The Under Hundred Gift Guide

Happy holidays! Are you #stressing about getting gifts for all your big loves this holiday? Don’t worry, I am too. I am what they call a “visual learner” so I had to assemble a visual list to get all my gift-giving essentials in one place this year. Here are all my picks, all of which are clocking in at under one hundred dollar bills.

Here’s the Oh Wonderful gift guide for 2016: 

Under $100 Gift Guide 2016

What to Get Your Boo

If he needs a wardrobe refresh, opt for a pocket tee by Everlane where everything’s made in full transparency. If he’s into cooking (and you’re into eating), invest in his (or her) culinary future and your future meals by getting them a long-lasting cast iron Lodge pan. Help him keep his finances in line with a leather wallet from Tanner goods and keep him active with wool sneakers from All Birds.

What to Get Your Parents 

Out-gift your parental units this year and recap your favorite memory of the year with a photo printed from Parabo Press. Help them wake up with a gift box of coffee from San Francisco-based, Blue Bottle coffee. Help them serve themselves or their future guests with a soup bowl from Heath served straight from a cast iron pot from Le Creuset.

What to Get Your Best Friend

Help your gal pal keep her lips super soft with Glossier’s Balm Dotcom (you know I love it too), then help her keep her hands soft with Byredo hand lotion. Tell her and everyone else how dope she is with a charm necklace from Kris Nations. Have her gather all of her essentials into a leather travel pouch from Cuyana.

Mexican Beef Stew

Mexican Beef Stew Recipe

It’s getting frosty over here in San Francisco! It’s officially coat, cuffing and cooking soup season so there’s a 100% chance that I’ll be in the kitchen trying to warm up. The first winter soup to make the cut was this Mexican Beef Stew with rice. Think: Tender beef, a citrusy kick and a subtle spice that’s not too overwhelming.

Mexican Beef Stew
Ingredients

5 tomatillos, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 lb. beef stew meat
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp.chili powder
4 dried chili de arbol
1 jalapeno, sliced thinly
1 bunch cilantro stems
6 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp. honey
Salt and cracked red pepper
Lime wedges

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, bring your vegetable broth, dry spices, chili de arbol onion and cilantro stems to a boil. Bring them back down to a simmer and add in the beef, cilantro stems, onion, jalapeno, tomatillos and honey to the mix.

2. Meanwhile, use a rice cooker or a pot with equal parts water and rice to whip up some rice. You’ll be putting this at the bottom of your bowl when you serve up your soup.

3. Cook soup for about an 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the stew meat is fully cooked. Spoon rice into your bowl, then cover with soup. For an extra tangy kick, squeeze in some fresh lime juice and garnish with a few cilantro leaves. Enjoy!

Wednesday Wants: A Cool, Grey City Wardrobe

wednesday-wants-cool-grey-wardrobe

I’ve always wanted to be one of those girls who look impeccably dressed no matter where they are—whether it’s the grocery store at 3 p.m. or the coffee shop at 7 a.m. Instead, I’m that girl who spends 40 minutes to achieve that dewy look and curls my hair so that it looks like I didn’t brush it. I think that the secret to those ladies is that they often know their color palette and they stick to it. Maybe Karl the Fog is influencing me or maybe it’s because I like it’s versatility, but I think grey might be my go-to color this season. Here are my favorite cool grey pieces to wear in this cool, grey city, clockwise from top left.

The Oh Wonderful picks for an all-grey wardrobe: 

Rivington Sweater Coat by Madewell: Hurry up, this sweater is selling out fast! This jacket will be a long duster coat on my 5’1 frame, but I’m excited to pair it with my favorite jeans and mini dresses this season.

Cluse ‘La Boheme’ Watch: You can’t ever go wrong with a classic timepiece. Trends come and go, just like the time. Not sure what I was trying to do there.

Vans Pig Suede Court DX sneakers: I need to get lace-up low tops this season and you can bet that I’ll look for a suede pair. These grey ones by Vans will go with anything.

Eugenia Kim Fedora: I’ve been a fan of Eugenia Kim and her toppers for a while and each season she gets better and better. It’s a #goal to own one of her hats—so why not start with a grey fedora?

Sole Society ‘Selena’ Backpack: As the temperatures drop, I’ll probably want to keep my hands warm and cozy in my pockets. A backpack to store all of my essentials will keep me hands-free as I head to work.

Wool Coat by Mango: If it starts to get really cold, I’ll layer on a grey wool coat over one of my favorite moto jackets. It doesn’t hurt to double the warmth, right?

Pat McGrath Metalmorphosis 005 in Silver Metallic: The famed and headband wearing makeup-artist, Pat McGrath has unleashed her fabulous collection at Sephora. I’m crushing on the sliver metallic set, after all, I do have a cool skin tone.

