Monday, March 30, 2015

Denim Jacket


Photos by Ale Veyna

Outfit Details:
Old Denim Jacket
H&M Shirt Dress
Thrifted Vintage Bag (Similar here and here) 
31 Bits Bracelet (Similar)

Lately I've been going on and on about my goal of investing in classic pieces that will remain in my wardrobe for years to come. I thought I'd switch it up a bit this week by featuring an item that has already survived the test of time; I bought this denim jacket when I was in high school and it's been in my wardrobe for more than 10 years. The most obvious sign that this denim jacket was acquired during my teenage years is a patch with the word "Angel" located on the top right pocket, but that's a detail that can easily be covered up with a pin or brooch to give it a more sophisticated vibe. Of course, no matter what I do to make myself seem like an adult, people are sometimes still going to mistake me for a teenager instead of a 26-year-old woman. 

Speaking of being a 26, my friend made me realize the other day that I'm getting closer to turning 30! I'm not really ready to discuss this in full detail, but there are some really cool and exciting changes happening in my future. Despite my enthusiasm about what the future has in store for me, I'm really bad at dealing with change. I was discussing this fact with a friend and she made me snap out of feeling anxious by turning to me and saying, "Helen, just look at this way--you're almost going to be 30!" I don't have a fear about getting older, but putting things in that perspective made me realize that I should start embracing change and looking for ways to move forward with my goals. 

In other news, I've finally started to recover from feeling burnt out. I decided to take it easy last week and felt so much more energized this weekend. Even though I'm on my way to becoming my old cheerful self again, I realize that I need to start taking better care of myself. That is why I decided to plan out a vacation this weekend and booked a one-night stay at the Madonna Inn during the month of May. I'm very excited about my getaway because I've wanted to visit the hotel for a while and I'm really looking forward to spending time relaxing by the pool. Plus, having this trip all planned out will definitely serve as motivation for me in the next few weeks. 

xoxo,

Helen

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Black and White Gingham Top

Photos by Sarah Veyna

Outfit Details:
Handmade Gingham Shell Top (Similar top with sleeves)
ASOS Trousers (Similar)
Madewell Loafers (Similar)
MAC Lipstick in Russian Red
MAC Lip Pencil in Brick

With a great amount of help from my mom, this weekend I made a gingham top out of leftover fabric from when I made this skirt. I wore it with trousers in this set of photos, but I like that it also looks great with skirts and jeans. I even paired it with a blazer later in the day, since it was a bit chilly, and it made for a great "professional" outfit. I'm planning on making most of my clothes this spring/summer since I'm feeling uninspired by most clothes in stores, and the pieces I do like are out of my budget. I'm probably going fabric shopping next weekend and hitting the ground running from there, so be on the lookout for more handmade pieces on the blog.

Aside from various sewing projects, there are other long-term creative projects that I want to work on in the next few months, such as improving my photography. For that reason, I'm only going to be posting on this blog once a week. Although I love documenting the process of making things for this blog, what I really enjoyed about making this top was that it was a project that felt more personal and I didn't have to finish it by a certain time in order to post it on this blog. I'll definitely keep posting DIY tutorials and recipes on this blog from time to time, I just don't want to get into the habit of only making things for the sake of blogging. What I envision right now is that I'll rotate between DIY tutorials, recipe and outfit posts from week to week, depending on my mood. 

Another reason that I want to dedicate less time to blogging is because, as I've mentioned a couple of times, lately I've feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. I slept for about 12 hours Saturday night, if that gives you any idea about how exhausted I've been feeling lately. Although my feeling of burnout does not necessarily stem from working on this blog, I realize that I've been treating it like another job instead of the creative outlet it's meant to be; the added workload that I have created for myself hasn't necessarily allowed me to rest. I feel that cutting back on this particular activity will enable me to make time for self-care and have more balance in my life. 

I really hope that I didn't sound too moody in this post. I just wanted to discuss how I've been feeling lately. I'm also curious to know if any of you have ever dealt with burnout, and what steps you took in order to overcome it. Any suggestions are deeply appreciated.

Have a great rest of the week!

xoxo,

Helen

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Army Green

Photos by Ale Veyna

Outfit Details:
Forever 21 Fedora Hat (Similar here, here and here)
H&M Army Green Shirt Dress
H&M Trouser Shorts (similar here and here)
H&M Sandals

The heat has arrived to SoCal, which means that I've officially stored away my winter wardrobe. I'm trying to keep a capsule wardrobe for each season and storing away things I don't use during certain times of year. Doing this reduces clutter in my closet and keeps my wardrobe feeling new and fresh. Since I haven't worn certain pieces for a couple of months, the process of bringing out my spring/summer clothes made me feel like I came back from a huge shopping spree. 

