Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekend Outfit Ideas

It is finally the weekend! Here are some looks I put together to give you guys some suggestions on what to wear.

Friday Night Out

I decided to go with a fun sweater like these then balance it out with some sexiness of the bandage miniskirt. Add in a cool pair of shoes that's sure to be comfy given the block heel. Dancing the night away should be no problem. Accessorize with a clutch and some fierce red lips.


Miniskirt: BCBG Max Azria
Clutch: Asos

Saturday Museum Hop

Do something different today and explore your own city's many cultural gems. Museum hopping does not mean you dress boring : wear this gorgeous patterned dress and keep makeup and accessories to a minimum. Classic gold jewelry complement this whole look, while a swipe of eyeliner and pretty pink lipstick round up the whole easy breezy but pretty vibe.



Eyeliner: Avon
Lipstick: NARS
Dress: Romwe
Flat Thong Sandals : Sala Chaussures
Earrings: River Island
Watch: Michael Kors

Sunday Brunch

Rehash the previous' nights events with your best girlfriends in a casual but glam outfit. Tailored shorts and a colorful but also tailored top does the trick. Add in some heels and oversized sunnies and you're good to go. Pale pink lip gloss and a neutral eye are best for a nice casual touch.


Lipgloss: Revlon
Eye Palette:  Bobbi Brown
Top: Kule
Shorts: Forte Forte
Sunglasses: Stella McCartney

What's everyone wearing this weekend?

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Grilled Cheese Diaries : Almond Crusted Sandwich

I was inspired to make this by one recipe I randomly found online (sorry I can't find it anymore!) . The recipe I found used walnuts to coat the outer sides of the bread to make a delicious crust plus an assortment of cheese inside. I decided to make my own version and used almonds instead for the crust. Read on to see how I made it. It's so good!

Almond Crusted Grilled Cheese Sandwich


Ingredients: Olive oil with truffle, honey, slivered almonds, monterey jack cheese, goat's cheese and sliced bread

Mix the Olive Oil with truffle together with the honey in a bowl.

Chop or grind up the almonds so that they will be in small pieces like this.

Brush one side of each bread with the truffle olive oil and honey mixture.

Put the almond crumbs all over the outer side of the bread. The oil and honey mixture should make the crumbs stick and stay in place to form a crust for the sandwich.


Meanwhile, on the inside part of the bread, layer both cheeses. Put in as much (or as little) as you want.

Brush some more of the liquid mixture on the cheeses to put more flavoring.

The whole sandwich must have almond crumbs on both sides. This is ready to grill!

Put sandwiches on grill pan, press down and cook until cheeses melt and till outer crust browns.




 For a grilled cheese sandwich, It's a bit tedious to make, especially since some of the almonds fall out and make such a mess. The end product is so worth it though. It's so delicious! The Goat's cheese tastes great with the honey and truffle olive oil mixture. In every grilled cheese sandwich I make, I always make sure I put in a cheese that melts beautifully. The Monterey Jack does just that and it complements really well with almost any other kind of cheese that I pair it with in my grilled cheese sandwiches.

What do you guys think?

All photos in this post are personal photos of styleandchocolates.blogspot.com. If you want to use them or borrow them in any way, please contact me first! My email add: celyn_lifeisashoe@yahoo.com. If you can't be bothered to send me an email and still want to use my photos, then please do credit them and link back to this blog. Thanks!


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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bookmarks of the Week

Here are my favorite bookmarks/links of the week. Lots of interesting stuff out there!


1.) "My 8 Entertaining Tips" by Cupcakes and Cashmere. So helpful especially if you're not used to entertaining at home.

2.) "Look Put Together Everyday" Another helpful post by From B to C. Practical tips for girls on the go and still want to look fabulous.

3.) "Best EDM Songs of 2014 so far" Okay this isn't exactly an article but I love EDM music and the songs in the list are pretty awesome!

