Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Winning Combinations: Cardigans and Belts, Cilantro and Lime

Wearing: For this look, I was recreating this outfit, but with a different cardigan and jeans. I don’t know what it is, but something about this blouse makes me want to put a cardigan on and belt it. I think this version turned out okay, but I like the original outfit better. Something about the jeans and shoes… they just don’t look quite right. Oh well, lesson learned. I do love the colors together though.

Cardigan: Loft; ruffled blouse: Loft; jeans: Loft; earrings: Charlotte Russe; braid belt: Loft; brown platforms: Mia, 6pm.com

Eating: Aaron and I had our own mini-cookout last night. He grilled shrimp and corn, and I cooked rice on the stove. I love the combination of cilantro and lime, so this was the jumping off point for my dinner. I used this recipe for the shrimp marinade, but I substituted ancho chili powder for the dried ancho chile. I loved the way the shrimp turned out—they were spicy and so flavorful!

I’d been drooling over Kitchen Belleicious’ recipe for lime grilled corn, so when corn went on sale this week I knew I had to try it. It was delicious; I love the combined flavors of the sweetness of the corn and the smoky taste from the grill.  

Finally, because one starch just isn’t enough, I made rice. I had Chipotle on mind as I stirred in cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, and a little butter into the cooked rice. How can you go wrong with that? 

What are some of your favorite combinations, either culinary or sartorial?
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Knots, Bows and Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

Wearing: Lately, I’ve liked the look of shirts knotted at the waist. I thought I would try this same idea with a cardigan, and I like the way it turned out. The dress code at work is pretty relaxed, which means that you’ll be seeing a lot of my jeans this summer. I won’t retire my dresses and skirts; I just may not wear them as frequently. (Remember what I said about cold offices? I can’t let my legs freeze everyday!)

Cardigan: Gap; floral button-up: Old Navy; jeans: thrifted Gap; bow hairpin: Forever 21; pink belt: Target; wedges: Jessica Simpson

Eating: I made Peanut Butter Fudge Oatmeal Bars (get the recipe here) to take to the office Friday. I managed to get a picture before I took them, but they disappeared so fast I wasn’t able to get any more. But I take that as a good sign, which is why I’m sharing them with you.

We also had a barbecue Friday night, with a group of Aaron’s students who just graduated. He taught them for two years, and really had a chance to get to know them. It was nice for me to get to know them a little too. And it turns out that a couple of them even read my blog! (Hi Alexandra and John!) We had the standard barbecue fare: hamburgers and hot dogs, along with various side dishes the students brought.

Did you go to any cook outs over the holiday weekend?
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Orange, Queen of Spring

Wearing: This plaid shirt and these jeans were part of my fall casual uniform: they’re both comfortable and easy to throw on. Since the weather has been a bit reminiscent of fall, I thought it would be fitting to wear them but in a more spring-appropriate way. And this year for me, spring equals orange. Therefore, I added my favorite orange necklace and orange sandals. Done and done.

Plaid shirt: Gap; jeans: Loft; orange necklace: Anthropologie; orange sandals: Merona, Target

Reading: I can’t seem to stop myself from talking about books, so I’ll still include a reading section every now and then. I’ve been reading The Other Queen, a book about Mary, Queen of Scots by Phillipa Gregory. She’s the same author who wrote The Other Boleyn Girl, a book I loved. Have any of you read either book? I admit I’ve been disappointed in The Other Queen. For one thing, the pace is a lot slower than The Other Boleyn Girl, which was quite a page-turner. Secondly, I recently read Mary, Queen of Scots by Margaret George, and in my opinion she told Mary’s story better.

Mary, Queen of Scots takes a broad view of the ill-fated queen’s life, while The Other Queen focuses on her time held “captive” by Queen Elizabeth in England. The Mary in the former seems more realistic and is more likeable than the latter Mary. However, I wonder if I only have a negative view of this book because I liked the other so much. Thoughts? Are there any historical fiction novels you’ve read and loved recently?

