2017 - Sensible Stylista

Remix: The Asymmetrical Mesh Top

I don't know if you guys remember, but a few weeks ago, I featured an asymmetrical mesh top from ASOS on here. I was really excited about it because it was one of the more "risque" pieces I'd purchased in my lifetime, ha. Anywho, I've been thinking about different ways to wear it, and thought, "why not dress it up for a fun night out with frands?"  In the initial post, I styled it with high waisted jeans and distressed boots for a casual, everyday vibe!  I wanted to do something a little different for my latest so I decided to pair it with a bandage skirt and velvet heels.
There's just something about bandage skirts!  I seriously can't get enough of them - IMO, they ooze sexy all day, err day.  I picked this baby up a LONG time ago at Marshalls for a fraction of the price wayyyy back- and when I say "way back," I mean WAY back, think 10+ years - and I still wear it fairly often.  For those of you wondering, the brand is BCBG.
Other fabulous bandage skirts that slay:
Jared caught me texting my bf, ha!  After work, the man-friend and I hit up Halal Guys to get noms. I was working outside all day so I was hangry and cold - chicken and rice seriously never tasted so good! As usual, I got mine with a ridiculous amount of hot sauce.  The workers there always give me sh*t because they're afraid I'm going to pass out and die from the spiciness, ha.  We usually only get platters, but we decided to try their fries this time around, and damn, it was a good decision.  They came out piping hot and were all sorts of yum.  Before heading home, we hit up Trader Joe's to get a few bottles of their delish $3 wine + snacks. 
 Other mesh pieces that'll impress like whoa:
Skirt:  BCBG (similar splurge) || Top:  ASOS || Shoes:  Nine West (similar)
Photos shot by the wonderful Jared Wolfe.

Getting Medieval Up In Here: Medieval Times with the BF

Thanks to Visit Baltimore, I finally got to check out Medieval Times with the bf.  I live near the castle in Arundel Mills, MD so it was super convenient.  I had heard a lot about the experience from friends so I was pumped to enjoy the food + show.  So imma break it all down for y'all: you purchase your tickets via phone or internet and then pick 'em up at the call window before the show.  We reserved tics to the 7:30 viewing on Saturday and got there around 7:10ish.  The rep on the phone recommended that we get there around 6:30 for pre-show festivities and seats (it's all first-come, first-served), but it ended up being fine!  We sat in the very back, but we could still see everything clearly, andddd we liked the fact we could exit quickly. ha.
Everyone's in character and people get really into it!  There are six different "teams," and you're sorted accordingly so you can cheer for your knight.  As you can see, the bf and I were seated in the blue section.  I was beyond impressed with the setup - the arena was HUGE!  We were pretty hangry at that point so we anxiously awaited noms.
On that note, let's take a look at their 4-course menu!  We started with a yummy tomato bisque - it was nice and hot, served with a slice of buttery garlic bread.  Then we got giant piece of roasted chicken (breast and thigh) for our main with corn-on-the-cob and half of a herb-basted potato as sides.  Dessert was a piece of lemony pound cake.  I'm not a huge fan of lemony stuffs, but this was surprisingly moist so I had quite a bit of it.  Overall, the food was quite good, but it was cooked with a LOT of butter so yeah - the corn was like 70% corn and 30% butter, haha.

