Chaulafan

01.08.14

This is a paid collaboration with Kikkoman and Latina Bloggers Connect. The story, opinions and pictures are all me.
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In my realization that I did not raise my son with the beauty that is my (our) Latino culture (It’s been very watered down) in an attempt to assimilate myself to his prominent influence (I talk about it here), I’m bringing all the things I’ve learned to the table. Literally. Until we can make that trip to Ecuador, I’m going to replace a few meals with the ones that represent our heritage. I think food (and music) is one of the best ways to celebrate culture, don’t you? For example, my son loves fried rice, especially with Peruvian flavors. But Ecuador has their own version of this much loved Chinese cuisine called Chaulafan. It has all the flavors found in typical fried rice but with more peppers and a Latino twist.
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When I agreed to be part of the #KikkomanSabor blog campaign, I knew I wanted to make this particular dish. I also agreed to work specifically with Kikkoman because I’m all for brands that have an amazing story. Kikkoman was started by a woman during a time when women didn’t start companies (17th century), and operates on the family philosophy – Isogaba maware, which means “Make Haste Slowly”.  Advance and grow, but do it with tremendous thought and care. The message cannot be more perfect for me right now.
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Kikkoman is a naturally brewed soy sauce that is so versatile, it goes pretty much with any type of meat or rice dish. You can use it as a marinade or condiment. It’s also great if you want to stir fry your veggies. I love switching up my greens with a boost of flavor. Yum. But if you want to go the full fried rice route, I totally recommend trying out one of the Latin American rice dishes for a different experience.
kikkoman3Chaulafan is very easy to make. However, it does take a bit of time to prepare (like up to two hours) so I totally recommend making this a family activity. My son helped make the chicken while Kevin diced up the onions and peppers. The recipe below is a variation of this one, which is actually really good. I really want to try this with shrimp! But then again, there are so many other Kikkoman recipes I can try.

INGREDIENTS

Chicken:
2.5 lbs of organic white meat chicken (preferably already in cutlets)
8 cups water
1 white onion, diced
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
5 cilantro sprigs
Adobo, salt and pepper to taste
Thyme to taste
Rosemary to taste

Rice
1 tbs of olive oil
2 tbs white or red onion
3 ¼ cups chicken broth (this makes all the difference)
3 cups white long grain uncooked rice
Adobo, salt and pepper to taste

Chaulafan

2-3 tbs olive oil
1 cup diced white onions
8 garlic cloves, crushed
3-4 slices of honey baked bacon (diced)
2 tbs finely chopped cilantro (to taste)
1 tbs siracha
1 tsp ground cumin
1 large bell pepper (or 2 small ones red and yellow)
1 cup cooked peas
1 cup of cooked carrots, diced
6 eggs already scrambled
10 tbs of Kikkoman soy sauce
4 tbs Worcester sauce
3 tbs finely chopped cilantro
2 handfuls of green onions, finely chopped (or more if you’re like me!)

PREPARE

Chicken: Bring the water, onions and celery to a boil. Add your chicken and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes to an hour or until meat is cooked and tender. Remove the chicken from the broth, set aside and save the broth. Rice: Boil your chicken broth, add your herbs, olive oil and chicken and let it simmer for about 20 minutes with low heat. While your rice is cooking, break up your chicken into small pieces. Chaulafan: In a wok, add your chopped onions, diced bacon, garlic, Worcester sauce, Kikkoman soy sauce, cumin, cilantro, siracha and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cooked rice, chicken and pepper. Stir well and slowly while cooking it over a medium high heat. Add your scrambled eggs, peas and carrots, green onions and mix well.

