Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A city that steals my heart: New York City

Bye Bye, New York. I love you.

A beautiful fall day in Central Park <3 class="goog-spellcheck-word" data-blogger-escaped-="data-blogger-escaped-" span="span" style="background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% yellow;">br

Love equals fall in New York

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Bahn Mi’s have taken over my life.


It is the food that consistently takes over my mind, BAHN MI. There is a very dangerous addictive quality to these mysterious little Vietnamese sandwiches. I'm constantly peer pressuring my friends to have the same addiction as me, so I can have Bahn Mi buddies. The result is somewhat selfish. I mean you can't blame me!? I don't want to be the Bahn Mi loner girl in all the local Vietnamese joints.. While in New York I tried my fair share of Bahn Mi’s. The most popular Bahn Mi shop was not nearly as tasty as the one I stumbled upon one day while wondering aimlessly around Chinatown... (Which happens everytime I'm in Chinatown... Aimless wonder..) I don’t even have an idea about what the name of this little tiny shop was called, but they also had some BOSS bubble tea.

Components to a BOMB DOT COM Bahn Mi:

Fresh French Bread
Homemade Mayo (SO GROOVY GOOD)
Pickled Daikon and Carrots with Jalapeno
Whatever Vietnamese Meat you shall please: shredded pork, pate, tofu, Vietnamese meatball, shredded chicken.. (We did an nontraditional ELK meatball with Vietnamese flavors)

After my brother and Kristi's fairytale wedding in Idaho, we all traveled to their new home town of Livingston Montana. I was staying there with them for a few days before my flight out of Bozeman to FINALLY head back to Houston to get back DANCING. (*INSERT HAPPY DANCE HERE.) I couldn’t ask for a more lovely sister and companion for my brother. I feel so lucky to have the two of them in my life. They are good people, with great souls. They inspire me everyday. So after an exhausting weekend, Greg and I decided to spend our day in the kitchen. It was the perfect day to be adventurous and make all the grand Bahn Mi components from scratch. Early in the day I headed into the small little town of 6,000 and found the local gym. It was built in an old firehouse. Luckily there was a studio at the top of the firehouse that I was able to use for my self barre class. Afterwards I walked over to the adorable "Gilly Goods" for a delicious cappicino. (Believe it or not they have a pretty decent roaster and espresso machine to make some tasty coffee...) The end of the day resulted in a dinner invitation to their landlords house for the most epic dinner I’ve had in a long while. Local rack of lamb done perfectly on the grill, mouthwatering mashed taters, garden fresh kale salad with garden tomatoes, pickled beets, and grilled eggplant (and a little red wine....)! Once we received the invite we decided to make our Bahn Mi ingredients anyway and we would just enjoy them for lunch the following day. Also with the invite, I felt the need to test out my pastry skills with a fresh peach pie...

Barn Wedding

My macarons and cookies on the dessert table (Chocolate Hazelnut Espresso Macarons with Lemon Buttercream and Espresso chocolate ganache and PB&J Macarons with Huckleberry Jam..)



First Dance


SISTER (in law)

Now back to the Bahn Mi. Starting with the very important baguette...
The whole baguette thing is super interesting to me, especially in Vietnamese cuisine. Like why the hell would they have a sandwich with mayo built on a french baguette. Well, the french baguette was introduced to Vietnam by the French during the colonial period and it made love with their local ingredients to make the best drool fest sandwich. I guess that solves the mayo question too.
I read up on the process of making a proper baguette on this site:

This was SOO helpful and informative. Check it out and make your own baguettes for life!

My first baguettes EVER.

Next up were the meatballs. We ended up doing our own thing with a mix and match of different flavor ideas we found on the Internet. Greg had some local elk meat that we used. In the traditional Vietnamese meatball pork is used. We through in a combination of soy sauce, sriracha, chopped basil, green onion, garlic, an egg for binding and a little sprinkle of corn starch. I never thought to use corn starch in a meatball, we have always used bread crumbs, but the corn starch makes a lot of sense. The flavor and texture of the meat isn’t altered with cornstarch but works as a binder in conjunction with the egg.

