Dear everyone:

    Tomorrow Weston and I set off to the glorious city of Chicago, Illinois for an awesome and highly anticipated New Year's Eve. On the list of places to check out:

    Mercat a la Planxa (Iron Chef Jose Garcas owns and runs this establishment)
    Wow Bao (a tiny little kiosk in the mall, but don't be deceived - there are only 3 locations in the city)
    Ghirardelli (oh yes...Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae here I come)
    Eleven City Diner (apparently, this deli's got it going on)
    Toast (a cute breakfast place highly recommended by a friend who used to live in Chi Town)

    We'll see how many we actually make it to but this little vacation will be the perfect ending to my much-neeeded holiday vacation. So excited to ring in the New Year in one of my favorite cities! Maybe we'll make it to Navy Pier for the fireworks this year :)

Three Monkeys

    Still in Ann Arbor and blissfully happy being able to spend time with the special people in my life. When I come back to AA, I typically re-visit old haunts and eat with family - so recipes and pics have usually been posted already.

    So here's a little recap of a place in RVA which I tried before leaving for break.

    Three Monkeys is actually owned in part by the same people who own Kuba Kuba, so you know it's gotta be good. The vibe is exciting and also very local - you know the people coming through the door have been here before...well, except us...

    I got the California Burger with blue cheese. It was good although not the best burger I've ever eaten. I did love their french fries, though - pictures are pretty fuzzy because the bar is really dark!

    Weston got their pulled pork with an au jus. I really liked his because the flavors weren't so bold that you couldn't taste the meat, the meat was really tender, and the sandwich was clean (i.e. no lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, etc). He got onion rings and those, too, were delish :)

    Another aspect which I want to cover are the cocktails. Man are they good - but expensive. My drink cost us $10, as much as my burger. I think I got the "Hear no Evil" with cranberry juice, vodka, and pineapple juice, rimmed with sweet and sour sugar. In terms of beer options, Weston found they only featured one local beer which was a bit of a downer.

    Definitely give this place a try if you haven't already - it seems like a wonderful way to get to know the people who make RVA special.

Merry Christmas Pearls!...

    Hey pearls!
    I am wishing you all my faithful readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 
    It has truly been a great year as i have grown personally and i am now more aware of what is important in life.

    You meet so many people in life, and make new friends, both temporary and permanent. I am glad i learnt my lessons in 2011, and i don't ever want to be taken for granted again due to the good i have done for some people. The best thing about life is that what goes around, surely comes around and the last time i had girl drama was in high school, sigh! .

    Girls talk man, it ain't no joke, and they all smiles when they see you, hahaha... good thing i focus on the most important things in my life and that is my husband, mom and sisters.

    That is why this festive season is all about family to me, 2012 will be my year of success and big dreams. Until then i will eat, pray and love abundantly.

    Been fun blogging this year and i will try to post whatever i can in these few remaining days.

    Much Love Pearls!....

Picture of the month

    As the message says, Use personal protective equipment". ever wondered what that meant? i'd assume it means cover up to avoid.......... or something.

    Oh dear, sexism!.

weekend look: Mariah Carey

Sass & Bide Spring 2012

                                                    My three personal favorites from the collection.

    Love the neon creativity on the shirt.

    Love love love it ALL and the shoes

    Pika boo

Preggers in animal print leggings: Beyonce

Waiting for Perfect...Sushi

    When one finds a good sushi joint, one must not let it go. I've learned this the hard way...being away from Sadako in Ann Arbor has made me miss it so much more. I still haven't been out for sushi in Richmond. I ask everyone I know where to go and yet I still haven't actually gone out. Part of it is price - why does good sushi have to be $10 a roll? At Sadako rolls run about $5 a piece and their sushi is so fresh it's insane. This place will always be my favorite for a number of reasons. I hope I do push myself to try a few in Richmond since I'll be here for another 4 years (at least), but in the meantime, I'm loading up at Sadako.

