29 May 2012

3 in 1 Maxi skirt - Part 1 (A Review)

Good day, everyone!  How's the week so far?  Mine has been hectic since the boys will be sitting for their year end exam early next month.  Well, as usual, they are sitting for the exam and I am the one who is nervous!  So we've been doing a lot of revision, question/answer and tons of exercises.  Now, why wasn't I this thorough in my days? 

Early this month I purchased this maxi skirt from Splendid and discovered that not only I can wear this maxi one way but 3! On top of that I love how soft the material is and the fact that no alteration needed for my 'super tall' 5'3" frame means an extra plus! 

Today I wore this super versatile piece as a long tube dress topped with a chambray shirt for a more casual look.  Since the length of the maxi skirt worn this way is not too long, the sandals were perfect.  I added the fedora to go hand in hand with spring/summer theme.  Actually this is my first fedora.  It took me a few days to go around trying all sort of style and I decided to start small and get something that would not make me knock my head silly on the wall if I decided that it is not for me after all.

I will show 2 more ways of how I style this maxi skirt in the next post, so stay tune!


Maxi skirt (worn as a dress) : Splendid (Sold out) (similar with slit 50%off)
Chambray shirt : American Eagle Outfitter (similar)
Fedora : Forever 21 (online here)
Sandals : Gucci (online here)
Bag : Louis Vuitton Neo Cabby GM (discontinued) 
Pictures by : AB

27 May 2012

Style Travel - what I wore in Venice/Treviso

The challenge was to fit everything into Captain's suitcase, making space also for some shopping and his clothes.  Yes, I was so lazy to carry anything and didn't want to check in any bag as well.  I know, I know.. I was pushing it.

So I put together for 2 days something that I could mix, match and re-style.  The dark blazer helps with the weather but at night the temperature went lower than I expected, I was wishing for my Balenciaga leather jacket to suddenly and miraculously appeared out of nowhere! That jacket would have been perfect.

The flats were spot on for this trip.  Try walking on cobble stone walk with a pair of high heels or wedges and tell me if you wouldn't kill for one of these flat babies.  And as for my arm candy, I opted for my trusted Prada nylon messenger that is so versatile, durable and water-proof!  Notice the bag was not with me in some of the pictures?  It was because she was nicely slung over Captains shoulder.  Yes, it is unisex too!

Outfit Day 1

Stripe Top : Forever 21
Pants : GAP
Blazer : Stradivarius
Ballerina Flats : Vera Wang's Lavender
Accessories : Tous

Outfit Day 2

T.Shirt : Universal Studio
Blazer : Stradivarius
Jeans : Forever 21
Scarf : Alex McQ
Ballerina Flats : Vera Wang's Lavender
Bag : Prada
Accessories : Tous

25 May 2012

FOODIE WEEKEND : Risotto con Zucca (Pumpkin Risotto)

My sister in law and her husband love to cook.  Not only they love to cook, they cook well!  Last February when we were in Rome as their house guests, they cooked a dish of risotto for dinner and I swear, I was never a big fan of risotto but I fell in love at first bite!  It had the most exquisite, delicate flavor and I couldn't put a 'tongue' on.  So, shamelessly I asked what was the secret and they told me it was nutmeg!

When we came back, I tried to recreate the dish and serve it the the boys and Captain and the result was disastrous!  It was bland, tasteless and simply bad.  Earlier this month when my sister in law and husband came to Dubai to celebrate Easter with us, I shared my embarrassing experience with them and learned a few things.  First, I used the wrong type of pumpkin.  The correct one is the typical one we used to carve for Halloween (God knows what is the correct name).  This pumpkin is naturally sweet and rich in flavor and instead I used the yellow type : (  Secondly, the amount of nutmeg I used was not sufficient enough.  I used a pinch and since nutmeg has a delicate taste, it failed to stand out among other strong flavored ingredients like parmesan and the pumpkin itself!

