Monday, March 31, 2014

La Bocca Urban Pizzeria in Tempe, AZ

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Pretty good! I would go again, but probably not for a while. :)
I spent the weekend up in the Phoenix area because my sister went out of town and asked me to watch her pup. Saturday afternoon/evening Jon and I walked around Mill Ave just to get out of the house and grab a bite to eat. It took us FOR. EVER. to settle on a place, but eventually we decided on La Bocca. Basically it was great! I'd definitely go again. :)

{PRICE} $$
I wouldn't call this place cheap but it's definitely doable. Bruchetta plates and pastas around $14, salads around $8. Jon and I shared an appetizer and a main dish with a side salad to cut down on the price.

{VIBE} Classy, Quality, Seemingly Pricey
The place definitely feels very expensive. When we walked in, all we saw were well-dressed men and women sipping glasses of wine, pinkies up. Jon literally felt the need to ask the hostess if we were even allowed in with our outfits (we were both dressed casually, in shorts). She assured us we were fine. ;) 

We sat outside on the patio at one of the couches. It made eating dinner on a couch feel very fancy and hip. They're definitely a restaurant of higher quality.

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I asked our waitress to take our photo, and she happily obliged. :) Our waitress was great! She was helpful, knowledgeable and friendly!
{SERVICE} Above Average
Our waitress was helpful, friendly and seemed like she knew the menu well. She could rate different dishes and gave us some suggestions. She didn't disappear on us, and she gave us the option of choosing when our main course came out, giving us more time to enjoy our appetizer which is something Jon is really big on. He hates when all the food comes out at once and has no time to enjoy everything.

{FOOD} 4/5
Now comes the fun part. The food was delicious! As I mentioned, we shared everything. The pasta came with a (not pictured) side salad (we chose Caesar over Vinaigrette per our waitress's advice). Yummy, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then, they bring out this baby.

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The Anti-Pasti Plate. SUCH YUM. I'd come back just for this.
Those things on toothpicks are prosciutto-wrapped goat cheese. The most delicious thing on this plate. YUM. Then there's salami, manchego cheese, pesto, olives, dijon, roasted garlic and toast drizzled with olive oil. All of this stuff was amazing (minus the olives...you'd think with a last name like Olivas, I'd like olives but I don't.) and I would definitely recommend this plate!

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The prosciutto-wrapped goat cheese was the best thing on this plate (the thing on the toothpicks). Delish.
We also got the Rustic Marinara pasta. Not gonna lie, at first, I wasn't impressed. The first bite I took immediately reminded me of Spaghetti-Os. No joke. The texture, taste, everything about it. But Jon added some Parmesan cheese and pepper flakes to it, and all was well.

The more I ate, the more I started realizing how extremely delicious the fresh, home-made pasta noodles themselves were. They were perfect. I can't stress enough how GREAT they were. I've never tasted fresh pasta before! I'm hooked! The sauce, was okay, but the PASTA.

Jon's told me about real, authentic Italian food before. He said that they're mostly pretty plain with bland sauces so that the pasta can really shine. I didn't really get it until then. I wouldn't necessarily suggest this dish to someone else, mostly because of the sauce, but I still enjoyed it.

We finished every bite, and were completely full and satisfied even having shared. I would definitely come back to this place to try a different pasta dish.

SO, That's it!
I'm thinking about doing more restaurant reviews in the future. What do you guys think about them? Are you interested in seeing them, or would you just rather me stick to casually sharing

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A little dark, because it was already night out, but I wanted to include the pasta!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Blogger Meetups: How & Why You Should Do Them

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This Friday night, I had the great pleasure of meeting two wonderful bloggers; Kayli of Kayli Wanders and Kyra of Begonia Sky. Brianna of Endlessly Beloved was also supposed to join us, but couldn't. We had sushi (pictured above...yum!) and dessert in Scottsdale Quarter, hung out and talked. I love meeting people with the same interests and hobbies as me! It was nice to go to dinner with people who understand why I need to take photos of everything (and also does the same).

Kayli and Kyra were such pretty gals (even the waitress said so!) and I had a great time. I could see myself being friends with them. I love doing blogger/YouTube meet ups and I encourage others to do so too! That's assuming you feel safe doing so. If you're interested in figuring out how (or why) you should do a meet up, read on.

HOW TO DO A MEET UP
  1. Find other bloggers (or YouTubers) in your area. You can do this by doing a google search, utilizing hashtags on social media (#azbloggers!) or looking through different blog networks. I think I might've found these gals through the Her Campus Blogger Network, or through a "Arizona Bloggers" google search.
  2. Reach out to them! Comment on their content, @reply them on social media. Just befriend them!
  3. Once you feel comfortable, talk to them about the possibility of a meet up. If they're down, get to planning! 
  4. Pick a mutual, public location with people around. Meeting at places like restaurants or coffee shops are always a good idea. That way if you feel threatened or uncomfortable, nothing too bad can happen.
  5. If you're going by yourself, always let someone know where you're going and what time they should expect you back. While Kayli and Kyra were just as nice in person as they seem online, that might not always be the case. Better safe than sorry.
  6. DOCUMENT!! In all the excitement, you might forget that this is something you'll want to put on your blog (or YouTube channel) later!
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These pictures and more on my Instagram! (@ollivandermo)
WHY YOU SHOULD DO MEET UPS
  1. Networking. Believe it or not, making new blog friends count as networking. Your new friend could one day help you out or introduce you to someone who can help you out with a dream or goal of yours. You now have someone who will can collaborate with you!
  2. Finding someone with similar interests. You like reading their blog, so there's a good chance you might like them in person too! Being that you guys also have common interests, there's also a chance that you two could become better friends than those you've met through traditional means.
  3. Did I say networking? Oh, I did? Well let me just further my point. Meeting this new friend could open up doors that could lead you to more friends! If you guys talk about it online, their audience will find your blog and your audience will find their blog, leading to more friends all around.
What are your thoughts on meeting internet friends IRL? Is it weird, or is it something you're interested in? Leave a comment below! 

