Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Our Visit to The Pumpkin Patch!

I meant to write this post last week - oops. But there's no better time to talk pumpkins than today, right? Happy Halloween!

You may remember that last year, Ram took me to the pumpkin patch. This year, we invited some of our friends and their gorgeous baby to come with us. They suggested we go to an even bigger pumpkin  patch near their house - complete with a corn maze, haunted house, petting zoo, and more - so Ram and I spent a lovely afternoon with Jackie, Offer, and baby Elana at the Halloween Harvest Festival at Pierce College and had a great time!

When we first arrived, the boys decided to go into the corn maze - I had no interest in such things. Instead, Jackie and I took the baby to see the petting zoo!


She loved it - especially the goats! She has good taste, those are my favorite too :) Look at the crazy goat at the top of the enclosure! How did he get all the way up there?!


Rami took a time out to eat a turkey leg - or should I say, a "tureky" leg...


While I convinced Jackie to take a silly photo with me:


Before we left, we of course made our way to the pumpkin patch. I took my time choosing just the right one...


And then I made Ram carry it home :) What a strong gentleman he is. (And sweet - he bought me not one but TWO pumpkins, and even bought Elana a little baby one too!)


I don't know what's cuter - this picture of me and Ram...


Or the same picture with this ADORABLE baby added!


Another great year at the pumpkin patch! Maybe next year I'll get my shit together in time to actually come up with a costume and wear it while picking out of my pumpkin. Highly doubtful but a girl can dream.

Hope you all have a fabulous Halloween! We're hosting a dinner party & game night at our place to celebrate :) Pictures to come soon! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Out & About, Instagram Style: October

I know I've said it here before, but god bless the iPhone. 

It makes my whole life easier - and a lot more fun! I've been obsessed with Instagram since joining at the end of last year, and it doesn't look like I'll be over it anytime soon. Here are some of my favorite pictures from recently!


Top row:
1. Before I left for Hawaii, I made Ram a huge pan of pesto chicken to sustain him for the week. You've gotta try it - everyone who makes it says it's the easiest and most delicious thing!
2. Found this picture of me when I was about six years old wearing this giant hat. What can I say, I was a weird kid.
3. My sister bought me this necklace when I was in NY last month - love the beads and the Buddha!

Middle row:
1. We FINALLY saw Book of Mormon last month and it was just as good as everyone said it was. I've already memorized the soundtrack!
2. Posing outside my favorite pizza place, 800 Degrees, with my besties when Gerrick came to visit.
3. The sign on the wall of The Hungry Cat in Santa Barbara. Oysters for lunch - I was in heaven!

Bottom row:
1. Wedding season is officially over - this cute pic of us was taken at our FIFTH and final wedding of the summer!
2. My new J.Crew iPhone case - a birthday gift from Poodle. Love the hearts!
3. Had a fun girls dinner at Manhattan Beach Post and basically fainted over their famous bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits with maple butter. I'm drooling just thinking about them. 

If you aren't following me yet, what are you waiting for, silly!? Let's follow each other! I'm @queenjord - leave me a comment with your @name so I can follow you too!

Friday, October 26, 2012

NM for Target - It's On.

This past July, when it was first announced that Neiman Marcus would be partnering with Target for a special holiday collaboration featuring items by 24 CFDA designers, I got no less than 10 emails from pals asking if I had heard about it. 

I guess I must be REALLY transparent or something, because you all seem to know me very well - well enough to figure that this collaboration is RIGHT UP MY ALLEY. Two of my favorite stores, both as different from the other as they could possibly be - teaming up in time for the holidays?! 


Well, the official Neiman Marcus for Target lookbook came out last week, and I finally got around to checking it out. It will come to no surprise to any of you that it is FULL of things I adore!

Those of you longtime readers will remember my insane obsession with Missoni for Target and the saga of how I ended up scoring nearly every Missoni item I wanted due to hard work, determination, and a little pushing :) (seriously, click that and read it if you never have). This doesn't beat that (I don't think anything ever will, unless one day they release a Chanel for Target, in which case I suggest you all just hide in your homes), but some of the items sure do come close!