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Maxi Skirts and Meatballs Equal Comfort

Wearing: When trying to decide what to wear for my first day at the office where I’m working this summer, two things crossed my mind. One, I was told it is a casual environment, so I don’t want to overdress (at least not the first day) and two, offices are usually cold. I’m sure that’s not always the case, but it seems like every time I’ve worked in an office I’ve been miserable if I didn’t have a cardigan or jacket with me, even in the summer. Especially in the summer.

White tee: Old Navy; vest: Gap; maxi skirt: Old Navy; earrings: Charlotte Russe; sandals: BC Footwear

I hate being cold so much that I’ve contemplated bringing a blanket to places where I know it will be cold. Well, I did not embarrass myself by bringing a blanket to my first day of work, but I did bring the next best thing: a maxi skirt. My legs stayed nice and toasty as I typed away. My arms on the other hand, were a little chilly. I guess I should have brought a maxi skirt Snuggie (which I suppose would just be a long-sleeved maxi-dress). 

Eating: Just as a maxi-skirt could be considered comfort-clothes, meatballs certainly are comfort food. Particularly when they’re accompanied by a bowl full of pasta. I made a variation of Rachael Ray’s recipe for veal polpette (mini-meatballs), but since I was on a turkey kick this week (it was on sale) I made turkey polpette instead. If you'd like a printable recipe, go here.  

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Blog Skirt

Wearing: When I saw this skirt at a consignment shop, I grabbed it right away. I felt very attracted by the colors and pattern; then I realized why. It totally coordinates with the background of my blog! Now I suppose that isn’t reason enough to buy a skirt, but I couldn’t walk away since it was also in my size and from a well-made brand (Ann Taylor), not to mention at a great price.

This is what I wore for my last substitute job, possibly ever. I’m a little behind, outfit-wise, because I actually started my summer job today. It’s going to take some time getting used to data-entry land. I’m in front of the computer all day, but I’m not allowed to use it for non-business purposes, so e-mail and blogging are out. It’s a cruel, cruel world.

Blouse: Loft; skirt: thrifted Ann Taylor; earrings: Target; belt: Old Navy; espadrilles: NY & Co. 

Eating: Last night my aunt and cousin were in town, so we went to dinner at one of their favorite places, (and let’s face it, mine too) Ponak’s. I had the puffy tacos, which is pretty much just a fancy way of saying fried. However you want to phrase it, my meal was delicious! Paired with chips, salsa, margaritas and great company, it was quite a night.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm a Rebel: With Color and Lasagna

Let me preface this post by saying that my heart goes out to the people of Joplin, Missouri, whose lives have been torn apart by a devastating tornado. Countless homes have been destroyed, and over 100 lives were lost. If you'd like to help, one place you can go is Heart to Heart International

Wearing: I can’t get enough color blocking with pinks and oranges. Plus, I was hoping that wearing bright colors would encourage the sun to come out—it’s been rainy and dreary lately. 

Cardigan: Loft; ruffle blouse: Express; jeans: thrifted Gap; earrings: Target; belt: Old Navy; wedge sandals: Target

Every year I get excited about wearing spring clothes; they’re always more bright and colorful than winter’s darker hues. However, this year especially seems to be all about color. All the rules about not wearing too many bold colors at once have been thrown out the window, and I love it! That’s why I added the turquoise belt: it’s an unexpected dash of contrasting color. (It’s hard to see but my toenails are painted a similar shade of blue.)

Eating: Rules aren’t just being broken in my wardrobe, but at my dinner table as well. Who says lasagna must be made with ground beef? Who says that it has to take twelve years to make? And who says it even needs to use pasta? Well, the blog Can You Stay for Dinner? rebelled against these lasagna “norms” with her Petite Lasagnas, made in a muffin tin with ground turkey and wonton wrappers. I joined the rebellion and made them for dinner last night. Breaking the rules tastes good.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

New Favorite LBD and Twice Baked Potatoes

Good morning and happy Monday! I’m going to try to start posting in the morning (and writing the night before) to see if that will coordinate better with my new work schedule. It will take some planning ahead on my part, especially for challenges, but I like the idea of morning posts.

