Monday, April 30, 2012

Let's Comparison Shop: The J.Crew Bubble Necklace!

We all know I'm a huge fan of the statement necklace - see here, here, and here to confirm! Nothing I love more than some major rhinestones or colorful beads jangling around my neck. J.Crew  started carrying their bubble necklace sometime last year and from the moment I saw it in stores, I was in love:

But there was no way I was spending $150 on a necklace, especially if it looked exactly like the one I bought from H&M last summer for $14:

I REALLY loved this necklace though. I held out hope it would eventually go on sale, but no such luck. And then, one day, a little bird told me that eBay had TONS of bubble necklaces - for INSANELY low prices! I rushed over to a computer to investigate, and lo and behold, it was true. Bubble necklaces as far as the eye could see, and in a whole rainbow of colors!

I bought a red one on the spot, and it arrived a couple days ago - the seller ships from China, so it took a while to get here. But you guys - it is virtually IDENTICAL to the real J.Crew one. Look how cute!

My friend Alyson blogged about this score  a few days ago too, after I had already written this post, but I thought it was important enough to share with all of you too :) so if you're a fan too, save your money and hit up eBay! Let me know if you get one!

Friday, April 27, 2012

NO SHOPPING MAY: It's Backkkkk

Once again, the time has come. NO SHOPPING MAY. Ugh! 

That's right friends, for the next month, not a single thing will join my closet (which, I might add, is already bursting at the seams). No shoes. No clothes. No jewelry. No purses. No makeup. Nothing!


Believe me, I'm not happy about the ban, but unfortunately I really need it. For a while after last year's NSM, I was doing really well - not impulse shopping, not online shopping, not sample sale shopping. And then somewhere along the line it all came to a screeching halt, and LORD am I paying for it now - LITERALLY.

The last month has been particularly bad in terms of buying things - a new bathing suit coverup for an upcoming Vegas vacation, a new dress (and shoes to go with!) for a friend's wedding, a necklace that I refused to go without. Quite frankly, NO SHOPPING MAY could not come at a better time.

Misery loves company, so I have convinced my best friend and my mother to abstain as well. I'd also like to extend the invitation to all of you - if your credit card bills are high and your closet is overflowing, welcome to the club! My advice to you? Just stay completely out of malls to resist temptation, and delete every single shopping-related email that comes your way. I don't know about you guys, but my inbox looks like this every single morning:  


As a reminder, here are my official rules for NO SHOPPING MAY:

1. No shopping, duh. That means in malls, online, from catalogues - nothing!
2. Exception to the rule - gift cards. You can certainly buy something using a gift card - after all, you're not spending any money! However, the total cost must be completely covered by the gift card - not a dollar of your own money can go into the purchase.
3. You can accept a gift, but you cannot ASK someone to buy you something and promise to pay them back after NO SHOPPING MAY is over.

Technically, NO SHOPPING MAY starts Tuesday, but I'm going to be kicking it off a day early - Monday morning it is! I thank you all in advance for your support. Cue the sad face now :( 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Not So Secret Garden

Last weekend I had the opportunity to do something so fun! Rami and I and a bunch of his pals spent a lovely day at The Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to. 


Our reason for this day in nature? Well, Rami's friends have a fun tradition - every year, their entire group of pals compete in a March Madness bracket-off (surely there is some official name for this that I am just unaware of). Whoever's bracket wins gets to pick a fun activity for the whole group to do together! Last year it was a day at the racetrack. Two years ago was a two-hour hike in the middle of nowhere to a clothing-optional hot springs (I think it's safe to say I'm glad that I wasn't part of the group yet).

After enjoying a picnic lunch on some benches outside of the gardens, we paid and headed in to explore the garden. Ram's friend Offer is a total nature buff and knew the names of lots of plants and bushes and flowers. Everywhere we looked was a blooming bush or tree with gorgeous colorful buds! 


I was partial to this little shrub... check out the name :)


Our group (minus a few who had to leave early) posing in the "jungle tree" section of the garden. Framer!


