Saturday, December 31, 2011

Leather & Cashmere:

Hat- Forever 21, Sweater- Vintage, Belt- Target ,
Skirt- Vintage, Bag- Coach, Watch- Michael Kors,
Shoes- Christian Siriano for Payless

      I recently purchased this quilted leather skirt from Crossroads and while I was very excited to wear it, I wasn't quite sure how to style it. (I had a similar experience with this outfit) Leather can potentially be a difficult fabric to style in a classy manner, here are some of my styling tips:

-To keep a leather skirt from looking trashy, go for pencil length or high waisted styles. 

- Try adding dressy flats, like oxfords. Heels can work also, but I feel a little over done wearing sky high heels with a flashy leather skirt. If you do prefer a little extra height, try a low kitten heel. 

- If I'm wearing leather on the lower half of my outfit I like to balance it out with something soft on the upper half, like this cashmere sweater. Satin would be a nice textural change as well

      Finally, to keep a basic all black outfit less boring, I added a magenta knit hat and leopard print belt. This cheap and inexpensive belt has become a major staple in my wardrobe. Previously styled this same accessory here and here. Gotta love Target right?


PS: Special thanks to my little sister Gracie for taking these photos for me... she's a bit of a ham in front of the camera:

Friday, December 30, 2011

Chocolate White Chocolate Cranberry Hazelnut Cookies:

      If you have been following my blog for awhile now you may have noticed that I can't leave well enough alone when it comes to a recipe. For example, I've made countless amounts of chocolate chip cookies. However, I can never make a basic chocolate chip cookie. White chocolate chip and orange cookies have made an appearance on my blog as well as oatmeal cookies with M&Ms instead of chocolate chips (I even added chopped pretzels to that batch!). But let me tell you, I think I have found my ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe! With a lengthy name like "Chocolate White Chocolate Cranberry Hazelnut Cookies" they better live up to the long drawn out title! I love the balance of the chocolate flavored cookie dough with the smooth and delicate white chocolate chips. The Cranberries give the cookies an added chewiness that can't be beat and the finely chopped hazelnuts lend a nice mellow crunch. I really hope you find a spare minute to yourself to bake up this recipe ( adding in dried cranberries and chopped hazelnuts at the end) and see for yourself how indulgent these morsels are!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

After Christmas Bargain Hunting!

      Everyone has that one friend, the one that gets ALL the best deals on everything including clothes. But most of the time... this "friend" never wants to divulge their shopping secrets and bargain hunting tips. Well... let me assure you, I am NOT that kind of friend. Here's how I make the most of after Christmas bargain shopping! 
      My first priority is to go thru all of the presents I have been gifted. I notice that I often receive clothing that either doesn't fit or is not my particular style. I gather up any items that I don't see working into my wardrobe (that also don't come with gift receipts) and march myself down to Crossroads Trading Company. If you haven't already heard, crossroads will trade in your like new and trendy clothing for cash or trade! This year I opted for trade, meaning I got to select any items in the store in exchange for my clothes. Here is what I selected and all of it was technically free:

White angora sweater. Perfect for staying warm in winter and
the white color makes it a perfect layering piece for chiller summer
nights! This garment is a year round staple!

Sheer floral tank top by Betsey Johnson, so
 thrilled to wear this in warm weather!

Black quilted leather skirt, fits like a
glove and perhaps my new obsession.

Check out the original price tag on this baby!
Originally $350 at Neiman Marcus, mine for free!

      I'm really hoping everyone was able to score some amazing deals with all of those holiday gift cards! If not, try my shopping spree trick!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011



Oxfords by nsaich featuring patent leather oxfords

      I for one am having a hard time staying away from this menswear inspired shoe. Easy to add to any dressy or casual outfit, oxfords are here to stay (well at least for another season)! I already own a patent black pair but any of these options would be a fantastic add to my collection too. Hit this link to see me sporting my own pair!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fashion & Food:

Hat- Forever21, Sunglasses- Betsey Johnson, Scarf-
Get it here. Cashmere Sweater- K Mart, Denim- Alloy, Bag-
Chloe, Shoes- Isabel Toledo for Payless, Watch- Michael Kors

      A few weeks ago I headed up to San Francisco for a USF Lady Dons basketball game (they broke their 9 game loosing streak that night! haha). The outfit I wore included all of my usual suspects. I can't seem to get away from sweaters and jeans. My New Years resolution may be to spice up my daily attire. Moving on, this pink sweater is a major change for me. I don't really wear pink because its such an overly feminine color (and that I am not) plus with my blonde hair I have developed a fear of looking like barbie. However I received a coupon from K Mart while doing my holiday shopping for 5 bucks off a purchase. I went back when the coupon was valid and found this 100 percent (soft as butter!) cashmere sweater for $30! I thought pairing the soft pink with jet black and a skull motif would make my outfit more tough girl and less barbie doll, what do you think? Are there any colors you are afraid to wear?


PS: Check out those stellar steaks we BBQed before the game! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Give Away from "The Golden Bun"

      I'm always a little broke after all the holiday festivities, aren't we all? So while browsing thru blogs and lusting after all the online sales, I decided to enter a give away featured on The Golden Bun! For a chance to win an arty style ring, click here

        Are you guys finding any good deals today? Where are the biggest sales?


Sunday, December 25, 2011


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

--- Max Ehrmann, 1927

Happy Holidays!



