The Piece: Madewell Side-Slit Skirt

Side-slit skirt. Now say that five times fast. I’ve been on the hunt for a work to weekend-appropriate skirt that hit every check box on my list. What was on my list? Versatility, the perfect amount of leg baringness, and a streamlined (but not tight) silhouette. I think I met my match with Madewell’s side-slit skirt.

Introducing a brand new series on the blog: The Piece, wherein I take my favorite piece from the month and show you how I’ll be wearing it on repeat for the most repetitive occasions in my life: work, the occasional date, a night out and finally (the best), the weekend.

Want to see how I’ll be wearing this month’s piece? Keep scrolling.

For The Workday

The Piece: Madewell Side Slit Skirt

When it comes to personal style, I like to keep it simple. The boldest thing you’ll ever see me where is a bright(er) color and maybe a floral print or wise stripes. So when it comes to work, muted hues, slouchy silhouettes, and less-revealing pieces are my go-to. Chambray and stripes are my #powercouple, while ankle booties are just my shoe spirit animal.

For Date Night

The Piece: Madewell Side Slit Skirt

My perfect free drink date night outfit? Casual, comfortable and just a little coy. During the winter my go-to meet for drinks outfit was a  chunky knit sweater and distressed jeans (so I could show off just a little skin), but springtime means patio drinks (weather permitting), a unexpected side-slit and block-heel sandals.

For A Night Out

The Piece: Madewell Side Slit Skirt

I don’t go out that often, but when I DO, the day of I always have a mini-meltdown trying to figure out what to wear. Wardrobe meltdowns are made harder when you’re trying to find something slinky to wear, but instead see the turtlenecks you own for each day of the week. But I’m excited to swap in a midi for skinny jeans for those very rare 2 a.m. nights.

For The Weekend

The Piece: Madewell Side Slit Skirt

Lately San Francisco weekends haven’t been the warmest, even though spring has officially sprung. But for that one hour where the sun might be out and the wind is hiding, I will happily slide into sandals and a straw hat. But I’ve learned that you should always carry a jacket in this city, so utility jackets are key (plus they have plenty of pockets).

Now shop the pieces shown here!

Wednesday Wants: J. Crew Spring Arrivals & Farewell Jenna Lyons

Wednesday Wants J Crew

Have you heard the news? Jenna Lyons is leaving J. Crew after 26 years. I am sad. Not like, “I must frame all of my favorite J. Crew pieces in a glass case so I can sell them on eBay one day,” but rather, I’m slightly excited for what’s to come. Let’s be real—J. Lyons set the standard for what all of us could expect from J. Crew. I acutely remember when I was 10 and browsing through their catalog, mentally picking out my favorite shade from their candy-colored collection of cashmere sweaters, thinking to myself, “I can’t wait until I’m older so I can buy one.” I’m probably disappointing my 10-year-old self by instead buying a cargo jacket that I’ll wear until it fades and toothpick jeans (which are the perfect median between skinny and straight).

I’m going to miss that classic (to me) that Jenna brought to the brand, from pairing tulle skirts with a chambray shirt to normalizing fuschia pink as a completely acceptable color to wear to the office, she really did wonders on J. Crew. Plus, let’s not forget the multiple times that Michelle Obama wore J. Crew. Talk about America’s brand.

Here are my current favorites from J. Crew’s spring collection: 

1. Cold-shoulder top: I’ve been told that my rosy-pink/translucent skin tone really pops in poppy red. Plus, cold-shoulder tops are trending for spring.

2. Slim boyfriend jeans: Get you a new pair of light wash jeans this spring. A loose, but flattering fit like a boyfriend jean might even extend into fall.

3. Galaxy hoop earrings: Hoop earrings are my new spirit animal and I’m ready to step up my hoop game with a more avant-garde pair.

4. Lace-up popover top: I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing if people start to think of you when they see a striped shirt. I’m going to go with the notion that it’s a good thing, so I want to lace-up and go in this popover top.

5. Ruffle hem midi-dress: The minute I saw the red floral dress I was all *drool emoji*. Knowing my predictable dressing habits, I would probably wear this with tan heels and my favorite cargo jacket.

6. Seer-sucker jumpsuit: I’m a sucker for stripes  and jumpsuits (and really anything I can wear a straw fedora with).

7. Signet bag in calf hair: I just want to live a pressure-free life and head out the door in a t-shirt, jeans and a bold bag.

8. Lace-up suede sandals: See what I said about tan sandals? It’ll never end.

Vegan Tomato Basil Soup

Vegan Tomato Basil Soup

I’ve been feeling like a refresh and reset—on this soup. Coming off the cleanse and back into my old eating (and drinking fine wine) habits, I’ve definitely noticed a shift in my mood, my energy and my ability to slip into my jeans. It’s probably time to go back to clean eating. So step one is to refresh and find new ways to clean-up my old recipes, starting with an old favorite: this tomato basil soup. Instead of using heavy cream, I subbed in plain coconut yogurt that gave this soup a tangy taste that I definitely don’t hate. It was actually a nice take on this heartier soup, just in time for spring.