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Yoga and Sangria

31.07.14

This is a compensated post in collaboration with One2One Network, Eppa Sangria and Soybu apparel. Story and opinions are all my own.
eppa sangria soybu
Before I tell you all about the amazing time I had at the Eppa Sangria event in San Jose, I need to say that this post is so much more than a recap. This whole event was actually a really big deal for me.
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Last week, I headed up to BlogHer14 with Ana and Yolanda on a fun all girl road trip to northern California. It was the first conference I’ve been able to attend since last Fall – a few months before I was home-bound from TMJD. I missed quite a few events/conferences/trips that were already scheduled because of vertigo and the 100 symptoms I describe in this post. I cannot express how excited I was that my first trip back into the conference world was for BlogHer. Not only was it their 10th anniversary but it was also the first conference I ever attended. To kick off the weekend, One2One Network invited me to attend their #NamastEPPA party with Eppa Sangria and Soybu, who gave me the awesome yoga top and capris you see in the pic. Soybu offers versatile women’s apparel that can transition from studio to street (or party!) and offers lots of options in active and lifestyle clothing including yoga pants, athletic tops, dresses, sweaters, wraps lots more. Their clothes have a lots of fun details and are super comfy …
eppa sangria soybu
This leads me to the second reason why this event was a big deal. I was not able to stand straight for months without the room spinning and equilibrium issues. The fact that I can even do this pose is a miracle for me. Even more miraculous is that I was able to do to this pose after drinking, oh, about 5 sangrias by the time this picture was taken. Which leads me to the third reason why this event was special for me …
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Alcohol and TMJD do not mix well, especially if you already feel tipsy 24 hours a day. But that part of the flare-up seems to be over. Thank goodness. I’m finally able to enjoy a glass of sangria. And enjoy a sangria, I did. Eppa Sangria is made with certified organic wine, certified organic superfruit juices and carries 2x the antioxidants of red wine and 3x the antioxidants of white wine, which I love.
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I’m so grateful for the invitation. What a perfect way to step back into the world I cherish and love. I got see old friends, make new ones and meet bloggers who I greatly admire. With a sangria in one hand and head to toe comfort, it was a laid back, fun evening. If you want to try Eppa Sangria too, you can get yourself a bottle at Whole Foods. I promise you will love it. If you want to grab yourself a chic yoga outfit, pick your favorite and take off 25% off with this promo code: #NamastEPPA. Limit of one coupon per household. Valid through Sept. 24, 2014.

(Pics are mine and c/o of Lucrecer Braxton)

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Culina

29.07.14

culina restaurant four seasons
Before you scroll, I really hope you do not have an empty stomach. This post is full of delicious food that I had the honor of trying all in one sitting thanks to an invitation by the Culina Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Now, being on the east side of things when comes to LA demographics, I don’t typically drive west (unless I really have to). Yes, I’ve picked up quite a few bad LA habits since I moved here about 10 years ago. Have you ever been on the 10 at 5pm on a Friday? How about drive through downtown on the 110 around 3pm on a weekday? But I digress.
culina restaurant four seasons
What’s worth a freeway venture any day of the week? Food and friendships. I will drive many miles for an evening of new flavors and great company. While Kevin and Mikey did the Planet of the Apes guy thing (I’m so glad Kevin is a movie buff too), I toasted to new friends and the awesomeness that is Los Angeles. As I said during Restaurant Week, LA cuisine is such a great mixture of cultures and just never gets old when it comes to culinary arts.
culina restaurant four seasons
Culina Restuarant serves up far from ordinary modern Italian dishes. For example, their squid ink spaghetti with lobster, chorizo and calabrian chili is no regular pasta dish. The combination of ingredients and flavors made it hard to stop at just one bite. Until the Porchetta Di Maiale came along (house cured pork belly with grilled flatbread and seasonal fruit mostarda), and I couldn’t remember what else I ate prior. Because pork.
culina restaurant four seasons
The ambiance of the restaurant was really cozy and perfect for a date, evening with friends or a large dinner party. It has a very laid back feeling, and I like that. I also want to head back and check out their Crudo Bar for an evening of raw live action slicing and dicing by one of their chefs.
culina restaurant four seasons
And now that my son just saw this Porterhouse picture, it looks we’ll also be going back for a family dinner. He loves a good steak. I may have to order the Pollo Rustico you see at the beginning of this post. To see more from menu, check out Culina Restaurant.
culina restuarant four seasons

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high waist, wide leg

22.07.14

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(Tua top, Gracia pants similar in chiffon, Banana Republic clutch but love this wristlet one, Zara heels and love these)

