Nine Instagram Accounts to Follow

nine_instagram_accounts_to_follow

I love Instagram. Like, a lot. I am a hyper visual person, inspired and driven easily by a beautiful image. I have often been known to drag my friends/boyfriend to new restaurants I’ve spotted on local foodie accounts, to purchase a new pair of sunglasses that were casually displayed next to a latte and a newspaper on a fashion blogger’s account, or to spontaneously travel up the coast to see a waterfall that was captured by my fellow California Instagrammers (check out my 4th of July trip to Big Sur on Instagram for said waterfall). Needless to say, I love the gram and I carefully curate the people that I follow. Here are nine Instagram accounts I think you should check out! Let me know who you think I should follow in the comment section below and check out Videndae on Instagram while you’re at it.

1) @__nitch reveals some of the most moving words spoken by public figures.

2) @nytimes shares the world news in a way only the New York Times can.

3) @lateafternoon an LA girl with a killer sense of style.

4) @lisadieder knows how to take a photo that’s so good it makes me want to quit my day job and pick up a camera.

5) @coffeenclothes is just that. The merging of java and fashion in one beautiful little photo square.

6) @maurastoffer is a Chicago based photographer with the cutest little family.

7) @shutthekaleup makes healthy and nutritious food seem impossibly appealing.

8) @mydaywithleo superimposes cutouts of celebrity faces on random New Yorkers’ bodies and it makes my day every time.

9) @subwaybookreview asks New Yorkers on the subway to review their current reads.

 

 

 

Friday Link Love

friday_link_love

Today really is a happy Friday! I’m heading back to New York for the weekend and I’m looking forward to spending time in my old city and catching up with my east coast friends. I’ll be staying with Jenna Bird in Brooklyn and even though we rendezvoused in Chicago just two weeks ago, it’s always bliss spending time with her. Check out some of the web gems I found with this week’s installment of Friday Link Love and tell me what you’ll be getting into this weekend in the comment section.

1. Definitely making this soup on the next chilly autumn night.

2. Brainstorming DIY throwback costumes for Halloween.

3. Rubber band calligraphy menus.

4. Wall crawl in Los Angeles.

5. Gorgeous place setting idea for my next gathering.

6. Turning 30 described in charts and graphs.

7. Savory stuffed sweet potatoes. Yes please.

8. Outfit inspiration for my trip to New York this weekend. Plaid on plaid.

9. Three gourmet gluten-free pizza recipes I have to make. Like, right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brioche Pumpkin French Toast With Brown Sugar Bourbon Toasted Pecans

pumpkin_french_toast

Fall is here and it’s time for pumpkin laced everything! I’ve already made my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies a handful of times and was jonesing to try out a  new pumpkin recipe. French toast seemed like an easy recipe to try and incorporate the traditional fall flavor and the result was everything I was hoping for. Try my Brioche Pumpkin French Toast with Brown Sugar Bourbon Toasted Pecans and share the festive, cozy meal with the ones you love.

pumpkin_french_toast

Total Time: 25  minutes
Serves: 4 – 6


Ingredients (french toast):
1 loaf Brioche bread
4 large eggs
½ cup whole milk
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Butter for pan


Ingredients (pecan topping):
1/3 cup pecans
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp bourbon

Steps (pecan topping):
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. On a baking sheet, toss together the pecans, butter, brown sugar, and bourbon.
3. Roast the pecans for 5-10 minutes, until lightly golden brown and toasted. Keep a close watch to avoid burning.
4. Let the pecans cool and chop them to your desired thickness.
5. Set aside for later.

Steps (french toast):
1. Slice the brioche loaf into thick, 1 – 1/2 inch slices.
2. In a shallow baking pan, whisk together eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and vanilla extract.

pumpkin_french_toast
3. Heat your pan on the stove and brush the surface with a bit of butter to prevent the french toast from sticking to the pan.
4. Once the butter has melted, place each slice of bread in the egg mixture, allowing both sides to absorb the liquid fully (about a minute on each side).
5. Quickly transfer the slice of soaked bread to the hot skillet and cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes until lightly golden brown.
6. Wipe down the skillet and repeat steps 3 – 5.
7. Sprinkle the French toast with the pecan topping and serve warm with maple syrup.

