creative direction & photography CYNTHIA NGUYEN
recipe adapted ASHLEY ALEXANDER


An
Insatiable Hunger
for More.

The first article of 2018. This year, I wanted to introduce a new section to my blog and incorporate more delicious food and lifestyle-related articles.

Food has always been a realm of passion and stimulation for me. We’re not talking about eating to gain just nourishment, but to expand opportunities for social gatherings and encourage togetherness. To share good food, good company, enjoyment and love. To explore another creative venture for one to be excited about, challenged and share with those around them. To grow a wonderful skill to own at home for yourself and pass down.

 

Having grown up with a talented chef as a father who cooks all sorts of cuisines and a mom who cooks breathtaking Vietnamese dishes at home, the insatiable hunger for a wider experience in tasting and cooking continues. This shift and addition to my blog is seen as another way to further diversify and strengthen my cooking as a self-taught cook and creative. It has become a method to encourage me to record all of my parents’ recipes down for myself. When it comes to food, not only do I want to share the places I’ve eaten within my city and other countries, but I would like to share my take on cooking. Whether they’re adapted recipes from other chefs to passed down family recipes, I’d like my blog to be a space where I share my other passions aside from fashion and photography. 

In this article, I’m sharing with you my take on the Beetroot Spaghetti dish with Pesto. I originally found the Beetroot Spaghetti recipe through an Instagram story that was shared by Ashley of Gather and Feast. Since the original recipe paired the pasta with goat cheese– I wanted to find a dairy-free alternative. Which lead me to pairing it with a nice green pesto made up of spinach, pistachio and thyme. You’ll also see that I’ve swapped Spaghetti for Tagliatelle, as I wanted a wider and thicker pasta for more real estate to be covered in beetroot puree. It’s been one of those things I’ve been dying to try but couldn’t…simply because I didn’t own a food processor. Side note: Thanks J for lending me yours! I’m still in the market looking for a good one. Suggestions are welcomed!

Without further ado, here is the Beetroot Tagliatelle with Pistachio Thyme Pesto recipe. Bon Appétit!

Beetroot Tagliatelle with Pistachio Thyme Pesto
Serves 4
A modern and dairy-free way to enjoy Tagliatelle and beetroot.
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Ingredients
  1. 3-4 large fresh beetroot
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1 onion
  4. 2½ tbs balsamic vinegar
  5. ¼ cup olive oil
  6. 4 cloves fresh garlic
  7. 2 cups spinach
  8. 5½ tbs fresh thyme leaves
  9. ½ juice of lemon or lime works
  10. ½ cup of pistachios
  11. ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  12. 500g good quality Tagliatelle
  13. Pinch of chili flakes
  14. ½ tsp sea salt
  15. Pepper, to taste
Toppings
  1. Walnuts
  2. Pistachio
  3. Fresh Sage
For the Pistachio Thyme Pesto
  1. Add the spinach, 4½ tbs fresh thyme leaves, pistachio, nutmeg, lemon juice, 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor until well-combined, but still slightly chunky. You may add a pinch of chili flakes for a little kick.
For the Beet Tagliatelle
  1. Peel the beetroot, roughly chop and place onto a paper lined baking tray. Season with pinch of salt and bake for roughly 45mins - 1 hour.
  2. Remove the beetroot from the oven and add to a blender or food processor (once cooled).
  3. Add 2 cups water and blend until smooth. You may add another ½ cup of water if you find the texture still too thick.
  4. Place a large fry pan onto medium heat and add a tbs of olive oil with the 1 clove of finely chopped garlic, chili flakes and ½ tbs thyme leaves and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant.
  5. Add the pureed beetroot, balsamic vinegar and a generous pinch of salt and stir until warmed through.
  6. Cook your Tagliatelle as per packet instructions (al dente), drain and add to the beetroot mixture, fold in and stir well to completely coat the pasta.
  7. Place the Tagliatelle into a large serving bowl or individual serving bowls and top with the pistachio and thyme pesto. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. You may also add walnuts/pistachios/fresh sage on top
Adapted from Ashley Alexander
Adapted from Ashley Alexander
Pinch of Chic http://www.pinchofchic.com/

creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN
photography CYNTHIA NGUYEN & CASSANDRA D’AMBROSIO in collaboration with
HOTEL PLACE D’ARMES

 With only a single vacation day left in my calendar and the desire to get away from home,
a trip to Old Montréal made the most sense.

