Carmel

Carmel outfit

Carmel outfit

Carmel outfit

Carmel outfit

ASOS plaid scarf (I also like this one), AG jeans, Amour Vert top, Joie leather jacket (old), Nine West Vintage America boots (old), Alexander Wang tote (sold out in white, black silicon version here), Ray-Ban Aviators

We spent the past few days in Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur because one of Chris’ favorite activities is taking trips over long weekends. Who am I to stand in his way? Our stay was filled with sea lions, butterflies (in the thousands at Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary) and some really peaceful beaches. More photos to come.

So far, so good on my 2015 intention of traveling as much as possible. And on the traveling front, AFAR magazine asked me to share some packing tips recently – you can check it out over here.

Mom’s Chai

Recipe: Authentic chai.

Recipe: Authentic Chai

Recipe: Authentic Chai

Recipe: Authentic Chai

Chris tends to rank food and experiences, like “this is probably among my top three xyz I’ve ever had”. It’s just the way he operates. I don’t really like to catalogue dishes that way, because maybe I’ve forgotten some things, and I don’t want to be responsible for items I don’t remember. But. I will make an exception for chai.

The best cups of chai I’ve ever tasted are made by Namaste Cafe in Minneapolis, and by my mom. I’ve seen her make it all throughout my existence and it looks really simple. But Chris and I have both tried recreating it and it’s not the same at all.

My mom says her secret ingredient is love. But I’m pretty sure I was messing up the recipe. So this time, I decided to document her exact steps. In the spirit of the season (if you can still call it that), I’m sharing them with you. So here we go:

Ingredients

  • 2-inch cinnamon stick (you’ll only use 3/4 of it)
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 peppercorn
  • 1 clove
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (we used skim but my mom prefers at least 2%)
  • 2 black tea bags (we used Lipton)
  • Optional: Honey

Instructions

  1. Coarsely ground cardamom pods, clove and peppercorn. (See first image below.)
  2. Smash the middle of the cinnamon stick until it breaks into large pieces. Use 3/4 of the 2-inch cinnamon stick and remove the rest of the cinnamon.
  3. Boil water with spices.
  4. Once water turns golden, add two teabags. (See second image below.)
  5. Once tea stains water a dark amber, add just one cup of milk to the pot. (See third image below.)
  6. Wait for tea to come to a full boil again for about 10 seconds.
  7. Turn heat off and let steep for another 30 seconds. If too dark, add remaining milk.
  8. Sweeten with honey to taste.

Side note: “Chai” means “tea” in Hindi, so no need to say “chai tea”.

Enjoy!

Sundays

denim on denim

jenni kayne chain d'orsay flats

denim on denim

denim on denim

denim on denim

Madewell chambray shirt (sold out — I also want this one), AG Legging Ankle 11 Years Swap MeetRay-Ban Clubmaster Sunglasses, Cuyana Leather Tote, Jenni Kayne Chain D’Orsay Flats (love the slingbacks, too)

I have discovered the key to transforming Sunday from the day of worrying about Monday into a great day. Back when I lived in Minneapolis (my home for two years, awhile back), my friends and I used to do game nights on Sundays. It was the best.

Then for the past many years, I’d had no particular routine. Now every Sunday (if we can help it), we spend the afternoon with our friends and their baby. Whenever I wear these jeans, he points to my knees with his little baby fingers. And I realize that yes, the baby is on to something, that it is kind of funny that I enjoy jeans that expose my kneecaps. And that he is a very, very cute kid. And that once again, Sundays are great days.

Easy Does It

leather and sneakers

denim and leather

Reebok Skyscape Chase Print Sneakers

leather and sneakers

denim and leather

Skyscrape Chase Sneaker (thanks to Reebok), Brighton leather pants, Forever 21 denim jacket, Sweet & Spark bracelets, Ray-Bans, Clare Vivier messenger bag, Splendid Very Light Jersey V-Neck Tee

Lots of good memories tied up in wine country — travels with friends, tons of trips (and marriage!) with Chris, and most recently a day with family when my mom came to visit. A highlight was certainly running into a tiny, docile horse. (That mane though.)

I often take jaunts to Napa as an excuse to get a little fancy, but it felt right to just wear easy pieces to enjoy the final days of the holiday before the new year. The denim jacket and leather pants I’ve had for awhile now, and my new kicks are ridiculously comfy. Like little pillows. In fact, I was reading the reviews here and apparently someone went to bed with them on.

