Packing Light: Fall Edition

We’re leaving tonight! I can’t believe the day is finally here. Japan, here we come!

I couldn’t have asked for a better year for traveling. First Europe in the summer (Rome, Florence, Venice, Barcelona, Dublin, Paris, and London), and now Asia during the Fall. This time around, we’re going to Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.

The thing I’m looking forward to the most – sashimi and sushi. I can’t wait to eat myself silly! I’m also ecstatic about shopping in Japan. I packed light but brought a huge suitcase to fit all my potential purchases (that’s the way to do it!).

Follow me on Instagram (user jayscup) if you want to see pictures while I’m on vacation. I will not be posting on my blog until I return so if you want to see what I’m up to or what I’m eating, follow me on IG!

Remember when I did the packing light list for the summer? I got some great feedback from you all, so here’s my Fall edition! It’s a great list for 2 weeks, weather ranging from 45 -65 °F. Such a range calls for lots of layers!

I’m obsessed with Madewell jeans as of lately (swooooon at the fit and quality). I’m also very fond of ankle boots right now! Just a tip, a girl should always have a chunky necklace to dress up any outfit. Now here’s my 2 week packing list:

fall-packing

Jcrew jacket // H&M biker jacker // Jcrew puffer vest // Madewell perfect chambray ex-boyfriend shirt in ferrous wash // UO cuddle up sweater // Zara sweater // Zara cotton t-shirt // Target long sleeve // Target vintage v-neck // H&M camisole // Target tank // Madewell skinny skinny jeans in Madewell rinse // Madewell skinny skinny jeans: rip and repair edition // Piperlime Pim + Larkin ribbed knit mini dress // H&M patterned dress // Asos chelsea ankle boots // Piperlime Sam Edelman petty boots // Nordstrom Halogen Kayla flat // Target paisley scarf // UO open knit scarf // Jcrew Factory scalloped necklace // Jcrew Factory tote bag // Tilly’s fleece lined tights // F21 Beanie // Target Totes floral umbrella // Target metallic clutch

Don’t forget your undies, socks, sleepwear, toiletries, chargers, technology, and flight entertainment (tablets, books, snacks, pillow). These differ for every person so pack what you must!

When packing keep in mind a few key rules:

1. Pack neutrals – They are classic and never go out of style. Plus, they match with everything!

2. Each piece of clothing should be able to stand on its own or match with something else. Chambray is best for this! I can wear it as a button-up shirt, a cover-up with a tshirt underneath, a sweater over with the collar out, or as a shirt underneath my vest. That’s 4 outfits with 1 shirt!

3. It’s not the time for a fashion show. I get it! You got these cute printed pants that match with your chic sandals. But let’s be honest here. That’s one outfit… Show that off when you get back home. Packing light means packing smart!

Now if only I could pack these guys since they are already in the suitcase voluntarily anyway…

Kitties

What do you think? Am I missing anything? Are you going anywhere for vacation during the cooler months? If so, where?

See you when I come back and follow me on IG!
Jay

  

Weekend Fashion Show With My SORELs

I have some crazy, super awesome, fricken fantastic, so excited, supercalifragilistic (get it yet?) news to tell you!

SOREL is currently hosting a Instagram contest, where users can submit photos of SOREL’s theme of the week. All you do is follow SOREL on Instagram, find out what the theme is on Monday, submit a picture of that particular theme, and add the hashtag #GetYourBootsDirty. If your photo gets chosen as the winner of the week, you win a pair of SORELs! I bet you want a free pair of boots to get you excited for the Fall/Winter.

So the LEGEND-wait for it-ARY news is that I was chosen as the winner for the week of accessories (2 weeks ago). I showcased my DIY Midi Rings and found out I won a pair of boots! SOREL was nice enough to let me choose which boots I wanted, and in one week, they shipped it to me. See how excited I am?

My box!

Before this contest, I had one pair of SORELs. They make great quality boots, and the best of all, they are waterproof, perfect for the winter in the Bay Area! Even better is that their style has improved season after season, and I love the new Fall looks. So when I got to choose my own pair, I couldn’t decide between the feminine but rugged style of the Joan Of Arctic Wedge Mid Boot or the military styled Scotia Lace Boot. It seriously took me all day to finally decide on which pair I wanted! The Scotia is definitely a good option for everyday wear, but how HOT am I going to look in those wedge boots? I love the grey tone and the low wedge will elongate my legs! Eep, I can’t wait to show them off once the weather cools down!

My SORELsHow gorgeous are these against the Fall background?

Tie my shoe
Look at the detail of these boots – swooooon!

These can be a bit daunting to wear, I get it. For some, it might be a bit too rugged, but I think that’s the beauty of the shoe. There are endless ways to create a look that’s more feminine so get creative! Plus the wedge definitely adds to the girly look! Here are three outfits that I put together for these boots. I put clothing details under each picture so it’s more convenient to buy (I’m a bad influence, wink).

This is a great option for a casual, weekend look. A baggy shirt, chunky scarf, skinny jeans, socks, and a messy bun make for a very comfortable outfit.

Casual  Casual 2
Shirt from Forever 21: similar here, here, and here
Chunky infinity scarf from Urban Outfitters, old: similar here and here (loving this second option)
Socks from Target, old: similar here and here
orYANY bag
Fossil watch
Ray-Ban aviators

I really like the relaxed look of this next outfit with the messy side braid. A blazer dresses up the outfit a bit more, and the woven blazer and leather give the outfit some texture.

