Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lunch : : Whole Wheat Egg Noodles with Homemade Pasta Sauce

I hate directions. I'm the type of person who gets lost because I don't pay attention to the GPS even though it's screaming at me. I'm also the type of person who "loses" the manual to her new electronic device or kitchen appliance and somehow figures out how to put it together herself.

The same goes for cooking. I think I've realized why I loathed cooking up until recently: directions make the process seem time-consuming and difficult. That doesn't make much sense, right? I mean, directions should make things easier. And I'm sure they do, but when I see a list of ingredients and instructions in front of me, I become overwhelmed, give up and order pizza.

And that, my friends, is why I started experimenting. Confession time: Every single recipe I've ever posted has been an experiment. Gotcha! I get hungry, open a cookbook, get bored, throw a few ingredients together and come up with something completely my own... then take photos, eat and post! Some concoctions turn out better than others. Today's dish is, well... it looks like Ed's Special Sauce.

INGREDIENTS: Olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper, shredded mozzarella cheese (or soy equivalent), one whole tomato. INGREDIENTS THAT SHOULD BE ADDED NEXT TIME: Garlic and onion. The sauce just did not have enough flavor. Sad!

{photo sources: one, two}

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A bittersweet goodbye...

Those of you who follow me on Twitter already know this, but I recently became single for the first time since meeting Zach in November 2007. I normally try to not let negative things about my personal world seep into my blog world, but it would be impossible to hide something like this from you. He was my boyfriend, best friend and roommate for so long and was so deeply involved in my daily life. For our privacy's sake, I'd rather not discuss the details...

Thanks for your support during this time... ♥

Look + Lunch : : A Simple Dress

The other day Alexis and I met up at Aroma in Studio City! It was hot hot hot but I wanted to sit outside anyway and get some sun. We always have a good time talking shop and taking snapshots. I ordered a soy hazelnut latte and a cupcake... just can't resist my sweets!

Outfit details: Dress - Target. Belt - Ann Taylor. Shoes - Goodwill. Headband - Sweetaz Boutique. Ring - Forever 21. Bracelet - Gift from Zach's mother. // Photos taken with my Nikon D40x, Alexis' Canon Powershot, and my GE A735. ♥

Friday, July 29, 2011

THE BIG 2-0-0

Guess what? This is my 200th post! I love milestones... especially making them up. I've put lots of time, money and effort into making my blog something to be proud of, so in honor of this occasion, I'd like to share some of my personal favorite posts (so far).

Christmas 2010 // Fifteen Things // If I'm flying solo, at least I'm flying free // Not-So-Lucky // My 24th Birthday // Personal(ity) // Photoshoot Final Cut // Monetization: A Deeper Look // My Office // What sunshine smells like... // FAQ for you! // PB & B Waffles

Links à la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup

I was selected for the seventh time to be featured in IFB's Links à la Mode! It makes me giddy with excitement whenever a post of mine gets attention like this. I put lots of effort into Competing, Comparing, Confessing and I'm extremely pleased with the feedback I've received on it. I hope the post resonates with you, too! Scroll down to check out this week's other fabulous articles and to submit your own. (Thanks to Jennine, the mastermind behind the site, for all her hard work!)

Whether we realize it or not, we are all influenced by something, whether it be celebrities, trends or designs of the past. This week’s links a la mode celebrates influencers and the voices we create from our inspiration. As fashion bloggers, we have each other to look for when we are feeling uninspired and this community is something we should never take for granted!

Links à la Mode: July 28st


If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. ~Jennine

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Be a better shopper (part three) : : Following up

Thought I forgot about this series? You were wrong.

Thought you were done after researching and implementing? So wrong!

