Ole Guacamole // @2souschefs

“This recipe is a must-master for both a quick snack at home and an impressive side dish you could bring to any backyard barbeque. This dish has taken us eight years, give or take, to get it to where we love it. Earlier renditions were good, the purest of guacamoles: avocado, lime, and cilantro. It was not until we lived in Carrboro, North Carolina and visited a local staple deli when we started adding other ingredients. Onions, garlic, jalapeño, and tomatoes were soon added to round out the flavors of the favorite. Some may say it is pico de gallo with avocado; I say enjoy it and pass the tortilla chips. 

This recipe will serve four as an hors d’oeuvre or snack.

The MicroPlane has gone from obscure bar wear to a indispensable tool in any kitchen. There are multiple styles to fit any task and any hand. Perfect for zesting the lime for this recipe in particular!” – Joe

Ingredients

  • 2 each Avocado – seed and skin removed, rough diced
  • 1 each Lime – zested and juiced
  • 0.5 each Red Onion – small diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic – minced
  • 3 tablespoon Cilantro – thinly sliced (half for the recipe half for garnish)
  • 1 each Roma Tomato – core removed, small diced
  • 1 each small Jalapeño – seeds removed and finely diced (note: If you enjoy your guacamole on the spicier side, leave more of the jalapeño seeds in when dicing.)
  • 2 tablespoon Organic Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Place the avocado and lime juice in a bowl together.
  2. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, mash the two together, but leave some whole pieces.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together.
  4. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  5. Place in serving bowl and garnish with half the cilantro.

Don’t Book Back // Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by @DaveHolmes

last read…

I initially read Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes two summers ago. I would be lying if I said that I did not take an extra long lunch break the day I began the book, just indulging myself in the memoir which was framed in a way that appealed to my inner music nerd.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you are likely aware that I grew up in a family of music enthusiasts, which has materialized in my collection of some kickass vintage concert tee shirts. Thanks to my parents being cable subscribers and my dad’s monopoly on the remote control, MTV was a constant. My childhood was a contrast to the Irish Catholic household in which Dave Holmes came of age. There was a considerable age gap between himself and his older brothers and the roles that his older brothers played in introducing him to music reminded me of that of my parents. Warring musical interests. In Dave’s (can I call him Dave?) case: AOR versus soul. In my case: classic rock versus oldies. To illustrate, one of my earliest memories was when my dad teased my mom for her affinity for The Beach Boys.

Fast forward to the late 1990s. Raise your hand if you were part of the TRL generation. If you flipped the television to MTV and subsequently squabbled with your sister over who was going to marry Justin Timberlake, you also likely spent one of your Saturdays watching the Wanna to be a VJ competition.

Sidebar: I have the distinct memory of watching the second iteration with my high school b/f/f and eventual MOH as well as running to my parents’ room where the desktop computer was set up to cast our votes for Thalia.

You probably recall the outlandish Jesse Camp winning first iteration; the everyman (and secret-strategy music savant) Dave Holmes was first runner up and also ended up with a MTV hosting gig and consequently cemented his place in popular culture.

While I loved reading about Dave Holmes tenure at 1515 Broadway in Times Square, also I enjoyed reading about his experiences – his successes up to this point were few and his struggles were plenty – leading up to his breakthrough. I have said it before and I will say it again – the 1990s in New York City. I don’t think I romanticize a place and time as much I do the end of the century in NYC and I enjoyed reading about it through Dave Holmes’ lens.

Bottom line: Despite our different perspectives, I identify with the realization that Dave Holmes came to at the end of the book. For that epiphany, you will have to read Party of One. Buy it – and you know, actually read it – if you grew up as part of the TRL generation or if you grew up along the emergence of MTV.

partyofone

Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs by Dave Holmes

Shopping Moratorium 2018 | 242/123

My resistance to shopping in August was consistent with that of July, in that I did not have the discipline that I did during June. Glass half full, at least from a sustainability perspective: I mostly shopped secondhand at eBay and Thredup.IMG_4345

tee shirt dress

Remember when I bought this dress in a size too small back in May? A refresher: I already have a similar dress to the long sleeve tee shirt dress, albeit navy with white stripes, boatneck, and 3/4-length sleeves. I wear it all the damn time. Every time this particular dress is restocked, it immediately sells out, at least in the tall sizes. I finally scored one at twenty percent off, but due to it running small, had to return.

