Risky Business, Maitre D' Style

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Despite the fact that I look like a waiter/ Tom Cruise sans shades in this, I kind of love the simplicity. I considered an enormous necklace to give it a femenine flair, but the collar is Dumbo-ear sized already. I considered a headscarf with similar tones to my pumps, but it detracted from the crispness of the upper half.

So I stuck with this tuxedo shirt, buttoned at my wrists, a spunky pair of shoes and lipstick and nails in a similar berry tone. And I think it's great for a regular workday. Not fussy, not schlubby. 

Pants: Zara...Button-down: Express, thrifted...Shoes: Nine West, via Buffalo Exchange


Monday, February 27, 2012

Well, we found a new bed, and I'm in love. I knew having a good mattress was important and I knew I was missing out on quality sleep, but I was really missing out. Lesson learned and never to be repeated.

I haven't finished putting things away yet, so there's no photo... But because we switched from our platform bed to a standard bedframe, we lost built in night stands, but gained under-bed storage space. I went hunting for a new nightstand on my Guy's side of the bed and found a real goodie- it is mid century mod, trim all the way around the top and it's custom dovetail constructed to be a parrallelogram. I am not joking. It leans but has a level top- the shop's buyer said it came from a ship. I love it. I also now have high heel and belt and tights storage neatly tucked under our bed. And I can effectively Swiffer under there now. I used to remove the mattress and slats on the old bed to clean since there was only a 4" clearance. Pain. In. The. Tush.

Is it pathetic that the highlight of my week may or may not be easier dust bunny removal?

Skirt: thrifted...Blouse: via Buffalo Exchange...Cardigan: Target...Shoes: thrifted

How To: Make Sushi Rolls

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I had a hankering for sushi tonight and took you all up on your request for a sushi roll How To. We've been making sushi at home for about 4 years now, but I feel like I got the hang of this by about the 4th or 5th time we did it. It's a learning experience, for sure, but don't give up! The rewards are delicious.

Here's what you'll need:
Reed mat or placemat (for rolling)
Sushi Rice (if it doesn't specifically say sushi rice on the front, check to be sure there's a sushi recipe on the back)
Seasoned rice vinegar
Nori papers (seaweed wraps)
Soy Sauce
Wasabi (be careful with this stuff- it'll clear out your sinuses like nobody's business)

Fillings (below is our line-up of usual suspects):
     Imitation crabmeat
     English cucumber
     Avacado (ripe, but relatively firm)
     Salmon (or whatever you prefer- get it from the fish counter and ask to smell it. I'm serious.)
     Canned crabmeat
     Sriracha Sauce
     Chili Garlic Sauce
     Sesame Oil (or Hot Sesame Oil)
     ANY OTHER DELICIOUS VEGGIES YOU WANT, like carrots, red bell pepper, green onions...


About 45 minutes ahead of time, prepare your sushi rice according to the directions. We use 1 1/2 c dry rice for the two of us to prepare about 6 rolls and 8 pieces of sushi and it's always too much. But we're piggies.
Once your rice is cooked, remove the top and drizzle two quick circles of rice vinegar into your pot. Mix thoroughly and let it begin to cool. (Hot rice = icky lukewarm fish)

Slice up your veggies into narrow strips.
(Avacados are easy, but below is my cucumber trick, learned from "JieJie Sue," which means big sister Sue, who was our translator during my little brother's adoption. Sissy S got to know her again as an adult when she moved to Beijing and she taught me this wonderful trick when I was there last summer.)
Slice about half of your cucumber into diagonal medallions about 1/4" thick. Spread them out on your cutting board so they overlap. Then, cut thin strips up the length of the medallion.

If you want Spicy Crab filling:
Mix Sriracha sauce, Chili Garlic Sauce and Sesame oil into one can of crabmeat. This is also delicious if you finely chop fish of some sort into the mixture. Or use the concept with only chopped fish. Spicy tuna? Yum.

