Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dress for Less

I think one of my main goals of this blog is to make sure women feel beautiful in their clothing. Not just, 'omg i love your top' beautiful, more like 'I can take on the world today' beautiful. And I wanted to accomplish that without showing outfits out of any normal woman's budget. Sometimes that can be difficult, but with a little patience you can have your perfect outfit and still have money left over to buy yourself a cosmo or a grilled cheese or both.

One of the original low-budget shops that we all know and love is Old Navy. Whether its the rubber flip flop or the American flag t-shirt, we all recognize Old Navy style. Their fall lineup is pretty cozy looking; let's take a look shall we?

I'd like to pair this cardi with a black tissue turtleneck from J Crew and live in it all season!
Old Navy, Short Sleeve Capes, $34.50

Just yum.
Old Navy, Tall Heel Boot, $49.50

I'm usually not one for nude colored shoes but with this studded-detailing it can be dressed up, down, and in between! The price is pretty wild too.
Old Navy, Studded Faux-Leather Ballet Flats, $19.50

I'd pair this with just about anything: boots, tights, flats, vest, sweater, you name it.
Old Navy, Tweed Mini Skirt, $26.50

This fun dress is for weekends or a casual office. Also loving that its machine washable
Old Navy, Argyle V-neck sweater dress, $36.50

I find the little pin-tuck pleats near the shoulders really sweet.
Old Navy, Cropped Rosette Cardigan, $22.99

Monday, August 30, 2010

Jess LC

Today I was lucky enough to be featured as a guest blogger on Jess LC's site Makeunder My Life. I greatly admire Jess as a twenty-something on a mission, so as a thank you for taking a chance on me- I wanted to share some of her jewelry pieces that I love the most.

In 2008 Jess LC's jewelry was being sold in over 100 stores nationwide, and now women everywhere (Including Bachelorette Ali!) are scooping up pieces left and right!

This is my favorite of all of her necklaces. I just love the simplicity and grace Jess was able to show through her Armitage collection. Armitage Two Strand Three Link Necklace $42

This necklace is cute and you're doing good by wearing it! A portion of the proceeds go to "Bright Pink" which is a non-profit that provides education and support for women with breast and ovarian cancer. The Pink Lemonade Necklace $40

I love the cool funkiness of these earrings- totally ready for jeans, black pants, or a bridesmaid dress. Division Teardrop Earrings $50

I love the Franklin collection because it features braille on one side and text in English on the other. Franklin DREAM BIGGER Braille Necklace $58

Friday, August 27, 2010

Don't try too hard

I am by no means a cosmo connoisseur nor would I consider myself a person that makes a great mixed drink of any kind; however I appreciate one. Especially on these last days of summer, before football/beer season starts, who doesn't appreciate a well concocted mixed martini?

One of my favorite things of summer are happy hours with a great cocktail menu. Something different and flashy to fill your glass with instead of your usual do-it-yourself vodka tonic. But then there are those restaurants or bars-very few of them but you know them- that have the most ridiculously expensive (even at happy hour) and unappetizing martinis. They're just trying too hard. Take for instance a restaurant the bf and I will be visiting tonight, which shall remain nameless- their cocktail menu features:

-Wasabi and Amaretto sour $9.00 Amaretto di Saronno, lime, Angostura, sugar
and wasabi paste topped with wasabi almonds
-Lychee and roses $11.00Bombay Sapphire, rose petals, lime and lychee juice
-Passion fruit and almond $10.00Martell cognac, Amaretto di Saronno, passion fruit puree’, almond and cardamon seeds

Seriously? Who enjoys seeds in their martini? And Wasabi paste? (pictured above) Blech, nasty.

So after looking at that menu, I decided to write about a more appropriate cocktail menu. Here are some of my favorite summer cocktails:

-Acai of Relief (Commissary): Absolut Berri Acai Vodka, Blueberries, Pom Juice, Sprite
& Lemon...on the rocks
-Ruby Slipper (Commissary): Absolute Ruby Red, Triple Sec,
Passion Fruit Juice & Pom Juice...straight up
-The Clementine (Founding Farmers): A delicious blend of fresh lime juice, pineapple juice, agave nectar and Siembra Azul Reposado Tequila that has been infused with Clementines and Fresno chiles. Garnished with a flamed orange twist.
-Basil Bell (Acadiana): Tanqueray Rangpur Gin, muddled basil, fresh lime, simple syrup and a splash of lemon-lime soda
-Salty Dog(Farmer and Fishers): Cap Rock Organic Vodka and grapefruit juice served on the rocks with a salted rim

See? These are delicious, refreshing and I can pronounce every ingredient. So cheers to this beautiful weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Let it Shine

Yesterday was dots, today is sparkle. It's almost Friday, you're almost in weekend mode, it's almost Labor Day weekend, it seems as though we need some sparkle.

Who doesn't love a little sparkle? It's a conversation starter, it matches everything and it comes in shoes, dresses, tops, purses, you name it.

Let it shine ladies.

Gap, Glitter Ballet Flats, $49.50

Macy's, XOXO Dress, $59

Nordstrom, Jessica McClintock Pattern Clutch, $78

Nordstrom, As U Wish Wave Dress, $58

Filtre, Sequin & Pleat Top, $31.90

Chuck Taylor, 'Sparkle' Sneaker, $59.95

Kate Spade, Charm, $325*
*yeah right I know

Kate Spade, Single Ball earrings, $95

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dots are the New Stripes

Who doesn't love polka dots. You might as well say I hate puppies if you hate polka dots. They're adorbs, they make you smile, and the can be dressed up or down. Dots whether big and punchy or pinpoint and tiny are making a big comeback this fall and I personally love it.

