Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What's In My Bag: Cabo San Lucas Edition!

Well folks, it's that time of year again. Time for the Dysfunctional Family Vacation!

Yes, it's hard to believe, but a whole year has passed since the 2012 Puerto Rican shenanigans. This year, our loveable group of weirdos is off to Mexico... Cabo San Lucas, to be exact!

I'm particularly excited for this year's trip because this is the FIRST year Ram is able to come! He has had to work every other year that we have been dating but not this time. He always enjoys the family shenanigans but the DFV adds another level to the craziness... here's hoping he enjoys jetskiing wars, Cards of Humanity battles, and epic family dinners as much as we all do :)

My bags are packed and I'm ready for a week on the beach! Here's what I'm bringing along with me:

A week on the beach calls for adorable yet comfortable bathing suits. This black one-piece is my favorite - sleek and chic, and I never have to worry about accidentally flashing too much boob :) The DKNY suit is amazing, too - I'm a firm believer in everyone needing at least one piece of leopard swimwear (haha), and the strapless style will help me get an even tan!

My favorite items to get my tan on... This Hawaiian Tropics bottle is sunscreen and tanning lotion in one! I hate the feeling of tanning oil and wouldn't sit out without sunscreen anyway, so it's really the best of both worlds. And of course, my makeup bag is not complete without my Nars Laguna bronzer. The best.

I picked up this Rachel Pally maxidress at her sample sale a couple weeks ago - love the one-shouldered detail and intricate pattern. By the end of the trip I'll be sunburned and won't want anything scratchy on my skin - this is just so soft! Can't wait to wear it.

The cutest Kate Spade jelly sandals will go from hotel to pool to beach and back, looking adorable all the way!

My Theodora & Callum scarf is one of my staples in winter, but does double duty as a beach coverup when it's warm, too! I wear it as a sarong with a tank top over my bathing suit.

So, funny story about this Mara Hoffman bag... I actually own it in a different pattern (this one to be exact) and it's my FAVORITE for traveling - I take it everywhere. Guess who loves it just as much? That would be Bailey. So when I saw MH had released it in a new pattern that I thought was equally gorgeous, I struck a deal with my darling sister... she is buying my old one (for quite a good price I might add!) and I shelled out for the new one. Now we both have gorgeous beach bags! And I have a feeling down the line we'll share :) Seriously, this bag is THE BEST - lightweight yet big enough to hold anything you'd need, plus it has pockets and sturdy leather straps, not to mention the freakin' gorgeous pattern! I'm OBSESSED.

My go-to colors for beach vacations, both by Essie - Splash of Grenadine on my fingers and Turquoise & Caicos on my toes.

I picked up this pretty patterned mini dress from ASOS a couple months ago and decided to save it for the trip! I love the silhouette and gorgeous bright colors. When I'm back from vacation I think it'll look really cute with leggings, boots, and a black cardigan layered over it!

Hope you all have a wonderful week, and Merry Christmas if that's your thing! I'll try and pop in again before 2014 rolls around!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Fun Facts

It's been far too long since I did one of these... you know I can never resist little Q&A's like this so I thought I'd have at it :)

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I HATE TRAFFIC. Therefore my superpower would be to just blink and appear wherever I need to be. I would also like the ability to take whoever I want along with me whenever I blink and beam myself somewhere!

Share your guiltiest guilty pleasure – no judgement!
Drive-thru Starbucks... especially when I have to go a few miles out of my way :) Also, my idea of an ideal guilty pleasure night would be home on the couch in sweatpants eating chicken potstickers and watching Harry Potter movies. That seriously sounds like perfection to me. 

Who would play you in a movie adaptation of your life?
Even though I am not a sassy adorable Indian woman, I'm choosing Mindy Kaling. Because I love her and she is effing hilarious.

What’s the one dish/meal you could eat repeatedly without getting sick of it?
Sushi. All day every day. I probably have it four times a week minimum and I'm always down for more.

What’s your dream travel destination?
There are so many places I want to go - Greece, France, Barcelona, Australia, New Zealand - but at the top of the list is Tahiti... specifically, one of those huts on the water with the glass-bottom floors. Did someone say HONEYMOON?

You’re at da club.  What’s the one song that gets your tush to the dance floor?
Oh I'm at da club! That's fun and rather unusual :) Honestly, I LOVE to dance and shake my tush on the dance floor so it wouldn't take much... give me some Gaga, Britney, Beyonce, and I'm good to go all night!

Which celebrity or public figure can you NOT STAND?  
That would be one Mrs. Sarah Palin. And that's all I'll say on that topic :)

It’s karaoke time. What song are you wailing along to?
This is a ridiculously easy question and the answer is "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen or ACDC's "You Shook Me All Night Long."