It began with mobile messages being exchange with one of my long-time, best friends, Cassandra, regarding Rupi Kaur’s [#1 New York Time’s bestselling author of milk and honey] tour performance being sold out in Toronto. We netted out with a plan to mission to Montréal to go see Rupi recite her poetry at Le National.

That mission ended up being our very first trip together— cute, right?

Below is a summary of Day 1 and my Old Montréal hotspots.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6TH, 2017
.
AT 5:45AM
.
Woke up and got myself out of the home
to catch the 6:40AM VIArail train from
Toronto Union Station to Montreal.
.
MOOD: craving for a coffee and grilled cheese.
AT 12:00PM
.
Two coffees and bagels later, Cassandra and I have arrived at Gare Centrale aka Montréal Central Station.
.
At this time, it’s too early to check-in to our hotel rooms at HOTEL PLACE D’ARMES. We drop off our luggage at the hotel with the lovely and most informative staff. I find that it’s super helpful to ask your concierge of the hotel for suggestions for places to go, eat and worth-wild seeing. They’re filled with amazing recommendations and will go as far as to curate a list and label a handy map for you.

AT 1:30PM
.
TOMMY
200 Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, Quebec H2Y 1T3
.
Our first #mtlcoffeecrawl stop— ordered my latte, grilled cheese sandwich, quiche, and croissant. Cannot tell you how obsessed I was with the ornate mouldings on the ceiling of the cafe.

AT 4:34PM
.
HOTEL PLACE D’ARMES
55 St Jacques St, Montréal, QC H2Y 1K9
.
Finally checked into our hotel.
We are greeted with a gifts, a personal note and divine classical music being played from the alarm clock system in our room.
AT 4:54PM
.
At this point in time, Cassandra and I were on the verge of tears… of joy over the fancy bathroom shower.

Funny how a beautiful hotel room with a high-tech, oversize shower can make someone feel so deeply? That’s what I call a stellar interior. With the exception of the mini fridge. Two-thirds through our trip, we called front desk for help because we struggled to uncover the location of our mini fridge.. turns out to be what we had thought was our safe to store valuables.


The hotel’s 169 richly appointed rooms feature elegant, lavish interiors with century old brick walls.

AT 6:25PM
.
En route to Le National to see Rupi Kaur.
AT 6:50PM
.
Arrived at location and got pizza from next door. Got inside the theatre. Got her new book, the sun and her flowers. Watched Rupi from 7 till 9. Was in tears at the end, thanks to her last poem that she recited called ‘Broken English‘.
AT 9:15PM
.
FLYJIN
417 Rue Saint-Pierre, Montréal, QC H2Y 2M4
.
Dinner time. Ordered the wakame salad, pork dumplings, chicken dumplings
and too many cocktails.

If you like good Asian fusion-food and a swanky, underground atmosphere (and you’re also a low-key deep house music fan like myself), this is the place to be. This is celebrity chef, Antonio Park’s Japanese restaurant & bar that sits in the heart of Old Montréal. This restaurant goes from hip dining venue into a trendy after-hours club with featured DJs spinning music you never thought you’d enjoy. (Yes, Cassandra— this statement implies you.) If you ever find yourself in these parts of the city, I recommend at least going in for a cocktail or two and test drive the Stairway to Buddha. As if I wasn’t already amused by Cassandra’s presence, the making of this cocktail alone is pure, great entertainment. FYI, we both returned to this place two evenings in a row.

This summarizes day 1 in Montréal.

 

long blazer ZARA (SIMILAR) high-waisted trousers ZARA (SIMILAR) shoes JIMMY CHOO earrings BOUTIQUE MINIMALISTE

 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7TH, 2017
.
BRASSERIE 701
.
701 Côte de la Place d’Armes, Montréal, QC H2Y 2X6
.
Brunch, featuring: two classic benedictines, lemon-flavoured butter croissants, fresh fruit and a side of jaw-dropping beautiful interior.
MILE-END
.
For vintage and thrift shopping, this the area to visit. Discover new olds at stores like: Local 23, Empire, Bohême Friperie,  and Annex Vintage. View map here.
Tip: You can use the Metro to get from Place-d’Armes station to Laurier station to get to Mile-End.