The gardens are enormous - more than 207 acres, 120 of which are open to visitors. There are a few areas with big open fields - the boys took that empty space as an opportunity to be silly:


While they were doing gymnastics, I was cuddling with the world's cutest baby, Miss Elana Belle. Could you not eat this little face up!? 


Anyone who knows me knows of my love for miniature things, so it will come as no surprise that my favorite part of the grounds was a little section filled with tiny adorable bonsai trees! I have one on my desk at work - think I might need to get another for my apartment...


And no trip anywhere is complete without making Ram pose for a photo...


Bonus pic! We're so cheesy :)


If you live in LA (or ever plan on visiting), I highly recommend spending a day at The Huntington Gardens! In addition to the gorgeous grounds, there was also a lovely cafe, little indoor temples in the Japanese and Chinese gardens, and even two mansions filled with art galleries and furnishings - we spent more than three hours there and still didn't see everything. We had such a nice afternoon, I hope to go back one day soon!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Which Wedge Works Wonders?

I don't know about you guys but for me, it's wedding season! This summer alone I've got four weddings - the first one is next weekend in Austin and I couldn't be more excited!

One of the best parts about having all these celebrations is buying new dresses for all of them! I've been keeping an eye out the past few months and have been slowly snapping up dresses whenever I try one on that's super cute AND super flattering. So I'm good on the dress front. But what about shoes?

I've been on the lookout for a pair of shoes that'll go with all - or at least most - of my dresses. And since most of them are floaty/lacy/patterned/colorful sundresses, my trusty pair of black suede pumps won't do the trick this time. Mama needs a new pair of shoes!

And I know exactly what I want - a pair of nude wedges. Nude, because, well, nude is nude - it goes with everything (and elongates your legs to boot!) And wedges for a few reasons: first, because a few of these weddings (and bridal showers and bachelorette parties and rehearsal dinners) are outside, and who wants to get their stiletto heels stuck in mud or covered in grass?! And second, wedges, in my opinion, are simply way more comfortable - they provide support to your whole foot and won't leave you with a backache to match your hangover the next day.

So I'm on the nude wedge hunt. And I think I've narrowed it down. Of course, in my mind, "narrowing it down" means, um... eight choices. But compared to the nineteen websites I had up a few days ago, that's progress :) 



Top row, left to right:
Diane Von Furstenberg / Topshop (yeah, I snuck a pump in there) / Calvin Klein / Franco Sarto
Bottom row, left to right:

So here's where you come in. I'd genuinely love to know which you like best. Which wedge works wonders? (So clever, I know.) I think I'm leaning towards either the Pour La Victoire pair (I own them in black and they're very comfy), the Cole Haan wedge (Nike Air technology = super comfortable), or the J.Crew Seville wedge. But if you like any of the others I want to hear which ones!

Seriously yall, please help a girl out! Leave your pick in the comments and I'll love you forever :) 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Call It A Recipe, Just Call It Delicious

I really admire food bloggers who can look in their fridge or pantry and come up with a fabulous, unique, delicious recipe on the fly. I am not one of those people. In fact, I am almost embarrassed to call this a "recipe" at all!

I made these a few days ago when I was messing around before heading to a pal's for dinner. I didn't want to show up empty handed, but I didn't want to go to the market to buy anything, either. So I rummaged through the fridge and came up with the following:


A can of crescent rolls. Shredded mozzarella cheese. And jarred minced garlic.

I could work with that! So here's what I did...

First I rolled out the crescent rolls on an ungreased baking sheet - eight total. I microwaved about two tablespoons of butter til it was melty and lightly drizzled it over each triangle of dough. Then I spooned a bit of garlic over each triangle and used the back of the spoon to cover it fully. I seasoned each triangle with fresh ground pepper and salt and then sprinkled half of them with the shredded cheese - I couldn't decide which would taste better, plain garlic or garlic/cheese, so I made both!


Per the instructions on the crescent roll tin, I baked them at 350 for 12 minutes - they came out hot and bubbling, and my apartment immediately smelled amazing! Mmmmmm.