1 pound ground elk (use pork if you can't find elk ;) )
1 large egg
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup minced green onion
½ cup minced jicama
chopped fresh basil
½ tablespoon cornstarch
½ tablespoon Wondra flour
½ tablespoon fish sauce
½ tablespoon soy sauce
½ tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon whole black pepper
sriracha sauce (to taste)

1.Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Use your hands to form meat balls, putting each in a glass or metal bowl, put it in a steamer and steam over boiling water until cooked, about 40 minutes. 
2. Heat 1 tbls sesame oil in a skillet. Brown meatballs in pan before assembling sandwiches.
3. To make a sandwich, slice the meatballs in half and put inside the French bread. Spoon the tomato sauce atop the meatballs. Finish with some pickled daikon and carrot and a few sprigs of cilantro. 

As for the pickled vegetables, it couldn’t be more simple. Slice or shred some carrots and daikon and then do a quick pickle in rice vinegar and sugar. We threw in a jalapeno from the garden as well for heat. They turned out lovely!

OHHHH and last but definitely not least.. THE MAYO. Now I am the ultimate mayo hater. Have been since a child. That jiggly, nasty, cellulite looking blob of white death?!
Homemade Mayo? Nothing like white death. Quite the opposite! Delicious, tangy, SANDWICH MOIST MAKER. It’s the bomb dot com and will have you hooked for life. It isn’t the lowest calorie treat, but it’s far better than that crap you buy at the food store. YUCK. You can whip up this homemade version in like 5 mins. It’s SOOOO worth it. Dip it in everything, (like the Germans)!

5 min Mayo!
Yard eggs gave the mayo this gorgeous yellow tint.


Bahn Mi fixings

As for the peach pie, I might as well throw that one in this post as well...!
I took my sweet ass time and made the most flaky, delicious pastry dough I’ve ever made. (And got the greatest compliment of all from my non-sweet loving brother that is was the best pie he has ever had!!!) It really did turn out magically delicious and it had a lot to do with the flaky crust and fresh Washington peaches. For the pastry, I like to amp up my recipes with different flavor profiles so it’s not just a boring old pie or treat. With this one I decided to throw a little lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. And to pair the filling, I added a bunch of lemon juice and cinnamon and nutmeg to it as well. The key to a flaky pastry dough is patience and proper temperature of the butter and water. If you allow the butter to get too warm all your ingredients kind of just mush together and won’t give you that flaky crust. Also ice water is very important for the same reason. I cut mine up in a bowl, switching between knives and forks until it crumbled and then added the ice water in small increments until the dough was right. We did an old traditional double crust (with the full crust on top and bottom). It was so perfect with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream at the end of our delicious garden and farm fresh meal in the quite quaint town of Livingston Montana.

Peaches for pie

peach pie fixings

Peach pie
Pastry Dough


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg


  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
Peach Pie
adapted from food.com

* 5 cups fresh peaches, sliced
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/3-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg
* lemon zest
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 tablespoons sugar


1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2.Stir together flour, 1 cup sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.
3.Wash, peel, and slice fresh peaches.
4.Mix together peaches with the combined dry ingredients.
5.Turn into pastry-lined pie pan and dot with butter.
6.Cover with top crust, cut slits in it, seal the edges.
7.Sprinkle top with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
8.Cover the edges with foil to prevent over browning; remove foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.
9.Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through the slits in the crust.
10.Pie may be frozen for future use.

Hitched MO-bile

Headed to Livingston after my brother and Kristi's wedding


Sunflowers in the SUNshine

 Heading to the dog park.
Morning piano playing

Garden tomatoes

 Lamb Rack, Mashed Potatoes, Kale Salad and Grilled Eggplant

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Life as of Lately..

My 24th birthday is creeping up on me like a sly little fox. Now let me remind you, this was a special year. It was my GOLDEN birthday year, 23 on the 23rd. AND just to make me a little more obsessive about this birthday in particular, my favorite number is 23 and my favorite color (at the time) was gold... You can only imagine how I built things up in my mind about how the year would play out.
 "This is going to be the best year EVER!" 
It's debatable.. Some of the "best" things have happened to me and some of the "worst" things have happened to me. In the least, it has been an EXTREMELY eventful year.

