July 31, 2014

SOUL: simple is better


Simple is better.  Clean and uncluttered.  Classic and well made (or Madewell).

Appreciating the little things always helps in keeping grounded.

succulents // the plant loves of my life
heather gray linen tee // Madewell
Kinfolk volume twelve // my favorite to date
leather tote // Madewell
rainier cherries // gobbling as many as I can before the season ends

Happy Thursday Lovelies!
xoxo, NB

July 28, 2014

WEAR: nike air max and mesh tank dress


To me, summer is about running around, being comfortable and keeping cool.  With that being said,  I have officially converted to sneakers over everything nowadays to literally RUN around in.  Also, Nike is the new black? I'll leave that for you guys to discuss amongst yourselves. :) To add a feminine touch to my already un-girly-like ways, I like to wear my sneaks with sporty dresses or skirts as seen here!   After all, a skirt is just a pair of shorts with out the crotch? HAHA.  Whatever the occasion that I can get away without wearing heels, I'll reach for my appropriate sneakers. Getting-shit-done sneaks, dance-all-night sneaks, and my favorite are these right here, pop-of-color sneakers.  Wearing light colored dresses for summer, my sneakers deserve to be the star of my outfit. Go big, go bright, go bold!  

Also, what other way to stay cool than with this mesh panel, open back, powder blue jersey dress from Zara.  I have been digging the peek-a-boo strappy bralettes look lately. Airy, comfortable and chic - our summer wardrobe motto. Besides, sporty jersey dresses are practically begging to be worn with sneakers anyways. Get it girl. 







dress: Zara / crisscross bralette: ASOS /  shoes: Nike Women's Air Max 1 Mercurial  / sunglasses: Konomo / cuffs: THP / pearl bracelet: Zara

Photography by: Sam Chew from @chewsfitness

July 25, 2014

DRINK: fresh blackberry and elderflower cocktail



Ever have one of those weeks where you just cannot catch a break?  That's been my week at work - it's been a -spinning my wheels, frustrating, stressful, talking myself off the ledge every day sort of situation.  Okay, maybe a tad bit dramatic but stress levels have been at an all time high and I've had no energy after work to cook or create.  Which for me, really just feeds the cycle of negativity.  

But, today is Friday.  Sweet, glorious glorious Friday.  The day everyone in (most of) the working world looks forward to.  The promise of a new weekend where you can relax, refresh and renew.  Best, yet?  Time for a cocktail.  And a really good one at that.

There's a cozy little speakeasy in NYC called Employees Only.  The food is good, but the cocktails are GREAT.  I had the "Amelia" there and was blown away.  An attempt at a re-creation was a must, and I have to say this version is not too shabby!  Fresh blackberry puree, lemon juice, vodka and elderberry liquor.  Delicious.

It's time for a celebration.  By George, we made it to Friday!



Ingredients (one serving):

- About 10-15 fresh blackberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz vodka (I used Hangar1 vodka)
- 1 oz elderberry liquor (I used St-Germain)
- 1 cup crushed ice
- Mint leaves (as a garnish)

You'll also need a shaker, blender and fine strainer (I used a tea strainer)



Instructions:

- Puree the blackberries.  Strain the puree in order to remove any thick pulp or seeds.

- Add 4-5 tablespoons of the puree, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, the vodka, elderberry liquor and crushed ice in the shaker.  Shake well.

- Pour into your glass, garnish with mint leaves and bottoms up!


Happy Weekending!
xoxo, NB

July 18, 2014

FUN: summer essentials


Where ever you are heading this summer, these 8 simple summer essentials can ensure you a summer-worthy good time! 
  1. cold blooded leather tassel fanny pack - Nasty gal
  2. black and red framed mirrored glasses - Komono
  3. delicate stacking rings - Asos
  4. classic digital gold watch - Casio
  5. double pearl designer inspired bracelet - Zara
  6. nail polish color in Alive - Formula X
  7. surf spray - Bumble and Bumble
  8. kindle - Amazon - The Happiness Project

July 16, 2014

EAT: coffee jelly affogato



Coffee addicts unite!  Time to feed my unhealthy addiction to coffee.  I LOVE coffee.   And espresso.  There are few things I look forward to more than sipping on an excellent cup of black coffee or cappuccino every morning. 

I’m the type that feels crazy if I intake too much caffeine so I can only drink about a cup a day.  Which leaves me very picky about what I “spend” my coffee of the day on.  Now that you know how much of a coffee weirdo I am, you can see why this coffee jelly affogato is the new love of my life.  It’s a scoop (or two) of creamy cold vanilla gelato (or ice cream) topped with coffee jelly, then topped with fresh hot espresso.   Did I just BLOW YOUR MIND!?  I hope so!  If you even slightly enjoy coffee you need to try it out – you won’t regret it.


 


Ingredients:

-       2 cups of freshly brewed coffee
-       1 tablespoon of agar agar powder (or unflavored gelatin)
-       2 tablespoons sugar
-       4 tablespoons hot/boiling water
-       freshly brewed espresso
-       Vanilla ice cream or gelato

Instructions:

To make the coffee jelly:
Brew 2 cups of strong coffee.  Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and mix well. 

