July 8, 2014

#SOTD June Playlist

June flew by! I celebrated my 2 year anniversary with my dream boat boyfriend. He made me a gourmet steak dinner and bought 15 year old Macallen Scotch. (oh yeah its true love)

IMG_20140610_195440

Also in June I celebrated the birthday of my teenage best friend. A friendship that began in an acting class and has lasted over 10 years is quite the accomplishment.  Then my sister brought into the world niece number 2, a sweet as pie little darling baby. I took on a new freelance client. And have you ever had a fresh strawberry donut? I never had till this past month! So yeah, June was not boring or slow by any means. How is it already the 8th of July?  I have some playlist catch up to do.

Well here were the musical highlights of June!

My favorite stay cool, blue toned, lounge music with slow motion smiling faces of beautiful people is New Navy. The band is from Sydney, Australia and their disheveled  hair with well styled blazers makes momentary elevator tunes sound modern and summer time champagne toast ready.

song of the day new navy

 

Are you like me and miss a good band that plays a mean guitar and bangs it out on their drums. Tired of another indie rock pop group that sounds like a FUN or FOSTER THE PEOPLE remix. Oh and doesn’t sound surf wave, or stoner, or like they are stuck in their garage.  It’s a tall order but I think I found the band for you… New Madrid! Based in Georgia,  I’ve been discovering lately that the state houses a lot of great non-country sounding bands.

Oh Rico Gagliano from Dinner Party Download gave me a brunch suggestion…

dinner party download food

I ended the month with the song Texas and Tennessee from my hands down favorite band, Lucero. They never stops touring or playing, and I would LOVE to catch them play in Memphis, Nashville, Louisville… you get the idea. I’ve seen Lucero more than I can count on one hand. But never in their own habitat, which I imagine is just anywhere in the south.  On June 30, I got some news that I could have taken badly and thrown my plans into a tail spin. Instead I’m embracing the change, as I will see Texas and Tennessee!

 

July 7, 2014

Quick Simple Healthy : Southwest Quinoa Salad

easy picnic food southwest quinoa salad

You know that western decease called anxiety. Well I have it, and when I’m invited to pot-lucks, bbqs, picnics, or any event in which I’m supposed to bring a dish. The inner 1950′s housewife and totally lazy cook in me conflict. I want to make something impressive and delicious, but I look at my schedule and realize I have max 3 hours to make something before midnight without driving myself insane.  I was invited to a birthday party that involved a picnic element, and as it was an exceptionally stressful week I decided to throw myself into making a vegetarian feast. That aside, in the midst of my stress cooking I discovered the Southwest Quinoa Salad. It is the dream side dish of my inner lazy cook, and my new favorite quick simple healthy salad. The only thing you cook is the quinoa and the rest of the steps can be done while the grain is in the pot. Total process for the most novice chef is 30minutes tops, and that’s me assuming one has no cutting skills.

So lets get to it…

Ingredients:

Quinoa

Can of Corn

Can of Black Beans (plain)

Green Onion (4 stocks)

Cilantro

Red Bell Pepper

(my trader joes didn’t have any good bell pepper so I bought the cute mini ones)

Limes (2)

Chili Powder & Garlic Salt

southwest quinoa salad ingredients

 One serving of quinoa does the trick, so cook according to the instructions on the package.

benefits of quinoa

Now while the quinoa is cooking, rinse your corn and beans.

After they have been thoroughly rinsed place in a separate bowl.

steps for making quinoa salad rinse corn and beans

Then chop up the green onion, red bell pepper, and cilantro into tiny pieces; think the same size as the corn.

vegetables for quinoa salad

  1. Combine the green onion, red bell pepper, and cilantro into the bowl with black beans and corn
  2. Toss all the ingredients together
  3. Squeeze lime juice in with the veggies an beans
  4. Sprinkle chili powder ( ¼ teaspoon is safe) and garlic salt to flavor

steps for a southwest quinoa salad

 

P.S DON’T FORGET YOUR QUINOA IN THE PROCESS

I like to place the quinoa and bowl of wonders in the same ziplock bag and mix it together; massage, shake, or wooden spoon stir. I like things that are self-contained, like a silent panic attack.

mix southwest quinoa salad

Personally I feel its best served chilled, so throw in the fridge for a bit. Also it does lack salt, but when paired with other foods like BBQ ribs or a pulled pork sandwich it’s the perfect balance.  So bring in a ziplock and throw in a bowl, or prepare individual servings of cute mason jars; this is my favorite no brainer pot luck, bbq, picnic side dish/ salad. The lazy cook loves it, and so does my perfectionist fifties housewife.

