Monday, January 19, 2015

BLACK & BLACK | VELOUR & SUEDE

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Torn by Ronny Kobo dress | Crown Vintage booties | J. Crew necklace

I apologize for the graininess; picture appropriate lighting is not one of the Washington National Cathedral's fortes.

It does however have a strength as a beautiful musical performance venue! A friend of mine had extra tickets to hear the Czech Philharmonic perform Smetana's Má Vlast and Dvořák's New World Symphony, so the roomie and I promptly took to capitalizing on the opportunity. 

Suffice to say, that night also brought back many a memory of toiling through early morning rehearsals and poking fellow cellists through the stands and scrawling silly markings all over our music. If anyone from West is reading this, I miss making music with y'all, but I'm glad we at least overlapped a bit in our journeys of pursuing music for the rest of our lives. #canigetawolfpack

Monday, January 12, 2015

COOL DAYS | COOL TONES

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Uniqlo shirt | LOFT cardigan | Banana Republic coat + pants | Ralph Lauren boots | Marshalls scarf | J. Crew necklace | Michael Kors watch 

Well...this post is pretty comically late, but better late than never right?

I'm usually all about olive & gold tones during the fall (wow, I'm a whole season late oops), but I guess I was feeling darker vibes clothing-wise to complement the chilly weather that day. Actually, now that I think about it, any day is a perfect day to wear shades of one of my favorite colors: maroon/burgundy/merlot/anyvariationthereof. (Which I realize is not technically a true cool tone...oops again?)

And on a side note, yay for discovering more hipster alleyways and graffiti walls in the city!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

APPLE CINNAMON PULL APART BREAD

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I've found it. I've found the purpose of life baking!! (...now if only I could also figure out the former)

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As pretty as cupcakes and miscellaneous little desserts are to pin and fantasize of making, bread will always be my main squeeze. The kneading, the poking (or maybe I'm the only one that plays with my bread dough #noshame), the rise and transformation of smelly dough (let's be real, yeast smells kinda weird) into carb heaven...ahhhhh, all is well with the world. 

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Don't even get me started on the finished product. Soft, flaky insides encased within a golden brown, crispy outer shell - you and I both know the world would be a far less happy place without the beauty of bread. 

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Introducing the star of my Christmas party mass baking spree: toss in some layers of apples and cinnamon, and these will be conquered in minutes. Or if you're having a solo party, that's cool too cause it will probably still be conquered in minutes (actually, please call me over and we can make it a duo party). 

Recipe adapted from: Joy the Baker (and inspired by Jiin!)
Makes two 9x5in loaves

Dough:
3 cups flour (+ a little extra as needed)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

Apple Filling:
(Honestly, I didn't really measure the apple part, just kinda did it to taste)
2-3 apples, sliced thinly
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Peel and chop up apples into thin slices. Toss with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  2. To activate yeast, whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm water and let sit for about 5 minutes until foamy. 
  3. Mix the dry ingredients: 2 cups flour (not all of it yet!!), sugar, and salt.
  4. Melt together milk and butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add water and vanilla extract, and let cool a bit.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients and yeast mixture into the dry with a spatula. Add the whisked eggs and the remaining 1 cup of flour. The mixture should be sticky, but not so much that you be mad strugglin' trying to get it off your fingers (if so, add flour in small increments until you can comfortably work with it without it sticking too much).
  6. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, (~2-4 hours). (Can also refrigerate overnight and then continue working on it the next morning.)
  7. When the dough's about done rising, mix together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling. Melt 2 ounces of butter in a separate bowl and set aside. Grease and flour (or parchment paper line for easy cleaning!) two 9x5in loaf pans.  
  8. Kneading time! Knead a few tbsp of flour into the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to basically however large you can get it (try to keep it in a rough rectangular shape). Spread the melted butter across the dough and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over it.
  9. Slice/cut the dough into six strips. Stack the strips on top of each other and slice into six portions again (resulting in 6 small rectangular stacks). Alternate layers of dough rectangles and a few apples slices for the two loaf pans. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pans and allow to rise again in a warm place for 45-60 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place loaves in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is gloriously golden brown.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes. ('Twill be oh so hard but oh so worth it.)
  12. Eat, and be transported to carby, apply cinnamony paradise.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT


It's hard to hide it. It's draining to deal with.
The hurt, the brokenness, the spiritual strainings and strivings (extra points if you catch that Du Bois reference), the times when your soul feels irreparably vulnerable.

