OOTDs: June 2016, Week 5 (End)

Last week of outfits for the month of June:

Monday: old Cotton On crop tee, Uniqlo ankle boyfriend jeans
Tuesday: Forever 21 floral print button front dress
Wednesday: Taylor Stitch Katherine oxford shirt in washed black, Uniqlo ankle boyfriend jeans
Thursday: old JCrew Factory check camp shirt, Gap real straight pants, Gap belt

I can’t stand how schlubby/disheveled I’ve been on the bike-to-work days (MWF) that I’ve been inspired to try a little harder on my driving days (TuTh). To me, the air feels humid lately–or maybe it’s just the house, but I don’t feel crisp in my clothes. And I don’t like the restlessness that comes with summer dressing–I don’t need new gear, I just need to be happy with what is already there. At least for workwear bottoms and tops.

Thus concludes our June series of OOTDs! I may leave small musings here and there as I see fit, but it’s been fun to write semi-regularly again.

OOTDs: June 2016, Week 4

Here I go again on my own:

Monday: ?  gifted cotton tank purchased in Hawaii, Everlane culottes
Tuesday (not photographed)
Wednesday: Target Merona black v-neck flowy tank, Everlane culottes
Thursday: old Madewell linen striped pocket v-neck tee, old Zara denim culottes
Friday: old Forever 21 rayon/viscose split neck top, Uniqlo boyfriend fit ankle jeans

It’s been so hot that I’ve been scrambling to identify what to wear to work. I didn’t really succeed this week. I feel like dressy goes out the door when the heat goes up. It also doesn’t help that my footwear choices are limited; my Gentle Souls flats are so beat up, they’re embarrassing to wear out in public. So thus begins the footwear search once more.

My shoe wishlist includes:
– something in the shape of the Sam Edelman Trina sandals. Neutral, low, simple two strap construction. I’d prefer a stacked heel rather than the metallic one.
– red ballet flats. and red sneakers.
– gold or silver flats

But then I just wrote all that and thinking of looking for all of those different shoes frustrates me, so maybe I’ll just go and buy another pair of Nike Flyknit Frees.

Dinner with Irenia Supper Club

Dinner with Irenia Supper Club

One of my hobbies lately is tracking the development and progression of this trend called the “Filipino Food Movement.” It’s a hashtag I’ve been using to promote my own culture’s food–more often when I eat out but also on the rare occasion when I cook something at home. I’m hoping Filipino food gets more traction internationally, just like how Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai food are familiar to Western palates now.

In support of such awareness and growth of Filipino cuisine in my own neighborhood, I attended one of Irenia Supper Club‘s pop-up dinners in Costa Mesa, CA. Yesterday was my first time going to such an event, and it was a great introduction into the world of fine dining. Irenia Supper Club is the brainchild of Chef Ryan Garlitos, who named his restaurant after his grandmother Irenia. “…the Irenia Supper Club aims to create modern Filipino inspired dishes that are reflective of grandmother’s style and values and also demonstrate Chef’s commitment to making deliciously imaginative plates. Currently a monthly Pop-Up Supper Club, Irenia’s long-term goal is to operate as a brick and mortar restaurant in Orange County.”1

Yesterday’s event occurred at Famosa Tile in the OC Mix/South Coast Collection (SOCO) plaza.
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Kitchen, bar seating, and main seating for the guests.

Last night’s dinner was six courses prepared by two teams: Chef Garlitos and the folks from Irenia Supper Club, and Chefs Nate Overstreet and Ashly Amador of Wheat and Sons Butcher.  I should clarify that not all the courses were strictly Filipino-based, but the non-Filipino dishes presented flavors that remind me a lot of Spanish cuisine, but within an American framework.

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From left: Corinne Mosqueda of Irenia Supper Club, Chase Valencia of Lasa LA, Ashly Amador and Nate Overstreet of Wheat and Sons Butcher.
Here are the six courses from the dinner:

1. Salad Sariwa (Tagalog for “fresh”)

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Persian cucumber, radishes, pea shoots, pickled red onion, milkfish tonnato, bagoong caramel
I wanted more salad so I could eat more dressing >_> 😀

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Nico De Leon of Lasa LA and Ryan Garlitos of Irenia Supper Club preparing the Salad Sariwa.
2. Dungeness Crab Conserva

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Smoked paprika, tarragon, baguette
3. Repolyo

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Grilled cabbage, tinola broth, chayote, crispy chicken skin, preserved meyer lemon
I would call this a very friendly, comforting introduction to chicken tinola soup. My own family tends to make theirs with a little more ginger/lemon edge with chicken drumsticks in a big pot. The version above is definitely a more elegant, muted take on what I remember from youth.

4. Mussels Caldo Verde

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Linguica, potato, cherry tomato
A hearty thick broth with potatoes, tomatoes, and chopped sausage. Almost reminded me of gumbo with the smoky sausage.