Flash forward to the beginning of the month, I got over the zipper placement and added this dress to my fall queue.1

sandals

Jack Rogers had a sale. We are talking eighty percent off prices, people! The bone sandals I have had my eye on? From $125 to $45. It is no surprise that the site repeatedly crashed during my many checkout attempts. This is the only color that I was hoping to add to my collection of ten and my will for a new pair of West Palm Beach sandals won.

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dress (eBay + Thredup options: size 2, size 4, size 6, size 8, size 8, size 8size 10 // similar style 1, similar style 2, similar style 3)

I originally spied this DVF dress over a decade ago. How is that for a clothing obsession? I then purchased what I thought was the same dress via eBay in 2011, but I mistook the dress for a different DVF style (refer to the similar styles above). I finally found the dress in a size six but with my chubby phase I am going through, I do not exactly fit in it. Cut to planning for a wedding at the end of the month. I found this same dress from my 2008 obsession on eBay in a size ten and at a very competitive price. Now I have a one for my skinny version and my chubby version. Excessive? Or ingenius? You decide.

 

Milly // Vera Wang Lavender Label

The red blouse is the same I purchased in a cream colorway several years ago and have already worn on the blog. I love the tonal print. I love the tie at the collar. I love the fabric; you cannot tell via photo but it has the slightest amount of stretch which offers enough give for someone with linebacker-esque shoulders. Speaking for a friend.

The cream and gold shirt is Vera Wang Lavender Label, a brand that was established just prior to the 2008 recession and shuttered circa 2011. Such a shame. The fabrics and the cuts were gorgeous. It was exactly what I imagined a Washingtonian version of Blair Waldorf wearing on Gossip Girl.

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bag

No surprise here that I am a fan of Foley + Corinna bags. I saw a blue one NWT on eBay and I was instantly sold!

 

cardigan // flats

There was a Tory Burch Private Sale. One cardigan in two colorways and a pair of Minnie later…

 

tartan blazer // tweed blazer // tweed skirt

The new Red Fleece line is so damn good. Straight fire. Rather than indulge in the clothes of the season, I caught some stuff that I missed the last time the trees were bare and at prices that were easier to stomach.

 

cap toe heels // slingback pumps

Recently I have been mourning the time that I ended up returning a pair of Lena cap toe pumps – as lamented about here – because I thought the heel was too high for me. I have been kicking myself because I genuinely loved the cap toe and the colorway. This very morning I wandered online and found the block heel variation of the Lena pump and at a fraction of the original +$200 price tag.

The slingbacks were not particularly frugal, but they were 30% off. I don’t know what the detailing is going to look like in person, so best order a pair while taking advantage of the free shipping and try them on in person, in the comfort of home. I love the Colette style, as it is the same style as the shoes I wore for my husband’s and my engagement photos. I walked miles around the cobblestone streets of Georgetown in those heels and though I ended up barefoot on the sidewalk much later on that night, after the engagement shoot and after celebrating two friends who had just returned from abroad after eloping and after drinks with more friends who we had not seen in months, the situation could have been much worse.

Fourteen items. That is nearly a purchase every other day of August. Some might say I have a problem. Admitting you have a problem is the first step of getting clean right?

Pink Outside of the Box

Have you ever lived through a poor experience and as a result banned the outfit you wore through the ordeal? Circa early June 2013, I had a really awful day at work. I consequently could not even look at the printed pencil skirt and the neon monogrammed cashmere tee shirt that I picked out that morning. I remember the outfit as vividly as I remember oversleeping and rushing out of the apartment that morning sans shower. While I made it to work with minutes to spare, it should have been the first clue that I was in for a doozy of a day.

I had to give away both garments as just one look at them took me to a really sad, angry, and confused place.

Earlier this summer, I sat through a really uncomfortable interview in this acid pink tweed shift dress. It was for a job at a nonprofit preservation organization for which I was beyond qualified based on my educational experiences alone. It would have been a thirty percent pay cut even though it was a more senior level than my current position. Mentally, I was at a place where the current staff would really have to sell me on the job; I just was not internally sold on it. I think going to any interview is a good exercise, regardless of having to use vacation hours for the present position, so I accepted in invitation to interview.

The interview did not go well. It was with three staff members and a board member. The board member and one of the staff members were perfectly delightful. A second staff member could only be described as outwardly milquetoast – or maybe just stoic –  although I am sure there was more going through her head. The third staff member was the Executive Director of said nonprofit and from the minute she answered the door bell (as I had to buzz in), she was not…very nice. She seemed surprised by my presence (give or take twelve minutes early) despite the fact that she had accepted the calendar event that I had previously sent her. Being sized up as I stood on the door stoop made me want to run away. #areyougoingtoinvitemeinquestionmark

In a move stolen from mean girls holding court in high school cafeterias around America, I caught the Executive Director attempting to make what felt like very judgemental eye contact with the board member, who I might add was not engaging back with the ED – including an actual eyeroll –  while I was mid-sentence.

