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cooking school | designlovefest

as you may have noticed from my instagramstories, i started cooking school! it’s hard to believe i went from someone who barely knew how to cook beyond beans, rice and eggs to now making something most nights of the week, hosts and cooks thanksgiving dinner and loves doing it! here’s a peek into the class, and i have to admit it did feel like i was on the show Chopped for the first few weeks haha.

cooking school | designlovefest

about 6 months ago i had the strong desire to take my skills to the next level and started investigating what it would look like to attend some type of culinary program. i wanted something that wasn’t too intense and would allow me to still work as normal but that wasn’t just recreational and had some intensity to it. for me, it’s important for there to be a note of seriousness to the classes i’m taking because if i’m going to commit the time, i want it to be worth it. and that’s when i landed on the New School of Cooking in Pasadena. they offer all types of classes, from certificate programs to one time classes for date nights but what caught my eye was their cooking series, it’s designed for people like me who have foundational knowledge cooking but want to build my skills with hands on guided lessons. and they provide everything, the uniform (yes, we wear chef coats and hats!) and all the tools and food we need each week. it makes it really simple for me to commit when all i have to do is show up.

cooking school | designlovefest
cooking school | designlovefest
cooking school | designlovefest

joanie and i were both so nervous to start, like first day of school nervous. it felt a little scary but also nice to be pushing myself outside my comfort zone. it’s odd to think that we go from being kids and always learning and being in classes and programs and we sort of loss that adaptability as adults. continuing education is something i’m really starting to see the value in.

cooking school | designlovefest
cooking school | designlovefest
cooking school | designlovefest

we’re currently in our 8th week of classes and it’s been such a blast. sometimes it can be a little overwhelming, but in a good way. i can feel myself growing. our schedule the past couple of months has been nuts and coming to this class weekly is a great way to unwind and really put my focus on something specific for 4 hours. our teacher is really sweet and passionate about the history of everything so i really feel like we’re learning not only skills but facts about dishes and locations. we can make up class on saturday if we have to miss monday and it’s actually kinda cool to get different teacher’s perspectives.

the whole series is working towards giving you the skills to be able to recreate dishes on your own and not necessarily needing a recipe. building CONFIDENCE! each week has a theme, say it’s eggs and we’ll have a lecture talking about eggs, different ways to prepare them, serve them, use them, etc. and then the chef will demonstrate a recipe and then we’re off to try it on our own. the hands on part is super important because that’s how it really sticks in my brain. in a class like eggs we’re covering a lot of ground, so we learned about roux and made egg and cheese soufflé with it and then turned the roux into béchamel by adding milk and made mac + cheese and we also made french omelettes and eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce from scratch (talk about an arm workout!). it ends up being a really full four hours with a lot of information and learning. but it’s also really fun.

cooking school | designlovefest

i thought it would be fun to show you a little bit of what we have learned (and we have more recipes to show you down the line too! we made a green curry that was SO good) i’ve been working on perfecting my french omelette ever since we properly learned in class. i have a feeling it’s one of those things you work on for quite some time until it becomes natural, but it’s so worth it! the result is delicate and amazing and makes you feel PRO. and as we have learned in class, there is always going to be many ways to do anything with cooking, everyone does things a little differently. and that’s the beauty of cooking, find what works for you, experiment, and have fun!

cooking school | designlovefest

a few tips we’ve learned on the french omelette:

• add a little salt to the eggs to get the white and yellow to combine easier, whisk until you see no streaks

• the main tip is to cook your eggs on VERY LOW HEAT. i’ve been making my soft scrambles this way for a while now and they are so perfect, i will never go back to cooking eggs on higher heat. you don’t want to put color/burn your eggs. to keep them fluffy and light you need to cook them low and slow and constantly move them around if you are making it scrambled. it takes a few extra minutes, but again, worth it.

• using clarified butter is recommended so it won’t burn. clarifying butter just means you cook and remove the milk solids which is the part that will burn.  i still use regular butter at home but it’s a good tip.

• you can use a fine mesh sieve  to strain the egg which removes the albumen (that’s the white stringy part that doesn’t mix in well with the eggs). this is an optional step but it only takes a second and ensures you’ll have a smooth color and texture.

• definitely use a non-stick pan for eggs.

