Spotlight: My Closet in Sketches

I just wanted to take a quick minute to publicly proclaim how much I adore this blog:

My Closet in Sketches

myclosetinsketches.com

My Closet in Sketches in run by Lauren Friedman, who sketches these great outfits.

presidentialblues

hotforteacher

I discovered her blog because she posts these great tips on how to/ways to wear ____:

I’m an extra big fan of hers because she’s also a DCer! I’ve definitely gotten a lot of style inspiration from her and I hope I get to see her around the District sometime soon!

All images from MyClosetinSketches.com

Stockholm

We only had 5 hours in Sweden’s capital. It was August 3, 2013 (haha ohmy how late these posts are) and it was easily one of THE nicest days we were able to enjoy, weather-wise. Essentially, we only had time to:

  • Take our necessary ho/ho tour (on a hop-on/hop-off bus)
  • Walk around town
  • Browse the Nobel museum
  • Eat Swedish meatballs

However, there were so many things that we didn’t get to do in that teeny amount of time, like:

  • Visit the ABBA museum
  • Check out the famous metro station art
  • Go to the giant flagship IKEA at the border of the city

But enough about what we missed out on. I still had a really good time during my 5 short hours in Stockholm!

Always pick up a free map or 2.

One of the reasons I was supremely sad at how short our stay was in Stockholm was the fact that the weather was absolutely perfect. It may have been the most perfect day of the entire trip, even.

Just look at how gorgeous it was! And there’s a VIKING LINE, come on.

We spent most of our time on the ho/ho bus, learning about Stockholm and taking in the sights, because our time was so limited. (Fun fact: Yo, Stockholm is a very wealthy city. There are some residents who pay 51% income tax. Officially, more of their income goes to the state than into their own pockets. And they still live like ballers.)

By the time we reached Stockholm, I really wanted to live by the water. A lot. Almost desperately.

Oh man, Stockholm was a beautiful city, it truly was. But let’s not forget those highlights! Like Swedish non-IKEA meatballs:

Verdict: Not really great, from this shop. Honestly, I prefer IKEA’s plates more but the IKEA has its own zipcode and was far away so.

I also got to visit the Nobel museum!

We weren’t able to stay long enough for a guided tour, but you know, all in all, I had a nice time in Stockholm. It was a beautiful city that  I cannot afford, but I’d love to spend a little longer there next time. (And see the ABBA museum!)

Friday Favorites (6)

Haven’t done a Friday Favorites in a while, so let’s just jump right in:

Hot Noodle Soups

We had a sudden drop in temperatures, from mid-60s to mid-30s, here in the DC area. And really, what satisfies you like a hot noodle soup? Specifically, I start to get very consistent cravings for pho, ramen, and jjampong.

Some of the pho and jjambbong I’ve had this past month

I also love going home to my parents’ house and eating bone soup with some rice noodles in them. (You know those big pork bones that you can just slurp the marrow out of? Yah, those are the ones.) There are so many comforting feelings that come with hot noodle soups: the smell coming up with steam, the first sensation as you take your first slurp of hot soup, the feeling as the hot soup goes down into your belly.

If you eat with me in the colder months and ask me what we should eat, there is a good chance I will suggest some form of hot noodle soup. I haven’t been able to have too many this week, but with another brutal winter up ahead, you can be sure I’ll have plenty.

Cooking Videos

Some of you may remember that I had a brief obsession with makeup tutorials a few years back. I never used any of them, but I felt like I was theoretically armed with the ability to create these stunning makeup looks. (I’m not.)

These days, I spend a lot more time watching cooking videos. Again, I’m not actually applying the stuff I’m watching, really, but I feel like I can apply this theory later on. This has been a lot more productive for me, as I do cook but I don’t wear makeup. Usually, I’ll end up watching Sorted Food or Gordon Ramsay. (I guess I just like watching British guys cook food? The accent makes it more compelling.)

