linguine with clams

my favorite foods?  korean bbq and noodles/pasta.  noodles trump rice for me–always.  i don’t order pizza at california pizza kitchen; i always get pasta (chicken tequila fettuccine usually).

i like all kinds of noodles: pasta, from lasagna to linguine; rice noodles; dry; in broth–i want them all.  i’m not really a seafood person, but i do like some shell fish and crustaceans.  i’m also not a fan of cream-based sauces for pasta (don’t like most dairy products).  linguine with clams is a pasta dish i really like and this recipe from the kitchy kitchen looks amazing.

garlic?  good.  olive oil?  yum.  linguine?  my favorite type of pasta.  chili flakes?  now we’re talking.  bacon?  oh mama, i’m salivating.

this is a definite must try for me.  get the recipe at the kitchy kitchen.

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oh. crap.

the chanel camellia-embossed zippy wallet from s/s 2011.  it’s like my woc…but patent.  damnit, why did i have to get red lambskin!

last year i went crazy and bought 2 chanel purses, 2 pairs of christian louboutin heels, 1 pair of chanel pumps, and a pair of alexander mcqueen heels at around the same time–it’s no wonder i’m broke.  but i want…

damn you, penguin!

penguin books strikes again.  now they’re coming out with an embroidered collection called “penguin threads” by jillian tamaki.  what kills me is that they’re pretty much the same titles as what’s offered by their other designer collection i posted about earlier.  in fact, i just got my copy of alice’s adventures in wonderland and through the looking glass from amazon this weekend.

but these look beautifully crafted–makes me wonder about the price point.

i liked black beauty when i was younger, so that’s a possibility.  and the secret garden again.  damn you, penguin!  and damn myself for being such a sucker.

work in progress

to see the full flap designs, check out her sketch blog entry.

fanny pack come back

one of fashion’s most dreaded accessories is making a come back.  in 2011, there have been many popping up from different fashion houses, including hermes and diane von furstenberg.

i know that most people probably hate them, but i’m one of the people who love them and think that it can be possible for them to look good.  i’m also one of the people who like uggs so maybe i have bad taste…but to each his own, right?

the term “fanny pack” has become associated with the bulky nylon packs tourists wear so now they’re being called a variety of different names: belt bag, waist bag, bum bag, hip pack, etc. (and you can substitute bag for pack or pouch and end up with even more options).  i prefer the term belt bag or waist bag myself.  i got my first (fashionable) waist bag from coach in 2006 i think and i’ve been a converted fan since.  i take mine  pretty much anytime i travel anywhere.  people who despise them say that they’ll use the more fashionable cross-body bag (which is also making a big come back), and while i like cross-body bags too, they still put weight on your shoulder and throw your balance/spine off.  with waist bags (aka fanny packs), the weight is evenly distributed and because it’s around your waist/hips, it really doesn’t feel that heavy.  it does sort of make me feel like a mule with a saddle bag though.  part of the reason it’s less heavy is also because they typically are rather small and can’t hold too much, which is perfect for traveling.  when i’m traveling, i probably don’t need all my keys (house and car)…i pretty much only need my money, some id, and my phone.  and because it’s kept close to my body, it’s also harder for it to get snatched or pick pocketed in more seedy areas.  i love them!

in fact, i love mine and use mine so much that it’s looking pretty nasty and i’ve been wanting to replace it for a while.  the jacquard fabric has been darkened all over the back from dye transfer (a casualty of dark denim).  to be honest, i still have a lot of life left in mine but i want something shiny and new.  i’m also not a fan of monogram, which is what mine is.  so i’m on the hunt for a new one.

perhaps the moment the waist bag stopped being a fashion faux pas was when stylist patricia field dressed sarah jessica parker in gucci’s version in “sex & the city”, making it probably the most popular/purchased one (i have a friend with one and have seen countless fakes in asia):

better view of the gucci belt bag

even celebrities are wearing them!

