Thursday, March 28, 2013

What I wore today: 03/28/2013 (Spring Sunset)

Spring Sunset outfit: striped mariner anchor dress from J.Crew, altered vintage denim vest, brown boots, skinny jeans, wide-brimmed wool hat - Anthropologie "sweaterknit rancher"

Though it's technically been spring for almost a week, we're still having very mixed weather here in Cincinnati. One day it snows, and the next day it's sunny and 60 degrees.

This means that I'm totally wanting to wear dresses and make believe it's warm outside, but I still need to dress in layers and stay pretty covered up. My spring-uniform solution? Wearing dresses of jeans.

Get ready because the dresses over pants thing is very much on its way back (just check the runways if you don't believe me). Don't panic, though; it's an easier look to pull off than you might think. This time around the skirts are shorter and the jeans are skinnier, leading to a more slender, tunic-y silhouette that's much more flattering and less frumpy than the skirts-with-jeans-outfites 15-year-old me wore back in 2003.

A lot of staying warm comes down to simply keeping cold wind out. Dresses over jeans (and indeed long tops and tunics) help, as does tucking jeans into boots. All those gaps where clothing comes together should get more overlap than on warms days. And, of course, extra layers always help. I added this denim vests (just a vintage jacket I cut the sleeves off of) to help elevate the visual interest and the warmth factors all in one go.

Spring Sunset outfit: striped mariner anchor dress from J.Crew, altered vintage denim vest, brown boots, skinny jeans, wide-brimmed wool hat - Anthropologie "sweaterknit rancher"
Spring Sunset outfit: striped mariner anchor dress from J.Crew, altered vintage denim vest, brown boots, skinny jeans, wide-brimmed wool hat - Anthropologie "sweaterknit rancher"
Spring Sunset outfit: striped mariner anchor dress from J.Crew, altered vintage denim vest, brown boots, skinny jeans, wide-brimmed wool hat - Anthropologie "sweaterknit rancher"
Spring Sunset outfit: striped mariner anchor dress from J.Crew, altered vintage denim vest, brown boots, skinny jeans, wide-brimmed wool hat - Anthropologie "sweaterknit rancher"
Spring Sunset outfit: striped mariner anchor dress from J.Crew, altered vintage denim vest, brown boots, skinny jeans, wide-brimmed wool hat - Anthropologie "sweaterknit rancher"
Spring Sunset outfit: striped mariner anchor dress from J.Crew, altered vintage denim vest, brown boots, skinny jeans, wide-brimmed wool hat - Anthropologie "sweaterknit rancher"
Spring Sunset outfit: striped mariner anchor dress from J.Crew, altered vintage denim vest, brown boots, skinny jeans, wide-brimmed wool hat - Anthropologie "sweaterknit rancher"
Spring Sunset outfit: striped mariner anchor dress from J.Crew, altered vintage denim vest, brown boots, skinny jeans, wide-brimmed wool hat - Anthropologie "sweaterknit rancher"
Spring Sunset outfit: striped mariner anchor dress from J.Crew, altered vintage denim vest, brown boots, skinny jeans, wide-brimmed wool hat - Anthropologie "sweaterknit rancher"

Skinny jeans - Pilcro, Anthropologie
"Maritime Anchor Dress" - J.Crew
Brown Boots - Journey's
Denim vest - vintage jacket I cut the sleeves off of
Wide-brim wool hat "Sweaterknit Rancher" - Anthropologie
Long pearl necklace (worn as bracelet) - Nordstrom Rack
Pavé cable link bracelet - J.Crew

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Recipe: Corn-flake migas

Cornflake migas recipe

Growing up in my family, migas were standard breakfast fare. They were our most common way of cooking eggs, and probably our most common breakfast food after cereal.

So, I was quite surprised when I mentioned them to Ryan one morning and was met with a blank stare and the request that I repeat myself. I did. Once again, a blank stare. "What word are you saying right now?" he asked.

I, of course, immediately taught him the pleasures of scrambling your eggs with bits of tortilla chips and cheddar cheese. He responded enthusiastically, and it wasn't long before he'd invented his own bastard version: Mediterranean migas, made with pita chips and feta cheese.

As a purest, I wasn't entirely sold. However, I recognize that the version I grew up with (using tortilla chips instead of tortillas) is its own bastardization of a Tex-Mex dish that is, in turn, a bastardization of a Spanish dish involving day-old bread.

