Friday, April 29, 2011

Ootd: I am a tree!

Colour palette that is. I really like brown and green together, or just about any colour combination that nature pairs together. Oh, and taking photos in the late afternoon? A bit more tricky, my favourite picture-taking corner was filled with sunlight (yay!) and shadows from the tree (boo!). I still prefer taking pictures outside though by a a mile. Fluorescent lighting is an evil thing.

 Kindred Spirit Sweaterdress - Anthropologie, Mackage leather jacket - Winners, Hayden Harnett boots, H&M scarf, Joya & Vane locket.

 Have you felt a Mackage jacket before? If not, do, it is like freaking butter...leathery butter, nom nom nom.

Happy Friday, can you guess what I am having for dinner? ._.;;;

Forever21 Review: Yes, Some More Dresses

Why always dresses? Mostly because I am lazy and do not want to pair tops and bottoms in the changing room. Dresses are a bit easier to handle in small box sized rooms.

Here are a few that might catch your interest:

Dress #1
 Ignoring the funny look on my face, this maxi dress I actually really liked. The colours are nice and vibrant, and the chiffon-like fabric floats away from the body nicely. Not such a fan of the straps though, they are pretty much non-existant, so I am not sure how the bra issue would be addressed.

 You can see how low the dress dips in the front, so a strapless bra might not work?

Dress #2
 Lovely colour on this dress. The tag say dusty blue and I think that suits it perfectly. Not a dress for me though. I have too much on my bottom half for a medium, not enough on top to fill out a large. There is some really nice pleating detail at the waist, and the sleeves have a bit of a puff to them. This dress would be adorable with some brown accessories.

Dress #3
 My face says it all. I picked this up because of the pattern on the fabric. Shapeless and lumpy looking.

 Side view does not make this any better!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Recipe Sharing: Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

I thought some of you might be interested in the soup I made the other day, so here is the recipe. Just to make it clear, we had to translate this recipe the first time I made it from one written in Mandarin, so it is not 100% authentic, but it is tasty.

This soup is the only thing I know how to make from Taiwan so far, but I hope to learn more! I want to make 3-cup Chicken next.

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup with Pickled Sour Mustard Cabbage


For soup:
2 tetra packs of Beef Stock**
Chinese cooking wine
Approx. 1lb beef shank ( I prefer bone out for ease, but if you get it with the bone, there are added steps)*
6-10 star anise
6-10 slices of fresh ginger
5-8 gloves of garlic (peeled and crushed, but still in cloves)
Soy sauce (about 1/4-1/2 cup, I eyeball this)
Chili bean paste (this is where the heat comes from, I add about 1 tsp usually, but more is fine)
1 sachet of imperial spice (blend of cinnamon, star anise, peppers, etc) This and the bean paste I found at a local Asian supermarket) 

*If you are using the bone-in, fill up a pot of water, add some cooking wine, and boil the heck out of the whole hunk of meat for about 30 minutes.
**If you want to use the meat-boiled water instead of stock, that is great. I don't like dealing with the floating marrow/foam stuff though, so I just use the pre-made stock.

For pickled cabbage***:
1-2 packages of sour mustard cabbage (it usually  has a rooster on it, yellowish green looking pickled vegetable) Usually found near tofu/dim sum things at the Asian supermarket)
Bunch of minced garlic (I cheat and use the pre-minced ones)
1/4 cup of sugar
bit of cooking oil.

Take the cabbage out of the package, rinse, and drain. While heating up some oil in small frying pan on medium, chop up the cabbage and garlic. Place in the pan and saute for a couple of minutes. Add sugar and mix together. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the sugar melt into the mixture. When it starts to get a bit syrupy, remove from heat, and let it cool. I put it in the fridge while the soup is cooking. It is better chilled.

***This might not be to everyones liking, but I find it really tasty in the soup. It adds sourness to cut the heat from the chili bean paste.

