Cole Haan Adrianna Short Boot, $118.50 (was $395.00)
Monday, November 30
Cole Haan Adrianna Short Boot, $118.50 (was $395.00)
This is my lovely friend Xenia.
Since I am back home I get the pleasure of seeing my wonderful and incredibly stylish friends. Although the lighting is not quite perfect, the opportunity to take a photo or two of Xenia in this cute, sophisticated outfit was too good to refuse.
She's paired these fabulous boyfriend jeans with sleek black kitten heels, a colorful ruffled blouse, and a blazer from J Crew made out of sweatshirt material.
Very chic, very classy. Isn't she lovely?
Sunday, November 29
Piperlime: 20% off + Free Shipping on Gap, BR, , Piperlime & Athleta (CODE: MONDAY)
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Cashmere Boutique: Free shipping on orders over $100 (CODE: freeship)
Steve Madden: Get 25% off PLUS free shipping (CODE: Madden25); Save 10% when you sign up for their email list
Chick Downtown: Get a $25 gift card when you sign up for their email list
Urban Outfitters: Free shipping on orders $75 and over (CODE: freebird; expires 11/30)
It all started with me finding an inexpensive last-minute flight back home for Thanksgiving, which was amazing. Of course (... being an expert traveler), I thought that I didn't need any help finding my gate until 10 minutes before my connecting flight was scheduled to leave and there still was no gate number listed on the Departure screen. Well, being in the wrong terminal and about 15 minutes away from the correct terminal (not including going through security again), I missed my second flight (which meant I would be stuck in Arizona for about 7-8 hours).
Luckily, US Airways will set you up with a new (FREE) connecting flight even if you only have yourself to blame for missing it.
Arriving Thanksgiving morning with about two hours of sleep (with little more the previous night) and the expectation that I am the lead chef for the meal was a little overwhelming to say the least. However, I was surprisingly perky for having slept so little and I managed to (somehow) pull it all together (with some help).
What was on the menu?
Spiced Butternut Squash soup
Roasted Cauliflower and Leek tart (from the SF Chronicle)
Stuffing with Mushrooms, Dried Apricots, Roasted Fennel and Chestnuts
Green Beans with Lemon Zest and Parmesan (from the SF Chronicle)
Mashed Potatoes with Chives
Cranberry Sauce, Gravy
... and Chicken (my family doesn't really like Turkey)
Tuesday, November 24
Monday, November 23
This being my day off from working out (when I wasn't physically exhausted), I began making earrings to match my copper bracelets and rings. I'm using really thick copper wire and enhancing its natural day-to-evening appeal by pairing it with beautiful dark stones and beads. I haven't quite decided what kind of an ear wire I will use for the above earring... and I haven't even made doubles yet (the above is truly a prototype -- me thinking out loud).
Sunday, November 22
This is my hundredth post! And I'm celebrating with pie (which is always the best way to celebrate). These mini apple pies are just as easy to make as a regular-sized pie. All you need to do is bake them in muffin tins instead of pie tins and voila!
Three notes: 1) butter the muffin tins very well everywhere the pie crust will sit
2) roll out your dough pretty thin, especially your rounds of pie lids (otherwise the ratio of filling to pie will be disproportionate)
3) don't be afraid to really mound up your pies with filling
I got the recipe here (a very cute blog with excellent step-by-step photos).
If you want an even easier alternative to these far-out mini pies, fill up some ramekins (or oven-safe bowls) with fruit filling and make dough caps for them (using only half the amount of pie crust). This sidesteps the most difficult part of making these pies (tucking pie crust into the muffin tin "cups"). This way you can pull the ramekins out of the oven and serve as-is!
Saturday, November 21
I spent this past week cooking my little heart out. Sadly, I will not be cooking thanksgiving dinner. Last week I found out that everyone in my family is celebrating thanksgiving separately, which means that there will be no need for me to cook (although I already had the menu all planned out).
So to cheer myself up, I went to visit my father up north and cooked anything and everything I could think of. In just a couple days I made mini apple pies, mini lime pies, oatmeal chocolate cherry cookies, chicken pot pie, and lettuce cup tacos.
Since I cannot nearly write about all these recipes in one sitting, I will be introducing them all as individual recipes in the next couple days.
Chicken Pot Pie
The longer this sits, the better it is. I took inspiration from these two recipes (Ina Garten and Paula Deen). If you choose to use frozen store-bought puff pastry, be sure to buy a high quality puff pastry because you'll really taste any low-quality ingredients when the dough bakes.