I think what we can all agree on is that scrambled eggs are better with melty cheese and something crispy-crunchy cooked into them.

It was in that spirit, that I devised this corn-flake version one morning when Ryan and I were getting a bit of the 11AM-and-haven't-eaten-yet crankies, and we didn't have any tortilla chips on hand.

Cornflake migas recipe

Ingredients:
eggs
shredded cheddar cheese
corn flakes
butter
salt and pepper
salsa

01. Heat enough butter to cover your skillet's bottom over medium heat.
02. Crack eggs into a bowl, add salt and pepper, and beat with a small whisk.
03. Pour egg mixture into skillet. Top with just enough cheese and cornflakes to cover.
04. Let cook for a while, scrambling with a spatula as you go.
05. Serve with salsa. Or, as my Texas family calls it, hot sauce.

Cornflake migas recipe

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Beauty Tutorial: How to give yourself a caviar manicure

How to do a caviar manicure

If you follow me on Instagram, you are, no doubt, well aware of my love for nail art. I like to do my own nails (it's a nice ritual and a good way to take a little "me time"), and I love trying out new trends.

Instagrammed nails

Some of my favorite recent nail trends include ombré, neon, oxblood, half-moon reverse French, and matte. 

Lately, however, I've been interested in pushing the envelope a bit further and experimenting with 3D nail art. Last Halloween, I glued googly eyes to my nails (but they didn't last long) and, for a costume party, I tried glueing scrapbooking pearls to them with pretty awesome results. 

So, it was only a matter of time before I decided to test drive a caviar-nails kit. The one I bought is called "Nail Rock"and is available at Urban Outfitters for $8.00, but I think you could probably use seed beads, and I'm even considering trying to do it with candy sprinkles. 

Here's how you get the look . . . 

How to do a caviar manicure
How to do a caviar manicure

01. Paint nails with two coats of polish. Before the second coat dries, dip focus nail into caviar beads.
02. Lightly press beads into polish, brushing away excess. You'll want to do this on a smooth surface to simplify cleanup. 
03. Pain remaining nails with a layer of glitter polish. Let dry. 
04. Seal all nails with a clear topcoat. Let dry for a good 20-30 minutes. 

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Winter recipe: pearl couscous salad with chickpeas, blood oranges, purple onions, and fresh mint

Winter recipe: pearl couscous salad with chickpeas, blood oranges, purple onions, and fresh mint

The Anthropologie where I work is in a mall, so when I need to grab a bite to eat, a latte, or an iced tea, I often bop down a few doors to Nortstrom's cafe, eBar. They have surprisingly food, and my favorite is a pearl couscous salad with chicken and oranges.

I'd actually never seen or heard of pearl couscous before, and I'm not a big fan of regular couscous, which always tastes a little dry to me and not chewy enough. But pearl couscous is a different animal entirely. It's actually a pasta made in the shape of little balls.

Since I loved the eBar salad so much, I decided to make it at home . . . only better. Instead of regular oranges, I used blood oranges (those delightfully tart citrus fruits that you can only find this time of year); instead of cilantro, I used fresh mint; and instead of chicken, I added chickpeas, which still provide protein, but are softer and more flavorful that cubes of chicken (not to mention vegetarian-friendly).

Winter recipe: pearl couscous salad with chickpeas, blood oranges, purple onions, and fresh mint

Serves two as a full meal or four as a side.

Ingredients:
2 cups dry pearl couscous
3 cups water
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons butter
2 blood oranges, cut in have and separated into wedges
Half a purple onion, chopped
A handful of fresh mint leaves
A squirt of lemon juice
salt, to taste

01. Put couscous, water, chickpeas, and butter into a pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
02. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all the water is gone.
03. Stir in remaining ingredients.
04. Refrigerate. Serve cool.


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Thursday, March 21, 2013

What I wore today: 03/20/2013 (Hello, Sneaks!)

Hello Sneaks outfit: BC Footwear sneaker wedges from Urban Outfitters, Pilcro jeans from Anthropologie, striped t-shirt, brocade blazer, sparkly suede clutch

These are my third pair of sneaker wedges. The first two are bulky with huge tongues and velcro-strap closures. After resisting the urge to buy another pair for a while, I finally decided that I wanted something with laces and a slimmer, more feminine shape.

This pair fit the bill perfectly. I love the colors and their quilted detailing. I don't usually build an outfit starting with a pair of shoes, but that's exactly what I did here. 