Looking back to the beginning of last season, I started off on a high note. I had one of the greatest and most inspiring experiences with Hilary Cartwright setting "Les Patineurs". I was originally supposed to be one of the "Brown couples". They were the corps of the ballet, the backbones per say. But early on in the process, one of the first cast "Red Girls" got injured and I was bumped up to a second cast "Red Girl". I had an absolute blast with this ballet. The two Red Girls are hilarious pretentious little debutant's who couldn't care less about what is going on in the world. They are just happy as buttons even as they slip and fall on their butts on the ice. They just get right up, brush themselves off, and move on with their skating. I also had a great partner who enjoyed the process as much as I did. I know I have spoken of Hilary Cartwright before, but just to reiterate.. she is one of my favorite humans on the planet. She is such a bright light and an intelligent inspiring woman. If I am half the human she is when I grow up, I'll be just fine.

A few months later in October, my injuries began with a series of ankle sprains. Unfortunately, I didn't take the time off in the beginning that I should have and am paying for chronic issues now, 9 months later. Because of my obsessive work ethic, I fought my body to come back too soon. I have been told numerous times throughout my career to slow down, take it easy, listen to your body but it had never REALLY sunk in. To me it was always "The harder I work the better. Must catch up. Must improve." And if I was not working that way then I wasn't working hard enough. I cannot even begin to explain the pain it causes me to be away from ballet. But these months off have been completely necessary for me. I needed (and still need) to pull things back and learn something about myself and my body. If I have learned anything I hope it is to trust what my body is telling me and to treat my body as if it is the most precious tool I have. Which in ballet, IT IS.

During this time off I have tried to do my best to take advantage of other opportunities that have come my way. If this hadn't happened to me I may have never been able to do some of the things I have done over the past 9 months. These things were very very good for my sanity. If I didn't have other outlets I would have driven myself to the grave 60 years too early... In April, I decided to open an ETSY shop. ETSY is a place where people can buy and sell handmade items as well all sorts of supplies, vintage clothing, patterns and so forth... It was something I was looking to do for a while but needed to wait for the right time. I didn't want to stress myself out and feel like I couldn't keep it up the way I wanted to. My shop idea was to have dancewear that was made more accessible to other dancers around the united states and the world. A place where they could browse designs, make custom orders, and pay all in the same place. I also wanted a place to be able to sell whatever random creation I had going in my brain at that time. Whether it was a headband adorned with vintage accessories or a pair of legwarmers I knitted on an airplane.. My shop opened in April and did very very well in the first month. Now I have expanded into vintage inspired swimwear as well. Which brings me into my next opportunity that came up out of the blue... My swimwear showcase/ runway show.