Of course, this is where the threads of community can begin weaving the first strands of renewal, where it can start working to stitch together a wounded and tangled soul.

But where community cannot reach, where it cannot penetrate - this precisely reflects the reason why the hurt is so deep. It's not merely of this world, it's founded on the the sin of man and the bitter workings of Satan.

We try to fill the emptiness with things of this world - inevitably things that will always fall through, because we live in a fallen world. Don't you see? Emptiness is a conditional part of existence on this earth. (Yup, quite the sombering conclusion.)

Yet fear not, for that's where He is; that's where God's waiting to reveal his beauty. Fear not, for he is closer than ever. It's these moments that illustrate the depth and fullness of his love, that you can see him, that you can lose yourself in him, that you realize he is the only one left to turn to, that to live is to worship, to speak to him, to read the living word. That goals are worthless without him and you are hopeless without him. That you desperately need him, and you need him more and more each day.

That we are soldiers everywhere in this world. That we fight on separate battlegrounds but for the same King, and that king is one who delights in us profoundly more than our human hearts could ever delight in him.

That that aforementioned king is one who has so perfectly and meticulously created us as beautiful beings to reflect him, and our natural response to who he is is thus to worship, to adore, to serve, to do so all while abiding in him.

Yes, times will be trying and direction will seem lost. When giving up or persevering both seem like hopeless options - what is there left to do?

As beautifully put by a dear brother of mine, let us be bold in our love. Because if anything, that's something that this world needs pretty dang badly. It's because our worldly institutions of family, friends, society, whatever - however weak or strong they may be, they all fail at giving and receiving love in a way that fully satisfies the soul, and it's because only his love can do that.

So let's love better together, with his love that he generously showers upon to any and all who ask. Let's remember together that we are broken so that we may see him and his hope more clearly, for we have waiting for us a place that knows no emptiness and radiates only wholeness. What is now left to do is to fight the good fight until the day Christ comes back in fullness and heaven embraces us in completeness.

Stay strong, for you are not the only one fighting battles. Ultimately, stay strong, for the world is already overcome and the war already won.
Don’t you see? The principle is that a Christian is both happier and sadder at the same time. The gospel makes you a far more sensitive person, a far more feeling person, but at the same time a person who is feeling because you’re more hopeful than anyone else, a person who is able to sense and see the grief because you have a joy unspeakable and full of glory. (Timothy Keller)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

CHINATOWN COFFEE CO.

 photo DSC_1495-29_zps04f97faf.jpg In an area of DC inundated with big name chains and bustling crowds of people everywhere, Chinatown Coffee Co. is a welcome tourist-free destination a little ways off the beaten path.

I feel like they cycle through more hipster roasters than I cycle through pants in a week (which according to my roommate is not a lot...but that doesn't keep me from being firm believer in rewearing pants).

The lineup? Ranges from Chicago's Intelligentsia, San Francisco's Ritual, Portland's Heart, Vancouver's 49th Parallel, and Denver's Novo. It's okay; I only recognize like less than half of them too. 
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I always tell myself I should just go for it and try the organic-ethically sourced-uniquely packaged-so overpriced chocolate that these coffee shops sell...yet I never get around to it. I'll keep y'all posted; maybe I'll save my coffee money and get chocolate next time (...yah cause chocolate has caffeine too?!).