    For you Ann Arborites - my favorite rolls are the Spicy California and the Eel Roll. I know eel is a taste enjoyed by only some people, but Weston introduced me to both sushi and eel on our first official date and I loved them both. He took me to Sadako, actually, which might be another reason I love it so much. Note, I was out with girlfriends when I took this picture, and they each ordered only 2 rolls. I eat slow as it is, so I had to narrow down my usual 4 roll list to two but when I got with Weston, we usually pick 5 or 6 rolls to try.

    I love the ginger salad they serve before the meal - that dressing is to die for. I'm not a huge fan of miso soup but if I'm starving, I'll sip a few spoonfuls. I recommend ordering a light roll (cucumber avocado, California, etc) and a heavier one (eel rolls, a crunch roll, etc) and then one good straight up, clean fish roll (tuna, salmon, etc). I will say, I don't like anything deep fried when I'm in a sushi restaurant. I understand how the texture is a nice juxtaposition to the rice and veggies, but I have to be in the mood because I can really taste the frying oil most of the time.

    So grab a friend and go chow down!

RVA Visitor

    I'm baaa-aaak :)

    Exams are over, whew!, and so is my first semester as a dental student. That isn't such a milestone, I suppose, considering there are about 9 more to go - but I'm happy about it anyways.

    Anywho - before going home to Michigan, I was lucky enough to have a visit from my friend, Kristen. I knew her back at MCB, the dorm I lived in at the University of Michigan, and she's just recently moved to Virginia as well. She lives about 2 hours away and was finally able to make it down to Richmond so I could show her a good time.

    Her coming here made me realize there are a few places I haven't been to in RVA in a while and so I thought I'd recap the few I took her to for fun:

    1) Kuba Kuba: always a goodie and always on my list to take people too. I love the vibe and the food is killer. I think this place exemplifies Richmond eateries: small, intimate locales not bogged down in chain mumbo-jumbo. Walking into Kuba Kuba, you know someone's hard work and sweat goes into making it the best it can be day in and day out. That kind of place is one you want to root for. The picture above was taken while we walked around Kuba Kuba to whet our appetite. My camera was on the the fritz so I couldn't actually get a picture of the food we ordered.

    2) Bev's Ice Cream: homemade flavors, creamy, and super cute. I also love that's it's in Carytown so I can stop by Jeane Jacque bakery and For the Love of Chocolate. This chocolate store has every type of chocolate from every place in the world. I love it and I love taking people here and seeing their eyes light up...heck, my eyes light up every time, too. Kristen found Kinder bars and I don't think I've ever seen her so excited :)

    3) Anokha - good Indian food in Richmond? For the longest time I couldn't get the name of a good Indian restaurant, but last year when a friend brought me here for their lunch special, I was pleasantly surprised. Their lunch special really is awesome - $9 for soup, entree, and dessert. I always order their okra dish - sometimes it's not on the menu, so you have to ask for it, but it is truly tasty. Kristen had never had okra before and she said she really like it.

    4) Perly's: My favorite place in town for breakfast. Hands down. They never disappoint in the quality of their product, their biscuits were voted Best in Richmond (if I remember correctly), and the food comes out quick and hot. Plus I really enjoy the quirky decor and colorful servers.

    So there you have it, the food I fall back on when I want to showcase Richmond at it's finest. Tastebuds didn't make the list because it's more a couple-y or romantic evening spot. Same with Sensi, which I still feel has the best risotto in town. Next time, next time.

10 Tips For Maintaining A Weave

    A hair weave requires careful maintenance otherwise; you may spoil it much before its time. You need to be careful right from combing to washing it. Some of the ten common tips you should keep in mind while dealing with weaved hair are as follows:
    1. Most often you start to comb from base to the end but to comb weaved hair you should start from the end and then gradually move upwards to the base.

    2. Brush before you wash or shampoo your hair and rinse between the tracks to remove the residues.

    3. You have to abstain from washing the hair for two weeks to set the weave. Always use mild water while washing the hair, as too hot or too cold water may lock the hair at the base.

    4. Avoid using harsh products be it for washing, styling or conditioning.

    5. Use of alcohol based product mars sheen of the hair and you should not use them.

    6. Ensure professional weaver care and make sure you do not skip regular tightening touch-ups.

    7. Use of cotton pillowcases and sheets may adversely affect the shine of your hair so better use a silk or satin scarf to wrap up your hair.