Here’s one of my favorites by Sorted:

Warning: This chocolate cake looks sinfully good. You probably will drool watching.

And here’s the iconic video from Gordon Ramsay:

If you aren’t making eggs like this, apparently we’re wrong. Very wrong.

Big Hero 6 Easter Egg

I won’t spoil it for you, but, this is a Marvel film. And if you know Marvel movies, then you know Stan Lee shows up in [nearly] all of them in some way or another. (Since he didn’t have a hand in the Guardians of the Galaxy, he is not in that movie and likely will not be in any future GotG movies.)

So, with Marvel’s first animated feature, we do have a Stan Lee cameo! You might miss it for just a moment in the middle of the movie, but if you stick around after the credits, it’s a confirmed Generalissimo appearance.

Jasmine Tea

I don’t know why, but I put off buying new jasmine tea for a while. Partially because  I already have tea, partially because I could’ve sworn I had some at my parents’ house, partially because I’m lazy.

Finally got myself one of those yellow tins of looseleaf tea and I am so glad I finally did. Jasmine is maybe my favorite variety of tea because of the fragrance. (I love the smell of jasmine.) Drank maybe too many cups today but that’s all right, I have a bathroom, it’s all good.

National Museum of Natural History

After 8 years of living in Maryland, I haven’t been to a Smithsonian museum since the 3rd grade, when I lived in New Jersey. So, for Veteran’s Day/our anniversary, Ben and I went to the natural history museum. It was SO nice! Even though the dinosaur exhibit was closed for renovations, which really disappointed Ben. BUT BUT BUT the live butterfly room is free entry on Tuesdays and I got to just be enchanted by all these fluttering little butterflies. It’s so great, I love museums and the Smithsonians are cream of the crop. AND THEY’RE FREE.

Spending Time with Ben

This week had both our anniversary and Ben’s birthday, so I got to spend a lot of time with him and give him gifts! I feel like we got to spend some really quality time together and I am just really grateful to have him in my life. Spending time with my better half always makes me happy!


What have you been liking lately?
What do you crave in the cold months?
Any fun weekend plans?

Pre-Anniversary Dinner [recipes]

Today is not only Veteran’s Day, as it is also my anniversary, celebrating my not messing up my first relationship for three whole years.

All jokes aside, today is all about gratitude. I’m grateful to those who fought for us and I’m grateful to my boyfriend for sticking with me all this time.

Since we are going to one of our favorite places for dinner tonight, I thought I’d make us some dinner last night. I couldn’t decide which meal I wanted so I made both baked tilapia and linguine with shrimp scampi at my boyfriend’s place. He didn’t have every ingredient I wanted, but considering he usually tries to keep his kitchen more low-maintenance, I was really excited at what I did have on hand. I guess I was actually REALLY excited because I wanted to throw together a post based on our meal, but just please remember how my recipe posts go.

First, since it sits in an oven for a while:

Baked Tilapia

(Similar recipe used as reference)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tilapia fillets (thawed from frozen)
  • Butter
  • Seasoning
    • I used garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of salt & pepper. At home, I’d also use some Old Bay, but you can use whatever you’d like.
  • 4 slices of lemon
  • Frozen veggies
    • I used a mix that contained cauliflower, broccoli, & carrots, but feel free to use any veggies that you like to enjoy with fish. I would recommend a hardier veggie like broccoli versus something really small like peas, due to cooking time.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Line your baking dish/pan with aluminum foil and cover with butter/oil/cooking spray.
    • This ensures that you can remove your fish for serving.
    • I used sesame oil because I was feeling cheeky and I love sesame oil.
  3. Place tilapia fillets on the foil and season.
  4. Put little bits of butter on the tops of the fillets.
    • Then they melt and ooze flavor and it’ll be good stuff, really.
  5. Place 2 lemon slices evenly-spaced on each fillet.
  6. Put frozen veggies on tray around the fish and lightly season.
    • Optional: Drizzle a teeny amount of oil/put teensy bits of butter on veggies. They won’t really need the extra fats but it’s up to you.
  7. Cover the dish/pan with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes in the oven.