Now, since everything's set in "medieval times," no one got silverware.  If you're not a fan of eating with your hands, just talk to your waiter.  He or she will probably tease you about it, but they'll get you some plastic utensils STAT!  BF and I didn't end up getting coffee because we left a little early - I assume they served peeps towards the end - but we got two servings of dranks.  You have a choice between sweet tea and pepsi.  I don't drink either so I asked my waiter for diet pepsi, which they carried.  FYI, they also carry vegetarian options - just let them know before dinner service starts!
The show itself wasn't THE most incredible thing I've ever seen, but it was still a really good time. Big ups to the falcon segment though - the bird soared all around the arena, which was by far my favorite part!  Regardless, I had a lot of fun supporting my team throughout the jousts and duels, even though the fights were kind of corny.
Do I recommend the experience? If you're going with friends and family, for sure.  And a HUGE yes, if you have little kids with you.  We saw SO many munchkins enjoying their time there! There were tons of birthdays going on + hoards of peeps from the military & local colleges there to blow off some steam. 
All the knights lining up to greet the crowd! They all jousted first on horse before engaging in hand-to-hand combat (as pictured above).  
They have 8 other locations (Atlanta, Buena Park Cali, Dallas, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Lyndhurst, Chicago, and Toronto), and there are various ticket packages to choose from.  For those of you interested, group rates are available.  The whole show lasts for 2 hours, and tickets are $59.95 a pop for adults and $36.95 for children under 12.  
A huge thanks to Visit Baltimore & Medieval Times for hosting us.

Tearing up Phoenix: Part 2

Alright guys, it's time for part 2 of my Phoenix recap - if you missed segment one and want to catch up, clicky here.  Now, it's been a while, but if I remember correctly the aforementioned post ended with me, Mel and Diana passing out at Hotel Valley Ho after a long but very fun day.  We were all exhausted, but we woke up hella early anyways because we wanted to take photos around our suite and eat breakfast before hitting up Usery Mountain Regional Park.  

We ordered a TON of room service and shot a kickass flat lay in bed!  In case you're wondering, we got a fruit smoothie, a yogurt parfait, a vat of coffee, Belgian waffles, red velvet waffles, and a mushroom omelette with toast and taters.  I'm not gonna lie, by the time we shot everything the noms were straight up cold...but luckily still delicious.  We were laughing our asses off while styling this shot (see it on insta here) because we tied Diana's camera to the chandelier to get the best angle possible.  Hashtag creative blogger solutions.  

After scarfing down brekkie, we changed quickly and checked out.  Tai from Boss Transportation was waiting for us out front to take us to Usery.  Anddddd let's just take a time out to talk about Tai for a quick sec.  If you're in AZ and need a ride, hit him up STAT.  He epitomizes professionalism and is cool as hell - he'll get you wherever you need to go on time all day, every day with max comfort. You'll seriously feel like an a-lister riding in the back of his whip.

Anywho, it took us about 20-30 minutes to get to Usery, and I was amped during the entire drive.  I'm a huge fan of hiking, and I had no doubt the views would be ridiculously amazing so I was pumped. Usery Park's located on the valley's east side and takes in 3,648 acres set at the western end of the Goldfield Mountains.  We hiked Wind Cave trail and ended up 2,840 feet off the ground (!!!) It took us a bit longer than expected and we ended up being hella late, but it was worth every minute because the view was spectacular up top!  

Here's a shot of us resting in the wind "cave" - I say "cave" because it's more of a scar-like depression in the rock.  Definitely worth checking out regardless!  Pro tip aka common sense tip: don't go around flipping random rocks and stay on the main trail.  This is the desert after all, and you don't want to piss off the critters (rattlesnakes, tarantulas, scorpions, etc.) that live there.  It's honestly fine, and I don't want to scare anyone, but it's better to be safe than sorry, right? I didn't see anything other than a cute chipmunk and hummingbird, but one of the guides told us she saw a snake on the main path a while back so just be attentive...and smart.
After our hike, Tai drove us to Queen Creek Olive Mill for a tour + tasting.  We got there and were greeted by the most beautiful spread of tapenades, sandwiches, charcuterie, and sweets.  I wasn't super hungry (shocking I know) so I decided to just chill and munch on a cupcake while chatting with my new blogger friends.  They were raving about the food so I'm assuming it was delish - I'm actually kind of bummed that I passed on noms now, but I guess that just means I'll have to go back.  