5. Afritada

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Braised ‘Cooks Pigs’ pork shoulder, roasted dwarf carrot, charred shishito, jasmine rice
I’ve made afritada for myself before–but only with chicken thigh. This pork shoulder was tender, but a little dry. I much prefer making this dish with chicken. Nevertheless, the roasted carrot and shishito was a treat for me, and I could spoon the sauce over rice for days.

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Kitchen flow.
6. Cassava Cake

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Burnt coconut cream, San Miguel ‘Negro’ glaze, morro grape
I’m not much of a coconut or cassava fan but this was delicious and not too sweet! Win win.

Overall the dinner was well-executed, and I could not have asked for a nicer first pop-up supper. I am looking forward to attending the Los Angeles series of dinners by Lasa LA.

If you’re in the Southern California area and want to learn more about fine dining and Filipino cuisine check out the following:

Irenia Supper Club (Orange County)
Lasa LA (Los Angeles)

A few helpful links on Instagram, where I get my foodie news from:
@savorfilipino
#filipinofoodmovement
#FFMSoCal

It feels good to learn new things every day! 🙂

En route

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Personal picture. Grand Central Station, New York, November 2014.

I need respite.

These last few weeks have been full of #adulthood–the daily stresses of work, construction and disruption at the house, increasing responsibilities. I am doing my best to respond to all of them with poise and efficiency, but I need recharging time.

As for blogging regularly, that seems to have gone awry these past couple months. It’s a combination of avoiding shopping/thinking about material goods, to shifting of resources: I’ve been spending a lot more on food and drink. I’ve also been back at climbing and running with a vengeance and have achieved some modest gains in both hobbies. These are all things that have pulled me in other directions and made me better equipped to beast at my own life–with perhaps the exception of greasy food and coffee. Those are purely for fun.

With all that a-brewin’ (hah), I’m looking forward to the upcoming travel this week to  Seattle, Washington–follow my photo diary (of sorts) on Instagram. Stay in touch!

life.exe

life.exe

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy, hence the slowdown of posts here.

I think it’s probably easier to show you what I’ve been up to rather than to write about it, so here goes:

I’m still drinking a pile of coffee. Not much of a surprise there.

A macchiato at Hopper and Burr in Santa Ana.

Post-coffee wandering around downtown Santa Ana. Those cutoffs are getting some serious mileage.

Typical Kristina portrait. Poor friends get pressed into snapping my picture when out and about.

Still eating like a teenager, but with none of that youthful metabolism:

Loaded hot dogs, fresh tater tots and potato chips from Joe Schmoe’s.

Attempting to rectify said metabolism with bouts of exercise:

I sent my first V1 (equivalent 5.10 c-d) earlier this month!!! WOOOOOO

More bouts of exercise part 2: night bouldering in the San Bernardino National Forest with people from my climbing gym. Didn’t climb anything because we hit boulders with routes/problems beyond my grade (everything we hit waas V3+). Still had tons of fun shooting photos of the climbers and taking in the views during the hike out, which was probably the most strenuous I’ve ever been on. We got to the campsite at 5 pm and hiked/climbed until 2 am (hehe!)

Early part of the hike (6:30ish pm) so still pretty stoked about nature at this point. At midnight, we took a break to lay on the crash pads to look at the stars. It is something I’d like to see again soon.

Last week I attended the Workhorse Rye x Little Sparrow Cafe event featuring specialty cocktails made with bitters from WHR.

Took home the small bottle of India Pear bitters courtesy of WHR’s Rob Easter. This will be fun to bring to share at my friend’s house later this month.

I chose the “Arabikakozu”: India Pear Bitters, cold brew Four Barrel coffee, Takara Organic Nama Sake, Gran Classico. I would say sake and coffee is an interesting blend. Not something I would normally think would go together, but when done like this it reminded me of a very lime-forward, bitter-lemonade. As with much of my food explorations, these tastes are all very new to me still, so my observations will be disjointed at best.

Finally, my local craft bakery/coffee/beer/eatery Bakers and Baristas celebrated their grand opening last weekend. I went to have brunch at opening and ordered this gourmet twist on a classic Filipino breakfast: skirt steak tapsilog. Tapa is usually cured meat, typically a bit harder and drier, but the chefs decided to play with that interpretation and served up a juicy, tender, medium-rare steak.

skirt steak, garlic fried rice, pickled carrots, poached egg. I love that the chefs are incorporating heritage and experience into the rotating menu. Apparently congee (rice porridge) might be in the works for brunch.

With all this activity, I’ve almost reached my limit of functioning normally (usually, by this point I’d be sick.) Thankfully (or unfortunately) all I’ve had so far is a scratchy throat and a low-grade headache. I think I accepted every social invitation there was to accept, so now I’m craving some normalcy and quiet so I can regroup.

For those of you coming by and reading the blog at this juncture, it’s probably pretty weird to see all these food and coffee posts, isn’t it? (all three or four of you reading out there, haha.) I do have some odd thoughts here and there about fashion, specifically shoes; maybe I’ll write that later on its own.