rihanna in louis vuitton

and here’s one of my favorite bloggers, jane aldrige (sea of shoes), wearing one:

there are many out there–and even more on the way–but these are some of my personal favorites:

left: hermes, right: pucci

top left: hermes, top right: pucci, bottom: diane von furstenberg

i really like hermes’ take but would prefer it to be more boxy.  the flat, thin envelope-like pouch seems like it’d look terrible if you actually put anything inside it besides papers.  and for $4,700, it better at least be functional!

that’s what makes the michael by michael kors hamilton belt bag so perfect!  it has all the elements i like from hermes’ version with the depth i desire.

and with a retail price of $128 it’s much more in line with my budget.  unfortunately, this is from last year and although i’ve looked, i haven’t been able to find it anywhere.  i found a black one on ebay but i like the luggage brown color so much more.  when it was on sale, i think it sold for around $60–what a bummer!

i think the catwalk purse belt from jaeger london’s pretty cute too.  it also comes in navy, red, and green.

and diane von furstenberg has several different ones in her collection; more than what’s pictured below.

i’m partial to the elaine from dvf:

but i think the winner is the chloe marcie bum bag in tan:

i ordered it on a whim (and have already returned it) and fell in love with it.  i can’t afford to spare $570 at the moment so i’ll be waiting for the friends & family sale that should be happening later next month.  i was hoping to have the bag in time for when i go to chicago and new york but if it means saving over $100, i don’t mind waiting.

designers help with japan’s disaster aid

i’ve always felt a personal connection to japan and the japanese culture as i’ve long been interested in it, studied there when i was in college, and visited around this time last year.

with the powerful 8.9 earthquake (and many more aftershocks), ensuing tsunami, and nuclear meltdown worries i can’t imagine the hardship the japanese are facing right now.

the tragedy hits a little close to home as ibaraki prefecture, where i studied, was one of the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami.  i still have friends who live there–one of them in tochigi and went for over 12 hours without electricity, but is thankfully fine otherwise.  one of the girls i studied abroad with flew into sendai airport the day of the earthquake and tsunami and became one of the missing americans.  her story’s pretty amazing, and even more so for me since i know her.  she has been teaching english in japan for the past several years and recently came home permanently but she flew back that fateful day to see her students graduate in march.  you can imagine the anguish her family experienced after what happened, only knowing that their daughter was “staying with friends”.  her sister tweeted to nbc’s “the today show’s” ann curry for help and boy, did she respond!  ann curry flew out to japan and successfully located her.  i can’t figure out how to embed the video in my post, but for those who are curious to hear the touching story play out, please see the clip on msnbc.

there has been an outpouring of care and aid and i’ve noticed that there has been an increasing trend of designers who want to utilize their talents to help the relief organizations.  i think this is awesome and can be great for those who wouldn’t donate otherwise, or even for those who would like a physical token to remind them of the devastation that happened (and is still happening).  not only does it help these good causes, but it also supports design talent.

i’ve included a lot of the ones i thought were well-designed, but there are many more.  if you’re interested in purchasing or just learning more, click the image to be redirected:

 

bape/baby milo's charity tee, proceeds going to the disaster relief effort

mike shinoda of linkin park's t-shirts (another design available), all profits benefit survivors of the quake & tsunami

adapt's t-shirt (black/white), 100% of proceeds going to the american red cross

jesse ledoux's art print, $25 from each print sold going to the international red cross

ajdimarucot's art print, all proceeds going to red cross

w+k studio's thank you poster for at least a $25 donation to red cross

etsy's thelivingconspiracy's print; 100% proceeds going to red cross

rojo foto's print for a $15 donation to team

james white's print, all profits donated to japanese disaster relief

zac neulieb's poster, all proceeds going to american red cross

rob dobi's print, all proceed benefiting disaster relief

carrrrrlos' print, all proceeds going to global living

daniel freytag's print, 100% of proceeds going to the british red cross

linda yuki nakanishi's art print, 100% of the proceeds going to canadian red cross

lady gaga's $5 bracelet + optional donation to relief efforts

 

roberu's leather wristbands, all proceeds to benefit red cross

corter's leather bracelet, all proceeds going to red cross

ken+dana design's sterling silver necklace, $30 from each sold going to red cross

joan hornig's sterling silver necklace, 100% proceeds benefiting a charity of your choice

scout books' 3-pack of notebooks, all proceeds going to mercy corps

there's even street art for japan!