I wore this outfit about two weeks ago on a day that was particularly warm. This army green top is actually a dress, which you've also seen me wear here. I love pieces that are versatile and can be worn in a variety of ways because when you're on a budget, like me, they can help maximize your wardrobe. 
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What are your weekend plans? I'm still trying to fight off this feeling of fatigue, so mine will probably be filled with tons of sleep. I'm determined to not be at home all the time, however, so maybe I'll do something that I haven't done in a while, like going out dancing in Echo Park. I used to go out to shows and dancing all the time, but I've become so lazy that I never do things that involve me going out past 10 pm anymore. Maybe this will be the weekend that I finally break out of my routine.

xoxo,

Helen

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Over The Weekend


I'm posting much later than usual because I've been busy and needed some time away from this blog. I've realized that spending so much time in front of a computer screen has heavily contributed to the feeling of burnout I've been experiencing lately. I really love working on this space, but I have started to let my life revolve around it; I want for this blog to continue to be a fun and creative outlet for me and that means being able to step away from working on it every once in a while. 

Instead of spending my weekend with my face in front of a computer, I made the drive to Oceanside to meet up with my friends Laura and India. I hadn't seen them both in a long time, so it was a nice little reunion. India was the most wonderful tour guide and made sure to fill up our day with fun activities. We spent part of the day antique shopping, had lunch at Bagby Beer Company, and even had time to lounge at the beach. This day trip was exactly what I needed to feel more relaxed and ready to take on the upcoming week. 

I'm already feeling more energetic this week and just need to make it through to the weekend. I hope you're all doing well and hanging there as well. Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo,

Helen

Monday, March 9, 2015

Clothing Exchange

Photos by Ale Veyna

Outfit Details:
Floral Dress 
Crocheted Bag (Handmade by my grandmother)

One of my goals for this year is to focus on being less materialistic, save money and make mindful purchases that will enhance my existing wardrobe. One of the first steps that I have taken towards this resolution is to get rid of clothes that I just don't wear anymore. It is so much easier to make a list of pieces you need to add to your wardrobe when you have a clear perspective of what you're actually wearing on a daily basis. Since I tend to be a bit of a hoarder and have had many items for years, cleaning out my closet took a bit of work; I sent a bag of clothes to thredUP last December, and just filled up a second bag this weekend. Even though I have been mostly working on getting rid of things instead of adding to my wardrobe, it's much easier to find things to wear now that my closet is less cluttered. 

Another thing that I did this weekend was participate in a clothing exchange with my sister Alejandra. If you're looking to add a couple of pieces to your wardrobe without spending too much money, clothing exchanges are a great way to do that. Since my sister was also in the process of getting rid of some of her clothes, it was the perfect opportunity for us to look through each other's piles one last time and take whatever we wanted. Both our piles were filled with clothes that just didn't fit either of our styles anymore, but I was lucky to find this floral dress in Ale's. I can't understand why she'd want to get rid of it, but I'm glad it's now mine! 

I plan to talk about my own process of building a conscious closet in future posts and am working on a summary of my winter purchases for next week.  However, if you want to get a sense of what other people are doing to build a more conscious wardrobe, I would suggest that you check out the #ConsciousCloset series on In Honor of Design and Un-Fancy Blog.

As always, thanks for reading!

xoxo,

Helen

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Where did the weekend go?

Photos by Ale Veyna

Outfit Details:
Free People Scarf (Similar here, here and here)
Old Navy Chambray Shirt (Similar)
H&M Chunky Cardigan (Similar)
H&M Trouser Shorts 
Black Tights
Madewell Loafers (Similar here and here)

I've you haven't figured it out from the title of this post, lately I've been feeling like I don't have enough time to do everything that I want to do and have this feeling of being burnt out that I just can't shake off. I think part of it is that I've been trying to fit in all these things that I love into my schedule--such as running, reading, blogging, crafting, writing, meditation, etc.--but I haven't given myself enough time to rest. I need to work on being okay with not achieving everything on my to do list, realizing that I can't do everything at the same time, and giving myself a break every once in a while. Please excuse me if this sounds repetitive from previous posts, but this is something that I constantly need to remind myself to do, especially since I often find myself in a similar state of being. 