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It's neat how they serve alcoholic beverages in addition to coffee and tea, though I think sippin' on a cup of coffee in a café would feel more natural for me than a glass of wine. Plus that wine bottle looks mega creepy.

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Picture above taken by my friend Justin! You should follow his DC food Instagram account if you haven't already :)
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Ranked as one of the top coffee shops in DC by The Washington Post, Washingtonian, and DCist, Chinatown Coffee really does shine through, especially when the only other coffee shop in the vicinity is That Which Must Not Be Named.

The furnishings are by no means fancy and ambiance by no means glamorous, but that's not what we come here for anyways. (Actually, don't come here for the iced coffee either - 'twas mad expensive for what it was.)

Chinatown Coffee Co.
Cafe, $
475 H St NW
Washington, DC 20001

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

HI KEY BRIDGE

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 photo DSC_1622-6_zps74333982.jpgBanana Republic coat | H&M dress | H&M belt | J.Crew necklace | Ralph Lauren boots | Michael Kors watch | James Avery & Diament Jewelry rings

Sooooo I don't think I have any other choice in naming this post considering this outfit is already synonymous with that phrase (hah).

Anyhow, wishing y'all a fabulous and blessed holiday week(end) filled with genuine thanksgiving and uplifting community! I'll be visiting relatives in the glorious land where sunny days and Asian treats abound (Los Angeles), so please do inform me if you have any recommendations on places to go :)

And last but not least, remember calories don't count over Thanksgiving break!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

DARK CLASSICS | LIGHT ACCENTS

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China shirt | Club Monaco pants | Banana Republic trench | J.Crew flats | Forever 21 necklace (thanks Erin!) | Michael Kors watch

Just a short post today, but haaaappy Friday!

Falling leaves and breezy afternoons always excite me becauseguesswhatthatmeans trench weather. Combine that with a flowy blouse and matching pale pink hues of my necklace and shirt lining, and bam, casual outfit for city exploring. Or maybe more like working on a marketing case, but at least venturing off campus always makes homeworking a little more enjoyable.

Monday, November 10, 2014

FARMERS FISHERS BAKERS

(By the way, I've created a visual compilation/guide of my cafe adventures aka the new "Where I Coffee" link on the right sidebar wheeee)

I love discovering hidden gems in the Georgetown area. Usually they're places that most people are familiar with but don't think of venturing out to for reasons other than the typical weekend dinner (seriously, that was so last month) - like weekday morning coffee + breakfast bites at Farmers Fishers Bakers!

I guess that also requires you being the type of person to wake up early on a Friday morning for a short trek out to breakfast, but it's so worth it - we're talking a quiet, beautiful morning stroll along the Potomac River waterfront when it feels like there's no one else in the world except you and the other kindred souls out for a casual breakfast (or run...lol DC). (Plus they have free wifi so it's laptop friendly too! Only downside is no outlets, so come charged up and ready to go.)

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When I first saw the prices...like what are we still in DC?? And in Georgetown to boot?
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Love. this. girl. Not sure where she got that magnifying glass, but here is Meredith lookin' beautiful and as quirky as always. So glad we can talk about anything from our addictions to carrot cake to promotion of the arts to convictions of social justice.
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Masterpiece assembled! I don't know what it is about almonds, but they're my new nut of choice when it comes to toppings. There's something about the subtle crunch and light, nutty flavor that perfectly complements anything from oatmeal to froyo to salads.
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Hopefully one day I'll get around to dinner here - love how they reflect the farm-to-table theme in the decor.
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Also love this girl! Eunice, you have such a beautiful heart, and I'm so glad we met this year. I'm definitely looking forward more life adventures and discoveries in Christ together - ain't no school boundaries gon keep us apart hehe.
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Yes, that's a (very unnecessary?) bathtub + showerhead ensemble right outside the bathroom. I hope they reuse that water.
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Andddd a picture of the bar. Just because the colors are pretty.

Farmers Fishers Bakers
American (New), $$
3000 K Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
www.farmersfishersbakers.com