31 August 2012

Happy Labor Day

I am so excited to spend Labor Day with a few of my closest college girlfriends. One of them (hi Viv!) just got engaged, so I'm looking forward to this long weekend, sure to be filled with lots and lots of wedding talk, of course over some deliciously fruity cocktails to celebrate the engagement and the end of a wonderful summer.

Hope you all have a lovely Labor Day weekend!

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30 August 2012

Things I Love Thursday: Nail Polish Therapy

Tart Deco // Mint Candy Apple // Lilacism // Lapis of Luxury

As silly as this sounds, I count "painting my nails" as one of my favorite hobbies and instant feel-good activities. Summer's just about coming to an end, and I'm definitely using these last few weeks to squeeze in all of my favorite summer nail colors! 

Which one's your favorite? Personally, I can't get enough of that Mint Candy Apple...such a pretty hue.

P.S. Isn't it every girly girl's dream job to name nail polishes? Oh, the fun I could have!

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29 August 2012

Rambutan, Rambutan

I posted this picture on Instagram over the weekend and offered a $5 prize to anyone who could name this fruit. To my pleasant surprise, a few of you guessed correctly - it's called Rambutan, and it's one of my favorites!

Rambutan is a native fruit to Malaysia and Indonesia, which means "hairy." It is a close relative to Lychee, another tropical fruit, and has a similar though slightly milder taste. You can find Rambutan at your local specialty Asian grocery store. For those of you in Columbus, I picked mine up at CAM (Columbus Asian Market) off Bethel.

Here's your easy guide on how to eat these hairy little things:

28 August 2012

Lately, According to My Instagram

Lately, I...
1. Got attacked by mosquitoes in NYC and found relief in Ivarest - thanks, House of Earnest!
2. Went dumpster diving and found lots and lots of goodies
3. Invested in some terracotta cookware - Fall soups & stews, here I come!
4. Distracted little Gracie with a big fat bone after the poor girl caught kennel cough

I also cooked up a storm...
1. Homemade caramelized onions and gruyere cheese over crackers
2. Szechuan style eggplant over steamed rice
3. Yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls) with unagi sauce, topped with salmon roe and scallions
4. Rambutan - close fruit relative of lychee (not really cooking, more just eating)

Life of a Blogger! 

Recipes to come on these and much more shortly! I am also excited to share with you my second guest post from a fellow foodie friend. She'll be cooking up a favorite Mexican dish of hers with a fun, healthy twist - so be sure to check back in soon!

Keep up with Simply Vicky via Twitter & Instagram 

27 August 2012

How To: Caramelize Onions

 Happy Monday, folks!

I'm very excited to announce a new mini-series I'm calling "How To." This series will center on cooking basics that you may or may not mastered learned along the way. For those of you who have mastered it, a little refresher never hurts! I, for some reason, can never quite remember how to hard-boil an egg correctly...embarrassing, I know.

"How To" is kicking off with one of my favorite foods: the onion. Raw, sauteed, grilled, broiled, or slow cooked, I love this versatile veggie regardless of its cooking method. Caramelized onions, however, bring a whole new meaning to the word versatile. Throw them in your pasta, top your pizzas with them, layer them into your favorite sandwich, use them as a base to your soup, or make fancy frou appetizers! I love making a huge batch whenever I have some extra onions lying around - not only are they easy, but the smell that fills your house is just amazing.

Here's the How To:

24 August 2012

About Time

After a whirlwind few weeks of non-stop travel, I'm so looking forward to staying put for a few days and just enjoying a good 'ol fashioned Columbus weekend. On my agenda? Lots of R&R and some much needed girl time with Miss Gracie. Hope you're out there enjoying the last few weeks of summer wherever you are!

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23 August 2012

Things I Love Thursday: A Pup Named Gracie

 While uploading my pictures from my iPhone to my computer last night, I took a little trip down memory lane. Most of you know Gracie, a little lab mix puppy that we adopted at our local shelter this past March. Well, I rediscovered a few pictures of her as a baby that were just too cute not to share!

Hope you all have a lovely Thursday...it's been a bit of a rough week here, but the weekend's just around the corner!

22 August 2012

Chinese Stir-Fried Rice Cakes

Ahh...another dish that takes me back to my childhood: Chinese Stir-Fried Rice Cakes. 

This is a traditional Chinese dish that is served year round but makes an even greater appearance around Chinese New Year. Rice cakes, pronounced "nian gao," literally means "higher year"...and doesn't everyone always wish for a year better than the last?

I love the flavor that the Chinese trinity of green onions, ginger, and garlic creates - a fragrant and delicious combination that always reminds me of my mom's cooking. 

  Here's the how-to:

21 August 2012

To Ombre or Not to Ombre

I've been toying with the idea of ombre hair for a while now, but I've been too nervous to pull the trigger. When it comes to my hair, I rarely experiment with it outside of my usual no-fuss, no highlights look. This ombre look, however, is really starting to grow on me - and the upkeep seems pretty minimal to me, which is key.

What do you think? Are you an ombre fan or not?

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16 August 2012

A New York Minute

Tomorrow, I'm headed off to New York for a last minute speedy little getaway. Brad and I will be spending time in upstate New York for a little family reunion, and I may also try and sneak into the city to see some old friends for a weekend brunch...which would just be oh so lovely.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend wherever you are!

