Saturday, June 25, 2011

J' Adore Macarons

After much anticipation, I tackled the ever delicate art of macarons. It was quite the process to simply locate all the necessary tools and ingredients (Buy the almond flour at Trader Joe's! Cheapest.). I did discover my new favorite grocery store, Gelsons. Is it weird to be in love with a food store? My roommate can attest to my pure delight and constant distraction down EVERY aisle. They have a little cafe with GELATO, dinosaur shaped cookies, and a hamburger cake! Seriously? I should start selling my macarons here!

Before I began, I had to decide what flavors and fillings to use. I ended up nixing the vanilla bean cookie idea because those vanilla bean pods cost their weight in gold. I wanted to do a little trial and error first. For the filling, I chose lemon curd and thickened Nutella. The lemon curd turned out brilliant despite my quick improvisation of a frying pan and pot as a doubler boiler. Yes, that works, and yes, we are sadly lacking in the kitchen equipment department. Taking donations now!

The Nutella was tricky because I looked at about 5 recipes, mixing and matching whatever ingredients we actually had in the house (which isn't much). I used a generous 1/2 cup of Nutella, 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, a little less than 1/4 cup powered sugar, and 2% milk as need to create the right consistency. See the improvisation written all over it? Trial and error. Trial and error. It's hard to mess up Nutella though. Its hazelnut chocolateyness is just too delicious for its own good.
The macaron cookie process surprised me in it's simplicity. My only complaints are a sore arm from whipping the egg whites and maybe a smidge too much sugar... although that could have been my fault for not incorporating it thoroughly because I mixed the sugar in by the tablespoon instead of the teaspoon. Read your recipe carefully friends!

Draw circles on the back of the parchment paper with a round objects to create identical cookie sizes. Use a piping bag to drop the mixture on the baking sheet. These bags are a pain to fill by yourself, so set it inside a bowl to keep it steady while you pour. I was covered with macaron guts by the end! Then, let your macarons rest and drop the tray on a table to get out all those pesky air bubbles. These are key steps to success. Next time I will leave the macarons in the oven longer. My oven runs a little cooler, I discovered, since most of the cookie bottoms stuck to the pan, even with the parchment paper.

Lastly fill those delightful, delicate cookies, but not too much! Less is more in this case. You don't want to overwhelm them. I learned that the hard way as I had to go back and scoop out filling. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Mine turned out well for a first attempt, but certainly a long way to go toward perfection. I loved this baking challenge and can't wait to apply what I've learned and tackle them again in the future!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Where the Water Meets My Feet

Still unemployed. No Buffalo Exchange. No other callbacks for interviews. I'll confess, I'm not familiar with this much rejection at once. I guess the right position has yet to reveal itself. It's all in timing. Although I'm enjoying this perpetual summer, I would much rather be busy working. I'll probably regret that when I'm working 40 hours a week and overtime. But at least if I'm not working, let me be off traveling in some far away land. Like Kokomo. The Beach Boys never fail to bring a smile. Not to mention this video features Jesse from Full House. What more could you ask for?


This new spin on tacky Hawaiian shirts is the perfect compliment to these beachy tunes and island backdrops. It makes me want to be somewhere tropical ASAP... without looking like a tourist.

Or maybe I could be wearing a little something like this:

Summer's finally here, so let's celebrate with all the summery things, like star gazing in the warm nights, iced tea on the back porch, flowers in our hair, and playing in the ocean waves.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Something Old, Something New

Yesterday my wonderful roomie and I went on a spontaneous adventure to the old LA zoo in Griffith Park. It's a mere 3 miles from our apartment. Hop, skip, and a jump. And what a find it was. Eerie, creepy, but so fun to explore all the nooks and crannies. We kept discussing how we felt like we were on the set of a horror movie, but in the best possible way. All the graffiti provided unlimited entertainment and photo ops. We can't wait to go back and walk more of the trails in the park. Fantastic views of the city. I love the city/nature contrast, especially when I'm in the nature. A perfect getaway.
I adored wearing this blouse while out, because not only is it floral (favorite!), but it is sheer and lightweight, ideal for a hot afternoon in the sun.

