Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What I Wore Wednesday (September 30)

Over the years, I have made several attempts to plan out my outfits for the week ahead of time. But usually, it did not last very long, and sooner or later I fell back into just grabbing “whatever” in the morning.

I really hope I’ll stick with “outfit planning" this time because planning (and actually trying on the entire outfit - including accessories, shoes, etc. - ahead of time!) can really make a difference. For one, it makes getting dressed in the morning so much quicker and enjoyable. Plus, if you know you look good, you feel good and your day is likely to go much better. There is nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in your clothes all day long…

Here are a few of my recent outfits and some comments about what I liked and didn’t like about them.

The first dress is Missoni for Target, and I got it five years ago. In all that time, I only wore it once or twice. While I never wore it, I couldn’t get myself to get rid of it whenever I cleaned out my closet. And I’m really glad I didn’t because I now really like it, and I can see myself wearing it with boots and a black turtleneck underneath when it’s getting cooler.  
Missoni for Target Dress

I got the next dress also about five years ago at Banana Republic. I wish it was a bit longer. It’s also cut very low in the back and not work-appropriate without something on top. I feel the outfit is okay, but it’s not my favorite.  
Striped Banana Republic Dress
The next outfit shows why it’s a good idea to plan (and actually try on!) outfits ahead of time. I bought the blue dress in Germany in the summer, and I really like it by itself. In my head, it looked great with my Chanel-inspired blue/white jacket from Banana Republic, but in reality it looks way too matronly. Talk about instantly looking OLDER. While the jacket works great with jeans, heels, and a white shirt, it just doesn’t work with the dress! It adds weird volume around the middle and looks frumpy. Even the red necklace couldn’t help that outfit! 
What Not to Wear
I therefore thought about what to pair it with instead and chose a bright pop of color and some heels. The bright yellow cardigan is an unusual choice for this time of year and brighter than what I usually wear, but I like the result much better than my first idea.
Yellow Cardigan
I got the last dress when a Macy’s near us closed a few months ago. It’s Calvin Klein and was $18. I really like that outfit, and I can see myself wearing it a lot in the next months with boots and and a jacket on top.

Calvin Klein Dress

Questions: Do you plan your outfits? Any outfit fails you’d like to share? What’s your favorite piece of clothing at the moment? 

Be well,

Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekly Menu & Weekend Fun (September 28)

I had been feeling under the weather all last week, and Friday was the first day I felt better. I was so thankful. It’s so easy to take feeling “normal” for granted!

We started the weekend with an early Korean dinner at Choi’s in Santa Clara. We really enjoy the side dishes (banchan) there. There was a new (to us) egg dish, and the kid couldn’t get enough of it. He also loves the marinated potatoes and the noodles (japchae). I pretty much love all of them!
Chois Banchan
We ordered a meal for two that comes with all sorts for greens to wrap the meat in. It was more than enough food for the three of us.
Chois Greens
Then we headed to the park. Andy and the kid played soccer while I worked on getting some more steps (I had been really low for the day…).
Sunset Walk
On Saturday, we did a lot of work around the house, the kid had soccer, and then one of his friends came over to play.


On Sunday, we got to go on a great hike.   
I also did some meal prep and got to play with some Spanish olive oil in the kitchen. I’ll post some of my kitchen experiments later in the week. 
The Olivique Olive Oil
Here is what’s on the menu for the coming week:

Meal 1: Spaghetti squash with veggie meat sauce and roasted veggies. I cooked a huge pot of veggie meat sauce and roasted some veggies on Sunday. I’ll be eating the leftovers for lunch throughout the week.
Meal 2: Lentil soup with sausage. The leftovers will also be lunches.
Meal 3: Salad with smoked salmon.
Meal 4: Homemade pizza and a salad - yes, this is on the menu a lot lately! But the boys really love it!

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What was the best thing you ate? What are you going to eat this week? 

Be well,

Friday, September 25, 2015

Stuffed Bell Peppers

My mom used to make stuffed bell peppers quite often, and I remember making some myself many years ago. But then I somehow forgot about them for many years.

I picked up some beautiful bell peppers at the Farmers Market, and my original plan had been to use them in a bell pepper/tomato salad. But then I got the idea to stuff them with a ground beef veggie mixture and bake them in the oven. The result was delicious.