 

Hallie’s Autumn 2015 Mix Tape

hallie_autumn_2015_mix_tape

Autumn is in full swing. The sun is setting over the horizon earlier in the evening, warm blankets are finding their way out of storage as the cool winds blow through the leaves that are changing from green to shades of red, yellow and orange. Tobacco and leather scented candles fill the air with a comforting and familiar aroma, red wine and whiskey are shared with loved ones as warmth is found in the essential fall uniform: over-sized sweaters and boyfriend jeans. This is autumn to me. Everything about the season pleases my senses. As I slip into my usual routine of baking pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, carving jack-o-laterns, and snuggling up with my love, my home will be filled with tunes that are calming, mellow, and ostensibly haunting. Check out my autumn mix tape and let me know what you’ll be listening to in the comment section below.

 

“Morning” by Beck
“Small Things” by Ben Howard
“Fallingforyou” by The 1975
“From Eden” by Hozier
“Where Are You Now” by Mumford & Sons
“Paint” by The Paper Kites
“Re: Stacks” by Bon Iver
“Georgia” by Vance Joy
“All the Time” by Bahamas
“Gold” by Chet Faker
“Waiting Game” by Banks
“Red Dust” by James Vincent McMorrow
“The Last Day” by Moby
“Angels” by The XX

 

 

 

 

 

The Zara Edit: Three Cities, Three Styles

It’s nearly Summertime, can you believe it?! The daylight hours now stretch into the late evening, we’re upping the SPF on our faces and dreaming of our soon-to-come beachside getaways.   In the midst of all this glorious transition, we’ve hit a little wall in the getting-dressed department.  No more staring blankly into the void of our closets each morning – it’s time to add a few key pieces to our wardrobes! We thought it would be interesting to choose a super affordable brand that all three of us has access to, shop the current collection, and see what each of us comes up with.   We like the Spanish brand Zara for their price point, their focus on both basics and trends, and better quality relative to other “fast-fashion” retailers.  We also appreciate that Zara has resisted transferring production to low-cost countries and has recently banned harmful toxins from their clothing production.

Our three edits are completely varied and it was fun to see what each other chose!  Hallie came up with a romantic, colorful, Cali-boho ensemble that nods to the current 70’s trend in fashion that we are so on board with.  Over in NYC, Jenna went for an unexpected pattern play, but kept it refined and tailored for a look that is both work and cocktail apropos.  Brooke found the perfect denim she’d been searching all around London for and paired it with a white linen button down, a summer staple that will double as a beach coverup.  What would you have chosen?  We’d love to hear how you’re planning to update your summer wardrobe – please share your ideas in the comments below!

Hallie’s Picks

Zara Items: top // jeans // shoes
Other Items: necklace

Zara Haul - Hallie Stephens - Spring

Zara Haul - Hallie Stephens - Spring

Zara Haul - Hallie Stephens - Spring

Jenna’s Picks
Zara Items: Top // Skirt // Shoes (Similar)
Other Items: Sunglasses // Watch

Zara Haul - Jenna Bunnell

Zara Haul - Jenna Bunnell

Zara Haul - Jenna Bunnell

Brooke’s Picks
Zara Items: top // jeans
Other Items: shoes // scarf // jacket

Zara-Haul-Brooke-Spring-Outfit-Videndae-5

Zara-Haul-Brooke-Spring-Outfit-Videndae-8

Zara-Haul-Brooke-Spring-Outfit-Videndae-16

Videndaessential: The White Shirtdress

White Shirt Dresses

Nothing says effortless style like a crisp, menswear-inspired shirtdress. Extremely versatile, it can be worn alone, belted, layered with bold accessories, dressed up or even worn as a beach cover up. There are so many different styles out there to choose from, so finding the right one for You is key. We are loving all eight of these variations – any of which would be a perfect addition to your summer wardrobe!

1. Maud Heline – Aziristik Shirtdress – $395

2. Bailey 44 – Court Shirt Dress – $200

3. Crippen – Circular Shirdress – $575

4. Eileen Fisher – Linen Hi-Lo Shirtdress – $248

5. Madewell – Courtyard Shirtdress – $98.00 (currently on sale $74.50)

6. MCQ Alexander McQueen – Drape Shirt Dress – $595  

7. Current Elliot – The Long Shirt Dress – $268

8. Acne Studios – Lash Long Shirt Dress – $480

Friday Link Love

Friday Link Love

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend everyone! I don’t know about you, but it has been one heck of a busy week for me and I am beyond happy it’s Friday! This weekend I am so excited to slow down a bit, celebrate my lovely Mother, and enjoy the warmer temps we have been having in NYC! I also need to catch up on some much needed spring organizing!  Without further adieu, here are our favorite links from around the web this week!