Important note: I used jarred garlic because that's what I had and I was lazy, but if you can, I urge you to use fresh garlic and chop it yourself. I am not a huge fan of jarred garlic - I think it tastes metallic sometimes - but fresh garlic in this would be phenomenal! I'll use fresh next time for sure.


That's it, really! Nothing groundbreaking but I thought I'd share anyway :) I love crescent rolls beause they are so versatile (remember when I made chocolate/peanut butter rolls?) Let me know if you make them! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Footwear

It may be only April, but the heat has certainly made its way to Los Angeles. Behold, our weekend weather:


After a "winter" (we all know winter in LA means a balmy 65 degrees) where I wore nothing but ballet flats every day, I've got a sassy pink pedicure (Essie "Your Hut or Mine", to be exact) and I'm ready to put on some sandals!

Unfortunately, I was poking around my closet a few days ago and realized that my footwear choices are sadly lacking. Beautiful weather deserves beautiful footwear - so here's what I'm thinking - looking at the ones I picked, it looks like my next pair is going to be a sassy little pair of ankle-strapped flats!


Decisions, decisions... I wish I could have them all!

Wherever you are and whatever the weather (although I hope for your sake it's as beautiful where you are as it is here!), I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Ram!

Just popping in to wish my own personal Superman the happiest birthday ever...


Ram, you're the best. Here's to many more birthdays together :) Happy 29th, I love you so much!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yeah, We Went On A Pizza Tour During Passover

If you're the type of person who doesn't get excited by the words "pizza tour" then I'm not sure we can be friends. I'm very serious about that.

But if you ARE the type of person who is already on the edge of your seat, then you're in for a treat! By far the highlight of our trip was Scott's Pizza Tour, and I want to tell you all about it so that the next time you or your loved one heads to New York, you can go on this very tour. Because it was SO FREAKING COOL!


Rami and I first heard about Scott's Pizza Tour from our friends Jenn and Cary, who went on it a couple years ago. It sounded like a lot of fun, so we put it on our list of things to do. I kept mentioning it to people before our trip and everyone kept telling us how awesome it was, so we knew it was going to be good. We showed up on Wednesday morning at 11am at the assigned spot on the street in Soho, prepared to be blown away...

... and we totally were! We signed up for the "Crosstown Pizza Walk", which took us through Little Italy and Greenwich Village. For a little more than three hours we walked through the city, met other pizza lovers, tasted mozzarella, visited a pizza oven-building shop, and of course, ate some delicious slices!


Joe's Pizza:

John's Pizza:

We did all this under the watchful eye and expert guidance of our tour leader, Scott. Now, I consider myself to be an expert on many things - ballet flat comfort, items covered in glitter, pink things, Britney Spears songs, the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding scandal of 1994, the list goes on. However, Scott redefined the word "expert." Never in my life have I met anyone so knowledgeable about a single food group!

He taught us the history of pizza, led us to sites where the very first NYC pizzerias once were, showed us the inside of restaurant kitchens and hot pizza ovens. In his messenger bag he carries a point-and-shoot thermometer and a mini tape measurer, specifically so he can record the temperature and size of each pizza he comes across! He also let it slip that he limits his pizza intake - to FIFTEEN SLICES A WEEK! A girl can dream. I was in awe of him. Here he is showing us the pizza oven at Lombardi's:


Rami was blown away with excitement!


Bottom line: if you like pizza, Scott's Pizza Tour is for you. Scott was incredibly professional, a wonderful teacher, and he couldn't have been nicer. The pizza was delicious and it was so interesting learning about the history and background behind each individual slice! Whether you're a longtime native New Yorker or a visiting tourist like we were, I'm sure you'll have a great time. Tell him I sent you! :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

New York, New York, What A Wonderful Town

Friends! How I missed you. As you may have suspected from my long absence, our trip to New York was fantastic. I don't think I realized until I sat down on the plane how badly I needed a vacation, and now I feel refreshed and ready to tackle life! (While simultaneously counting down the days til my NEXT vacation.)