Here's what I'm loving:


Clockwise from top left:
Awesome Phillip Crangi frame - $49.99
Gorgeous Robert Rodriguez lace dress - perfect for holiday parties! $99.99
Marc Jacobs metallic pouches (sold individually) - $69.99
Alice & Olivia striped luggage and coordinating travel pouches - this one is FOR SURE happening! $179.99
Altazurra glasses set ($49.99) and martini shaker ($49.99) - perfect for my bar cart!
Tracy Reese sequined floral blouse - so pretty! $79.99
Tracy Reese dessert plates - these are my favorite, I want to get two sets! $39.99 for set of four
Rag & Bone sweater - this is for men so I'll TECHNICALLY buy it for Ram, but steal it all the time :) $69.99

I love how it's not just pieces for women - there are things for kids, dogs, men, even for the home! I'd be happy taking home any of the favorites I posted above, but I have my eye on the striped suitcase and the pretty floral plates in particular. What about you?

The collection will be released on December 1st. You know where I'll be, bright and early :) See you there?!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Life Update

This blog is a sparkly place. I like it that way. I like it filled with stories about fun adventures and pictures of cute babies and links to sequined designer shoes I want to buy. I like reading through my old posts and being reminded of amazing things I've done and seen and bought and experienced and accomplished.

Which is why I don't like to talk about things that are not so sparkly. Real life is messy and complicated, and sometimes when things are rough, it's easier to talk about something else on the blog, or simply not post at all. But that's not fair to you, my readers. If this blog is a snapshot of my life, it's not right to keep you in the dark or pretend things aren't happening when they are. After all, if I share the sparkles, I should share the messes too.

Which is why I am writing this post to tell you that last week, I got laid off. My company let 17 people go in a single afternoon last Tuesday. Call it financial problems, call it restructuring, call it budget cuts - all I know is that after more than two years, I no longer work there. I've been in shock for the last week. I never saw it coming. 

I hate change, but I didn't get a choice this time. A change has come, whether I like it or not - so I better get on board.

I am anxious and worried and nervous but also excited. I am not tied to anything anymore. I can take some time to figure it out, to make mistakes, to follow a dream or a passion or a whim, because I'm 27 years old and I've got a lot of life to live and a lot of ideas and passions and love to give.

And I have a feeling a lot of sparkles are headed my way.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Basically A Professional Baker Now

As promised, I'm back today with more photos and recipes of the MAJOR deliciousness that we served at our housewarming party over the weekend!


Rami's friend Cary - who has since become a dear friend of mine - is an insane baker. Like, the boy whips up peach cobbler and banana cream pies from scratch like it ain't no thing. I obviously enlisted him to assist me in making salted caramel brownies, because I love salted caramel insane amounts. He chose this recipe - it was a lot of work, but well worth it in the end. Tip: use fine sea salt, and use it on the top only. These puppies are SERIOUSLY RICH and delicious!


I also made my standard crowd pleaser - chocolate chip bread pudding. I've blogged about the recipe before here. I made it earlier in the day and put it in the oven about 45 minutes before the party started so the entire apartment smelled delicious and chocolatey!

I am also a sucker for rainbow sprinkles so I knew I wanted something funfetti-flavored. These are not quite cake balls but instead are called Cake Batter Truffles! I had been wanting to make them for months and this was the perfect opportunity! They were super easy to make, and when I got scared of dipping them in the white chocolate melts, I put Cary and Gerrick in charge of that :) A total crowd pleaser!


I was a little crazy with all the chocolate-related desserts, so I put Greene Bean in charge of making lemon bars. She went with this recipe from Cooking Light magazine and I have to say - they were OUT of this world. Best lemon bars I've ever had! Tip: make sure to grease the pan thoroughly. We had a hard time getting them out.


I had planned on serving a fruit salad, but a few days before the party I saw this pin on Pinterest and thought it was the cutest thing ever. Donut & fruit skewers - they could not have been easier! Two boxes of donut holes, two boxes of strawberries, two boxes of blackberries and a package of skewers = done! Everyone loved them. 


I firmly believe that no party is complete with a signature punch recipe. I had about 8 bottles of champagne leftover from my New Years Eve bash and wanted to use them up - so I did my research and settled on a Citrus Champagne Vodka Punch based on this Emeril recipe. I changed it up slightly - I didn't add vermouth or limoncello - but I did use a lemon-flavored vodka and added a cup of Sprite and a cup of water because OH BOY was that thing strong. And delicious. I may or may not have caught BOTH my mom and Ram's mom going back for seconds!


Oh, I forgot to mention - I QUADRUPULED it - and it was almost empty at the end of the night! I also served my favorite Crystal Light peach iced tea for the non-drinkers in addition to a full bar. For someone who doesn't drink... I sure own a lot of alcohol. (Can't blame me, I like my bar cart looking good... which is a good thing, because at the end of the night we had THIRTEEN new bottles of wine/alcohol from our generous friends!)


