Monday, July 30, 2018

Cooking with Carlina: Lamb Meatball Pitas

lamb meatball pita recipe

Almost a year ago I became enamored with my quest to document my cooking skills in the kitchen, and the self-titled series, albeit a bit narcissistic, "Cooking with Carlina" was born. At the time I was working full time at my Marketing office day job, coming home after a tiring workout and determined to whip up something tasty but healthy that would satisfy both my husband and me after a long day. I was inspired by a recipe I saw on Design Love Fest's site and decided to make a version of my own with the ingredients I had on hand in the kitchen. I shared it once, then twice and a third time with lots of wine consumption, cameos from said husband and the feedback from those watching the stories was overwhelmingly positive! I definitely never expected that the comment I would hear the most in the coming weeks was that you guys actually liked following a fashion blogger discuss her kitchen skills on Sunday night's when I tried "Cooking with Carlina" -- it was relatable, easy to follow along, and entertaining, per some of your generous feedback.

So here, months and months later, as promised, is the full recipe on how to make my lamb meatball pitas, below. It is my take on Mediterranean/Greek food and can be made relatively quickly with little to no prior experience in the kitchen, I promise! I'd love to hear if you make this recipe in the comments below or if you think you'll attempt to make it.

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lamb meatball pita recipe, easy summer recipes
lamb meatball pita recipe, easy summer recipes
lamb meatball pita recipe, easy summer recipes
 lamb meatball pita recipe, easy summer recipes
lamb meatball pita recipe, easy summer recipes
lamb meatball pita recipe, easy summer recipes
lamb meatball pita recipe, easy summer recipes

Ingredients needed:
  • 1 lb. of organic ground lamb, I get mine at Whole Foods
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup of Feta
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2-3 day old chunk of baguette to make a quick batch of breadcrumbs, enough for 2-3 tablespoons
  • 4 tablespoons of greek yogurt
  • a bunch of mint or parsley
  • juice from 1/2 of a lemon or lime
  • 4-6 pita rounds
  • 1/2 an English cucumber (garnish)
  • 1/2 a tomato (garnish) 
Directions:
  1. Wash hands ;)
  2. Roughly chop onion, cilantro, and feta 
  3. Take 2-3 day old baguette and throw into a blender to turn into roughly chopped breadcrumbs
  4. Mix the egg into a large bowl
  5. Put the lamb into the same bowl with mixed egg, then add chopped onion, cilantro, feta, and salt and pepper
  6. Mix all ingredients with your hands (take your rings off for best results, you want to get in there!)
  7. Take one and a half tablespoons of mixture into the palms of your hands and roll into balls
  8. Mold the rest of the lamb mixture
  9. Now there are two ways to cook, for a more crispy texture fry lamb meatballs in a few teaspoons of olive oil; for a healthy alternative bake meatballs in the oven (like I did) at 350 degrees for 45 minutes
  10. To make the yogurt sauce mix the yogurt, chopped mint/parsley, lemon, and salt well
  11. Thinly slice your English cucumber and tomatoes 
  12. Warm up your pitas and spread a layer of yogurt sauce on the pita
  13. Add three meatballs onto of yogurt sauce
  14. Add a garnish of tomatoes, cucumbers, and cilantro on top
  15. Pour yourself a glass of wine (this might as well be step one)
  16. Enjoy your meal!

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

How My Style has Evolved from 2012 to Today

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{Mules gifted from Arno Cooperative, Blazer gifted from Modern Citizen}




There is nothing like that California cool style. But interestingly, it's not a style I've ever really associated with "Allergic to Vanilla" -- since the premise was the opposite, having a wild fashion sense when life seems a bit ho-hum, it's that one piece you can actually control, right? For me having fun with fashion was it, the louder the look, the more unique I felt. If there was a dress I really loved in two shades -- black or polka dotted, you betcha homegirl was going with the later. If I was invited to an event, and the dress code wasn't listed the goal was to always be the best dressed in the room. If I was going to work on a normal Tuesday at my NASA gig my motto was always "don't dress for the job you have, but dress for the job you want" -- needless to say I was, most of the time, always G'd up from the feet up as Snoop Dog says. 