Diana and I finished quickly so we decided to explore.  We walked inside and sampled rows of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I can't even begin to tell you guys how good everything tasted.  I would've TOTALLY purchased several bottles to go, but I didn't have space inside my suitcase so I had to pass - such a bummer. Their cheese stuffed olives and gelato though? So much yasssss.
The different bruschettas that were waiting for us: Caprese with roasted garlic olive oil, fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, basil, and robus EVOO.  Honey mascarphone, grapes, fig balsamic reduction, and balanced EVOO.  Then a pear one that I can't remember? I think it was seasonal!
Delish cupcakes that were to die for good.
Then we went off to our second lunch, ha.  I was SUPER excited to go to Agritopia because I saw that we were eating at Joe's Farm Grill - it was featured on Guy Fieri's show, "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives."  After studying the menu for a solid 15 minutes, I decided to get two dishes that were featured on the show:  the Fontina Burger (made with roasted red pepper, grilled mushrooms, field greens, farm-made pecan pesto, and imported fontina cheese) and Onion Rings (hand-breaded in rosemary-dill panko).

I enjoyed the burger's flavor profile, but for me, the star of the show was def. the onion rings.  They were crispy morsels of perfection, and I just couldn't get enough.  Oh, and did I mention that Agritopia sells same-day harvested produce at The Farm Stand (in their community) in addition to providing fresh ingredients for the diner?  Oh hell yes.
My noms - my presh noms.
After eating aka experiencing mad food coma, Tai escorted us to the Scott Resort where we checked in.  Once again, we were blown away by the facilities, and they made us feel super welcome with cute gift bags!  Mel and I had spa treatments scheduled at 3:30 so we unpacked quickly and power-walked to Jurlique.  She chose to get a resurfacing enzyme facial, while I got a Vichy Nirvana massage (as did Diana).  

This may have quite possibly been one of the best experiences I've ever had, like, in my life. My therapist gave me a medium pressure full body massage while immersing my bod under their vichy shower, and I seriously felt like I was melting...and I mean that in the best way possible.  I came out totally relaxed, but wished it was 90 minutes long instead of 60, ha.  I'd honestly go back to Phoenix just to get pampered at Jurlique again.
Post-spa chilling in my Amiclubwear shoot!
...splashing water because I'm hella playful...
A huge thanks to Brooklyn Hat Company & Lipton PR for sending me this adorable hat!  I wore it EVERY day in AZ because I thought it was the cutest. I still can't get over how adorbs the design is - it has little pom poms (!!!!) See a shot of it here on my instagram.  
Anywho, after chillaxing and shooting pics, we rushed back to our room to get ready for happy hour + a fab culinary reception hosted by The Scott's culinary team.  They hired a new chef recently so they were super excited for us to taste their food - they're apparently revamping the menu and also renovating the resort throughout 2017.  After tasting their noms, I'm kind of sad I didn't get to try their actual dinner menu.  The food and cocktails were so on point!  The girls and I totally "mmmmm-ed" out loud as we sampled everything.  After chatting with the manager for a bit, we ubered to SumoMaya for dinner...

...and died from multiple foodgasms.  Who knew Phoenix was foodie heaven? I've seriously had some of the most amazing food I've ever had in my LIFE in AZ.  SumoMaya's a Mexican/Asian fusion restaurant featuring delish tapas that'll leave you ridiculously satisfied.  We got two different kinds of sangria (rose + red) to start and browsed the menu leisurely before deciding on the following: Spinach + Bacon Salad, the Lobster Mango Roll, Rainbow Ceviche, Rock Shrimp Tempura, Korean Beef Tacos, Pescado Dorado Tacos, Seared Scallops, and Mexican Street Corn.  

The grub was out of this world. If heaven was a food, it'd probably taste like SumoMaya.  As many of you know, I don't eat fish so I skipped the Ceviche and Fish tacos, but everything else was game.  The spinach + bacon salad came with baby spinach, warm bacon, togarashi, walnuts, raisins, asian pear, and pickled egg topped with a champagne vinaigrette.  Everything was fresh, and the flavors complemented each other beautifully.

