Oct 31, 2012

Summer in the Winter

So I've got a shopping problem. I have so many clothes and so little space. It's becoming a problem. I've created a goal for myself - to wear at least one item of clothing everyday that has been either hiding in the back of my closet or stuffed into a corner of my drawer. By putting in an effort to wear clothes that I would have otherwise forgotten about, it seems that my closet has grown! And so has my wallet. Win-win situation. 

Now that the colder months are upon us, it should not issue the warrant to go out and purchase a whole new wardrobe. Instead, try and transition your summer dresses to make them appropriate for when the temperature is below 50 degrees! It's all about adaptation people. Here are a couple tips I utilize so I can wear my summer frock all year round...

First of all, throw on some leggings or tights to cover up those gams!! 

Look how easily an adorable nautical dress (definitely a summer item) instantly becomes winter-ized just by adding some navy leggings!

Next, throw on a comfy cardigan! Warmth and coziness all in one versatile item of clothing. A long navy cardigan transforms a floral sundress into something very appropriate for the chilly months.

The cardigan - leggings rules also work for skirts! Love the deep plum shade of these tights.

Sadly, it's time to put away those adorable sandals and I know some people wear their flats throughout the winter but I'm just not one of those girls! Bring on the boots!

As seen below, both tall boots and short boots look great with dresses!

Of course, in more fancy situations, riding boots won't really work. Try pairing your summer dress with some tights and pumps!

I'm loving those jewel tones in this outfit. 

What are your tips to winterize your wardrobe?

[All photos found via Pinterest]

Oct 30, 2012

Finger Food

Halloween is hands down my favorite holiday! I love all the spooky decorations, being able to pretend to be something I'm not, and obviously the candy. Now, being an east-coaster, I was unable to celebrate my favorite holiday last year because of that stupid snow storm that took electricity away from me for a week. So rude. I vividly remember sitting at the kitchen table, carving a pumpkin, and having an identity crisis because I was not out bar hopping in my costume with my mangs. So I vowed to make this year an epic halloween! 

My friend threw a party at her place where we all gathered to take pictures, enjoy some halloween treats, and indulged in adult beverages, before heading out to the bars. We all made some finger food (pun intended) to munch on. I found this idea on Pinterest (because that's where all great ideas are born) and they were a big hit!

Using a simple sugar cookie recipe I rolled out the dough into finger shapes, scored the rolls in three places, and placed a slivered almond where a fingernail belongs.

Bake them until they start turning a little golden brown around the edges, and voila! Witchy fingers! I used a paintbrush and dusted cocoa powder onto them to give them more of a creepy feel.

Not to be cocky, but I think they came out so great! They really do look like nasty fingers. And they taste great too! 

What are your favorite Halloween recipes? 

Unfortunately, due to this huge biatch Sandy, I think Halloween will be canceled once again! But definitely remember this recipe for next year! If you are in Sandy's path, stay safe out there!

Oct 29, 2012

Virtual Makeover

I’m in dire need of a hair appointment. My roots are growing out (Oh, you thought this blonde was natural? You flatter me) and though I've tried to pretend it looks like ombre I've purposely put atop my head, it’s about time I stop kidding myself.

The reasons for my hesitation in booking this appointment are plentiful. Let’s start with the fact that I consider my hair to be important (duh) and going to an Italian hairstylist without complete fluency and ability to be 100% precise in what I’d like to have done is a scary thought. Add in the indecision factor that results in not being completely sure of what I’d like to do in the first place and you've got the perfect equation for procrastination.

I've been tossing a few ideas around. Do I continue with blonde highlights, thus complying to the saying “don’t fix what isn't broken”? Do I throw in some low lights so as to ease back into my natural color? Or do I go to the extreme and dye my hair back to it’s natural state in one shot? Okay, let’s be honest, that last one isn't likely.

Whenever I get an urge for a change in hairstyle, I play around with a little makeover program online to get a feel for what it might look like.

Start by taking a nice, forward-facing picture of yourself:

Not like that.

Pick out a celebrity hairstyle. If you're doing this seriously, you'll probably want to pick someone who has a similar face shape and hair type as you do. My hair is super straight, but I started off with a Hayden Panettiere hairstyle since we both have heart shape faces.

