Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkins & Stripes

If I had to create a list of my favorite things, pumpkins and stripes would be somewhere near the top.

Stripe shirts, while not always the most flattering choice, represent so many good things in my eyes. Childhood. Nautical vibes. Americana style. And always, comfortable-chic.

(Wearing Denim & Supply by Ralph Lauren skinny jeans, Gap blue & white striped tee, Giani Bernini booties, Moa Moa faux leather jacket, No-name scallop leather bag, Forever21 bib necklace, and a Macy's gold chain-link bracelet)

Pumpkins on the other hand are representative of my favorite holiday. I love horror movies, fall weather, fall smells—holiday candles, fall food favorites, first rains—and hanging out by the fire. My favorite days and nights are those surrounding Halloween, spent with Dan in our living room, watching Michael Myers going at it again. Doesn't that sound nice? Haha!

So, I hope everyone is enjoying some of their favorite things as of late. I think it is always important to add a little bit of what you love into everyday.

Dan's "Smokin'" Pumpkin, And My Cat

Til next time.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Matrimonial Monday!

Image Courtesy of herecomestheguide.com
As we exist in the digital age, (hey, you are on the computer right now!) it only makes sense that when planning your wedding you have some excellent web-resources. I have a small handful of sites that I turn to for inspiration and information, so I thought I'd share them with you.

The Knot is a site that I think nearly every bride is familiar with. It houses almost everything one needs to plan their perfect, customized wedding. Need a dress and a veil? Need the best florist in Napa? Need a DJ who plays lots of '80s music? The Knot has all of that, plus much more. It's a one stop site for everything wedding, and an excellent resource for all.

Here Comes the Guide is similar to The Knot, but its real purpose is to hone in on finding all of your local vendors, services, and venues. This site deals less with inspiration and design, and more with locating the key components of your wedding day. It's less about frills on HCTG, but it is a wealth of information, so definitely take a visit!

Best for last? In this case, yes! Green Wedding Shoes has been one of my favorite websites to dream and drool *gross* over since I got engaged. The site is filled with gorgeous photos that inspire every type of bride. Jen and Jason, the creators and editors of the site, spare no effort to bringing you the best in weddings. If you visit this site, I guarantee you will have nothing but whimsical day dreams about your big day all the way through "I do."

So there you have it. A few of my favorites. I'd love to know what wedding sites you love! 

Til next time. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

mad about plaid

I am loving plaid lately. I have always loved it on Dan, and men in general, but I have recently really been digging the whole "lumberjack chic" vibe that plaid lends. 

Plaid is a versatile pattern, plus, a plaid shirt is one of the most effortless pieces to style. 

In this picture I am wearing this H&M plaid shirt, Gap skinny jeans, a faux leather jacket by Moa Moa, these Giani Bernini booties (my absolute favorites!), a no-name leather scalloped fringe bag, and an oxblood/maroon knit beenie from H&M. 

And because I still love, and find it totally acceptable, to wear white jeans after labor day and in the fall, I paired my plaid with white skinnies from American Eagle. 

Plaid is one of those things that just feels so right for this time of year. Cozy and comfy, but it still imparts pattern and color. 

How do you wear your plaid? I'd love to know! 

Til next time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

tis the season for soup

Image Courtesy of recipe.com
I rarely repeat recipes. This could be because I tend to question the time and effort put in for minimal or less than exciting food results, or it could simply be that I don't own a recipe box which leads to me misplacing any and all paper recipes that pass through my kitchen. 

Whatever the case may be, it's unlikely that I will cook something multiple times. However, an exception has been made, and it has been made with this soup. 

This Tortellini Florentine soup is perfect for cold fall days, and since yesterday was one of the coldest days we have experienced this fall, I decided to make it again (second time in a week!). 

You'll Need:
1  9-oz pkg. of fresh cheese tortellini
2 or 3  14-oz cans of chicken broth
1  10-oz container of refrigerated light Alfredo sauce
2 cups of roasted chicken
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes strips (oil packed, then drained)
3 cups of fresh baby spinach
1-oz Parmesan cheese to top

This recipe takes about 20 minutes to make and many of the ingredients needed can be bought already prepared, such as a rotisserie chicken from the deli. 