• remember that your eggs will continue to cook after you take them off the heat so remove them a few seconds before you think they are ready and plate them right away!

if you’re into eggs, this is a fun read. everyone has their own tricks!

cooking school | designlovefest

• heat up the butter and once it’s totally melted and you see small bubbles you add the eggs to the pan and turn the heat all the way down.

• you can use a rubber whisk or a fork if you are careful. i just use the fork on the top and whisk the eggs around to keep them really fluffy and cooking evenly when i pour them in the pan. just don’t touch the fork to the nonstick pan, you don’t want to scratch it at all because the teflon is bad for you!

• i use a rubber spatula to make sure to keep the eggs from getting too cooked on the edges, so continue to lift up the sides. you don’t want it to get too thin and cook faster on the outside.

• remember this is a practice in PATIENCE, which i know i need more of in my life!

cooking school | designlovefest

• now! we tried two different techniques. one is to turn the heat all the way off and keep the pan on the burner and put a plate (or i think a skillet is easier to handle) on top so that the eggs steam for a few minutes and don’t cook too much on the bottom. this way works well but takes a little more attention to it. or you can put your oven on low and as soon as you start to see the sides of the eggs cooking a little bit (maybe 2 mins) you can pop the pan in the oven at 275 degrees for 4 minutes or until the egg is cooked but not overcooked!

(i know this all sounds a little confusing, but you have to try it one morning, it’s fun to master!)

• folding it might be the hardest part and i am still working on it myself! usually i fold over one side to the middle line. then i slide the egg onto the plate from the opposite side and let the omelette fold over onto itself, making a perfect tri-fold. practice makes perfect.

cooking school | designlovefest

• brush with butter to give it that pretty shine on the plate.

• garnish with chives or parsley or both and some flaky salt!

• serve with crème fraîche (YUM!!)

the texture is so perfect and light it tastes almost like there is cheese inside. no more brown, textured, dry omelettes! and the effort is only an extra couple of minutes.

cooking school | designlovefest

hope you try it at home!

we take class at the pasadena location but they also have a school in culver city as well. we’re doing the 20 week pro-cooking series but they also have it for baking too which i’m sure is equally as amazing. (i find myself not as drawn to baking, but maybe someday) let me know if you have any questions! xx bri



what we wore in ireland | designlovefest

bri is going to be sharing a full blogpost on our ireland trip, where we went, stayed, ate, etc but i thought i’d do a post before then on what we wore during our trip! we both packed carry on only for the six day trip which isn’t easy when you’re traveling during the late fall and need jackets and sweaters.  black friday and cyber monday are right around the corner many online retailers have already started their sales and many of these items are either on sale now or will be soon! – joanie

what we packed in//

for luggage, we each had a 20″ roller bag and bri used the weekender which slides on top of the roller and she also brought the fold up tote which was extremely useful as it barely takes up any space. i wish i would have had one, i’ll definitely be bring that on my next trip! i carry my laptop in the madewell transport tote which i’ve used for years and love. the leather gets really worn in and marked up but i like it that way (and it’s currently 25% off).

what we wore in ireland | designlovefest

jackets + coats //

we really had to limit the jackets and coats we could bring because those take up so much space, we each brought one statement coat. bri wore this faux shearling coat by avec les filles that she said was really warm and was easy to throw on over other layers and i brought a long mustard colored jacket which i bought in paris last year but here is similar option. my jacket wasn’t as warm so i also layered a uniqlo ultra light down jacket which takes up very little space and is a great layering piece. packing one statement jacket is a fun way to brighten up your outfits when it’s chilly outside and you’re going to be mostly walking around in your coat.



shoes //

we each brought just three pairs of shoes i had boots for walking, rain boots and running shoes. bri had her converse, walking boots and rain boots. and it really was all we needed. footwear takes up a ton of space in your luggage so if you’re packing carry on only you can save room by limiting those options. most imporant it to make sure you have a pair of shoes that is comfortable for walking in. i wore these madewell chelsea boots every single day and they were perfect, i’d highly recommend them! bri’s boots are from years ago so unfortunately we can’t link those but some cute options are below. i’d highly recommend a chelsea boot as they are flat, and narrow and look good with pants, skirts and dresses of all lengths. also, you can’t go wrong with a classic pair of converse like bri is wearing in many of the photos. p.s. these are the rain boots i brought and these are the ones that bri wore. 