Something that really helped me somewhat shake off the feeling of being overwhelmed was getting out of the house most of the day Saturday. Doing that got me away from my laptop and gave me a break from working on this space; I also made an effort to not be glued to my phone while I was out and about. I really love social media and this blog, but sometimes I think focusing too much of my time on those things prevents me from living in the moment. Sometimes it's nice to disconnect and not feel the pressure to find some special highlight to share with the world through Instagram or Facebook. 

Other than me struggling to find time to recharge, it was a very good weekend, even if it was too short. As I mentioned before, I was out of the house most of Saturday and spent some time in Downtown L.A., attended an event at my old workplace, and then ended the night by going out for beers and pizza with my sister Ale. It also cooled down and drizzled a bit over the weekend, and the weather made it easier for me to take things slow; I kind of hope the rain sticks around for a few more days so that I can get the hang of this new, much slower pace. 

xoxo,

Helen

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bacon and Gouda Cheese Croquetas


I studied abroad in Madrid about 5 years ago during my junior year of college, and one of the things that I miss most about the experience is all the delicious Spanish food that I had during my short stay. I lived with a wonderful host mom named Pilar, and she was kind enough to cook up a variety of Spanish dishes for my roommate and me. Out of all the wonderful food that Pilar introduced me to, my favorite had to be her recipe for croquetas(croquettes). For those of you who haven't had croquetas before, I would describe them as delicious bites of fried dough mixed with anything from chicken, jamón serrano or cheese. They do take a bit longer to make than most recipes, but the extra work is definitely worth it. My biggest regret is not asking Pilar for her recipe before I left Spain. Fortunately, I found a recipe on Hungry Sofia that was easy enough for me to follow, and I adapted it this weekend to make delicious Bacon and Gouda Cheese Croquetas. Today I'm sharing this recipe with you so that you can learn how to make these delicious bites for yourself. 



Recipe adapted from Hungry Sofia Blog

Bacon and Gouda Cheese Croquetas

INGREDIENTS
(Makes 20-24 large croquetas)
12 oz of bacon (cooked and chopped)
3/4 cups of cubed Gouda cheese
2 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of flour
6 Tbsp of butter
Salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg
4 eggs (beaten)
2 cups of bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS

Mix the bacon and Gouda cheese in a food processor or a blender until they form a paste.

In a small pan, melt the butter on low heat. Once the butter is completely melted, begin to slowly stir in the flour until it forms a thick sauce. Only do this for a couple of minutes to keep the mixture from burning. 

Heat the the milk in another pan until its warm, but don't let it come to a boil. Pour the milk unto the butter and flour mixture and stir it until it begins to thicken and forms a doughy texture. Remove from heat and then fold in the bacon and Gouda cheese paste into the mixture. Make sure to add a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg as you're mixing in all the ingredients. 

Leave the mixture in the pan and let it cool down to room temperature. Once it's cool, store it in the fridge for at least an hour. This will make it easier for you to work with the mixture once it comes down to making the croquetas.

Once you're ready to make the croquetas, you're going to take out the dough mixture out of the fridge and place the beaten eggs and bread crumbs in separate bowls. Use a large spoon to scoop out the mixture from the pan and roll it into a ball shape. Dip each croqueta into the egg mixture and then roll it in bread crumbs until its completely covered. Do this until you've used up all the dough. 

Pour about 1.5-2" of oil in a large frying pan and set to medium heat. Dip the croquetas and use a fork to turn them over until they are browned on all sides. Transfer the croquetas unto a paper towel and let the excess oil drain. And now you're ready to serve these delicious treats!

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I really hope that you all enjoyed this recipe post. I'm so happy that I now have more time to work on creating content like this for the blog. Although it's fun to dress up once a week and take pictures, there's something more satisfying for me about documenting a project from beginning to end. I started this blog as a way to improve my skills set, and so far I have learned so much. However, I'm really looking forward to improving my photography and finding new ways to be creative as I begin to add more DIY and recipe posts to my little corner of the internet. 

On a different note, I hope you're all having a great week so far. I have the day off today and I'm going to spend part of it watching the series finale of my favorite show Parks and Recreation. The show is so funny and I love how much the characters have grown over the years. The current season has also been extremely touching and has brought me to tears so many times. I just really hope that the show has a good ending. Since I'll probably have watched the final episode once comments start rolling into this blog, I'd love to hear what you all thought of the finale if you happen to keep up with the show.

xoxo,

Helen

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