After making this two times, I have some tips. 
  1. Buy extra chicken broth. You may need it either the night you prepare the soup, or the day after to give it more, well...broth!
  2. Under cook the tortellini. As you will see in the recipe, you must pre-cook the tortellini. I suggest cooking it for about 5-minutes which leaves it feeling slightly underdone. You will be happy you did after it goes back into the soup. 
  3. Salt the soup at the end. I would only add salt after every last ingredient has been incorporated as some of the ingredients are salty on their own, which brings up the sodium level quite a bit. 

So, if you are also not a lover of labor intensive kitchen sessions, then this soup is for you. It's a satisfying and delicious dish for anytime of year, but it's especially perfect for fall. 

Til next time. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Night Out...

On Saturday night, Dan and I joined our friends and some family to celebrate Dan's brother's 21st birthday. I knew it would be a night to remember some way or another, so I decided to dress up a bit.

I always aim for simplicity when dressing to go out, so I went with these black coated H&M skinny jeans and a sheer taupe blouse from Forever21. This acted as an easy and comfortable base to which I added fun accessories.

This old black leather clutch is from the Gap of all place. I love the gold studding and the floppy-fold style of it.

Black booties are a must for fall and winter, so on this semi-brisk October night I went with these tried and true leather BCBG booties.

Possibly may favorite element of this outfit was this bib-necklace from Forever21. The mint beading felt vintage, while the gold and crystal made it night appropriate. It transformed the outfit into something special.

My nails being mint and taupe was not an accident...

We had such a great time. Craig (Dan's brother), among others, got appropriately intoxicated. We didn't get home until 2am, by then my feet were nearly pulverized from being in heels for eight hours, but I feel these are all signs of a good time.

Til next time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Matrimonial Monday!

I can't imagine anything more important than to be organized when you are planning a wedding. Even when organization reigns, you still feel like you are pulled in every direction while getting little accomplished, so imagine what being disorganized would look like...

Some peoples answer to this potential problem is to hire a wedding planner. This is great if you have money to spare, but few of us do, so the more economical option is a wedding planner— a binder with pages that help you to secure every detail of your wedding. 

This is the wedding planner I received from my mom almost minutes after Dan proposed. It contains tabs for everything from ceremony and reception, to honeymoon & beyond. It gives advice on saving money, recommendations on how to hire vendors, and traditional wedding etiquette. It has slots for business cards, folders for pamphlets and brochures, and spreadsheets aplenty. This binder is a one stop shop for every detail you could possibly want to incorporate into your wedding.

I will admit that I have not even scratched the surface on utilizing this tool. However, I plan too. Get it?

So, when you get engaged, I would recommend that one of your first steps be to get organized. And, that first step may involve the purchase of your very own wedding planner.

Til next time.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Monotone : Cranberry Lips and Eyes

A makeup trend that I am really loving is monotone colors. Matching lips and eyes. And while this could be potentially very unflattering, I think if it is done properly, it can look beautiful and sophisticated.

To create this look, start out with whatever foundation routine you follow. I like a medium-full coverage look, so I chose Laura Mercier's Silk Creme Foundation. This foundation has fantastic, creamy coverage. I also find that I don't always have to use a concealer with it, so this time, I didn't.

Then, blend a bit of blush or bronzer onto the cheeks. I used Benefit's Dallas, as it looks like a bronzed-blush.

On the eyes, I packed MAC's Sweet Chestnut onto the lids, then with a clean blending brush, blended it upward to the crease. Another perfect color for this would be MAC's Cranberry. They are very similar.

Finally, the lips. I used Sephora's Pleasant Plum lip liner followed by MAC's Odyssey lipstick. This combo created a reddish-plum tone, which seems to be very popular these days in cosmetics, clothes, shoes, bags...

This look ends up appearing done up, but in a very simple way. It is a good example of letting color be the focus. I get tired of using multiple eyeshadows, blushes and bronzers, foundation, concealer, and powder. Some days, easy color is best.

Til next time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Five Favorites : Part One

In the fall, I become especially attached to certain items. This happens less with any other season, and most certainly, it happens more than it did during the summer in which I could not attach myself to anything due to the heat.

So, I have come up with a few things that I love right now that make the season even sweeter. And because I have far more than five things, I believe this post will be one of several.

1. The Body Shop Shea Body Butter & The Body Shop Shea Shower Cream

These body products are my absolute favorite for any season. Highly moisturizing, they smell fresh and warm all at the same time, and they last forever. You really can't go without products like these for the colder months.