Slice your fish into thin strips (I will ask my Guy to show you all how to slice the salmon for regular sushi next time)
Below is our collection of goodies from tonight

YEEHAW- here's the fun part. Rolling a Sushi Roll.

Place a piece of Nori Paper SHINY SIDE UP on a rolling mat.
Gently spread a heaping scoop of cooled rice on the bottom 3/4 of the paper using the back of your spoon.

Place your fillings lengthwise on the rice about 1 1/2" from the bottom of the roll.

Lift the mat upward and forward with your thumbs and begin to tuck the fillings tightly in the center of the roll. Continue to roll the mat forward while applying pressure.

Tuck the Nori Paper under your fillings to form a tight coil.

Apply pressure and roll the mat forward to continue rolling your roll. Roll.

When you have about 1" left at the end, apply a thin layer of water and roll it forward the rest of the way. Place the roll on a plate with the seam on the underside to help it stick.

Once you have all of your rolls completed, slice them into a little over 1/2" sections using a nice sharp knife. If you notice any pulling or sticking, dribble a little water on both sides of your knife blade. I find that two back and forth cuts will do the trick. Don't saw through and don't press down or you won't have pretty sushi rolls.

In a small dish, combine whatever combination of wasabi and soy sauce you're comfortable with. Use a small amount of soy sauce to start with and mix it together to form a paste (it's easier to mix the wasabi in fully with less liquid at first) and dilute with soy sauce to taste.
FYI- this amount of wasabi shown below might kill you dead. Please use less if you're a sushi newbie.

Dip your tasty rolls into your soy sauce mixture.

Stuff. Your. Face.

Let me know if your have questions or need tips- I'm happy to help ensure your homemade sushi adventure becomes a full-fledged obsession. Link up a photo in the comments of your at-home sushi adventures! 

Coffee and Beer

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another outfit borne of laziness and the urge to wear a tee out in public. I'm kind of loving this for "casual Fridays".

I had my lady date last night and we went to a little bar/coffee house in this wonderful little pocket of buildings in a neighborhood that can't really be classified as a specific neighborhood. We found the area a few months ago when I was gifted tickets to a Coffee Porter release party for a local brewery and took Katie with me. The shops are equidistant between Midtown, the Museum District and Downtown. A few hip little boutiques and shops, a swanky club, burger joint and the city's best place to get chicken and waffles fill out the rest of the surrounding blocks. (And my favorite Pho place is a short 1/2 mile further north). I love it because it's a little area in transition, there's enough new condos around that it's a walkable hangout, there's a ton of fabulous little fourplexes scattered around. If someone would invest in fixing up some of the other older shops and homes nearby, it would be a really cool walkable historic neighborhood in just a few short years. How much you wanna bet someone will buy them up and tear them down? Makes me sad.

Be back soon- have a happy weekend!

Skirt: Gap, thrifted...Shirt: Tommy Bahama, thrifted...Belt: thrifted...Shoes: Nine West Outlet...Necklaces: thrifted and Banana Republic


Okay, so I don't actually have photos of fancy wear, because I got too busy to change into it. I wore black leggings rather than my cute skirt, a glorified black tee and no jewelry, no time to put my hair up. Boring, boring.

Instead, I present you with this calm-after-the-storm look that I've recently discovered is going to heat me out in about two hours when the daytime high hits its predicted 82. Yikes.

I was really exhausted after the party and had a crappy night's sleep and woke up with a pretty major crick in my neck and upper back. My guy and I agreed to buy ourselves a "happy 5 year anniversary" gift of a new mattress in May, but it's quickly becoming clear that I might not make it that long. Whine, whine, whine. It seems worse since I'm tired and crabby, but the mattress thing really is a frequent problem. The other problem attached to the mattress thing is that my guy would rather be repeatedly punched in the gut rather than go mattress testing. And since there's 12 inches and a hundred pounds difference between us, it's kind of important that he be a part of the field trip.

Katie (of Castinails) and I have a coffee date later this evening. I've missed my friend! Can't wait for some real time with a friend and to get away from my guy's nightly academic moping. He's really gotta get out of school.

