Tuesday, November 29, 2011

shirt coat

I have a few pieces of clothing that confuse me. And it seems that this is the week I have decided to wear all of them. Yesterday, my ninja pants. Today, my shirt coat. This Elie Tahari top goes to the top half of my thigh, but it only has three snaps in the center so it does open up above the pelvis. Hence, it is not a dress. I wore it to my friend's bridal shower in September and decided to pop it on today because it's comfortable and suitable for the continued warm weather.

I've paired it with a Banana Republic black cami underneath (it does require a tank top of sorts) and Theory black cigarette pants. To complete the look I put on my black suede Jimmy Choos, my Ebel watch (a gift from my Dad on my 16th birthday), a set of 3 Pono bracelets, a charm necklace (complete with Tiffany heart charm, a small cameo I purchased next to the Vatican in Rome, and a St. Christopher charm to keep me safe, a gift from my friend's mom while I was studying abroad in Rome), and some RJ Graziano chandelier earrings (silver with a variety of stones).

The highlight of my ensemble is my hair! I didn't want to take the time to straighten or curl it - so up it went in a sweeping french braid, with a loose tail. What do you think?

Monday, November 28, 2011

ninja pants

Okay, folks - updating the picture here. Too much background space... plus with this version you can just make out my manicure!! It's "Candy Apple Mint" by Essie and "Here Today... Aragon Tomorrow" by OPI with diagonal lines. I was inspired by Penny's nails on an episode of "The Big Bang Theory".

You might remember these pants from an old post in September. I mislabeled them, they're actually Elie Tahari and rather than being referred to as "genie pants" they have now been coined my "ninja pants"! What's funny is that my mom called me as I was getting ready for work this morning (she's headed to the RJ Graziano and Theory sample sales in NYC today!! Hopefully Santa finds me something good to put under the tree!!) and I told her I was wearing my "ninja pants" and she knew exactly what I was referring to!! So apparently the description is really spot on. They're pretty loose on the hips and thighs, and more tapered at the ankles. It has an attached belt which I had some issues tying but figured out something suitable.

Today's high is 66 degrees, unseasonably warm for the end of November so I decided to give these a try. They're cropped above the ankles and a nice light fabric. I've paired them with a tight-ish Elie Tahari tank top, Tory Burch cotton blazer, and Prada black patent pumps. It's a comfortable outfit which is key after returning to work from a nice, long 4-day weekend!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

being thankful

This weekend I was lucky enough to sit back, relax, and really enjoy the holiday. My office was closed on Thursday and Friday. After a long month of late nights at the office and weekends traveling to friends' weddings I vowed that I would take this long weekend as a time to recharge at home. I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to enjoy some time off from a job I love, spend  quality time with family, and indulge my creative side a bit. (The picture above is the output of my creative juices on Saturday night!)

Among other things, I am so grateful for the friends in my life. They have taught me not to take things for granted, slow down every once in a while, and enjoy the little moments. Thank you all for your friendship.

engagement chicken

One of our favorite go-to dishes for dinner is "Engagement Chicken". This is a really popular recipe on Epicurious - which is a great website and app, if you haven't used it to search for recipes yet, I highly suggest it.

I first made it during a dinner party last month and it was a hit. Plus, it's so simple and requires so few ingredients;

  • Chicken (approx. 4 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 lemons (1 for garnish)
  • Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, or sage)

Preheat the oven at 400 degrees. Wash and pat the chicken dry. Pour the lemon juice over the bird, both inside and out. Use sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper both inside and out. Prick two of the lemons with a fork a few times and put them in the bird's cavity. (You can also put some fresh herbs in the cavity!) Lower the temperature to 350 degrees, rest the bird breast down in a roasting rack and cook for 15 minutes. Flip the bird over, breast side up, and cook until the internal temperature is 180 degrees. It should take approximately 18 to 20 minutes per pound plus 15 minutes for the lemons inside. Let the bird stand for 10 minutes then carve. Place the sliced meat on a plate with a sliced lemon and fresh herbs, don't forget to pour the pan drippings on top!! And voila... so delish!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

tasty noms

I was really inspired by all things in the kitchen this past Sunday!! First I decided to make the spicy bolognese sauce we are having for dinner tonight. The idea was to cook the sausage when it was fresh and then store two containers in the freezer. The sauce is a bit time intensive, so cooking it on Sunday is better than a work night!