Vegan Tomato Basil Soup
Ingredients

2 lbs. tomatoes (Romas are so good!), quartered and deseeded
4 cloves of garlic
1 yellow onion, halfed and sliced
2 tbsp.  olive oil
1 cup of coconut yogurt (your substitute for heavy cream!)
2 handfuls of basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups water
Cracked red pepper
Salt & pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and coat the onion, garlic and tomatoes with the olive oil and salt & pepper. Place in a heavy, oven-proof pot or a cookie sheet.

2. Cook for 45 minutes. They’ll be ready for soup once they’re mostly broken down and crumble at the touch of a spoon.

3. Transfer your baked goods into a pot on medium-high heat. Add in your water, chopped basil and cracked red pepper, boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Once your soup has simmered, transfer your soup into a blender or use an immersion blender to puree your soup. Before you blend, add in your coconut yogurt for that trademark creaminess. Blend away and enjoy!

Wednesday Wants: Embroidered Clothing

Wednesday Wants: Embroidered Clothes
It’s time to get my stitch on. On a scale of 1-10 of craftiness, I’d safely same that I’m at a 4. I know how to use a hot glue gun (and skillfully), but I never had the patience for anything that required yarn or thread. Everyone’s pulled out their needle and thread for spring’s biggest trend—embroidery from head to toe. Here are my favorite picks for this stitched (and seriously pretty) trend, from top left to bottom right. 

  • Sam Edelman clutch: I. Love. Clutches. Apply your best Oprah voice when you say that in your head—because that’s exactly how I feel. I’m fully prepared to have orinthologists fawn over this bag. 
  • Madewell embroidered jeans: I can’t keep orchids alive, but at least I can wear them, with no water or sunlight required. I’m fully supportive of a denim-on-denim look with these jeans. 
  • ‘La vie’ military jacket by Rebecca Taylor: if you see me regularly, you know that there’s a 75% chance that I’ll be wearing a cargo jacket. A sweet, floral accent seems like the perfect spring update for this personal staple. 
  • Topshop skinny jeans: I need a new night-out rotation. Im digging the thought of embroidered skinny jeans and a black cold shoulder top, especially as warmer weather starts to really sit in. 
  • Gap button-up: No one can go wrong with a blue button-up. I’d dress this one down with boyfriend jeans and flat slip-ons. 
  • Guitar strap by Rebecca Minkoff: I don’t know how to “shred” anything other than old checks, but I will wear this as a bag strap. 
  • Zara embroidered jeans: These babies are sold out already, but tune keep tuning into Zara to check back for more. 
  • ‘Reena’sandals by Topshop: Kill two trends with one shoe. Lace yourself up in these embroidered sandals, then head out the door. 

Hearty (But Healthy) Sausage & Bean Soup

Hearty Sausage and bean soup

It’s been a week since our plane touched down from an 8-day stint in Oaxaca City. Per usual, San Francisco welcomed me back with it’s chilly, grey arms then initiated started a 24-hour downpour as the cherry on top. At this point, spring just seems like a mythical season that San Franciscans can only dream of.  To warm up my hardened black heart towards this city and its weather I looked to the queen of organic luxury, Gwynnie P., for a soup recipe to get me through the next few days. I’m usually crafting up my own, but GP is just such an inspiration that I had to spring for the $5 vegetable broth to get this recipe exactly right.

Hearty (But Healthy) Sausage & Bean Soup (c/o Goop)
Ingredients

2 spicy sausage links (pork or chicken)
1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of mini carrots, diced
1 bunch of swiss chard, de-stemmed and torn
1 Tokyo turnip, diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can of cannellini beans
1 tsp. red chili flakes
1-quart vegetable or chicken stock
Cracked black pepper and salt to taste
4 tbsp. cold pressed olive oil

1. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot (hi, dutch oven!) on medium-high and add in 2 tbsp. of your olive oil. Meanwhile, remove your sausages from their casings and break your sausage up into half-inch chunks. Brown your sausage bits in the pot, then promptly remove from heat and set them aside in a separate bowl.

2.  Don’t waste those delicious sausage drippings! Leave them in the pan, then add the onions, garlic and dried thyme. Caramelize these for 10 minutes (or until they’re a translucent tan), then add your carrot bits. Saute the carrots for another 10 minutes.

3. After you’ve sauteed until your heart’s content, add in your diced tomatoes, turnip, butternut squash and stock. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low to simmer for 45 minutes.