1. Six easy bookshelf styling tips!

2. Nine benefits of starting your day with warm water and lemon.

3. How to make the perfect bed.

4. Wet styling tips for post workout hair.

5. Eight destinations to inspire your summer vacation!

6. Anna Wintour: Comedy Icon

7. Love this instagram account poking fun at high-end dining! Brilliant.

8. Lake Michigan shipwrecks visible from the air

9. Loving these Mother’s Day Brunch recipes!

Homemade Chips and Guacamole

Chips and Guacamole

Happy Cinco de Mayo! If there is any time of year to load up on chips and guacamole (and maybe a few margaritas), it’s today. My mom makes the meanest guacamole in town but over the years I have taken her recipe and made a few additions (cilantro and jalapeño) and subtractions (tomatoes) to better suit my preferences. I recently tried making my own baked chips and was shocked at how simple and delicious they were. Try my guac tonight and let me know what ingredients you add to yours in the comments section below!

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2-4


Ingredients (guacamole): 

3 avocados
1 red onion
1 jalapeño
1 – 2 limes
cilantro
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste

Ingredients (chips):

15 – 20 small corn tortillas
vegetable oil
sea salt to taste

Chips and Guacamole


Steps (guacamole):
1. Cut avocados in half. Remove pit. Scoop out avocado from the peel and place it in a mixing bowl.
2. Mash the avocado with a fork. Add the cilantro, lime juice, red onion, jalapeño, salt and pepper and continue to mix well.
3. Transfer to a clean bowl and serve immediately.

Chips and Guacamole

Chips and Guacamole

Steps (chips):
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Brush each tortilla lightly with vegetable oil.
3. Slice the tortillas into 4ths.
4. Using 2 baking sheets, distribute half the chips onto each sheet, making sure they are evenly spread out and not overlapping.
5. Bake until golden and crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven and season with salt.
7. Serve immediately.

Chips and Guacamole
Tips:
1. An easy way to get the pit out of the avocado (and look like a pro while doing it).
2. Lay the pits of the avocados in your guacamole until you are ready to serve. This will prevent the guacamole from browning.
3. If your eyes water while cutting onions, try holding an unlit match between your teeth.

The Wisest Woman We Know: Pema Chödrön

Pema-Chodron_Bill-Moyers

Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun and author.  I was first introduced to her work by my Aunt Robin in a time when I was seeking perspective and needed advice.  Pema’s teachings and books span topics such as developing patience, kindness, joy, fearlessness, seeing yourself for who you truly are, breaking destructive patterns, and unlocking your potential.  She is credited with having spread concepts of Buddhism and meditation to a broad Western audience, I think largely because her words and writings are so approachable and relatable.  Her wisdom is bite-sized and immediately useful.  Below are three short passages I particularly love from her book I carry with me,  The Pocket Pema Chödrön.

A More Adventurous Way to Live

There’s a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on the earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable.   You can see this even in insects and animals and birds.  All of us are the same.

A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet.  To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is.

Move Toward Difficulty 

We are told from childhood that something is wrong with us, with the world, and with everything that comes along; it’s not perfect, it has rough edges, it has a bitter taste, it’s too loud, too soft, too sharp, too wishy-washy.  We cultivate a sense of trying to make things better because something is bad here, something is a mistake here, something is a problem here.  The main point of the Buddhist teachings is to dissolve the dualistic struggle, our habitual tendency to struggle against what’s happening to us or in us.  These teachings instruct us to move toward difficulties rather than backing away.  We don’t get this kind of encouragement very often.

Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself.  We can use everything that happens to us as the means for waking up.  We can use everything that occurs – whether it’s our conflicting emotions and thoughts of our seemingly outer situation – to show us where we are asleep and how we can wake up completely, utterly, without reservations.

Cultivate Loving-Kindness Toward Yourself

Some people find the teachings I offer helpful because I encourage them to be kind to themselves.  The kindness that I learned from my teachers, and that I wish so much to convey to other people, is kindness toward all qualities of our being.  the qualities that are the toughest to be kind to are the painful parts, where we feel ashamed, as if we don’t belong, as if we’ve just blown it, when things are falling apart for us.  Maitri, or loving-kindness, means sticking with ourselves when we don’t have anything, when we feel like a loser.  And it becomes the basis for extending the same unconditional friendliness with others.