Add-in for soup:
Bok Choi, gai lan, or any sort of leafy vegetable that you like: Steam these up and just add into the bowl
 Cilantro: Wash, dry, and chop up.
 Noodles (I normally get these from the Asian supermarket) Look in the dried noodle section for wide noodles made from flour, salt, and water): Cook according to the packages directions, then add to the bowl.
If using the bone-in shank, see * and ** above. After that, or if using meat without the bone, cut shank into fairly large pieces. In a large pot, heat up some oil on medium, and add ginger, garlic, and the meat. Brown for about 5 minutes, then add stock, star anise, sachet, soy sauce, and chili bean paste. If I want more stock, I add about 1-2 cups of water. Put a lid on the pot, and simmer on medium for about 30 minutes. Then decrease heat to low and gently simmer for about 2-3 hours. The longer the better I find. Just before serving, take out the sachet and any pieces of star anise that you can fish out. I like the ginger and garlic to be left in, but that is personal preference.

When it is time to serve, find some nice big bowls. Add the noodles and veggies into each bowl. Ladle the broth and meat on top. Top with cilantro and the pickled cabbage mixture. Enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ootd: Kissing Friday dress on a Friday?

Haha I didn't plan on the dress matching the day, but whatever, it must have been fate? 

Last minute trip planned by Tim to come visit so yay! Onto house keeping and planning a nice Easter dinner tonight. Ham, potato casserole, brussel sprouts (I think I will try these roasted, seems to be a popular way to cook them), corn, and brownies for dessert.

Bailey 44 "Kissing Friday" dress, Ha'Penny Cardigan - both from Anthropologie, Gap tights, Hayden Harnett Boots, random belt that my mom left me when she moved.
 Look, a skinny belt! Ohhh I am getting adventurous! Ok no...not at all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ootd: Just a Quick Jump(er)

Just a little ootd, not too much going on today. I plan on making some cornbread next and watching Game of Thrones tonight. Supposed to be interesting, so let's see. Did anyone catch it yet?

I normally wear this jumper by itself in the summer, thought I would try it layered today. The original idea was to  pair it with stripes, but I don't have any, go figure. Why is it still tights weather too?
Zipper dress - Winners, Cardigan -Bluenotes, belt - Forever21, tights - Gap, and boots- Hayden Harnett

Long weekend for most people coming up I think? Any plans with the family for Easter etc? Any egg hunts :)?

Review at Forever21: 2 Dresses, 1 Success

I had some time to kill before work yesterday, so I stopped into Forever21 to search out that cream and orange lace dress that That Damn Green Dress found and looks super duper awesome in. I saw it online earlier this month, but there seems to be a bit of a delay between what comes to my store, and online.

Luckily, I found the dress right away!
 It is really nice in person. The fabric is substantial enough and not see through (hint, I am wearing a bright blue bra, and the length is very decent for Forever21. This piece is in the Love21 line, which is a bit more modest in length normally. Alas, this dress is not for me. The colour washes me out. In fact, I think the dress' shoulders have melded into my own.

 Side view is less then stellar. I don't think this dress is cut well for my body shape. This was a size small, but it is all puckered in the upper back and pulling away from my frame. Insert sad face here. I really did like this dress. Priced at $35.80, if it works for you, it is awesome! Dress found here.

This was another dress I tried on, but is not on either website at the moment.

 After trying on that over priced maxi dress at H&M (which was adorable), I am on the hunt for a few to add to my summer dress collection. This was is very reasonably priced at $18.50 CAD, and it made from rayon. Not my favourite type of fabric, but it flows very nicely, and very soft to the touch. The top is lined with built in cups, since the back is a cross between halter/racer back. The length is perfect on this, it hangs about 1/2 inch above the floor.