4. Once your turnips and butternut squash split with the touch of a fork, add in your already cooked sausage, cannellini beans and swiss chard. Simmer on low for another 20 minutes then you’re ready to serve. Enjoy!

Wednesday Wants: White Sneakers 

What’s the one wardrobe staple that I can’t live without? Aside from a fresh pair of undies, it’s always a white sneaker. From my first pair of white Converse in college to my newest pair of Allbirds (which are perfect for traveling), they’re top dog in my shoe closet. Yes, white sneakers do get dirty pretty quickly, but most of my favorites can be thrown straight into the washer with a little bit of OxiClean and a healthy does of air-dry time. Whether I’m “dressing them up” with a floral blouse for work or dressing down with a sweater for the weekends, here are my favorite white sneakers.

1. Superga Cotu Classic: Fine Italian sandals for a not-so-Italian price. Supergra’s are perfect for running those weekend errands. They’re solid and sturdy, just like a long line at the grocery store on a Sunday night.

2. Puma Basket Sneakers: Now that’s what I call a comeback. Puma fell off of my personal radar, but they’re back! These basket sneakers have been making their rounds with bigger laces that look a lot more ladylike.

3. Allbirds: Sneakers made from wool? Yup, and they’re the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. I sprung for these for my trip to Oaxaca (more on that later), and they were the first pair of sneakers to keep my feet happy even after a long day of playing turista. Want to wash them? Just take out the inner sole and throw them in the wash!

4. Kenneth Cole ‘Kam’Fancify your feet with these puppies from Kenneth Cole. Gigi and Kendall have worn these babies, so why haven’t you gotten a pair yet? Even if you march to the beat of your own fashion drum, these sneaks are a fine alternative to flats from 9 to 5.

5/6. Vans ‘Old Skool’My pre-teen pipe dreams are still alive and well. Even though I’m not into sk8r bois named Kevin anymore, I still love my Vans.

Kimchi Deviled Eggs

Kimchi Deviled Egg recipe

Three weeks has quietly flown by, like a tiny little sparrow. Just kidding, I was gritting my teeth every time I saw anything resembling a pastry. Every time I walked by a coffee shop, I had to talk myself down from the ledge of caffeine. This week, I’ll start the reintroduction phase, but I’m going to throw it back to the start when I was totally jazzed on the elimination diet and whipped up these elimination diet-friendly eggs.

Kimchi Deviled Eggs 
Ingredients

6 large, free-range eggs
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/3 cup kimchi and kimchi juice
2 tsp. coconut aminos (sub for soy sauce)
1 tbsp. black sesame seeds
1 tbsp. gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)*
Salt, to taste

1. For perfect, hard-boiled eggs, bring water to a boil then add your eggs. Let them cook for 10 minutes, then promptly remove them and place into a bowl of ice water.

Tip: When it’s time to crack your eggs, crack them from the bottom! Trust me—that wider end has a hollow spot that makes it easy to peel off the shell.

2. Use a food processor to finely chop your kimchi. Combine your egg yolks, sesame oil, kimchi, kimchi juice, coco aminos and gochujang together and use a fork to blend until smooth.

3. Create a makeshift piping bag by cutting a small corner off of a Ziploc bag. Spoon your egg yolk mixture into the bag, then fill your boiled eggs up. Top off with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and enjoy!

*I was on a nightshade-free elimination diet plan. So if you are too, skip the gochujang!

Chimichurri Roasted Salmon

Chimichurri roasted salmon recipe

Week one of Elimination Diet 2017 has been going. Well? Can’t say that—but I can say that I have gone through it with resolute strength at that creamy, roasted smell of the coffee shop on my corner every morning. Plus, I haven’t even grabbed a slice of pizza or deliciously buttery pastry at my weakest! Instead, I’ve been a slave to my diet and cooking everything du jour dans ma cuisine. Plus, I’ve embraced rabbit food salad as an actual lunch food group. Every time I pick up an unfamiliar snack or go grocery shopping, I pick everything up and read the nutrition label on the back—I must look like the confused math lady. But, it’s been somewhat fun figuring out what I can and cannot eat, plus I’m actually really impressed with myself that I haven’t caved (fingers crossed it won’t happen tomorrow). I  guess I’m not doing a great job at selling this elimination diet.

Read this part if you want to know the good parts: I cooked this delicious roasted salmon recipe and ate it with mashed sweet potatoes on the side. It’s totally elimination diet-friendly (no dairy, no gluten, no nightshades) and protein-packed. Another benefit of this diet? My jeans are feeling a little less snug!

Chimichurri Roasted Salmon
Ingredients

1 salmon filet
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to boil. To make your chimichurri, combine all of your fresh herbs, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper into a food processor. Process until your herbs are finely chopped.

