Wednesday, August 31, 2011


(Photo cred: Google Images Barre 3)

Well, like I promised, I'd update you guys on my Barre3 experience. The dance studio was beautiful and the instructor, Darcy, was extremely welcoming. She walked me through the process of a typical barre class to let me know what to expect.

No amount of explanation could've prepared me for this class. I've NEVER in my life taken a class that was so difficult, while not sweating at all! We started with light cardio, side lunges, etc. then moved to the barre where we did stretches and more leg work. Half an hour in, my legs were shaking so badly I almost couldn't stand!

Most studios have different barre heights. I accidentally chose the medium height, not realizing there was a difference. I have the shortest legs in the world so next time I'll be sticking with the short barre.

The more flexible you are, the easier the barre stretching will be for you (obviously?). I'm about as flexible as a steel rod, so...that part was really difficult for me. You finish up with squats, ballet leg positioning plus pulsing, and pilates-esque mat work.

I felt completely exhausted afterwards and am now sitting on my couch at home, and probably won't leave here the rest of the day! I'll update tomorrow on my soreness level, but if you guys are looking for a solid workout class, shop around for a good deal at a local studio near to you. A lot of places have first-time client intro prices, and Groupon/Living Social sometimes has vouchers for these types of places, as they tend to be pretty expensive.

UPDATE 9/1/11: I am EXTREMELY sore today! But I already can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A veritable Black Swan

Attempting Pure Barre tomorrow morning! Believe me, I'll be updating you guys as soon as I get home.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu Monday!

In lieu of my alliteration (and also because I lack a new manicure) I had going with Manicure Monday, today we find ourselves at Menu Monday. I was actually going to save this for another day to try to do some other snazzy alliteration, but we'll just go with it for today.

My friend Anna and I have a weekly Monday lunch date, a Mondate if you will. We've been trying out some fun restaurants all over the city and today we tried Pambiche, a delicious Cuban place on Glisan. As I'm on a budget, we stuck with their two o-clock happy hour menu. The great thing about my city is that tons of the incredible restaurants offer a really legit happy hour that tends to focus more on the food than the drinks.

The brightly painted building that houses Pambiche is tough to miss, and the inside is just as colorful. A delicious-looking dessert window greets you as you walk in filled with tres leches cake, a guava cheesecake, and an array of chocolate desserts.

Anna and I ordered the Pinosa, a mix of fresh pineapple juice and sparkling wine. Anything with pineapple juice is a-okay with me, and this was no exception. We decided to get a few plates to share and went with the Yuca con Mojo, a fried cassava root served with garlic creole mojo. The root had the exact texture and consistency of a french fry and the garlic sauce it was served with was amazing! I poured it on all the rest of my food. We also got the basic Frijoles Negros, black beans and rice, and a potato and cheese empanada. All of our food was full of flavor and very filling. And for getting out of there just under $20? Can't beat that.

I will definitely be going back to try their regular dinner menu in the future.

(The yummy Pinosa!)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vegetarian Tuscan Soup recipe!

Everyone, foodie or not, likes a little Olive Garden once in a while. It's easy to like - creamy, salty and sometimes fried comfort food. While I gave up their entree's a while ago, I am quite addicted to their Zuppa Toscana soup -- a delicious cream-based soup with potato, kale, and Italian sausage.

Being vegetarian off and on throughout the years (currently it's on, and has stuck for longer than ever), this soup was always my weakness. A friend of mine passed this recipe along to me, and though it may not be Olive Garden's exact recipe, it tastes IDENTICAL.

I'll post the actual recipe as sent to me at the end, but will now post my entirely vegetarian recipe of this delicious dish!

What you'll need:

- 5 vegetarian chicken bouillon cubes. I got mine at a local market called New Seasons, which is similar to Whole Foods. Most fine grocery stores should carry it
-1/4 head of kale, washed and chopped as desired, stalks removed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 10 cups water
- 1 lb. veggie sausage/ground beef
- 1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, diced OR 2 medium sized shallots (I prefer the latter)
- 1 lb. slived Russet potatoes, or 3 large potatoes

What to do:

1. Start by mincing and dicing your shallot/onion and your garlic. Sautee these in a large pot until the onion/shallot become soft. Onions take a teeny bit longer than shallots to cook, in my experience at least.

2. Add the vegetarian "chicken" bouillon and the water and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft. I found this took about 20-25 minutes on a medium heat

4. While you're doing this, cook your vegetarian meat you will be using. Honestly, this recipe doesn't really need it and is hearty enough without it, but if you're so inclined, brown the veggie meat/sausage in a separate pan with the red pepper flakes. Set aside.

