J.Puccinelli

Archive for the ‘Good Eats’ Category

String Lights and Summer Nights

In fashion, friendship, Good Eats, Los Angeles, love, mr. and mrs. pooch, music on August 24, 2013 at 1:44 am

Recently I was going through old blog posts and remembered how I used to share photos of things that made me happy, inspired me or just good moments. So I’m thinking I’ll do that again today in hopes that a few of these will make you smile as well.

Finally buying THAT pair of shoes I’ve been wanting for forever. These add just enough spunk to my wardrobe.

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Seeing my husband on the big screen! My heart skipped a beat the first time I bought a ticket to see my husband in his first film. I’m a little biased but he did great and the movie was hilarious. You can download it on iTunes!

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Having my husband’s parents over for dinner and uno at our new place for the first time – incredible! We ordered pizza from their favorite pizzeria, Lamonica’s and enjoyed a summer evening out on our semi-furnished balcony.

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The first time we saw the stringed lights on over the balcony. Few things in the world give me happiness like great ambiance. I even covered my eyes for the ‘big reveal’ – I love it out there.

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Getting our wedding photos back and realizing how blessed we were to have found the photographer we had. Nicole at Sorella-Muse Photography completely captured the essence of our day. She is nothing short of amazing and I’m so happy we found her and have her in our lives.

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Figuring out how ridiculously simple it is to use our crock pot and then spending an entire Saturday eating homemade teriyaki wings and watching season two of Friday Night Lights.

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Seeing my absolute favorite twosome Johnnyswim  (think Johnny and June Cash meet Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell) and the brilliant Emeli Sande (get her album, you’ll put it on repeat) with hilarious girlfriends. I was blown away by the sheer talent these two artists displayed. No gimmicks – just a love for what they do.

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That’s plenty for now!

xx – jess

Brunchin

In cereal and wine events, friendship, Good Eats on July 27, 2013 at 12:15 am

I love brunch. I love going to brunch. I love eating brunch foods. I love cooking brunch foods. But most of all I love hosting brunch. It’s really the perfect meal – the sweeter items from breakfast meet lunch’s savory counterparts and all is right in the world.

A few months ago I got to host Easter brunch for friends. Awesome. Just awesome.

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Decor wise I kept it simple: two long tables, white table cloths, white spring flowers in mason jars styled by my lovely friend Whitney, the coolest gold chevron paper, whatever chairs we had in the apartment, and handwritten place tags for everyone.

I believe in place settings whenever possible.

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“There is no sweeter sound to any person’s ear than the sound of their own name…” – Dale Carnegie

For food we kept ours as potluck – but truth be told we had some killer entrees from Miss Becky Reams.

Champagne, fruit juices, pellegrino (duh) and great people made for the best brunch I’ve ever had.

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So there you go! Now you can host your own or call me and I’ll come do it because once again…I LOVE BRUNCH!

xx jess

P.s for more brunch inspiration check out my pinterest board.

movies and macarons (guys you can do this too!)

In cereal and wine events, friendship, Good Eats on April 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Sometimes brilliant ideas pop into my head – I’m not kidding.

Movies & Macarons was totally one of those great ideas I had to move on fast or else it would be just that – an idea, nothing more, nothing less and I’d have nada to show for it.

Here’s the timeline of one of the greatest ideas ever had…ahem, I should say one of the greatest excuses to spend time with ladies who make me smile uncontrollably. After you read this I’m expecting to hear all about your version of Movies & Macarons – guys this can be Movies and Man Food (I don’t know – just go with it!) or whatever you want, but the importance is to take a few hours to make the people you value, feel valued. They’ll love you for it – trust me!

Tuesday Afternoon: Text sent to roomie: Hey I have a great idea. Let’s do a movie & macarons night with some girls…You in? Beautiful! Look for the invite soon! 

Later Tuesday Afternoon: 15 minutes to design invite, click, invite has been emailed to a few girlfriends. (insert self hi-five here!)

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: Confirm attendees, finalize snack items with roomie, clean house, and wait.

Saturday: Game on!

So here’s how I did it on the cheap (you know I’m all about being fabulous on a budget). Buying macarons can get really expensive, really fast.  So I took myself to Trader Joes and bought a box of their frozen ones – can I just say these were delicious and only $4 for 24!  Add in chips, pretzels, chocolate, and a bottle of wine and I still didn’t spend over $35 on the entire night!

My roomie did homemade red velvet cupcakes and her famous chocolate chip cookies. Then I made a batch of chocolate covered pretzels. Guys for some reason people are impressed by these and they are SO easy to make.