Saturday, March 08, 2014

RECIPE: Perfect Steaks + Onion & Cheese Asparagus


Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve shared a proper recipe here on my blog! Today, I’m sharing with you a recipe from Jon! I love Jon’s steaks, so I asked him to walk me through the process while he cooked dinner. The corn and rice are simple and self-explanatory. I’ll be relaying the information he gave me on the steak and asparagus recipe to you today!

STEAKS (Cooked Medium Rare)
Ingredients

-2 Rib-eye Steaks
-Oil
-Butter
-Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
-Mrs. Dash’s Table Blend
-Lemon Pepper
-Garlic Salt
-Garlic Powder
-2 handfuls of diced onions
-Pepper

Directions
-Using a knife, poke holes into both sides of your defrosted steaks.
-Season both sides using dry ingredients. Massage seasonings into steak.
-Put steaks in fridge and let sit while cooking asparagus/corn. This will allow the seasoning to absorb into the meat


 Now we're going to move on to the asparagus while we let the steak sit.
ASPARAGUS:


Ingredients:
-1 bundle of asparagus spears
-2 handfuls of sliced onions
-Garlic salt
-Lemon Pepper
-Chicken bouillon
-2 slices of truffle Gruyere cheese
-Olive oil

Directions
-Heat a greased pan on low/medium heat and sauté your onions, seasoning it with a few pinches of chicken bouillon, and pepper.

-Once onions are cooked, add asparagus spears. Season with salt and lemon pepper, then cook for 5 to 8 minutes.

-Remove from heat. Asparagus should still be crunchy. Drizzle olive oil over the top and add sliced Gruyere cheese.

-Before serving, microwave for 10-15 seconds to melt cheese.

The corn is pretty self-explanatory, so I won't be leaving any instructions on them :)

Now that the veggies are out of the way, we can move back to the steaks!

-Heat frying pan on medium/high heat, then add oil and ample amounts of butter. Be sure that you add the oil first, then butter to ensure the butter doesn't burn.

-Once the pan is hot, add onions to butter and sauté. While cooking, remove steaks from fridge.

 -Place your steaks on the frying pan with the cooked onions. If you notice that the onions begin to over-cook while your steaks are still in the pan, feel free to remove the onions and set them aside for later.

-You should cook your steak without touching it for 3 to 7 minutes each side for medium-rare steaks. Try not to touch your steaks until each side is done, so they cook evenly.

 -Once steaks are cooked, remove from heat and let sit at room temperature for around 5-10 minutes. (IMPORTANT! Jon wanted me to make sure I stressed that you have to let your steaks sit!!) This will ensure that the meat absorbs the juices and doesn’t get dry.

-Serve with hot, white rice, asparagus and corn, placing sautéed onions back onto the steak.




And that's it! Hope you guys enjoy it! If you guys have any awesome steak recipes, leave them down below. If you end up trying it out, post a photo on twitter or instagram and tag me!

If you have any requests for recipes, feel free to let me know!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Red Hair Care Guide

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Lately I’ve been thinking about retiring my red hair and going for a more natural color. I feel like I’m slowly outgrowing the hair, and am debating on adapting a more mature look. This is something I’m still weighing out in my mind, because I’m very attached to the red. Since I’m not sure how much longer I’ll keep it, I thought it was about time I let you guys in on how I maintain my red locks.

If you’re interested in seeing how I dye my hair red, I have a blog post on that here.

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HYDRATION
The dyeing process can be damaging on hair, especially when it’s something you have to do regularly to maintain roots. In order to restore your hair’s moisture and health I would suggest grabbing one of these Ion Repair Solution packets to use every time you dye your hair. I also like using a deep conditioner or a hair mask as my regular conditioner. Lately I’ve been using the Pantene 2 Minute Moisture Masque, but I’ve used a variety of different ones.  I never find them too heavy to use each time I wash my hair, mostly because I don’t wash my hair too often. This leads me to my next point....

DON’T WASH TOO MUCH
I’m sure you’ve heard people say that you shouldn’t wash your hair every day. Most people wash their hair every other day. When you’re trying to maintain your color, it’s ideal for you to wash your hair as little as possible (without being too gross, of course) to avoid bleeding and fading. Personally, I wash my hair every 3 or 4 days. This is something I’ve always done, mostly out of laziness.

TIP: Dry shampoo is your new best friend. Find one that works with you. They’re not all the same!

COLOR DEPOSITING HAIR PRODUCTS
I use this color depositing shampoo called Riveting Reds by Quantum. It’s basically hair dye and shampoo mixed into one. The shampoo is good and keeping color in my bangs, where I feel I lose color the most. However, the conditioner isn’t that great when it comes to moisturizing. To get around this, I mix in the deep conditioner or hair mask I mentioned earlier.

TIP: This line WILL stain your shower and tub. I keep a dish wand like this one full of soap in the shower so that I can clean off the red splotches before I get out. This ensures that they won’t turn into stains!

Lastly, keep in mind that red hair, when wet, will bleed. So don’t go to sleep with wet hair! Your linens will thank you!

Red hair is notorious for being difficult to maintain, but I’ve found that it’s not that difficult aside from the dyeing process. So if you’re interested, I say go for it! Do any of you have colorful hair? If so, how do you maintain it?