5. Stir the heavy cream into the water/bouillon/garlic/shallot mix.

6. Finally stir in veggie meat and toss in your chopped kale.

Give it a good stir and allow it to heat for a few minutes, serve and enjoy!

It turned out wonderful and I can't wait to make it again! This particular recipe makes 6-8 servings, so I had PLENTY of leftovers.

As promised, here is the non-vegetarian version. Click here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crunchy Kale Salad - a recipe post

After having a few particularly delicious kale salads at various restaurants, I was dying to try one of my own. I posted on Facebook that if any of my friends knew of some great kale recipes, they should send them my way.

My friend Brianna recommnded her mom's kale salad recipe, and after looking it over I made some minor tweaks to fit my tastebuds and was off to the store!

What you'll need: kale (I went with Trader Joe's already chopped and cleaned kale), red pepper flakes (all I had on hand was my South African Smoke spice/rub which did the job just fine), cayenne pepper, olive oil, one whole lemon, and two cloves of garlic (or more - depending on what you like!)

1. You'll want to start with your desired amount of kale. I used about a third of the 10 oz bag that I purchased and that was satisfactory for two people. I was informed prior to making this that it's important to thoroughly wash your kale before consumption as it can contain parasites. Since I bought it from a reputable establishment and there were no known recalls or problems with kale at the time, I just washed it quickly in my colander. Also, the kale I had purchased was a pre-cut and pre-rinsed one.

2. It's important to cut the stiff spines off the kale. There are spines on almost every piece you will see, the the ones that require chopping will be very apparent. So chop off the large, stiff stalks and chop your kale into 1-1.5 in. strips. I just kind of went over the kale with my knife a few times and it made it into satisfactory sized pieces.

3. Chop your garlic. I minced two cloves and tossed them in a bowl on top of the kale like so:

4. Slice and juice your lemon. I love fresh-squeezed lemon in a salad dressing! Delicious.

5. Add olive oil to thoroughly coat the salad. You can honestly add as much or as little as you want, just make sure each leaf is coated. I free poured it until it felt right.

6. Not pictured: 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes and a few dashes of cayenne pepper. The pepper flakes I currently owned did not have nearly enough heat for my taste, hence the cayenne. 

7. Also not pictured: a handful of parmesan cheese. This really binds the dressing and coats the salad with delicious flavor. You can do shredded, but I had the kind that says it's grated but it's really like a powder. I added a small handful of that and it worked wonders with the rest of the ingredients.

Now, you can stop there if you're so inclined. But at another friends suggestion, I added some sliced avocado. The combination of the crunchy kale and the creamy avocado really made the salad a big hit for me.

8. We sliced up half of an avocado and mixed it in with the salad.

9. Give the salad a THOROUGH stir/toss/mix, whichever you do. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt to taste and voila!

Enjoy! Check back later for more recipes! I'll be doing a few more things with kale over the next few days!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Home favorite sites

If you guys are as into decorating as me, then I think you'll appreciate these sites! Granted, these are a tad bit expensive, but make for great statement pieces if you're looking for some fun and random stuff.

A+R - one of my favorite sites to browse some cool decorations! This site has everything. My personal favorite is the cool salad bowl in their kitchen items.

Exit Art - cool boutique I came across based in Florida, but features some items online. I love anything Alessi, and this is my go-to site for Alessi items.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Pages I Turn, August 2011

I'm an avid reader. To me, there's no good excuse to not have your nose in a book even just for a few minutes a day.

After a brief stint working at Borders, I used my discount to stock myself up on books that would probably last me a year or so. I'm currently working on Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis. You know, the guy who wrote American Psycho? That's the only thing people remember him for these days.

Ellis quickly became one of my favorite authors after I first read Less Than Zero, a nihilistic look at a group of twenty-somethings living in Los Angeles. While his approach to writing isn't necessarily everyone's favorite, his talent as a writer can't be denied.

If you get the chance to read one of his books, I highly recommend it. Less Than Zero may be the least offensive of all of them, so pick it up if you're ever looking for a good read! And if you're a perv like me, then get American Psycho -- it makes the movie look like the Bible.

Happy reading, guys!

Manicure Monday!

Anyone who knows me knows how obsessed with nail polish I am. I counted recently, and I have around 60's a serious problem.

Here's my manicure for the week!

Here I'm wearing OPI's Not Like The Movies from the Katy Perry collection with OPI's Silver Shatter over it. If you're not already on the crackle/shatter polish bandwagon, it's a pretty fun little trend. I went with Silver Shatter on just my ring finger this time. 

Also, OPI just came out with their Touring America collection and it's pretty great! A lot of great, basic colors to add to any collection.