In May, I decided to make a roadtrip back home to Idaho to have a bit of R&R with my family. I was not in a good frame of mind. I was having a very hard time dealing with my injury and the way I felt when I was unable to have any sort of real activity. (Nothing, I mean NOTHING does what ballet does for the body...) I was browsing online for different retreats I might be able to stay at along the way. I knew I wanted to be in Denver at some point to visit my childhood friends so was trying to find a route to get there. I stumbled upon a retreat in Santa Fe at a Zen Center called Upaya. It couldn't have been more perfect. It was the following week and labeled as a "Zen Mind, Yoga Body" retreat. Three days in the serene hills of Santa Fe. I packed up my car that week with my serger and bike and I was off. The first day of travel was amazing for me. I drove all the way to Amarillo with the windows down and desert air blowing in the hair until I got to Amarillo in the craziest torrential downpour. I woke up bright and early the next day and headed to Santa Fe. I arrived in Santa Fe with a few extra hours to spare so I pulled out my bike and went for a ride to get a feel for the city and to enjoy it's amazingly unique vibe. The lilacs were in full bloom, dried peppers were hanging from the adobe style houses the temperature was a PERFECT 74 degrees. I was in heaven. I was finishing my ride along the old railway bike path that winds through the city when I saw a sign that said "RAIL TRACKS CATCH BIKE WHEELS". OHHH and you guessed it, I BUSTED it in the gravel in the middle of the busiest intersection in Santa Fe. Had some serious gravel burn and a couple of pebbles in my palm. I got up, brushed myself off and went into Whole Foods to wash up. I took this as a real "SLOW DOWN JORDAN" moment... I didn't bike for the rest of the trip.... I made my way up to Upaya and checked in. The center was tucked in between the rolling hills just outside the city. UNBELIEVABLY beautiful. There was a garden that grew the vegetables we ate each day. The monks rotated cooking our all organic vegetarian meals. Some of the best food I have ever ate came from this retreat. Absolutely phenomenal. The Upaya retreat was an enlightening experience for me. I learned so so much in those three days about my mind and body and I hope I can take those things with me throughout my life. From there I began my 7.5 hour drive to Denver. I decided to take the scenic route that rode right along the most majestic mountain ranges. I was getting my mind blown. Leaving New Mexico and entering Colorado was fantastic. The landscape was soooo beautiful with plateaus standing infront of these ginormous snowcapped mountains who were peaking out from behind. I made it to about 2 hours outside Denver when I was cruising along the most beautiful meadow. I was COMPLETELY distracted as the colors in nature were blowing my mind (as they often do) and totally missed my turn to head west to Denver. Instead I went over the rockies and was heading to Gunnison. I received a phone call from (who as a child was) my second mother asking "WHERE ARE YOU?! Can't wait to see you!" 
"I'm almost to Gunnison!!" I exclaimed.
"You better not be almost in Gunnison. If you are planning to come to Denver you better turn around RIGHT NOW."
 I quickly get my car turned around and going back over the pass (meanwhile praying there are no cops around...!) Fortunately, I still made good time.. And the mind blowing scenery was TOTALLY worth the extra 50 miles! I got to my best friends house and couldn't have felt more at home. Literally nothing had changed (EXCEPT a bonus pilates reformer in the sunroom?! WHAT?! SCORE!!!) I was supposed to leave the next day... Uhhhh. That didn't happen.. I stayed a week! It was AWESOME. One of the days stands out in my mind the most... Sarah and I decided to drive up to the Rockies and go do a train mine tour in Georgetown. The weather was INSANE and we had a helluva time. The train rode through the mountains and over the river. Just the fresh mountain air was enough for make me the happiest girl alive. Midway through the train ride we got off and got to hunt through a mine. It was a so fun for me to see what my great grandfather spent his life doing! Absolutely fascinating.  From there we iced my janky ankle in the icy glacier water and then made our way to Estes Park to bring back some memories of a 6th grade field trip we took way back when... we saw a couple elk chillin like villains on the golf course saw a moose hanging out in some chicks yard.. you know the usual... Then we continues winding through the Rockies in the BRIGHT YELLOW SLUGBUG until we ended up way down in Loveland. After that to make things even better we met up with my childhood crush and he fed us the most delicious Cuban food we had ever eaten. I crave those plantains daily...YUMMMMO. We finished the night in Boulder where we met some more friends for classic margarita's at the Rio. SUCH A GREAT DAY. One of my favorites out of the entire roadtrip. 

