm.  There was a group of girls in front of the bar.

Male Friend:  I feel old; those girls look like they're 19.
Me:  And they're wearing FLARES.


Ugh so elitist.  Sometimes I disgust myself.  Other times it's like I'M JUST SAYIN.

Trousers

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F21 pocket tank, Zara trousers, Steven shoes, F21 belt and necklace


Look at my new awkward leg!  I think this pose would look much better if i was standing outside or against a muted backdrop...and not in front of my fireplace with random loitering dogs.

These pants are so comfy, but they're a little too big.  You know how you try to cinch baggy pants with a belt and it gets all weird and lumpy w/ overlapping material?  Yeah, that.  I think I'll run them through the washer and dryer and see if they get any smaller.

I just got this necklace at Forever21.  It was $12.80 and I was all WUT b/c that's expensive for F21 right?  It looked just OK at the store, but once I put it on at home, it became 10x better.  It lays almost like a mesh collar when you wear it.


Making a guest appearance is Milo, my sister's beagle, whom we've been dog-sitting this week.



And finally-



Much thanks to Luphia Loves for a Fabulous Blog award!

5th Grade

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F21 silk blouse and shorts, Calvin Klein sheer hosiery, Steve Madden boots, F21 necklace


As I was assembling this outfit for a night on the town, it occurred to me that I used to wear something quite similar back in elementary school.  5th grade to be exact.  Black tights underneath denim shorts, shirt tucked in, with black boots.  Well the boots I wore in 1992 weren't over-the-knee with stilleto heels, but same concept.  

I know fashion tends to recycle, but it never really occurred to me that something I actually used to wear would arise again so soon.  Pretty amusing!

On a related note, I went out [clubbing] with 2 of my aunts that night - aged 39 and 41.  A week or so earlier, they had seen me in my "boyfriend jeans" and they pointed out that they used to wear the exact same thing in college.  I noted that they should wear them again, but this time, with 4in+ platforms.

Macarons

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pictures courtesy of DRU!!! of WeWearThings



I had my first french macaron at Bouchon Bakery in Napa Valley two years ago.  INSTANT OBSESSION.

The oh-so thin and crisp shells of the cookie that gave way to a tender layer of slight chewiness.  Your teeth literally sink into them and then you suddenly find yourself tasting wonderful ganache.

I didn't have another macaron until a trip to France later that year where I ate macarons daily, including those at the famed Lauduree in Paris.

Whatever they are, they are so hard to find in Houston!

After Paris, I didn't have another macaron for a whole year, when I visited San Francisco and had them at La Boulange (good) and Miette (even better).

They've opened a Paulette in San Francisco since then and my friend Jennifer was awesome enough to bring me 2 on her recent visit to Houston.




Which brings me to Sunday night - The Night When I Made My First Macaron.


First things first - [French] macarons ARE NOT [American] macaroons.  According to wikipedia, "Macarons are sandwich-like pastries made with two thin cookies and a cream or ganache between the cookies. Macaroons are dense cookies made with coconut."

But here's the thing about making macarons - they're extremely finicky.  It's basically a meringue made of egg whites with the addition of confectioner's sugar and ground almonds.

Any misstep will lead to a fallen cookie, hard cookie, lumpy cookie, cookie with a beak, cookie with no feet, cookie with cracks.  The list goes on.

What causes these problems?  Uh, EVERYTHING.  Your egg white foam doesn't have stiff enough peaks.  Your egg white foam is too stiff.  You didn't measure your sugar to the gram.  Your ground almonds are too oily.  The teaspoon of food coloring added too much extra liquid.  You didn't fold the batter together enough.  You folded the batter too much.  You kitchen is too humid.  You piped the batter too fast.




For the Macarons:
3 egg whites (room temperature, preferably aged 2-4 days)
50 gr. granulated sugar
200 gr. powdered sugar
110 gr. ground almonds
  1. Prepare 4 sheets of parchment paper and draw 1.5-2 inch radius circles about 2 inches apart.  Flip the sheets over (pencil side down) onto your baking sheets.  This will ensure your macarons come out uniform later.
  2. Measure out all the ingredients with a scale.  YES, unfortunately you do have to use a scale b/c it's weighed by mass, not volume.
  3. Run your powdered sugar and ground almonds through a food processor so that it forms a fine powder.  Sift the sugar and almond mixture.  This was kind of difficult b/c almonds are oily and it doensn't sift very easily.  Funny little balls formed haha.  Set aside.
  4. Whip your egg whites until a foam forms.  Start adding in the granulated sugar slowly until a glossy meringue forms.  You need medium stiff peaks. DO NOT OVERBEAT.  DO NOT UNDERBEAT.  A good tip I picked up while researching macarons was that you should be able to turn your mixing bowl upside down and the meringue will not slip out.  MAGIC!
  5. MACRONAGE:  this is the scary part.  You need to combine your powders to your meringue.  If you're using food coloring, add it now.  Fold them together with a spatula quickly, but evenly.  Another good tip I picked up was to fold about 50 strokes.  The consistency of the batter should "flow like magma."
  6. Fill a pastry bag with a large plain tip and pipe your batter onto your circles.  You know you have the right consistency when the little "beak" that forms when you lift your piping tip up dissappears very slowly.
  7. After you finish all your circles, set the pans aside for ONE HOUR.  This allows a shell to form on your macaron.  It's also a good time to make your fillings and preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  You should be able to lightly touch your raw macarons without getting batter on your finger.
  8. Bake for 10-13 minutes (depending on the size of the macaron).  You know you did it right when little "feet" form along the bottom of the macaron.  Allow macarons to cool completely before filling.
  9. Pipe or spoon your filling of choice and match up similarly sized macarons.