Sunday, November 15
Sometimes, I need to understand that it's not the bowl of pasta that makes me feel sane, but doing something I truly love -- case in point, the preparing, staging and photographing of new recipes. Taking the time to develop my creativity in a way that I already enjoy is incredibly satisfying. How do I know this? Because the only time I actually follow through with it (without shortcuts, time constraints, or anything else) is when I'm all by myself. No distractions, just 120% focus.
I also just discovered the power of fresh herbs in food photography. Before, whenever I saw a photographer use a green herb in a photo, I used to think of it in the most obvious sense -- a touch of green really brightens up the photo... But it's really much more than that (as I realized while I arranged some sprigs of rosemary on the plate). Once the rosemary was down I was instantly inspired. Herbs can provide complex shape, movement, height, vitality, and of course, color. The rosemary truly lightens up the plate and provides some much needed contrast in a sea of oblong, orange yam slices.
Although you probably don't need much direction (as I mainly improvised), I did review this recipe before diving in. I added a sprinkling of salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and basil on top.
Saturday, November 14
These are some of my favorites right now:
Thursday, November 12
How great would this vest look with a long sleeve tee and some jeans? Come to think of it, this vest would look amazing with pretty much anything...
And these shoes are just about the hottest thing this fall... for less then $35! With dresses, tights, jeans -- anything and everything.
I'm not sure how I feel about the knee high stockings-with-boots look... although it seems fresh and new, which always livens up an outfit.
Tuesday, November 10
I've caught the jewelry making bug. I'm so excited about these new mixed metal pieces I can't even tell you. And I think I may have actually caught a bug -- I'm not feeling all that well...
But more importantly, these new copper pieces. I've been experimenting with a hammered look (as in the bangles above) making bracelets and rings. I've added little gold and silver details to accentuate the metallic sheen of the copper.
I'm going to make a whole bunch more of the hammered single bangles -- I'm envisioning a sleeve of mixed and matched copper bangles running up and down my arm. Very Egyptian... it's like the King Tut exhibit all over again. I find that period of time very inspirational -- all the gold, the gemstones...
I'm so excited about the way these look that I'll be experimenting with all sorts of variations. Stay tuned!
Monday, November 9
When I found this recipe last night, the images looked too good not to try it. One suggestion if you make these yourself -- let them cool completely before you dig in (when the cream cheese swirl is not fully set and still a little bit warm it has a really strange consistency...)
You can check out the recipe here.
I think cheesecake is going to be my dessert of choice this holiday season. I'm thinking strawberry cheesecake, NY style cheesecake, Oreo cookie crumb cheesecake... how can anybody go wrong with cheesecake?
Sunday, November 8
I have just finished a whole new collection of wrapped wire rings now available in my etsy store. I've included aventurine, labradorite, pink agate and other beautiful stones in cocktail and everyday style rings. You can take a look at them here.
** Custom orders can easily be accommodated. I make these rings by hand so I can easily change up ring sizes (1-16), wire color (silver plated, gold plated, copper), or stone arrangement. Just send me a email!
These are just a few of the rings available in my etsy store. I will be adding new rings daily!
Friday, November 6
I was wondering why this top and the skirt go so well together.... when I realized they're both made by Ric Rac. That explains it. I love Ric Rac for their beautiful drapery. Every time I wear this top I feel like it hangs so well on my body -- accenting my overall shape (not every nook and cranny).
I made these three wrapped wire rings yesterday -- aren't their lovely? I'll be shooting better close-ups of them for my etsy page in a little bit. For custom orders (choose a bead, wire, and size) email me for details. Otherwise keep checking my etsy store!
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, November 5
I typically limit my creativity when it comes to combining dried fruit with cookies. If it's not a raisin, it does not belong. However, the San Francisco Chronicle just published this yummy recipe in last Sunday's newspaper and it sounded too go to be true. Simple, yet unexpected.
I threw in my own two cents by adding about 1/2 tsp almond extract to the mixture (along with the vanilla extract). The almond and cherry flavors marry beautifully, adding a hint of holiday charm. Plus, the almond extract gives the batter a more complex flavor (otherwise, this recipe is just a chocolate chip cookie with dried cherries).
Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen cookies
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
10 ounces dark chocolate chunks
3/4 cup dried cherries
Instructions: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugars and salt until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla, beating after each addition. Slowly add in the baking soda and flour, beating until well combined, taking care not to overmix. With a spatula, fold in the chocolate chunks and cherries.
Using two tablespoons or a small ice cream scoop, form cookies and place on ungreased baking sheets. If baking right away, the cookies should be 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, and should be baked for about 9 minutes in a 350° oven.
If freezing, place cookies right next to one another on one cookie sheet, and freeze for at least 30 minutes until firm, then transfer cookies to a self-sealing plastic freezer bag.
You can pull them out as needed and bake them directly from the freezer in a preheated 350° oven for about 11 minutes.