A week in Denver and I set off for Idaho. Spent a few weeks there, got my wisdom teeth out (NOT COOL), had another medical procedure (ALSO NOT COOL) and pretty much tried to give myself dry sockets by doing pilates the day after I got my wisdom teeth out... (really Jordan?! Idiot.) I also baked up a storm and sewed some new creations... From there the family took a trip up to Spokane and northern Idaho for Memorial Day and got to stop in Livingston Montana to see my brothers new setup. I tell you what, if you want to see some mind blowing mountains. GO TO MONTANA. FREAKY DEAKY MOUNTAINS. I left my car there so I could make my way back down to Houston from Livingston. I wanted to take a different route back home so after the adventure up north I decided to do the Kansas thing. I LOVED driving through Kansas. I don't care what anyone says. It ruled. I got to watch the biggest storm I've ever seen develop for two hours prior to getting to Wichita. Once I was about 10 miles away from my hotel the hail began. TENNIS BALL SIZED HAIL. I just knew that my car was going to be damaged but I just had to keep driving (meanwhile people were piling up under the overpasses to protect their cars). On the radio they were saying this was the biggest storm they had seen in years. I got to my hotel safely and listened to what was now just a soothing thunderstorm. That evening was when I got a message on ETSY. It was from the organization RAW artist and they were asking me if I was interested in doing a runway showcase of my swimsuits in July! I was so excited and couldn't believe the opportunity that had come up. After getting all the details I told her that I felt that this couldn't have come at a better time and said I would love to be apart of it. So the wheels in my brain started turning and I got to designing what I wanted to show... But I still had one more important pitstop before making it back to Houston and that was one of my best childhood friends (and 1st grade loves) wedding in Dallas! And to make it better, my best friend Sarah was flying in to Dallas to go as well! We had an absolute ball. There was major dancing involved and also some very unique and creative ways of getting cider caps off without a bottle opener... It involved a hubcap.... nuff said... The next day I was headed home to Houston and was so so so ready to be back in my apartment and to see my doctor to see what he thought about the progress of my ankle... When I went to my appointment I knew that the ankle wasn't healing on it's own and had come to terms with the fact that there was a chance that the next step my be surgery. But there was something in me that told be I shouldn't go that route yet. Not until I had done everything in my power to get this healed on it's own or through other non surgical ways. He suggested a second opinion and after an extensive search I finally made the decision to go to New York and see the best in the business, Dr. Hamilton. I flew out to New York for the first appointment in June. Got a diagnosis of chronic FHL tendonitis and a chronic high ankle sprain. He recommended I find somewhere to live in New York while I have a sonogram guided injection of the FHL and the sight of the ankle sprain and then if that reacts well, move on to therapy with Westside Dance Therapy. As I waited for approval for these things, I found a place to stay and planned my move to New York all while getting together my runway show that was coming up in July... The showcase approached rapidly and ultimately went really well. It was highly stressful but was a blast. I'm so thankful for my beautiful ballerina models too! After the showcase I had 4 days to pack up my life and move to New York. And I did. And now I'm here! As most of you already know, I had my injections two weeks ago and my ankle is reacting extremely well. I am now doing my own forms of therapy while my actual therapy goes through the dreaded pre-authorization process with workers comp. (Comparable to death... Just saying..)

But for now I am in New York surrounded by a wealth of inspiration and information that I am trying to use to the best of my ability. I am so lucky to be getting treatment from some of the best doctors and instructors in the business. If I don't absorb everything that is around me during this time it would be an absolute sin. I feel like I am doing a pretty good job of it and am going try my best to stay on this positive track. The good news is, I have people who are supporting my until the death and I am grateful for every single on of them.

Keep the well wishes and positive thoughts flowing this direction. They keep me going :)

Love you all.

Here are some visuals of that very un-detailed bashout of the past year.... HA!

On the road to Amarillo..
To Santa Fe
 Lilac's in Santa Fe
 Lady Guadalupe in Santa Fe
 Peppers drying in Santa Fe
 Beautiful guitar player in the Square in Santa Fe
 Upaya Zen Center
One of the MANY delicious beautiful meals at Upaya.

 Sarah and I on our adventure in Georgetown
 Getting our minds blown all day long..
 Mine Tour
 Georgetown Train
Looking at "Green speckled butt trout"
Green Speckled BUTT trout

Flatirons with Angie
Ontop of the Flatirons
YSL exhibit at the Denver Art Museum

One of the funniest nights of my life. Mary Kay party...


Pilates Reformer in Sarah's house... So happy.
Idaho I go
Seeing my POOR BABY for the first time after being shaved!

One of my favorite pictures of all time. People sending me hugs via text message.

Riding Motorcycles in the hills

Ridin Partner

Wisdom Tooth?
Dad enjoying MOTHER'S DAY breakfast :)
Location of my brothers wedding :)
CLASSIC idaho falls....

Baking up a storm at home sweet home

My brothers house in Livingston MT :)

Meeting Clyde for the first time

Livingston Montana.. GORGEOUS.
THE DOG PARK. Livingston Montana.  
Kansas storm.

The wedding in Dallas

Back to texas...!

HAIRCUT back in Houston  

Jersey Shore while testing one of my swimsuit creations... ;)

Approved for "Baby Barre" in New York