Here are some of my favorite pieces that dont scream Minnie Mouse, but will still get some attention:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Last Days of the Flip Flop

I have a strict no flip flop rule that usually falls into place mid to late September. I don't care if it gets back up to 80 on a one day spike- it's fall people, lock it up, toes included. Now I don't have anything against flip flops (outside of the office) in fact they are a great way to showcase a fabulous pedicure. So in these last few weeks of summer lets embrace the flip and the flop as well as take advantage of the sales surrounding it before we have to suffer the eyesore that is the UGG.

J Crew, Jardin Metallic Capri Sandal, $39.99

Jack Rogers, Palm Beach Navajo, $96

Lands End, Solid Suede Flip Flop, $7.99

Amazon, Havainas Slim Animal Print, $23

Online Shoes, Born Linsey, $49.99

Monday, August 23, 2010

Embrace Color

Anyone else feel like the blogosphere has a case of the Mondays today? How are we supposed to stretch our weekends just a few hours longer when our regular blogs offer nothing to wake us up? Maybe it's just me but I'm having a slow read day on my blogroll.

So let's brighten things up a little bit. It's supposed to be rainy for the most part in DC this week, so before we get our canoes ready (again) I want to soak up colors:

OPI polish in "And a Cherry on Top", $9 Modcloth, Bright Idea Dress, $109

OPI polish in "A Grape Fit", $9 Gap, Tweed vest $69.50, Slim crop pants $49.50

Essie polish, "Pink Glove Service", $10 Macy's, Military Double Breasted Jacket, $49

Friday, August 20, 2010

Restaurant Week Outfits of Choice

These are the last few days of Restaurant Week in DC and if you're hungry for a deliciously affordable meal, I suggest putting on your best puppy face and beg because reservations went quickly this year. I for one will be enjoying 1789 in Georgetown tonight with the bf.

This is much fancier than our usual super grilled cheese situation at Stoney's so obviously the main question is: what do I wear? Here are some of my picks for a nicer out to dinner outfit. Keep in mind you want to get the last few wears out of your summer faves while taking into consideration the AC igloo possibility inside the restaurant.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cooking Outside the Box....of Mac and Cheese

I'm no Rachel Ray but I enjoy cooking a good meal. Here are my limitations:
  • it cannot have more than 10 ingredients
  • I don't do herbs
  • if its a spice it better be in a container not any of this fresh stuff
  • cheese makes anything better, as does salt, sour cream or more cheese
  • If it involvs any sort of weird term such as "broiling", "shucking", or "flambe" just forget it
Otherwise I'd say I cook a pretty good meal. I also cook for the bf who prefers cheese on everything while I attempted a year of Weight Watchers last year. How to find a happy medium? I try some fun recipes with simple ingredients and use them in a new way. Here are some of my favorites. What are yours?

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

2-1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 pkg. KRAFT Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
1 cup BREAKSTONE'S Sour Cream, divided
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
12 Flour tortillas (8 inch)
1-1/2 cups TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa

HEAT oven to 350°F.

MIX chicken, soup, 1 cup cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream and 3 Tbsp. cilantro until well blended. Spoon down centers of tortillas, adding about 1/4 cup to each; roll up.

PLACE, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with salsa and remaining cheese.

BAKE 25 min. or until heated through. Top with remaining cilantro and sour cream.

Pasta with Roasted Garlic Cheddar Wine Sauce

8 oz. tube shaped pasta, such as penne
1½ tbsp. butter
¼ cup roasted garlic paste*
1½ tbsp. flour
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets and blanched until crisp-tender
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and cut into bite size pieces

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the roasted garlic paste and cook just until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Whisk the flour into the mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to turn golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Stir the white wine and broth into the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and stir until melted. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Mix in the broccoli florets and chicken pieces, and cook just until heated through. Mix in the cooked pasta until evenly coated with the sauce. Serve warm.

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

HEAT oven to 400°F. Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened.

LAYER chicken, basil, cheese and stuffing in 3-qt. or 13x9-inch baking dish.

BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through. Enjoy now or cover and refrigerate. To reheat, microwave each serving on HIGH 2 to 3 min.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Lease Sign

Today is lease signing day. The bf and I are signing our names on one piece of paper that indicates that we will not only be forced to live and tolerate each other in a shared space but we also will share and divide everything from the Comcast bill to toilet paper. I'm pretty freaking excited actually. A new home, a new space with someone I truly care about and love- what could be better? I wish it was happening tomorrow and not in October.

Okay, maybe not, because as we all know moving is pretty much the king of unforeseen expenses. Moving is the "gotcha!" for bank accounts. You think you have all of your utility accounts sorted, your appliances ready to go, and your storage containers in place then HA! Oh yeah we charge a setup fee, or oh this is the one time charge, or where are we putting you collection of magazines? Yes. It is the worst game of 'you can run but you will never hide from the fee bandit!!!'

Anyway, all in all I think it is going to be fabulous. I have already started several Google Docs about things I need, things I need to donate and just things. I have bombarded the bf with 'do you like this....what about this?' emails; most of which I get back a 'remember there's a guy living with you' replies.

Either way I think today's focus will first be on the leasing agent impression outfit and then we'll do some room inspiration pics.

The lease outfit is what you where to a nice apartment viewing so the leasing agent:
a) thinks you make a lot of money and can totally afford this
b) sees you are a well respected lady who doesn't throw ragers
c) can compliment you on your outfit making you feel more comfortable when you have to ask the 'so there's a trash fee too?' question

Try to look charming, professional and approachable.

Modcloth, Nothing but blue skies dress, $47.99

J Crew, Knotty Pearls, $78

Payless, Montego Bay Stella Gladiator Sandal, $22.99

Banana Republic, Sparkle Bobby Pin, $12

Now some pics for the design/HGTV Star in me to begin to spill out!