Photo cred: Google Images of OPI Touring America Collection

OPI will cost you about $8.50 a bottle, depending on where you buy it. I'm thinking I need to snatch me up one of the grey shades (Suzi Takes The Wheel or French Quarter For Your Thoughts), but I truly love them all!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Style Wish List

Do you guys have a fashion wish list? Mine feels like it's never ending. I have little sticky notes, iPhone memos and computer lists of various things I see out and about that I feel like I can't live without. Here's a few things I would DIE to own, but probably never will:

[1] House of Harlow 1960 Chelsea Sunglasses ($138).

Photo cred:

Love these sunglasses! As a longtime Nicole Richie fan, I love the chic-ness and accessibility of her lines House of Harlow 1960 and Winter Kate.

Photo cred:

Wouldn't it be so incredible to wake up in this bed? The craftsmanship is gorgeous! I would LOVE to have a bed like this - maybe as a wedding gift, eh mom? Dad? Anyone? Are you allowed to register for things like this? Someone let me know! :D

[3] West Elm Chester Tufted Leather Chair (on sale currently for $679)

Photo cred:

Since my fiance and I are building a new home together, I've been thoroughly enjoying looking at furniture. I love this chair -- the lines, the leather, the arms, it's gorgeous.

[4] BHLDN Forever Flower Ceremony Backdrop ($1800)

Photo cred:

I'm sure most, if not all, of you know about Anthropologie's wedding salon/line, BHLDN (which is a monicker for "beholden", and is how the line is pronounced). While the flagship boutique is just about to open in Dallas, TX -- making it completely unavailable to Anthro addicts like myself -- the entire collection and odds and ends are available on their website, here.

They offer anything from gowns, to bridesmaids dresses, to accessories (incredible shoes!), and decor options. I would LOVE to have this as a backdrop at our ceremony...but at $1800 a pop, I'm better off making this myself or simply leaving it out. Beautiful, though!

So there you have it. A few items off my current style wish list. What's on your list? Do you have any decor favorites? Any ridiculously-priced apparel that you swoon over?

My Fave Shoes For Fall

I don't know about you guys, but I LOVE fall fashion. Spring? I could take it or leave it. Resort? Doesn't get much attention from laypeople as it is. But fall is really where I feel designers showcase their best work. When talking shoes, I'm particularly excited about the following:

How amazing are these?! I've always been a fan of anything leopard and these just take the cake. Booties were getting big in the Fall of 2009 and they're still going strong this Fall. These statement shoes will look super cute with leggings, ankle-cropped skinnies, chic dresses and leather shorts. I'm in LOVE with these shoes and I can't wait to pick up my pair. These shoes are also available in black and nude.

Photo cred: (Steve Madden Annie-L Wedge Bootie - $149)

For me, studs have become a thing of the past. I don't gravitate towards studded or grommeted items like I used to, but I have to say, these shoes are lovely! Reminiscent of Christian Louboutin's studded pumps that were so popular a bit ago, I actually prefer the clustered, uneven studs of these Sam Edelman's. Though I can't in good conscious recommend spending your hard-earned cash on these babies, if you've got an extra $200 lying around, by all means snag yourself a pair.

Photo cred: (Sam Edelman Lorissa Pump - $199.95)

More Fall fashion posts to come!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Enduring Love - A Film Review

Like most females on the planet, I'm all for a Daniel Craig film. When I randomly stumbled across a preview of his 2004 movie, Enduring Love, (which I'd had no idea even existed) I was intrigued.

Based on the novel by Ian McEwan (with whom I have a love-hate relationship; love = Atonement and hate = Cement Garden), the film revolves around a freak hot air balloon accident on a given day, and the events that happen afterwards that tear a man's (Craig) life apart. While Craig and the extremely creepy Rhys Ifans gave gripping performances, the movie itself left much to be desired. Predictable at best, I'd say.  Even the lovely score and cinematography couldn't save the plot of this thriller and I can't help but wonder if they spent just a tad more time on the screenplay, if it'd been more engaging, as the whole thing felt a bit rushed.

I say if you've got Netflix, give it a whirl. It's worth a shot if you're into the more cerebral thrillers.

*On a side note, if you're into film scores and wonderful, wonderful cinematography PLEASE do yourself a favor and watch Mister Lonely, featuring Samantha Morton (also in Enduring Love). AMAZING film.

-Photo cred:


Thanks for stopping by Le Petit Bijou! I'm a longtime writer with a penchant for anything fashion and beauty related. I've started blog after blog but never seen them through to fruition; recently moving to a new city has forced me out of my comfort zone and, as luck would have it, given me plenty of free time.

I'm ready to blog my passion for life and all the aesthetics that come with it. So, starting tomorrow, you can expect to find entries on anything from recipes I think are fun and restaurants I love to haunt, to trends I'm obsessed with and make-up looks you can re-create at home.