HA. That was fun. Hope you all enjoyed. And speaking of enjoying, I hope you all enjoy the hell out of your weekend! I am seeing FOUR movies, going to an engagement party, and my grandma is coming into town. Fun!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Texas Birthday Celebration

It may already be Wednesday, but I'm still reminiscing about the weekend. I had a GREAT time in Texas... I may be an LA girl, but there's something about the south that just makes me so happy!


I landed in Dallas late Thursday night and got to reunite with my best friend... and finally show her my ENGAGEMENT RING!!! Can hardly believe that we met when we were little babies in college and now she's a married human being and I'm about to be one, too. Freaking crazy.

Friday was Gerrick's birthday!!! She was kind enough to drive my ass to Drybar (I basically refuse to take pictures without a visit there these days) and then we met our friends Lindsey and Eric for lunch. It was great seeing them and catching up over some delicious pizza... but it was even MORE delicious getting to hug and kiss their adorable baby Sydney! Her middle name is Jordan... I like to think she is my namesake :)

We spent the rest of the afternoon cooking and baking for the dessert party Gerrick and Daniel were hosting that night. She made lots of delicious treats - oreo/peanut butter brownies, bundt cake, rainbow sprinkle rice krispie treats, and I contributed my famous chocolate chip bread pudding. It was great seeing all her Dallas friends, including our friend from our sorority ABG, who I love to pieces!


The next morning, the real fun began... we packed into the car with Robley, Gerr's best friend from childhood, and the three of us headed to Austin for a little girls getaway (Robley's birthday was three days before Gerrick's, so we were celebrating 2 out of 3 birthdays)! We drove all morning and after a small unfortunate incident where Robley accidentally directed us to the wrong restaurant INSIDE OF THE AUSTIN AIRPORT, we made it to our intended lunchtime destination... The Salt Lick!

Ya'll have not lived til you've tried The Salt Lick. Real Texas barbecue - there isn't anything like it in California. If I ever move to Texas this is probably one of the main reasons why :)


After lunch, we checked into the Omni Hotel, put our bags down, and headed out to explore more. We walked on the University of Texas campus and shopped on the drag... I purchased t-shirts that I will likely only wear to bed, we laughed, we shmoozed, and then we headed back to the hotel to rest up and get changed for dinner.

Now, months and months ago, when I had first booked my ticket, Gerrick had suggested the three of us go to Austin for a birthday celebration for one particular reason - to have their birthday dinner at Uchiko! Since their former Executive Chef Paul Qui won Top Chef a few years ago, we have been wanting to try it... and this was the perfect excuse. Want to hear something even better? Gerrick was at her 10 year high school reunion a few months ago and mentioned our upcoming plans to someone... that girl reached into her wallet and pulled out an Uchiko gift card. "I don't eat fish, I'm not going to use it, you have it!" Gerrick gladly accepted, and for weeks, we had been wondering how much was on the gift card. The moment we sat down, we asked the waiter to check... thinking at most it'd have $20 or $30 bucks on it. He came back a minute later and MADE OUR NIGHTS... that gift card had $100!!!! 

And we made gooooood use of it. Friends, if you ever have the chance to go to Uchi or Uchiko, go! We loved everything - it was some of the most interesting, inventive Asian food I'd had in a long time. I couldn't help but take pictures of some of my favorites - in order, pictured below: uni sushi with basil and sea salt, raw diver scallop sushi with spicy mayo and avocado, and an amazing steamed whitefish with Thai spices, tomato, and honshemeji mushrooms. Out of this world! 




Service was fantastic all night thanks to Bobby, our waiter, who quickly became our best friend (literally - he's now my Facebook friend)! Here we are posing outside after dinner... did someone say food coma?


We had one more stop to make before we could crash for the night... and speaking of crashing, that's exactly what we did. Our dear friend Joy lives in Austin (my last trip there was for her wedding!), and her sister had gotten married a few weeks ago and was throwing a wedding reception that very same evening! She INSISTED we stop by and although I was horrified by the thought of crashing, it all worked out just fine and we got to hug Joy and her husband Justin and dance with them for a little bit. See? This is why I love Texas. I have friends all over the state! 


The next morning we refueled with breakfast tacos before hitting the road. It was a quick three-hour drive back to Dallas and then it was time for me to come back home to LA...


All in all, it was a great weekend - it went by way too quickly!!! I cannot wait to come back again and visit all my Texas faves VERY soon!

Friday, December 13, 2013

What's In My Bag: Dallas BIRTHDAY Weekend Edition!

By the time you read this, I'll be in Texas!

I flew into Dallas last night, just in time for my bestie Rebecca G. Conroy's birthday, which is today! We have lots planned, including a trip to Drybar (obviously), a few delicious meals, a dessert birthday party, and a quick trip to Austin with our pal Robley :) I'm only here through Sunday so it's a quick trip but I couldn't miss the chance to celebrate with her!