And I promise to be back tomorrow with a better attitude.

Pants: Gap Really Skinny...Tee: GapBody...Sweater: Sparkle and Fade via Buffalo Exchange...Boots: via Buffalo Exchange...Scarf: Target

Tragedy Averted

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I had a horrible realization yesterday evening- some of my subscriptions had gone missing. I had an out of the blue thought of "Hey, so and so and what's her name really haven't been posting lately, I haven't seen them in weeks." Nope. Days and days of blog posts were on their websites since I last read one. Somehow my Google Reader lost the link to their pages. I'm re-subscribed. Crisis circumvented. The very good news is that I was able to spend last night reading all the goodies I missed on about 4 blogs. Playing catch-up was not my intention, but a whole batch of new material to pour through was a treat. With a cup of hot chocolate, of course.

It's tour day at boss lady's house tonight- I'm pack-muling cases of wine, ribboning off sections of the house, fluffing pillows, wiping down glassware... But its a group through the Museum- should be fun! And I'll be back soon with my fancy-wear. Ooh La La.

Pants: Gap Really Skinny...Shirt: Target...Cardigan: Target...Shoes: Nine West Outlet

Eating with the Fishes

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quick note- shout out to Lisa and Maria. You creepers, you.

Sushi dinner with friends is one of our favorite things to do when we're hosting. It's special, it's fun and interactive, it's delicious and it's reeeeally not as hard as you think it would be. And guests always feel spoiled... but somehow vegetables, rice, and fish don't actually come out to be a tremendously costly grocery run if you figure you're preparing for quite a few people.

I learned how to cook for at least 6-8 people in high school (plus friends, boyfriends, extra family...) so I know my way around large-scale food prep.

And sushi at home is just as easy as a pasta dish, with a tastier (in my opinion) outcome and just a little more hassle in clean up for the gooey rice cooker. The payoff is totally worth it, though.

And I'm very sorry for the title joke, I mean terrible pun... it seemed funny to me since I was comparing an Italian-inspired meal with raw fish. *crickets*

Skirt: thrifted...Button-down: J Crew...Cardigan: Target...Belt: Target...Scarf: Target...Shoes: BCBGeneration via Ross

Oh. My. Gosh. Good Morning, I suppose.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Another week- Anyone else tired for no good reason? I just have a sneaking suspicion that this week is going to be funny. And not in the Ha Ha Ha way. Let's hope I'm wrong.

Case in point: I opened the garbage can shed at our apartment to deposit the dog's post-walk poop bag and sitting on the rim of the NEAREST can to the door was an opossum. Looking me right in the eye. Thank goodness he didn't hiss or squawk and Miles never noticed him, so I wasn't subjected to beagle baying, but I WAS SIMPLY NOT EXPECTING TO BE EYE LEVEL WITH AN OPOSSUM. Seeing something like that behind a closed door is emotionally draining. My stomach turned, my heart rate skyrocketed, I'm not even sure I closed the latch.

It can only go up from here, huh?

Skirt: thrifted...Tee: J Crew Outlet...Cardigan: Target...Shoes: Nine West Outlet...Belt: thrifted...Necklaces: thrifted

Mop Top

Bedhead, it's a wonderful thing. I know that's not the normal notion, but I love how wonderfully lumpy and wavy mine gets after I sleep on it after an evening shower. Is that weird? I feel as though my hair in Houston is more difficult to manage than anywhere else we've lived, it feels like it get greasy faster, humidity doesn't make my wavy hair "big," just limp, volumizing shampoos make it feel weird, clarifying shampoos make it stringy. I guess the frustration of never knowing how it will look to start out the day and how it will end up, either frizzy or limp, is why I like bedhead updo's so well. A little wave, a lot of volume, and it doesn't feel icky, mostly because it's out of my way. To top it off, I pin pack the front with 2-3 bobby pins and the back part gets swooped into a barely finger-combed bun and secured with a single claw clip. What's not to love?

