Monday, February 29, 2016

Party Ready Peplum

I know it's technically still winter but it's my birthday next Sunday and I want something party-ready and fun to wear. I really like peplum these days because when you get a fitted top it nips in and flares out at just the right place. Let's have some fun with peplum going out tops.

H&M, Peplum Top, $34
If this isn't a birthday top, I don't know what is. A pop of pink, feminine flare, and a daring but not scary neckline.

Look at these lines! What a beautiful party or black tie top. Just needs the right accessories.

You cannot beat this price. Grab it in the black too.

Lulu's, Pretty Black Top, $39
What a statement top. Look at the flowing ruffle starting at the neckline. Stunning.

Sure it's still sweater weather, but sometimes I need a glimpse into the future. These sleeveless beauties are perfect for play and ready for party any day.

Be fabulous today!

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Foodday

Happy Friday lovebugs!

Here are my favorite recipes this week. 

White Russian
c/o Smitten Kitchen
Ingredients
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) vodka
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) coffee liqueur (such as kahlua or tia maria)
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) half-and-half or 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) milk plus 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) heavy cream


Directions
Fill a short — or rocks — glass with ice. Add vodka and coffee liqueur. Finish with the cream. For the layered effect, pour the cream in a very slow drizzle off the back of a spoon held over — but not touching — the surface of the drink. To swirl it prettily, insert a stirrer along the inner wall of the glass only as a deep as the cream and move it around in a slow circle.


Chicken Fajita Pasta
Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 envelope (3 tablespoons) taco or fajita seasoning
1 cup diced onion (about 1/2 onion)
2 cups diced bell peppers (2-3 bell peppers)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
1 (10-oz) can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
8 oz (about 3 cups) pasta
½ teaspoon salt

Directions
1- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Season with half of taco seasoning. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. 
2- When the oil is very hot, carefully add the chicken in a single layer and cook without stirring until one side is seared and browned, about 1-2 minutes. Flip the chicken to the other side and cook until browned. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
3- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet with the heat still on high. When the oil is very hot again, add the onions, bell peppers, and remaining taco seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are slightly blackened. 
4- Turn heat to low, add minced garlic, and stir until fragrant and well combined, about 30 seconds. Remove the veggies to the plate with the chicken.
5- In the same skillet, add the broth, cream, diced tomatoes, uncooked pasta, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 15 minutes until pasta is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed. 
6-Add the chicken and veggies back into the skillet and stir to combine until heated through, about 2 minutes. 

Chocolate Frosted Blondies
Ingredients
For the blondies:
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
For the frosting:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more as needed*
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment.
  2. Add the butter and brown sugar to a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Stir in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Stir in the flour and salt until well combined.
  5. Spread into the prepared pan and bake for 22 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely.
  6. To make the frosting, put a small saucepan over medium heat.
  7. Stir in the butter, milk, and sugar until melted and bring to a full boil.
  8. Let boil for exactly 60 seconds and remove from the heat.
  9. Stir in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips until melted. Mixture should be pourable, but not super runny. The frosting will thicken up as it cools. If it seems too runny, add an extra tablespoon or two of chocolate chips and stir well until melted into the mixture. Return to heat briefly if needed to melt.
  10. Pour the hot frosting over the cooled blondies and allow to set until hardened, about 1 hour.
  11. Slice and serve!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Year Round Classic

This week we looked at two things that I want to combine today. A classic that you can wear all yearlong. The chambray button down. It's simple, versatile, and perfect for the dead of winter with a crewneck sweater or a hot summer night with white shorts and heels.

Simple and so chic. Wear it with patterned shorts in July and button it up with a statement necklace in October.

Net A Porter, Madewell Cotton Chambray Shirt, $70
Perfect light wash that is unbelievably soft. A lived in shirt. 

I love this look. Wool skirt, tights, and chambray. Effortless.

I like this shirt because the texture has almost a linen look to it. Something less rugged.

Chambray is simple and easy to wear with pretty much anything in your closet. Seriously. Pair it with jeans, shorts, printed pencils, under a cotton dress. You name it. It's your do it all, four season top.

Be fabulous today!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Your Shoes Need A Mint

One color I love for all four seasons is mint. It is a great pastel that goes with jewel tones, black, brown, prints, you name it. Now not all pieces work all yearlong, you're not going to wear a mint cashmere sweater in August. You know what you do need 12 months of the year? Sneakers. You know what color pops? Mint.

Net A Porter, Juvenate Mesh Sneakers, $85
Love. Go from brunch to the gym without changing your shoes.

Picture these with ripped jeans now and a midi skirt in a gingham print in July.

