pumpkin pancakes

With the longest work day in history behind me, I'm now recuperating with wine, pumpkin pie, and Hocus Pocus.  But before I delve into the tale of the Sanderson sisters, I wanted to share with you the breakfast my roomate and I made on Sunday in the spirit of Halloween.

homemade pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon and maple syrup
This is the recipe we used.  I'll be honest and say the texture seemed a bit off--my roomate suggests it was the pumpkin purée.  But I did enjoy the flavor; they were incredibly sweet but the pumpkin flavor was not too overwhelming.   Try them out and let me know what you think!


spooky treats

With Halloween only one day away, I've been using the past few days as an excuse to eat as many sweets as possible.  So whenever my editor received some Halloween-inspired cupcakes the other day, of course I had to indulge.  But these particular cupcakes were standouts from others I've seen, as they were crafted by award-winning pastry chef Richard Ruskell.

Ruskell serves as the executive pastry chef at the Montage Beverly Hills.  Along with being a five-time Food Network Challenge winner, Ruskell also earned the title "Best Cake Artist in America" after winning Last Cake Standing on Food Network.  Chocolatier magazine also named him one of the "Top Ten Pasty Chefs in America."  Ruskell's desserts not only taste delectable, but also look the part.

I hope you all have a Halloween filled with spooky treats! I know I will.


jewelry by nola

I developed a love for fashion not long after moving to Los Angeles.  I contribute most of that to working for a magazine--many of my coworkers own fabulous clothes, and I see many beautiful pieces during our fashion segments.  More recently, I've developed a deeper appreciation for jewelry.  Of course I've always appreciated it, but now I've realized how beautiful jewels can transform any outfit.  Whenever I'm feeling incredibly lazy, I love knowing I can put on something comfortable, and simply stack a few bracelets on my wrist and put on a cocktail ring and walk out the door looking chic.

A jewelry designer visited our office this week to meet with my editor, and I've had the pleasure of working with her for our next segment.  Jewelry By Nola designer Nola Singer hand makes her pieces by recycling vintage treasures.  All of her statement pieces are unique and many are crafted as antique reproductions.

camilla belle wearing jewelry by nola earrings

this ring is on my wish list

sophia bush wearing jewelry by nola

vanessa hudgens at the vma's


malibu wines

A few weeks ago when my boyfriend was visiting me, we decided to make a little trip to Malibu.  We went hiking for a few hours, and then drove deep into the mountains to a quaint little place called Malibu Wines. I heard about this place through my friend Shelby, who knew how much I love wine and didn't want me to miss out!

Not only is this place beautiful (you look up and see nothing but mountains, trees, and sky), but also relatively cheap.  Of course, there are some more expensive bottles, with the highest price being about $75, but most of them were very affordable.  We opted for the Semler 2004 Cab Sauv and Saddlerock 2010 Orange Muscat, both of which I highly recommend.  The winery also does tasting flights, where you can sample three to five different types of wine.

But I think what I loved most about this place is that you can bring your own food (I know, you're shocked).  They have a few snacks available for purchase, but we just brought our own little picnic.  Granted, it was made up of the few things I had left in my pantry, but it was still delicious with our wine.  It was a lovely spot for one-on-one time, and I really want to get all the girls together one afternoon and take a trip back!

a portion of the backyard at malibu wines

the beau and i

i LOVED this sign. 
watermelon and semler cab sauv
I'm thinking I'll try a tasting during my next visit.  Any takers?


watermelon and feta

Over the past few weeks, I have been embracing fall's late arrival.  The second football season started, I was ready to bust out all of my boots, scarves, light sweaters, and drink hot coffee every single morning.  But as ready as I've been for fall, I felt that the beloved summer season deserved one last hurrah.  
sunday brunch on the patio (also, look how adorable my pup is)
baby watermelons at trader joe's
You can imagine my excitement when I saw these babies at Trader Joe's last week (for you non-Angelenos, this is the cheapest and best grocery store in L.A., in my opinion).  Of course I'm a big fan of slicing them up and eating them right away, but this week I decided to be a bit more creative.  A friend told me that she had a salad once that was topped with watermelon and feta, so I decided to create my own version.  All you need is a few ingredients, and it's super easy.

What you'll need:
-your choice of greens
-1/4 of a baby watermelon (this was a good ratio for me--feel free to put as much or as little as you like)
-feta cheese
-roasted/salted pecans (candied walnuts would be another good option)
-dressing of your choice

Arrange the greens in a bowl and set aside.  Then, slice up the watermelon.  I find it's easiest to cut straight down, to where your slices are shaped like triangles.  From there, separate the rind from the fruit by simply cutting it off.  Then chop the watermelon into cubes.

Put the watermelon in the bowl, and then sprinkle in some feta and pecans.

Top your salad off with a dressing of your choice.  I opted for a red wine vinaigrette, which added a subtle tanginess to the salad.  I believe raspberry vinaigrette would be a great choice as well.

salad w/ watermelon, feta, roasted pecans, and red wine vinaigrette
To be honest, normally I'm not a salad kind of girl, but I have to say I was very impressed with the end result.  If you love watermelon and feta, like I do, be prepared for your taste buds to explode.  Bon appetit!


in loving memory

Last year, my world came crumbling down when I lost my mom--my best friend, my inspiration.  She was 50.  It was incredibly sudden and unexpected--a huge loss in my life.  I don't say this to make anyone sad or take any pity, but rather to understand how big of a part of me she was, and still is.
my family in keystone, colorado in '07

More frequently these days I find myself saying, "I sound exactly like my mother" in particular circumstances.  A good example is when a friend gets sick and I insist they gargle with salt water.  That was something both of my parents basically forced my brothers and I to do, and I despised it.  Sometimes I would even pour half of the disgusting warm concoction down the sink (sorry, Dad).  But now--when one of my friends is sick, I push this tactic on them as well.  

Not only have my mom's nurturing tendencies begun rubbing off on me, but the older I get the more I realize how much I am like her in every sense.  She used to laugh when she'd see me running out the door in Nike shorts and an ill-fitting tee; she'd normally make a comment like, "I can't believe you're leaving the house like that."  I'd always brush it off, but now, only a couple years later, it's honestly a rarity to leave my apartment wearing something like that.  Going out in a T-shirt is usually something I save for game days now.  Moving to Los Angeles and working in the creative world has essentially transformed me into a fashionista-in-training.  So now, fashion has been tacked onto the list of my favorite things, and I can almost hear that infamous "I told you so."

So, now that my main interests essentially mirror my mom's--I found it fitting to create a space to share all of our favorite things with the world.  I hope you all enjoy! Here's to Kim, and everything fabulous that she loved.