In a small bowl, mix the agar agar powder and 2 tablespoons of hot water.  Add the water slowly to the powder while mixing to prevent clumps.

Then, pour the coffee and agar mixture together in a small saucepan.  Heat on low-medium (just to a simmer) while stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar and agar dissolves all the way.  Simmer and mix for about five minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer to a small to medium size dish (depending on what size you want the coffee jelly cubes – I used a 6”x8” dish).  Use a spatula to carefully smooth the surface and pop any air bubbles.  Put the dish in the fridge and let set and chill for a few hours.

To make the affogato:
Cut the coffee jelly into cubes.

Make the espresso and put aside.  I used a Primula 3-cup espresso maker to brew my espresso on the stove top.

Put 1-2 scoops of gelato into a small bowl.  Top with coffee jelly.  Finally, slowly pour espresso over everything and dig in! 

 
xoxo, NB

July 13, 2014

DIY: coconut oil sugar scrub



As much as I love being outdoors and soaking up the rays (with plenty of sunblock of course), I can't help but feel like my skin is already in need of some serious TLC this summer.  The super hot, sunny and humid days are making my skin dry, irritated and oily all at the same time.  If you're not already exfoliating your skin on a regular basis, it's really a must in helping to get rid of dead skin cells and maintaining healthy smooth skin.  I wanted to make a scrub to help exfoliate my dry skin while giving it a boost of moisture.  

Coconut oil works as a fantastic natural moisturizer (as well as cooking ingredient!).  Look for extra virgin which hasn't been refined, hydrogenated, bleached or deodorized.  I added in vitamin E oil (also fantastic when used topically on skin) for an extra punch of moisture - totally optional if you don't have it.  You can also use sea salt but I opted for sugar as it's supposed to be a little less abrasive on your skin.  Scrub away, then rinse off and your skin will feel like a million bucks.

One last added bonus - the mixture smells like an amazingly delicious coconut macaroon!  MmmmMMMm.  



Ingredients:

- 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil (I used Trader Joe's Extra Virgin Coconut Oil)
- 2 tablespoons vitamin E oil 

Instructions:

Mix all three ingredients together in a medium size bowl.  A regular spoon will work, but mixing with your hands may be a bit easier since the coconut oil has a thick buttery consistency.

*For a stronger coconut scent, try finding coconut oil that is less refined.  The more refined, the less coconut scent the oil will have.



Scrub-a-dub-dub!
xoxo, NB

July 11, 2014

DRINK: watermelon and blueberry cooler



I used to be super excited for the winter holiday season to roll around because it meant yummy holiday feasts and treats.  Nowadays, I look forward to summertime more from an "eating perspective" as so many delicious fruits and vegetables are in season (not to mention beautiful flowers).  My kitchen is always overflowing with fresh produce in the summertime and I LOVE IT.

I came home from a week long trip in NYC to find the hubs had stocked our fridge with rainier cherries, blueberries and watermelon.  So much food excitement!  I pretty much gobbled down all the cherries by myself.  Then I made this watermelon and blueberry cooler (if you're lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's close by you know where the basil came from.  Entire plant for $2.99 - cha-ching!).

There isn't much to not like about this drink - it's all natural (no added sugar) and tastes amazingly refreshing.  Add your favorite liquor in if you want to go cocktail style.


Ingredients (1 serving):

- 5 medium size chunks of seedless watermelon
- 15 blueberries
- 1/2 lime
- 2 basil leaves
- splash of sparkling water (to help blend the watermelon)


Instructions:

1. Use a blender to puree the watermelon, sparkling water and lime juice.  Make sure this is mixed well.

2. In a cup or bowl, muddle the blueberries and basil leaves.  If you don't have a pestle, you can use a wooden spoon or other blunt object to do this.  You'll want to smoosh this enough so the juice from the berries comes out.

3.  Add the pureed watermelon juice into the muddled berries and stir with a spoon.  You can also add an ounce (or 2 or 3!?) of vodka or gin to the mixture for a delicious summer cocktail.

4.  Garnish with a slice of watermelon and basil leaf and enjoy!!



xoxo, NB

July 6, 2014

WEAR: jumpsuits and fanny packs


July 4th came and went and I pulled out my red, bold and blue jumpsuit for the occasion. Summer rules usually call for baring as much skin as possible, but in this case, rules are made to be broken.  Reaching for this adult onesie instead of a skimpy dress suited me well as it kept me looking and feeling just as cool, thankfully because of its open back and light fabric.  I dressed (turnt) UP this jumpsuit to a birthday party last week by throwing on fancy accessories.  However, I dressed it DOWN (turndownforwhat) for this occasion by throwing on a fanny pack! Crossbody bags are practical for running around in,  "look ma, no hands", but changing out your crossbody for another type of hands-free bag like this fanny pack is just as FUN and versatile.   Summer calls for vibrant colors, cool fabrics, non-fussy bags and open backs so get creative and  pull out your fan(n)cy packs and playsuits! 









Jumpsuit: Zara // Fanny pack: Nastygal //  Crisscross croptop bralette:  Nastygal // Sandals: Asos // Bracelet: Zara // Watch: Casio