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Summer Salad Combinations at Salata

SalataAt the first signs of summer, I immediately start adding berries and watermelon to our dinner salads. Sasha and I even have an inside joke about it, as he will ask every single day what we’re going to be eating that evening, knowing that the answer will be “summer salad.”

Our meal times tend to involve a big bowl of vegetarian salad, and then Sasha will add meat to his and Isla’s dishes. In order to keep things interesting, I try to vary up my “summer salads,” so that we’re not eating the same thing day in and day out (although, as a creature of habit, I wouldn’t mind it!).

Three delicious summery salad combinations include:

  • Berry-Balsamic Salad: combine fresh spinach with blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, almonds and feta and top with my favorite dressing: balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Spicy-Sweet Tropical Salad: a lettuce blend topped with mango, pineapple, red onion, green pepper, jalapeno and pumpkin seeds, finished off with mango dressing.
  • Mediterranean-Inspired Summer Salad: combine watermelon, cucumber, radish, feta, chickpeas and falafel with a bed of kale and drizzle with lemon vinaigrette dressing.

Houston Bloggers at Blush and Brush

Two Sundays ago, I attended an event at Brush and Blush, a blow dry and makeup salon in the Memorial area, that was put on by Uncork Events (the newest venture of Christie of KiKiMac). We were joined by four other wonderful ladies: Michelle of Michelle Able Photography, Jenny of A Fine Flourish, Meredith of Cake and Confetti and Kim of Champagneista. We started the morning with blow outs (getting shampooed in massage chairs, seriously!), and I really loved the woman styling my hair. I was seated between Kim and Meredith, and we had lots to talk about, as this world is so tiny and we have tons of friends in common.

As the ladies were finishing up with our blowouts, we had two makeup tutorials: a smokey eye and contouring. I was the model for the eye, and Kim took on contouring. I love how both looks turned out. Now if only I could replicate it at home!

As we were getting all dolled up, we spoke with the owner, Greer, who is seriously so sweet. The salon is only 2.2 miles from our house, so it could not be more convenient to go to (ideally every day). I definitely will have to go back to get beautified again soon. A special thank you to Christie for organizing the event, Michelle for taking these amazing photos and Greer for hosting us!

PS I wore my new J. Crew Perforated Crepe Dress, and it’s the most comfortable dress ever.


Follow these pretty ladies on Instagram!

@michelleable [who took all of the photos below!] | @cakeandconfetti | @uncorkevents | @kikimacblog | @kimcasemyers | @afineflourish | @brushandblushbar

View More: http://michelleablephotography.pass.us/brushblushuncorkBB2

Favorite Houston Blogs

I haven’t had much time for blog reading recently, but when I have a free second, I typically run down my blogroll – which used to only include big fashion bloggers (i.e. Pink Peonies, Gal Meets GlamCupcakes and Cashmere, Atlantic-Pacific), but has recently featured many Houston-based bloggers. I consider this my version of “going local.” I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Houston blogs, which range from party planning to photography, interior design to baking. So many pretty pictures to look at! I highly recommend you check out these blogs.


KiKiMac: I love Christie’s blog so much. KiKiMac is the perfect combination of creative party ideas, delicious food pictures and restaurant recommendations, and style. My favorite thing about this blog is the online (and in person!) friendship that has stemmed out of me posting one of her Adair Kitchen pictures! kikimac


Sugarlaws: Katy’s style is always spot-on, and given that she’s only a few weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy, I’ve loved looking to Sugarlaws for maternity style advice. Sugarlaws is a great collection of fashion and lifestyle – i.e. makeup and recipe too!