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14 August 2012

Presto Pesto Penne Pasta Salad

Pesto pasta salad is one of my favorite things to eat in the summer. It's light, refreshing, and even better the next day. I'm definitely guilty of eating this dish multiple times a week, especially given the hot and humid Midwest summer we've been having. 

Here's my favorite, go-to pasta salad recipe. The key is to always remember to save the pasta water when you're making oil-based pastas as it helps to thin out and round the sauce out so you don't have to overload on the oil! 

13 August 2012

Abercrombie & Fitch Opens in Hong Kong

I don't post too much about my day job, but I thought this today could be an exception!

Abercrombie & Fitch has just opened its first-ever store in Hong Kong, and true to our company, we did it BIG! One hundred and ten of our finest male models, hand selected from all over the world, were flown into Hong Kong the week before the official August 11 opening.

10 August 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom

Happy birthday, Mom! 

Another year, another birthday...Somehow, you still manage to look like you're in your mid-20s despite all the stress I caused you in my mid-teens...haha! May this year be your best yet! 


09 August 2012

Things I Love Thursday: The Holy Trinity

The Holy Trinity represents a base of three key ingredients which serve as the foundation for a nation's cuisine. The Holy Trinity is also sometimes referred to as a mirepoix, or sofrito. Each one uses three key ingredients, most commonly vegetables, herbs, or seasonings, chopped very fine and then sauteed with either oil or butter. This process releases and fuses their flavors together to form a base that serves as a cuisine's cornerstone.

When I first learned of The Holy Trinity of Cooking, I couldn't get enough of it. I've always loved learning about different cuisines and then re-creating them in my kitchen. Knowing the trinities of different cuisines is like having a "cheat sheet" to the secrets behind each cuisine. 

Here is a list of Holy Trinities by cuisine:

08 August 2012

Stir Fried Chinese Chives and Ground Turkey

Home cooked Chinese food is so different from what is offered in your typical Chinese restaurant. I can honestly say that my mom has never, ever made Orange Chicken, Moo Shoo Pork, or Sweet and Sour Pork for us...and she is as authentic as it gets.

Real homemade Chinese food is much lighter and not soaked in five layers of oil by any means. In any meal, there are usually a few different dishes, some meat, some veggies, some mixed. 

This is very a basic stir-fry recipe that can be mixed and matched with various meats and veggies. The measurements are all approximates, and since it's light on basic seasonings, feel free to tweak to your own liking.  Love sesame oil? Drizzle a little more to finish off the dish! Like salty? Throw in a little more soy sauce! Love spicy? Throw some sriracha in there! Love sesame oil? Drizzle a little more to finish off the dish! Use your creativity, and use those tastebuds!

06 August 2012

Cali, Cali, California

I had such a lovely time visiting California, namely for the big event, my sister's wedding! She and Derek       had their wedding in San Diego, and everything was just beautiful...the setting, weather, and wedding could not have been more perfect!

03 August 2012

The Best Ships are Friendships

I had such a lovely West Coast California vacation last week! I was lucky enough to spend lots of much-needed time with girlfriends this weekend - first at my sister's wedding in San Diego, and then a trip north to the Bay area to visit one of my old college roommates.

It's always so nice to catch up with old friends...reminded me of an old quote I first heard in college:

There are good ships, and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.

I can't wait to share with you lots of lovely pictures from the trip. I also have a few outfit posts lined up, all shot by the very talented Megan...so be sure to check back in next week!

All photos courtesy of here

02 August 2012

Things I Love Thursday: Olympics!

Olympic Fever has taken over the world! 

Of course, I can't help but notice the fashion that's been front and center in this summer's Olympics: nails, nails nails!  I'm loving the beautifully creative nail art the swimmers have been sporting all week!

Here are some of my favs:

{French favorite Coralie Balmy's chic flag-tipped nails}

{Colombia's Carolina Colorado Henao flaunts her home country's colors and salutes the host country as well with the Union Jack on her thumb}

{Britain's Rebecca Adlington and Aimee Wilmott pay tribute to their country and the Olympics}

How about you? Will you be trying any of these nail designs? 

P.S. Did you guys enjoy Brad's guest post yesterday? I need to enlist his cooking/blogging skills more...don't you think?

All photos courtesy of People

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01 August 2012

The Brad Burger

Hey Everyone...

I’m Brad, Victoria’s boyfriend. I’ve had enough of Vicky’s celebrity and I decided to get in on the action while she's on vacation. Today's post is from a meal I made last weekend...

If you're anything like me, you know it's not summer until your first BBQ.  No matter how many triple digit thermometer pics you see on your news feed, or what the tanned skin you see in the mirror suggests to you, summer does not truly start until you have a homemade burger and an Ice Cold Beer. 

The past few weeks have brought thunderstorms and heat waves to us out here in the Midwest.  But this weekend we decided that we were going to have a BBQ rain or shine, and that is exactly what we did.

We brought our one of our classic BBQ items, the burger, indoors. Here's to showing that you can have a proper BBQ-style feast, and a little bit of summer, no matter what the weather is.

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