NY with Ram is always an adventure. As I mentioned in this post, I was blown away by his sense of direction in the city - he knew where we were, where we were going, and how to get us there (by subway, I might add) the entire time, which is just unbelievable to me. So for a week straight I told him where I wanted to go and he schlepped me there! Pardon the onslaught of photos you're about to see, I had to capture it all :)

Before heading to the city, we stopped in Long Island for a few nights for Passover. It's always nice to see my fam - especially so I can do things like this with my little cousin Sam:


Posing in the background - and Charlie the dog wanted in on the shot too:


Quick diva contest with my grandmother at brunch at the country club the day after Passover. I clearly won...


While we were in the city, we stayed at my friend Carly's apartment in Murray Hill. When I originally told her we were coming to New York and wanted to see her, we were bummed because she had plans to be out of town all week. However, she generously offered us her apartment for our entire stay - how sweet is that!? (Thank you so much C.Bab - you saved us hundreds of dollars and Hotel Carly was just perfect!) To get to her apartment, of course, we had to take the train in... special thanks to my dear boyfriend who schlepped my ENORMOUS turquoise suitcase for me :)


Once we were in the city, the trip REALLY began. And by "the trip" I mean "the eating." I'm just going to come right out and say it - yes, we're observant Jews, but no, we didn't keep Passover this year. How could we, when we were traipsing around one of the world's greatest cities and delicious eateries were on every single block?!

How could I not visit EATALY, for instance? One of my favorite places on earth. Per our now annual tradition, we sat at the bar and had some wine and cheese before settling in for lunch, where we ordered tagliatelle with short rib bolognese - AKA one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten in my entire life.


I love everything about Eataly - the pasta counters, the meat trays, the cookbooks, the marketplace... it's amazing.


We also hit up the Strand Bookstore (18 miles of books!) that day - between us we came home with NINE books! We are the nerdiest bookworm couple. And that night we decided to walk around the city... guess where we ended up?


POMME FRITES. Holy shit. I took one bite and tweeted "I have waited my entire life for a place like this" and I'm not kidding. Pomme Frites is a true New York gem - a tiny little restaurant that specializes in one thing and one thing only: French fries. With any kind of dipping sauce your heart could desire. My heart personally desired parmesan peppercorn and truffle mayo, and I will never, ever be the same. I feel like in this picture I have a dazed smile on my face - food coma?


The following days passed so quickly - we visited the College Humor offices and Rami's best friend Amir (of Jake & Amir fame) could give us a tour. We ate soup dumplings from Joe's Shanghai and I taught Ram how to bite a tiny hole in the dumpling and suck all the juices out. We visited Bloomingdales and shopped in Soho and I picked up a gorgeous new J.Crew necklace. Rami got to go to his favorite comic book store, Midtown Comics, to pick up some new stuff. Bailey and JM met up with us one night for dinner at Locande Verde - delicious! (I highly recommend the lamb meatball sliders.) We tried - and failed - to score Book of Mormon tickets, but we had a fun time entering the lottery! We even took a PIZZA TOUR! More on that tomorrow - it was good enough to get its own post!


We ended our trip with a special night out - many of Rami's friends from Columbia still live in Manhattan, and his dear friend Katie organized a big group dinner on our last night! I had met most of them at Katie & Ben's wedding last September, and it was so great seeing everyone again - they are just the sweetest, most fun group.


We even got to celebrate Rami's birthday with them a week early! That boy could not have been happier.


We had the best time and I'm so sad our vacation is over! Between our last visit last fall and this trip, we talked about New York constantly - we even made a list of things we wanted to do and see while we were there and I'm happy to report we crossed most of them off. Looks like it's time to make a new list!

Monday, April 9, 2012

What's In My Bag - NYC Edition

By the time you read this, Rami and I will have already been in New York a few days! After spending the weekend in Long Island celebrating Passover with my family, we'll be in the city all week - we're planning on living it up visiting museums, eating in delicious restaurants, going on a pizza tour, maybe even seeing a show! We love New York and have been so excited for this trip :)

I didn't want to leave you hanging all weekend without at least a couple new posts, so here's a fun one - some of the stuff I packed for this vacation!