Grey Turtleneck by J. Crew: Jeans, ankle boots and a grey turtleneck have been my outfit of choice as of late. I only expect to add a couple more grey turtlenecks by the end of the year.

‘Taye’ Boots by Sam Edelman: I’m all about versatility when it comes to getting dressed, from my hair to my boots. I like a boot that I can dress up with a shimmery mini dress or dress down with distressed jeans and a tee. These fit the bill perfectly.

Spicy Clam Linguine with Roma Tomatoes

Clam Linguine Pasta with TomatoesBack at it again with another easy to make, but will quietly blow someone’s socks off meal. In my humble opinion, if you add seafood and herbs to anything, the meals instantly upgraded from #basic to “oooh, you fancy”. This recipe is perfect for putting on some good tunes (or podcast), cracking open a bottle of wine, using some of it for this recipe and then drinking the rest. This pasta sauce is meant to be spicy, but you can tone it down or up depending on how much wine you plan on drinking. 

Spicy Clam Linguine with Roma Tomatoes
Ingredients
1 lb. Manila clams
1 cup, unsalted butter
1 cup, dry white whine
5 roma tomatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 handful of linguine pasta

Clam cleaning tip: Before you cook your clams, let them soak in a bowl of water for at least 20 minutes. Once they’ve soaked, scrub them with a soft bristle brush under cool, running water. There you have it, grit-free clams! 

1. In a large pot, bring enough water for your pasta and a pinch of salt to a boil. In a separate pan, begin to melt the butter on medium heat. 

2. Once your stick of butter is about halfway melted, bring the heat down to medium-low. Add in your tomatoes and garlic to the mix. 

3. Once your water is boiling, add in your pasta and cook for 8-9 minutes, or whatever you prefer. Drain and rinse with cool water. As for the sauce, before all of the butter melts away add in the clams, white wine, pepper and thyme. 

4. Bring the sauce down to low and allow the clams to simmer with the sauce. 

Tip: If some clams don’t open up within 15 minutes, they have died and gone to clam heaven. AKA, they’re no good so don’t even try to open them! 

4. Add in your freshly cooked pasta to the sauce pan and mix everything together. Cover with some fresh Parmesan and serve. Enjoy! 


A Weekend Guide to Seattle

A couple of weeks ago, I took a quick jaunt up to the Pacific Northwest for a long(er) weekend away in Seattle. The weather forecast called for lots of rain, which meant that we were going to spend most of our time indoors either eating or shopping. If you’re wondering, we did both.

But with that rainy weather (seriously, it was their biggest storm of the year for them!), that meant we got to try out some seriously good food spots. Without having to worry about missing out on the outdoorsy stuff. As if we would really care if we did. Here’s my weekend guide to Seattle.

Where to Eat in Seattle

Weekend Guide to Seattle Weekend Guide to Seattle

Il Corvo Pasta

Il Corvo is the one spot that you must pasta pencil into your itinerary. This 2016 James Beard Award winner makes fresh pasta made to order in this sit-down spot. They’re only open for lunch from Monday to Friday between 11-3 so make sure to show up before the weekend rolls around.

Weekend Guide to Seattle Weekend Guide to SeattleWeekend Guide to Seattle

Anything by Renee Erickson

I’m just going to call her the Queen of Seattle at this point. I was #blessed to eat at every restaurant she has to offer in her city. With three restaurants in the young and hip Capitol Hill hood and one in the quaint and waterfront Ballard. Make a reservation at Bateau for individual, dry-aged steaks and the best corn (buttery, the right kind of cheesy and topped with chili threads). Head to General Porpoise for Stumptown Coffee and stuffed donuts. Then, if you need something from the sea and in a french-inspired setting, stop by Bar Melusine just two doors down.

Walrus and the Carpenter is her most famed-spot which is nestled just off the main drag in Ballard. It’s small plates and family-style eatery is experienced best with good company and one of their fine wine selections.

Other Seattle Eateries: 

  • Mr. West Café Bar: Thought you could only find avocado toast in California? I guess it’s taken over Seattle too. Mr. West had darn good coffee and a curry and mustard seed avocado toast.
  • Ballard Annex Oyster House: Freshly made bloodys and freshly shucked oysters make a perfect afternoon brunch.
  • Starbucks Reserve: There’s more to Starbucks than just PSL’s, which the Starbucks Reserve proved. Head here to see coffee roasted in at least four different ways.

Where to Drink in Seattle

Weekend Seattle Guide

Fremont Brewing Company

Just down the hill from the Fremont Troll and across the road from some Seattle-exclusive houseboats is Fremont Brewing Company. You can expect a lot of warm, hip company here (plus a fireplace inside) and an outdoor patio for when the weather’s nice. Plus, organic beer. Need I say more?

