Thursday, March 28, 2013

Workout Essentials: A Guide to Getting Stylishly Fit

my workout essentials

What do you like to exercise in? My essentials include cute and comfy clothes. That way I can run errands in them or meet people for dinner after yoga without looking like too much of a bum. I exercise a lot at work (we have classes like yoga, kickboxing and UJam—which I tried for the first time last week and was SO fun... like dancing in a club without creepy guys!), go on a lot of walks and run the stairs once a week. Here's what I like to wear:

1 + 6: Fitted tanks. I wear these for everything. They're really great for yoga or bootcamp classes where you have to do planks and poses because the neck doesn't gape open as much as loose, wide-neck tops.
2: Neon sports bra. I love how they add just a peek of color.
3: Leggings. I would wear leggings every day for the rest of my life if I could.
4 + 8: Long-sleeve tees. I feel strangely naked walking around the office in my exercise clothes (even if it's after hours and there's barely anyone around). Drapey long-sleeve tees are a nice cover-up and offer great sun protection for walks or hikes outside.
5: Hat. I'm kind of addicted to wearing hats and sunglasses whenever I'm in the sun. 100-year-old me will thank me for it.
7: Swimsuit. For swimming, going to the beach and hanging in your closet for workout motivation :)

What are your workout essentials? 

This post is brought to you in collaboration with DefShop, an online fashion destination. Thanks for supporting Quiet Like Horses' sponsors.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Swimsuits: Bright or Basic?

j.crew rope strike bikini
Warm weather cannot come soon enough—I've already started eyeing new swimsuits! This striped bikini by J.Crew is super cute, but I'm torn between colors. Do you normally wear bright swimsuits (which feel summery and fun), or do you prefer basic colors like navy, black or white (which look incredibly chic and sophisticated)? I'd love to hear (and help me decide). :) 

cute striped bikini

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How Do You Feel About Getting Older?

santa cruz wharf
I always forget that I'm turning 30 this year because most of the time I still feel like I'm 22. I also tend to think everyone around me is my age, but mounting evidence is beginning to prove otherwise...
  • My newfound friend at karaoke told me not to feel bad I didn't know what song was playing because it was "probably from the early 80s, before we were born."
  • I just learned about the Harlem Shake two weeks ago. My sister informed me I'm the last person on earth to find out about it. 
  • When I meet recent grads from UCLA and ask which dorm they lived in, they say things like, "I don't think it was built yet when you were there." 

I'm officially turning into a dinosaur, ha! I love getting older.

How do you feel about it? Does getting older freak you out? I'm glad I'm not there yet. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Simple Dinner Party

alphabet cookie place cards
On Saturday, we had our good friends Stacy and Robbie over for dinner. I always get a little frazzled having people over in our small apartment (Where will we all sit? Will it get too hot?), but it turned out to be a a lot of fun. To make our guests feel special—and to give them a little something to nibble on—I tied up cloth napkins with an alphabet cookie in their first initial (you can find them at Trader Joe's).

french vinaigrette
I made this French vinaigrette which is my current favorite dressing (especially over arugula and parmesan shavings)! 

cheese and berry plate
While we were getting settled, we had cheese, crackers and berries and talked about our days. And for dinner, I made a new pasta dish which turned out to be so-so (note to self: don't try new recipes when you're having people over!)

mission city creamery
After dinner, we walked across the street to try the homemade ice cream at Mission City Creamery. Alan and I each ordered a scoop, but Robbie and Stacy both ordered milkshakes—wild things!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Trends: 6 Must-Have Pieces

must-haves for spring
Spring is officially here, and I can't wait to start wearing more skirts and dresses sans tights! For a little wardrobe inspiration, I've pulled together six pieces that would be fun to wear this season:

1. A chambray top for looking effortlessly cool
2. Colorful strappy sandals to show off your cute pedicure
3. Mint stripes to work double-duty—tuck into a pencil skirt for work or wear with jeans for a loung-y day

spring outfit ideas
4. A pretty skirt to wear out to dinner
5. A scarf in a funky print to keep things interesting
6. Boyfriend shorts for weekend adventures

What are you looking forward to wearing this spring? 

This post is brought to you in collaboration with DefShop, an online fashion destination. Thanks for supporting Quiet Like Horses' sponsors. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Would You Get Married on a Monday?

pink wedding dress
Last night, I came across this sweet wedding which took place on a Monday! I never thought about having a weekday wedding, but I'm starting to love the idea. It seems much more budget-friendly and could help ensure that only the guests who really wanted to be there showed up!

What day did you tie the knot? Would you ever get married on a Monday?

p.s. I love the bride's blush pink dress—so cute.