4.) "5 Provinces in the Philippines You Should Visit" I'm from the Philippines and I'm ashamed to say I haven't been to a single one of the places mentioned. New on my bucket list!

5.) "Authentic Homemade Mexican Chorizo" by Honest Cooking. Never tried Mexican chorizo so I'm excited to try making this!

6.) "X-men Movie Timeline" I love X-men and I was talking about how the timeline was getting confusing with the latest movie so one of my friends emailed me this article. Apparently some guy painstakingly picked out details and bits from every X-men movie made and came up with this timeline. Great read if you're a Marvel fan!

7.) "The 50 Secret Travel Locations In Europe" More places to add to my bucket list! I love visiting places that are off the usual paths traveled.

What were your favorite links this week?

Enjoy reading mine and Have a Fab Sunday!

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Destination Outfits

I think that most of us, especially myself can say that they love traveling. Every time I travel, my sister and I would discuss at length the outfits and looks before our trips. I know it sounds shallow and I know that comfort should be the foremost concern on our minds when we travel but planning ahead is very helpful and a huge time saver! Also what's the harm in looking good in your trips? Especially if you take lots of photos? There is always a way to marry both comfort and style, so dressing sloppily on trips is not an excuse anymore.

Some recent trips I took this year inspired me to write this post and to come up with outfits that are both appropriate and not stuffy for each destination. I've picked out 5 places/activities that one may go/do in a country, whether it's to a safari or a beach resort.

City Tour

Exploring cities in new countries are so exciting. Looking at popular sights, eating at restaurants, museum shopping - you can never run out of places to go to. You have to take into consideration though that you will most definitely be doing a LOT of walking so comfy shoes are vital.


Cape: {Balenciaga} Satchel: {Time Arrow} Top: {T by Alexander Wang} Shorts: {Miu Miu} Sunglasses: {Illesteva} Camera: {fujifilm} Shoes: {Geox}

I've picked a cute and casual outfit of shorts and a top. I also threw in a stylish cape in case it gets gold. The flats are really comfy yet stylish and these particular ones go with a lot of other outfits. I also decided on a satchel bag so that it's big enough to fit all your things and also the sling part is practical when you don't have hands to carry it while taking photos. Speaking of photos, I've picked this fujifilm as it's not too bulky to carry all over the place. 

Resort Wear/Beach Chic

What could be more fabulous than a beach trip? There's also nothing wrong with looking super glam while lounging by the water!


Hat: {Athleta} Caftan: {Thakoon} Sandals: {Sala Chaussures} Sunglasses: {Stella McCartney} One-Piece Suit: {Tomas Maier} Camera: {Panasonic Lumix}

Sun Hats and Sun glasses are a must, as well as a water proof camera! You wouldn't want to miss out on great opportunities of you and your friends splashing around in the water or fabulous underwater photos of gorgeous sea life.

River Cruise

One activity I noticed that's always included in tours and in cities or picturesque towns are river cruises. There will surely be a lot of photo opportunities so a fab outfit - and a great camera are essential!


Camera: {Canon} Top: {Dora Landa} Jeans: {Chic nova} Scarf: {Jcrew} Cuff: {Lisa Freede) Booties: {Born}


Safari

I think the most cliche safari outfit would have to be the all khaki/olive green look and that ubiquitous safari hat. I went on a safari for the first time in Sri Lanka last year and did my best not to look like a typical safari tourist. Although I did throw in some elements of it! 


Hat: {Wesley} Top: {John and Jenn} Sunglasses: {Rayban} Jeans: {Frame} Camera: {Nikon} Sneakers: {Keds}


Temple/Church Hopping

Another activity you should be considering is church/temple/monastery/mosque hopping. Majority of these sites are usually on the conservative side so you have to consider and respect their culture. Just make sure arms and legs are covered. Maxi skirts and a cool non-sleeveless shirt are good to go. Some of these places might also require you to take your shoes off so wearing a pair that you can slip in and out off easily is also advisable.


