Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekly Wardrobe: A Very Blustery Day

Glasses: BonLook; Top: Anthropologie/Similar; Necklace: c/o Periwinkle Nuthatch; Belt: Anthropologie/Similar; Skirt: Anthropologie/Similar; Tights: Nordstrom; Shoes: J. Crew

Well, it must officially be fall in Seattle because it is damn blustery! Katie Marie V and I set out to Discovery Park on Sunday and thought we would be totally fine to do a photoshoot there since it had been a pretty dry morning. We were there for all of 15 minutes when the wind picked up, the rain started pouring down, and we realized we had perhaps been a bit too optimistic! We essentially ended up being blown away and were soaking wet by the time we were done. My skirt kept flying up, too, so there were lots of free peeks for my fellow park goers. Sigh. At least I was wearing tights!

Well, we powered through, and then bundled the hell up and took ourselves out for pumpkin spice lattes and some sale shopping at J. Crew! I found a super sweet, cozy wool sweater that I'm in totally love with for like, $30 (I love J. Crew sales!). I'm sure you'll be seeing it soon!

I'm trying to really enjoy the fall season while I can. Fall and winter in Seattle tend to be very similar weather-wise, but our days get incredibly short in the winter, so I'm trying to drink in all the daylight I can during this lovely season.

As crazy as it may sound, I love these blustery days. I think there's something about just having to let go and laugh as your hair is flying 8 different directions, you're soaked to the bone, and your umbrella has turned inside out 5 separate times. Why fight it? 

Blustery days also make me think of Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, which was hands down one of my favorite things to watch (and read) as a kid. I even made a diorama of it for school when I was 8 or 9! It was real cute.

Are you guys enjoying the fall weather in your neck of the woods?

Til next time!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Time to Party: How to Master the Art of the Cocktail

This post was created in partnership with Hallmark UK & Ireland

I don't know about you guys, but when I hear the phrase, "cocktail party," my imagination is immediately flooded with images of the roaring twenties or the swinging sixties. It's glitz, glamour, and all things fancy! As amazing as that sounds, that kind of cocktail party is a little out of my league. Let's be real: I cannot recreate the party scenes in The Great Gatsby in my own home, despite my best efforts!
But ya know what? Cocktail parties aren't just for the rich and famous! We can make the cocktail party our very own. When you stay in for a cocktail party, you can skip the lines, the covers, the high drink prices, and the taxi fares involved with a night out on the town.
Here are some great ideas to help get you inspired to throw your own cocktail party!
Cocktail Experience
If you like the idea of throwing your own cocktail party, but aren't super confident in your bartending skills, you might be surprised to find that your favorite local bars may offer the "cocktail experience." Usually these sessions are booked as private parties where you're given a demonstration and then get a chance to try those mixology skills out yourself. The "cocktail experience" can be a great opportunity to get some friends together, get introduced to the world of cocktails, and get yourself warmed up for your own bash!
Take a Class
If you want to learn more about cocktails in less of a party atmosphere, you can always take a class in the art of mixology! If you look online, you can be sure you'll find the bartender training course nearest to you. You can also look for cocktail classes at places that offer cooking classes! In just one class you can gain the skills you need to become a pro in no time!
Buy a Book
If you don't have the time or money to sign up for a cocktail class, don't worry! One of the most accessible ways to master the art of the cocktail is to simply buy a book! There are all sorts of books available online or from your local bookstore and you can take your time to learn from them at your own pace. Whether you are looking for a book about the history of the cocktail, how to make your own bitters, how to make classic cocktails, or how to make fun seasonal drinks, you should be able to find a book that's right up your alley!
Seasonal Inspiration
Cocktail parties are fantastic, because you can throw them any time of year. One of my favorite suggestions is to style your cocktail party with seasonally themed drinks. You can go light and fruity with Greyhounds on summer nights, or warm and spicy with Hot Toddys for an intimate winter get together. There are all sorts of fun seasonal drinks, so do some research and you'll be sure to pick some winning cocktails.
With all your new knowledge of cocktails and drink mixing, your party is sure to be a hit! Even if the drinks dry up at the end of the night, the conversation will keep on flowing. To help it along, you can even brush up on the history of some of the drinks you are serving. They didn't just appear out of thin air!
So, what's stopping you? Get to Hallmark and send out your invites today! Your next cocktail party could be just a few shakes away!