It is FREEZING in Texas so I packed many warm layers in my carry-on... here's a little sneak peek of what's in my bag:


I bought this top at the Rachel Pally sample sale last weekend - it's probably the most comfortable thing in the world. Mine is burgundy & black stripes but I love it so much I may need to go pick it up in basic black. It's seriously the perfect top - it looks great both closed with a tie belt, or open as a shawl cardigan. LOVE.

If you follow my Instagram (@queenjord), you might have seen last week that my office does Secret Santa, and my coworker Natalie got me this amazing Baublebar "Rainbow Starlite" bib necklace for my gift!!! Hands down, I got the best present out of everyone :) it could not be cuter or more sparkly!

I have this Old Navy blouse in this nude snakeskin as well as a pretty striped mint color - they are really great basics, lightweight and so comfortable. They're on sale now - go get one (or four. I won't judge)!

I packed these a couple weeks ago for my trip to NY and showed you guys - lately I haven't been going anywhere without my go-to Zara booties, which are suede with rhinestoned/studded heels! They are long gone on their website, but these cute booties are similar if you want to pick up your own pair :)

My favorite pair of earrings. Ram bought these for me for our first Hanukkah together a few years ago and I rarely go on a trip without them. The shape is so unique, they're under $100, and they come in gold, rose gold, and silver - I just love them.

This adorable J.Crew sweater was my sister's Hanukkah gift to me! I love the cozy knit and bright colors. Good one, Bay. It's sold out on jcrew.com but still available on Net-a-Porter if you're interested.

Speaking of my sister... she picked out this lipstick for both of us while we were in Chicago - I didn't even get a say, she just bought it and put it on me... and of course, I love it. It's NARS Damage and it's the perfect deep pinkish red, totally natural for day and also really nice at night.

These two little items are actually birthday presents for one Miss RGC :) as a fellow lover of glittery things and fancy nail polish, I couldn't resist getting her this adorable Deborah Lippmann set. And yes, even though we graduated college nearly SEVEN YEARS AGO (crap), we STILL love filling our houses with giraffe tchotchkes (our sorority mascot!). This little jewelry holder from Anthropologie is going to make her so happy, I just know it :)

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! I'm off to celebrate my bestie! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Trader Joe's: What I Like To Buy At Everybody's Favorite Place

You want to know something I really love? TRADER JOE'S. I seriously just freaking love Trader Joe's.

Let me tell you, I was real happy at our office holiday party last week when our CEO handed out a little gift to everyone - a $100 TJ's giftcard!!!

Before I started cooking, I never thought I'd be one of those people who went to more than one supermarket. I remember when I used to go WEEKS without going to a SINGLE supermarket because I cooked so infrequently - but now, I cook so often that TJs is only ONE of my regular spots to stop at each week, and by far it's my favorite!

I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite things that I like to buy at TJs - maybe you'll discover a new fave?!

One of my favorite post-dinner snacks. All you need is a small handful of these if you're feeling hungry or if your blood sugar is low - the almonds fill you up with a bit of protein and the dark chocolate is delicious... ESPECIALLY with the sea salt flakes!

My freezer is rarely without these mushroom turnovers - they are perfect to pop in the oven for when friends come over and you want to feed everyone a little snack! They have real chunks of mushrooms and onions and they are absolutely delicious. I've been known to heat some up with a salad or cup or soup as my dinner when I'm feeling lazy :)

I first tried this goat cheese at my best friend's bachelorette party and FELL IN LOVE. What could be better than fresh goat cheese... unless it's fresh goat cheese smothered in delicious blueberry compote?! If you are a cheese lover, run - don't walk - and add this to your cart. Bonus: right around now there is a seasonal version out - goat cheese with cranberry compote!!! YUM.

I like these marinated artichokes way better than the canned version - they come in a lovely light oil, seasoned perfectly with all kinds of delicious spices, and the actual artichoke chunks are just the right size. I stir them into pasta sauces and add them to salads all the time.

Like the mushroom turnovers above, these are always in my freezer to make as an impromptu appetizer for guests. I will confess that the first time I made these, I didn't read the directions through and accidentally baked them WITH their plastic coating on them and completely ruined them... but I'm happy to report since then, I've mastered putting them in the oven :) The sweet and savory aspect of these can't be beat and they are the perfect bite-sized treat!

Before I became obsessed with making my own meatballs (more on that later - I have seriously made them six times in the past few weeks from scratch) - I used to buy these puppies ALL THE TIME. I still love them and pick them up whenever I'm not in the mood to spend hours in the kitchen. My favorite is the sun-dried tomato & basil meatballs, but they also come in a buffalo sauce & blue cheese flavor. They cook fast, so they are great to serve at parties - I usually buy a couple packages and heat them up while making homemade tomato sauce and pasta. Voila, Italian night!

YOUR TURN! I would love to know... what do you like buying at Trader Joe's? I'm always looking to add new must-haves to my shopping cart! Please share!