I served this with Trader Joe’s Chimichurri Rice (very yummy!) and kept my seasonings and buttering of the fish very light so that it wouldn’t be too heavy with the seasoned rice.

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How it looked before I put it in the oven

While you wait for the fish to finish cook in the oven, you can work on:

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

(Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe)

Ingredients:

A lot of these ingredients

  • Linguine
  • Shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Lemon zest
    • HACKS: If you don’t have a zester or microplane like me, try using a vegetable peeler to get the zest off and then mince it up.
  • Lemon juice
    • And yeah, you could probably throw lemon slices in there like Ina did
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
    • I’m going to be really honest with you guys, I almost never cook without garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes
    • My boyfriend doesn’t have these but I do and wished I was weird enough to bring them with me for this recipe.
    • Plus, that chimichurri rice is really flavorful, so it’s okay if this isn’t too heavily seasoned

Directions:

  1. Boil your linguine according to the instructions (boil a pot of salted water, put your pasta in, cook until a bit more than al dente because you’ll be cooking it a tiny bit more soon.)
  2. While your pasta is boiling, melt your butter in a pan with olive oil over a medium-low heat.
  3. Add minced garlic and sauté.
    • Don’t burn your garlic! Minced garlic burns especially easily because it’s so small.
  4. Add your shrimp to sauté until they just turn pink while adding in your dry seasoning.
  5. Remove from heat and add lemon zest, lemon juice, (lemon slices,) and any other yummies you may have, e.g. red pepper flakes, parsley.
  6. Drain your cooked linguine and put it back in the pot with your shrimp and other goodness.
  7. Toss everything well and enjoy!

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Happy Veteran’s Day and happy anniversary to my better half.

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Share a recipe that you got really excited to cook lately, please? I’m really in the mood to cook as the weather gets cooler, so I’m super excited to make my kitchen werk.

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Last week, I was able to see Disney’s newest animated feature, Big Hero 6 early in theaters.

Me and Baymax! I’m dressed a bit like Gogo Tomago and worked hard to get her makeup look down, which you can’t see at all in this photo but it came out pretty well, lemme tell ya.

Basically, it was amazing fantastic awesome spectacular. This is kind of a longer review, but it gets a full 5/5 100% recommend you watch it for the following reasons:

  • Fantastic characters
  • Beautiful animation
  • Great promotion of the sciences
  • Fun story and funnier lines

I have been waiting for this movie for over a year now. No, really. (It’s not easy being a Disnerd. The wait for Moana is agonizing as well.) This is Disney Animation’s first go with a Marvel property and it’s pretty great.

Let’s look at our cast of characters first, because that’s really where this movie just comes alive.

From L to R: Fred, GoGo Tomago, Baymax, Hiro, Honey Lemon, Wasabi

These are our 6 heroes. Let’s meet them, shall we?

Hiro Hamada in full hero gear

Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) is the protagonist of our film. He’s 14-years-old and a casual robotics prodigy. We get a really good feel of his personality in the opening scene, where he’s at an [illegal] underground robot fight. As a character, there is a lot of depth to Hiro that I really really loved. Seriously classic example of how to put a character through hardships and see him pull through. He’s a teenager at the cusp of puberty, so he’s awkward and sassy and kind but selfish. He’s many things and that complexity is SO delicious because it makes him more real without making him too real. (I tend to dislike characters who are TOO realistically flawed.) I also really want to talk about his family, but just know that Hiro’s relationship with his brother and his aunt are really special.

Baymax in battle gear

Meet Baymax, our adorable squishy character. THIS is how you do a non-human sidekick. (Note: I hate Olaf from Frozen.) Baymax is squishy and chock full o’ comic relief because he is a robot and doesn’t understand our zany human ways! I’ll admit, I was skeptical of Baymax because it seemed like an Olaf-esque ploy to just push out merchandise and have a recognizable character for the franchise. But he’s completely terrific.