Shopping is a process and, in a perfect world, it'd always be a smooth and successful one. However, we're on planet Earth, and we're dealing with humans. Humans make mistakes. Maybe the sales associate was rude, unfriendly or just plain mean. Maybe she was so great to you that you want to return the favor! Maybe the dress you brought home doesn't fit so well after eating dinner. Or maybe you have a chauvinist husband who promises to divorce you if you don't take back the snakeskin heels... But that's a different issue altogether, so we'll move on.

The point is, there are things you can do after-the-fact to make your next shopping experience -- and your life -- more pleasant. There are only two categories that your potential problems or successes can fall under: PRODUCT and SERVICE.


If you have a problem... You should be able to return the item unless it was marked as a Final Sale (and I always ask before handing my money over, just in case). All companies have different return policies and there is probably a time limit as to how long you can wait to return an item (21 days for Forever 21, 60 days for Ann Taylor, 90 days for Victoria's Secret). After that number of days, you may not be able to return it at all (Forever 21) or you might just get a merchandise credit (Ann Taylor). It's always best to do your research -- check the back of your receipt, look up the policy on-line, and call the company's general customer service hotline. Return policies can change at any time (ours did recently).

If it's been longer than the allotted time and you feel that there's nothing you can do, there are still some options! Call the company's customer service hotline and give them your feedback. I'd even suggest posting to the company's Facebook and Twitter sites. Believe it or not, many companies do check these sites and listen to their customers' concerns in order to make future changes. I've seen it happen at my workplace!

Do not, however, trash sites like these with poor reviews. Most companies don't take these reviews seriously because most of them come from a client who simply didn't get her way and wants to rant about it (example). If you just want to let out some steam, by all means, head on over there!

If you have success... Don't immediately throw away your tag, as you'll find some important numbers on it. If you loved something that comes in different colors (like a top) or washes (like a jean) you'll want to write down the style number (usually begins with an 's' and about six digits long) or the SKU (usually above the bar code and about ten digits long). These numbers are useful because they'll help you stock up on the items you loved! Pop the number into the search engine on the company's website or bring it to an associate the next time you're in the store.

You can also leave feedback on the product using the previously mentioned options (Facebook, Twitter, calling customer service). It'll only take a minute or two and hopefully they'll continue to bring back the items you enjoyed season after season.


If you have a problem... Please be very very careful when deciding whether a sales associate was being a bitch or just doing her job. Remember that people who work in retail are, well -- people! Perhaps she has a family that she is working to support, or maybe she's a broke college student who really needs the money, or maybe she's trying to work her way up to CEO. Whatever the reason is, her job is important to her, and she probably doesn't want to risk losing it. Please don't expect her to make exceptions for you; that's just not fair.

If you feel that you've been truly wronged, ask to speak with a manager about it. Hopefully, she'll be able to take action -- and if not, call customer service. There are phone operators specifically hired to handle situations like whatever you are experiencing. Before calling, ask for names of the associate and manager, but don't push for last names or other personal information; this is unhelpful and could possibly be illegal. Also, for your own sake, don't make a scene -- the store has every right to kick you out or refuse your service in the future! The more calm and tactful you are, the more you will be treated with respect.

If you have success... Once at the register, be sure to tell the associate ringing who helped you. Whether or not she receives commission from the sale, it is always helpful to the staff to receive feedback. Feel free to write a quick note to the manager about how great you were treated. You could also ask to be added to the associate's client book so that the two of you can keep in touch. She'll contact you about secret sales, special events and other goodies!

If you have a free minute or two, you could also use Facebook, Twitter and the customer service line to leave feedback about the associate. Be sure to give her first name and store location so that others can visit and be treated just as kindly. Happy shopping!