If I have time, I will be back with some fun pictures in the next day or so to share! In the meantime... have a great week!

Friday, April 6, 2012

New York Tonight!

Friends, I don't know about you, but this may have been the loooooooooongest week in the history of all weeks for me. It was barely Tuesday before I was like, "This week has to be over already, right?!"

The most likely reason for feeling that way? I'm going on vacation tonight! After celebrating the first Passover Seder with Rami's family here in LA, we are taking the red-eye to New York tonight so we can be on the East Coast in time for the second Seder with my fam tomorrow.

We'll be spending the weekend in Long Island with my family and then we'll be in Manhattan all next week! I can't wait - I am in DIRE need of a vacation and the last time we were in NYC together we had so much fun. We have lots of delicious meals and fun activities planned - I'm so happy it's finally here!

Wishing you a Happy Passover & Chag Sameach if that's your thing, and a Good Friday/Happy Easter if it's not :) Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Next time I blog I'll be coming at you from the East Coast!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Let's Comparison Shop: Jewelry

As I'm sure you all have figured out by now, I did NOT win the lottery last week. BOO.

I really thought this was it, yall! I figured I'd quit my job and travel around the world and take cooking classes and get super tan and treat my friends to fancy meals and buy a huge apartment and decorate it with all the chevron-printed nonsense I could find. I'd blog it all so you could see, too. And of course, I'd shop. I'd shop and shop and shop til I couldn't shop any more!

But alas my numbers were not chosen and my dreams will remain dreams (for now). However, that doesn't mean I can't shop. It just means I'll have to do it on a slightly smaller budget :)

Jewelry is a funny thing - diamonds are always nice, don't get me wrong, but sometimes you want to mix it up and try something funkier - without the designer price tag! So once again, using the lessons I acquired at birth as the child of Ellen Silverman, I've hunted down some bling-y bargains, scores, and knockoffs that might interest you. I know they interest me!


Is this trend a little out of your comfort zone? No need to make a big investment in a piece you're not sure you'll wear forever - less than $25 will get you the same look!


Whoa - BIG difference in price! I wouldn't mind saving more than $435 on a single piece!


Another example of a budget buy that will let you try out a funkier piece without pricetag guilt!


Steal: Caribe Round Druzy Ring - $37.49
Who knew sold jewelry? Not me! This is an almost identical look for barely half the price!

Not bad alternatives, right? I personally am allllll about the safety pin studs (had a pair a while ago, can't find them anywhere!) and you know I love me a tassel. May need to pick some of these up!

P.S. I'm considering making these "Comparison Shop" posts a regular thing- let me know if I can help you track down something you love for less!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's All Over

It’s all over. Goodbye hobbies. Goodbye social life. Goodbye free time. Last week I joined Pinterest and all I can say is, thank god/why the hell didn’t I do it sooner?

I’m still new. I’m still figuring it all out. It’s overwhelming, isn’t it? All those gorgeous and inspiring and creative images staring you right in the face. All that neon and leopard print and gallery walls and glitter nail polish is enough to drive a girl crazy from all that fabulousness!

Speaking of fabulousness… here’s what I’ve been pinning my first week on the “job”... (OHHHH to have such a job! A girl can dream.) I don't know what's more fun - actually pinning, or coming up with creative names for my boards and captions!

From my "Deck The Walls" Board:


From my "Noms" Board:


From my "Wanty McWanterson" Board:


From my "Turn This House Into A Home" Board:


From my "I Do (One Day!)" Board (I know, I know):


From my "Future Bebe" Board (DOUBLE I know, I know!):


Yup, I'm addicted.

Special thanks to my dear friends who encouraged me to bite the bullet and join Pinterest and extra special thanks to RK who taught me how to use it :) when I have the world's most enviable closet/house/cooking skills/wedding, I'll owe it all to you!

Now what are you all waiting for? Go follow me! I'm @queenjord (I know, big shocker!)