Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Finds

I'm loving this Legacy Haley Satchel in Deep Port from Coach.  It's the perfect Fall color, and would look just as stunning with jeans & a sweater as it would with a little black dress.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dressing for Fall

I spent last night at my computer pulling together looks for a client.  I'm a stylist with Keaton Row, an online personal shopping company.  Tonight, I created some looks for myself, like the one above.  I like to keep things simple when I go out for dinner with my husband or friends, so I was drawn this drapey top with the black coated jeans.  I've been dying for leather pants, but don't know if I'm ready to take that step.  These jeans give the leather look without the commitment.  I also love simple, gold accessories, especially this stacked ring.  And I always try to add a pop of color to my outfit with a bag or scarf since I tend to buy a lot of neutrals.  This oxblood clutch went with the overall vibe of this look.  Check out some of my other looks here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Capitol Couture

I love, love, love young adult novels, and Hunger Games is one of my favorites.  I'm currently obsessing over Capitol Couture, a fashion and lifestyle online magazine written in the Hunger Games/Panem first person.  I especially love the knitwear pieces by Maria Dora worn by Katniss in the photos above and below.

Vosges Haut-Chocolat created a collection of Hunger Games-inspired chocolates.  This beautiful box of Capitol Truffles is $225, which means I'll stick to my regular box of (President) Snow-Caps when I see the midnight show of Catching Fire on November 22nd.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Anthropologie Holiday Display Workshops

Look what I stumbled upon while "window shopping" Anthropologie's website today!  I can spend hours walking through Anthropologie, taking everything in--the clothing, books, home decor, gifts, the scents, sounds, the other shoppers.  There's so much there to fuel my creativity.  I think attending one of Anthropologie's Holiday Display Workshops would be the perfect way to see some new ideas & get inspired for decorating my own home for the holidays.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pasta with Roasted Pumpkin & Goat Cheese

Rigatoni with Roasted Pumpkin & Goat Cheese
Every week, I place an order for fresh, local fruits & veggies from an amazing farmer's market-like delivery service in my area called The Produce Box.  This past week, I ordered a pie pumpkin--it's a smaller, more dense pumpkin meant for eating rather than carving into a Jack-O'-Lantern.  My parents were visiting for the weekend, and I really wanted to use the pumpkin for a special meal while they were here, so last night, I made this delicious pasta dish from Martha Stewart.

The pumpkin has to be cut up into 2-inch pieces for this recipe, and really, this is the hardest part of the whole recipe.  Since pie pumpkins are much more dense than decorative pumpkins, they can be a bit tricky to cut and peel.  I laid my cutting board on a damp kitchen towel so it wouldn't slide around on the counter.  Then laid the pumpkin on its side and cut the bottom and top parts off so the pumpkin could sit flat on my cutting board.  I used a Y-shaped vegetable peeler to remove the skin of the pumpkin, going over spots a few times where the skin was extra thick.  I then cut the pumpkin in half, removed the seeds, and cut the pumpkin into 2-inch chunks.

The rest of this recipe is super easy--the pumpkin is divided onto 2 baking sheets with fresh sage, shallots & olive oil, and roasted at 450ยบ for 30 minutes, tossing and rotating the sheets after 15 minutes.  While the pumpkin is roasting, cook the pasta reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.  Drain, return the pasta to the pot, toss with 2 tbsp butter, 5 oz goat cheese, and the reserved pasta water.  Fold in the roasted pumpkin and serve. 

The finished dish looks beautiful.  The flavors are perfect for Fall with the roasted pumpkin and fresh sage, and the butter and goat cheese sauce is nice and light, allowing the pumpkin to really shine.  I've made this in the past using butternut squash instead of the pumpkin, and it's just as pretty & delicious. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Burlap Wreath DIY