Weekend Guide to Seattle

Damn The Weather

Aptly named, Damn The Weather, this spot is the perfect place to hunker down from any and all bad weather. However, if I lived in Seattle, this is where I would be rain or shine. Nice wine, nice bartenders and even nicer cocktails.

Weekend Guide to SeattleWeekend Guide to Seattle

Barnacle

While you wait to grab a seat at the aforementioned Walrus and the Carpenter, grab a seat at Barnacle for a glass of Italian wine and a teaser plate of oysters.

Where To Shop in Seattle

Seattle Weekend Guide

Elliot Bay Book Company

There isn’t one city that I can go to without stopping by a bookstore. Maybe it’s because I like to pretend that I’m Belle from Beauty and the Beast in my very own library. This one has a mini-Oddfellows nestled right in there, so buy a paperback and head into the café for a blackberry lemonade.

Seattle Weekend Guide

Pike Place

As cliché as it is, no Seattle trip is whole without a visit to Pike Place. Grab a cup of coffee from Starbucks, see some fish being thrown through the air and grab some freshly cut dahlias for your hotel. Plus, you can’t go wrong with some quintessential (and food-centric) Seattle treats to bring back home.

Other places to shop in Seattle: 

  • Moorea Seal: Stop by the bright and airy spot in Belltown for their handmade jewelry that’s far from kitschy, smart wall art and some desk goods that I 100% want to have on my desk.
  • Prism: This is the store that’s so hip that you’ll feel square no matter how cool you are. Expect to find jewelry from Baleen, apothecary goods from Herbivore and other hip(ster) goods.
  • Nordstrom Flagship: The one Nordstrom that started it all. It might just be me or is everything even more carefully curated here? Plus, a fresh flower boutique at the entrance?
  • Horseshoe Boutique: Did you forget a sweater at home? Need another layer or a new pair of jeans? Horseshoe has you covered with Mother Denim, Frye, Sundry and my favorite fragrance, Kai.

Thanks to Pacific Northwest for yet another great trip!

Skillet Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Skillet Egg in Spicy Tomato Sauce

I’ve done it. I’ve found the one, the breakfast dish that I’ll make for any and all morning visitors that I have. It’s easy, requires less than 10 ingredients and is perfect alongside one or two cups of coffee. First, you let the sauce simmer with a bunch of herbs and spices, then you take a few eggs to throw in there so that you can scoop them up later with toast. Visitors and houseguests, you are welcome in advance.

Skillet Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Ingredients

3-5 eggs
1 can unsalted and peeled Marzano tomatoes
1 tsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. cracked red pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Chives, finely chopped

1. In a cast iron skillet or a heavy bottomed pan, mix your tomatoes, garlic and spices together and bring to a quick boil with just a few bubbles popping. Once it gets to a boil, bring it down to a simmer on low heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Once your tomato sauce has simmered and gotten flavorful, use a spoon to make small craters in the sauce. Crack your eggs directly over the pan and let them fall into those little craters. Top with a little bit more cracked red and black pepper and let them cook until the egg whites are white (duh).

3. Serve the skillet eggs directly out of the pan with toasted bread with butter. Enjoy!

Wednesday Wants: Fall Outerwear

Fall Outwear

Fall is here, fall is here, fall is heeeeereeeee (Oprah voice)! As I was getting dressed this morning in my dark as night black jeans, shapeless turtleneck and new over-the-knee/Kanye inspired boots, I no longer felt the weirdly emotional dilemma I had wearing a coat in the middle of July. To ring in the appropriately cold season, I rounded up my fall outerwear picks this season—all under 350 dollar bills, from left to right, bottom to top.

Leather Moto Jacket: I declared that I’d like a moto jacket in nearly every color, but I also want to add in some shearling this season for a softer, edgier (but totally warmer) spin.

Water Repellent Trench Coat: Last winter we experienced a mild El Niño and I invested in a very functional, but unstylish nylon raincoat. Once it rains, I’ll pull out a cropped trench coat instead—who cares if my hair gets wet. Actually, I care.

Denim Bomber Jacket: I know nylon bomber jackets are “in” right now, denim is a much cooler take on a bomber jacket. This Naked and Famous bomber is making me swoon.

Menswear Wool Coat: Now that I find myself wearing a hefty dose of stripes, black and jeans, I have no need to stray too far from a uniform. A menswear-inspired coat is an easy way to look a little chic and feel a lot warmer.

Printed Statement Coat: For those days when I want to pack more punch with my fall outerwear, I reach for a patterned statement coat. Windowpane prints or a fun, botanical print get my vote.