I have to say I’m pretty lucky to have a guy who goes shopping with me and helps me pick out pieces to wear. I tried on these pants for fun and he said “yep, you’re getting those.” I joked and said I felt a bit like Lisa Stansfield but, hey, the 90s are back. I think I pretty much took my last palazzo post to whole other level with these. But they’re super perfect for making the waist look small and the legs long.
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I wore this look over the weekend when I headed over to the Los Angeles Convention Center to the National Council of la Raza conference. Afterwards, we stopped by MoCA to see the grounds and then checked out their Mike Kelley show at the Geffen location. No shortage of inspiration was had this weekend. It was definitely needed. Life can throw curve balls to distract you but when you fill your mind with good stuff, you see how silly most things are … maybe it’s age. Speaking of which, I turn 41 tomorrow!
MoCA wide-leg pants
Hope you’re all enjoying your week. And if you’re in LA, you must check out the Van Gogh to Kandinsky exhibition at LACMA.

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Expressionism

21.07.14

Van Gogh to Kandinsky
Writing this post makes me so happy. So very happy. Expressionism. Van Gogh. Kandinsky. And my favorite, Cézanne. They’re all in one room at LACMA’s exhibition Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky. This era is what put me into royal post graduate debt and I really did not care one bit. I lived vicariously through these paintings with every turn of my art history text book page. The hunger to learn more led me to work for modern art museums, where I was surrounded by these beautiful pieces every day. Something magical happens inside of me when I’m in the presence of these works. My son often asks me about movies or TV shows from the last twenty years, and is often shocked to hear that I have not seen most of them. I tell him “No, son. Mom watched still movies made of oils instead.” I mean, look at this Cézanne. I can stare at this painting forever and see something new every single time.
Cezanne still-life LACMA
From Van Gogh to Kandinsky brings together the extraordinary contributions of artists from France and Germany – key players in the modern art movement. The exhibition illustrates that artists during this time were unified in many ways and not constrained by their borders. I love how each gallery offers insight into how the visual arts are conveyed between cultures. During the 1900s, Berlin was the center of the country’s financial core as a culturally rich metropolis where different cultures engaged. They were artistically progressive and demonstrated an appreciation for the contribution made by French artists. During the same time, Paris had a dynamic, very avant-garde art scene, which attracted many German artists, gallerists and collectors. The city welcomed many of these new artists and exhibited their work in many shows as well.
Van Gogh to Kandinsky
What I love most about Expressionism is that it fills the vision field with beautiful colors and brushstrokes. Your eyes are forced to dance around the canvas. A delight you will find when gazing at the work of Van Gogh, who we can say is more like a father of the Expressionist movement. Take a look at the movement in the sky and trees in The Poplars at Saint-Remy and tell me there isn’t a dance. I can almost hear the wind blow.
Van Gogh LACMA
I can go on and on as the show covers other topics, such as Fauves, Brücke, Cubism and then finally WWI – A time of cultural transformation.
Van Gogh to Kandinsky
Before I end this post, I leave you with the pioneer of abstract art, Kandinsky, who took expression to a whole new level with non-representational properties of color and form.
Kandinsky LACMA Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky is on view until September 14th. It’s a must-see and is set up with four dramatically different themes with a pathway that includes a variety of different colors, materials and with day lighting to enhance the works.
Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky (Pictures c/o of LACMA)

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A week in pictures

18.07.14

I decided to bring my week in pictures posts back. There are so many in between moments that I capture and would love to share. I think Fridays may the day I take a moment to reflect on all the fun things life throws my way and the moments we create for ourselves.
Green Juice - Kale and Banana
My son is back from visiting family in Philadelphia, which was one month full of grandparent fun and food. Lots of it! Whenever he goes east, he can’t enough of hoagies, pizzas, cheese steaks and so on. This week, I’ve been trying to get some greens in his system with different types of green juice. It’s not his favorite but he really likes this one I make for him – Kale, banana, coconut milk, a slice of avocado and a dash of cinnamon. I also add a scoopful of Vitaforce. It’s definitely teen approved. But he’s asked me to never tell him what’s in it.
Ann Taylor jewelry
I stopped by Ann Taylor this week and wracked up on their jewelry. I always love a good sale. Their transitioning into Fall so now is a good time to get a few pretty pieces for your jewelry box. I really love their statement necklaces and earringsand their clutches as you can see here, here and here.
Urban Decay BiggerBadderlashes Perversion Mascara
After a busy work day, I attended Urban Decay’s Perversion Mascara launch party this week at Sayer’s Club with my guy and a few friends for some much needed social time. Great people, great food and great products, of course! I haven’t tried my goodies yet but looking forward to a sexy eye look for my birthday. Yep. That’s coming up next week!
Culina Desserts
Whew. I’m still full. Last night, my partner in crime Ana and I were invited by the Four Seasons to have dinner at Culina Restaurant while my guys spent some QT together ala Planet of the Apes. Oh my goodness, the food was so delicious. Expect a blog post shortly with their menu options. We were served several amazingly creative and rich dishes. If you’re in LA, I really hope you’re taking advantage of Restaurant Week. There are so many amazing places to eat, and Culina is definitely one of them. You have to try their olive oil cake. It’s that good! I may do a few more #DineLA things this coming week, which will require very comfy clothes. Looks like I may be wearing this jumpsuit all week long.