(Photos via Edyta's Instagram)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adventurous Life Tip: Do Something That Scares You

a drink to calm my nerves
This weekend, I did something I'd never done before. My heart was racing, my stomach was doing flips and I couldn't stop smiling. But in the end (and a Jack and Coke later), I pulled myself together just in time to...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Zella Leggings for Working Out and Feeling Pretty

zella capris like lululemon wunder unders
Lately, I've been trying to focus more on taking better care of myself. As much as I can, I'm trying to say no to fried foods, moving more and worrying less. To motivate myself, I decided to get a new pair of workout pants since my one pair of Lululemon Wunder Unders were taking a severe beating. I'm very particular about workout pants—I prefer mid-calf compression capris in a thick, non-sheer material with a cotton-feel, not to be specific or anything haha—so with my list of criteria, I set out in search of a new pair in a bright, fun color.

I bought a pair of Zella Live-In leggings which have become my new obsession. Here's why:

  • Reasonable price tag (especially compared to Lululemon's Wunder Unders)
  • Thick, non-sheer, non-shiny material perfect for yoga
  • Similar design to Wunder Unders with a hidden waistband pocket and triangle gusset (Zella poached a Lululemon product manager to design the line!)
  • Fun colors
  • Wide, mid-rise waistband=no muffin tops
  • Stays in place 
  • Makes your tush look cute :)

What motivates you to love your body? Do you have any workout pants you swear by? Hope you are working out and feeling pretty today :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Snack of the Day: Green Tea Rice Krispy Treat + Rose Water Macaron

green tea rice krispy treat
Jimbo's green tea rice krispy treat and macaron
What were your favorite desserts growing up as a kid? Mine were jello, Peter's burnt almond birthday cake and rice krispy treats. Jimbo's in San Jose's Japantown makes rice krispy treats in dressed-up flavors, like red velvet, green tea and espresso. The green tea one was just as good as the treats I had as a kid but with a sophisticated twist :) They also serve macarons in flavors like rose water (yummy), black sesame and guava and Bubbies mochi ice cream from Hawaii!

p.s. delicious salted brown butter rice krispy treats

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What to Say to a Friend Going Through Tough Times

The week Alan found out about his scary test results was a tough one. One night, I told my friend Stacy what was going on, and afterwards, she said something that completely surprised me. It was so sweet, thoughtful and incredibly simple, but I don't know if anyone had ever asked me before. Being the wonderful friend she is, it makes perfect sense that she would ask...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Best Hand Soap

Savon De Marseille liquid soap
I first noticed this French soap by Savon De Marseille because of its beautiful bottle, but it also gets rave reviews online. (Fun fact: In 1688, it became law that that only soaps made according to the region's strict, ancient methods could be branded with the Savon De Marseille mark). I tend to wash my hands often and find that most soaps dry out my skin, so I was curious to give it a try. It's definitely a splurge, but it's the best hand soap I've ever tried! It lathers up wonderfully and rinses right off, leaving your hands feeling soft and squeaky clean. Plus, it smells amazing and looks so pretty by the sink—it'd be a great housewarming gift.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Easter Sugar Cookies

easter craft idea: decorated sugar cookies
Decorated sugar cookies are one of the cutest treats, and I love the idea of giving them out as edible party favors. Ever since I made these ones, I've been wanting to get more creative with the icing. I was inspired by some cute ones I saw in a Williams-Sonoma catalog and decided to make some for Easter. Here's how you do it...

soft sugar cookie recipe
Step 1: Make your cookie dough the night before. This recipe works great and makes delicious cookies.

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
Barely adapted from Blonde Designs

Yields a dozen or so cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour

1. Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy; add sugar and mix.
2. Add egg, salt, and vanilla; mix well.
3. Add flour. Be careful to not overmix. Wrap dough in plastic and chill several hours or overnight. Remove from fridge an hour or two before you're ready to use it so it's easier to roll. 
4. Roll out on floured surface and cut out cookies (keep on thicker side). Bake on ungreased sheet at 375 degrees until edges begin to barely brown (about 10-12 minutes). Cool completely and frost.

martha stewart royal icing
Step 2: While your cookies are cooling, prepare the royal icing. Royal icing dries hard to the touch which makes it wonderful for cookie decorating. When you've finished whipping it up, remember to split it into a few small bowls if you plan on decorating with different colors.

Royal Icing
From Martha Stewart

2 large egg whites, or more to thin icing
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, or more to thicken icing
1 lemon, juiced

1. Beat the whites until stiff but not dry.
2. Add sugar and lemon juice; beat for 1 minute more. If icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it is too thin, add more sugar.
3. Add food coloring if desired (I am partial to this icing color gel which produces the most vibrant colors by using just the teeniest amount). The icing may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

decorating sugar cookies
Step 3: Fill a ziploc bag with icing, cut the very tip off (careful not to cut too much off so you can have greater control over the icing flow) and pipe a border around the cookie.

sugar cookie pipe and flood technique
Step 4: Place some of the icing in another small bowl and add a tiny bit of water to dilute it. You want it to be slightly runnier so that it spreads easier across the cookie. Place this icing in another ziploc bag and cut the very tip off. Squeeze some haphazardly over the center of the cookie.