Zappos, Saucony Jazz Low Pro, $50
Mint and cobalt. What a fantastic combo.

What did I tell you about mint and prints? These are very fun.

Sneakers can get pricey quickly but these options don't break the bank. Mint is a versatile color to wear with yoga pants, printed spandex, or jeans!

Be fabulous today!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Never Say Never to Navy

Back to basics today. Some things in the closet are utility pieces. Go to bottoms or tops that are a great canvas. Today we are looking at some of my favorite navy ankle pants. Simple, classic, and a great base for a killer outfit.

Banana Republic, Sloan Fit Slim Ankle Pant, $89 $49
Classic. A great silhouette and waistline. 

A beautiful front seam pant that is going to lengthen your legs and give you a killer tush.

Unusual for a slim cut pant, working pockets! Good work Loft.

Don't hate me, I went a little rogue with this navy pant. It has simple dots on it and I'm not sorry.

Sometimes you want to shop for statement pieces; other times it's staple piece shopping. If you are looking for a do it all pant that isn't denim, navy is your go to.

Be fabulous today!

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Coming Up Lace

It's mid-winter, are we getting tired of sweaters yet? Maybe a little. Why not mix it up with some feminine lace? I love lace for winter because its unexpected. You may think it's too chilly for lace, but layer it up! I've picked out some great long sleeve options that you can wear alone for date night or layer it with a blazer for work.

H&M, Lace Blouse, $39
So many wonderful things happening here, the first of which is the matching camisole is included. What else? Stand up collar, scalloped hem, and trumpet sleeves.

Pair this with pearls and wool pencil skirt or have some fun with a neon statement necklace and jeans.

I love this oversized lace pattern. Very well designed with a scoop neckline.

Anthropologie, Cinched Lace Top, $88
A new take on a simple lace blouse. An elastic waist cinching at your smallest part.

Traditionally winter might be sweater weather, but why not try some lace? It's not just for spring and summer. Mix it with a moto jacket or black denim to toughen up the feminine look.

Be fabulous today!

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Foodday

Happy Friday lovebugs,
Here are my favorite recipes this week!

Chipotle Cherry Bourbon Smash
Ingredients
1.5 oz Bourbon 
5-6 cocktail cherries (Mess Hall Cocktail Co)
1/4 oz lemon juice
2 dashes Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
Seltzer

Directions
Muddle cherries, lemon juice and Tabasco in a rocks glass. Add bourbon and ice. Top with seltzer and give a stir. Garnish with cocktail cherry.
Beef and Pepper Stir Fry
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound steak (sirloin or flank), sliced thinly
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (gluten-free or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce* (use gluten-free substitute below for gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon chill sauce such as sambal oelek (or to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup beef broth (or water)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup green onion, sliced

Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the beef and stir-fry until just cooked, about 2-4 minutes.
  2. Add the peppers and stir-fry until just tender-crisp, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the mixture of the soy sauce, sweet soy sauce sauce, brown sugar, chili sauce, garlic, ginger and the mixture of the cornstarch and water to the pan and cook until it thickens a bit, about a minute.
  4. Remove from heat, mix in the sesame oil and serve over white rice or noodles, quinoa, etc. garnished with the green onions.

Snickers-Inspired Bar Cookies
Ingredients
For the cookie layer:1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick; 4 ounces) room-temperature unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the caramel-peanut layer:4 tablespoons (1/2 stick; 2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (5 1/2 ounces) light corn syrup
1/4 cup (1 7/8 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup (5 ounces) roasted salted peanuts
For the topping:1 cup milk chocolate chips
Maldon salt or other flaky sea salt 
Directions
Make the cookie layer: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar together for 3 to 4 minutes until pale and fluffy.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the egg and vanilla extract until incorporated.
Stir in the flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared pan in an even layer.
Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the dough is firm, golden, and just starting to brown at the edges. Cool on a wire layer until the caramel nougat is finished.
While the cookie layer bakes, make the caramel layer: Melt the butter over medium heat in a high-sided saucepan at least 2 quarts in capacity. Add the corn syrup, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cream. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves completely and the liquid comes to a boil.
Clip a candy thermometer to the pan and cook without stirring until the thermometer reads 246 to 248°F (hard-ball stage). Remove from the heat.
Stir the peanuts into the caramel, then carefully pour over the cookie layer. Let sit for 30 minutes to allow the caramel to firm up a bit.
Assemble the bars: Melt the chocolate chips in a small (1-quart) saucepan or skillet over low heat.
Carefully pour the melted chocolate over the bar, spreading evenly and gently with an offset spatula to cover the entire top. Sprinkle with Maldon or other flaky sea salt, if desired.
Let rest at room temperature for 2 hours, until the caramel has set and the chocolate has hardened.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Paint The Bag Red

Today's post is inspired by the lovely Bf who got me the most beautiful Kate Spade bag ever for Presidents Day. A beautiful red bag is the perfect pop of color to make a statement. It packs a punch with it's lipstick hue and a style that will fit any budget.