However, for some reason a few years back I noticed a shift in my dressing priorities -- I was becoming more Sincerely Jules and less Atlantic Pacific, to put it into blogger styles. When I first started this blog I lived in a city about one hour from San Francisco called San Jose, where I felt a strong urge to stand out. Years later I moved to San Francisco, and everyone was in hoodies, leggings or denim, I knew I didn't want to also go that route, but it was important to feel comfortable while still polished. With steep hills added to my commute I traded in my 3.5-inch pumps for Tory Burch Reva's, I swapped my usual J. Crew polished separates for their edgier Zara counterparts and I slowly began to update what I always knew as "my style" to fit in with the big city that I had moved to. For me it wasn't about fitting in, that was never important to me, it was about feeling comfortable in my skin and in my clothing choices no matter how they evolved. If you want to see that J. Crew queen from 2012, head on over here and here to check out some of my early work. ;)

This look was not planned too much, I was running late to a BBQ and threw it together, and it just so happened to be highly complimented by guys and girls at said BBQ. I decided to throw it on again to photograph with Jane and loved how it reminds me a bit of that California cool girl with a forever "Allergic to Vanilla" edge. 

Photography by Jane Kim

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Monday, July 23, 2018

How to Master French Girl Style

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{Top | Denim | Bag | Shoes | Scarf}



I'm pretty sure we've all at some point Googled a variation of the words "French girl style" --- it's that quintessential effortless look while being oh-so-cool and still put together. But, it's not overdone, her whole look is excellently executed, but not all pieces of her look are perfect, i.e. barely brushed hair, day-old eyeliner, but homegirl will have the sleekest Chanel flats you ever did see while practically floating down Rue Bonaparte to meet friends for cocktails. 

So how is said "French Girl style" achieved? 


It's all in the attitude, and maybe some of these tips below:

Hair: embrace your natural texture. No need to pull out the hot tools and comb, Just let the hair be, less is more when it comes to achieving hair perfection.

Makeup: Maybe the lesson on this post is that less is more when it comes to covetable French-girl style, so keep the makeup minimal too. It's either a smoky eye or a bold red lip but not both. Pick one as the base of your look and subtlely build around it -- a few swipes of mascara, eyebrow gel and done. 

Clothing: Whether you are a Left Bank preppy, Right Bank bohemian or more of a garçonne -- a take on a masculine/feminine mix up there is a style sure to suit you. I really love the masculine/feminine take personally, it has a way of making me feel confident, in charge, all while looking very cool. Think loafers, skinny jeans, a baggy oxford paired with a boxy blazer or a leather moto. If you go the garçonne route try it with a red lip to balance out the masculinity. 

Accouterments: French girls are known for having the best accessories, if we lived in France we probably would too, but I digress, accessories are key to achieve the look. Not over complicated accessories, but easy, simple and basic. Think, layers of gold coin or pendant necklaces and hoop earrings, a neutral beret, a straw basket bag or a Chanel boy bag, I mean there is a time and places for everything right? BUT there is never a time and place to wear all of these together at the same time. Pick three and take one off. It's the French way of life. 

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Navy and White Polka Dot Dress

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ModCloth navy and white polka dot dress, navy and white polka dot dress, polka dot dress, short curly hair bob, new haircut for summer, coin necklaces trend, B by Brian Atwood wedges



No matter how much of a tomboy or self-proclaimed "plain Jane" you are there is something about putting on a feminine polka-dotted frock like the one above that makes you feel some kind of way. And while I am neither a tomboy or "plain Jane" I've found myself falling into the Silicon Valley bubble and started to dress down in recent years, think flats, loads of denim, hair up, the easy-breezy works. 

Upon receiving this dress after my ModStylist appointment, I immediately put it on, and while I wasn't expecting it, I've already worn it a handful of times -- to meetings, church, or date night with my guy -- it's that versatile. To dress it up I let my hair down, added a ton of gold jewelry (notice that signet ring??), and threw on a pair of wedges because climbing up the San Francisco hills are no joke. To dress it down I'd rock a pair of white sneakers (it also feels very European!) a light wash denim jacket, hair up in a ponytail and big hoop earrings, like the ones above, but I've also been eyeing these.  

How would you style this dress?

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Monday, July 16, 2018

The Most Photogenic Neighborhood in San Francisco

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As a San Francisco blogger, there are a plethora of places I love to shoot in, a classic spot like Maiden Lane, the nostalgic beauty of Alamo Square, my neighborhood in North Beach, and not to mention as a blogger we really can make any wall, alley or sidewalk our backdrop. As I was looking through these images, I realized that this four-block radius in between The Mission and Potrero Hill is one of my favorite places to visit and shoot in. It has an industrial, up-and-coming vibe and many a startup/well-established business have claimed this little corner of the city for their growing companies at a discounted rate, i.e., cheap rent. Companies like Charlotte Russe, Goorin Bros., Everlane, and even Glossier did their popup in this neighboorhood not too long ago. At every turn, you find a photogenic corner prettier than the next as witnessed by the images below but even more impressive is the food and drink offerings in the area. After photographing this look at a few different stops Jessica and I popped into Trick Dog for a drink. After a long day of shooting an Aperol Spritz was in order for me and a glass of chilled rosé for her. 