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Sugar and Cloth: My eye-candy obsession. Ashley is so talented at styling and making me very hungry with her amazing food posts. I could spend all day scouring through Sugar and Cloth posts. sugarandcloth


Ketchup on Restaurants: Patricia knows the way to my heart – through food! I absolutely love following along as she tries out new restaurants in Houston that I very often go to after she posts about them. I recently won a pie from her contest and got to meet her in person! What a treat (no pun intended). Feast your eyes on this blog if you want to stay up-to-date with the Houston food scene. ketchuprestaurants


Hellogirl*: Chelsea’s blog is wedding meets fashion meets pretty design. I love reading her posts – you’ll learn about new fashion trends, her upcoming nuptials (this July!), makeup tips, and more. hellogirl


Kimberly Chau: Kimberly is an amazing photographer, and her blog is a perfectly curated platform of pretty images. Kimberly posts engagement, wedding, food, and lifestyle pictures on her site, and it’s a pleasure to follow along. kimberlychau


Perpetual Perfection: Words of inspiration and an interior designer lover’s paradise. Cathleen’s home is dreamy, as is the rest of the content on this beautiful blog! perpetualperfection


Brighton the Day: Brighton’s style is always, always spot-on. Whether it’s animal prints, neons, or florals, I am obsessed with her styling. I always forget she lives in Houston (that is, until I recognize a location post!). Brighton the Day is definitely a blog you need to bookmark. brightontheday


Pretty Shiny Sparkly: Kristina post topics range between makeup, food, health, and style – and she does a great job detailing all. The blog is most certainly pretty, shiny and sparkly. prettyshinysparkly

Featured image via Sugar and Cloth, taken by Kimberly Chau

Shapshots of 2013

For the past four years, I’ve made an annual Shutterfly book that covered all travel and adventures for the year. I just finished my 2013 book yesterday, and it was extremely tough to keep it at 111 pages! I literally had to delete 6 pages in order to complete it. What an amazing year! We went to SF/Napa three times (more pictures here), Durango, Dunton Hot Springs, Boston, New York City, Miami, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Minneapolis, and Bali. We remodeled a house that became our home, got married and are now expecting a baby girl in 2014. I’m almost sure that fits the definition for ‘whirlwind.’

How was your 2013? What are you most looking forward to next year?

Click here to view our 2013 in snapshots (pictures below by Ryan Ray).
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Sasha_Ailee_Engagements_162

Click here to view my 2012 book. Click here to view my 2011 book.

Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market

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On Satuday, I headed to the Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market (Eastside location) – something I’ve been meaning to do for ages and had never gotten around to. One thing’s for sure – I’ve been missing out. Enticing aromas welcome you when walking towards the long two rows of tents selling everything from brightly colored vegetables to fresh flowers, organic beef and vegan treats. I went with Sasha’s aunt, Zlata, who enjoys markets as much as I do. We left with a full (recyclable, of course) bag, stuffed with basil, portobello mushrooms, peppers, flowers (top left picture), limes, and last (but definitely not least) vegan pumpkin pie! I was giddy with excitement when I saw Sinfull Bakery‘s stand (my favorite), as I’ve been trying various vegan pumpkin recipes to little success, and wanted something tried-and-proven on that particular morning. Sasha scarfed it down when we got home and gave it two-thumbs up, which means a lot coming from a carnivore who eats eggs but doesn’t like desserts.

My favorite stands were:

Sinfull Bakery – as mentioned above, the vegan treats (and samples) are so tasty
Pat Greer’s Kitchen – I was handed a vegan sauteed veggie taster and it was heaven-in-my-mouth (need to head to her restaurant!)
Billabong Fresh Flower Farm – where I got my gorgeous flower arrangement
Utility Research Garden – the juiciest limes I’ve ever tasted
Shade/Canopy – I love the restaurants, so naturally loved the booth
Knopp Branch Farm – some of the best portobello mushrooms we’ve ever eaten
Revival Market – a little sneak peek before I headed there for lunch with friends on Saturday

My love for farmer’s markets dates back to my time in Austin at The University of Texas – I wrote an article for the UT newspaper, which was linked to here.

Have you been to your local farmer’s market?