Pants: Gap, thrifted...Button-down: Target...sweater: Gap...Shoes: Le SportSac via DSW...Necklaces: thrifted and Target

Emily and I promised one another we'd buck up and take photos outside this weekend since we have the same inconvenient work week schedule which necessitates poorly lit indoor photos in the morning. This one's for you, girl!

Accidental Fancy Pants

Friday, February 17, 2012

I was last-minute volunteered by Boss Lady to help out with selling tickets at the door at a pre-Valentine's hoop-dee-do benefitting the Art Car Parade Monday night, which was really fun, excellent people watching, tres chic. The thing that cracks me up is that the Art Cars are definitely a funky folk art tradition and the company that hosted the event is one of the premier boutiques in town- funny dichotomy. I wasn't expecting to need to look nice-ish, so I recycled something simple, but I think I improved on the necklace stacking. The night was awesome, but I ate pita chips for dinner because I ran out of time running from work to home to change and walk a certain needy dog. Thank goodness I got a tasty piece of sushi on crispy rice and a white cranberry cosmo from the preview of Katsuya Houston out of the deal, huh? Too bad I will never eat sushi that nice ever again.

Pants: Gap Really Skinny...Tee: Gap...Blazer: Free People via Buffalo Exchange...Shoes: BCBGeneration via Ross...Necklaces: J Crew and thrifted

And for some of the local celebs/debutantes modeling in the "Love's In Fashion: Couples' Fashion Show" check this out. Let's just say my thrifted wardrobe was pretty out of place, as was my selection of pants. I should have been wearing a slinky coctail dress, for sure.

Easy Peasy

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This outfit comes out of laziness- I wanted desperately to wear a long sleeved t-shirt. So I sifted through my thrifted pencil skirt collection, grabbed something with black in it. I looked over my necklaces, but nothing felt right with the crewneck, and then it happened. I looked back toward the scarves hanging in my closet and caught sight of black and ivory. With micro chevron. Win.

And I  feel amazing in this outfit- it's simple, it's chic, it's feminine, it's classic. And it's all because I was dying to wear a t-shirt out of the house. I really ought to trust my instincts more- if it's easy and still lovely, it's probably "me." Lesson learned.

Skirt: DVF, thrifted...Tee: GapBody...Scarf: Target...Shoes: BCBGeneration via Ross

Additionally, I took a big leap and uploaded a photo from each post onto my Pinterest Board, which officially puts my blog "out there" to be found by people I know for real. Eeep! I'm not a Pinterest addict, but if you'd like to follow me, click here.

Late Evening

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

There's something wonderful about pairing a slim pencil skirt with a big personality with a crisp white button-down. I should have left this cardigan out of it, though, especially since this thrifted white blouse has the most wonderful tuxedo-shirt details like box pleat all the way up the back and high arched details on the hips. Another "live-and-learn" outfit.

Last night was strange- I was ready to walk out the door at 5 to come home and make a crappy dinner so my guy could eat and head back to school to work at a piano, but I have work ethic, which is oftentimes my downfall. I called Boss Lady before I left and she said "I'm so glad you called- could you please please help me pick up my granddaughters? Their mom is taking their brother to the hospital for his knee and I'm stuck at Verizon still." I figure, sure, no problem, I'll buzz over, grab them and pop back by the house to drop them off for family dinner. Too bad Valentine's Day meant all the crazies were out driving, road raging their way home for their own celebration- both the freeway and back-roads options were completely clogged. I spent an hour driving the 7 miles to their house. Aaaand, one of the ladies of the Board (who had a meeting at the other office which is about 3 miles away from the house) left her laptop on a chair and needed it to work that night. I agreed to pick it up and meet her at a grocery store parking lot after I dropped the girls off.

7:25 rolls around and I make the hand-off of the laptop, abandon my dinner plans and grab a handful of crappy grocery store sushi because there's nothing to cook and a very large container of ice cream and book it home.

I'm tired today. Unexpected late evenings at work are exhausting.

Skirt: thrifted...Button-down: Express, thrifted...Cardigan: Target...Shoes: Target...Belt: Banana Republic

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