I hope you have an awesome weekend, muses!

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Nautical Palazzo

17.07.14

Only Hearts jumpsuit theArtMuse
(Only Hearts Jumpsuit, Ann Taylor clutch, Zara heels but love these ankle strap heels too), Mary Kay Sunny Citrus Creme Lipstick)

Since it’s not appropriate to wear pajamas to go out (although I’ve seen people do it), I’m all for dressier jersey-type one piece situations. I typically walk into stores looking for head to toe outfits that don’t require a lot of work or thinking. If the shirt and pants are attached, even better. Yeah, I sound like the laziest dresser on the planet. That’s probably because I am. No shame in it. I love clothes, makeup and all things girly but it must be fuss-free.
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I love palazzo pants for that ease, especially this jumpsuit from Only Hearts. They’re chic, flattering and oh-so-comfortable. They were actually part of my staple look back in the day when everyone was wearing them. I’m talking early 90s, house music, Roseland, Marshall Jefferson’s Move Your Body days. Minus the chunky black house shoes, I’m happy that they’re making come-back. I can wear them now like a grown-up with heels and a purse. And if they have a high-waist, even better. I have a very high waist as it is, so it works well for my body type. They also give the illusion of longer legs. Win, win all around.

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Vino y arte

12.07.14

Urban Artists Illustrate Vibrancy of Spain’s Wine with “Streets of Color” Miami theArtMuse
I have a thing for South Florida. I love it, love it, love it. In fact, I must love it so much, I fell in love there! The food, the culture, the gorgeous beach views, the Carribbean vibe … All of it. And of course, there’s nothing like checking out Miami’s Wynwood Arts District before a dinner date. I can’t tell you how bummed I was to miss two opportunities to visit Florida because I wasn’t feeling well. Last April for work and last week with my guy, who went back to visit his family. However, all was not lost. Somehow the wine gods sensed my despair and sent me a limited edition bottle of Reserva by Spanish Winery Campo Viejo. They’re celebrating this limited edition bottle release with a U.S. street art installation in Miami as part of the global art series “Streets of Color.” Perfect timing too. I was in the middle of setting up my art studio when the package arrived, and could not wait to have an art celebration of our own. It makes my guy incredibly happy to see that I’ve taken out my oils and brushes.
“Streets of Color” Miami theArtMuse
Miami’s Wynwood Arts District is currently the sixth canvas for the global art series “Streets of Color” painted by international artists Okuda and Remed. All of the murals are inspired by the natural features of the Campo Viejo vineyards and serve as visual love letters of Spanish culture to cities that embrace wine, food, culture and art. This particular large-scale mural (by Okuda) is all about the idea of color giving life, and I certainly think it illustrates the vibrancy, color and life of the city, don’t you agree?
“Streets of Color” Miami theArtMuse
And the wine? Reserva’s flavor is a lovely balance between cherries, black plums, ripe blackberries with hints of clove, pepper, vanilla and coconut (yum). It’s beautifully smooth (drinking a glass as I write) with a long lasting finish. It would definitely go really well with a nice mix of cheeses. Hmmm, there’s an idea.

If you’re lucky enough to be in the Miami area, the mural can be viewed at Northwest 23rd Street and Northwest Fifth Avenue in the Wynwood Arts District in Miami until August 31, 2014. Salud!

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