Monday, September 1, 2014

New Look, New Name Coming Soon

Earlier this year I talked about how much I wanted to make a change to this space. Now, thanks to Veronika of By the Shore designs, my wish has been granted.

Tomorrow morning for about an hour my blog will be under construction as Veronika gets the new design finalized. Stay tuned for a new look and a new name! 
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekly Eats: Around the World

When I plan meals for the week, I try to include a variety of types of cuisines. This week was no different, with an all-American burger, a Peruvian beef stir-fry, and Mexican(ish) taquitos. 

1. Barbecue chicken burgers from How Sweet it is. Not surprisingly, I substituted turkey for chicken in these, simply because I already had some. Also not surprising, this was a recipe I tried because Anne sang its praises not too long ago. She was right, this burger was scrumptious! Jona even had his own mini-burger, but I'm almost positive he would have eaten a regular-sized one!  

2. Peruvian Beef Stir-Fry from Skinnytaste. I made this with rice instead of oven fries, but let me tell you, it was delicious! Add it to the (long) list of stir-fry dishes we love. It's pretty simple--just beef, veggies, and a sauce made with just apple cider vinegar and soy sauce--but so flavorful. And once again, Jona ate the beef like it was going to jump off his high chair and run away. (He strategically avoided the red peppers though, little stinker.)

3. Baked Honey Lime Chicken Taquitos from Six Sisters' Stuff. This was another quick dinner, since I already had some shredded chicken ready to go. These were good with the dipping sauce I didn't get a picture of: a sour cream/enchilada sauce mix. And I swear, we eat vegetables other than corn! I had to do some menu-rearranging this week so corn was the easy go-to. 

What was on your menu this week? 

By the way, I'm taking Monday off from the blog to enjoy the day with my family. I'll be back on Tuesday to talk about my fall capsule wardrobe. Have a wonderful weekend! 
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

New LBD and eShakti Review

A little black dress is definitely a closet staple for me. However, the one I had just wasn’t cutting it anymore. It didn’t fit quite right, and the neckline was a little low, so I didn’t feel comfortable wearing it without some sort of cover-up at work. When eShakti contacted me about doing a product review, I thought they would be the perfect place to find a replacement LBD.

eShakti is known for their custom tailoring, so I hoped that even if I didn’t find perfection, I could make perfection happen through customization. I made a couple of adjustments to the dress I chose: I made the sleeve length longer (it originally had cap-sleeves) and the dress length slightly shorter (above-the-knee rather than knee-length). Although I can’t say that it’s exactly what I was looking for, I will say that I do really like it. I was very impressed by the quality of the dress; it’s very well-made. The sleeve-length and neckline are exactly what I wanted. It’s perfect on its own right now, but it will also layer well under jackets and cardigans when it gets cooler. I only have one complaint, and it’s a small one. While I love the idea of pockets on a dress (who doesn’t love pockets?) I think if I had to choose again I would have eliminated them (which is also an option). I think they add a little bulk to the hip-area of the dress, and since it’s already a full dress, I’d like it to be a little smoother there.

The ordering process went very smoothly as well. Once I found the dress I wanted it was easy to customize and order, and it shipped a lot more quickly than I thought it would. I did have a little trouble choosing a dress; several of the options I first picked I was not able to try due to “fabric supply”. Otherwise, my experience with eShakti has been an overwhelmingly positive one.

Here’s the real test: yes, this dress is going into my Fall Capsule!

Have you tried eShakti before? What was your experience?

Dress: c/o eShakti; belt: Gap Outlet; sandals: Target; #StyleMeAugust "Hollywood's Golden Era"

Linking up to Summer Style at Mix & Match Fashion.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mid-Week Pick Me Ups: End of Summer

Days have felt long lately, and the heat has kept us trapped indoors. Instead of turning this post into a whine-fest (although a wine fest sounds good!) I'll focus on some positives. Here are a few things that have been turning my frown upside down lately.

1. Ice cream for lunch. Excuse me, frozen custard for lunch. Sometimes, it just has to happen. When it's sweltering and there's a Sheridan's Frozen Custard less than 5 minutes from my work, well, an ice-cream obsessed girl's willpower only goes so far.  

2. Space in my (tiny, shared) closet. Like actual space to slide the hangers back and forth. I didn't even know that was possible! I have hangers that I'm not even using! Sorry for the excessive exclamation points, but you should have seen it before. Aaron can actually see his clothes now. It may have technically been a shared closet before, but up until now my stuff took up about 80% of the space, and I'm not even exaggerating. 

It's not just me who has a stripe addiction, is it? 

3. Jona on his first "bike". So he may not quite have the whole "push with my legs to make it go" thing figured out yet, but he looks too cute sitting there! Thanks Papa Gary and Grandma Gail for the sweet ride! 