I love this casual look that's all about the details, but I can't wait to create a fun, opposites-attract look by wearing these sneaks with a beige pencil skirt when the weather gets warmer. 

Hello Sneaks outfit: BC Footwear sneaker wedges from Urban Outfitters, Pilcro jeans from Anthropologie, striped t-shirt, brocade blazer, sparkly suede clutch
Hello Sneaks outfit: BC Footwear sneaker wedges from Urban Outfitters, Pilcro jeans from Anthropologie, striped t-shirt, brocade blazer, sparkly suede clutch
Hello Sneaks outfit: BC Footwear sneaker wedges from Urban Outfitters, Pilcro jeans from Anthropologie, striped t-shirt, brocade blazer, sparkly suede clutch
Hello Sneaks outfit: BC Footwear sneaker wedges from Urban Outfitters, Pilcro jeans from Anthropologie, striped t-shirt, brocade blazer, sparkly suede clutch
Hello Sneaks outfit: BC Footwear sneaker wedges from Urban Outfitters, Pilcro jeans from Anthropologie, striped t-shirt, brocade blazer, sparkly suede clutch

Sneaker wedges - BC Footwear, Urban Outfitters
Jeans - Pilcro and the Letterpress, Anthropologie
Striped t-shirt - Anthropologie
Brocade blazer - Anthropologie
Sparkly suede clutch - Anthropologie
Pavé cable bracelet - J.Crew

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What I wore today: 03/17/2013 (Peppermint Patty)

St. Patrick's Day outfit: watercolor dress, embellished military jacket: Anthropologie "Itinerant Anorak", gray tights, gray ankle boots

I don't always wear so, so much green on St. Patrick's Day. But, the day before I went to a party where everyone but me was wearing green, so I felt the need to prove my spirit. Naturally, by the actually day, everyone was over it and I was the only one wearing a lot of green.

Somedays, I just can't keep up with the crowd.

St. Patrick's Day outfit: watercolor dress, embellished military jacket: Anthropologie "Itinerant Anorak", gray tights, gray ankle boots

Crochet applique military jacket "Itinerant Anorak" - Anthropologie
Watercolor-print dress - H&M
Gray tights - Pure and Good
Gray ankle boots - Target
Leather bag - Ralph Lauren


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Friday, March 15, 2013

How to rock the mismatched earrings trend

Mismatched earrings trend

I've mentioned before my recent penchant for wearing mismatched earrings. As a near-exclusive wearer of studs, I find it to be a nice way to add a bit of subtle interest to your look. It's one of those things that a friend won't notice or mention until a good two hours into a hangout session (and many won't notice at all), but, in my experience, it never fails to elicit the "what a great idea!" response.

In addition to being a great way to avoid the choice between two awesome pairs of earrings, wearing mismatched studs is also a great way to extend the life of earrings long after loosing their mates. In fact, in the case of the plain-white-peal stud and rhinestone stud seen below, both are earrings I found, never laying eyes on their mates to begin with.

Mismatched earrings trend

Some of you -- those who love wearing mismatched socks for instance -- probably need no cajoling at this point to mixup your earring drawer and never look back; you might even be excited to try out a more obvious look such a mismatched danglies. 

But, for those of you wondering where to begin and how to keep this trend looking . . . well, intentional . . . I have a few tips to keep in mind. 

The first is that the studs you pick should be relatively similar in size. For example the pavé ball and pyramid above are both about 1/4" in diameter, while the pearl and rhinestone above come in at about 1/8".  In this way, the amount of earlobe showing stays the same on both sides, giving your face an overall appearance of symmetry. 

Another tip is that you should have fun playing with contrasts, which is, after all, the point. In my opinion, the best pairings have just enough similarities (including size) that they work together, but just enough contrast to add visual interest.

For example, in the first photo, both earrings are pavé (a nod to uniformity) but their shape is vastly different: one a smooth sphere, the other all edges and angles. 

In the paring below, the shapes are also vastly different, but the uniform gold color lends a hint of similarity.

Mismatched earrings trend

And here, both earring share a circular shape but differ vastly on their surfaces, one being a sparkly, encrusted pavé, the other pearly smooth. 

Mismatched earrings trend

Finally, I love the idea of clashing the essential attitudes of each earring. Much as I enjoy toughening up a girly dress with a leather biker jacket, the idea of pairing a classically preppy pearl stud with a punky spike is endlessly appealing to me.