sweaters //

these also take up a lot of space so my recommendation here is to make two that are versatile and can be worn with lots of things. versatile doesn’t mean boring, bringing a sweater in bold fun color or print is great idea! bri did lots of print on print layering which was a fun way to mix it up. i love to wear them over dresses to make the look less casual like below. i’m wearing a free people dress with an ulla johnson sweater from a couple of years ago (similar option here) over top from a few years ago. some other pretty suggestions below!

what we wore in ireland | designlovefest

accessories //

it’s nice to back small accessories that you can throw on when you’re sick of wearing the things you packed. bri wore this leopard print scarf which has a cute red stripe. and i’m always a sucker for a big pair of earrings, i love anything from annie costello brown. also, sunglasses are a must, especially if you’re on a trip like we were with lots of driving, even if there isn’t much sun! these ray-bans have been my go to for the last couple of years and i love them, really light weight too! and a crossbody bag in a fun color is always a good idea. so much easier to run around when it’s strapped across your body!

what we wore in ireland | designlovefest

and all the rest //

bri loves a good jumpsuit or overalls, some favorites are this and this. i love a dress and find them to be really comfortable for traveling. i love anything from Doen, especially this one and free people also has great options as well. i wore this floral jumpsuit twice with the uniqlo jacket over it and also with the sweater on top. i can’t say it enough but layering if everything, bring separates that you can mix and match, a t-shirt with a skirt, under overalls, with jeans, a long sleeve button up tied with a dress or tucked into pants. the more options you have with each piece, the better! slip dresses are great because they are light weight for packing and layer well with so much, i love them with a turtleneck underneath. flannel shirts are also great because you can wear them over things and also tie them around your waist.

wow, that was a lot! hope that was helpful for anyone looking for encouragement to go carry on only. this is my second trip to Europe packing that way and i really recommend it, so much easier to get around from place to place without so much luggage.



MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest

can’t believe it’s already the end of august and that it’s time to start thinking about labor day weekend! we hope you enjoyed following along with our MorningStar Farms posts this summer. we loved creating these entertaining stories and spreading the message about eating more plant based meals and focusing less on labeling ourselves as a meat eater, vegan or vegetarian and more on making mindful choices with our meals . the whole campaign was about making room on your grill this summer for veggie/vegan options which kept with one of our goals this year. we said back in january that we wanted to include more plant based meals in our lives and on the blog and we’re excited to have been able to do that. hope you enjoyed following along!

MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest

labor day weekend is a bit of a bittersweet moment, it really feels like the closing of summer but it’s also a time to celebrate and enjoy being outside with friends and family. we created this spread at our friend victoria’s house who has killer taste and a gorgeous back yard. a big long table covered in grape leaves that lets the sun peak through and creates a really relaxing environment. we wanted a mix of lots of colors and textures with pops of citrus throughout. using fresh citrus as a way to decorate is both inexpensive and practical as you can use the citrus in drinks/food afterwards!

MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest

we wanted the menu to be fun, seasonal and playful so we decided to do mini burgers paired with a flight of mini beers! we wanted the burgers to be small so that people could try multiple flavor combos so we used a 2″ cutter and cut everything to size, including all the toppings so that it make a nice stack. here are the combos we created:

MorningStar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Burger with sharp cheddar, Iceburg lettuce and avocado

MorningStar Farms® Grillers® Original Burger with red onion, blue cheese and butter lettuce

MorningStar Farms® Veggie Lovers Vegan Burger with mozzarella, tomato and grilled onions

MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest

we completed the menu with a citrus cake, melon and prosciutto, radish tacos with chicken salad and sliced heirloom tomatoes topped with olive oil and sea salt. and of course, a flight of beer! we picked up a range of beer options and had fun tasting them paired with the burgers. our favorite beer was the grapefruit sculpin. we used these mini beer glasses which were the perfect size!

MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest

for the cake, you can make it using a boxed cake mix and add the zest of one lemon to the mix before making. for the icing, we made a cream cheese frosting but you could really make any type of frosting that is on the thicker side, even whipped cream would be delicious. and for decorating, you’ll want to find two very small lemons and thinly slice them, the smaller the lemon the better as you can create more of a pattern. we cut greens from outside, washed them and put them on top!

MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest
MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest

the watermelon radish tacos are also super easy to make, we used a mandoline slicer to make really thin slices and topped with chicken salad and a little cilantro. a colorful and fast appetizer that was inspired by our friends at Haute Chefs LA.

thanks for following along with us this summer and responding so positively to these entertaining stories! we’d love to hear if you made room on your grill this summer for more veggie/vegan options.

MorningStar Farms BBQ | designlovefest

images by: Ivan Solis 

(this post was created in partnership with MorningStar Farms)



williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest
williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest

one of the most important elements in a kitchen is your knives. they are probably the most used item and there are few things more frustrating with cooking than trying to cut things with a dull knife. both joanie and i use Wüsthof Crafter knives in our home, justin introduced me to them when we started cooking together and joanie registered for them for her wedding. so when williams sonoma asked if we wanted to team up with them and offer a Wüsthof Crafter knife giveaway we were a 1000% yes! they just redesigned the knives and they now have a smoked oak handle with brass rivets which are gorgeous. i’m so excited to be able to give this set away. they are truly knives that with proper care will last a lifetime (psss… it’s more than $1,000+ worth of knives!)

williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest
williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest

we had lunch at the beverly hills hotel last week and tried their chopped cobb salad which was delicious. we decided to re-make it because what better way to break in new beautifully shape knives than with tons of chopping! this recipe is time intensive in the sense that we wanted everything to be in perfect cubes but it turned out perfectly and we’d highly recommend giving it a go.

Beverly Hills Hotel Chopped Cobb Salad
(taken from
serves: 2-3 as an entree or 3-4 as a side 

what you’ll need: 
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 garlic glove
• 12 oz iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
• 12 oz hearts of romaine, finely chopped
• 2 oz watercress, finely chopped
• 1/2 lb red beets, roasted and finely diced
• 1/2 lb aged cheddar cheese, finely diced
• 1/2 lb applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and finely chopped
• 3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and finely chopped
•  1/2 lb cooked chicken breasts, diced
• 1 large tomato, peeled and diced
• 1 avocado, peeled and sliced

williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest
williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest

• we started by prepping all the ingredients that need to be cooked, you can prep each thing how you prefer but this is what we did: with the eggs, put them in a pan with water over medium high heat, when it starts to boil, remove from the heat and let them sit covered for 10 minutes, put in ice waterfor the beets, wash and pat dry, place on tin foil with a little oil and salt and bake at 450 degrees for 45minutes- 1 hour. once cool, peel the skin off with your hands and set aside. we seasoned the chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper and cooked it at 375 for about 20 minutes. and the bacon we cooked until it was reallllly crispy so that it would add a nice crunch to the salad.

williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest
williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest
williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest

then mix your dressing, add the oil, balsamic, mustard, and garlic (we used this garlic press) together in a bowl and whisk until smooth, season with about 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper. once you have everything prepped, it’s time to start chopping! chop the beets, cheese, chicken, and tomatoes into as cubes as much as possible. for the lettuce and egg, just chop really finely.

we also used these measuring spoons and cups, copper mixing bowls and this chopping block!

williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest
williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest


here is what you’ll win! the value of the this giveaway is over $1,000!
7 piece block set that includes:
• 8″ chef knife
• 9″double serrated bread knife
• 3 1/2″ pairing knife
• 5″ serrated utility knife
• honing steel
• shears
• Wood block with brass rivets

also, these! 
6″ chef knife
7″ hollow edge santoku knife
6″ utility knife
10″ super slicer knife
Set of 4 steak knives

williams sonoma knife giveaway | designlovefest

and here’s how to win…

1) visit Williams Sonoma and take a look around!

2) leave a comment below with your favorite summer meal/recipe!

one winner will receive all of the knives listed above, a value of $1,000+. one winner will be chosen at random on august 8, 2018. one entry per person, double entries will disqualify you from winning. giveaway subject to designlovefest’s rules and regulations. giveaway open to readers in North America only. we reserve the right to change, alter or cancel at anytime. 

this post was sponsored by williams sonoma

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