1/2 block of Bakers semi sweet chocolate

melt chocolate over a double boiler

dip pretzels in melted chocolate and place on wax paper

put the pretzels in the freezer for 30 min

eat all of them

Because I have two girls for roomies we pulled out all of our chick flicks for every one to choose from and I placed my nail polish collection out on the table so we could all primp and paint during the movie.

The best part of the night was that the girls who came really didn’t know each other – as a matter of fact I didn’t even really know one of them! My twitter friend Jammie, moved to LA a few months ago and I invited her over so we could become what she calls “In Real Life Friends”. She fit right in, we loved hearing about her fashion blogger adventures,  she talked styling with my friend G and she and my roomie are even collaborating on a few projects now!

Oh yeah and we watched Wedding Crashers – well they did, I fell into a sugar coma and slept through most of it…

j.ayers

What to wear: Weeknight dinner with your best girlfriend

In fashion, friendship, Good Eats on April 26, 2012 at 9:18 am

Last week I met up with one of my most favorite people on the planet, my former co-worker turned bestie JR. She and I worked side by side for two years and she taught me how to embrace laid backness of California style and I’d like to think I showed her the many perks of preppiness.

So it’s no surprise we showed up to dinner looking pretty similar.

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So! Considering the hostess (who looked pretty stylish herself) complimented me on my outfit and JR showed up with the same look, I think it’s safe to say this is perfect for a weeknight dinner with your best girlfriend.

What To Wear: Dinner with Your Best Girlfriend

All three items are super easy to throw on after work but still offers a look of effortless flair – heyyy!

So, get your colored jeans at Zara.

Get your blouse at Banana Republic.

Grab your wedges at Nordstroms.

Now on to dinner! JR and I don’t get to see one another nearly as much as we would like to so when we do break bread we take our time catching up, telling funny stories and looking into each others eyes…just kidding about the last part.

This particular night we ate at Farm Shop – delcious – if you live in the area or ever come out I highly recommend!! Not only was I sitting next to Conan O’Brien (oh yeah! oh yeah!) the ambience and service were top notch. Plus it’s at the Brentwood Country Mart which also has the cutest book shops, stores, ice cream places etc.

We started our meal with an avocado hummus, segued into a very nice cheese platter and then split perfectly roasted sunchokes, fresh snap peas and a salmon spread that was to die for. yummm!

I’m not sure what she had, but I had a glass of the Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon…one of my favorite reds (okay one of the only reds I like) and it even paired nicely with our meal.

Great company, fabulous food and matching outfits!

j.ayers

Crazy, Stupid, Donut Love

In Good Eats on August 29, 2011 at 7:45 am

Here’s the thing. I love donuts. Like really, truly, love them.  For Christmas I got a mini donut maker and I decided it was time to bust it out and make some treats. In addition, I remember making donuts from Grand Biscuit dough as a kid and thought I’d try it again to see if they are still as good as I remember. They definitely, definitely were.

The goods:

Batter for the mini donuts!

Grand biscuit dough to make the big donuts and fabulous donut holes!

The final product! I had a blast adding sprinkles, tossing them in powdered sugar, dipping them in chocolate and creating a glaze. Next time I’ll definitely use dark chocolate instead of milk, find a better glaze recipe and make more of the powdered sugar donuts – those were an absolute hit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m so looking forward to making these for a small brunch with girlfriends, or just to bring into the office. I wonder where I can find a cute little box to put these in. I know they’ll make a spectacular hostess gift – omg I’m already picturing a cute pink box with a ribbon and small glass milk bottle to go with!

~j.ayers

Rando!

In friendship, Good Eats, inspiration on April 25, 2011 at 8:00 am

Just a few random things from April that I got excited about… nothing crazy – hope you smile 🙂

Impromptu grill outs with friends – YUM!

Horse hangers in dressing rooms – I have to find some for my room!

j.ayers

sigh

In friendship, Good Eats, wine on March 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to spend time with my dear friend S.M.  We usually meet up weekly over coffee, in the gym, or even at a restaurant we’ve been dying to try. This particular week we met up at my place for a long night of girlfriend time.

It was nothing short of lovely.   We just enjoyed talking, laughing and even silence at times.