Bell Peppers

I believe my mom used to stuff whole peppers with raw meet and baked them for a long time in the oven; I wasn’t too fond of the texture of the actual peppers as they got very soft and a bit mushy. I decided to cut the peppers in half, quickly blanch them, and then stuff them with sautéed veggies and meat. Then I put them in the oven to melt a little cheese on top. I really liked the texture of the peppers as they still had some bite to them, but they weren’t too hard.

Stuffed Bell Peppers 3

Stuffed Bell Peppers
6 servings

  • 3 bell peppers
  • 2 cups tomato sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, diced
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup (or tomato sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Tabasco sauce, (I use about 6 - 8 “squirts,” but I like my food spicy)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil once the pan is hot. 
  3. Sauté the onions and mushrooms for about 4 minutes until they are soft and slightly brown and then add the ground beef and cook for about 15 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Season with salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce, and ketchup.
  4. While the meat mixture is cooking, cut off the tops of the bell peppers (I use them to dip into guacamole or salsa), cut the peppers in half, and clean out the insides. 
  5. Blanch the halved bell peppers for 1.5 minutes in boiling water and then rinse them under cold water (or dip them into ice water.) 
  6. Put the tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish and arrange the halved bell peppers on top of the tomato sauce. 
  7. Fill the bell pepper halves with the meat mixture. 
  8. Top the peppers with the shredded cheddar cheese. 
  9. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly brown. 
Stuffed Bell Peppers 2
[Note: I had some meat mixture left over and ate it on top of spinach for lunch twice.]
Questions: Do you like bell peppers? If so, what’s your favorite way to eat them?

Be well,

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What I Wore Wednesday

I share my outfits several times per week on Instagram. It’s a way for me to stop and think if I put enough effort into what I wear. I don’t buy a lot of new pieces each season but try to rediscover clothes already in my closet, and most of what I wear is several (and most more) years old. It can be challenging (and I do sometimes wish I could just go out and buy whatever I like at the moment), but making things I already have work is also fun and a way for me to be creative.

I do try to “dress for the occasion” when possible, and I tried to create a 70s-inspired look when we went to a Beatles tribute concert. I wore bootcut jeans, a white peasant top, a fun scarf with hearts, and a fun fabric bag with flowers on a red background.
And once in a while, I truly “find” things in my closet I had totally forgotten about.

One example are these flowery pants. I had completely forgotten about them, but when I found them on the bottom of my casual pants dresser drawer when I was cleaning it out, I was intrigued. The print is not something I normally go for (and I don’t even remember buying them; I think I got them about five years ago in Germany), but I decided to give them a shot. I paired the pants with a basic white tee and a plain blue cardigan as I thought there was enough going on with the pants. I wore comfortable brown sandals during the day but then spiced things up a bit with some higher heel red sandals when we went out at night. 
Flower Pants
Flower pants 2 ways

Red Shoes
The fall quarter started on Monday. For teaching, I try to look professional, but I also like to be comfortable as I move around a lot during class. The high was forecast to be almost 100 degrees, so I chose a classic blue, sleeveless dress with white and lime green stripes. I have a lime green jacket to go with the dress, but it was going to be so hot that I left it at home. The dress is super comfortable, and I like that I feel covered even though it’s sleeveless.
Sleeveless dress
Tuesday was another hot day, so I chose a blue/white pencil skirt and a comfortable, short sleeve white blouse. My only little pop of color was a red necklace.  
Pencil skirt  red necklace

Questions: What’s your favorite piece of clothing right now? Since it’s still so warm, I’m wearing as many of my lightweight work dresses as possible, but I’m really looking forward to fall clothes and scarves!