T-shirt: {Iris and Ink} Camera: {Nikon} Sandals: {Ancient Greek} Maxi Skirt: {Joie} Sunglasses: {Asos} Sling Bag: {Fossil}

There you have it. I hope these tips and outfit ideas help you guys out in some way.

So where is everybody's next trip and what are you wearing?
I would love to know, drop me a comment below!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bechamel Sauce: Mistakes, Regrets and Lessons Learned.

When I first tried making Bechamel sauce from scratch, it almost always turned out to be a big sloppy mess. It was either too lumpy, too yellow or just not cooked well. I had a hard time achieving that perfect white creamy mixture that Bechamel sauce is known for. Well after researching online on exactly how to make it PLUS having several trial and errors, I think I can safely say that I can make a pretty decent one. This post is all about mistakes that I learned to correct and regrets and lessons learned while making the sauce. Hope this post helps all those out there who are frustrated with making this delicious and basic sauce!


Ingredients: 2 tbsps of butter, 2 tbsps of flour, 1 cup of milk, nutmeg
---> this is the ideal measurements for a basic bechamel sauce. The flour and butter usually have the same measurements. Two tbps of each is to one cup of milk. It would also be great to use fresh nutmeg, but if you can't find any then the ground up ones will do.


Tip#1: I've discovered that making the sauce in a smaller pan is so much more ideal than a bigger pan. With a bigger pan it's harder to incorporate all the ingredients together and I find that I always end up with a lumpy mess. If you're cooking using the measurements above, then the small pan is better. Unless you're planning to make a really huge batch, a big pan isn't necessary.



Step1: Put the butter on the pan.
Tip#2: Do not wait for the pan to heat up. Put the butter right when you put the pan on the stove and right when you turn on the heat. Trust me, I've tried this before. I would heat up the pan first (because my electric stove takes quite a while to heat up) and I would end up burning the butter. Just be patient, butter melts up reaaaally quick.



Step 2: Melt the butter until there are no lumps.


Step3: Add in the flour little by little and whisk with the butter. Do not dump the flour all at once.


Tip#3: To avoid a lumpy texture, you must whisk the flour and butter together really fast. If you don't, you could end up with big yellow lumps.


---> If you see the outer part of the mixture, it has a smooth yellow texture. That's how the butter and flour mixture should look like.


---> This is how it looks when it gets too lumpy and if you do not mix properly.


Step4: Add in the milk. Ideally you should heat the milk first. Whisk it with the butter and flour mixture.
---> You must not also dump in all the milk at once. Add it in batches.


Tip#4: If in the butter and flour mixture, you mix it fast, then when adding the milk you must whisk it slowly. If you mix it in too fast it becomes lumpy again like in the photo above.


---> The mixture should have a really smooth and creamy texture.The reason why you don't put in all the milk at once is that the texture might become to watery and liquid. Add in the milk slowly. If you feel that the mixture is getting to be more fluid and less creamy, then you don't have to finish the whole cup of milk.



Step#5: Grate some nutmeg all over and stir in.



That's it! I hope you found all my tips helpful. Bechamel sauce is great for croque monsieurs, gratins and pasta. If you have previously found the sauce challenging to make, then I really hope this post helped you out in some way and that you will go and make some delicious recipes that involve this.

Have a fabulous week ahead!


All photos in this post are personal photos of styleandchocolates.blogspot.com. If you want to use them or borrow them in any way, please contact me first! My email add: celyn_lifeisashoe@yahoo.com. If you can't be bothered to send me an email and still want to use my photos, then please do credit them and link back to this blog. Thanks!