Anyway, to make story short let me share with you the recipe for this dish which I tried making once again with a much better result!  Clean plates this time : )

Risotto con Zucca

Ingredients (serves 3 - 4 people)
400 grams of pumpkin peeled and diced
1/2 of an onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
1.5 liter of vegetable stock 
300 grams of carnaroli rice
Extra virgin olive oil
30 grams of butter
Half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper 
50 grams of grated parmesan cheese 

Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a deep pan or skillet
Cook the pumpkin until soft, and put aside.
In the same pan, saute the onion and garlic until golden and soft.
Add in the risotto and stir well, letting all the flavor of onion, garlic and pumpkin to absorb by the risotto.
When the risotto started to turn transparent, return the pumpkin back to the pan and stir.
Lower down the heat and ladle in enough vegetable stock to cover the risotto. Stir gently just to make sure the stock is evenly distributed.
When the stock level drops, re-cover the risotto with more stock and continue this process for about 20 minutes or until the risotto is tender but still have a hint of texture to it.
Add in the nutmeg, salt and black pepper.
Quickly turn off the heat and add in the butter and 3/4 of the parmesan cheese and stir profusely to blend in the cheese and butter.
Serve immediately with grated parmesan 

It is important to make sure that the pumpkin is soft.  The pumpkin should melt in the risotto and in your mouth!

24 May 2012

Micro break from the heat - Veneto, Italy


Yes, it is beautiful, mesmerizing, captivating and oh, so romantic!  But I've seen it all many times.  And on a Saturday in spring, Venice could be quite crowded, in fact a bit too crowded for my taste.  We lasted there for less than an hour..


Captain decided to show me something new, instead.  So, we got into our rented a car and drove to a town called Treviso where things were quieter.  Treviso is a small medieval town  in the region of Veneto just about half an hour drive from Venice.  All the way from Venice to Treviso the scenery on left and right was so breathtaking.  Treviso is a farmer's land where the main source of income comes from agriculture and textile production and in the recent years tourism was added in its source of income.  So along the way we spotted a lot of farms with lovely well maintained houses from the 19th century, little vineyards and fields of wheat and corn for miles and miles.  Once in a while we passed by great big mansions with well manicured gardens and fountains kept just the way they were!  In Italy old is never in the pass but celebrated in the future.

Where to stay in Treviso?

About 15 years ago, the locals started embracing their inner hospitality and born was the concept called 'agriturismo' where tourism and lifestyle of the locals as farmers collide.  Scattered all over between Venice and Treviso are the old barns that were transformed into charming little bed and breakfast or mini hotels where accommodation and meals from the local produce are offered

We stopped by at this agriturismo Ca' Tessera for a little refreshment.  It was once upon a time in the 19th century, a farm house and stable that is now transformed into a guest house.  Notice the red doors?  Can you imagine that they were once horse stables?  They owner has maintained the old architecture of the building, preserving the big beams and strong wood structure.  They offer breakfast and refreshments using the produce from their farm in the back yard; so fresh milk, eggs and cheese are always available as fresh as they can be.

The place also offers sauna, indoor wooden framed swimming pool on top of all standard room facilities for a small price between 70 and 100 euro.  This place is about 2 kilometers from the Marco Polo Venice airport and 15 minutes drive into Venice itself.  These agriturismo could be a good alternative even when visiting Venice as the accommodation in Venice could be quite pricey.

Things to do

Approaching Treviso, we could start feeling that slightly busy environment compared to the country side we passed by.  The town is small and surrounded by an old medieval wall and slashed across the town is a canal/river called Sile that is kept so clean.  The water is so clear you can see the vegetation under!  

If you like old architecture, I would recommend a walk along the canal where dotted along it are houses from the centuries before that are immaculately kept.  It is hard to believe that they are actually hundreds of years old!  Treviso also is famous for their 'painted houses'.  Back in the olden days, the rich had their houses painted in geometric pattern or even scenes from the bible.

The place to be in Treviso is Piazza dei Signori where trendy coffee shops, bars and restaurants are.  With the Palazzo dei Trecento, the 15th century structure in the back ground, it was great to sit on the side-walk sipping coffee or spritz, a mixture of Campari and Prosecco, a type of sparkling white wine from this region, while doing a bit of people watching.