Play with hair colors, highlights and lowlights.

This Emma Stone hairstyle below seriously looks like my high school senior picture except not brunette. I tried to make the first photo as close to my typical daily hair as possible and then added in subtle low lights in the second. I promise there's a difference.

There's also the option to play around with makeup or go crazy with the "mix it up" button, which will change around your hair and makeup with the click of a button.

Ultimately, I'm trying to decide between these two. Thoughts?

Last, but definitely not least, you'll want to play around with your friends' faces. Thus, without further ado, I present to you my best friend! Hey Cor hey!

What do you do when you get an urge for a change in hairstyle? Do you have any particular techniques for figuring out if it'll work for you before going to the stylist?

Oct 26, 2012

All the Small Things

[Lunch at The Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore - jalapeno bacon and garlic fries were involved]
[Taking office casual Fridays to a whole new level]

[An intensely competitive boys vs. girls game of pool]
[A very entertaining coffee table book]

[Cozy reading time on a chilly Saturday morning]
[Street art]

Oct 25, 2012

I [Mustache] You a Question, But I'll [Shave] It For Later

Years ago, while still living in my dorm room, whenever I came across a funny little picture or cartoon that made me smile, I would immediately print (or cut) it out and hang it up around my desk. No matter how silly or corny those little pictures were, they always brought a smile to my face while I was sitting at my desk "doing homework." 

Now that I no longer live in a 8 x 8 cement cube, it was time to upgrade my favorite cartoons to a more grown up medium. 

Using cartoons from two of my favorite artists, Natalie Dee and Marc Johns, and using a very popular pin on Pinterest, I created two adorable mugs. 

I purchased the plain white mugs from T.J. Maxx for just $1 each! 

I used an industrial strength Sharpie marker, I just drew straight on the mug. After drawing your design, throw the mugs in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 30 minutes.

I'm so happy with how my mugs turned out. They are a great (and grown up) reminder of the small paper clippings that used to make me so happy in college.

How do you integrate what made you happy as a youngin' into your adult life?

Oct 24, 2012

Go Green Smoothie

We had a guest stay with us last week and apparently during the duration of her stay, I did a lot of jibber-jabbering about how much I wanted a blender. I’ve wanted one for ages and I kind of think they’re the greatest appliance on the face of this earth, but I’ve hesitated in buying one since we’re in a somewhat transitional stage. Like, what if I bought one and fell in love with it and then had to give it away? That’d be the worst. But then as a way of saying thanks, our guest gifted us with…you guessed it, a blender! I’m not sure I even have words to explain my subsequent happiness. It’s been a week with this thing and I’m still ecstatic. It’s the little things in life, right? Like a new blender.

First on my list of treats to make with my new toy: Green Smoothies. I like fruit and vegetables, but I’ll admit, albeit shamefully, that I don’t always give my body it’s fair share of them. Unlike Corey who plays a daily game with herself called “How Many Vegetables Can I Eat Today” and who now feels that I’m challenging her by eating this nutrient dense delight. 

There are so many different things that you can put into a Green Smoothie, which only makes it that much more glorious. To start, throw in a little liquid of some sort like water, coconut water, lemon juice (or I’ve added in orange juice, which is delicious) to help the blending process.

Add in your leafy veggies, which can be any combination of things like: spinach, kale, celery, lettuce, parsley, etc.  I won’t get all scientific up in here (partly because I hardly know anything about anything when it comes to science) but the green vegetables serve to clean out harmful toxins and help to boost your energy level. Maybe it’s a placebo effect as a result of knowing this, but after drinking a smoothie my energy is equal to having had two cups of espresso…minus the feeling of having all that caffeine in my system. Those around me best beware.

Then you add in your fruits of choice, which serve to hide the subtle vegetable taste. Lately, I’ve been using blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and bananas into mine. The banana is what puts the “smooth” in smoothie, though you can also add yogurt to get that texture if you prefer. You can use apples, pears or anything else you think might work well! 

Who wouldn't want to drink that beautiful green color?! I promise it's delicious. Add in a few ice cubes to cool down the beverage as well.