Shorts: Forever 21, Blouse: ANGL, Shoes: heritage/Forever 21

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blades of Fashion

Figure skating has always been one of my loves. The elegant lines, dizzying jumps, and creative routines have always inspired me. For a brief period, I took lessons with starry eyes for competing, but guitar and piano lessons quickly distracted me. With a desire to try everything and a short attention span, I was always "lesson hopping" as a child. So when I saw this new collection from US National Figure Skating Champion, Johnny Weir, I couldn't stop smiling. I'm kind of obsessed with this dress right now. I love the sweetheart neckline with the unique cutout, and the gorgeous tulle skirt.

Now I just need the perfect gala event to wear it!

And here are a couple other beauties:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day On the Town

What a gorgeous day! Not a plan in sight. A break from errands and interviews. Since living in Los Feliz, my favorite activity has been walking downtown to explore and soak in the atmosphere. I jump at any chance to take a visiting friend around the little area, showing them my favorite bookstore, ice cream shop, and cute thrift stores.
Today, I perused the fashion magazine section of the bookstore, wishing I could justify the hefty price for imported glamour. It took all self control not to grab that Vogue Italia and make a purchase. Obviously it would be the perfect tool to practice my Italian. A necessity. Instead I flipped through every magazine of interest from cover to cover, nervously wondering if the saleslady knew I had no intention of buying. Oops, this isn't a library?
Today I also thought about how much I love this golden mustard yellow. I could wear this skirt every day.

(Skirt: Forever 21)

And I just rediscovered this purse. I don't know how I ever lost interest. That owl is cutest.

Purse: BP Nordstrom

Hoping to add these to my yellow collection soon:
Seychelles "Chirp"

Arizona Sun Dress

Zoey Bow Indie Hairpin

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Here Comes The Sun

 Every day I eagerly check the 5 day forecast, hoping with childlike expectancy, that the predicted temperature will be at least 80 degrees. It's summertime. Don't the clouds and the sun understand? Well today I consulted my oh so smart phone and the next week is full of 80 degree weather. I'm so happy, I don't even care that it is practically raining right now!

In celebration, here is my newest project:

It will be a French themed summer! I'm going to start with vanilla bean cookies and a lemon custard filling. Mmmm. Two of my favorite flavors, so here's to a delicious union. The book advised me to start with a plain batch to test out my technique, but I prefer to jump into things head first (plus I want to taste those yummy flavors). I will be sure to document how they turn out and all the funny mistakes I'm bound to make!

And I will complete this baking challenge like any true French woman: in style. I own a couple aprons, such as this darling one my dear friend Bianca made for me:

and this one I picked up from a Japanese dollar store:

but I can't help but drool over these:

Could there be a cuter baking apron? I think I'm craving a cupcake now...

Wearing polka dots while baking? Classy.
Baked with love. A little 1960s vintage apron. The gauzy material, the red hearts, almost too beautiful to dirty while cooking, but I'd risk it.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Sun Shine Please

The beginning of any relationship, whether on the Internet or in person can be awkward. I prefer the nice, cozy place where you eagerly look forward to time spent with that person and pauses are as natural as excited conversation. So I will attempt to start this blog in just such a position.

I interviewed for an entry level buyer position at Buffalo Exchange today. Cross your fingers and say a prayer that I'm offered the job! It's a requirement to research trends and stay up to date on the latest fashion news. Sounds like dreamy homework. If homework ever deserves such an adjective as “dreamy”.

Even with all this June gloom, I can't help but roll down the windows as I drive and soak in whatever sun rays manage to reach me. In honor of those valiant rays, here's a little list of my summer essentials:

-A cute bikini, because who doesn't love soaking up a little Vitamin D, whether by the pool or at the beach. I like this one, or this one, and this one. Now to save up my pennies.

-These sandals. I have barely stopped wearing them since they were purchased in May. Thanks go to graduating, Mom, and UO. The perfect walking, interviewing, going out, adventuring sandal.

-No summer day is complete without a delicious, cold treat. Ice cream, sorbet, granita, gelato, frozen yogurt... whatever form it takes, it is irresistible, or maybe I just have the worst sweet tooth. These two recipes sound like summer: Lemon Mint Granita and Chocolate Sorbet.

-Of course you also need the perfect, effortless dress/romper to dance around in under the sun rays. I'm a sucker for florals, any season. Thankfully, you can get away with that when the sun shines year round in LA. Please don't let florals ever go out of style!
Always In Motion Dress

Peony Lane Romper
Prairie Home Companion Dress
Table for Two Dress

-And a journal to remember all your summer adventures and travels in. What could be better than this DIY? Recycled. Personal. Unique.

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