For the Chocolate Ganache:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate
  1. Heat the cream until hot. 
  2. Remove from the stove and add the chocolate to it. 
  3. Let stand 2 minutes and then stir until fully combined. 
  4. Let cool until firm enough to to pipe or spoon onto the macaron shells.


For the White Chocolate Raspberry Ganache:
1 1/2 cup white chocolate 
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup good quality raspberry jam
  1. Heat the cream until hot. 
  2. Add the chocolate and jam into the cream and stir until all are melted and come together. 
  3. Let cool until firm enough to pipe or spoon onto the macaron shells.




I sprinked cocoa powder on some and crushed toffee on some before baking.

I also attempted 2 dulce de leche ones, but that needs more practice.

The plain macarons came out small and weird (beak!) b/c I didn't fold enough.  The raspberry macarons came out better because the adding of the food coloring required a few more strokes.  In retrospect, the pink batter was definitely more magma-like.  Lesson learned.

Drapery

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French Connection lame' tank, Target skinnies, Target cardigan, Nine West wedges


Hmm.  My thighs be looking kind of crazy.  Or as my bf and I call them, "thigs."  Oh well.

I bought this drapey cardigan at Target a month or so ago.  Reminds me of Raquel Allegra.  Except not as deconstructed.  And not made from recycled clothes from the LA County Jail.


image from Jak&Jil.

October Anniversary

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I was watching The Hills (shut up) last year and noticed LC & Co.'s nameplate rings and was intrigued.  Not so much by the nameplate itself, but the fact that the ring stretched across 2 fingers.  Like brass knuckles.  So cool.

So then my mild interest in big statement rings grew.  I looked on Etsy and other random jewelry sites, and while I saw a couple of nice items (like the ubiquitous Made Her Think rings), nothing that really piqued my interest enough to start typing in CC numbers.

I was flipping through Nylon a month or so ago and saw these statement rings by October Anniversary.

Fire Coral
$175 Silver / $200 Gold


Peace Lily
$180 Silver / $225 Gold


So I was like, ok they're pretty.  They're big.  They're interesting.  The jewelry line was started by friends Alexandra Tavel and Olga Nemcova (Petra's sister), which is pretty cool too.

No, no.  It was not until I looked on the website that I fell in love.





Look at how AMAZING they look when they're actually on your finger(s).


What's more is that they used 100% recycled metals from eco-friendly factories and donate 10% of their profits to the Happy Hearts Fund, a non-profit org started by Petra Nemcova dedicated to education and healthcare for children in impoverished countries around the world.  So nice!

Bargain Shopping

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Love Yaya jacket, Target skinnies, Steve Madden boots


I was having a lengthy conversation with Issa from WeWearThings about bargain shopping and never paying full price for anything ever (except maybe purses which, I repeat, are INVESTMENTS).  It's almost an obsession - finding the best deals possible.  I message Clouds-of-Tulle daily about the deals I find, and she does the same.  She found $6 pea coats today!  LOL.

I noted that we're all in kind of an awkward salary brackets, as put in relation to a shared love for fashion.  We'd like to afford Rick Owens jackets, Ann Demeulemeester sandals, Marni platforms, PL 3.1 carrot pants, A. Wang tanks, and Balenciaga bags (maybe this is just me haha).  But realistically, we can't - or shouldn't.   We're all now officially in our late 20's, have graduate and/or post-graduate degrees, and have been working for several years.  However, with age comes responsibility.  We have school loans in repayment, mortgages, car payments, insurance, taxes, 401Ks.  THE LIST GOES ON.

So yes, we do make more money than say, a college student.  But I, for one, have not gotten to the point where I can throw down $500+ for a pair of shoes without a second thought (although this IS the dream, am I right?).  In fact, I'm supposed to be putting aside $500/month so that I can pay the taxes on my house at the end of the year.  

At the same time, we're all pushing 30.  Maybe we SHOULDN'T be shopping at Forever21 and Target as much?

Anyways this has suddenly become a long entry and the outfit above isn't even that interesting t make up for this rambling.



But check out these deals I got!


Steve Madden "Endear" over-the-knee boots.  

Regularly $259.99.
Got it for $129.99 at the store, and it was buy one get one 90% off.  I'm SO SRS BSNS.



Love Ya Ya "Curtis" Jacket

Regularly $224.
Got it for $40.32.


Smooth

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AA Sexuali-Tank, AA lame bandeau bra, Zara pants, Miu Miu pumps


We finally got around to decorating (one section of) the master bedroom, so here's a preview of a little sitting area we created.  We're still on the lookout for a new bed - maybe something like an updated version of a sleigh bed.  Also looking to upgrade to a cal king since 2 people + 2 dogs in a queen leads to nightly battles for the comforter.  Yes, we sleep with those monsters.


I've always liked baggy tanks with big arm holes, but never knew how to wear it.  I don't have a problem with black bra straps peeking out from under straps or tanks, but I can't do the visible side-bra.  It looks yuck to me.

Solution: the bandeau bra.  I got this one from American Apparel.  I had seen tons of bandeau bras, but they were usually cotton/spandex blends that were straight across on the top.  I like the AA one b/c it's ruched in the middle and b/c it's shiny.

Oh and the tank and pants are like the most comfy things ever.  Gotta love viscose.