Please excuse the wayward hanger strap wrapped around my arm. I was having issues apparently. I also saw this dress in a maroon colourway, but the navy was better for my colouring. This was a popular dress to try on when I went. You can see it hanging in the stall next to mine. I wonder if she liked it as well?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Undercover Topic

Psst...I'm going to talk about underwear...but no worries, PG rated I promise. I hope someone find this a little bit interesting or informative

First up, bras. I went for a bra fitting last week. This is what has pushed me into writing this post. I had thought I was a 36B for about as far back as I can remember buying bras. I never really considered that I could be another size, and even when I found some bras uncomfortable, it didn't cross my mind that perhaps, I wearing the wrong size. Oh no, not possible! So imagine my surprise when the lovely lady helping me announced that in their sizing, I was actually a 36A. Yup, A cup. Bit of a difference no? 

This was my expression, completely accurate I am sure---> O_o;  

It has been a week, and I have had no issues with slipping straps, loose cups, general uncomfortableness. Clothes fit better too! If you have not had a bra fitting in awhile, think about it maybe? No harm from a tape measurer!

Here are a few bra sets from Anthropologie that I am admiring:

 Cyan and Chantilly set: $48-$68 USD. Lovely pieces, but I would wait for a sale.

 Misty Morning set: $12-$24 USD. The colour, and bra shape are gorgeous to me. The price is pretty decent too.

My second bit of information? A slip! Oh slips, how lovely you are. You know when you are wearing tights, and your dresses and skirts decide that they want to plaster themselves to your legs in an obscene manner? A slip will fix that! Or...VPL...visible panty line? Jersey dresses are notorious for causing VPL. I suppose you could wear thong style underwear, but lets be honest, not everybody likes those, or finds them comfortable. Invest in a slip, and it really helps with that.

A pretty slip as well:

 Lace-Edged Slip $58 USD. Also comes in grey. The lace on the top and bottom is a sweet touch.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ootd: Oh it is a beef noodle sort of day

I really actually want to have Taiwanese 3-cup chicken, but eating alone in a restaurant today is not really what I feel like...maybe...I will see when I actually head out to get beef noodle soup supplies. How do you feel about eating alone? I don't mind for breakfast and lunch, but dinner is sometimes awkward feeling. Last time I went out for dinner alone, they sat me at the bar with a paper which wasn't so bad, but still.

 Check out that sky! Would you believe me if I told you it snowed on Thursday? Somehow I totally missed that part of the weather that day...

 Jacket/Belt - Forever21, Skirt - Club Monaco, Shirt - Anthropologie (like 3 or 4 years ago, one of the first pieces I picked up), Scarf - H&M, Boots - Target

Happy Sunday! Anyone making anything special for dinner? Roasts? Turkeys? Squabs? :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

H&M Spring Review

So this time I checked out my local H&M to do a few little reviews of items that caught my eye. Please excuse the date stamp, I forgot to take it off in some of the pictures.

 First up! Beige beaded collar short sleeve sweater. Priced at $39.95 CAD. I found the sweater to be very soft. Pictured is a size medium.

 The beading looked to be pretty secure, but there is a lot of it. Lightweight though, so does not pull down on the chest.

 Not too short in the torso, I can see this looking fantastic with skirts and pants.

 Open back maxi dress. This was priced at $79.95 CAD (seriously H&M? $80?) But truth be told, if it had fit me right, I would be have likely caved. I am wearing a size 6, but it was really tight in the chest. Uncomfortably so. No size 8 to compare to as well. It is also super long. I am 5 foot 6, and there were a good 2-3 inches on the ground. The plus? Pockets, lovely material, and the pattern was neat and unexpected. I think they are buildings?

 Here is a shot of the back. Do you see where it dips down? That part did not fit flat against my lower back, and I felt oddly exposed, like someone could look at my backside. I really did like this dress, it just did not work well.
 The widely blogged about pocket skirt. In khaki and navy. This is a  medium. The small fit fine, but I sized up for length. On sale right now for $10 (normally $19.95 CAD).
 This ruffle eyelet dress is from the Conscious Collection. I only found a size 8, and it was a bit shapeless on the bottom half. Size 6 would have been better. Priced at $49.95 CAD, this was really nice, and well made, including a lining. I tried belting it to get more shape, but lost too much length.
Also, these two scarfs:
 Floral peach and grey scarf. $14.95 CAD. Very large and soft.