 

LE ROBIN SQUARE
.
520 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC H2Y 2Y9
.
Featuring: foie gras mi-cuit, beet salad, butternut squash soup (not shown),
mac & cheese.


 

 


vegan leather jacket APRIL77 top ARITZIA skirt LOCAL23 earring BOUTIQUE MINIMALIST

 

It was a hectic yet bittersweet morning for Cassandra and I as left to take the train back home the next morning. We had only spent 48 hours in this beautiful city. I wish we could’ve stayed longer. I already miss the architecture, the lemon-buttered croissants and well-dressed men. But I feel more thankful than ever to have made it back home without a fractured ankle (it was only sprained). We really valued the food scene, range of vintage shops and sophisticated nightlife there. But most importantly the quality time we got to spend together over the 48 hours of being there because as we get back to our lives, it becomes busier and much harder to make that kind of time again.

Where are your favourite places in Old Montreal? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to follow along on Instagram to keep up with my adventures. xx

 

creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN photography VINCENT KO in collaboration with GUERLAIN
and special thank you to Tobi

Something incredibly horrible yet interesting happened to me recently— I had found distinguished, fine lines under and around my little eyes. I mean, yes they’re not thaaat noticeable to others on a day-to-day basis. However, when you have to see yourself before bed and when you wake up every single day, you see a whole lot more than just a sleepyhead. The truth is, I’m actually aging. The even sadder part to that truth has been told by nearly everyone who is older than I and has warned me about how life and my skin complexion (as well as your metabolism) starts to go downhill after 25.

The problem is, that I don’t have a skincare ritual to speak of. It’s been really hard when your schedule is all over the place– sometimes, I get home from the office at 12am and just want to pass out or I’m in a rush and I simply want to spray some multi-purpose facial oil to revive my face from looking partially dead. And so, it looked like ‘now’ was a great time to get some sort of skin regime down— I wanted a simpler way to achieve and maintain good skin for myself.

I’m the kind of lady that loves products that includes scientific facts and natural ingredients.

I am delighted to share with you a collection that offers effective results in pro-longing the signs of aging, wrinkles and firmness. Thanks to scientifically proven facts (after ten years of research) and the properties of honey, Guerlain’s Abeille Royale collection offers all of the above mentioned in boosting skin. Another sweet and small mention I read about the line: “Inspired by the latest discoveries in neuroscience, the new Abeille Royale Repairing Concentrate goes even further and, for the first time, targets the damage suffered by the skin’s nervous system with exposure to UV rays and other external aggressions. So the skin can repair itself more effectively and fully.”


I’ve recently integrated the Youth Watery Oil into my skin care routine from Guerlain’s Abeille Royale collection. This light product’s formula combines the power of a serum, the richness of an oil and the freshness of a really good and lightly-scented perfume. I applying only a few drops on my cheeks and forehead, then blend the oil and little, creamy micro-beads into my skin. It’s made from Ouessant honey and exclusive Royal Jelly, sourced from an exclusive bee hive in France. A few drops of this youth-boosting oil leaves my skin feeling super plump, rejuvenated and smooth all day long— almost like a baby’s bottom..With the same love and respect for bees, independent Canadian brand, MYEL Design and Guerlain have partnered up to release a series of delicate and minimal jewelry. Featured below is their Essaim Silver Chain from their Alvéole collection.


LEFT TO RIGHT: Guerlain’s Abeille Royal Youth Watery Oil,
Guerlain’s Abeille Royal Replenishing Eye Cream.

DETAILS:

Dress c/o Tobi
Lack of Color Spencer Boater Hat
Honey Punch Off-Shoulder Ruffles Top
Lord and Taylor Woven White Mules

creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN
photography VINCENT KO and myself
in collaboration with VIMERIA

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful week.
I’m finally back on the blog to write about my current obsession with wearing timeless, gold and dainty jewelry.