Tweet me if you remix or try this salad @basicallybekka

 

July 3, 2014

Victoria’s Secret Sports Bra Review!

VSX_1 banner

Influenster is a program where you can receive products to review based on your social influence. Those that are selected for various boxes are sent surveys to fill out in order for Influenster to connect the right person and product. When I first received the survey for the “sports bra”, I might have fudge my level of activity and said I work out twice a week (regularly). I mean I work out a solid once every other week, and am determined to bring it up. But I do love fitness and the survey was definitely hinting to a fitness box, and I wanted in. I didn’t realize it was going to be a fancy new sports bra till the end where they asked for my size, and I didn’t know it was Victoria’s Secret Sports Bra till I got the email saying I qualified. Now looking back at my white lie, karma got me in the end because I received the wrong bra size and ended up spending an additional twenty-six dollars on a new one.

You can find out the whole story in the video below

This new collection of sports bras are quite impressive. I bought a sports bra from Victoria’s Secret back in 2005 or 2006 that was intended to have maximum support. I still own the sports bra, but never wear it, and not really sure why I haven’t thrown it away. After a few washes it lost its initial support, and the material is thin making my chest look sad and frumpy. The way it was constructed created a granny like appearance. Really, why is this piece taking up space in my drawer?

Because of my terrible experience, it doubled my excitement to be selected for the Victoria Secret VSX Sports Bra box. Given it’s nearly 10 years later from my initial experience, I was sure it had improved and I was right. Since I had to go in and exchange my bra, I tried on a few different styles that allude me now and they all were very supportive. Clearly designed for different activities, like low impact yoga versus high intensity cross fit. All the different cuts, colors, and patterns made me want to over hall my life and become a fitness guru. Basically in order to justify a whole new wardrobe of yoga pants and sports bra.

victoria secret sports bra review

Since my stamina is awful and truly I am working on becoming more fit in my life right now, I wouldn’t be able to say how my new sports bra really affected my workout. I did go running in it, and follow a Tone It Up total bikini body work out video. I love those Tone It Up girls. Also when  jumping up and down for the picture you see above, they were securely fastened in the VSX seatbelt. But I’ve yet to really push this sport bra to the limit, and currently just appreciate its anti-smoosh factor while still being a secure support.

Mostly with this sports bra compared to my other ones, my boobs look amazing! It’s the bra for single ladies at the gym. Because that ideal boob shape is in the bra itself, its pretty magical. Have you tried any of the Victoria’s Secret sports bras yet?

Tweet me if you also feel the VSX line is magical at @basicallybekka.

 magical sports bra victoria secret

Found the Unicorn Illustration Here!

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June 27, 2014

“Cool Girl” Style Conspiracy

The fashion world created the “cool girl” style and I will forever be grateful. Bed-head hairstyles, or quick top knots with bold lips and an excellent hand at liquid eyeliner. The women of New York realized they needed a solution to looking chic with as minimal effort as possible, because the women of New York are exhausted!

Yes, I am calling out the editors, assistants, associates, and the ambitious mothers of invention who work all-day and then network all night. Alarm clocks set to the last possible minute before being late to work, buzzing to wake up hard working individuals, desperate for at least 6 hours of sleep. There is no time for a beauty routine longer than ten minutes when you need to get ready quickly. Throw on a simple ensemble of stylish black pants, an effortless tailored top, and maybe a jacket, if the weather calls for it, and it’s out the door. Presentable, but not haggard at their day jobs, because under those stylish glasses, below the perfect cat eye, and covered by a Nars concealer are their “bags of honor.”

Puffy and dark, the bags under one’s eye indicates a lack of sleep due to the drive and determination one has to succeed, all while not giving up their social life. By Thursday, I am rocking my own “bags of honor”… with a full time job, freelance projects, passion project, and happily the supportive girlfriend of a musician, my body and beauty routine has learned to cope on 5.5 hours of sleep.

I will not look in the mirror and judge myself for not looking like a well rested teenager, my skin a little sallow and eyes possibly glazed. No, I will see my puffy, dark circles and declare them my “bags of honor”; for my week has been filled with new connections, tending to old friendships, accomplishing fabulous projects, and being an essential member of my 9-5 team.  All while running on B-vitamins, lots of coffee, water and whatever I can remember to feed myself.