 Ivory lace scarf. $6.95 CAD. Fairly narrow scarf, but will look great with lightweight spring jackets.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ootd: Fishy weather

When I left the house today, the weather was alright. Not sunny, just overcast. However, when I was heading home, WOOSH. Downpour of rain that is still going strong. I am glad to be inside with a nice cup of tea right now.

D'armee dress from Anthropologie, F21 cami, random belt.

 And a backside view, I know you all wanted one! Just kidding of course :)

This was a birthday present from my friend Vivienne. I love koi fish, so this is a wonderful present, and it is the perfect length to be an everyday type of necklace. I forget the name of the artist, but this necklace was made locally.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ootd: In a Twinkling

Twinkle twinkle little star, it is daytime, oh yes it are. (Lyric fail)

Spring is officially here I think, so yay. On an informative note, if you head over to Laura at Anthro Closet Chaos, there has been a discrepancy in the Anthropologie rating system, and if you are curious, feel free to check it out. I think it is good to be aware.

 Oh boots...I assure you I have other footwear, I just find that I reach for these first. Comfort and ease I suppose.
In a Twinkling dress from Anthropologie. Gap short sleeve..ball..jacket? JCrew yellow enamel bangle + wooden random bangle.

 Did you know that the dots on this dress are textured? I think that is where some people found it to be itchy.

 I really like this yellow bracelet, but after wearing it a lot, the inside started to wear off, making my skin green. Bah to that, so I tend to wear it when it is spring, so that it does not to get too warm (or sweaty, ew).

Has anyone else had that happen with the enamel bangles from JCrew?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ootd: Birthday Sequins

Birthday celebrations are a time that call for sparkles and shine. What is more shiny then sequins? Well maybe a gold leotard, but that won't ever happen here. Had my birthday celebration last night with a bunch of my friends. We had chicken and beef fondue, then out for drinks and dessert afterwards.

 Rust coloured open sleeve drape shirt from Forever21, boots are Corso Como Theresa boots in Vienna.

  JCrew sequin bell skirt in Oyster. Picked up on my last order for final sale around January? Final sale is sometimes a scary process, but I love this piece. I hope to wear it this summer with a white button down, brown braided belt and strappy sandals?

Necklace from Rachael for my birthday. I tend to play with the pendants on my necklaces, so this is perfect to play with.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How I want my hair

I am trying very hard to grow out my hair for my wedding later this year. It is quite difficult though! These are the two pictures I am using as hair inspiration.

This as the colour:
Jane from Sea of Shoes. Her hair colour is exactly what I want. Vibrant red with blond throughout.Not a huge change from my current, just a bit more...oomph to it?

And this as the hair style:
 Except with a bit more fuller bangs then in the picture, but just past the shoulders, and some movement. I will take the dress and belt too please!

Must not chop, must not chop. I know you do not have to have long hair for weddings, but Tim really likes long hair, and I have had shorter hair for a few years now, long won't hurt. If I say I want to cut my hair, tell me no!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ootd: Inspired by Katie (Dress Like a Cute Scientist)

You know those days when you can't decide what to wear? Yes, it was one of those days, but when I was reading some blogs this morning for inspiration, I stumbled upon Katie, who is not only super adorable, but we have the same dress! So thank you Katie, for wearing your Gathered Alyssum dress the other day :)

One thing about this dress is that it is picked up and gathered all around the sides, but I was feeling a bit exposed without tights last summer, so I took down the side gathers. It does make the dress less "gathered" overall, but I feel better sans tights.

Thank you all for the lovey birthday wishes too! Maybe not the best birthday overall, but I had a great evening with friends.

  Hello gorgeous weather! Blue skies, warm shining sun, a great start to 20-something. First day of spring without tights too! Goodness gracious those legs are pale!

Maeve Gathered Alyssum dress, F21 belt, RW&Co drape cardigan worn as a shirt underneath 
Cardigan previously worn here so you can see the shape of it.

Detailing of belt. Love this belt, and it is stretchy, so if I eat too much...