so as you can see, there are a lot of options out there.  for even more, check out design for japan.

and for those of you near l.a., takami sushi & robata is currently donation 100% of their profits to japan earthquake and tsunami victims.  the restaurant hasn’t set a specific end date so you may want to inquire when you book reservations or while you’re there.  there seems to be a yelp group organizing a dinner event there on march 31st.  i recommend the chilean sea bass.

these are the ones that i’m personally considering: a paperback zine with contributors such as peter taville, alexa chung, and tavi; a 100% cotton oversized t-shirt; and a vintage lucite necklace.

afterzine donates $5 from the sale of each $10 paperback zine to red cross

multeepurpose's oversized tee for women, more designs available, with all proceeds going to red cross

shamila's ivory & gold carved necklace, all proceeds going to japan red cross

as i’ve been scouring the web, i came across one designer who was flamed for the art print he created.  he was accused of trying to gain recognition and profiting off of the disaster.  while the consumer may not know if any of the money used to purchase these goods are actually going towards the causes the merchants claims they are, i think we should give them the benefit of the doubt.  and i think it’s too much to expect that 100% of the sales price go toward the relief organizations (it’s usually just 100% of the profit/proceeds).  most of these are small shops/artists who can’t afford to spend so much time to create these products at a cost to themselves.

super sale | up to 85% off too faced cosmetics!

too faced cosmetics is having their semi-annual vintage super sale, which ends 3/20 so you better hurry!  i have heard rave reviews for their eye shadow primer, which is included in their pink carpet survival kit for $30.  and every order has free samples!

the weekend in review

this weekend, i watched rango and dined at bottega louie in downtown los angeles; this is my review for both.

RANGO

friday night, boyfriend and i used the discounted amc tickets we purchased through various groupon-like sites to watch rango.  until the movie came out, i had little desire to watch the movie based on the trailer.  to be honest, i am pretty biased and tend to think the worst of most animated family films with the exception of pixar.  but the reviews for rango have been very good with many people already claiming that rango will win best animated film at the oscars.  and if there ever was a year for pixar to lose, it would be the year cars 2 is released.  why?  because cars is their worst reviewed and just plain worst project in their portfolio.  it doesn’t mean the movie is bad, just that it isn’t nearly as good as their other films.  for them to release a sequel is based mostly on the profitability of the franchise (nascar is huge) and john lasseter’s own fondness for cars and route 66.

anyways, back to rango.  the movie indeed was very fun and good.  this is george lucas’ industrial light magic (ilm) studios’ first foray into feature film animation and they have done an amazing job.  not only did the graphics look great (and life-like at parts), the animation was superb–the characters’ movements flowed naturally.  and i was pleasantly surprised to find that the cinematography was very stylized and beautiful even.

the plot follows a pet chameleon, who gets through his lonely, caged life with thespian theatrics, as he gets lost in the desert.  he stumbles upon the town of dirt, which is experiencing a severely diminishing water supply, and creates a new identity for himself as the sheriff.  the overarching themes of the story were hope, identity,  and self-discovery.

i had previously read in reviews that the movie is more for the adults, rather than the kids and i definitely agree with this.  many of the jokes were adult and i found myself wondering if kids would really enjoy this movie since i think they might not get 70% of them.  some of the aspects of the movie that i found fun were the references to other movies and figures (fear & loathing in las vegas; the good, the bad, and the ugly; and clint eastwood) and so many characters had mustaches, including one of the villains, rattlesnake jake, whose mustache was more like painted on since snakes don’t have hair.

rattlesnake jake in rango

the animal characters were not cute at all…maybe because westerns are gritty.  i couldn’t even tell what a lot of the animals were.  the film is essentially an animated western and influenced by the those that came before it; this can be seen in the visual style.

conclusion: i recommend the movie and wouldn’t be surprised if it did win best animated film at the oscars this year.

