Oct 31, 2011

Easy Apple Crisp

After recovering from this nasty flu/cold bug, I had this craving for apple crisp. I think my poor taste bud was begging for something other than plain rice porridge. As I have apples growing in the backyard, what is better than home grown apple crisp. I went online to find different recipes and decided to make this one here which I thought was easy and delicious looking. After I baked this, I wished I had vanilla ice cream at home. Sigh....
I made some minor adjustment to the recipe. Instead of 1 cup of brown sugar for the topping, I used 3/4 cup instead. 
Instead of water, I used orange juice and added a dash of all spice. I cut sugar to 1/2 cup from 1 cup. I like apple crisp slightly tart. When it comes to dessert, I prefer on the less sweet side. All in all, I was able to enjoy this apple crisp in about 1.25 hours from start to finish. I spend most of the time peeling and slicing apple. The rest is quite easy. What about you, do you like apple crisp? Me, I adore with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Oct 29, 2011

Double Strapped

For a long time, I liked double strap detail on a bag. It just adds something to the bag and the overall design. I especially like the casual look when these straps are undone. (pic. Hermes So Kelly)
I don't think this double strap detail is anything new but certainly Hermes has made this element iconic in the Kelly and the Birkin bags. (pic Hermes 35cm Birkin)
Recently I have been noticing more and more design houses with this double strap style.
-Coach Chelsea $328 via nordstrom
Ferragamo Spalla Borsetta $1390 via nordstrom
Michael Kor MK Hamilton Large Tote $348 via nordstrom

What about you, do you like this design element?

*Last but not least, the winner to the Postcard giveaway is Monica of Ciao, Chessa! Congrats!!!

Oct 27, 2011

Savvy Eat @ Charlie Palmer

 Who does not love a great deal, right? I am usually tickled pink when I find a snazzy deal. For 2011, Charlie Palmer is offering prefix lunch for $20.11. I love to have lunch there with friends to celebrate special days or just to hangout for a couple of hours. I am not a fan of pea soup but this is good with smoked ham and cream.
 Again I am not a fan of pork chop but this is not just a pork chop. It is tender and flavorful.
 Of course my favorite is dessert....
What is not to like about chocolate, peanut butter and sorbet? I don't know what is added but this chocolate mousse is actually slightly crunchy. Ah.... picture does not do this justice. Have you been to Charlie Palmer??

Oct 21, 2011

Bling & Bow @ Miu Miu

Miu Miu was never really on top of my shopping list but recently that had all changed. First I am finding cute bags and now shoes. Sometimes too much of a good thing is not great at all but this pair of Miu Miu bow patent flats with crystal bling detail on the heels just make my heart beats slightly faster. I tried on one shoe and it was both comfortable and snazzy. (image via saks.com $550)
Now Prada on the other hand is an entirely different story. I tried on the shoe in this color and it was really narrow for me in the front and the bow was overwhelming. Just not my cup of tea at all. (image via nordstrom.com $390) Which do you prefer?

Oct 20, 2011

Fishnet Stocking & Chanel Pearl Necklace....

The other day I received the newest Fall 2011 Chanel Cocomation and I found myself saying "really" when I came across this. Fishnet stocking is nothing new but it is just not my cup of tea. On other gals, it looked perfectly fine and stylish.  On me, eekkkk..... I just don't fit the style well. I guess I am just not edgy enough to look cool. What about you??

click on image to shop
On the side note, I was giddy when I saw this necklace. I made a similar necklace during spring 2010. My design offers Swarovski pearls in maybe slightly different sizes but the look is definitely there. I am patting myself on the back.

*Don't forget to enter giveaway here.

Oct 19, 2011

Natural Makeup: Step by Step

The other day a gal pal sent me a link to this video and I thought it would be fun to share with everyone. I love to learn new makeup technique which can help me in the morning. All in all, I don't know if I will actually spend the time to do everything unless it is for a special event but it is helpful to know what is possible.