While Ross went to the gym I perused our new copy of Everyday Food by Martha Stewart. In here, I came across a recipe for homemade granola. I made it with oatmeal and almonds mixed with honey, oil, butter, and brown sugar. After it baked I added craisins and yellow raisins. So delicious :)

After browsing through our pantry and finding some ingredients I forgot we had I realized I was able to put together the "Buttermilk-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits" also from Everyday Food. They look more like scones since the batter is a little looser than typical biscuits and you don't need to use a cookie cutter. And ooooh these are so good! I made some honey-butter to put on these, but so far have just used raspberry jam.

Then it was time for dinner! We had pork tendeloin in a teriyaki sauce and a whole grain couscous. I thought a vegetable stir-fry was appropriate to add. Just look at all the colors here! We've got Brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, onions, carrots and garlic. Nom nom nom.

ooh la la!

I had a lot of fun dressing up for my trapeze show!! You can't see the costume very well in the video so I'm posting pictures from the dress rehearsal. Michelle and I had complimentary versions of each others outfit. Ooh la la!!

 Matching Moulin Rouge Ladies
Long Limbs

Monday, November 21, 2011

the elevator is my runway

Two shots for you today!! 1) Outfit 2) plus coat!!

When I got to work, I was second guessing my decision to wear a turtleneck, but as the day went out this outfit proved to be comfortable, functional, and fashionable!

  • Elie Tahari brown cashmere short-sleeve turtleneck sweater
  • Louis Vuitton belt
  • Theory brown pants (love these!! They are so long!)
  • Cole Haan brown leather ankle boots
  • Michael Kors gold watch
  • Various brown leather bracelets from street vendors in Florence, Italy

  • Burberry white quilted trench coat, mid-thigh length
  • Mulholland luggage collar shoppers tote purchased via Rue La La!
  • Copco orange travel mug :) (Most of my beverage containers are orange!)

trapeze show!!!

Finally, after 10 weeks of practice up high the TSNY DC Fall Show arrived!!! We had so much fun preparing for our entrance, tricks, and exit. Our theme was Moulin Rouge and Michelle, aka "DJ Straddles", hooked us up with some awesome tracks to fly to!

Here's a picture of Rebecca, Shannon, and me before the show in our "dress blacks". Can you sense our excitement??

Here's the video of our entrance... we were so nervous it came out a little sloppy :-P

Doesn't everybody look so great in their trapeze gear?!?!

Here's my trick :) Honestly... I was so nervous that I blacked out before I went into my position. I just remember landing in the net knowing I had caught it!! Lots of adrenaline running through me. Also, I don't mind admitting that I have never before done a split with my left leg forward. Oh well, at least we caught it! (Look how happy I am afterwards!)

And, here is our exit! I just love how Will and Harold say goodbye at the end :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

wine club

Our building just started a wine club!! Last night was our first event. We all met in the building's meeting room with our favorite "go-to" wine, information about it, and a snack!

Everybody shared why they liked the wine, where to buy, how much it costs, and any other interesting details. Ross and I brought Copppola Claret and Mondavi Meritage. The Coppola is my Dad's favorite wine and we can pick it up for less than $13 at the Costco in Arlington!! The Mondavi is a blend that I (thought I) remembered drinking in college. Sidenote: I was not a Franzia fan, I grew up drinking wine at dinner with my family so for me drinking wine in college was a lot different than my peers. At last night's wine club I found out Mondavi was sold to Constellation, the same company behind Manischewitz. Something tells me I won't be drinking any Mondavi for a while.