New York is a city fueled by ambition, and the fashion publishing industry. With an increase in easy hairstyle and quick beauty stories, I’m happy they dubbed what was previously known as “the rushed look” the “cool girl” style. No longer does this California girl have to look polished by spending hours on her hair for an at home blow out.  All I need is dry shampoo and a good concealer. Covering my “bags of honor” only to make every one wonder… how does she do it!

cool girl style collage

June 27, 2014

SOUNDS LIKE : Bastille’s “Bad Blood” and Lost Boys

bastille sounds like lost boys

I’ve been obsessed with vampires since I was around 5 or 6 years old. Watching vampire films, and asking my Dad to tell me about vampire lore. Most would think letting a 9 year old watch From Dusk till Dawn is in appropriate, how about a 7 year old watching Interview with a Vampire. My favorite television show as a teen was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and yes I had already watched the classic Buffy the Vampire film with Kristy Swanson around 5 years old.

But my favorite vampire film has always been Lost Boys. When Lost Boys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Interview with a Vampire played at the Cinespia Hollywood Cemetery screening this past summer, I squealed with excitement. So what does my obsession with vampires, pre-flippn Twilight BS, have to do with music.

Bastille’s “Bad Blood” is completely reminiscent of the title song in Lost Boys! And the fact Bastille’s song is called “Bad Blood” makes me think this isn’t just a coincidence*. I have a tendency to hear musical connections that others don’t always hear. The musical connection is not obvious, and it’s not like I’m saying Bastille’s Bad Blood is exactly like the Lost Boy’s “Cry Little Sister” by G Tom Mac. BUT they definitely both used some cinnamon in their songs, if you get my random cooking metaphor. Listen below and tell me what you think.

 

p.s. Lost Boys came out the same year I was born, so I was born with Vampire love in my blood!

*I admit that’s a bit of a reach.

(MYFAVORITEMAOI.COM WAS MY OTHER BLOG – NOW ON HIATUS)

June 14, 2014

Weekday Roundup!

I started off this week with a 2 year anniversary! My boyfriend and I hit the 2 year mark, which is  pretty surprising as before him, my dating life had a 30 day expiration date.

He prepared an amazing prime rib-eye steak dinner and bought me the most amazing candle. I love candles, but I’m particular about the scents and unfortunately most of them tend to make my throat itch after being burned.  Knowing how picky I am, the fact he picked the perfect scent all on his own…well that means we are soul mates, right? Plus no allergic reaction after being burned!

sydney hale candle grapefruit and orange

Sydney Hale C0. – Grapefruit + Orange  Candle 

I also made some progress on planning the road trip, oh yeah I’m planning a roadtrip…but more details about that later. I’m a whiskey, bourbon, scotch drinker. The boy even bought a 15 year old scotch to celebrate our anniversary. So I’m excited to  say say I discovered there is a Whiskey Museum in Kentucky! Also there is a bourbon tour, where you visit all the distilleries in Kentucky. I swear in my past life I was an aspiring country sing who died of a broken heart.

whiskey bottle Mary Kate McDevitt

DesignInspiration

And since I am planning an epic road trip that means I am committed to cut my spending and save money. Do you ever find when you start trying to save money, you come across a million items you must own. Followed by the craziest explanations and justifications for why that item has to be in your life.  This backpack from Filson is one of those items. Fortunantly at $290 it makes it easier for me to just say no. But seriously I’d look adorable wearing this in Colorado or down in Texas. Just imagine me trotting along with my moleskin and disposable camera… a girl can dream.

filson rucksack

Filson Rucksack 

Finally I saw this makeup tutorial on Alex Chung. I have expressed my love for her before, and not just because she is perfection personified, but she has a personality to boot! Warning watching a nearly flawless women have makeup applied to her…god damn…oh yeah that f*d up my self esteem.  Had to hold myself back from purchasing the nude lipstick mentioned in the video, it was $5.50 and that is just money I don’t have to waste. If you are brave enough…ugh….

But like all things in life, comparing yourself to others is quickest path down personal dissatisfaction and depression. So I leave you and end my week with this image!

don't compare yourself art

Comparison is the Thief of Joy – Art Print

Wishing you a fantabulous weekend!

 

June 13, 2014

Lock and Key Social Drinkery, a DTLA style bar located in downtown Downey!

lock and key social drinkery

Lock and Key Social Drinkery located in Downey, in the words of the owner, is designed so you wouldn’t feel like you were in Downey. A restaurant bar, the interior is industrial chic complete with vintage styled Edison light bulbs and an illuminated sign of the gastropub’s initials affixed to the ceiling. The walls are partially covered in wood paneling, and sleek black booths. Socially aware, tall tables set for eight run down the middle to accommodate large parties.