More resources:

1.  Book:  The Pocket Pema Chödrön (pocket-sized)

2.  Book: Awakening Loving Kindness (pocket-sized)

3.  Video: Interview with Pema Chödrön by Bill Moyers

4.  Biography: About Pema at Gampo Abbey

Image credit: www.billmoyers.com

In Bruges

bruges-belgium-europe-city-travel-guide-14

Known as the “Venice of the north,” Bruges is an über-clean, idyllic Belgian village.  Its landscape is stitched together with a network of canals that are crossed by cobblestone bridges, where swans and families of ducks peacefully coexist.  The waterfront-facing architecture is a mix of modern renovation and richly-colored stone homes with lacy, stepped-roof facades in the traditional Flemish style.  Bruges is an easy 3hr train ride from London, so a weekend escape here is simple and requires little planning.  The only worry will be how to lose the kilo or two you’ll gain from eating all the delicious moules frites, crisp Belgian crafted beers, waffles, chocolate and cheese! Read on for our Videndae guide to Bruges.

Stay:

The townhouse Ter Dwignen is technically a boutique hotel, but felt like a B&B.   The rooms were cozy and clean, and you cannot beat the freshly-squeezed orange juice with your morning breakfast!  The owners and staff are jovial and brimming with local knowledge.

Visit/Do:

The city is extremely dense and walkable so stay on foot for meandering through the cobblestoned streets of Bruges.   If you wish to expand your reach, travel as the locals do and ride a bicycle!  There are several purveyors, but we recommend the rental shop at the southeast end of the ‘t Zand market for the best selection of Lombardi bikes. While you’re there don’t forget to roll through the north end of the ‘t Zand Food Market and sample the local cheese.

On a crisp sunny day, motivated by good spirits and a sense of adventure (or “if you are in a good mood,” as our B&B proprietor put it) it is easy to bike the 25 minute ride northwest from Bruges to the town of Damme.  The route follows a canal that is lined with linden trees and is paved with a special path that safely segregates bikes from car traffic.   Along the way you will pass a sweet red windmill, and you are able to visit the interior to see the process of grinding down different grains into powder.   Once you arrive in Damme having worked up a nice appetite, there are a plethora of options for lunch.

Although to some a Canal Boat Tour might sound ultra touristic, you’d be missing out if you didn’t take the chance to observe Bruges from the perspective of the canals.  No need to pre-book – just seek out one of the kiosks vending tickets along the waterways.

On the hunt for a Sunday evening scene we found a buzzy live-music bistro called ‘t Zwart Huis.  The blues band was top notch, the room was packed, the food & beer was excellent, and we were thrilled to discover a fireplace roaring in the back.

Despite its small size, Bruges rivals any major European city for shopping.  There are plenty of boutiques and recognizable brands up and down the main arteries heading south west from the central Market Square. Along Geldmuntstraat (which becomes Noordzandstraat), look for the shop called L’Heroine which stocks a variety of independent labels.

Eat/Drink:

Here’s the main event!  Bruges is a foodie’s haven.  If you so choose, you can research and book a table for your meal in advance, but there really is no need to.  As you stroll along it is easy to stumble across good-quality restaurants, cafés, bistros, bars, chocolate shops, waffle stands, you name it!  Here is a selection of notable watering holes and eateries that we found while wandering: Bistro Maurice‘t TerrastjeDe Garret’ Bruges Beertje.

bruges-belgium-europe-city-travel-guide-4

bruges-belgium-europe-city-travel-guide-day-2-4

bruges-belgium-europe-city-travel-guide-day-2-3

bruges-belgium-europe-city-travel-guide-day-2-1

bruges-belgium-europe-city-travel-guide-12

bruges-belgium-europe-city-travel-guide-1

bruges-belgium-europe-city-travel-guide-day-2-2

bruges-belgium-europe-city-travel-guide-3

bruges-chocolate-1

 

bruges-belgium-europe-city-travel-guide-6

bruges-belgium-europe-city-travel-guide-2

Trip Notes:

Stay: Ter Dwignen

Visit/Do: Rent bikes, ‘t Zand Food MarketCanal Boat Tour, Ride to Damme, shopping at L’Heroine, live music at ‘t Zwart Huis

Eat: Bistro Maurice‘t TerrastjeDe Garret’ Bruges Beertje