I didn't use foundation like the video. I brushed this powder here all over my face, used Shu Uemura blush in orange, brown and black eyeliner by Stila, Pink Sugar lipstick by Chanel. I also used my favorite mascara which provides all day long lashes without any smudge under the eye. (Stay tune for the post) To finish, I used Guerlain bronzer around the perimeter of the face to make my face look slimmer.
For brow, I used Anastasia eyebrow kit which includes eye shadow.
I used the petite arch brow template as a guideline (see brow on left) and modify to suit my own need as I prefer to keep my brows slightly thicker. All in all, I took about 20 minute from start to finish which included 5 minute for moisturizer and sunblock routine. I usually allow 5 minutes for skincare to settle before applying other things, even if it is just powder, lipgloss and mascara. How long do you spend in the morning with makeup?

*Don't forget to enter giveaway here: A set of 100 holiday postcards.... 

Oct 18, 2011

Headboard Ideas Anyone???

I love model home shopping for ideas and inspirations. There are so many unique little updates one can do to a space. Instead of a tradition headboard, a oversize dress on an oversize hanger is used in place of a headboard. After see this, I begin to wonder what else we can do to replace a headboard. Isn't this just adorable for both big and little gals??

found here
I saw at another model home shutters were used in place of headboard. I really like concept. It appears as if  a window is present. 
found here
Normally I am not a big mirror fan but an interesting mirror plaque grouping can make an interesting headboard. (found here) What about you, do you think outside of a headboard when it comes to your bed??

*Don't forget to enter giveaway here.

Oct 16, 2011

Blue Blue Balenciaga & Postcard Giveaway

As a woman, we are constantly one bag, one dress or one pair of shoes short. Anyhoo, after buying 4 custom crocodile totes earlier this year, I told myself I exceeded handbag quota for the year. Nevertheless, I find myself in adoration with this bright blue Balenciaga tote after seeing gal pal's new grey Balenciaga. See, it is not my fault at all. I did not go to seek this bag out. I really like the size, which is not too big or small at 13" x 7.5" x 2.5". The lizard embossed detail gave this tote added unique detail. On top of everything, an adorable ballet flat  key chain is free with purchase. Sigh.... perhaps this holiday as a gift to myself. Available at Balenciaga for $1245. What do you think?
Speaking of holiday, I know this is sorta early but I vow to sent out holiday cards to friends and family instead of e-cards or Facebook people with holiday wishes. There is something nice about a card or letter via snail mail. With this being said, the nice folks over at UPrinting is offering one lucky Savvy Mode reader  a chance to receive a set of 100 postcards for the holiday. The winner can customize the printing. For me, I love the convenience of online printing for business cards. The winner will have the convenience of postcard printing from the comfort of home.

How To Win:
1. Be a Savvy Mode follower
2. Open to US Resident 18 year and older from Oct 16 to Oct 20, 2011.
3. 100 Postcards for One (1) Winner, 5" x 7", 14pt Cardstock Gloss, No Folding, Front Only Printing with    2 Business Days Print Turnaround Time  and Free Shipping
4. Share this giveaway to receive extra entries. 

*Sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given to me but I will receive a postcard for hosting this giveaway. 

Oct 15, 2011

Team Cluster Diamond Earrings vs. Team Solitaire Diamond Earrings

Growing up I have always adore diamonds, I will take diamond jewelry in any shape, and size. As a modern savvy gal, I have decided early on I will not wait for a man to give me jewelry. Actually most of the gals I know buy their own jewelry pieces. That was why on my 30th birthday, I got myself a major piece of diamond jewelry. I think I must have been temporarily insane to hand over my credit card, but I am still very happy today.

The other night, gal pal called me to ask my opinion on diamonds because she was looking to buy her first set of diamond stud earrings. She wanted to know if she should buy diamond solitaire or cluster studs. Personally, for everyday wear, I prefer diamond cluster studs for the casual elegance and lower price point.
I got this pair few years ago while on vacation and found myself wearing them quite frequently. Gal pal liked the cluster idea to save money but we still liked the idea of solitaire studs.
We began to discuss the merit of solitaire studs. As many know by now, my first choice will be bezel set diamond because this setting has a way of making the stone looking larger than the actual carat. Both of us agreed solitaire studs are simple, and will literally pair perfectly with everything. And, just like every girl dreams of a classic Chanel bag, we do the same with that first pair of classic diamond studs. However a decent pair of solitaire studs will be pricier.