If shopping is your thing like me, take a walk down Via Calmaggiore and there you'll find elegant shops selling leather goods from Gucci to Ferragamo to Prada and if you are interested in the local product, there are many shops that sell great leather product with no particular brand.  Treviso is also the birth town of Benetton and with textile being one of the major business of this area, you can find little boutiques selling good quality clothing carrying local labels.  I got myself a pair of nice crisp white shirt from an Italian label, a belt from Furla and some souvenirs.

If you are into gothic churches and structures, there are plenty to visit.  The famous ones are San Leonardo, San Francesco, San Nicolo and of course the dominant Duomo.  And if you have extra time to spare, swing by the Civic Museum and get to know the city better first hand.

Eat and Drink

What is a trip to Italy without indulging into food and drinks. Since Veneto is popular with its produce of the best wines in Italy along side Chianti from Tuscany, it was not hard to see why Treviso is so proud of the wines they serve.  Try dropping by at one of those bars that serve 'ombra' or wine by the glass made to enjoy with some panini or little sandwiches.  

Prosecco is the popular sparkling wine from this region and combine with Campari, the sweet or dry vermouth, you'll get yourself a glass of Spritz an aperitif to enjoy before dinner.

The classic dish of Treviso is polenta, cornmeal that is boiled until pasty, serve with pheasant or rooster.  Radicchio or red lettuce from this area is said to be the best of quality and depending on the season it is widely served in restaurants here. Well, to tell you the truth, I am not  a big fan of polenta, and radicchio was not particularly in season so I stick to my all time favourite, Mozzarella di Buffala and let Captain had the honor of trying the rest.

Getting around

Treviso is a walking town but still you can rent out bicycle and cycle around town. The locals love their bikes and you can spot many around town.  Parking can be a nightmare as we experienced so be prepared to walk alot.

In short I would say Treviso is a charming little town that has everything.  If you have a few days in Venice and would like to run away from the over the top tourism city, I would highly recommend a day trip to Treviso just to witness the other face of Veneto.  I promise you, it'll be worth the day!

21 May 2012

Swimwear Trend Summer 2012 - Special Promotion

Oh, my!  The swimwear season is back!!  

I did a little 'spring cleaning' in my swimwear drawer yesterday and put aside what I think is still trendy and fit (that's important) and bid adios to the ones I wouldn't be caught dead in!  It was sad to say goodbye to my favourite turquoise 2 piece I had that has gone a tad too small at the bottom.. you know what does that mean, right?

I think I look not too shabby in white bikini.. I had a pair but I think the design is a bit outdated, so that means new pair for me to scout and perhaps another pair with vibrant colors to add to this summer month!

Here are some I found online that are quite good. 

White halter neck with retro flare from BLEU I think the high cut bottom is good for those who prefers a bit more coverage.

Color blocking in this halter bikini set from BLEU is just spot on trend! Again, extra coverage at the bottom.

Banded halter bikini set in bright spring color from BLEU .  Oh, I love the buckle detailing that makes this pair so so sophisticated and not to mention the bright colors!  Love it!

Another color blocking trend in this bandeau one piece by BLEU I am not a big fan of one piece but the color of this one is great.  Don't think this is suitable for heavy top blessed girls.

Super cute and flirty two piece from BLEU . Ok, I would not wear this because in my opinion it is not age appropriate but on younger girls it would look fabulous!

Gorgeous turquoise color bikini by BADGLEY MISCHKA Hmmm, could this be the one to replace mine?

My favourite by BADGLEY MISCHKA perfect to hide that little 'pouch'! I really love that detailing at the mid section, subtle but tasteful.  I am really considering this piece for this summer

So, what do you girls think?  Have you already have your summer swimwear? How many piece do you normally get per year?

From now until the 3rd of June 2012 there will be a 25% off on all orders ( please use code : 25OFF) 
Special for Memorial Day from the 25th of May till the 28th of May 2012 enjoy the 25% off on all order plus free shipping (use code MDA Y25)

Click on SWIMWEAR for ME button on my side bar to get to the website for more fantastic swimwear style and to enjoy the promotion above.  Happy Shopping!