Selling Stuff by Une Vie Géniale
Charity Shopping by Mrs. Bossa Does the Do
Goodwill Shopping by Made-to-Travel
Retail Therapy by Beautifully Invisible

{photo sources: one, two, three, four}

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"The Show Goes On" - Lupe Fiasco

Haven't posted anything music related in awhile, but that doesn't mean it's not still a huge part of my life. This song always makes me smile when I feel like giving up on my dreams... happy hump day!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Look + Lunch : : Salad + Sandwich

Today started off by Kimberly surprising me with my favorite coffee drink: an iced sugar-free vanilla caramel macchiato with soy. (You know it's love when someone remembers a mouthful like that.) Once caffeinated, we were off to Sweet Butter, where we split two equally delicious dishes. We arrived between the breakfast and lunch rushes -- perfect timing! It was my first meal at this darling café, and I'm sure I'll be back. I'm obsessed with my local eateries. ♥

Outfit details: Top - Ann Taylor. Skirt - Old Navy. Sandals - Target.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Look : : Into the sun

I'm beginning to think that I should have seriously created a Photocrapics Anonymous Support Group after our conversation at this post. Step one: Admit you have a problem. Step two: Stock up on cute lenses. Step three: Pay off credit card.

Alright, I promise from now on to be less sassy, more sweet... that was one thing I wanted from my blog makeover, but sometimes you just gotta let the bitch out. Teehee! ♥

Outfit details: Sweater, shorts, shoes, necklace, bracelet - AT.

Miss July : : Alexis of North on Harper

The blogger babe behind North on Harper is so friendly, you'll feel like you've been friends forever after the first conversation! I was super excited when we started chatting and found out that we live so close to each other. We've met a few times in person and I promise she's just as sweet and sassy as you'd think! This Hollywood honey has lived in both Georgia and Germany... Read on to find what makes her tick!

On homes + heritage...
I was born in Chicago, but moved to Atlanta when I was very little. But I am by no means a Southern Belle! My mother’s family is from Lebanon and my dad is FOB German (that’s Fresh Off the Boat for you non-immigrants). I was lucky enough to be raised with elements from both cultures and would probably consider comfort food a combination of Tabouli and Spätzle. Not only do [Lebanese and German foods] stimulate my senses, they also elicit many positive memories. But I really love almost all exotic fare. In addition to American citizenship, I am also a German citizen. Growing up my family spent months at a time in Germany. Additionally, I spent summer semesters in boarding schools. I speak German fluently, but my Arabic is limited to the bad words and general niceties (after all aren’t those the first things you learn in any language?).

On love + life...
Lukus and I have been together for about 3 ½ years (married just under 2). We met working in a restaurant/club together. He is a true New York boy- grew up on Long Island, went to college in the Bronx and lived in the City before moving to LA about 5 years ago. When we first met we were both just getting out of relationships and we didn’t really like each other. But then he kissed me at a party and we were together from that point on. Lukus is very funny and easy going- so he balances me out. I really enjoy the conversations we can have and the adventures we go on. He is one of those people that everyone gets along with. These days he is the General Manager of a Los Angeles nightclub (yes, it is one of those clubs—I could tell you all kinds of poorly behaving celeb stories).

I hang out a lot with my husband and I am very close with most of my family (I have 3 sisters in addition to my generally rad parents) and have some close friends. My day job has me working from home, so sometimes it feels like the workday doesn’t end (especially because my job has me interacting with people in time zones across the world). But I love cooking/eating (it is such a relational event, especially in the Lebanese culture and I have for sure inherited that attitude), I love art & museums (two of my sisters are amazing artists, but I prefer to look), I have a passion for travel and for the most part I am down for adventures (Lukus says that’s not true, but I love rock climbing, indoor skydiving, snorkeling, etc. how is that not adventurous?! He is just holding my fear of snakes and boats against me!).

On blogging, writing, + photography...
I actually got into blogging for a couple of reasons- central was the fact that I was fulfilled by my day job and I missed being creative. I started playing with the idea of blogging and when I mentioned it to Lukus he was super supportive and insisted I do it right away. I did. This was last September. However I didn’t really start taking it seriously until February. At that point I started reading other blogs, promoting my own & partaking in blogging communities. I don’t have a set long-term goal with my blog, but I have and continue to use it as a springboard to other opportunities.