Have you ever had a Green Smoothie? If not, would you ever give it a try? I'm legitimately obsessed and I no longer have to worry about getting my daily fruits and veggies! 

Oct 23, 2012

Layers for Your Legs

[via Pinterest]

When it comes to colder weather, I’m not the biggest advocate and I’d happily hold off winter for as long as humanly possible. On the other hand, I willingly welcome the slight chill that drifts through the air as Fall freely makes itself comfortable. Because you know what that somewhat cooler air signifies? It means layering is no longer limited! It means I can break out the boxes of sweaters and cold weather accessories I stored away months ago. It means I can wear a tank top and then a t-shirt and then a cardigan and a scarf and a jacket without fear of overheating. It means I can add more detail to my outfits and play with a variety of combinations that have been unavailable to me since early to mid-Spring. And that (along with the rest of the infinite reasons to love Fall) makes me happy.

Then one day when you have to attend an outside event, the sharper cold hits out of nowhere. Like your-nose-is-pink-and-you-can’t-feel-it-anymore (and you wish you had a nose hat) cold. And so you decide to layer up in anticipation of freezing your butt off, yet somehow you end up being toasty warm in your upper body area, while your legs wonder why they were only given a pair of jeans to cover up when your stomach was given three thick layers. It’s not really fair and you weren’t trying to play body-part-favorites, but other than maybe adding a pair of leggings under the jeans, there weren’t many options. That is, until leg warmers!! (That got two exclamation points and I also kind of sang it in my head because let’s be real here, they deserve it).

Leg warmers are the perfect layering addition for your legs! They’re cute and cozy, which is always key in cold weather, and they’re adaptable to an assortment of settings. You can wear them at home when you’re snuggling and need something extra to keep your tootsies warm. Or you could sport them at yoga (pun, get it?) or dress them up for day or night attire.

My personal favorite way to wear leg warmers is with boots, but they’re also cute with flats and heels. Even under rain boots to brighten up an otherwise dreary day! They nicely pair with leggings, layered over tights, skinny jeans or even bare legs if you’re feeling a little wild. Here are a few options:

Nordstrom ($28) I love the jersey material of these and and the stirrup style that covers your feet. Perfect for yoga!
American Apparel ($18) These come in about a million different colors and the extra length is great
Nordstrom ($30) The chunky knit of these leg warmers make me want to snuggle up along with a sweater of similar material
Voet Hosiery ($18) These put a sexy twist on leg warmers
Romwe ($67) The skull pattern is awesome and especially perfect with Halloween quickly approaching
Target ($7) Keeping it simple (and cheap) with this brightly colored pair

How adorable are these little leg warmers on these tiny nugget legs?! You can learn how to make them yourself here if you feel so inclined and know how to knit (not I, said the lazy Ferg). Or if you'd like an easy DIY that's just as pretty, try out this one.

Then while I'm scooting along thinking knit and jersey leg warmers are just swell, Posh comes along who's obviously got to out-fashion everyone with her leather leg warmers (and black and blue combo)! Girl looks fierce. I'm going to be honest, leg warmers with heels aren't really my thing, but I would totally try it out in this case.

Anyone out there love leg warmers just as much as I do? What would your favorite type of shoe to wear them with be?

Oct 22, 2012

Sir Yes Sir! [Military Style]

I'm not exactly sure when military style clothes became fashionable, but I DO know that I purchased a pair of (very subtle) camo skinnies from Gap a few years back and I've been hooked ever since. Now I am craving everything military. Of course, use your own discretion when wearing this trend...you don't want to look like you're about to go into battle, ya know? I wouldn't recommend wearing more than one "military inspired" piece at a time, but whatever floats your boat! Now, lets get to my favorite pieces...HOOAH! (Army talk).

[This cape-style coat is the perfect army green - and check out that gold hardware!]
[Love the double-breasted row of gold buttons, as well as the high collar on this jacket]

[See? Camo pants can be girly and cute! Love the stud-detail at the pocket too]

[I'm pretty sure that if you were to slip these bad boys on, you'd feel like a total bad ass]

[L'Oreal's Brit Invasion - A greenish, brownish, goldish nail polish that I'm currently obsessed with. This picture does NO justice]

Are you liking the military trend? Which is your favorite way to show off this military trend?

