Friday, February 28, 2014

This Month's Favorites: February 2014

Is it just me, or time flies insanely fast? It is already the last day of February, and that means it's the time for this month's favorites! There are only three, but very cool ones.

1. Coin
Ok, this is very exciting. Have you heard of Coin?  It's a smart black credit card with a digital screen made by a San Francisco based startup company. It stores all your existing card information and, via communication with a smart phone or tablet, it allows you to make payments using one of the cards that are stored in the Coin. So, does that mean no more overstuffed wallets?  I think so!

I don't have an image for the Coin since it is new and hasn't been out yet, but the company has already started taking pre-orders. Here is also a link to Forbes review of the Coin. What a great gift it could be too! Coin will be available this Summer.

2. HAPIfork (no, this is not a misspelling)
I came across HAPIfork at Brookstone just a couple of weeks ago. Usually, I go to Brookstone if I am with my man, or if I need a gift for my man. This time, my honey was with me, so I sat and enjoyed the massage chair while he is browsing. But then, he was taking too long, so I got bored and started looking around. Being a big advocate for eating healthy foods and in small portions, I got very excited when I saw a stand with HAPIfork.

Basically, it is a training tool for learning to eat slowly. The fork vibrates if the bites are taken too quickly, reminding to slow down, take time, enjoy the food. The benefit - weight loss and, thus, healthier living. What a wonderfork!

Would I take this fork to a restaurant? If I were in training, I totally would. And, the best thing of all, it comes in five different colors. So pick whichever you want... And yes, you guessed it, I would pick pink! Here are more reviews of HAPIfork.

3. Tanya Burr YouTube Makeup Tutorial Videos.
When I decided to start making YouTube videos, I took some time to watch other videos to get an idea of how it's done. And then, I came across Tanya Burr videos on how to apply make up. I have never been a makeup crazy gal, but I swear, after watching her, I made a trip to Sephora and got a few things. Wow, makeup can really break your wallet if you don't watch it, but I loved everything I got. It was almost as satisfying as buying shoes!

Anyway, I started watching Tanya Burr's videos and learned many tricks about how to apply makeup. Now I just need to practice. And since the winter is almost over, and we are about to enjoy beautiful spring days, here is the link to Tanya Burr Spring Makeup Tutorial.

This is it for February 2014. March is here tomorrow! I hope you liked my February Favorites. Let me know what are your favorites by leaving comments below, or you can always find me on Facebook and Twitter. See you there!

xo, Zuma A. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Best Seafood Recipe: Greeks' Shrimp Saganaki

Have you ever tried Shrimp Saganaki? Well, you must!

I first came across with a Shrimp Saganaki recipe on The Londoner.  It looked yummy and, most importantly, it seemed easy enough to make. So I tried. 

Well, what can I say, it really was easy to make this dish, and tasted amazing. Yes, A-MA-ZING! 
So, naturally, I had to share the recipe with you. Of course, just as any cook, I tweaked the recipe a little, and changed the measurements of the ingredients to feed 4 people (with a hefty appetite, I have to add!). 

So you know, this is a starters Greek dish. They eat it as a snack with generous amount of bread to soak in the juices. The dish is light, but I thought if I serve it over rice, it can become a wonderful dinner dish. And it was!

So here it goes:

Shopping List:
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 lb raw shelled king shrimp
Chili flakes, dried oregano, salt, peper 
3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cans chopped organic tomatoes
1 cup white wine 
2 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

*** Important tip before you start: put together and chop all necessary ingredients within your reach, because everything cooks quickly and, while you are finishing chopping up the tomatoes or searching for the cheese, your shrimp may overcook or garlic may burn... you get the point. I've been there! 

Heat olive oil in a big sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds or until it  just starts turning golden. Then throw the shrimp and add salt, pepper, oregano, and chili pepper flakes, to taste.
Once the shrimp have just started to turn pink, take them out and place to a side. (**Make sure not to overcook! Overcooked shrimp may feel and taste like rubber.)
Add a cup of wine to the pan and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes. (**Always use good wine for cooking. It makes a difference, promise!)
Add halved cherry tomatoes. After a minute, add 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, and let simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
When sauce is ready, throw shrimp back in and, in 30 seconds, throw the feta crumbles. Then take the pan off the heat. You really don't want to overcook the shrimp.

xo, Zuma A.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chips And Tuna Tartar For Lunch.