Of course I brought my very favorite snack to share with folks; apples, cheese, and pretzels. I even wrote a note so that they stacked all three items together :)

daily wardrobe

Wednesday was so hectic - party planner central for me!! I organized a lunch tasting to select a caterer for my company's Winter/New Year party next month. And at night I put together a social for former government executives. I was all over the place so I needed an outfit that was smart and comfortable!! I switched between rain boots, heels, and flats throughout the day.

I did a big relaxed curl in my hair that morning to keep it out of my face and avoid that "falling" look at 5 pm since I would be busy until 9.

  • Black velvet beaded necklace - doubled up
  • Tory Burch white blouse with ruffles
  • Theory gray raw silk skirt
  • DKNY damask textured tights in black/gray
  • Tory Burch black velour flats with grossgrain ribbon beneath medallion

Here's a little snapshot of dessert at Wednesday's lunch. I quickly learned one bite of each was the best method...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

elevator ride

So I'm a stairs kind of girl, which is why my daily outfit posts have been slacking. I'll try harder... I promise.

Snapped this bad boy on a one floor ride and barely got it in before the doors opened up! That could have been awkward :-/

Today we've got:

  • Necklace, RJ Graziano -- sample sale in NYC, these are the BEST!!
  • Rebecca Beeson top, most likely purchased at Loehmann's ;-)
  • Banana Republic skirt - it's a fine black with beige herringbone
  • DKNY sheet black stockings
  • Oscar de la Renta leopard furry flats

charleston: in review

This past weekend Ross and I celebrated our friend's Dave & Erin (check out her blog I Am Quirky) wedding in Charleston, SC. This is such a beautiful town to host a wedding! While not dancing the night away with my sexy groomsman ;-) I kept myself plenty busy...

A delicious lunch at Magnolia's when we arrived Friday afternoon. We tried Cru Cafe and Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B.) but the waits were too long and we were hungry!

Shopping at the Charleston City Market!! We were able to pick up a few Christmas gifts here :) (PS - I'm almost done Christmas shopping... I think I'll save the last few items and pick them up during my trip to Paris next month!!)

Manicure and mimosas with the other Groomsmen's dates!! We had so much fun :) The polish is "Sew Actually" by Essie, and I even got the manicurist to add a subtle glitter accent on my fourth finger!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

have your cake...

I was just browsing through the marvelous blog Hostess with the Mostess when I came across this wedding cake!! I'm obsessed, it looks just like my blog/Twitter/YouTube background. Too bad my birthday just passed, otherwise I might actually try to recreate this guy :)

how to post a comment

Some friends have asked how to leave a comment with their name if they don't have an account from the drop-down list! You can choose the "Name/URL" option from the drop-down, type in your name, and leave the URL text box blank. Easy peasy :)

Please leave comments! I promise to answer :)

off center plaid nail art

To achieve this look I used "topless & barefoot" and "wicked" from essie, and painstackingly cutting 40 little strips of scotch tape!

  1. Prep your nails by cutting, filing, buffing, etc. 
  2. Cut out thin strips of scotch tape so they're ready when you are! (This is easier to do with dry nails!)
  3. Use a clear base coat to protect your nail beds.
  4. Choose a base color that will show through as the thin lines of plaid. I went with "topless & barefoot" by essie.
  5. Use a quick-dry top coat to seal the base color. Wait a few minutes so that it is dry and you don't remove polish with the scotch tape.
  6. Create a cross-hatch of tape on the nails of one hand. 
    • Before you lay the tape on your nail, lightly press it on your palm to remove some of the adhesive, this will help to avoid removing polish. 
    • First lay down the horizontal strips of tape, then lay down the vertical strips.
    • I chose to do an off-center pattern. 
    • Using an orange stick, lightly press the tape so that the edges are adhering.
  7. When the tapes are all ready on one hand, use your top color and paint across your nail. Don't paint too roughly because polish can seep under the tape ;-) I used "wicked" by essie for this.
  8. Be patient! Wait about ten minutes for the top color to set.
  9. Slowly peel back each piece of tape individually.
  10. Cover your nail with a top coat.
  11. Repeat steps 6 through 10 for your other hand.