The roll featured main lobster, crab, mango, okinawa, potato and piquillo chimichurri - super flavorful so no soy sauce necessary IMO.  The korean tacos were seasoned with yakiniku sauce and served with pickled veggies + kimchee - def. one of my faves from the night!  Althoughhhh, it's a tough call between them and the seared scallops.  The latter was seared perfectly and served in a citrus coconut plantain sauce + smoked bacon fufu.  I mean, I can't even. I'm still salivating at the thought of it all.  And the mexican street corn? Made with cotija, spicy mayo and lime, it was a total party in my mouth.  We ended the meal on an extra high note with different kinds of mochi ice cream + chocolate cake & caramel gelato.  
With our bellies full of food, Mel and I concluded that we desperately needed to work out so we powered through Tabata Strength (from the Insanity Max 30 workout) to burn calories before passing out.  Fast forward to day 4: we woke up bright and early again to check out the Desert Botanical Garden.  We had the option of sleeping in, but why do that when there's more to see?  

Tai picked us up and we got our browse on for a good 1.5 hours.  The garden was HUGE (140 acres to be exact) so we only got to see a small portion of it, but everything we saw looked gorg.  Some impressive stats for you guys, it houses 50k+ plants and averages 633k+ visitors yearly.  For those of you interested in visiting, tickets are $24.95 per adult, $12.95 for kids age 3-17, and free for members and children under 3.
Afterwards, we met up with everyone at Phoenix Public Market Cafe for breakfast.  I ordered a latte and a housemade juice ($6.50) to start - it was called the Hulk, and it had spinach, kale, cucumber, apple, parsley, lemon, and celery.  For my entree, I wanted something healthy so I went with their Quinoa Bowl, served with poached eggs, market vegetables (sourced directly from the adjacent farmer's market), quinoa, and pesto ($10.25).  
Management also brought out a platter of housemade pastries for us to share, and it was all super nom.  See that flaky goodness that's topped with strawberry frosting? That's their obscenely tasty homemade pop-tart.  I was half tempted to purchase a few to go, but I resisted my urges (self control FTW).  
Anddd that's a wrap guys!  I hope you enjoyed reading all about my trip to Phoenix.  If you're looking for a fab place to vacation, definitely consider AZ.  The food is phenomenal, the attractions are really interesting, and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, shoot me a message! I'm here for you all.  Before I leave, I want to thank Visit Phoenix for hosting me and my beautiful frands.  A special thanks to Trish Lanteigne for making it all possible.

Gone with the Wind...Literally

It was SO ridiculously windy out when Julian (aka Steeze Media) and I took these shots.  It was GREAT for photos and all, but I totally got sick afterwards because it was fuh-reezing.  I love shooting formal gowns because they're fun to play with, anddd I realized I never featured this piece so I figured better late than never.  I've had this dress for YEARS now so it's been through a lot - think graduations, important performances, and nerve-racking auditions.
Like most all of my dresses, I scooped this number up at BCBG.  Their gowns are always on point! They're pricy, but they ooze quality and their designs are second to none.  Man, I'm still pissed that closed all of their brick & mortar factory outlets, ugh.  I guess I'll be hitting up ASOS more often than I already do, ha.
I'm a huge fan of pastel gowns, but I feel like red looks best on stage.  There's just something about the color - it makes me feel powerful, confident, and sexy!  Anywho, I'm curious to hear what you guys think from an audience's perspective.  Are there specific shades that you prefer? If yes, why do you think that is?
 Shot by the fabulous Steeze Media.