 

BOTTEGA LOUIE

700 south grand avenue
los angeles, ca 90017

bottega louie is an italian restaurant located in the heart of downtown los angeles.  with over 2,000 reviews and 4 stars on yelp and rave reviews seemingly everywhere, i’ve been wanting to try this place and finally did so on saturday night for dinner.  bottega louie doesn’t accept reservations and as boyfriend and i were heading over there around 7 pm, i read yelp reviews on how the food was mediocre to delicious; the service was horrible to excellent; the wait time is long; and the environment is beautiful and loud.

we parked at the $6 valet next to the restaurant (there isn’t really an other alternative besides searching for street parking, there are other lots that are cheaper, but not by much).  we quickly realized that we had seen bottega louie in passing before and had said we wanted to try it out because it looked so interesting.  the restaurant was once a parking lot with homeless people that was transformed into a dining destination in 2009.  it has tall glass windows all around and is a huge space that includes the restaurant, bar, and patisserie.  as we stepped inside, we ogled at the large space, the hordes of bodies dining or waiting, and the beautiful architecture.  the simple white contrasted with gold, high ceilings, and intricate moldings transported us from the grime of downtown los angeles to new york city.  i think the high ceilings also had a hand in creating the echoey loudness of the restaurant.

we were greeted by a line of people–a line just to put your name down for a table.  expecting at least a 30-minute wait, when the maitre’d told us it would only be a 15 minutes, we agreed that it would definitely be longer than that then hurried over to the patisserie to check out the decadent desserts.  it couldn’t have been more than 5-10 minutes when the hostess tapped me on the arm and asked if i was part of mr. boyfriend’s party and told me our table was ready.

upon seating, we were given complimentary sparking and still water and asked if we had any food allergies.  i think the service throughout the night was very good.  the waiter explained the menu/dishes and gave a few recommendations since we were first-time customers.  we decided on the portobello fries small dish and a 50/50 pizza of the sausage and napoli to share, i ordered the orecchiette pasta, and boyfriend got the recommended trenné.

bottega louie portobello fries, photo from tummy diary

the portobello fries are the most reviewed item in the bottega louie yelp reviews and were also recommended by our waiter.  they’re strips of portobello mushrooms battered and fried and served with a garlic-based aioli.  they were delicious and one of the highlights of our meal.

bottega louie sausage pizza

the sausage pizza is made up of fennel sausage, tomato sauce, and mozzarella while the napoli is made up of red onions, mushrooms, olives, tomato sauce, and mozzarella.  the sausage half was better than the napoli because, well…meat > veggies.  the pizza was pretty good and would have been much better if the center wasn’t so soggy.  i don’t know if it’s because they put too much sauce on it but the center of the pizza was droopy and soggy.  as i ate away from the center toward the crust, the pizza got better and the crust was very good.  i think mozza’s pizza is still better in terms of their dough and flavors, but bottega louie’s would be a strong contender if it wasn’t so soggy.  i’d still want to try the pizza again on my next visit to see if the sogginess is just how the pizzas are made or maybe we had a “bad” one.

bottega louie trenné pasta, photo from gourmet pigs

boyfriend’s trenné pasta was pan sauteed with braised prime rib eye, tuscan black kale, and shaved granna parmesan.  this was my first time seeing trenné pasta; it’s similar to penne but more triangular shaped rather than circular (for the opening).  i had a bite and i liked that the pasta was crisp on the outside.  the noodle itself tasted heavily of the rib eye and i don’t think it’s a dish i would have personally liked and probably won’t order it in the future.  but boyfriend enjoyed it…especially the large shavings of cheese.