While the actual functions of the job sounded exactly what I hoped for, I knew when I left the office it was for the last time. Whether I received an offer or not, I would not accept it and in a radical move on my part, I did not even send a set of thank you notes. Furthermore, it made me appreciate the staff of which I am a part. Straightforward. No mental hopscotch.

In the weeks that followed, I could not bring myself to even look at the acid pink tweed shift dress that I had been so in love with until wearing it to the interview. Did the Executive Director not like me because of the dress? Was that why she was sizing me up? Was the dress too bright? The tall size could not have been too short, right? Was the hemline too short? There was no way. (But seriously, weigh in, in the comment section.)

Several weeks later, I decided to reclaim the dress. I happened to have an informational interview with a Director of a privately held company which was in the same field as the nonprofit. I wore the dress. Echoing the experience of the nonprofit, I had to buzz in, to which the Director answered, “Hello Lucinda! I am going to be right down.” Upon opening the door, she said and I quote, “Great dress!” and we proceeded to have the most fantastic and inspiring conversation.

I will never forget how nice the Director was. She will remain one of the coolest people I have ever met. In conclusion, and ladies this is for us, it is cool to be nice. Let’s be like the Director every day. While we are at it, let’s not let bad experiences ruin our associations the with amazing clothes already in our closets!

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Tunic Time

Dress for the job you want.

The job I want is that of a wealthy housewife who spends her day lounging on the porch drinking white wine spritzers. My mom is approaching this stage in her life, also known as retirement, and I am ever envious of her.

I have already commenced collecting caftans and tunics which, in the summer months, is really the ideal uniform. This tunic, over a swimsuit, is perfect for lounging by pool followed by ducking onto the porch once the inevitable afternoon downpour commences.3

tunic

Oven Roasted Broccolini with Lemon and Pecorino // @2souschefs

“Fast, fresh, and healthy. That’s the name of the game, right? This bright dish has it all. Light enough to pair with any seared fish or chicken, yet hearty enough to stand up against any red meat. This dish is a great alternative to blanching or steaming the broccolini, which are still viable cooking methods; however the roasting will add a beautiful char to the florets and will impart a grilled-like flavor to the already delicious vegetable. Adding the zest and juice of a lemon and shaved pecorino send this side over the top.

Serves two as a side.

A good ‘Y’ shape peeler is indispensable in our professional and personal kitchen. With a mere flick of the wrist, the outer peel of a potato or carrot is gone. Another wonderful thing about these: they are cheap. When we buy them, we usually buy two or three at a time.” – Joe

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches Broccolini – trimmed two to three inches from the crown
  • 1 each Lemon – zested and juiced
  • 3 cloves Garlic – crushed and minced
  • 2 tablespoon Organic Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino – shaved down with a veggie peeler

Directions

  1. Pre-Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place all of the ingredients, with the exception of the pecorino, in a bowl and toss to coat with the olive oil.
  3. Evenly space out the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and place in the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes or until the florets are golden brown.
  4. Place the broccolini on a serving dish and sprinkle the shaved pecorino over the top and serve.

Don’t Book Back // Crazy Rich Asians by @kevinkwanbooks

last read…

I purchased Crazy Rich Asians earlier this year after listening to Joe Zee’s (formerly of Elle and Yahoo Style) now defunct podcast. Joe raved about the book before chatting with author Kevin Kwan; detailing how he read the book during his commute and sat down on a bench outside his office only to blow through the majority of the pages in what seemed like five minutes. It was actually lunch time when Joe pulled himself out of the book to report to work.

With the release of the movie last week, I knew I wanted to watch it; however I knew I wanted to absorb the book first. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the built environment. When I see the movie, I look forward to paying attention to the set design and how it represents the designs as detailed in the book.

The story has a lot of characters to keep up with, but there is a family tree included. The character count and the foreign terms (endnotes at the end of each chapter were tough to reconcile on an iPad) were the challenges in reading the book. The challenges were well worth the payoff! I purchased the second and third books of the trilogy.

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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Call Me Tippi Hendren

Has anyone else noticed that birds are trending in a big way? Not so long ago, I posted about a fantastic dress complete with the prettiest bird print. Birds are the next cactus, which was the next avocado, which was the next pineapple? Maybe.