 Fall wreaths for my front doors have been on my to-do list for a few weeks now, and I finally finished one of them yesterday.  It was a lot easier to put together than I thought it would be.  I was able to complete it from start to finishin about an hour.
 I bought two 18 inch wire wreath frames from AC Moore.
 I also picked up a spool of floral wire from AC Moore.
 I went to Jo-Ann's Fabrics for the burlap.  I bought 3 yards of 48" natural burlap.
 I saw this leaf garland at AC Moore, and thought it would be a good way to add some Fall color to my wreath.
 I laid the burlap out on the floor in my front entryway--that's where I have a pretty big area of floor space.  I cut 6" wide strips along the length of the fabric.  Since burlap is a loose weave fabric, I only measured the 6" at the bottom edge and tried to cut in between the lengthwise yarns as best I could.  This saved a lot of time--normally I would measure the fabric in increments and mark off a straight line with a ruler and fabric chalk.  Plus, the nature of burlap is kind of rough, and the overall look to the wreath would be natural, I didn't think I needed to be so precise with this project.
 Here you can see my first cut strip of fabric.  I ended up with eight 6" wide strips; four strips of fabric for each wreath.
 To start, I tied the end of the first burlap strip to the wire frame using a small length of floral wire, making sure I tied it to one of the two inner wires on the frame.
 I folded my burlap in half lengthwise so my loops would have a little more stiffness.  I pushed a loop through the innermost space on the wire frame.  I just estimated the size of the loop--no measuring required.
 Then I pushed a loop through the middle space on the wire frame.  Again, just estimate.
 Finally, I pushed a loop through the outermost space on the wire frame. 
I kept pushing loops through the wire frame in the same order--innermost, middle, and outermost spaces on the frame--until i had three rows of three loops within one section.  I then moved over to the next section on the wreath using the same pattern.  Each 3 yard long strip of burlap filled two sections on my wreath frame--18 loops total.  When one length of burlap would end, I'd tie it to the frame using the floral wire, then tie on a new length of burlap to continue.
When the wreath was finished, I fluffed the loops to get a full look around the wreath.  I then used the floral wire to attach my leaf garland.  I found a wooden "Welcome" sign (shown above) in the dollar bins at Target, that I hot glued to the bottom of the wreath.  I also found an "Autumn" sign there for the other wreath.  These will be ready to go on my front doors on November 1st--until then, Mr. Bones & the rest of the creepy decor will be up for Halloween.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

When in Paris...

I have vivid dreams of me & my best girlfriends from high school taking another trip to Paris together, many years from the original.  We'd shop at all to the flea markets, drink lots of wine, eat way too many fancy pastries.  That may be why I'm so obsessed with the Chic Shopping Paris blog.  I can read about all of the shops, flea markets & patisseries, and obsess over all of the beautiful photos accompanying the articles.

Maybe one day we'll make the trip to Paris together for a second time.  Hopefully with a lot fewer denim jackets!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The BEST Pumpkin Bread Ever

The start of October means one thing to me--Pumpkin Everything!  I've already had my fair share of Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  I wait all year for the return of the PSL, and then I wait another month or so for it to be cool enough in North Carolina to actually enjoy drinking my PSL. 

My other pumpkin favorite is pumpkin bread.  I'm a scratch baker--I never use a box mix, and I always whip up my own buttercream frosting for cakes.  I even make homemade ice cream in the Summer.  But for pumpkin bread, Libby's Pumpkin Bread Kit is the only way to go.  I've exhausted myself trying every recipe for pumpkin bread I can find on Pinterest, but they still don't stack up to Libby's.  

Libby's kit comes with a bag of the dry ingredients, a can of pumpkin, and a packet of icing (which I immediately throw into the garbage can).  The bread seriously does not need an overly sweet icing on top.  You just mix the dry ingredients and pumpkin with eggs, oil & water and bake.  I do add a couple handfuls of chocolate chips to the batter for an extra treat for my boys.  It makes 2 super fluffy & moist loves of delicious pumpkin bread.

I can usually find the kit at Target, and I can sometimes find a 4 pack at BJ's if I'm super lucky.  So get off Pinterest, head over to Target (you know you want to go there anyway!), and bake the best pumpkin bread ever!

*Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation or free product for this post.  But if the Libby's people are reading this, I wouldn't mind if you shipped me a pumpkin bread kit or two (dozen).