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Friday, December 19, 2014

Weekly Eats: Meals with Kick

Although you won't see me enter in a hot-wing eating contest, and I can't even handle a full ladle of the hot salsa at Chipotle, I do love food that has some spice. Both of these dishes from this week packed a little punch.

1. Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken from Skinnytaste. Any time you combine chicken, black beans, and corn in some sort of spicy sauce, it's a winner in my book. It's even better when you just throw everything into the crock pot and call it a day. The only thing I would have changed about this is that I should have added some avocado to go on top...yum!

2. Spicy Pork Pad Thai from Budget Bytes. I'm far from an expert on authentic Asian cuisine, so I have no idea if this is what pad Thai is "supposed" to taste like. But I've had a few different versions, and this is one I definitely like! I usually use sliced chicken or pork in dishes like this, so the ground pork was a nice change-up. I used sugar snap peas, but any veggie you have on hand would work too.

Do you like spicy food? 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pinterest Inspired Gift-wrap

Most years I'm a bargain-bin wrapping paper kind of gal; why spend time and money making gifts look cute when it's just going to be torn to shreds, right? But then, Pinterest. I've come across way too many cute gift-wrap ideas lately, and most of them look surprisingly do-able and not ridiculous. (Like this one.)

So this year, armed with some brown kraft paper, a rubber stamp, twine, and markers, I got crafty with my wrapping. I stamped the packages after I wrapped (the lazy route) but it would probably look better to stamp the paper first. The verdict? This was SO easy, and I love how it turned out. I also liked writing the name of the person the gift is for right on the package instead of worrying about gift tags. I'll be doing this again for sure.

What's your gift wrapping style? 

I'm linking up to Holiday Pin to Present at In Residence

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Wishlist

How's your Christmas shopping coming along? Every year I say I'm going to get it done early, and every year it gets to be December and I realize I have nothing done. The last few weeks I've been in the zone though, so although I'm not completely done, I'm close.

While I'm doing all that shopping for other people though, I can't help but make a list of all the things I want this year. Here are a few things on my wishlist.

1. The Chew Box Calendar. Just like I look forward to picking out a new planner every year, I also can't wait to pick out the next year's box calendar. I love having a fresh page to look forward to every day of the week. Although I never watch The Chew anymore (dang day job) I love that show and I think there would be some great recipe ideas in the calendar. 

2. Cuisinart Food Processor. If I still wrote a letter to Santa, this is the thing that would be at the top of my list. The thing that I would justify with all the examples of what a good girl I've been all year. And all the ways I'd use it, and all the things I'd make. I'm not above bribery, Santa. I'll share the first thing I make, whatever it is, with you. 

3. Local jewels. I'd love to update my jewelry box with a few pieces from two of my favorite Kansas City-based designers. I went to a trunk show held by Ngan of eNVe Designs earlier this month and found lots of pretties I'd love to add to my collection, like this necklace. I've also had my eye on this leather cuff from Nickel and Suede; it looks comfortable and wearable, even for a non-bracelet-wearer like me. 

4. Tervis Water Bottle. Okay, so this may seem like a silly thing to have on a Christmas wishlist, but I've had such a hard time finding a stinkin' water bottle that I like! I take one to work every day, and I can't seem to find one that doesn't break or doesn't leak, or doesn't sweat, etc. I have a few Tervis tumblers that I use all the time at home and I love them; I think a water bottle would hold up just as well. 

5. Gap Sweatpants. My pajama/lounge-wear collection is in a sad, sad state. Most of it consists of pants I bought to wear around the house after I had Jona. Comfort is happening, but cute is nowhere to be found. I feel like these sweatpants have a little bit of both. 

What's on your Christmas wishlist? See what other bloggers are wishing for at The Circle linkup

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cords and Layers Get Cozy

Yesterday I took my current favorite formula, button-up + sweater/sweatshirt + cords, and dressed it up a little with heels and some sparkle. Today I'm using the same formula but for a much more casual day. For my top layer, I swapped out the classic sweater for a much cozier polka dot sweatshirt. I kicked my heels to the proverbial curb and traded them for my much-loved taupe ankle boots. This look keeps the same balance of classic and whimsical as yesterday's outfit, but with a much more relaxed vibe.

While this outfit is totally appropriate for my casual office, it's just as suitable for a day spent reading and sipping hot cocoa. Although the former is what actually happened, I see some of the latter in my future during the holidays! I can't wait!

Polka dot sweatshirt: Loft / chambray shirt: Madewell / red cords: Gap / taupe ankle boots: Target

I'm linking up with The Creative Closet for today's "Snowed In" theme. What would you wear for a cozy day at home? 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Working Mom Style: Formula Dressing

I'm all about finding different "formulas" that work when it comes to getting dressed. One of my go-to formulas right now is button up shirt + sweater or sweatshirt + skinny cords. Depending on the occasion, I love that this formula can easily be dressed up or down.

For a look that's slightly dressed-up but still comfortable, I added pink heels and my favorite sparkly statement necklace. I love that the components are all classic pieces: chambray shirt, v-neck sweater, corduroy pants, but there's a bit of whimsy added through the polka dot print and the fun color of the shoes.

Come back tomorrow to see a much more casual take on this same formula!

What's your go-to closet formula right now?

Polka dot chambray: J.Crew Factory / gray sweater: Gap / blue cords: Gap / sparkle necklace: Bauble Bar / pink heels: Nine West

Linking to Mix it Mondays.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Weekly Eats: Bold Flavors

This week was all about recipes that packed a punch. I made three completely different dinners, but each one was filled with big, bold flavors.

1. Bold Buffalo: Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta from How Sweet it is. Hearty, creamy macaroni and cheese with a hint of buffalo flavor is topped with crunchy Panko bread crumbs and baked in the oven... sounds terrible right? This turned out delicious in spite of my ineptitude at making homemade cheesy sauce. For some reason my cheese sauce always, always separates. Any words of wisdom, ye masters of homemade mac and cheese?

2. Bold Garlic: Pork Chops with Garlic and Wine from The Pioneer Woman, with Parmesan Roasted Butternut Squash. This pork chop recipe had me at 1 1/2 cups of red wine. It had Aaron and 18 cloves of garlic. The combination of the two gave the chops so much flavor. We've gotten into a bit of a veggie rut (frozen corn, some sort of potato, repeat) so I'm trying to mix it up a little. This butternut squash was a nice change-up, and the hardest part about it was just peeling the dang thing.

3. Bold Thai: Thai Peanut Chicken Quinoa Bowls from Iowa Girl Eats. I made this one for the first time in September, and it was a surprising hit. Now it's becoming a new household favorite. Well, for two of us. Picky McGee (Jona) ate a few bites of quinoa (only off of his spoon, not my fork) but made a face each time. Last time he gobbled it up. You never know with that kid.

What's on your menu tonight? 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Trial by Wearer

As I mentioned before, I'm starting my winter capsule in January, so I'm using the month of December as a transition month. I've made a list of things I'd like to buy, but I'm also "shopping" my own wardrobe as well. Several things from my fall capsule will stick around, but I'm using this month as sort of a trial-period to see which currently-owned items will make the cut.

This sweatshirt and plaid shirt are two such items that I'm thinking of adding to my winter capsule. This plaid shirt from J.Crew is a softer, warmer version of my fall wardrobe's plaid option. This sweatshirt is a cozy way to add some sparkle to a look, and I like how it can be dressed up or down.

What are your winter-weather wardrobe must-haves?

Plaid shirt: J.Crew / sequin sweatshirt: Old Navy / denim pencil skirt: Target / brown riding boots: Mia

Linking to What I Wore to Work and Thursday Favorites