This particular scent has a history and a very sweet story attached for me. Dan bought Crystal Noir in Germany for me when we first started dating. I thought it was so elegant, so special, that I could not wear it on a daily basis. This has led me to often forgetting about this scent, but during the fall and winter, this perfume seems to fit the bill.

With notes of gardenia and amber, it is a warm, sensual scent, while still maintaining a light, airy quality. I love it, and have found myself dancing through a spritz of it most days as of late. 

3. Socks. Any socks. So long as they are warm and cozy.

While it may seem weird to put socks on this list, it actually surprises me, as I am not a socks person. I am a barefoot, cuddle up on the couch person, but lately, a thick pair of knit socks just feels nice. My feet have never been so happy!

4. Starbucks Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix

Image Courtesy of starbucksstore.com

Ok, here is a blast from the past. Do you remember that hot cocoa mix—I think it was by Nestle—that came with the mini dehydrated marshmallows? Well, I loved it. It was absolutely awful hot chocolate, but those marshmallows felt like such a treat. 

Now Starbucks does hot cocoa mix with marshmallows, but it far surpasses what Nestle use to do. I think that this hot cocoa is best enjoyed with the knit socks from above. They kind of go hand-in-hand. 

These are just a few of my favorites right now. This list is constantly changing, so I will definitely be doing more posts like this in the days or weeks to come.

What are your favorites? I'd love to know. Especially if they go along with this wonderful season.

Til next time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day at the Bay

I have been wanting to do a day date to Bodega Bay since Dan and I moved north of San Francisco.

I love the foggy, blustery days in Bodega. There is something very tranquil and beautiful about the all the gray that exists out there.

So, Dan and I decided to take a little drive out to the coast to see if we could dig up any treasures, and it turns out that some of the most unassuming things in this coastal town turned out to be diamonds in the rough.

I Love The Boat Names. 
If I Could Own Any Boat In The Harbor, It Would Be This One.

If you go to Bodega, drive out towards the head and go to Spud Point Crab Company. The most amazing clam chowder and crab sandwiches you will ever have. note: East coast yelpers even said this chowder compares to New England C.C. It's that good. 

We then went to Wild Flour Bakery, which is basically a dream land for bread and pastry lovers. Their garden is also pretty spectacular, and it is open to customers to stroll through while you sip your coffee and eat your scone.

I kept the outfit simple. But of course, it isn't a day at the beach without some nautical-stripes.

Jeans & Sweater: Gap
Anorak: Bar III-Macy's
Boots: Steve Madden
Socks: Hue-Macy's
Bag: Random Boutique

Dan also kept his outfit simple. A vintage Pendleton, his favorite old Wayfarers, and worn in Levis. Dan's daily uniform—I love it and him in it.

Til next time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Matrimonial Monday!

Weddings are a business, and a part of that business are bridal magazines. 

They come in all shapes and sizes. They talk about venues, flowers, etiquette, bridal makeup, food, trends, and of course, the dress. They all talk about the same things with slight variations, and yet, many brides feel the need to collect as many as there are published. I'm not saying I don't fall into this category, but there are a few things I have learned along the way.

Martha Stewart Weddings

After my first round of collecting every bridal magazine I could find, I quickly discovered my favorites. One of those favorites is Martha Stewart Weddings. Lets be honest, Martha Stewart knows how to make things beautiful. The photos and inspiring ideas in her wedding magazines are so good that you could plan your dream wedding just based on a single volume. But, it's fun to collect Martha's mags, as I never tire of another beautifully done table scape or perfect appetizer menu.

The Knot
The Knot is an amazing resource when planning your wedding. When I first got engaged, I thought The Knot was just online, but when Dan and I went to do a little registering (post to follow!) we were given a Northern California-specific magazine from The Knot. This is great, as it has lists of venues and vendors, and beautiful photographs to go along. Finding area specific resources is so important, as it helps you to see what is in your area and therefore in the realm of possibilities...

I don't think every bridal magazine on the market is necessary. Not by far. However, it is all part of the experience. Flipping through bridal magazines with your mom, friends, or even your future husband is fun and exciting. You bounce ideas off each other, and that is how you begin to envision your dream wedding.

So go out and pick a few bridal magazines up. They aren't that expensive, they are good resources if you put them to good use, and they get you excited about what will be the most wonderful day of your life.

Til next time.