Oct 19, 2012

All the Small Things

[A mid-week treat that was thoroughly enjoyed]
[Taking in the gorgeous fall foliage in Connecticut]

[Gathering chestnuts to roast on an open fire]
[Westpoint's Homecoming Game]

[Delicate detailing on the Lucca Duomo]
[Admiring the Duomo]

Oct 18, 2012

Apple Cider Bubbly

Looking for a fun new beverage to enjoy while watching the leaves fall from the trees (does anyone else do this besides me)? Want something festive and tasty to sip on while you carve your pumpkin? Want to get a buzz while handing out fun-sized candy bars to little trick-or-treaters? Look no further mangs! Everyone that knows me, knows that I have a slight addiction to champagne. I love the stuff. I've been known to casually day-drink an entire bottle, and have a "champagnover" set in by 5 pm. That part is no fun, but slowly I'm learning my limits. 

Over the weekend I was craving something a little different, I looked in my fridge and happened to see a variety of beverages. The 2 that stuck out to me? Apple cider (yum) and a bottle of champagne. So I thought, why not mix? Using a 2:1 ratio (2 parts champy, 1 part apple cider) I mixed the beverages, and voila! A delicious, refreshing, and fall-ish liquid refreshment was born. 

Not too sweet, not too bubbly, goes down a little TOO easy (but who's complaining?). 

It's so delicious and I could totally see this bevvie paired with some cheese and crackers (or Thanksgiving dinner). Go make it! Super easy and super delicious.

Oct 17, 2012

How to Make a Quick Red Sauce

Growing up, whenever we'd eat pasta with red sauce, it would undoubtedly be sauce from a jar. I didn't think much of it of course – it was quick and easy and my young taste buds certainly didn't appreciate anything gourmet. Then one night when I was in high school a couple of my parents’ Italian-American friends came over for a little dinner party and they did the cooking. On the menu: homemade red sauce. “Homemade?!” we said, “Wow, what an extravagance!” We were easily impressed. Their response, dripping with incredulity, was “Duh, homemade is the only way”.

Fast forward to several years later, to my first year out of college, living in New York, eating pasta on the reg (still using sauce out of a jar), when my boyfriend came to visit for the first time all the way from Italy. Let me start by saying, Italians have certain “rules” when it comes to food. (Nicco will argue that they’re not rules, but they totally are.)

First, three meals a day is expected, mandatory and it’s absolutely unacceptable to assume that anything less than that will suffice. Oh, you follow that rule too simply as a normal human being? Well, my roommate and I didn’t and we quickly learned that our little snacking habit and meals-here-and-there-lifestyle weren’t going to cut it while an Italian was in the house.

Second, pasta is always for lunch, never for dinner (barring a rare exception to the rule). Third, meat and pasta don’t mix (you should have seen his face when I first poured a plate of chicken into a pot of pasta-pure disgust, I tell you).

Fourth, when it comes to red sauce, you make your own and it doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming. And with that, I’ll prove it to you, you non-believers!

Gather up your veggies. I used garlic, onion, carrot, celery, parsley and basil. There you go, bonus points for homemade red sauce: it’s healthy! To make an even more basic sauce, all you really need is garlic and onions. 

Then break out the olive oil and tomato base. I used Pomi because it can be easily found in the U.S. as well.

Put the water on to boil while you start the sauce. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add minced garlic and chopped onion to sauté. Side note: the veggies should be chopped up a bit more than this, but I was using a dinky knife and sometimes chunky is good.

Once the onions have browned a bit, throw in the carrots, celery and parsley. Reduce the heat to low and let it cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.   

When the carrots have softened, add in the tomato base and the basil. Add salt and paper to taste, bring to a low simmer and let it cook uncovered until it thickens a bit. 

By this point, the water will already have been boiling so throw in the pasta to cook and when the pasta is done, your sauce will be ready as well. If you have more time, you can leave the sauce to simmer for a longer amount of time, even a couple hours if you’d like, and it’ll soak up the flavors to a greater extent.

That’s it! Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on there and you’re done! Easy peasy!

When it comes to pasta sauce, do you typically reach for the jar or make it yourself?