I am going to have gal pal look at earrings on Anjolee so she can shop for earrings according to her budget and taste. This way, she can play around with gold choices, diamond size and quality to suit the wallet. I shopped on the site. It was more fun than shopping in the store because there wasn't an impatient salesperson.

I picked out:
The first pair of flower cluster diamond studs (similar to my earrings) @ .84 tcw, F/G color, VS clarity, excellent cut, and set in 18k white gold  will cost $975. The price isn't half bad at all.

The bezel diamond stud earrings @ .76 tcw, F/G color, VS clarity, excellent cut, and set in 18k white gold  will cost $1687. The price isn't half bad at all. Because of the setting, the stone will look decently large. I tried on a pair similar in size at Saks last month and was rather pleased with the size, but not the price.

To be honest, I like both because each has its own uniqueness. Each style will serve a different purpose. I guess it really all depend on the budget when a gal is ready to purchase. For me now though, I am leaning toward solitaire stud because I have enough cluster diamond earrings. It is time to upgrade.

So are you Team Diamond Solitaire or Team Diamond Cluster??

*image 2 and 4 courtesy of savvy supporter Anjolee

Oct 14, 2011

Meet Me & My IPL Brown Spots....

After receiving several inquiries about my IPL experience, I thought it will be nice to show the image instead of blah blah blah about it as a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture was from my second IPL procedure. After telling my doctor first  procedure didn't do much for pigmentation on my cheek area, she turned up the "heat". The first time around, I told her of my sensitive skin so she was very careful to avoid over-zapping. I had procedure done in the morning. (Pic is Day 1, about two hours after procedure.)
This was Day 2. Brown spots began to develop. On me, some were little dots like sesame spots and some were larger patches. Starting with one week pre-op, I used La Mer Concentrate twice daily. It was okay to use it the same day after surgery for me. I told my doc about it and she said it would be okay.
Brown spots continued to darken in the following days and began to naturally peel off by themselves. Do not pick on any of the dark spots, even though it can be quite tempting. This pic is Day 8 which spots are drying and scabs are beginning to peel off around the larger spot area. Little brown sesame spots peeled off after about one week. As edges around these larger spots began to flake up, avoid picking on them still. Though it was hard for me, I would find myself picking on them absentmindedly. Instead use a small scissors to trim off the edges if possible. This is to avoid picking on other areas prematurely.

On the Side:
-Will see glowing skin. After several gal pal saw me, they ran out and made an appointment with my doc. I think this is why IPL can become addictive uh....
-Avoid the sun if possible the first week. Else, make sure you are really well protected with a hat and sunblock. If we are going to spend money and time, then it is important to take precaution.
-Find a board certified dermatologist. After all, we only have one face.
-If you are on any medication, please let your doc know about it. I heard a story which a gal was on hormone medication and decided not to tell her doc. Well, after her treatment, her spots became darker than before.
-Keep face moisturized, but not too heavy.
-Lighter spots on my face have disappeared but melasma spots on my cheek are still there, though lighter. These will take multiple treatments.
-Never leave the house without sun protection. Sunblock is part of my daily skincare routine now. I will apply it as soon as my moisturizer is absorbed. Now, I don't even use foundation anymore because my skin tone has evened out and glowing skin does not require dressing up.

Before I started my treatment I was pretty anxious. Hopefully sharing my experience can help those who are considering. Every person is different so consult a qualified doctor before you do anything.

Oct 13, 2011

Easy Caprese Salad with Balsamic Vinegar

Normally I am not a huge cheese fan unless it is tomato caprese. The other night while trying to figure out what to eat for dinner at the end of a long day, we drove by Lazy Dog Cafe and decided to stop since it was something new to us. Food was okay, and service was good. I was quite in adoration with the caprese salad we ordered as first course. I just loved the balsamic reduction and the walnut basil pesto that accompanied the salad. It was so good I almost wanted to lick the plate. But, that would be rude uh.....
As temperature is hitting the roof, I just couldn't eat anything hot. Instead, I made myself a caprese salad from my home grown cherry tomato and basil in the garden. It is one of the tastiest and easiest salad to make at home. It is almost a crowd favorite.
How To:
-Use tomato of choice. With large tomatoes, slice into at least 1/4 inch thickness. I used cherry tomatoes so I halved each to make bite size chunks.
-Use fresh mozzarella cheese. Slice or cut into bite size pieces to complement tomato.
-Mix together 1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar and 3 table spoon good extra virgin olive oil. Basically ratio is 1:3 of vinegar to oil. Adjust to your own liking. I put both into a container so I can shake the mixture together well.
-Arrange mozzarella cheese and tomato on a platter, sprinkle julienne basil over top.
-Drizzle balsamic reduction over tomato and cheese and around the platter for presentation.
-Salt and pepper to taste. I prefer good sea salt.