Hope you’re settling in to a great start to the new year.

New Year

simple & chic

simple & chic

simple & chic

simple & chic

simple & chic

simple & chic

Rag & Bone Splatter TankRay-Ban Clubmaster Sunglasses, Joie jacket, AG Legging Ankle JeansSweet & Spark bracelets, Manolo Blahnik heels, Alexander Wang Prisma Tote, Stila lipstick in “Beso”

Among the merriment I unfortunately got sick last week. I watched a bunch of TED Talks on Netflix and it totally helped me with my New Years resolutions. One of the “life hacks” series was “the happy secret to better work“. I won’t ruin it for you because the speaker is good (no surprises there), but as cliche as it is, gratitude, journaling and meditation were on the list. I’ve been dipping my toes in the latter two so I think I’ll have to try to amp up my gratitude in 2015.

I also have a bunch more resolutions and it will be impossible to keep them all. Where is the TED Talk on setting achievable goals?? Until then, another aim is to simplify. Featured here are some of my basic wardrobe work horses, plus a new top that’s perfectly drapey and really, really soft.

Chocolate Hazelnut Smoothie

Chocolate hazelnut smoothie

Chocolate hazelnut smoothie recipe

Chocolate hazelnut smoothie recipe

Chocolate hazelnut smoothie

Anything that tastes like Nutella says “holiday cheer” to me. It’s a delicious combination of rich, sweet and salty. So good! Normally I like this drink with a little bit of sea salt on top, so the first sip is extra savory. But it’s also good with a sprinkle of nutmeg, since it’s the holidays.

I used the Pressed Juicery “chocolate almond” flavor as a starting point and substituted hazelnuts for almonds.

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 1/3 cup rice milk (or any milk)
  • 5 dates
  • 1 healthy pinch salt
  • Optional: Sprinkle of nutmeg

Instructions: Blend.

Happy Holidays

Clean neutral outfit

chic neutrals

neutrals detail

neutral tone outfit

Clean neutral outfit

Joie leather jacket, J. Crew linen tee, Blank jeans (old, similar here), Alexander Wang heels, A.L.C. Small Davenport Crossbody Bag (sold out, full size here), Ray-Ban Clubmaster Sunglasses

Well, the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story is almost here. It’s a merry time of year indeed.

I, for one, will be firing up my sweats and hip-hop Christmas songs and declining when my brother suggests we all play some Monopoly. (No thank-you, it always takes five hours, plus I lose.)

Hope you all enjoy your cherished Christmas traditions with loved ones too. Happy Holidays, guys.

Photos by Krystal Bick

Brand New: Bandra-West

Bandra-West

Bandra-West

Bandra-West Ilk Embroidered Pencil Skirt

Bandra-West skirt

Bandra-West

Bandra-West Ilk Embroidered Pencil Skirt

Bandra-West

Bandra-West skirt (c/o), Madewell chambray shirtVince Claire Pumps in CappuccinoRay-Ban Aviators, Clare Vivier clutch (old, messenger style here), denim jacket (old, similar here and here)

Major coup for textile fans — you know the heavy duty embroidery and vibrant colors you typically only see in Indian clothes? Mumbai designers are incorporating these traditional techniques into Western wear, and you can get them in your closet straight from the source (no international travel necessary), thanks to new SF-based designer collective Bandra-West.

Check out the debut collections on the lovely Krystal Bick of This Time Tomorrow, right here and here! I’m wearing the Ilk pencil skirt but I’m also into these party pants.

Holiday Lounging + Gift Guide

fair isle

fair isle

J. Crew sweatshirt (past season but I like this elephant one and this luxe version), LF fair isle leggings (past season – these in “carbon champagne” are in a similar spirit)

It’s never a bad season for lounging around but the holidays are prime time. So much of the day spent in sweats! And reading. And eating. It’s kind of the best.

And sometimes leaving the house in said sweats (or yesterday’s PJs) is necessary, because changing out of them takes way too much effort. But then, so does running away when you see an acquaintance at the grocery store.

Not need to hide this year – there are so many comfy items that are also really cute. As we gear up for a few days in, here are some cozy but chic, outside world-friendly picks, for yourself or others!

holiday loungewear gift guide

 

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