There was a period of time where all I would ever wear were pearl stud earrings and arm parties (stacks of bracelets). Now, all I ever wear are dainty necklaces, long, drop earrings and sometimes minimal rings. These are the kind of pieces I picture myself still wearing 5 or 10 years down the road. Thoughtfully designed and timeless pieces are worth investing in. Recently, and I mean for the past year or so, I’ve been sporting long, gold, drop earrings and have been layering the cutest gold chokers and necklaces to accessorize my minimal ensembles. Because less in the summer is better, right? My love for statement jewelry has faded and I am now all about those refined, minimal pieces with a bit of geometric play to not only elongate my neck but to also accompany my silk dress shirts and slip dresses.

Based in Toronto, there’s an emerging label (est. 2016) that creates beautiful and modern jewelry, called Vimeria. The labour and vision behind Vimeria is my lovely friend, Anna Laskin. I’m delighted to share with you an editorial that Anna and I have collaborated together to create, featuring each and every one of her pieces. Something about these modern drop earrings (like these) or fun, semi-structure earrings (like these) add such a strong yet subtle statement to any look! I consider these, especially the first pair, my go-to earrings for just the right amount of elegance and simplicity. They add such a chic and timeless element to whatever it is that I’m wearing and I feel absolutely luxurious but in the upmost modest way.

xx

Brunch: braised brisket poutine, green tea egg waffle  and Matcha lattes at

LOOK 1 DETAILS— VIMERIA Lilly earrings, VIMERIA Bridget chockerNATALIJA olive slik dress
LOOK 2 DETAILS— VIMERIA cleo chocker, VIMERIA Eva earrings, VIMERIA Eva necklace, A.L.C silk top

 

Pinch-of-Chic_Walton_Pink_Martini-1

creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN
photography VINCENT KO
in collaboration with PINK MARTINI

It’s so crazy how much our mood affects the way we dress and how we dress seems to convey a particular image of ourselves. If a woman often wears tight clothing, she’s looking for attention. If a woman wears oversized clothing, she must be lazy or is less feminine. We’ve been conditioned and have developed this tendency to make snap judgements against other humans beings based on the way they present themselves. (Special thanks to such social and dating platforms like Tinder, Bumble and Instagram for re-enforcing this tendency…) With people’s physical attributes, we begin to draw assumptions and anecdotal observations based on their selection for apparel and the way they groom themselves. As most females nowadays dress up for the grams, the outings, or for other females and occasionally men too, we become less forgiving and are less likely to give the benefit of the doubt while maintaining this kind of behaviour. With certain notions tied into bucketed character types that dress in certain ways— it’s no wonder why our generation is perceived as so shallow and ignorant.

 

LEFT sausage rolls, bread and olives,
almond croissant, bread pudding from THE WALTON

 


Say You Love Me Sweater – PINK MARTINI. Top – LOFT.
Pants – BANANA REPUBLIC. Boots – OAK + FORT. Coat – BANANA REPUBLIC.

 

The Walton Interior

I used be very self-conscious of when someone would tell me that I was stepping out of my usual style, because it wasn’t consistent to my Instagram or blog… that I may be two faced because I dressed so extremely different for different groups of friends for specific occasions… or listen carefully to when my mother would say that something I was about to purchase or had owned if worn would make me less feminine. Hell, even my closest male buddies would strongly suggest me to wear more fitted clothing because it was more ‘flattering’ and pleasing for the rest of them to see. Not that it was wrong to hear, but it is a preference, right? But at the end of the day, I could really care less now who I’m impressing, as long as it’s still reasonable and doesn’t offend anyone. (By reasonable, I mean appropriate for the event/circumstances.) There will be days where I’ll wear a long, slouchy sweaters to work… because it’s terribly cold out and I foresee long hours in my office chair. On other days, I’ll break out in public in a tinsel suit over brunch. Because as lame as it sounds and I bet you $100 that it’s not the first time you’re hearing or more so reading this…but fashion is an art form. A form of self expression. Fashion may cover different realms in terms of price points, time periods, craftsmanship and genre of style… but to me, it’s a projection of your growth. The change in style from one age to another is so much like story-telling— about your experience and taste. People seem to be really drawn by liberation and the authenticity— so why not do what you want without the thought of others expecting it from you?

PS. Happy International Women’s Day to all my lovely ladies! To both love ones and friends!