If you are in search of the cutest corners and homes to squat in front of for that covetable IG shot look no further than the outer Mission. You won't leave lacking content, and you can treat yourself to a bite or drink at spots like Flour + Water, Trick Dog, or Tartine Manufactory

Oh, and did I mention parking is actually easy to find in this area?! A major perk if you are visiting and don't want to spend lots of $$ on parking. 

Photography by Jessica Monroy

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Fresh Cut // Short Curly Bob for Summer


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Two weeks ago I found myself in a salon chair in Walnut Creek. I'd been contemplating going short for a while and well today was the day. I hadn't gotten a haircut in almost a year, maybe a year and a half if I was being honest. Last time I went short was way back in May here. The night before I was up late pursuing Pinterest searching "curly bobs" for said morning appointment and I pinned a plethora of looks that I was confident would look good on me. So with my mobile Pinterest board in hand, I walked into Stem Salon in Walnut Creek to meet with Jess for my new do. 

As we sat in the chair I described my ideal hairstyle -- short, past the ears but not longer than the base of my neck, I had to be able to tie my hair up easily. Basically, I was hoping to come out of this looking like Yasmin Sewell. As Jess patiently listening to my requests, she saw the vision and understood my wants. We washed, we cut, we styled. In the end, I got my Yasmin cut and feel like a new woman. My hair feels so much better, hell after a year and a half of not cutting it you'd think it would right? The curls just naturally bounce, and my husband loves it. Win-win if you ask me! Thinking about going a bit lighter, maybe some color -- what do you think? I haven't dyed my hair in about eight years so not 100% sure yet but we'll see. Stay tuned! In the meantime shop all the products that a curly haired girl needs below. 



Big thanks to Stem Salon for hosting me!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

My ModCloth ModStylist appointment


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Allergic to Vanilla-- San Francisco lifestyle blog-- red print summer dress, modcloth, modcloth dress, modcloth fitshop
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Allergic to Vanilla-- San Francisco lifestyle blog-- red print summer dress, modcloth, modcloth dress, modcloth fitshop, coin necklaces trend
Allergic to Vanilla-- San Francisco lifestyle blog-- red print summer dress, modcloth, modcloth dress, modcloth fitshop, coin necklaces trend
Allergic to Vanilla-- San Francisco lifestyle blog-- red print summer dress, modcloth, modcloth dress, modcloth fitshop, coin necklaces trend



If I look happy in these pictures, it's because I'm in the sweetest dress hand-selected by the lovely folks at my local ModCloth FitShop in the recently opened Pac Heights neighborhood in San Francisco. 

About a month ago ModCloth invited me to experience a styling session with a ModStylist in their latest FitShop. I didn't really know what to expect as this was my first time shopping ModCloth but as soon as I walked into the store it was a visual overload so you know it was going to be good. The windows were inviting, the primary display upon walking in was on-trend, the colors in the store spoke to me in a way that good fashion does when it fits with my aesthetic, and the minute I started taking Instastories, the team on the floor popped by to say hi and greeted me with a smile. It was a great way to start the perfect afternoon. 

I sat down with my ModStylist, and she went over how it all works. 

1. Walk around the store together, and she'll jot down notes on what I love on the floor
2. ModStylist will pull looks I liked as well as some she'd also suggest
3. ModStylist sets up a fitting room with several looks plus the perfect accessories and shoes
4. Try it all on and figure out what I what to buy
5. Order the items online and ship items to me free of charge

When I walked the floor with my ModStylist, she got a perfect sense of my style, what I liked, and what I didn't and did a great job pulling looks for me. About 90% of the items she picked were perfect matches for me, I even had to narrow down all my final selects because I definitely went a little overboard. One thing I didn't expect but actually ended up really loving about the experience was that I didn't have to take anything home this day, because my ModStylist placed the order online for me with free, expedited shipping so in a few days I would get brand new, never worn ModCloth pieces just for me. 

We said au revoir, followed each other on Instagram and she sent me away with a red velvet cupcake. It was, to say the least, the perfect way to start the weekend. 






Big thanks to ModCloth for the stylist experience. Photography by Jane Kim