Polish slipped under the tape :( This is still a work in progress, as you can see. When I finished I cleaned up the skin around my nails using a little brush and some acetone!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

vanilla chai lattes

Hot drinks are one of my interests. Sometimes I'll choose a menu option based on my outfit (I think to myself, "If I saw me walking down the street holding a Starbucks cup, what would be in it?"). It's weird, I know. But my outfit is usually related to my mood, which is usually related to my preference for hot drinks. What's that mathematical relationship called? If A=B and B=C, then B=C. Can't remember... thanks high school algebra!

Back to hot drinks... one of my guilty pleasures is the vanilla chai latte. This is not a drink you can order in any coffee shop. In fact, it's not on Starbucks' menu! So whenever I do stumble across it, it's like the most fabulous thing that has ever happened to me :) When I'm in State College I'll head to Saints Coffeshop. When I'm in DC I head to Open City, sort of a glorified diner/wine bar/coffee bar. Haven't found a place in NJ... yet.

Yesterday was really busy, I worked from our kitchen table for nearly 12 hours because I never found the time to get dressed and commute!! I got a chill around 5pm and whipped up a homemade vanilla chai latte. Big Train Chai is the best, and the directions are really easy - printed right on the back!

Got all my supplies, ready to go!
 Measuring out the milk.
 Adding some water to the mix.
 After letting the milk/water get hot, I slowly add in the Vanilla Chai mix.
 Whisk to combine.
Pour and enjoy!! :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

UV free gel manicure at home

On October 27th I wrote about the gel manicure set that I purchased from Bed Bath & Beyond! Last week I planned to wear my half moons to Rebecca's wedding however, by Thursday afternoon my nails were chipped and beyond repair. So after going to Junior League, making dinner, finishing some work at home, and packing my weekend bag I took off the polish and decided to try the gel manicure! I was excited since it would dry really fast and I could then go to sleep at a somewhat reasonable hour.

A few short minutes later I couldn't see. Do you react badly to chopping onions? This was 100 times worse. I was squeezing my eyes shut because they were burning from the strong unpleasant odor of this product. When I did open them I had tears streaming down my face. Unfortunately it was nearly 11:30 PM and we were hitting the road at 8:00 AM, so I felt as if there was no other option for my nails at that point. I spent the next 30 minutes applying the Activator and Gel Polish without breathing.

The photo of my finished left hand actually looks pretty good; the nails look shiny. However, I was less than impressed in person. It wasn't a clean, solid, shiny finish... it kind of reminded me of working with old nail polish.

Also, my last note is around the level of skill required to apply this. I've been painting my own nails since high school so I have practice with a brush in both hands and I still found this rather difficult. I did use a little eyeshadow brush (shown in the picture above) with 100% pure acetone to clean up my skin around each nail, but I found that each nail had a different thickness of polish which slightly irritated me.

All in all, I do not recommend this product. It was not worth the pain in my eyes and nose, the frustrating application process, or dealing with chipped nails two days later!! Instead, I suggest you get a Shellac or Axxium gel manicure at a salon... and don't forget to apply sunscreen to your hands before you go ;-)


Whew - Fall is really kicking my butt!! I've got to learn how to say no to some things. Being overwhelmed both at work and outside of work is taking its toll on me. I love being busy, but I think that I'm reaching my threshold. Promise to publish some nail related posts later this afternoon. We've got UV-free manicure and plaid nail art in the queue ;-)

...words to live by

Thursday, November 3, 2011

new dessert to try

Came across this photo on facebook and I'm totally intrigued. Definitely want to try this out, though I need to think of a good event where it works.