Another change I’ve been toying around with has been a new structure for my posts. I really like how Emily of Academia Sartorial divides her posts into Academia (something work-related) and Sartorial (obviously, fashion-related).

Since the focus of my blog is style (Bon Chic) and food (Bon Gastronomique) I thought I might break my posts down similarly. Instead of doing specific style posts and food posts, I would include both elements in each post. This may not always work, but I might try it just to see how it goes. I’d love your input! 

Wearing: Also inspired by Emily (Thank you Emily!) I bought this dress from Target: $20 for a knit black dress that can be dressed up or down? Yes please. 

Cardigan: thrifted Old Navy; dress: Merona, Target; necklace: Dean Harris for Target; belt: Loft; leopard shoes: Merona, Target

Eating: This weekend my husband and I had a stay-in date night, so that we could eat a luxury meal (aka steak) for a bargain. Aaron grilled up some KC Strip steaks (which were $3 off for each thanks to the awesome Target meat guy!) on his new grill. Meanwhile, I made twice-baked potatoes. Cheese, bacon, sour cream… I wish I would have made enough to have leftovers! For my recipe, go here

This is what happens when it's dark out when you're eating but you take a picture anyway. But you get the idea.
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Friday, May 20, 2011

That Dude Looks Like a Lady

It’s time for another Bloggers Do it Better challenge from Kristina at Pretty Shiny Sparkly. And this time, it was an exercise in stepping way out of my comfort zone. I mean come on, a tie? All I can think about is the fourth grade, when I had a black and gold get-up complete with a vest and tie. And no, it wasn’t for a dance recital either—just your average school day.

Chambray Shirt: Old Navy (similar); vest: Old Navy (similar); jeans: Old Navy; tie: Pierre Cardin, Marshall's I think; pink Chuck Taylors: Converse

But, I figured that as long as I went in a completely different direction than that black and gold nightmare, I might give it a whirl. The only problem I had was finding a tie. Sure, I could have planned ahead and hit the thrift store, but instead I decided to try to find something around the house. That left two options: Aaron’s sad tie collection (1995 just called and wanted a few of those back) and the couple ties I had from my short stint as a server at an Italian restaurant. So, the pink tie from the latter pile won out. (If you look closely, you can probably see traces of marinara.)

Here are my final thoughts: Did I have fun with this challenge? Yes, yes I did. Will I ever wear this again? No. I admit I just didn’t feel comfortable; it felt a bit costume-y for me. But am I glad that I did it? Of course!

Song: Dude Looks Like a Lady by Aerosmith
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

So Much to Say

Well, I finally found a summer job. My last substitute job is Monday, and on Tuesday I start as a data entry clerk for a lab. I know, data entry sounds thrilling, and you’re all jealous. No, seriously, I am very thankful; it’s a job that will last all summer, with regular (read: no weekend) hours.

Cardigan: Gap Outlet (similar); ruffled blouse: Loft; cropped khakis: Gap; necklace: Forever 21 (similar); belt: Old Navy (pink version); espadrilles: NY & Co (similar)

Today I’m continuing the copycat theme from Tuesday; I just can’t help myself, I’ve seen so many great outfits I want to make my own! Today I stole this look from J’s Everyday Fashion, a blog I found recently and absolutely love! She has a way of mixing bold colors in a way that is very put together and professional, and her budget-friendly takes on inspiration photos are spot-on. 

I realize this post is very random today, but I also wanted to thank you all for all your tips from Tuesday. Thanks to you, I’ll be buying Downy Wrinkle Release now but saving up for a steamer for later. Also, as soon as the sun decides to come back to Kansas, I’ll be putting lemon juice on my tomato juice stained white pants and setting them out to dry. You guys are such a well of knowledge!

Song: So Much to Say by Dave Matthews Band
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lunch Time: Go Greek (Salad)!

I never worry that I'm not getting enough carbs or dairy in my diet; when it comes to those two food groups, I'm sure I have it covered. However, a gal cannot live on bread and ice cream alone (unfortunately). Yet when it comes to fruits and vegetables, I'm ashamed to say that I probably don't eat as much as I should. 