bottega louise orecchiette pasta, photo from i heart yummy

the orecchiette is house made with sausage and olive oil in a a swiss chard ragù sauce.  i love pasta but thought this dish was just ok.   i also normally love tomatoes but thought the cherry tomatoes in the pasta were much too sweet;  the dish tasted better after i started avoiding them.  i was getting pretty full after the portobello fries and the pizza so i boxed some of my pasta so i could save room for dessert.

bottega louie le grand macaron, photo from dt diaries

i have a sweet tooth and love macarons so we ordered le grand macaron–french vanilla ice cream sandwiched between a vanilla macaron served with berries.  i paired this with my favorite wine–moscato d’asti.  the wine was good as always and the macaron was also good.  it was difficult to eat with a spoon/fork though since the outside of the macaron was so hard.

we were surprised by the bill–in a good way!  we were expecting the bill to be pretty high since it’s a nice place but the total (before tip) was a very reasonable $75.  i was amazed–i was sure they must have left something off our bill, but nope, they got everything: appetizer, pizza, 2 pastas, glass of wine, and the dessert.  we will definitely be back again.  after boyfriend paid the bill (thank you, dear!) we went back to the patisserie.

there were 5 flavors of macarons available when we went: chocolate, earl grey, lime, raspberry, and vanilla.  i wanted to try earl grey since it’s one of my favorites and was also interested in the lime yuzu.  we also thought there might be more flavors available in the patisserie since it looked like there were a lot of colors.  unfortunately, lime was sold out but apparently there are new batches/flavors every 4 hours and they paint them by hand (probably why the colors looked so different for the same flavor).

we ended up buying 2 earl grey, 1 chocolate (for boyfriend), and 1 raspberry (for me) macarons.  i also got a tiny blueberry tart and pistachio cupcake and boyfriend got a raspberry chocolate ganache tart.

bottega louie cupcakes

the cupcakes are so cute because they are covered in sparkly sprinkles and topped with a tiny macaron.  the pistachio is pictured in the photo above, bottom right.  i ate the blueberry tart saturday night after we got home from the restaurant and thought it was just ok; i prefer the fruit tarts at porto’s.  the macarons were very good and i look forward to sampling more flavors in the future.  i had the pistachio cupcake a few hours ago and was surprised by how light and fluffy the cake was.  most cupcakes i’ve had from western bakeries (like sprinkles) have dense, thick cake.  the cupcake is vanilla with black cherries on the inside, pistachio cream frosting, and topped with pistachio nuts, sprinkles, and a mini vanilla macaron with pistachio cream inside.  i was a little hesitant of cherry and pistachio but it was pretty good.  because the cake was so light, it reminded me of sponge cake–which i really like.

photography disclaimer: all bottega louie photos in this post are from the bottega louie blog unless indicated otherwise.

more on national geographic’s up project

as a follow up to my previous post, now with video coverage and more photos:

i want to shop

i’ve been wanting to buy some wide leg trousers for so long now.  why is it so hard for me to find the perfect thing?  with the 70’s in style, i would think it’d be relatively easy for me to find a good pair.

this is my first time playing with the shopstyle look.  it’s not exactly the perfect outfit i have in mind for my wide leg trousers (whenever i get them), but pretty close.

 

i’ve never understood why it didn’t list every piece…but in case anyone’s wondering: tom ford sunglasses, j. crew cuff, alexander mcqueen knuckle duster, and mcq wide leg pants.

riccardo tisci is replacing john galliano at dior

breaking news!  it’s confirmed–riccardo tisci is replacing john galliano as chief designer at christian dior!

john galliano was dior’s chief designer for 15 years and recently fired for his anti-semitic remarks.

riccardo tisci was until recently the creative director at givenchy for haute couture, ready-to-wear, and accessories.