Be well,

Monday, September 21, 2015

Weekly Menu and Weekend Fun (September 21)

We had a good weekend, with a mixture of fun and making time to prep for the week.
On Saturday, we took Caltrain up to the city to see an SF Giants game.
IMG 1555
It was the first time at a major league baseball game for the kid, and he loved it. We made it to the city early and had lunch at 21st Amendment Brewery (it’s only a 1/4-mile walk from the stadium, and it’s a great spot to get a bite to eat and a drink before a game.)  We got there right at opening at 11, which was a good thing as there was definitely a wait by 11:30. Andy enjoyed a beer sampler, and I had a glass of sparkling wine.  
Andy got the ribs from the appetizer menu and really enjoyed them. The sauce was savory with a nice spicy kick and just a hint of cinnamon. The ribs were served with coleslaw and some greens - both were good. 
IMG 1553
I got the Southwest Salad with carnitas. The meat was a bit dry on its own but delicious when mixed in with the salad. The dressing was great. It was avocado-based and tasted very much like my favorite salad dressing I make at home. I would definitely get the salad again.   
IMG 1554
We got to the stadium early and explored a bit. We also shared a giant (and expensive) ice cream cone.  
IMG 1552
Nothing beats the view at AT&T Park, with the beautiful San Francisco Bay as a backdrop!
IMG 1551
All in all, a great day!

On Sunday, the kid went to a birthday party, and Andy and I made it to Stanford Mall to return some pants. While there, we stopped by Banana Republic to get some work pants for Andy. I couldn’t pass up some great basics for $10 each. I love the blue of the scarf, and I’m really looking forward to scarf weather!
BananaRepublic Basics
I also spent some time in the kitchen to prep for the week.

Here is what’s on the menu this week:

Meal 1: Lentil Bruschetta with grilled salmon - this recipe is from the Spicy RD Blog and it’s super simple and sounds delicious; I have been following EA’s blog for years and love her gluten-free recipes.
Meal 2: Stuffed Bell Peppers - I haven’t made this in 10+ years, and I’ll be experimenting. If it works out, I’ll share the recipe later in the week.
Meal 3: Scallops and a salad.
Meal 4: Butternut squash soup and a salad.

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What’s on your menu this week? 

Be well,

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jewelry Hooks To Make Accessorizing Easier

While I love shopping for clothes, I don’t do it very often. Rather, I try to mix and match what I already have in my closet. One way I try to make my outfits look new and different is by wearing different jewelry and accessories with them.

Until recently, I kept all of my scarves and jewelry in a small dresser drawer. Things got always mixed up and it was frankly neither pretty nor practical. So I decided to try hanging up most of my jewelry and scarves.

While I still have to do more work editing my current jewelry collection and maybe adding a few more hooks, the hooks are a huge improvement and make accessorizing much easier. I definitely wear a much wider variety of my jewelry than I did in the past.

Jewelry Hooks 1

Jewelry Hooks 5

To make the “project” easy and “reversible,” I used self adhesive hooks. They can be removed without leaving a mark on the wall, and I like the way they look:

Jewelry Hooks 4

Questions: How do you store your jewelry and scarves? How do you decide how to accessorize? Since I can now see most of my jewelry, it’s much easier for me to play around with different necklaces and try out different things.

Be well,

Monday, September 14, 2015

Weekend fun (September 14) and Weekly Menu

We had a fun but busy weekend.

On Friday night we met up with friends at Santa Clara Valley Brewing in San Jose. Andy loves the beers there, and we had a lot of fun playing Jenga.

Jenga 2

On Saturday, we saw a Beatles tribute show; it was great to see the kid dancing to the songs.


Beatles 2

After the show, we met up with my brother-in-law. 


On Sunday, we made it to the Farmers’ Market.

Farmers market 4  
Farmers Market 5
Farmers Market 01
Farmers Market 3
In the afternoon, the kid went to a friend’s house, and Andy and I checked out the Mountain View Arts & Wine Festival.

Our first stop was the Cupcake Vineyards wine truck, where we got to taste some prosecco and wine for free. I really liked the prosecco. Cupcake Vineyards is in Livermore Wine Country where we recently went wine tasting for the first time.

Cupcake Vineyards

Cupcake Vineyards 2

The Mountain View Arts & Wine Festival has a seemingly never-ending number of vendors, and we enjoyed soaking it all in. Here are a few that stood out:

MtViewArtsWine 2




MtViewArtsWine 1


We also spent some time on meal planning, grocery shopping, and a little meal prep. Here are the meals that are on the menu:

Meal 1: Salmon burgerscorn, and a green salad.
Meal 2: Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.
Meal 3: Pasta bolognese and a bell pepper/tomato salad.
Meal 4: Homemade pizza with mushrooms, grilled onions, & brie cheese and a green salad. The boys loved last week’s pizza so much that it’s going back on the menu.