Recap: Walters Art Museum & Nom Korean Food + Desserts in MD

Excited to update you guys on my latest adventure!  The BF and I recently hit up the Walters Art Museum for funsies - we got to the Peabody Institute hella early and had time to kill so we decided to mosey on over and edumacate ourselves.  Located in Baltimore, MD, the Walters is internationally renowned for its art collection - 4 floors, baby - showcasing pieces from pre-dynastic Egypt to 20th-century Europe.  Their current exhibitions include:  Ferocious Beauty:  Wrathful Deities from Tibet to Nepal & From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story.
The bf and I enjoyed exploring their extensive arms and armor + jewelry collections!  I was also a huge fan of the roman sculptures & impressionist oil paintings.  I actually want to come back here and do a photoshoot in the sculpture court...if that's allowed, ha.  It's this GORGEOUS space with giant white pillars - I'd feel super goddess-y shooting gown pics in here soooo I'll definitely have to call and ask.  

Anywho, admission's totally free because William and Henry Walters were bamfs, but if you're looking to support the arts (which you totally should), you can donate or purchase stuffs from their shop.  Street parking's a bit difficult in Mt. Vernon, but there are several garages near by so you don't have to worry!
After browsing for a few hours, I took bf to the George Peabody library (housed inside my school, the Peabody Conservatory) and showed him around.  In case you haven't been, the architecture there is ridiculously stunning. There are six tiers of cast-iron columns, decorative railings, and classical embellishments that are touched with gold-leaf. The room itself is 61 feet tall and features a b&w marble floor + ginormous skylight.  I left him there to take pics for his instagram account (@scenicpath) because I had to work - in case you didn't know, I'm a piano teacher there by day.
We were super hungry so we drove to Ellicott City afterwards for noms.  I wanted to get soontofu for dinner at Lighthouse Tofu, but they had closed? Such a bummer because I really liked their food, but it's all good because we got to try a new joint.  A few of my friends had told me good things about Han Joong Kwan so we decided to go - FYI, they specialize in Chinese-Korean cuisine.  I ordered for us and got the following: jjajangmyun (noodles with black bean sauce + pork + veggies), kkangpoongi (spicy garlic fried chicken - pictured below), and tangsuyuk (sweet & sour crispy pork).
The jjajangmyun there was REALLY on point!  The noodles were cooked to perfection, and the sauce was super tasty - it was by far my fave dish.  The fried chicken was also good, but the tangsuyuk was disappointing, which was strange because it was the most expensive dish we ordered.  There was just too much fat and the sauce was too sweet for my taste.  

All in call, I'd go back, but I'd stick with the noodles because they were cheap AND delish ($7 for a big bowl).  I'd be down to try their jjamppong (spicy seafood noodle soup) too!  If you're a fan of asian cuisine, definitely give them a try. Heads up, the restaurant itself isn't decked out - the interior isn't all that great, BUT it's clean - and there isn't much of an ambiance so if that's super important to you, I recommend going elsewhere.  
I bought dinner so the bf offered to buy drinks + dessert.  We stopped by a liquor store and picked up nice wine and Hpnotiq before heading to Tous Les Jours, a french-asian bakery, for sweets.  We got a cup of honey bread (pictured below), a chocolate croissant, and a chocolate pastry to share.  The noms here are usually good, but we struck out this time.  I'll have to do an in-depth review for you guys next time featuring my faves, but for now, I bid you guys adieu.

Find of the Day: The Gathered Sweatshirt from ASOS ($16.50)

Alright guys, it's that time again!  I'm pumped to tell you all about my latest purchase from ASOS: a fab gathered sweatshirt with a kickass gathered front.  Made of a cotton/polyester blend, this piece is THE most stylish sweatshirt you'll ever buy.  Pair it with a high-waisted skirt like I did below to dress it up or wear it with jeans for a casual vibe.  I'm wearing a US 4, and it fits me well, but in retrospect, I kind of wish I went with a 2.  I've mentioned this before, but ASOS has a great return policy (aka free) so I recommend ordering different sizes if you're unsure about fit. 
Gig ups to Steeze Media for taking these awesome pictures - it was absolutely freeeeezing out when we took these snaps so that's why I have resting bitchface, ha.  Anywho, we shot two other outfits together so definitely keep an eye out because I'll be sharing them soon.  OH, and I forgot to ask you guys what you thought of my new instagram aesthetic.  I switched things up a few days ago and wanted to get your opinion - are you a fan of the current filter or do you prefer my older style? Leave me a comment below and let me know.
More angles of my top!  Images jacked from the ASOS website.