Hope everyone is having an excellent end to their August! Let me know how you all are doing.

Cropped

Cropped

A trim became a lop. I haven’t had a cut this short in the past four years I’ve been trying to grow this hair. A vague stirring turned into indecision and then finally this at the salon yesterday. I’m ecstatic about the shortened drying time and the swingy-ness of less mass. In time I will return to being a dark-haired mermaid, but for now, this.

*full disclosure: this was a happy medium between completely lopping it off into a chin-length bob but it is still short enough to where it differed from my waist-grazing length. The ends were super dead and broken on my previous hair, and at that length it was whipping around my shoulders and back while running and getting stuck on my arms.

I also wish I were strong enough to say I won’t panic and regret this in a few weeks, but in the spirit of growth and maturity: it is hair, it will grow again, and I am fortunate to have a dense mane on my head.

Do you have any style tips or inspiration for looks for this length? I hardly do anything to my mop, maybe it’s time to try something new.

Effort expended

Effort expended
Coast Modern in Seal Beach, CA.

Dori who writes over at Dorigamii brought up some points in her recent post about shopping that made me think back on my own evolving values. I found the exercise interesting. She talks about the price vs. quality conundrum while shopping (“…how hard it is for me to come to grasps with dropping a lot of money on nicer clothing”), avoiding using specific items because of cleaning costs or fear of damage,  and a desire to pinpoint weak areas of her wardrobe to be addressed in future purchases. These are all things I have done and still touch upon sometimes when I shop.

I think a good reason why this post interests me is how it calls to mind the changes I’ve undergone with regards to my own shopping habits. I’m not at all “enlightened” or have become some minimalist minion touting restrictions left and right. But I’ve cut down on a lot of extraneous browsing “just looking!” window-shopping trips. I’ve also used my somewhat detailed (read: obsessive) research of items more efficiently–the time spent trying everything on those browsing trips showed me where to shop first for a higher rate of fit/quality/price success; a steady stream of promotional emails means a sale is ALWAYS around the corner, and I’m practicing daily on that mental fortitude needed not to impulse buy. If I do slip up and pull the trigger on something, I try to figure out why. It’s almost always an emotional reason. Feelings of inadequacy is a frequent one.

I would even hazard to say that even as we “bloggers” (really, regular people over here) write our own wardrobe philosophies, it does not neatly apply to everyone. I started with goals to look professional and appropriate and “me.” But that last variable, me, is still rapidly changing! How can I effectively shop for a me I haven’t met? Luckily, most of what I bought when I first started my now full-time career is still a favorite and still fits. There were a few items that faded poorly and a few sizing mistakes that became apparent with weight loss (they were non-salvageable–I’m not going to spend half the cost to tailor a wool coat I can donate. Chalk it up as a lesson.) It’s hard to preach any one specific school of thought with regards to how to edit and replenish your wardrobe. So much can happen. Needs change, bodies change, circumstances change. There is no universal “wardrobe staple.”

The last thought fragment I want to discuss is the growing awareness of the effort it takes to shop. I noticed that I came home from browsing trips less happy, and more somber (because inadequacy: “I can’t afford it” or “It didn’t look good on me.”) I also knew for a while that the euphoric feeling after new purchases grew shorter and shorter. Why such little payoff from so much money and effort expended? Looked online because you saw a sale. Spotted a potentially cute shirt with enticing 30% off code. Made plans after work to check out the shirt. Drove 15 miles to the mall, parked the car, walked half a mile to where the specific store is. Found the item on the rack, tried it on in the dressing room, mulled it over for fifteen minutes. Lined up at the counter, paid for it, walked back to the car and drove home. By the time I got home and hung up the new shirt I’d already lost the excitement of new item!!! and it had visibly and mentally joined the pile in my closet.

In some ways I kind of want that shopping high back, like yeah! I bought the thing. The thing in the nice color and cut I always wanted. But if it means that the importance of material objects is diminishing, back to its proper place (IMO, to where 1. the item serves its purpose and is the best at doing so 2. ideally it also satisfies the aesthetic I want to project) then I’m OK with that too. It’s just funny that it used to be such a thing–yay new stuff because new stuff. Now it’s yay new stuff, now I can go to work feeling comfy AND on fleek in these new black sneaks (I am waiting to acquire said black sneaks. Another story, another time.)

I hope that wasn’t too convoluted to follow. Nothing I’m saying above is revolutionary; to me, however, it feels somewhat cathartic as well as a sort of way-marker for the person that I am in this point in time. It is also possible, as one of my dear friends likes to remind me, that I am overthinking things as usual (isn’t that what a blog is for? I can just blahg ad nauseam to my little heart’s desire.) What is the most you’ve ever done to shop for or buy something? Was it worth the effort? What (if any) sort of experience do new purchases give you?