That's why I'm always on the lookout for salad recipes that are light, healthy, and full of flavor. Let's face it, when salads are just mediocre, you know you'll pass them up in favor of something, anything else. Because I'm a fan of all things Mediterranean, when I saw the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Greek Salad I knew I had to try it. 

Just like all the other recipes I've tried from the kitchen goddess herself, I loved it! It's crunchy, it's salty, it's tangy, it's healthy... and I actually look forward to eating it. I won't be passing over this salad for another helping of carbs or dairy, that's for sure!

For the recipe, go here. (I followed her recipe pretty much exactly, only I left out the onions and used grape tomatoes instead of the larger variety.)
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

You Live You Learn

Here are some things I learned today:
  • Cooking with tomato juice and wearing white pants is a bad idea, even if you’re wearing an apron. Aprons don’t cover everything.
  • I don’t know much about stain removal. (Google, here I come.)
  • Dogs shed a lot in spring.
  • I really hate ironing. Does anyone know if that Downy Wrinkle Remover Spray works?
  • Ice cream tastes even better when you eat it out of a pretty bowl, like these that my best friend gave me for my birthday.
  • Sometimes bullet points make writing more fun.

Striped tee: Old Navy (similar); jeans: Express (similar); earrings: Le Mode Accessories, from Selective Potential Giveaway (same pair in white); floral scarf: Old Navy, gift (similar); brown braid belt: Loft (similar); pewter city flats: Gap; weird, unnatural pose: no idea

I also learned that Liz from 26 and Counting has great style, which is why I decided to copycat her look today. Thanks for the inspiration Liz!

Song: You Learn by Alanis Morissette
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Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm Cold to the Core

After a chilly weekend in the 50s, Monday (and 67 degrees) didn’t bring about its usual dread. Sure, it’s still not my favorite day of the week, but if it comes feeling like spring, I’ll take it.

This outfit is from April, but it’s something I definitely could have worn this weekend. We didn’t see the sun, nor did we see my bare arms or legs. I love this cozy, but still lightweight, sweater, and navy paired with turquoise is something I can’t get enough of. I actually made this necklace a long time ago, from an old t-shirt (I used Keira’s tutorial). I’ve worn it several times, but for some reason it seems to be camera shy. 

Navy sweater: Gap (similar); jeans: Loft (similar); t-shirt necklace: self-made; gold braid belt: Loft (similar); turquoise flats: Nine West (similar)

Because of the cold (or at least that’s what I’m blaming), I was thoroughly lazy this weekend. What was it like for your weekend? Were you able to enjoy the outdoors, or were blankets your best friends?

Song: Rumour Has It by Adele
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

But Time is Gonna Change

Because it’s May, I can’t help thinking about how my days as a substitute teacher are numbered. In some ways, I couldn’t be happier; I won’t miss sitting at the computer trying to quickly snag a job, or feeling like I wasted my time when I spent hours looking and got nowhere. I won’t miss the fact that I never get to know students because I’m only with them for an hour or two on a given day. I won’t miss students, ignoring the name neatly written on the board, calling me Miss Sub.

Olive button-up: Gap (I have to do a little bragging here, I paid $10 for this shirt); denim pencil skirt: Converse One Star, Target (similar); necklace: Oh Sweetlee Me (from Much Love Illy giveaway); brown braid belt: Loft (similar); snake print sandals: Ann Taylor Factory Store, gift (similar)

However, the overwhelming majority of my experience as a substitute has been a positive one. Most of the people (including students) I meet on a daily basis are friendly and helpful. I will miss getting to do something different every day, and knowing that if things don’t go well with one class I’ll get to start fresh the next day with a new one. I’ll miss all the free time I’ve had because I didn’t have to take home any grading or planning. And let’s face it, I’ll miss all the reading I’ve been able to get done.

I know this has nothing to do with what I’m wearing, but it’s something that’s been on my mind lately. What about you, how do you feel when you leave one job to start another?

Song: This is the Time by Billy Joel
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