Wool Cocoon Coat: Also last season, I invested in a J.Crew Wool Cocoon coat in a mint green. They’ve been making these coats since 2006 (says them) and every year they come out with new colors. This season, I am crushing on the olive green hue.

 

Banana Mango Chia Seed Smoothie

Banana Mango Chia Seed Smoothie

After a weekend away in Seattle, a stream of plates being served to me at Walrus and the Carpenter, Bateau, Kin Khao and Nojo Ramen (okay, and takeout sushi, let’s not kid ourselves here), I was craving something fresh and homemade. On top of that, embracing my last month on the young side of my twenties has let me drink some really great cocktails and wine.

Once upon a time, smoothies were my go-to breakfast, until they were replaced by even quicker grab-and-go options. But with this most recent bout of stuffing my face, I’ve returned to my blended roots and whipped up a protein-packed smoothie to help me start the day (whether it’s at 7 a.m. or noon).

Banana Mango Chia Seed Smoothie
Ingredients

2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 cup milk kefir
1/4 cup mango juice
2 bananas, frozen then sliced
1/2 cup frozen mangoes

For this smoothie, I tried out milk kefir—a tangy, thick variation of milk made from kefir starters that resemble the consistency of cottage cheese. It’s lauded as being better for those with sensitive stomachs and packs in probiotics to boot. And chia seeds? Did you know that these pencil-tip sized seeds are packed with protein, calcium, antioxidants and fiber.

1. In a small bowl, combine your milk kefir and mango juice with your chia seeds. Let these rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours—the seeds will expand and get soft!

2. Once your chia seeds have soaked, combine all of your ingredients into a blender and enjoy!

Grilled Steak Sandwich with Arugula & Hummus

Grilled Steak Sandwich Recipe
I’m constantly snacking on hummus at work, since we’re cursed (by mostly blessed) with small packs of Sabra hummus. So when Sabra announced that they were coming out with sandwich spreads, I knew things were about to get next level. I’m not a fan of mayonnaise, but I always crave something a little flavorful and saucy on my sammies.

Bonus points, Sabra’s hummus spread has 75% less fat than mayo, is made with fresh ingredients and comes in a squeeze bottle to feed my lazy tendencies.

Grilled Steak Sandwich with Arugula & Hummus
Ingredients

1 pound of fresh rib eye (I got mine straight from the farmers market)
1/4 cup arugula
2 slices of fresh bread (mine was from Oakland’s Firebrand Bakery)
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. Sabra’s Cracked Black Pepper Sandwich Spread
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

1. Heat a grill or a pan to medium-high heat. Dry rub your ribeye with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to soak in all that flavor.

2. Once your steak has marinated with all that dry rub, place it into the pan to sear until it’s medium-well. I like the tried and true method of pressing on my steak to figure out if it’s done or not. If it’s as firm as the middle of your palm, you have a medium-well steak.

3. Take two slices of thick bread, lightly butter and pan fry until golden brown while your steak finishes up.

4. Slice your steak into small, 1/4 inch pieces and assemble your sandwich with your arugula. I gratuitously used about 2 tbsp. of Sabra’s delishhhh Cracked Black Pepper sandwich spread—perfect complement to the fresh arugula and steak. Enjoy!

Just as an FYI: I received free samples of Sabra Spreads mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

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Fall Garden Gazpacho

Fall Gazpacho, Oh Wonderful

I’m spoiled. I’ve grown up in a near-perfect state that rarely dips below 50-degrees, never lived more than 5 miles from the ocean and I can get fresh, local vegetables all year long. I mean, talk about being born with a silver spoon in my mouth or what.

Now in San Francisco, we have fertile farmland to the north, east and south of us, so I’m not even sure why we need grocery stores. Everyone should head to the farmers market once the weekend rolls around. One of my favorite farms, Tomatero Organic Farm, always brings the goods when it comes to fresh vegetables that taste just as perfect as they look.

Do yourself a favor this weekend, get out your blender and make some gazpacho with veggies straight from the farmers market.

Fall Gazpacho, Oh Wonderful

Fall Garden Gazpacho
Ingredients

6-7 garlic cloves
1 Anaheim pepper
3 Early Girl tomatoes, cubed
2 heirloom tomatoes, cubed
1/2 red onion, diced
3 Persian cucumbers, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Cracked black pepper

1. Before you whip up your gazpacho, refrigerate all of your vegetables for at least an hour to have them a little chilled before they go into the blender. You don’t want warm gazpacho!

2. Once your vegetables have chilled, combine all of your cubed vegetables in a powerful blender and blend until smooth. Gradually add the sherry vinegar and olive oil. Enjoy!