I have always been a proponent of a healthy eating, and it looks like the wind has shifted and has taken all of us for a ride to a better and healthier life. 

True, the wind shifts its directions often, but I hope that this one is here to stay. 

It is no secret that the behind-the-scenes lobbying by big companies is at the steering wheel of dietary trends. Years ago it was all about low fat everything. Then, it was all about yes to protein, and no to carbs. Then, the media stepped in and the tune changed to I love my curves...

I know that it ain't easy to stay in shape, but believing in a magic wand only makes us gain more pounds, more frustration, and more medical bills.

Today's trend, whether it's another brainwashing attempt or not, is much better for us: healthy organic foods, products with lower shelf life, smaller portions... Can't really argue with this. Just hope that the labels are not misleading. 

Last Saturday, my boys and I went to check out Bear Flag Fish Company restaurant, a healthy kind of a fast-food cafe/restaurant. It did not look very fancy. McDonalds probably looks fancier from the outside. But when I tasted their food, I thought that I discovered a hidden jewel, except that the line outside was long, curving all the way around the corner of the building (obviously, the jewel has been discovered by many!).
Unlike the fast food restaurants, Bear Flag serves fish as the main ingredient of every dish.
Prices are more than reasonable. Not as cheap as Burger King, of course... well... luckily, not as cheap as Burger King. I cannot even imagine what kind of food I would get if a sandwich price would be a dollar!
While battling what should I eat, I noticed that many people take chips & tuna tartar as a dish. Really? When I go to restaurants, I get chips and salsa as a pre-meal, and fill up before the appetizer is even served! 

Decided! Chips and tuna tartar it is! And I was very happy with my choice. 
My boys picked an Ahi burrito and halibut sandwich. I could not resist and tried both, and both were delicious. I loved that, even though both the burrito and sandwich had quite a few ingredients, I could taste the fish. I believe that it is because they don't mask the taste with mayo, and they season it just right. So the fish, while it crumbled in my mouth, I could taste the flavor in its full glory.
The meal was fresh, delicious, and very satisfying. I felt light and full of energy. And since the Bear Flag is located by the beach, naturally, we went for a walk.  (Here is the restaurant's Yelp reviews.)
@the parking lot. Surfers! Any sunny spot to dry the wet suit will do. Love it!
What can be better than a sunny Saturday in SoCal!
xo, Zuma A. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fashion Trends To Bring Your Wardrobe Up To Date: Spring 2014

While in the fancy world of fashion, the Fall 2014 collections are old news already (especially that the NY Fashion week is over), for the rest of us, it is about time to get our wardrobe ready for Spring 2014. 

This is always very exciting to me. Even though, this year the winter was too warm and my coats and sweaters were barely worn, I am still excited. Spring collections are always so rejuvenating, fresh, colorful, and pretty!

In order not to break the bank, I usually invest in classic pieces, and, every season, accessorize and update them with a few new trendy items. What would I do without Zara, TopShop, and Nordstrom's Savvy dept?! 

So here are a few Spring 2014 trends that I fell in love with. 

Being a hopeless shoe lover, I will start with the shoes.

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There is something so sexy about mules, and they are always a reason for getting a good pedicure. And, since mules always manage to come back to the front lines of fashion, investing in a good pair is a reasonable thing to do. Here is the great selection of mules and slides for every taste. This pair of Fendi mules are on the top of my wish list!

Floral prints.
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The flower prints are so romantic! And I actually love flower prints on pants even more than a dress. I think these Tory Burch pants will look fabulous with a white t-shirt and nude mules! Zara's floral pants would be a less expensive alternative which makes more sense since in a couple of years this print will most likely be an old news.
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Black and White Graphic Prints
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If you like expressing your power through your clothes, these graphic prints are for you. If you feel like looking bold, confident and fabulous, graphic prints are what you need. I, personally, don't like too much print, so I will probably get just a splash of black and white graphics by accessorizing an outfit with a graphic print scarf .