    8. During blow-drying, you have to apply higher temperature to straighten and dry the hair. Use variable temperatures for the natural and commercial hairs.

    9. If you are on a seaside and wish to swim, either use a swim cap or saturate and rinse the hair by applying a cream rinse before plunging in.

    10. While you may undermine the intricacies involved in undoing of the weave, it is better to go for a professional?s hand.
    Sometimes, it may happen that you get too busy managing the weave and unconsciously neglect the scalp. An unhealthy scalp may lead to skin irritation and might culminate in various other diseases. Occasionally, an adhesive may not suit your skin so it is good to undergo a test if you are using it for the first time. Dirt, sweat, styling products and natural oils are some of the ingredients that interfere with clean hair condition. You should regularly shampoo and condition the hair to keep it clean. Excessive use of styling products have shown to shorten the longevity of hair extensions as well. Thus, proper care is needed to keep at bay the different types of hair problems associated with hair extensions.

Amber Rose graces her head....

    She is famously known for her blonde short hair by the camera's but she seems to be ending the year in a straight brunnete wig.
    i love her trademark hair more though, i hope its a temporary experiment.

Breakfast Bites

    Fair warning, y'all, my blogging schedule is off because it's exam time. I'll be back to regular weekly posting next term - promise!

    Here's a tasty treat my roommate made the other night - based off the yummy breakfast biscuit sandwiches at Perly's.

    Just take Grands Rolls and split them in half. Shape each into the cups of a muffin tin.

    In a bowl, mix about 6 eggs, 3/4 cups cheddar cheese (shredded), and 1/2 pound cooked sausage. Drain the sausage before adding it, please, and save yourself the arterial plaque. Season with salt and pepper.

    Mix everything together.

    Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, then increase the heat to about 375 and bake another 5 minutes - or until the bread and eggs are cooked through.

My time to stretch exams are finally over

    I am totally loving the stockings, like totally ummhhhh a christmas gift to myself someday. I had a period of madness as i was prepping up for exams with my usual excuse, " too much to read with little time".
    And today im glad its over, no more exams for me from University however my project paper will give me much more stress. Fall semester was a great semester for me as a friendship grew, i made more friends with lesser enemies. yeeiiiiii for me.
    I had a roommate who i will never forget and those memories will forever be with me. Im sitting at the airport now and i can't believe how fast time has flown, though its good anyways i am looking forward to ending 2011 and im looking forward to a blessed 2012 filled with success and positive energy.

    Over and out Pearls until..... tomorrow maybe.


Looking forward to fridays dinner

Look of the week: Leighton Meester

Sneaky Mac and Cheese

    I've posted on Mac and Cheese many a time, I'll admit - but that's probably because I am just so dang proud that a couple years ago I learned how to make a rue. It changed my life, y'all, and it'll change yours. The other day while making a yummy spicy version of this comfort food, I thought it needed some extra punch, so I threw in a little secret ingredient. Not only did it make the flavor better, it also added a nice rosy glow. And that's when I thought - this would be GREAT for moms who want to sneak in some veggies and make their homemade version look more like the box kind (although that orange powder kinda creepy me out). Can you guess what it was?

    If you don't want to read the whole post, the kicker is to just throw in a 1/2 cup of a non-chunky tomato sauce (or chunky if it's for non-picky eaters) into your end product. There you go. Surprise!

    If you want the full recipe, here it is - and it is different then my others so definitely worth a look-see:

    In a large saucepan melt 2 Tbs of butter. Add 1/4 cup flour and cook until the two come together.

    Add 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of sour cream (this is the secret to a great tangy mac and cheese)

    Let this thicken up - keep whisking and it'll happen pretty quickly. Season with salt, pepper, and a squirt of Dion mustard.

    Add about 8 oz or so of a hot Jack cheese - I like to get the spiciest I can find because it is mellowed out by the cream sauce. Stir this in over medium-low heat and then add 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.

    I store the cheese sauce separate from the noodles and just use it as-needed. This way I have a perfect, creamy bowl of macaroni and cheese whenever I want. I find a ratio of 1/4 cup cream sauce to 1 cup dry pasta is really nice.

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