4. Counting by 7s. The last book I read (Lark & Termite) left me a little perplexed. There were many things I enjoyed about it; the writing style, for instance, was beautiful and evocative. However, I frequently found myself trying to figure out what was actually going on, you know, with the plot. By contrast, I recently started Counting by 7s, which has been refreshingly easy to read and sink into. Heartbreaking, but absorbing nonetheless. 

5. Kitchen deals at Ross. I've blogged about Ross before. I've shopped at Ross before. But when I visited their newest store in the area (this one is fairly close to where I live), I discovered something I had overlooked before. They have so much kitchen stuff! When I went last weekend, I was getting ready to tackle my closet, so I thought it may not be a good idea to bring home more clothes (or shoes) for my already overstuffed closet. So with a tear in my eye, I wandered past the shoe selection and found myself surrounded by pots and pans and utensils, all at amazing deals. I got all these name brand, much-needed items for $25. How awesome is that? Thanks Ross! 

What has been making you smile lately? 

I was provided a $25 gift card to Ross as compensation for this post. However, all opinions are my own. 
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sundae Style: Jeans + Tee Shirt

After I cleaned out my closet this weekend and donated enough to clothe a small village, I had a brief panic attack. What if I got rid of too much? What if I donated something I'm going to want later? Will I get bored with the seemingly tiny selection left in my closet? Then I started thinking about how much I love the clothes that are left in my closet, and how wearable and versatile they are, and I started to calm down.

For example, I love a jeans + tee combination like I wore the other day, because with the right accessories it's far from basic. If an outfit were an ice cream sundae (yes, I went there again), the jeans and tee would be the base flavor. The accessories would be the yummy toppings that turn the sundae up a notch: the whipped cream, the chocolate sauce, the cookie get the picture. 

Here are a few of my favorite style flavors: 

Sundae #1: Funky Feminine 

Sundae #2: Colorful Classic

tee jeans / necklace blazer / pumps

Sundae #3: French-inspired

What "toppings" would you add? 
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Gray Lace Top 2 Ways

You know you're getting old when the highlight of your weekend was cleaning out your closet. But felt amazing. I donated four (yes, four!) trash bags full of clothes. And that's not counting another bag that I'm going to try to sell to a consignment shop. It's amazing how much stuff I've accumulated over the years. 

One thing that was spared the donate pile though was this gray lace top. I think it makes any outfit feel a little more special. I love to mix it with contrasting styles, like a cargo vest or a chambray shirt. 

For work I wanted to look casual, yet professional. Alone the lace top and denim pencil skirt are ladylike, but the cargo vest and strappy flat sandals add a little funk. My inspirations were the Inspiration Monday picture at Two Birds and the #StyleMeAugust prompt "Ladylike lace love." 

Cargo vest: Old Navy; lace top: Loft; denim pencil skirt: Target; black sandals: BC Footwear

Over the weekend, my lace top was the contrasting piece between double denim layers. 

#StyleMeAugust "darling double denim" look: chambray shirt: Madewell; lace top: Loft; jean shorts: Loft; sandals: Loft

Linking up to Mix it Mondays & Inspiration Monday
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Weekly Eats: Dos and a Don't

Here are the highlights (and one low-light) from our dinner table this week: 

1. Vietnamese Caramel Pork Stir Fry from How Sweet it is: We eat quite a bit of "fake out take out" Asian stir-fry type dishes. They're usually quick to make, and it's an easy way to add some veggies to a meal without making a separate side dish. This version is one that's become a recent favorite. I think it's the toppings that make it stand out: it's delicious on it's own, but the lime, cilantro and peanuts make it absolutely drool-worthy. Put this one on the DO list!

2. Skillet Lasagna also from How Sweet it is (love that blog!). You may vehemently disagree, but I think this beats "real" lasagna any day of the week. It's quicker and easier, plus the way the fresh mozzarella on top gets all melty in the oven...mmm, heaven. I've lost count of how many times I've made this dish; it's definitely a keeper in my house! 

3. Baked Honey Chicken Tenders from Six Sisters' Stuff: This chicken was flavorful and easy to throw together (I didn't marinate for as long as they recommended but it still tasted good!). The only downside was that I baked it a little too long and the chicken got a bit dry. I imagine if you replace the super-lean tenders with drumsticks or even thighs in this recipe, the result would be juicy chicken that's packed with flavor. 

4. I'll share a fail that wound up on our DON'T list. Most of the time I ignore the cooking times on slow cooker recipes. (Cook for 6 hours? Well I work an 8+ hour day, so that just isn't happening.) However, I learned my lesson with slow cooker turkey meatballs. I'm positive that if I would have followed the directions, these would have been awesome. But even on low, after a full day of slow cooking, those poor meatballs had all the moisture and flavor sucked right out of them. Luckily Jona didn't seem to mind. Aaron and I were picking at our plates, and meanwhile that kid was practically inhaling the meatballs! At least they didn't completely go to waste. 

What was on your menu this week? 
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