Business Business 2
White shirt from JCP (only $3.99)
Woven blazer from H&M, old: similar color here, woven detailed jackets here and here
Faux leather leggings from Urban Outfitters, old: similar here and here
orYANY bag 
Gold tassel neck was a gift: similar here and here

This next outfit might be my favorite one! Sequins? Leather? Boots? Red lipstick? This makes for the perfect going out, girly outfit!

Fancy Fancy 2
Grey shirt from Gap
Joe Fresh faux leather jacket from JCP
Sequin skirt, old: similar here, here, and here
Michael Kors gold watch from Nordstrom
Lipstick by NARS from Sephora in Red Square

What do you think about the boots? Which outfit is your favorite and which one would you wear? What other things would you wear to pair with these fabulous boots?

Now go enter into SOREL’s Instagram contest for a chance to win some boots!
Jay
—–
Special thanks to SOREL for the Joan Of Arctic Wedge Mid Boot. I love them, and you’ve truly created a SOREL-for-life fan. All my love!

  

Reece’s Pieces & More Pieces

Candies

Cleaning is fun when you find random surprises. The best is when you find money! Though I didn’t come across any cash, I did find a 25lb box of Reece’s Pieces. You might not be so lucky, unless you had a roommate that owns a yogurt shop. Because that’s what happened to us and fortunately winner, winner, chicken dinner… err Reece’s Pieces, you know what I mean.

25lb box

Obviously snacking is a good choice for these little, circular goodies. Also baking!!!

If you don’t bake often, here are a few helpful tips.

  • Mix the dry ingredients separate from the wet ingredients.
  • Butter and eggs should always be at room temperature.
  • In case you’ve forgotten to take the butter and eggs out to sit, you can heat the butter in the microwave in 5 second bursts until it’s softened. You can also submerge the eggs in warm water for 5 minutes for room temperature.
  • Freeze the dough if there’s too much! That way you can always bake cookies when guests come over or if you’re craving freshly baked cookies.

Onward to two delicious cookie recipes for you to try.

CookiesRegular Reece’s Pieces cookies on the left. Reece’s Pieces Muesli Cookies on the right (I call them my healthy cookies).

Reece’s Pieces Cookies
(makes 4 dozen large cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup and 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 cups Reece’s Pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat the eggs, then add the vanilla extract.
  3. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl.
  4. Mix the granulated sugar and brown sugar together. Then blend the butter into the sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Blend the eggs and vanilla into the sugar mixture. Add in the dry ingredients.
  6. Mix in the Reece’s Pieces.
  7. Form dough balls onto a baking sheet. I like to make bite-sized cookies, so I use a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon to help me form the dough balls.
  8. When the oven is ready, put the tray into the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Eat them!

Reece’s Pieces Muesli Cookies
(makes 2 dozen large cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of muesli
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of butter (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups of Reece’s Pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg (at room temperature)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Beat the eggs, then add the vanilla extract.
  3. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl.
  4. Mix the granulated sugar and brown sugar together. Then blend the butter into the sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Blend the eggs and vanilla into the sugar mixture. Add in the dry ingredients.
  6. Mix in the muesli and Reece’s Pieces.
  7. Form dough balls onto a baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

These recipes are amazing. When I make them, my husband can eat a dozen in a sitting, and people are always grabbing for more!

With so many Reece’s Pieces, I had to make a Reece’s Pieces cake too.  I baked chocolate cake from the box, put on frosting, and then places the Reece’s Pieces on top. This is going to be such a hit for Fall.

CakeIsn’t it so pretty?

Cake

What else should I make with Reece’s Pieces? Any ideas?

Get in my belly,
Jay

  

Homemade Vanilla Extract

It’s Fall, which means we’re heading towards the season of food, food, and more food! I’m ready for the pumpkin, the cinnamon, and the peppermint! Baked goods galore!

Fall-2012

If you bake at home you know that many, actually more than many, recipes call for vanilla. Did you know that the vanilla extract you buy at stores is watered down with simple syrup? I think paying $5 at the grocery store for a 2 ounce bottle of watered down extract is so expensive!

So I want to let you in on a little secret. Vanilla extract is extremely easy to make at home. It takes a bit of time for it to sit, but after you’ve made the extract, it will last you up to 5 years!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

1. Cut one vanilla bean lengthwise, leaving about an inch intact on the ends. Do the same for the other two beans.
2. Place all three beans into a mason jar, and fill the jar with vodka until the beans are submerged.
3. Close the lid tightly, and let the jar sit in a dark area for 2 months (mine are in a cabinet under the sink). Shake the jar about once a week.
4. Once two months are up, it’s ready for use! Every time the extract is used, pour more vodka into the jar to ensure that the beans are always submerged.

Homemade Vanilla

The second picture looks like I got some weird pets right? Ha!

Tips:

  • Use cheap vodka! I tested Smirnoff vs. Kettle One, and it does not make a difference.
  • Different beans have different flavors. Madagascar, also known as Bourbon vanilla, has a strong flavor and it’s very fragrant (this is what I bought). Mexican vanilla has a bit of a richer taste.
  • Use a permanent marker and write down the date of when you made the vanilla on the lid so that you know when 2 months have passed. Plus, it’ll be helpful for when your 5 years is up.

It’s perfect timing to make the extract now because in two month it will be November! Primetime for sweets! Another reason to make the extract? No more going to the grocery store for vanilla for 5 years.

Are you going to try this? What are some of your favorite recipes that require vanilla extract?

Secrets, secrets are no fun,
Jay