My favorite thing about blogging is the way it has grown me. I am constantly interacting with people and reading voraciously (blogs, articles, books to keep myself informed). I feel like my knowledge has expanded ten-fold, especially in terms of fashion. I feel like finding my own voice is probably the thing I am most proud of.

I go back and forth in terms of what category my blog fits into. Yes it is predominately fashion (I would say about 70%), but the rest is lifestyle, or basically whatever strikes my fancy.

My challenge is the need to constantly push myself to grow. It is also my passion. I never want to stay stagnant in my writing.

I am right now relegated to my Canon Powershot and my android camera--- occasionally I have bummed a better model from friends and family members. I have my eye on a new Canon, but after some recent traveling, I’ve got to save up!

On fashion + personal style...
I think I would say [my style is] feminine with an edge. I like things to be made for a girl, but still be tough. What can I say, I like a paradox! I have to say my favorite design house is Chanel, mostly because I think Karl Lagerfeld is a mad scientist/design genius.

On home décor...
Can I talk about my style preference? Yes? Okay. I like eclectic looks with chic overtones. I tend to bring in different styles, natural elements and a lot of textures in to our home. While the mixing and matching is key, I like to keep the palate very sophisticated.

On her daytime job...
I am lucky because I really love my current career. I am actually a Corporate Director of Social Media (PS, the title sounds much more grown up than I actually am!). So basically my job is to do what I do for my personal blog, but on a much larger scale. As for what I want to do down the road---- I am open to seeing where my work and my play take me.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pretending to shop!

This morning, I'm hitting up some of my favorite on-line stores and adding things to baskets, but I won't be checking out. As my late grandfather repeatedly told his nine children: "Pretend you got it, and it was really really good." I'm completely satisfied with simply having wishlists... will you dream along with me? ♥

For the first time ever, I work at a mall that has an Anthropologie... and it's super dangerous. Every time I walk in there, I want everything. Or I just want to move in! It's all so pretty. One // Two // Three

Victoria's Secret has more than unmentionables. There are so many sweet dresses to choose from... One // Two // Three

Now, this is something I can afford -- cute tights from We Love Colors for $10 or less! I love the yellow knee-highs I already have... One // Two

Modcloth has the cutest dresses and accessories. I've had my eye on those shoes for awhile! One // Two // Three

Talk about tempting: These flats from Target are less than $25 per pair. It's no wonder that I shop there all the time! One // Two // Three

And speaking of shopping, I haven't forgotten to finish my special series! The third and final segment should be up within the week. Review parts one and two if you'd like!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

(Liquid) Lunch : : Spiked Coffee

You should know by now that I'm a coffee fiend. And if you didn't know, now you do! I love trying out new coffee shops, or sticking to my staples at Starbucks, or mixing together my own concoctions at home. This recipe came into being today -- in fact, about five minutes ago -- as I was deciding what to do with leftover coffee that had gone cold. Thanks to this blogger, who recently guest posted here, I knew exactly what to do.

First, let me announce that I don't recommend alcoholic beverages to anyone under the legal age. I also recommend you don't drink and drive, and -- even though this is a coffee drink -- I don't recommend you consume this before work. (I'll let you know if you should sip it while blogging once I'm done with this post.)

Secondly, this recipe was an experiment... and I made some mistakes along the way. (Hey, no one's perfect, even me. Hard to believe, right? Kidding!) For example, if you don't throw the ingredients in a blender, the milk will curdle. It'll still taste good, but look bad. (We all know looks aren't everything, but still.)

I'm sure you're bored (and thirsty) at this point, so let's get started!

You'll need...
Milk (I used almond)
Whipped Vodka ($10 at your local Ralph's)
Fresh, lukewarm coffee (Mine is from The Coffee Bean)


Four easy steps to an adult frappuccino! Did you try it? What do you think?

Pin It button on image hover