Mismatched earrings trend

I hope you have as much fun as I did finding surprising pairings in your jewelry box. And I hope my tips are helpful to those of you that might be a bit tentative when embracing this trend. Vive la mismatch!

Pavé pyramid, pavé ball, golden bee - Anthropologie
Pink pearl - a gift
White pearl, rhinestone - found
Circular spike - Tobi (though not a site I'd recommend) 

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Recipe: homemade bagels four ways

Recipe for homemade bagels four ways: salt, poppyseed, sunflower seed, and asiago

I've made bagels only one other time in my life, and I remembered them as being a bit complicated. They need to rise, then to boil, then (finally) to bake. 

After making them this time around, I can report that the process does take some time, but none of the steps are particularly difficult.  I actually found that the process makes a great, somewhat leisurely, activity for a Saturday morning.

Recipe for homemade bagels four ways: salt, poppyseed, sunflower seed, and asiago
Recipe for homemade bagels four ways: salt, poppyseed, sunflower seed, and asiago
Recipe for homemade bagels four ways: salt, poppyseed, sunflower seed, and asiago

Homemade bagels are a labor of love, and they are well worth the effort. 

In all honestly, these are the best bagels I can remember ever eating. Now, if that's not worth entertaining yourself for an hour while dough rises, I don't know what is.

Recipe for homemade bagels four ways: salt, poppyseed, sunflower seed, and asiago
Recipe for homemade bagels four ways: salt, poppyseed, sunflower seed, and asiago
Recipe for homemade bagels four ways: salt, poppyseed, sunflower seed, and asiago

The recipe I used is from A Beautiful Mess, but instead of topping them with "everything" as Emma did, I decided it would be fun to try four different toppings. 

I chose three traditional varieties: salt, poppyseed, and asiago, as well as indulging a wild hair of inspiration that said, "Sunflower seeds are kind of like sesame seeds except that you're not out of them, so how about giving them a try?"

Recipe for homemade bagels four ways: salt, poppyseed, sunflower seed, and asiago

My favorite were the asiago, which were best right out of the oven. I also really liked the salt (larger-grained kosher salt is a must here), but they didn't hold up as well the next day; somehow all the crunch had gone out of them. The poppyseed made for a nice neutral flavor that tasted equally good with cream cheese as with peanut butter. The sunflower, my wildcard, were alright, but I didn't feel comfortable toasting them because I think the seeds would fall off and get stuck in my toaster, which would not be awesome. 

Recipe for homemade bagels four ways: salt, poppyseed, sunflower seed, and asiago

All in all, it was a great success. I had a lot of fun making, eating, and proudly sharing my bagels, and I'm looking forward to making some again. 

Let me know how your adventures in bagel-making go?

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Monday, March 11, 2013

What I wore today: 03/09/2013 (La Marinière)

La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle
I will always feel a pull toward simplicity, toward the effortless timelessness of dark jeans and une marinière. In fact, striped shirts are such all-stars in my wardrobe, that, much like with gray sweatshirts, I am constantly buying new ones, often each with its own little variation on the classic look. 

There's the black, white, and mint one I wore here, and the red and white one I wore here, the cashmere sweater version see here, and the dress and tunic versions seen here and here

In this outfit, a boatneck-framing ruffle does the legwork. Of course accessories always keep a simple outfit from looking boring. I'm a big believing in piling on the bracelets and the rings. 

La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle

Ryan and I took these photos outside on a unseasonably warm Saturday after running in the park. I hope you enjoyed your weekend as much as I enjoyed mine!

I'm currently working on a fresh design for the blog that should give it a whole new, clean look. I've been wanting this for a while, and I am very excited about the direction the design process is taking. I can't wait share it with you!

La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle
La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle
La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle
La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle
La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle
La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle
La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle
La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle
La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle
La Marinière outfit: marinière striped top, jeans, Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties, sparkly suede clutch, Noir jewelry dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet, J.Crew pavé cable link bracelet, arty ring, neon bangle

Ruffled marinière "striped valance boatneck" top - Anthropologie
Jeans - Pilcro and the Letterpress, Anthropologie 
"Lita" booties - Jeffrey Campbell, Urban Outfitters
Dinosaur bone rib cage cuff bracelet - Noir Jewelry
Sprakly suede clutch - Anthropologie

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