2. I like to cook any fish in parchment paper or foil—it keeps it really moist and flavorful. Set a piece of foil, large enough to fold into a tent over your salmon, in an oven safe pan or tray. Coat your salmon in your chimichurri mix and bake for 10-12 minutes. An easy tip to make sure salmon is cooked? If it’s flaking easily with the touch of a fork, it’s ready to eat. Enjoy!

Winter Beauty Essentials

Winter Beauty Essentials

Winter is coming. Kidding, it’s totally here. The other day I put on a puffer coat just to move my car, so for a born & bred California girl it’s safe to say that anything less than 50 degrees is freezing. I might be eating my words in a week, but I’m lucky enough that my skin doesn’t suffer from any dry spots once the temperatures drop. So let’s dive into my favorite essentials from this winter.

  • belif Cleansing Gel Oil Enriched: After reading review after review of gel cleansers (and trying out Milky Jelly by Glossier), I hopped on the gel cleanser train. I’m all aboard now, since this one takes out every last drop of makeup, especially when you cleanse a dry face at the end of a long day.
  • Living Proof Dry Shampoo: I’ve also been skipping washes throughout the week (only every other day, okay!) since it’s way easier to curl my hair on a skip day. I can’t say I love this dry shampoo, but it does the job. I’m still looking for “the one” though.
  • Rose balm dotcom: I’ve already counted the ways that I love balm dotcom, so I’ll spare you. This winter, I’m reaching for this lightly tinted balm with the same all-day moisture.

Winter Beauty Essentials

  • Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream: This bb creamI’m a slather on and go type of gal. I have no patience for blending and disdain anything that feels like a layer of vaseline on my face. sinks right in and covers up those imperfections from any late night or too many pizza slices.

Winter Beauty Essentials

  • Moisturizing Moon Mask by Glossier: This one’s lightMaybe the trick to banishing any dry spots is a serious relationship with any and all face masks. , but doesn’t skimp on the moisture. Plus, I’ve read that you can sleep with it on. Now that’s a two-in-one mask.
  • Harry’s razor: Winter might not be the most optimal time for silky smooth legs. But when you discover Harry’s razors (now sold at Target too!), it’s hard to not shave even if your legs aren’t catching the faintest glimpse of the sun.

Winter Beauty Essentials

  • Replenishing Gel Cream by REN: Even if my skin’s not having a meltdown, I like to give it a bit of upkeep when it comes to preventing blemishes. I’ve been using this daily, underneath my moisturizer, to keep it 100%.
  • Highliner Gel Crayon Eyeliner by Marc Jacobs: Branded as a gel pot eyeliner in a crayon, this is my one-way ticket to a quick and easy lined eye. I like to put it on before a big night, that way the smudges look more semi-smoky rather that unintentional by the night’s end.

White Bean and Beef Chili

Chipotle White Bean and Beef Chili

I’m two days into an elimination diet. It’s going well, thanks for asking. What’s been the hardest thing to cut out? Hm, I would have to say my morning coffee (esp. when you stayed out till 4 a.m. this weekend). For the next 21 days, I’ll be avoiding all things dairy, soy, alcohol, coffee, non-grass fed produce, grains and processed food. While I’ve been planning my diet-friendly meals, I realized that most of what I eat aligns with the elimination plan. Really, it’s all about eating whole, fresh and seasonal. But back to this chili—even though it was a three-day weekend, I was all about staying at home, getting caught up on some records that I needed to listen to and hunker down from the cold. So I reached for my adobo-soaked chipotles (my current favorite) and grass fed ground beef and went to chili-town.

White Bean and Beef Chili

White Bean and Beef Chili 
Ingredients

28 oz. canned and peeled tomatoes (try to get a BPA-free jar!)
20-23 oz. cooked and drained pochas beans (or you can use cannelli or navy beans)
1 adobo-soaked chipotle pepper
1 lb. grass fed ground beef*
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and cracked black pepper
Olive oil

1. In a heavy bottomed pan on medium-high heat, saute your onions, garlic, bell pepper, chipotle pepper and spices together until the onions are slightly translucent or about 10 minutes.

2. Heat another pan to medium-high heat and brown your ground beef with salt and cracked black pepper. Browning meat takes a solid 15 minutes, you want your meat to look edible, so look for a taupe-brown color, not a light grey. It’s called browning for a reason!

3. Once your onions and spices have seared, add in your canned tomatoes and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes, then break apart your tomatoes with the back of a spoon.

4. Once your meat has browned, add it to your tomatoes, then add in your beans. Simmer for another 15 minutes and then take out the chipotle chili before serving.

5. If you’re not on a cleanse, serve it with cheese or sour cream on top. Or if you’re like me, try it with avocados. Enjoy!

*Grass-fed beef is cleanse-friendly! Cattle feed often contains soy and other additives which make it’s way into your meat.