Til next time!


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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Weekly Wishlist on Room 334!

Hi everyone!

Today you can find me posting over on Elana's lovely blog, Room 334! I'm sharing a wishlist for some of my most coveted items for the fall. And guys? There's some really good stuff!

Be sure to head over to Room 334 to check it out!

Til next time!


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Clip-on Earring Pendant Necklace

So, by now you may have noticed that I don't have pierced ears. I actually got them pierced, but they didn't heal up properly and then I never got around to getting them pierced again. As a result, I have managed to amass a collection of clip-on earrings from a pile of costume jewelry my family inherited from my grandma. 

The thing is, I never, ever wear them. I don't know when the last time you tried to wear clip-on earrings was, but woah. They are less than comfortable! While they may be uncomfortable, they do happen to be really, really lovely. 

So, what's a girl to do with a stockpile of clip-on earrings? Why get crafty of course! Today I'm going to show you how to turn those clip-on earrings into a pretty pendant necklace in just a few quick steps!
To get started, grab some supplies! You'll need: a necklace chain, needle nose pliers, a clip-on earring, and a large jump ring.
First up, you'll need to remove the clip-on component of the clip-on earring! To do so, use your pliers to pull one side of the joint away from the clip-on. Once you've pulled it out and away, with a little wiggle you should be able to remove the clip-on component without any trouble! (Can you guys tell I have no idea what clip-on earring parts are called? Sigh.)
Next, use your pliers to bend the ends of the joint up and down. Since the metal is not the, ahem, highest quality, these little bits should snap off after a couple of bends.
Now, bend the backing down until it creates a loop at the back of your clip-on earring. Try to get the end as flush to the earring as you can.
Next, open up your jump ring and thread it through the loop you've just created! Once it's threaded through, close the jump-ring back up with your pliers.
The last thing to do is to thread your necklace chain through the jump ring.
Ta-da! You've got a pretty Clip-on Earring Pendant Necklace!

These are suuuuuper easy to make. I actually put together three of them in about 10 minutes!

So! If you've got yourself a stock-pile of clip-on earrings you never wear, I hope you use this tutorial to make your own pretty pendant necklaces. I know I'll sure get a lot more wear out of mine this way!

Til next time!

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Curry Carrot Soup

Hey guys! Today I'm sharing my recipe for Curry Carrot Soup! This soup is super easy to put together and perfect for a fall day.

This soup is a variation on one of the first savory things I ever tried to cook when I moved out of my parents' house to go to college at age 17. About 6 months prior, my dear friend, Katie, had me over for a graduation get-together and her mom prepared us some delicious carrot and cream cheese soup. Man, it was good. My 16-year-old brain was like, "I guess I probably will need to feed myself in 6 months or so. I'll get the recipe!" And get the recipe I did.

Fast forward to my first week living on my own. 17-year-old me was feeling real grown up. I had gone to the store, bought ingredients, and set about to cook. Things were going pretty swimmingly until the smoke detector started going off. "Oh shit!" said 17-year-old Becca. I grabbed a towel and started fanning it at the smoke detector to try to get it to stop, and when that failed I figured out how to take the batteries out.

Guys, the whole things confused me because NOTHING WAS ON FIRE! Well, as I returned to the kitchen, I noticed a burning plastic smell. Wellllllll, looks like I had accidentally turned on an extra burner. On top of that burner? My roommate's coffee maker.

Yea, so guys, my first time cooking on my own I melted a coffee maker and ruined a burner. Ruined it. Moral of the story: we all start somewhere!

