I’m not one to splurge on flowers, but stylist Carlos Mota’s book Flowers Chic and Cheap convinced me that having fresh flowers around the apartment does not have to break the bank. His book emphasizes treasure hunting, using minimal stems to create maximum effect, and combining ordinary things like books and teapots to make extraordinary arrangements.
Giddy from inspiration, I made a rare floral purchase at a recent farmers market. I brought home a $5 bouquet of mixed flowers to see what I could create. Its contents were deceiving! With minimal investment and effort I was able to add color and volume to nearly every area of our apartment. The results? See for yourself! Everything pictured below came from the above $5 bouquet.
Don’t be afraid to create!
I have long been a Victoria’s Secret devotee. But as the retail price of a functional bra at the mega retailer approaches $50, I find myself searching elsewhere for intimate apparel.
Days ago I purchased three bras, all on clearance, by the Target brand Gilligan & O’Malley. I am so thrilled by the fit of all three and am especially delighted by the leopard print bra pictured below (see a push-up in a similar print here for under $13). So due to my newfound appreciation of budget-worthy bras, I’m very close to swearing off Victoria’s Secret and their overpriced products for good.
Where do you purchase your more functional undergarments?
Affordable Comfort is Possible!
Gilligan & O’Malley Leopard Print Strapless Bra, $6.48.
These decadent chocolate-dipped treats can be so expensive at sweet shops and bakeries. But surprise – they are actually very affordable to make. A batch of about twenty chocolate-dipped strawberries comes in at around a whopping $4.50 (accounting for only chocolate used); that’s about the price of two pieces at a specialty shop.
I prepared a batch for dinner with friends last night and they were an instant hit. They’re easy to assemble, affordable, require only three ingredients and look so pretty (though I need to perfect my drizzling technique).
Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries (makes approx. 20)
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet (or milk) chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 lb. fresh strawberries, washed and dried
1. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low or a simmer.
2. Set the semi-sweet chocolate chips, placed either in a heatproof bowl or a smaller pan, above the simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt (about 5 minutes).
3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (I used tin foil).
4. Holding a strawberry by the stem, twist into the chocolate until it is covered. Set on paper/pan. Repeat.
5. Melt the white chocolate. With a fork drizzle the chocolate on the strawberries.
6. Allow 30 minutes for the chocolate to set. Place pan in the refrigerator.
Just a couple pointers/notes: I have only the supplies to melt one chocolate at a time, and this is reflected in the recipe above. Too, after washing and drying the strawberries I recommend placing them in the freezer for a couple of minutes to harden before dipping in chocolate. Lastly, you can eye the proportions and be perfectly fine.
This past weekend I was definitely a tourist in my own town. A good friend and I dined at new restaurants, drove to the Griffith Observatory at sunset and finally visited the Getty Center.
My interest in the Getty was sparked after seeing it featured on Project Runway. Though I’ve lived in Los Angeles for two years, there are still plenty of sites to see and museums to explore.
At the Getty Center our favorite stop was the photography exhibition titled Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography since the Sixties; immediately upon my return I added Streetwise and Girl Culture to my library queue. After much time spent there, Alisa and I roamed the gardens. She held a borrowed umbrella to shade us from the sun and eventually we settled on a bench in the shade and observed, enjoyed and reminisced.
We saw kids rolling in the grass, couples dining on blankets, and people simply enjoying their Sunday. If you’re in Los Angeles and are looking to be inspired, head west. The $15 charge for parking is a steal (admission is free). After 5pm parking is free; I really imagine this place is gorgeous at sunset.
I had one of those marvelous weekends that you recall for days after the experiences, food, and fun times with an old friend have ended.
Sunday morning found my visiting best friend and me at Tart, a restaurant connected to the boutique hotel Farmer’s Daughter in LA. We arrived armed with a $25 Restaurant.com certificate, which I purchased over a year ago at 80% off for $2. If you’re familiar with Restaurant.com you’ll know that each certificate comes with restrictions. Most the $25 certificates require a minimum purchase of $35 and are valid on food only.
We dined like queens outdoors in the quintessential LA warmth. We began with the Seasonal Fruit Plate, $8.95, and a Buttery Croissant, $4.50 (neither pictured). Our main courses were the Brioche French Toast, $9.95, and the Meat Lover’s Skillet, $11.95, which we split.
For $10 a piece, tip included, we had a deliciously sweet and salty long brunch. If you’re in Los Angeles check out Tart after coffee and shopping at The Grove; it’s LA-fashion down-home cooking and décor complete with American fare, gingham napkins, cozy booths and strung patio lights. I will most definitely be returning.
As the temperatures sour here in LA, my water consumption has increased twofold and I have been eating watermelon faster than I can buy it. What better than some cool, salty salsa to ease the effect of the heat wave? If you’re anything like me, you could eat salsa by the bucket.
Tomatillos, staples of Mexican cuisine, aren’t well-ventured culinary fare here in the United States. The good news is that they’re affordable, make a great salsa base, and are available at your local market. Too, they’re packed with nutrients like fiber and Vitamin C, and half a cup of chopped tomatillos will set you back only twenty calories. Oh, and they photography beautifully.
This tomatillo salsa is spicy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I whipped it up for around $1.50. If you’re sensitive to spicy foods, adjust the proportions accordingly. Serve with chips or use as a garnish for your scrambled eggs. Enjoy!
Spicy Tomatillo Salsa (yields approximately 1.5 cups)
- 6 tomatillos
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (can)
- salt (to taste)
1. Heat a large nonstick frying pan on low.
2. Slice tomatillos in half.
3. Roast tomatillos and garlic cloves in the frying pan until soft. They will Brown a bit.
4. Combine tomatillos and garlic in a food processor; a hand blender will do the trick, as well. Once mixed add chipotle peppers. Blend until uniform. Add salt to taste.
Last week Drew Barrymore hosted a Nylon/Express event sporting the classic high-low fashion mix: a thrifted dress (purchased for $25 at a store in Austin, Texas) and designer shoes ($760 Yves Saint Laurent Tributes). Kudos to Drew for successfully pulling off this careful balance. Didn’t she look marvelous?
Combining high and low fashion is an increasingly cool concept. In fact, these days it can be considered unhip to dress in head-to-toe designer. This is good news for me, being somebody who has owned perhaps only a single designer item: a pair of Chanel sunglasses. I do believe in a designer splurge as long as it’s an accessory; that way, you can sport it each and every day.