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What’s on the menu for this week? 

Be well,

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fig Banana Soft Serve to Stay Cool

I’m right now “over” my summer clothes and am really looking forward to hearty soups and stews. But temperatures have been in the 100s this week, so I wore summer dresses and shorts and ate salads and raw veggies and fruit. I’m sure fall will get here soon enough.

I also remembered that banana soft serve is a great way to stay cool, and I hadn’t made a banana soft serve in a really long time. I always have frozen bananas in the fridge (sliced). I added a few figs and some Greek yogurt, and the result was delicious.

Fig Banana Soft Serve 2

Fig Banana Soft Serve
(2 servings)

  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • 4 - 5 figs
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. 
  • Enjoy! 
Fig Banana Soft Serve 3

Questions: Have you ever had banana soft serve? Do you like it? What’s your favorite food at the moment? What fall foods are you looking forward to the most? What fall clothes are you looking forward to wearing the most? 

Be well,

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Han Skin Care Cosmetics Review & What I Wore

If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram, you probably already know that I recently tried out some new makeup - Han Skin Care Cosmetics. And the exciting part is that the company was founded by my cousin! She was looking for natural makeup when she was pregnant but wasn’t satisfied with what she found on the market. So she worked on creating her own line of natural makeup that uses plant and vegetable pigments!  

Han Skin Care Cosemetics 1

I tried the lip gloss in pink lemonade. It’s a very pretty, natural color. It has a very faint, pleasant smell. Most importantly, it feels great, is moisturizing and isn’t sticky (one of my pet peeves when it comes to lip gloss). I also tried the eye shadow in cool coconut. It’s a natural color with just a bit of sparkle. I like that it stays on. Finally, I tried the cheek & lip tint in pink peony. It looks really bright in the container but adds some great, natural color to my cheeks.  

FullSizeRender 2

Han Skin Care Cosmetics 3

I am really happy with how the makeup looks, feels, smells and stays on. I also love the overall mission of Han Skin Care Cosmetics. Finally, I like that the line is affordable. One thing you should note is that the containers are smaller than many other products (the cheek and lip tint for example is 0.2 ounces; many other cheek tints on the market are around 0.5 ounces), but I think that’s actually a good thing as I often throw out makeup that has gotten too old. If you are interested in checking them out or buying the products, visit Han Skin Care Cosmetic’s website.

I sometimes post my outfit of the day on Instagram, and here are some of the outfits I recently posted:

IMG 1079

I love my raspberry tank and long cardigan, and I wanted to make sure I wore it before it got too cool (I didn’t have to worry - it’s going to be around 100 degrees all week…). I paired them with some white shorts and my Birkenstock sandals, which I love. (Never thought I’d say that!)

IMG 1171

Since it’s still so warm, I’m wearing my capris a lot. I paired them with a new grey/white striped blouse from Banana Republic that was on sale and then another 50% reduced. With my birthday coupon, I ended up paying less than $2 for it. To make the outfit more fun, I added a colorful bag that I bought about ten years ago in San Diego. I love it when clothes or accessories bring back memories!

IMG 1200

For date night, I wore jeans, pointy flats, a peasant top, a purplish necklace and a purple bag. It worked well for a low-key date night. 
Maxi shirt  colorful top

I hadn’t worn my maxi skirt yet this summer, so I wore it on Saturday with a colorful top. 

Striped dressFinally, on Sunday I surprised myself by wearing a striped dress. I am usually not a dress/skirt person, and here I was wearing a skirt and then a dress two days in a row. To make the outfit more fun, I added my Desigual bag.

Questions: Do you have a favorite makeup brand? What’s your makeup routine? I always wear some neutral(ish) lip gloss. And often that’s it. When I want to feel a bit more put together, I wear a tinted moisturizer, cream blush, mascara, and sometimes eye shadow. Definitely quick and no fuss. But I have realized that the older I get, the better I feel when I wear some makeup. What is your favorite outfit at the moment? I am actually over my summer clothes and wish I could wear some of my fall clothes, but it’s just too hot...

Be well,