Anyway, as years passed, and I began to become competent in the kitchen, I made that soup many times. Without burning anything, thank you very much! But as I became more experienced in the kitchen, I started playing around with the recipe, and that's when I ended up with Curry Carrot Soup! The addition of curry spices in this soup take it from something tasty, to something really complex and interesting.

Story time aside, let's make some soup!
Curry Carrot Soup- Makes 5 large servings or 10 small servings

- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 3 cups of carrots chopped into 1/4"-1/2" rounds (from about 8 large carrots)
- 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder. I used a pre-made blend, but you could totally use your own if you wanted to! 
- 6 cups vegetable broth. You could use less here for a thicker soup. You can also totally use chicken broth if that's what you have on hand.
- Salt and pepper
- 4 oz cream cheese
- Cayenne to taste
1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sautee until it begins to brown.
2. Add the carrots and the curry powder and sautee for 1 more minute.
3. Add the broth, give it a good stir, and add salt and pepper to taste. I used a very liberal pinch of each.
4. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and come apart easily.
5. Remove the soup from the heat and add the cream cheese. Stir it in for a bit to soften it up. I will spare you the picture of what it looks like when it's well mixed. It's not pretty. But hey, guess what! We're gonna fix that.
6. Grab your trusty stick blender and puree that soup! 

Ok, ok, you can also put it in a stand blender, but stick blenders are so awesome. Is it weird that it's kind of my goal to have one (or more!) of you guys buy one and tell me how awesome it is and how it's changed your life in the kitchen? Yea, I guess that is kind of weird... Sigh.
7. Once your soup is super smooth and awesomely pureed, give it a taste! It should be prettttttty awesome, but I found mine needed more pepper and the smallest pinch of cayenne to give it some extra heat.

If you add more seasoning, just be sure to do a couple of quick pulses with your blender to combine.
8. Soup's up!

Oh man, I was so pumped when I finally finished cooking that I dove right into my bowl. Figuratively, guys, figuratively.

This Curry Carrot Soup is delicious on its own, but who doesn't like bread with their soup? I know I sure do! I happened to have grabbed this gluten free focaccia bread from the farmers market on Sunday and it was delicious with this soup.

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed hearing my story of my humble beginnings as a complete mess (and fire hazard) in the kitchen, and I hope even more that you try out this delicious Curry Carrot Soup recipe! It's practically guaranteed to make you feel nice and cozy on a cool fall day.

Til next time!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekly Wardrobe- An Autumnal Outfit

Glasses: BonLook; Blouse: Boden; Belt: Anthropologie/Similar; Skirt: J. Crew/Similar; Tights: Nordstrom; Boots: Seychelles (on sale!)

Well, buddies, I gotta be honest, this last couple of weeks have been a lesson in patience and letting things go. It's been a couple of weeks where just about nothing has gone according to plan, and that is no fun for my virgo heart!

Fortunately, I'm not talking about any big stuff, but lots of little things have gone awry: tried and true cookies have come out of the oven burnt; photos that looked lovely on my camera came out with crazy color balance (see above: my hair has not lightened up that much and that skirt is actually wine colored); the work being done on the windows in my unit is taking more than twice as long as planned; plans have been cancelled and rescheduled time and again; and I've tried to run errands using busses that never came. To quote Liz Lemon, "Blerg."

Anyway, despite being in a bit of a funk, things are going alright! Over the weekend I got to catch up with my dear friend, Elle, who moved away recently; I got a bunch of stuff done for the blog; I caught up on some cleaning; and had some nice time spent with friends.

And hey! It's autumn now! Officially! I celebrated the first day with this super autumnal outfit comprised of a cozy sweater skirt, my new favorite blouse, my new specs, tights (!!!), and these pretty booties I got a few weeks ago. They were pretty snug at first, but after wearing them around the house they've stretched out nicely. You'll probably be seeing much more of them this fall!

So yep! That's life. Ups and downs, but all around pretty peachy!

What did you guys get up to over the weekend?

Til next time!

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