Pastel Colors. 
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Whether it is a shirt of a dress, pants or a skirt, pick whatever you like in any of your favorite pastels! I think that these three outfits are such an accurate representation of the modern woman ~ they look soft and powerful at the same time, and, most importantly, so comfortable in their own skin.  I would love to wear a pink dress to a sunny Sunday event, or the Rebecca Taylor pant outfit (on the top right) to pretty much anywhere but work. 

Contrast-Collar Button-Downs. 
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Contrasting colors for collars and cuffs can be a lot of fun. I saw similar designs and three color selections in Juicy Couture. The shirts can be paired with jeans and suits. (I like folding cuffs over a cardigan or a jacket to brighten up business outfit.

xo, Zuma A.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Splash Of Color

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. I know I am! Yesterday I spent an entire day in my pajamas trying to recuperate from an exhausting week, and, now, I feel fully refreshed.

Earlier last week, it was a cool sunny day, and I thought that it was a perfect day to wear my new coat. (I got it in December when I was in Seattle, but weather was so hot here in SoCal, that I could not wear anything heavier than a light jacket!)

I  fell in love with this coat for its clean and tailored look with a feminine touch. I always try to keep my outfits simple. It is no secret that I am obsessed with black, but I also love a splash of color to make it a little more fun, especially that I was going to a semi-business meeting with a few fabulous ladies. So, I wore an Alice+Olivia red dress (similar here), Anne Klain black coat (similar here), black Chanel pumps and accessorized the outfit with a red Michael Kors handbag (similar here).
Unless I am crazy about a particular design or fabric, I usually don't spend much money on the clothing, but when it comes to shoes, it's a different story. I believe that shoes can make a simple and inexpensive outfit look fabulous. On the other hand, low quality shoes (which lose shape and get worn out so quickly!) can make a beautiful dress lose its charm. 

I wear these Chanel pumps I got as a gift 8 years ago (no joke!) non-sparingly, but they are and always will be classy and fabulous.
There is nothing wrong if the dress would peek from under the coat. 

Blue sky and bright colors always cheer me up. When I'm happy, I smile. Smiles are contagious, and people around me smile back...

Have a wonderful rest of the day!
xo, Zuma A.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Gift Idea For Your Man: Flight Experience

I don't know what my Honey is talking about when he is complaining that it is hard to find a nice gift for me. Really? All he needs to do is to walk into Tiffany's. So easy!

He, on the other hand, is a tough person to buy for.  He is not into jewelry. A sweater or a pair of pants won't make him happy either. He says he loves electronics, but when I go to Best Buy, I get lost. Aghh. Four times a year, i.e. every birthday, Father's day, Christmas, and Valentine's Day, I struggle.

Now, if you are anything like me and having a hard time to pick a nice gift for your man, I have a really neat gift to suggest you (I got it for my man on his birthday last year, and he loved it) - a flight lesson at Flight Deck, a flight simulation center. No worries, no actual flying is involved, but the experience is still pretty awesome.

I came across this idea when I was scrolling down the Tripadvisor's Top Things To Do In Orange County list. These flight lessons were listed as #4 and had great reviews. So I got a gift Certificate for  a 30-minute flight on a Boeing 737 lesson. They also have lessons for flying fighter jets, but I thought that since my honey is a family man, Boeing 737 should do.

My man was excited. Soon, he made the appointment, and we were off to the Flight Deck. As you probably guessed, Alex and I tagged along and got the jump-seats to sit on.

I apologize in advance for lousy pictures, but lighting was poor and I only had my cellphone camera with me, but you will still get the idea of what the experience was like.
All Boeing models
There are group and birthday activities available for kids ages 7-14. Fun!
From the Control Room
After a quick tour, we were taken to an office for instructions and a quick rundown of the upcoming flight.
The instructors here are true pilots and patiently answered all the questions we could come up with. Finally, were were off to the cockpit of a model that is flown by Southwest Airlines.
There is a name and purpose for each button. No joke.
The flight route was from LAX to John Wane Airport.
And here's my happy pilot xx


xo, Zuma A.

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