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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Travel Tuesday : Sri Lanka

For my first Travel Tuesday post of the year, I'm going to be writing about the trip I took with my family to Sri Lanka last August 2013. I've always been fascinated at the thought of Sri Lanka. If you’re a Disney or Rudyard Kipling fan, you would know that The Jungle Book was set in the jungles of Sri Lanka! Our tour also included a safari to one of the National parks so I was super excited for that! I’ll be posting some photos, as well as anecdotes and highlights of the places we visited.
Warning : This is a VERY long post with lots and lots of photos!
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
I think this sight has to be one of my favorites! When I read the itinerary, the elephant orphanage didn't seem that exciting to me because I felt like I've already seen so many elephants in my lifetime. I didn't really see anything unusual in that. Well I was wrong because the sight we saw was incredible!
Eating Time!

The Baby Elephants. Andy and Alex on their way to feeding time.

Fist we had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the river - that scene in itself was already gorgeous and we saw one or two elephants from afar drinking water. Then we were taken to the feeding area. We saw two baby elephants named Andy and Alex. They were too adorable! All of a sudden we hear a commotion and then we see all the elephants lining up and then they all started running towards the river. It was bath time!

The elephants hustling towards the river

We followed their trail of uh, dung and came to the river. The scene that we saw when we got there was amazing!
Bath time for the elephants!

Gorgeous view.


Speaking of dung…the pathway that we passed on the way to the river was a street filled with all sorts of touristy shops. Most of the shops there sold paper made from elephant poop! Haha. It was pretty funny actually seeing all these signs. At least they found some good use out of it! I didn't buy any but I wonder if they smell? Would you guys buy poo paper?

They make good use out of their droppings!

Indian Ocean

Living in a tropical country with 7,107 islands, you would think I’m used to the beach and bodies of water. The thing is though, the places I live and go to in my country are surrounded by relatively calm seas so seeing the enormous Indian Ocean was kind of new and somewhat fascinating. We stayed in several hotels that were situated by it and also visited some sights and restaurants located by the shore. The sight of the ginormous waves crashing to the shore was pretty amazing. A bit scary to watch too!
Beachfront of our hotel in Negombo.

The shore was so wide!

If you guys remember, Sri Lanka was one of the countries badly affected by the 2004 Tsunami.  The side of the coast where we stayed and toured at were the places that were hit. You can still see evidence of the disaster like ruined houses, mass graves and memorials. But overall, you can also see that they've made a remarkable recovery. Life for them, still goes on and it’s amazing to observe such resilience to calamities like it.
Everyday life of Sri Lankan fishermen



Nuwara Eliya
This particular area of the country is touted as the “English Countryside” of Sri Lanka. To get there, we had to drive through twisty mountains at night. Once we arrived, we were surprised to find that it was really cold! Sri Lanka is a really hot and tropical country so it was such a nice surprise to have cooler weather, even for just a night.
On the way to Nuwara Eliya, we passed by a lookout point that overlooked a large city, Kandy

View of Kandy


Colonial buildings in Nuwara Eliya

Creepy looking mist/fog in Nuwara Eliya

A haunted looking house in Nuwara Eliya

Waterfalls by the side of the rode, seen on the way out from Nuwara Eliya


Some Tea plantations seen on drive to Nuwara Eliya

Yala National Park
The one thing I was most excited about on this trip was  a safari at the Yala National Park! It is the second biggest national park in Sri Lanka. It’s a jungle where wild animals roam free but at the same time a wildlife sanctuary.
Jungle scenery

Pumba and his family crossing the dusty road behind us.

I don’t think I've ever been to a proper safari before (do the ones in Bangkok count?) And it’s my dream one day to do one in Africa. For now, traversing through the jungles that inspired Rudyard Kipling was more than enough and hopefully a teaser to an African safari that I want to go to in the future.
A deer among the trees




The thing with safaris though is that you are never sure what animals you see or if you even see any at all. That’s part of the whole excitement! You ride a huge jeep and drive through the dusty orange pathways and keep a lookout for the jungle dwellers. The most elusive and most sought out animal is the leopard. We were not guaranteed that we would see one but our driver and tour guide did their best to seek it out. They had radios and communicated with other drivers and guides as they all helped each other out in searching for the creature. There were a lot of false alarms and we got our hopes up so many times, but finally, finally! Our driver gestured to us excitedly and in one of the spots we saw it. The leopard was coming out from the trees and it was facing us for literally 5 seconds before it turned and started to walk away. And guess what, the leopard actually turned to look back for a split second and I swear we made eye contact! (my sister  swears it too) We were too stunned and it happened so quickly that we did not even have time to take a photo. Oh well. Experiencing it was awesome enough already.