Downey is only 13 miles from Downtown LA, and its residents vary from lower middle class to those living in a mansion maze worth millions. With the increase in twenty-somethings living at home, and relatively affordable housing where young families plant their roots; there exist a demand for great food and atmosphere in Downey. A market, owner Marc Shelton, understands and is tapping into. On a Friday night at 7:00pm the restaurant had open tables, but was far from empty. And by 8:00 there was a line waiting to get inside.

When seated you’re served a tiny glass and chilled water in a large medicinal bottle which you’d imagine would hold pharmacy tonics in the 18oo’s.  The menu is creative and reads like a competitive cooking show, while not being off putting to those that might not be foodies. Gourmet classics taken up a notch or wrapped in bacon. A Grilled cheese with fontina cheese and white truffle butter. An appetizer called Amazeballs, that is fried Brussels sprouts, apple smoked bacon, candied walnuts, with an apple gastrique.

Being a Downey native, I had to start the dinner off with a Hot Cheeto pie. A sliced open Hot Cheetos snack bag drenched in jalapeno (nacho) cheese sauce topped with chorizo and scallions. I might have lost you, but understand Hot Cheetos and nacho cheese was a lunchtime staple for Downey kids. I didn’t eat it very often but I understood its delicious allure. It’s hard to get all food writer when talking about a bag of hot Cheetos and nacho cheese,but the warm melted jalapeno cheese compliments the Hot Cheetos seasoning without overpowering it. You still taste the Hot Cheeto flavor and its spicy build, while the creamy cheese coats the Cheetos without making it too soggy. Where it get gourmet is the peppery chorizo, and crisp scallions that add another dimension to this appetizer. I loved the Hot Cheeto pie, but I did regret starting off with it as it had scorched my palate a bit.

hot cheeto pie lock and key downey

Yet by the third bite of my dinner sandwich, I felt my taste buds could fairly assess the flavors.  I ordered the Sweet Thang Chicken Sandwich, a panko crusted chicken breast, apple wood bacon, sunny side egg, prairie cheddar, raspberry chipotle compote, on a pretzel bun.  Its presentation was on point, and technical execution excellent. The sunny side egg’s yolk was thick and creamy. The panko crust crispy and light, chicken itself tender and moist. But lacked its own unique seasoning aside from “tempura” flavor.  So the apple smoked bacon is what brought in an element of salt, and the prairie cheese forgettable unless the raspberry chipotle compote was in the bite. And that is where all the flavors came together and the sandwich made an impression. I picked at the top portion of the bun with drizzles of compote to eat with a bite of the other ingredients. Because without the compote, it was just an ok sandwich, but with the compote it hit all the flavor notes of sweet, salty, and tangy.

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June 11, 2014

Gif Conversations

I sometimes communicate only in Gifs, today I just feel…

real housewives new york gif

then I wonder….

gretchen real housewives orange county

sometimes…

Heather Real Housewives Orange County gif

but when my coworker said “someone is not only looking at Gifs but Real Houswives Gifs…”

I responded with…

yoland real housewives of beverly hills

May 31, 2014

5 Real Talk Steps To Clean Out Your Closet

anxiety attack prevention

My name is Bekka, and I get anxiety attacks when I have to clean out my closet and donate the clothes. I’m not a hoarder. I just have an intense love of nostalgia, a wicked good memory, and a very creative sense of style. The rule, “if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in a year, then donate it” has never applied to me. There are three hundred and sixty five days in a year and some days call for a wardrobe change. If my t-shirt has a stain no worries, it can be covered with a cardigan. If my sweater has a hole, well it goes great under my jacket. If it’s too old to be worn in respectable company, keep it to work out in or better yet paint the house! As you can see, getting rid of clothing is not easy for me.

Last year my boyfriend moved into the house I’ve lived in my entire life. In the midst of my twenties, I had yet to do a massive purge and now I had to fit another person’s belongings into my life history. Even more, I had to now share my closet!

Queue the anxiety and irrational panic, but in the meantime, I had to make room for my guy. If you have a hard time getting rid of clothes or items that are attached to memories, things you don’t use and take up more space than what can be easily stored in a shoebox, then I bestow my wisdom, gained from 5 big black bags of donated clothes, purses, and shoes, to help you through a purge- in 5 easy steps!

1) Put your donated clothes in a big black trash bag, and don’t open it! Whatever you do, avoid the second look. Trust that whatever is in there, you decided to put in there for a very valid reason. Like a bad relationship, don’t revisit the good memories and know it’s time to let go.