I can't wait to try with walnut and basil pesto next time. I think the nutty flavor adds depth to this easy salad. Do you like caprese salad??

Oct 12, 2011

Savvy Decor: Stone Placemat

Over the weekend, I went house shopping with a friend and came across the most unique placemat. I love model home shopping for snazzy decorative ideas. Instead of normal placement, a river stone tile with mesh backing was used as placemat. Doesn't that just make the whole place setting organic and stylish.
These stone tiles are readily available almost everywhere for $10-20, depending on the type of stones. To make it more solid, a thick plastic backing is attached/glued to the mesh. Oh I adore this idea. What do you think?

Oct 11, 2011

Unusual Tacos

Good food is not about how much we spend for a meal. A fancy restaurant does not guarantee a great meal. The other day, my friend and I stumbled upon this little place that served the most unusual tacos. Normally I thought of tacos as those from Taco Bell, really nothing to write home about. Now there are something to write home about. The taco on the right is a grilled octopus taco and the one on right is pork belly taco. How unique right?! Trust me these were so good I practically wolfed it down. Usually I eat like a bird, with these, vulture would be a good description.
Pork belly normally is not on my eating list due it high fat content, but pickled radish and carrot balanced so perfectly with the salty pork belly. I salivate just thinking about this....
Who heard of grilled octopus, right? Ah.... sooooooo good. It is truly a pleasure when one finds a good little eatery by accident. If you are in the Costa Mesa area, give Taco Asylum, located at the Camp, a visit. I trust you will not regret it. What is the most unusual taco you have ever tried?

Oct 10, 2011

Savvy Fur @ Children Section

As we move forward into colder fall days, I am seeing more and more fur around me. Fur is so trendy now, there are even fur pieces for kids. The other day while shopping for Savvy Niece, I found this fur vest at kid's section at H&M. I have been looking around for a faux fur piece for a couple of weeks and couldn't find the one that fits my taste and budget. For me, a fur vest is a trend piece that I don't plan on keeping. Therefore, it is important to me that this trendy piece does not cost too much. At $25, I don't care if I only wear it once.
To pop my outfit, I used my purple crocodile tote and matched it with colorblock Sergio Rossi heels. Ah.... I love versatility. Are you into faux fur this winter?

Oct 7, 2011

Unlikely Pairing: Orange & Purple

For a cold rainy day, I love to keep warm with a bright cozy scarf. To keep it casual, a long scarf is folded in half and the two loose ends are looped through the other end to create a knot. As orange is the perfect fall color, I brightened up my day with the new orange cardigan and accented the outfit with my old Missoni silk scarf. Honestly, scarves are the best when a gal needs to accent her outfit.
To finish my outfit, I used a purple crocodile tote. I didn't think orange and purple can go so will together. I have done purple and pink, purple and yellow and now purple and orange is my color combo du jour. What do you think?

Oct 5, 2011

Morning Cup of Nespresso Jo

Without my first cup of coffee in the morning, I am usually rendered ineffective. In fact, I am down right a B with an itch without my morning coffee. While shopping at Bloomingdales I had samples of Nespresso coffee at the kiosk. The other day, a friend offered me a cup of perfect capuchino after lunch. I was rather impressed with the Pixie model. At $249, it is not cheap but if I have a homemade capuchino everyday instead of buying out, this machine will practically pay for itself.
 Operation is rather easy. One just drops a capsule into the slot and voila, done!
There are many choices to fit one's taste bud.  This is a sample pack, it is nice to have this around for entertaining at home.
Ah.... perfect foam..... From what I could see, this step was a piece of cake. 
After two friends got this machine, I am now thinking wouldn't this make a perfect decoration in the kitchen for that perfect pop of color. Besides,  a good morning cup of coffee is priceless. Has anyone tried Nespresso machine?