The buns are made from yellow cake, and the patties are made out of chocolate cupcake. The "lettuce", "mustard", and "ketchup" are all icing, as are the "sesame seeds". Since there's no icing on the top of it, I think using icing in the middle for the condiments, etc. was a great idea!

These could be fun at a kids party or a bar-b-q, if only summer weren't so far away!

christmas music

This is a debate I hear every year around this time... is it okay to listen to Christmas music in November? Clearly this is a decision of personal choice. I tend to play some of my favorites ("Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" by N'Sync, obviously!) when I see the first snowflake. Sometimes that's October, sometimes that's November. And I usually listen sporadically until Thanksgiving weekend - then it's nonstop, 24/7 Christmas music straight through to December 25th :)

I'm definitely one of those people that can still listen to Christmas music in January. I absolutely love the holiday season and am not overwhelmed by the hoopla of it all. This week, I'll admit, I did set up a Christmas playlist (including Michael Buble's album because his voice is so magical) and was listening to it all day long.

I believe that stores putting out Christmas paraphernalia in September or October is just outrageous - but it has become such a marketed, commercial, American holiday it doesn't surprise me all that much. 

Have you begun listening to Christmas music? What songs are in your queue?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

half moons

I'm almost out of new nail design ideas! I've just got to grab some matte polish, complete one more design, and I'm all out :( Please share your ideas with me. (Tracy - I promise not to do the converse sneakers!)

Last night I got my nails ready for Rebecca's wedding this weekend! Hopefully it doesn't chip, because if it does I'm going to resort to a solid color which wouldn't be as exciting.

I have seen this design on Pinterest a lot lately. However, I also remember seeing it in some high-end fashion ads about eight years ago!! It was also super popular in the sixties. Plus, Phillip Lim's models were seen wearing it back in February! Seems like a design that's been around for a while and will ebb and flow with the trends.

 Avon polish in "Empower"
Essie polish, don't remember the name :-/

This was pretty difficult to do because I didn't use tape or any type of guide to create the "half moons". If you're trying this out for the first time, expect to get better each time you try it, and make sure you have lots of time and patience!
1. Prep nails for polish, including cutting, filing, clipping, and buffing!
2. Use a base coat.
3. Use your highlight color (silver) and swirl the brush around the top of the bottle to remove the excess polish. Carefully create a half moon shape at the top of your nail... It's okay to get polish all over your cuticles and fingers!
4. Using your base color (navy), remove excess polish and slowly trace around the half moon shape, then in vertical strokes fill in the rest of your nail bed.
5. Do a second coat of color, coming as close to the highlight as possible.
6. Using 100% acetone (so much easier and faster than polish remover) dip a small eyeliner or eyeshadow brush (I have one just for nail polish) into the acetone and trace along the outside of your nails to clean up your finger tips!!
7. Finish it off with a top coat!

today's outfit

The elevators at work are completely mirrored. I'm not sure why, exactly, but yesterday evening I was standing alone in the elevator when I thought "Hmm, maybe I should take a picture of my outfit and post it to my blog!" That thought wasn't executed because the doors opened up about 3 seconds later (no time to whip out my iPhone).

This morning, I found myself alone in the elevator with a quick enough reaction time to snap this one! So, on days where I'm sporting fun outfits and/or happen to ride the elevator alone with iPhone in hand I'm planning to post a picture and tell you what I'm wearing!

Theory black wool blend sweater, Theory black cotton and spandex blend pants, Jimmy Choo black suede pumps, Burberry black leather belt with gold hardware, Michael Kors gold watch, Pono gold ring, necklace unknown, Camelbak orange water bottle ;-)

I really like this necklace! My mom gave it to me, so I'm not sure where it's from. The beads look like little nuts, hence the small markings. And they're attached to a black suede string tying into a knot.