A bird hitching a ride with one of the water buffalos


A crocodile snapping it's jaws


Why did the peacock cross the road? Why to get to the other side of course! har,har




Kosgoda Beach
One of our stops on the last day was a trip to Kosgoda beach. It is a prime turtle nesting site. The Kosgoda Sea Turtle conservationProject monitors the turtle activity and plays a big role in preserving these endangered animals. We were given a mini tour, where we saw the egg, the hatching site and finally the little pools that had hundreds and hundreds of baby turtles ( one pool had what they called the Happy birthday Turtle because they were just a day old!) and some other pools held individual older and some injured turtles. They usually release the sea turtles to sea after they are 4 days old.
Sea turtle eggs


The Happy Birthday turtles

This is how the turtles look when they're all grown up



Love that there are places like these and people who want to help out. It’s sad to know that sea turtles are endangered. Hope we can all help out in some way to more projects like this. Click HERE for their website to know more about the Conservation Project.
Baby turtles!


We also drove around Galle, an old town preserved from the Dutch Era. There, we saw the fort that was built years ago by the Portuguese and was further fortified by the Dutch in later years. It is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by Europeans. We also visited Dambulla temple that had a couple of monkeys lurking about. Another important sight is the Sigiraya Rock Fortress. If you go up a thousand steps you can see that the entrance is guarded by huge lion paws. Unfortunately we did not get to see this as we didn't make the trek up. The scenery around it was gorgeous though and the Rock Fortress looked colossal even from afar. I must come back one day and conquer those steps!

Sigiraya Rock Fortress

Sigiraya Rock Fortress

Dal, one of the most common dishes. These are like yellow colored lentils

The resident monkey at Dambulla temple, grabbing a bite to eat

What pepper plants look like. I've never seen these before!
Saw some porcupines at the side of the road! So cute!

One of the most fantastic and unusual hotel entrances/foyers I've ever seen!

Amazing foyer of the Jetwing lighthouse Hotel.

We also went to a Spice garden. It was one of my favorite stops on the tour and I got to buy some fresh nutmeg and vanilla extract, they both smelled so good and fresh!

Sri Lanka is a gorgeous country and I think more people should go and visit! There are still so many hidden gems that I have not discovered. It has a lot of aspects that I haven’t found in other countries. For example, they have some really good cashew nuts. So juicy, chewy and milky! Driving down the roads in the countryside, you’re bound to run into a stand that sells cashew!
Sri Lanka is also rich in mineral resources like gemstones. Beryls, topazes and sapphires are naturally found here so if you are a gemstone lover, then you should go!

A lovely Sri Lankan scenery.

All in all it was a lovely vacation. I hope to be back to go up Sigiraya Rock Fortress and see the enormous lion paws. Oh and to get more cashew nuts! They were so darn good!

Hope you all enjoyed my travel diary. I'm pretty late in writing this as the trip happened more than half a year ago! Travel Tuesdays are going to be a regular feature on the blog so keep checking back if you're interested.

I'm going on another trip this coming Saturday and I can't wait to write about it again! I will definitely try to be better around this time and be more prompt with my posts, but in case you want faster updates on travel posts, then you can always follow me on instagram! (@celynps)


All photos in this post are personal photos of styleandchocolates.blogspot.com. If you want to use them or borrow them in any way, please contact me first! My email add: celyn_lifeisashoe@yahoo.com. If you can't be bothered to send me an email and still want to use my photos, then please do credit them and link back to this blog. Thanks!


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