Lunching at Apropoe's: Photo Recap + FIRST Ever Video

Stoked to tell you guys all about my latest nom adventure in Baltimore with the BF!  We recently hit up Apropoe's in Harbor East to try their new menu, and we were really impressed with all the dishes they sent out for us to try. We're long distance so we don't get to see each other very often, which means we end up splurging hardcore when we're together.  Our lunch here was definitely a memorable one, and that's saying a lot because we ate at a TON of nomtastic restaurants during his trip here!  Anywho, I'm beyond pumped to recap our meal AND share my very first food video with you all.

To start, executive sous chef Kiran Patnam sent out a beautiful salad that contained baby lettuce, sunflower sprouts, goat cheese, homemade pickled red onions, radishes, and kalamata olives.  The ingredients complemented each other beautifully, and I believe they grow the aforementioned sprouts here themselves!
Moving on to entree no. 1:  Cauliflower Ravioli with roasted eggplant, caramelized onion, and tomato coulis.  Holy freaking crap, this plate was TO DIE FOR good.  I can't even begin to tell you guys how much I loved eating this - it was, hands down, one of the BEST dishes I've ever had in my life.  Who the hell knew cauliflower could taste so good?  The texture was perfection - just the right amount of chewy - and the filling was magical.  
Next up, perfectly seasoned lamb with pea risotto in a mint parsley pesto sauce.  This was my second fave dish & my bf's fave!  I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record, but again, everything was brilliantly cooked.  The lamb was tender and super juicy, and the accompanying sauce was heavenly! The risotto was flavorful and cooked all dente (as it should be, mushy risotto is the WORST).
Main course 3 was chicken served with grilled asparagus, roasted garlic mash, and caramelized onion puree.  This was my least fave dish of the meal, but I don't mean that in a bad way!  It was still tasty, I just prefer the ravioli...over most things in life, ha.
Andddd last but not least, pan seared branzino seabass served with spring vegetable hash and artichokes in a lemon mustard sauce.  As you all know, I don't eat fish so I didn't get to sample this, but my bf told me it was exquisite.  If the quality was anywhere near the other plates I'd devoured, I have no doubt it was delish.  If you're a seafood lover, they also offer roasted atlantic salmon and jumbo lump crab cakes (!!!!)
No meal would be complete without dessert.  Although I only have shots of one, we got to try 2 different yums. The pineapple upside down cake (pictured below) will be presented with toasted coconut ice cream - they ran out so I didn't get to try!  However, the cake was very moist and just the right amount of sweet.  If you're a fan of fruity desserts, you'll love this nom, but the REAL star was the bitter sweet chocolate torte.

Oh man, you'll take a bite out of this baby and literally yell, "what the f*ck!"  It's THAT good, like I'm not messing around.  Topped with orange blossom mousse, this will blow you away!  I honestly could've done without the mousse - I'm basic so I would've rather had vanilla gelato with it - but it's straight up obscene either way.  I HIGHLY recommend it!
Oh, and I totally forgot to tell you guys about my drink:  the Sagamore Sour.  Made with 1.5 sag rye, 1 lemon, and1 simple syrup, the bartender will shake, shake, shakeeee it all together before straining it into a glass (clicky to see it all on video).  If you like whiskey, you'll definitely love this drank!
Alright guys, that's it for today!  I really hope you enjoyed reading about my latest nom adventure. Now, go grab your car keys and drive on over to Harbor East because you NEED to try my favorites at Apropoe's. The cauliflower ravioli and bittersweet chocolate torte will have you crying out for sweet jesus, and you'll probably die from a (very happy) foodgasm.  You're welcome in advance! Until next time, frands - bon app├ętit!

A huge thanks to Apropoe's for hosting us!