Some more party pics - I set out little bowls of M&Ms in my favorite Anthropologie ikat bowls all over the den, which was also filled with vases of fresh flowers:


My dear friend Ashley gifted us these adorable initial Anthro mugs when we first moved in - how could I not use them at our housewarming!? Also please note the amazing leopard print napkins :)


I cannot tell a lie, after this weekend I kinda never want to eat dessert ever again. Anyone want to take some of these leftovers off my hands?! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Very Happy Housewarming

A couple of weeks ago, Ram and I realized time was really flying - we had almost been in our new place for two months! So we figured it was time to do something we'd been talking about for ages... throw a housewarming party! I whipped up an invitation and sent it out to all our pals...


And 50 people RSVP'd yes! So over the weekend we had a BIG housewarming rager at the new place. We had an amazing time!

I carefully planned a menu full of major deliciousness and enlisted some of my most talented pals with baking skills to assist me. We made lemon bars, cake batter truffles, salted caramel brownies, donut & fruit skewers, and my trusty chocolate chip bread pudding - all from scratch! Recipes and pictures will be posted on the blog tomorrow :)

I also served Diddy Riese cookies and an enormous red velvet cake from Susiecakes. YUM.


The spread! (Any excuse to use my fancy serving dishes is a major plus in my book!)


Our wonderful parents came too! Here's Ram's fam...


And the Silverman ladies decked in black:


I wish I had more pictures but I was busy running around the entire place, chatting with everyone and giving house tours and refilling glasses - it was a whirlwind. I barely got to see Ram after we took this picture! (Like my polka dot apron?! I love being domestic.)


Guess who came in town for the weekend?! That's right, Gerrick - who is now known as Gerrick C :) So amazing seeing my best friend!!!!


Here's a special thing we did - all our friends being in the same place was the perfect opportunity to hang our mezuzah on our door jam! Ram's mom brought us a gorgeous one from her last trip to Israel and Ram's dad, who is a rabbi, helped us hang it and bless our home :) It was so special!


We managed to get our party animal siblings to stay still enough to take a photo with us - total framer:


More pictures of our amazing friends:










The last guests didn't leave til almost 1:00am! Such an amazing night with the best friends and family in the world. And now our house is officially warmed!

Stay tuned tomorrow for more pictures and recipes, as promised!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mmmmm, Maui!

As promised, I am back today with some more Hawaiian stories, recommendations, and of course, some DELICIOUS eye candy from my trip to Maui with my mom!


As I mentioned yesterday, I had been to Maui many times before, but never as an adult. You all know I'm a big foodie, so I did my research for weeks before the trip - I wanted to make sure we were eating and drinking the best of what Hawaii has to offer! I asked different friends who had been recently which restaurants they loved and would recommend, and slowly made reservations for every night.

Many people recommended Mama's Fish House to us, and it didn't disappoint - it was by far our favorite restaurant of the trip! It took a while to get there but it was totally worth it - we loved every single thing we ate and the ambiance was fantastic!

My mom LOVED her meal - a coconut milk/green curry soup with three different kinds of fish and a variety of delicious Thai toppings - peanuts, chutney, and more:


I had mahi mahi stuffed with crab and lobster in a macadamia nut crust with pineapple beurre blanc... and a teeny tiny lobster tail on top!


And we shared an amazing chocolate coconut pie for dessert. Delicious!


So Mama's was our favorite restaurant, but we agreed the single best dish we had the whole week was at Spago in the Four Seasons next door. Wolfgang Puck elevated the typical Hawaiian dish of loco moco to something that I'll probably never forget. You're looking at jasmine rice topped with miso butterfish, marinated cucumbers, and sliced avocado, with spicy mayo and a tiny fried quail egg on top. OMFG. Pardon the picture, I think my hands were shaking :)


More Spago deliciousness: their signature spicy tuna tartare with spicy tobiko caviar in little sesame cones. As tasty as they are adorable!


No trip to Hawaii is complete without some shaved ice! We shared half guava, half mango, and ate it so fast we both got ice headaches - but it was okay because it was a billion degrees outside!