When was the last time you did this with a friend? Think of someone you haven’t spent time with in awhile, call them up, chill a bottle of wine, put on your leggings and just be.

impromptu and loving it

In budget, for the home, friendship, Good Eats, wine on February 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm

It all started with an impromptu trip to HomeGoods…

I ended up running across about 20 of the most perfect pieces for my anthro-house…which has now taken a turn towards a JA (Jonathan Adler) house. I finally realized that I love the most bold, interesting and eye-catching decor – but with moderation. Adler tends to go all or nothing in his designing – which I totally respect and appreciate, but I’m still a fan for the way my home is designed in neutral colors, chocolate browns, dark hardwood floors, and other than our yam colored dining room the walls are pretty warm and earthy too!


I picked up the two wooden acorns- the taller one in a bright white and the smaller one in a lime green, and repurposed my typical ikea lamp (which now doesn’t look so typical)  and was amazed how that little area alone has added the greatest pop of color/flair to our otherwise bland fireplace. In addition, I took the driftwood that usually sits at the base of the fireplace and moved it into the red ceramic vase (also bought at HomeGoods) for a really modern and eclectic look that I LOVE! To complete this I would love to find a funky white mirror to hang and I may or may not already have my eye on a bright rug from Urban Outfitters.

I got so many cool pieces at HomeGoods it was insane! I found two incredible carved dragon bookends, one in red orange and the other in teal  (sounds crazy – looks great) a bronze elephant, a huge snakeskin round white tray bowl perfect for holding the growing collection of coffee table books and next to it I placed a really neat lacquered red box which has made a gorgeous…remote control holder!  OK so as if HomeGoods wasn’t enough I made my way to World Market – I got new kitchen chairs. I saw them, I loved them, I bought them, and I’m so excited to keep them for a long, long time!  In the dining room I shortened our gathering table to a four top, added the large metal fork & spoon set (found at HomeGoods) and repurposed the Number print from my bedroom for a cleaner more modern look!

So I was looking around and loving the place so much I had to show someone! So I decided to invite my cousins TP and LP over for an impromptu light luncheon!  I only used grocery items I had in the house so here’s how it went!

I put together a simple setting…short glass, wine glass, single fork, plate and  a bright napkin from ikea…

I wanted to create a salad that would be super healthy but really filling, so I chopped and roasted a yellow sweet potato for an hour, thinly sliced an apple, added crumbled blue cheese, arugula and tossed it in olive oil and lemon juice…DELISH!

I accompanied the salad with my version of a flatbread…this was UNBELIEVABLY easy to make! I made a Bisquick pizza dough, brushed it with olive oil, shredded an aged cheddar/gruyere cheese, chopped red pepper, sliced tomatoes, sprinkled it with oregano, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Baked for 15 minutes and voila! SO GOOD!

We sipped on fresh water with lemon, and a surprisingly great bottle (and well paired if I do say so myself) of California pinot grigio called the Naked Grape…you know me – this bottle couldn’t have been more than $6 which means… this was a good get!

Ended the lunch with lots of laughs, story telling and my personal favorite: donuts!

I couldn’t have asked for a more lovely impromptu day.

~j.ayers

All photos courtesy of Becky Reams Photography =)

the not-a-cooks guide to gourmet grilled cheese

In budget, Good Eats on January 26, 2011 at 5:01 am

I am not a cook.

I don’t pretend to be.

I am a professional defroster.

A master microwaver.

A wiz at scrambling eggs.

But every now and then I step out of my micro-defrost-eggy realm and create a simple, yet satisfying dish.

My version of a gourmet grilled cheese: sliced pink lady apples, aged gruyere + cheddar cheese, wheat bread and butter.

Recipe:

> Thinly slice 1/2 an apple

> Chop up pieces from the block of cheese…about 1/8th

> Butter both sides of bread…

> Put it all together and place in pan butter side down flipping occasionally to make it look like you know what you’re doing but really you just want to keep checking to make sure you don’t burn it….unless you’re one of those strange people who ‘claims’ to like their food ‘charred’.

>Bon appetit!

Pat yourself on the back and brag to your friends about the rad gourmet grilled cheese you MADE for dinner last night!!

~j.ayers

holiday delight

In gift giving, Good Eats, holidays on December 28, 2010 at 2:54 am

This Christmas I sent A.P’s parents homemade caramel apples and a few movie tickets…it was one of those gifts I would’ve hoped to receive myself. I can’t wait to get home from traveling to make these again. I’ve had some requests for chocolate & caramel dipped apples, so those will most likely be next.

I’m picturing a chilly night, fireplace going, a big comfy blanket and the Sound of Music. I know, I know, I’m such a nerd but isn’t this what the holidays are all about – the familiar, the comfortable, and the most wonderful of things.