Pow. Red, statement, love.

This bag is stunning. It's a great size for the weekend and the combination of a tassel and suede with this price tag? You can't beat it!

Modcloth, Double Decker Crush Bag, $59
How much fun is this bag? I love it with booties or culottes and heels.

Last Call Neiman Marcus, Dylan North South Tote Bag, $75
A fantastic color block tote that you can throw in what you need for the day and go.

You can thank The Bf for the inspiration today, grab a new bag that packs a punch. Shocking red is just what I needed in this never ending winter!

Be fabulous today!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Time for a Change

It's humpday, not that I'm checking, or counting down, or anything like that. We're getting there. And to help us watch the time go by on this Wednesday, why don't we upgrade our watch? I've got some great styles with round face details that are sure to fit any budget.

Simply perfect for work or play. Chic black, white, and gold, with a great graphic.

How versatile is this watch? Suit, jeans, black, brown, red, you pair it, it works.

Asos, Large Face Fine Case Watch, $35
Mod. Chic. A bit masculine but balanced with the thin strap.

Urban Outfitters, Braided Leather Map Watch, $29
Travel bug? This watch is perfect for you or a gift. I love the braided strap.

So check your wrist. Add something useful to your arm party.

Be fabulous today!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

That's A Wrap

Happy Tuesday lovebugs!
I hope you had a lovely weekend whether it was long or not so long. We got a couple of inches of snow in DC this weekend, which in my opinion was a reward for putting up with frigid temps all weekend! And its supposed to be 60 this weekend. While the weather may wacky, let's keep it season specific with some wrap sweaters. In the summer, we love wrap dresses, so why not carry the silhouette to winter in the form of a sweater?

Supple cashmere in a rich merlot. Talk about a statement yet class neckline.

Lord and Taylor, Ralph Lauren Wrap Cardigan, $27
$50 off right now. This is going to be a go to piece in your closet. A little ballerina-esque.

And speaking of feminine, this wrap cardi reminds me of something Zooey Deschanel would wear.

Hello cozy comfort. I'm not too sure what's happening underneath but I love this heathered sweater.

So it may be 10 degrees or 50 degrees, either way you can layer up and wrap up in a wrap sweater this winter.

Be fabulous today!

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Foodday

Happy Friday lovebugs,
Here are my favorite love inspired recipes this week!

Il Palio
c/o Saveur
Ingredients
For the Campari Ice Cubes
34 oz. Campari
2 oz. water

For the Cocktail
2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. sweet vermouth
Orange bitters

Orange twist, for garnish

Directions
Several hours before serving, mix together Campari and water and freeze in a square ice mold. When frozen, make the cocktail: Place 2 Campari ice cubes in rocks glass. Pour all ingredients over ice cubes and garnish with a wide orange twist. Stir the drink to start the ice melting.

Blush Cream Pasta
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 pound pasta, such as penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
  • Crusty bread, for passing

Directions
Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the EVOO, butter, garlic and shallots. Gently saut├ęthe shallots for 3-5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add the vodka to the pan – three turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce the vodka by half, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a bubble and reduce the heat to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. 

While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until it's cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While the pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir the cream into the sauce. When the sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from the heat. Drain the pasta. Toss the hot pasta with the sauce and the basil leaves. Pass the pasta with crusty bread.

Chocolate Decadence with Raspberry Sauce
Ingredients

FOR THE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE:

  • 1/2 cup Karo® Light Corn Syrup
  • 16 oz bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 12 oz fresh raspberries, divided
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Karo® Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
Directions
  1. Line a 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine corn syrup, chocolate and butter. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Mix 1/2 cup of the cream with the egg yolks in a small bowl. Add to the melted chocolate mixture and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  4. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, continue on by beating 1 1/2 cup heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl on high speed. Beat until soft peaks form. Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture and stir just until combined. Pour into loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight.
  5. To prepare raspberry sauce, combine 6oz of the fresh raspberries with the corn syrup and vanilla extract in a small blender. Process quickly until combined (you still want some chunks of raspberry).
  6. For the whipped cream, beat heavy cream with powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Refrigerate or use immediately.
  7. To assemble, slice frozen chocolate mousse and arrange on plates. Dollop a large spoonful of whipped cream onto each slice. Drizzle with raspberry sauce, chocolate syrup and add the remaining fresh berries. ENJOY!