Step 5: Use the back of a spoon to smooth it out and "flood" the cookie with icing, pushing it out to the border. Let it dry completely.

easter cookies
Step 6: Put the finishing touches on your cookies. This is the fun part! I turned mine into spring chicks and fluffy sheep.

cute easter idea

Friday, March 8, 2013

New Punctuation Marks

These punctuation marks made me laugh. I seriously want to start using the "I'm not angry" mark and the sinceriod. Imagine all the potential misunderstandings they could help us avoid!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spring Dress

Is it too early to start thinking about warm weather? I'm already dreaming about spring which is now less than two weeks away! Wouldn't this jersey dress be pretty and effortless for a spring wedding? It'd be cute with simple accessories, colorful heels and a braided updo. Then in the summer, you could wear it on vacation with breezy espadrilles (and eat fish tacos and guacamole for lunch). Until then...

(Floral Hayden Pumps and Muleady Espadrilles from Anthropologie; Haute Hippie draped dress;  Cornelia Webb rope bracelet; tutorial for braiding short hair; J.Crew Invitation Clutch)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The 15 Most Important Lessons I Learned from Every Job I've Ever Had

Which jobs have you had? I'm always curious about people's work histories (are you, too?) and how they got to where they are today. I've worked since I was 15, so just for fun, I thought I'd share my list of jobs and the most important thing I learned from each one.

(In chronological order)

Private Math Tutor
Life Lesson #1: If I can convince someone to pay me money to teach them math, I can do anything.

Pizza Maker, Papa Murphy's Take'n'bake Pizza
Life Lesson #2: If you buy cookie dough here, and it looks like a teenager stuck their finger in to eat a chunk, it's because a teenager stuck their finger in to eat a chunk.

Sandwich Maker, The Sandwich Mill
Life Lesson #3: "You can't be good at everything." At least, that's what the owner told me three days into my short-lived career.

Gymnastics Summer Camp Leader, YMCA
Life Lesson #4: Doing gymnastics really is as fun as it looks on TV.

Barista, Starbucks
Life Lesson #5: People say mean things before they've had their coffee. Try not to mind them.

Server, Johnny Rocket's
Life Lesson #6: No one appreciates a 25¢ tip. No one.

Cafe associate, San Jose Discovery Museum
Life Lesson #7: Skip the frozen pretzels and order the clam chowder.

Fashion Board Member, Nordstrom
Life Lesson #8: Walking down the runway in a fashion show really is as fun as it looks on TV.

Barista, Starbucks kiosk inside a grocery store
Life Lesson #9: Never work inside a Starbucks kiosk inside a grocery store ever again.

Admin, UCLA School of Public Health
Life Lesson #10: Stability is nice.

Hostess, Red Lobster
Life Lesson #11: In restaurants, no one really knows how long the wait is, no matter how sure they may sound when they tell you.

Market Researcher, Lieberman Research Worldwide
Life Lesson #12: Someone really does read what you write in those blank boxes on surveys reserved for additional comments.

Jr. Copywriter, Robert Anthony Strategic Marketing
Life Lesson #13: Writing stationery is spelled with an e, not an a.

Marketing Manager, Taos
Life Lesson #14: It's okay to judge corporate websites that use comic sans.

Marcom Specialist,
Life Lesson #15: Free catered lunches will always be the way to my heart.

How many jobs have you ever had? Which one was your favorite? Which was the worst? Any important life lessons you'd like to share? :) 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Work-Week Wear

bright heels for work
A few snippets from what I wore to the office last week: the polka dot button-up I wear embarrassingly too often, a tomboy jacket (this one looks cool, too) and bright heels

high-waisted trousers

anthropologie shoreline cardigan
My favorite high-waisted silk trousers, a white tee and this scalloped-edge cardigan.

I like being comfy in the office, so I never wear anything too extravagant, but this spring, I'd love to incorporate more simple dresses into my wardrobe. People who wear dresses all the time swear they're way more comfortable than pants (and they look cute, too :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Feeling Thankful

On Thursday night, a really bad stomach bug wiped me out for two days. (It actually took out a number of people at work in all four of our buildings!) I laid on the couch drinking 7UP, sleeping and trying to forget about my unwavering nausea/stomach cramps. I couldn't think about anything else besides how awful I felt (which made me feel even worse), so now that I'm feeling so much better, I wanted to start the week off on a positive note. I'm so thankful for...

1. Alan who patiently brought me soup, jello, water, my phone, the book under the bed, my magazine, extra pillows and anything else I needed while I was immobile this weekend and who got up every time I did in the middle of the night to make sure I was okay.

cherry blossoms
2. All the beautiful blossoming trees everywhere which are a happy reminder that warmer weather is just around the corner. Living in California, sometimes I just want to pinch myself, especially since last week we even had a few days in the 70s!

What are you thankful for this week? 

(top photo from my friend Preethi's wedding; bottom photo from a recent walk)
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