2) If there is a hole, stain on the clothing, or it does not fit that well: get rid of it. Remove the clothing item from your closet, even if a sweater can hide the stain or the hole isn’t even that noticeable. If you’re in the position where room must be made then hard decisions will need to take place. There were some pieces that I had worn through the best of times, great shows and fun nights out, but in the end it was good to have adeal breaker in place.

3) Hold on to the memory in a picture.  I took a lot of pictures of purses, team sweatshirts, dresses, etc. The pictures were a way of me being able to hold on to the item, without it physically taking up space. Admittedly, I haven’t looked at those pictures and probably never will, but at the time it was my way of holding onto a little piece of that possession, so I could remove it from my life, because I refuse to let my possessions possess me.

donate to salvation army

4) Make up a story about the new owner. Yup, this might sound nutty but it worked! I had a green purse with a leather butterfly on it that I had never really used. I thought it was really cute, but it wasn’t my style. Yet it could be my style one day… see where the crazy talk starts kicking in? So, I had to beat crazy with crazy and I imagined a free spirited, thirteen year-old girl who purchased my cool purse.  She’s super excited to bring it to school Monday then, she gets compliments from all her friends. This imaginary girl was going to have way more fun with this bag, than I ever would… into the black donate bag it went!

5) Tailor your style. Just because it fits, it doesn’t mean it’s you. Pick a style icon and ask yourself, “Would Audrey Hepburn wear this? Could I zip around on a moped in 1960’s France like Francoise Hardy in this outfit?” A perk of getting older is knowing yourself better.  Don’t just keep clothes because you have them, but keep them because they still reflect who you are today. I used to be angry, jaded, and had lots of punk style clothing; but that’s not who I am anymore. I said goodbye to my pink plaid pants and made room for cute ankle cut slim fit trousers.

francois hardy iconic style

 

classic audrey hepburn street style

Now these rules didn’t take away my sinking feeling or accelerated heart rate when removing these bags from my car and into the donation box. I was still uncomfortable and irritable, not a happy camper but, I also know it was all for the best.  I took a few deep breaths and let my rational brain talk to the emotional and irrational part, because I know how silly and superficial all that anxiety is.

Good luck on your purge and I hope my tips help you the next time you’re moving or have to make room for someone else. Until then, enjoy that t-shirt with the pit stains no one can see under your adorable cardigan. If you like it, then VIVA!

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May 31, 2014

#SOTD May Playlist

So I’m basically really proud of my May Playlist. It has great songs, varying moods, lots of new to me bands. During each month I post a #SOTD (song of the day) on Twitter. Collecting the videos in a playlist on YouTube. I’ve been recapping these playlist and my interaction with the bands on twitter on *MYFAVORITEMAOI.com. Interactions being “favorites” and “retweets” because really now, these things make me quite excited. I have yet to actually post a song every single day in a month, because I don’t just want to post any old song. It has to jump out to me in some way, and hit a nerve. It’s a reflection my month, an audio diary.

April was not a stellar month for me, and the lack of songs is a clear reflection of that. May on the other hand flowed. Not to say it was free from stress, my family experienced a loss and work had its moments. But collectively the general energy of the month was good, like a solid playlist.

Kicking off the month with a 7 minute long song by Courtney Barnett,”Porcelain”. I was passively listening to music when her song came on, it totally grabbed and held my attention. Amazed that a song this long continued to be interesting and complex throughout its entirety, that’s exactly the sentiment I tweeted. And she tweeted back!

courtney barnett twitter

 

Sometimes the songs I select are discovered on Birp.fm. A site which creates a long playlist at the beginning of the month. The bands on their playlist vary from popular indie artist, to just kids making music in their dorm room. Like Car Seat Headrest a guy I interviewed after hearing his work on Birp last year. Because not everyone is well known, having the song available on YouTube to share isn’t always an option. So I find an alternative song, by the same musician which is available. Unfortunately (for me) in the case of Y.O.U the song I wanted was only available on SoundCloud.

y.o.u heavy crown song of the day

This actually inspired me to open a SoundCloud account. You’d think a music lover like me would’ve been all about it, but I tend to check outs band through their BandCamp links before SoundCloud. Anyways I love that after a bands songs are all played out,  SoundCloud starts its own “sounds like” radio. That’s how I discovered Little Racer, it started after listening to another #sotd band Alvvays. The song Vanessa is structurally similar to “Wanna Be Adored” by the Stone Roses, calling them out on it, I loved that they retweeted the observation.

little racer vanessa

 Full playlist after Frankie Rose tweet – Love it? I love it!

What was your favorite song this month?

Follow me on Twitter and get #SOTD somewhat, sometimes, daily.

frankie rose playlist mood

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