One night we headed to Lahaina to go shopping, and ate at the original Longhi's - I needed a little Italian food to break up all the fish I was eating. I had the Shrimp Longhi's over pasta and it was fabulous:


Another night we stayed in our hotel and headed to Humuhumunukunukuapua'a - say that five times fast! We ate in the huge floating restaurant (which looks like an enormous tiki hut) and I had a great piece of ahi tuna with a foi gras dumpling in a pho broth:


Besides the restaurants mentioned above, we also ate at Ferraro's in the Four Seasons and Sansei Seafood & Sushi Bar for dinner, and had a fantastic lunch at a new place called Monkeypod Kitchen. All were good, but I'd definitely recommend checking out Monkeypod - great atmosphere!

Here are a few of my tips if you're planning a trip to Hawaii:

1. Make your reservations on the early side: Normally when I'm on vacation with my mom, we like to eat dinner late - it's not unusual for us to have a 9:00 or 9:15 restaurant reservation. When I was booking restaurants in advance, I made most of our reservations on the later side - about 8:30pm - completely forgetting that we would be CRAZY jetlagged and completely exhausted! I ended up having to change most of our reservations - instead we ate at 7:15 or 7:30 every night... so we could go to bed by 9:45! Note: if you're coming from the East Coast, this is a MUST: a 7pm reservation Hawaii time means you're eating dinner at 1:00am your time!

2. Rent a car: More than half the restaurants that we went to were not walkable. I'd highly recommend renting a car, especially if you're planning on doing any shopping or hiking! A few of the restaurants were about 45 minutes away - taking a cab would have been obscenely expensive. Just beware: valet parking at resorts can cost up to $30 a day! Self-parking is always available if you do want to rent a car but don't mind parking it yourself.

3. Talk to the locals: No matter how many amazing recommendations I got from friends before we went, some of the best places we ate were places that saleswomen in shops or hotel employees told us about. For example, we never would have known about that little Saturday morning flea market if we hadn't been chatting it up with a woman who worked at the Shops of Wailea! Another example: on our very first day there, we woke up crazy early due to jetlag and decided to head out to Kihei to find breakfast. While driving, we noticed a tiny cafe with the line out the door filled with surfers! We knew it had to be good because of the local presence - and sure enough, Kihei Caffe was delicious. So chat it up with all the natives! 


Want more suggestions or recommendations? Email me! I'm happy to help!

Hawaiian Happiness

Well hello there! Or should I say ALOHA!


Hawaii was - in a word - AMAZING. My mom and I spent six and a half glorious days in Maui and the entire trip was just what we needed - relaxing and so fun!


We stayed at the Grand Wailea and it was gorgeous - here's the view from our room...


I loved the lobby of the resort - so lush and tropical!


When I was little we used to go there as a family every year, and it was so funny getting to experience the same things as an adult! I couldn't convince my mom to go on the famous water elevator or Tarzan rope swing with me, but don't worry - we did lots of other fun things...

Like going to a fantastic Hawaiian flea market/swap meet early one morning! That type of thing is right up our alley - we love little tchochtkes and tiny booths and interesting local vendors. I stocked up on Hawaiian shirts and hot sauce and delicious truffle oil - but by far my favorite score was coming across Jeff's Jams & Jellies. I brought home a TON of delicious things - guava butter and coconut jam and passionfruit chutney - YUM!


Here's something hilarious - one morning I surprised my mom with an acrylic painting class on the beach. There was just one other woman in the class so we basically had a private lesson with a really talented instructor, and we all worked on the same scene throughout the morning. 


Here's my painting:


And here is my mom's. 


HAHAHAHA. Poor Martha Jewart is probably glaring at the computer screen right now but I couldn't resist a little teasing. The best part? The instructor felt so bad for her that she gave her her own painting... so now we have THREE of them! (I kind of want to hang all three in a row... just for a good laugh!)

The days passed so quickly, but we filled them with lots of swimming and tanning and  gourmet meals and meeting interesting people and exploring little island shops and falling asleep every night to HGTV, plus I had an AMAZING massage. This was where you could usually find us every day - reading books and magazines by the fancy adult pool and ordering chocolate smoothies and diet cokes. HEAVEN ON EARTH.


And the best part? We came home so tan! :)


Tomorrow I'll be posting about another REAL important part of this vacation... the food! The blogger in me couldn't resist photographing nearly every meal we ate, so you'll all get to reap the benefits and eye candy of that :)


This may have been my favorite vacation I've ever taken and it's all thanks to my lovely, beautiful, GENEROUS mother. 


Mommy, I had an amazing time with you - let's do it again soon, what do ya say!?