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Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Eve Before Christmas:

xmas eve

xmas eve by nsaich featuring a v neck dress

     What I wish I was wearing to Holiday dinner tonight. Bright primaries mixed with bold accessories remind me of the glimmering lights strung on a Christmas tree. 


Friday, December 23, 2011



Slippers by nsaich featuring slipper shoes

     There's nothing better than spending xmas morning unwrapping presents with your loved ones. However, keeping your feet toasty in a warm pair of slippers is also high on my holiday fun list (especially if the slippers happen to be in the form on zombie's like the pair featured above!). Some of my other favorite Christmas related activities include:

-Baking up over 6 POUNDS of butter this month.
-The smell of orange zest filling my home after dishing up these bad boys
-Devouring a holiday meal at Dad's house (this year should be a classic stunner!)
- Sand Angels
- Hot drinks to cut thru the crisp coastal breeze of Santa Cruz, like my spiced cider.
-Taking walks downtown to listen to carol singers and street musicians

      Okay I didn't really make sand angels on the beaches of Santa Cruz, but it was a nice idea! Just two days until Christmas! Are you ready for it?


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chocolate Truffle Overload:

      Is there ever really an "overload" of chocolate? After seeing how simple it was to make dark chocolate raspberry truffles earlier this week, I was determined to try a few other flavors. Please refer to my original recipe here. Altering only a few steps can change the entire taste and appearance of just one recipe. I love that once I learn a cooking method I can alter it as much as I want to create a variety of dishes, don't you? Follow the original recipe as well as the substitutions below to produce rich milk chocolate hazelnut truffles as well as smooth white chocolate orange truffles:

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

Hazelnut Truffles- 
      Following the original recipe, substitute milk chocolate and almond extract for the dark chocolate and raspberry extract. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of Frangelico to the warm cream mixture. Roll the truffles in chopped hazelnuts to finish!

White Chocolate Orange Truffles-
      Following the original recipe, swap the raspberry extract for vanilla and add 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier to white chocolate. Roll ganache squares into balls after chilling in the fridge and roll in finely chopped candied pecans. 

      I am so excited to put these into my holiday gift boxes! What do you guys think, would it be nice to receive some home made truffles this Christmas?


PS: to view my culinary updates you can also click the site !

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Truffles:

     Recently, while watching the movie Chocolat with my man friend I got the sudden urge to make my own chocolate truffles. Juliette Binoche's character makes it look so sensual and effortless in the movie. After reviewing several recipes, I tweaked each of them a bit until I created a recipe that was suited for my own tastes. My boyfriend even joined in on the candy making! I have to admit he made most of this batch himself! The best part about this recipe is that no real cooking is involved. As long as you know how to operate a microwave you are good to go! With that being said, this recipe also turns out excellent results. I can't even begin to describe the velvety smooth texture of the dark chocolate mixed with the tangy taste of raspberry. Here's how:

Magic Ingredients:
-2 cups of dark chocolate bar(s)
-1/2 cup of heavy cream
-2 tablespoons light corn syrup 
-2 teaspoons raspberry extract
-1/2 cup cocoa powder
-1/2 cup powdered sugar
-1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter

Let's Get Started:
1: Chop the dark chocolate bar(s) into smaller slices. I find that cutting starting from the corners of the chocolate bar is easier. Measure out two cups and put into a mid sized microwave safe bowl:

2: Melt the chopped chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until almost melted. There should be some small pieces remaining in the mixture:

3: Pour 1/2 of a cup of heavy cream into a measuring cup and microwave for 45 seconds. Remove from the microwave, add corn syrup, raspberry extract, and pour over melted chocolate. Add in butter that has been softened and chopped into pieces. Stir mixture together until all ingredients are fully combined and melted:

4: Pour the ganache into an 8 by 8 baking tin lined with parchment paper. Let rest at room temperature for 2 hours. Transfer to fridge and let rest for 2 hours covered. 

5: Chop ganache into squares with a knife. This step works best if you run the knife under very hot water and dry with a towel before slicing. 

6: Mix powdered sugar and cocoa powder together in a shallow dish. Dip the ganache square into the powder mixture and it turns into a decadent truffle!

Decorate with candy sprinkles if you'd 
like. I used snowflakes for a winter flair: 

In addition to dark chocolate raspberry
 truffles, I created two other luscious flavors!  
I promise to post more on that later  ; )

      Store these truffles in the fridge and let thaw 5 minutes before serving. These truffles keep for up to a week in the fridge!

Have you been whipping up any sweet treats for the winter season? Let's exchange recipes!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Cheer:

      I know the holidays can fill some with dread and terror. Long lines, having someone else take the last cream cheese danish at Starbucks ( and having it toasted so everyone can smell the rich creamy pastry deliciousness), and the angry drivers can make anyone hate the season of giving. I have tried to curb this Christmas insanity by honoring some of my favorite traditions and stocking up on winter essentials. Sometimes all it takes is some festive wrapping paper, sparkling tree lights, and a little bit of chocolate to turn my mood around: 

Mini bar is all set up for impromptu house guests:

Home made truffles are chillin' 
in my fridge (literally).

All of the wrapping below (plus scissors and tape!) were purchased at Dollar Tree, saved me a bunch:

This is Gracie's gingerbread house, I'm looking forward to decorating my own on Christmas day.
(Even more excited about eating it!)

How do you savor the holidays?