I have had my eye on two sets of earrings which, while they are not exactly out of my budget, are not classic enough for which to justify spending so much money. I have yet to find many more economical brands that have caught onto the trend, save for one, but it is only a matter of time that it trickles down.

 

clockwise from top left: parrot earrings // feathered bird earrings // parrot earrings // zazu earrings // pink cockatoo earrings // yellow cockatoo earrings // macaw earrings // green bird earrings // teal bird earrings

Ethical Element

In light of last week’s discussion about sustainability in fashion with Meghan Evans, I took her advice and started to watch The True Cost. Not that it got especially intense, but it most definitely toed the line of disturbing. It is a shame that we westerners will turn the other way for an H&M “bargain”. It feels gross, almost like an episode out of Black Mirror.

Being so close to bedtime, I had to break up the viewing. I cannot even watch Law and Order before bed and that stuff is fiction. Even though I switched over to season four of Gilmore Girls, I still felt haunted by the stories presented in The True Cost.

Until I finish watching it and subsequently writing about the documentary, I thought I would plant the seed of the how to maintain a more ethical closet. (Full disclosure: The below is not my image; however it has been passed along so many times that I could not trace the originator.)

ethical pyramidHow do I stack up against the pyramid?

  1. My husband can attest that I take very good care of the clothing that is already in my closet. Nothing is left on the floor and as for the stuff living in drawers, my OCD has driven me to fold it and organize it in a way that I can easily see and access options. (He can also share the story about that time we took one large suitcase on vacation and he decided to bring back the fish he caught in said suitcase. The very suitcase in which my vacation clothes (his too) were packed. Initially sitting on the Gulf Coast tarmac and then on the Atlanta tarmac. Did I mention that he did not fill me in on this until we were past security and in the airport bar? I’m not still salty about this or anything…)
  2. My Shopping Moratorium 2018 effort has illuminated how much consumption in which I indulge. Spoiler alert: I have only succeed in one of the eight months of 2018. It has been an eye-opener but by reporting back to the blog, I have felt more accountable. Just being more conscientious about my habits has supported my efforts in cutting down.
  3. On the other hand, I don’t think that everything I buy is high quality. While I refuse to shop at the stores notoriously known as fast fashion (Forever 21, Zara, H&M) I have been guilty of the Gap or Banana Republic purchase. Meghan was right when she mentioned that it is especially difficult to shop ethically when you already face the tall challenge.
  4. I am all about thrifting on eBay, Thredup, Poshmark, or TheRealReal; however I do not know that this is what the originator of the pyramid meant. The shipping and handling and subsequent implications on the environment may negate the positive effects of shopping second hand. In this case at least for how I shop vintage, it is a matter of socially ethical versus environmentally ethical.
  5. Other than shopping Meghan Evans, I do not shop ethical brands – that I know of. Please feel free to share suggestions.

Thai Shrimp with Rice Noodles // @2souschefs

“Call it a hunch, but I get the sense that everyone loves takeout, myself and Joe included. When we started on our healthy lifestyle last summer we were dying for some killer Thai food. Not exactly super healthy, but we couldn’t help the cravings. This recipe was a response to our craving for takeout. It is filled with all our favorite vegetables and has a better taste then the run of the mill take out Thai food. This recipe is definitely one of Joe’s favorites.

I know we are always advising to use what you already have in your refrigerator. We do it every week, but it shows in this recipe. I used a leftover yellow zucchini from the farmers market last week. Since it was so large, I omitted the green zucchini from my dish last night. I also used some farmers market mushrooms since they were starting to turn, in lieu of shiitakes. Our recipes are guidelines. Use them to meet your own needs and refrigerator. 

This recipe is enough for a dinner for two to four, pending appetites. 

If you don’t have one already, I would advise investing in a large wood chopping board. With all the vegetables you have to chop in this recipe, it is easier to have them all organized on one board as shown in our photos. Also, if you have a gas range and want to feel authentic, get yourself a wok and wok and roll with this recipe!” – Andi

Ingredients

  • 1 medium squash – sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini – sliced
  • 1/4 lb. mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 yellow onion – sliced
  • 1 green pepper – sliced
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp
  • 3 table spoon Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cashews unsalted
  • 1/2 box rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high and pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the skillet.
  2. Add the onions and peppers, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for about five minutes.
  3. Add the squash and zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for another five minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another five minutes.
  5. Add in the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook for five minutes.
  7. After the shrimp is cooked, mix in the Thai sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, and cashews.
  8. Cook the rice noodles to package instructions.
  9. Once the noodles are cooked, strain and put the noodles in your shrimp mixture.
  10. Toss the mixture and plate.