Gogo Tomago (voiced by Jamie Chung) is one of my favorite characters in this movie. First of all, I’m always thrilled when more Asian characters are added to the Disneyverse and Gogo Tomago is everything we could have asked for. She’s a no-nonsense butt-kicker who is, as with the rest of the team, also really smart. She works with electromagnetic disks (that you see her wearing above) and chews gum. Also PURPLE. She’s awesome, everything about her just screams cool.

Wasabi (No Ginger?) (voiced by Damon Wayans Jr.) is also a really fun character. He’s the biggest hero of the team (besides Baymax, of course), but he has this really funny neuroticism that makes him maybe too relate-able, personally speaking. He seems like the most real-world-esque character. He gets freaked out flying over the city, he is scared of creepy abandoned warehouses, he doesn’t like his workspace being disturbed because he has a system goshdarnit! He’s also wicked awesome with lasers.

Honey Lemon (voiced by Génesis Rodriguez) is a bubbly and cute character (although her accent was inconsistent in a way that I found slightly distracting). She is also really kind, and that is not really shoved down your throat too much, which is great. She’s just an overall sweetie and her love for chemistry is adorable.

Oh Fred Zilla (voiced by T. J. Miller) is easily one of the most fun characters in this entire movie. The only hero in our group who is not a genius student at SFIT, he is the mascot and dreams of being a fire-breathing dragon. So the team uses science to make that a reality. I usually don’t like characters like Fred too much (think Shaggy from Scooby Doo) because they’re a little TOO laidback and TOO silly. But BH6 did a really great job of making him likable for me.

Tadashi Hamada (voiced by Daniel Henney) (“I thought he sounded hot!” – my friend) is Hiro’s lovely older brother. Like brother like brother, he is the robotics specialist in the group of nerds at SFIT and built Baymax to be a healthcare robot and help people. His powerful desire to help other people is, again, not overdone but it really does affect everything he does. He saves his brother from an illegal robot fight, he gently encourages to use his genius for more noble pursuits, and more. It’s difficult not to really adore his character, I think because I’m just such a sucker for really beautiful families.

Speaking of beautiful families, this is Aunt Cass (voiced by Maya Rudolph) (but Tumblr says she looks like the animators used Tina Fey for a reference model). It’s not really explored much in the movie, but Hiro and Tadashi’s parents are dead and she is their guardian. She does the best she can and it really shows, just how much she loves her two boys. She works really hard to support them in their endeavors, runs a cute cafe, and is just such a cute and fun and loving character. She’s easily one of my favorite characters in this movie.

There are so many things I love about this movie. One is how appealing it makes getting a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) education. The heroes are all engineering geniuses, more or less. They attend a “nerd school” where they are changing the world. One of my favorite moments in this movie is when Tadashi, Hiro’s older brother who is a student at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, shows Hiro what he can be doing with his genius. I really think that Big Hero 6 will inspire so many children to look into studying science and engineering. It’s going to be amazing and I’m so happy that Disney has really been pushing this with lots of innovation-themed contests for kids. Amazing.

Also, can I just say WOWOWOWOWOWOW to the animation team? The animation in this movie was absolutely beautiful.

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I can’t find too many examples online but I remember, even as I was watching, just being stupendously impressed with the attention to detail and the framing and WOW. Just visually, this is SUCH a stunning film.

I also think this is one of Disney’s funniest movies of late. I just found myself laughing so much because the screenwriters made such good use of awkward silence, omission, physical humor, puns, etc. You’ve probably seen scenes like this online already, and it is definitely one of the moments that shows you how funny of a character Baymax can be right here in his introduction:

Too good. Toooooooo good.

Please please please please go watch this movie, I promise it will be well worth your time.

Spoilers below the trailer! (SRS SPOILERS)

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