Peace Train Holy Roller

Lately I've been drawn to anything with a 70s vibe lately, which is why I bought these bell bottom jeans. I love how they look with my new Tucker for Target top, which was a Christmas gift from my sweet in-laws! We just got back from spending a few days with them. Although our tree and decorations are still up, having the last family Christmas means that Christmas is officially over. It always makes me a little sad. 

But, I can't be too sad, because tonight is New Year's Eve! I love the start of a new year--I always feel refreshed and ready to start new goals. Aaron and I are going to dinner with some good friends, then spending the rest of the night staying in with them. I'm not much for going out on the town for New Years--it can be too expensive. Instead, good food, great friends, fun games and some champagne is all I need to ring in 2011! What are your plans for tonight?

Blazer: Loft; blouse: Tucker for Target, gift; jeans: Gap; necklace: Fenno Fashion; flats: Isaac Mizhrahi for Target

Song: Peace Train by Cat Stevens

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You're Uninvited

An uninvited guest showed up at my doorstep Christmas day: a cold. Now there's an unwanted gift I'd like to return! Luckily, it waited until after Christmas day to really work its magic. Therefore, my look today is comfort-inspired. I got this flannel shirt from for $8 last week. Eight dollars! What a deal! And this cute little scarf I picked up at Loft yesterday, when everything was half price. (I felt crappy, but not too crappy to shop! I just filled my purse with kleenex and powered through. I didn't last very long, but the time spent was well worth it.)

I'm going to go have Christmas part two with Aaron's side of the family this week, so forgive me if I'm absent for a few days. Hopefully by the time I get back I'll be feeling great and ready to ring in the new year, and Santa won't be bugging me to guide his sleigh. It's not that red Santa! Until then, I'll be trying to cook up some good New Year's Resolutions, and holding myself back from opening my Book Lover's Calendar 2011 before January 1. 

Shirt: Mossimo, Target; jeans: Loft; circle scarf: Loft; boots: Target

Song: Uninvited by Alanis Morissette

Dinner Tonight: Ginger Lime Chicken and Rice

I'm sure you're far from hungry; if you're anything like me you've done your fair share of eating this weekend. But, tonight's dinner turned out rather tasty, so I thought I'd share it with you. The recipe is Martha Stewart Everyday Food's Crispy Ginger-Lime Chicken Thighs, but I used chicken breasts (bone-in, skin on, cut in half) instead. The only thing I had to change was the cook time--I increased the broiling time on each side by a couple minutes, then turned the oven down to 450 on bake and let it cook an additional five minutes.  If your chickens had less voluptuous breasts, you won't have to cook it for as long. 

While the chicken was in the oven, I cooked the rice in chicken stock. When it finished cooking, I added ginger, lime zest and juice, and butter. I was impressed by this easy-to-make, quick meal. It was packed with flavor! And, it's a complete departure from the traditional holiday flavors you've been daintily nibbling (okay, chowing down) on.

Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum

When I was little, I was afraid of the song Little Drummer Boy. Who is afraid of a Christmas song? Only yours truly. 

Oddly, I can't think of anything else to talk about other than my irrational childhood fears. I also really hated the music from the show Unsolved Mysteries, but I feel like that's a little more reasonable. I wish I could say I've outgrown such things, but I still harbor a deep fear and hatred of clowns. I realize they're supposed to bring joy and laughter, but the only thing they bring me is a quickened pulse and the urge to run away screaming. 

So what were you afraid of when you were a kid? And now?

Cardigan: Loft; top: Liberty of London for Target; jeans: Express; belt: Target; oxfords: Target

Song: Little Drummer Boy by Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone

It's the Holiday Season...Giveaway! WINNER!

Well friends, I have another reason to celebrate! Not only did I win a bit of money last night at poker (I got second, so it wasn't a lot, but it was more than I came in with!) but also, I am now completely done with my Christmas shopping! It may have taken all of my time and energy today, but it was worth it. 

Now it's time for you to celebrate too, because I am picking the winner of my CSN Stores giveaway today! 

Our holiday snack moose is responsible for choosing a winner. I put the names into his hollow belly (which was once filled with people "puppy" chow) and came out with...

Domestic Diva! Congratulations Domestic Diva, I will be e-mailing you with your $55 gift code! 

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There's Gone for Good and There's Good and Gone

My vacation started approximately two hours and thirty minutes ago. The best part is that I'm almost completely planned for the first few days back to school, so I don't have to do a darn "teacherly" thing over break. What I do need to do: finish Christmas shopping, watch Christmas movies with my friends, do some holiday baking, and find something fun to wear for New Year's Eve. With the exception of Christmas shopping, it's not a bad to-do list is it? 

I'm going to take a little nap, then it's off to go play poker with some math nerds! (Some of Aaron's math teacher friends.) Last time I came home with some moolah, let's hope my luck holds on tonight. Winter break, I love you.

Shirt: Old Navy; jeans: Old Navy; scarf: Loft; socks: Target; boots: Aldo

Song: What Kinda Gone by Chris Cagle

Merry Christmas Pasta

Sorry about the lack of food posts of late. It's not that I haven't been cooking, it's that for some reason I've been making dishes that aren't very camera-friendly. (It's possible that they could be camera-friendly if they had a competent photographer. Let's just say I won't be winning any food-styling awards any time soon.) But finally I made something that looked decent in pictures. This is Rachael Ray's Christmas Pasta

If it looks ridiculously meaty, that's because it is. In fact, I didn't love it the first time I made it just for that reason. But Aaron, being a "there's no such thing as too much meat" kind of guy, loved it. And the more I fixed it, the more I wanted to keep making (and eating) it. I think maybe it's about getting the right ratio of meats for your taste. We use bacon (not because we don't like pancetta, but because we'd rather not spend all our grocery money on one slab of cured meat), ground beef, and Italian sausage (hot when we can find it). Also, I use rigatoni instead of penne, but it doesn't really matter. It's the perfect meal for a cozy winter's night in. 


It's Getting Better All the Time

Yesterday I was bit of a grinch, but today I'm in a decidedly better mood. Could it be that it's Friday? Could it be that I only have to work two days next week? Yes and yes, I think that might just be it. 

I'm making this short (but sweet I hope) because I have to go get ready for my first holiday party of the year. Woohoo! Tonight I'm off to my friend's grandma's yearly holiday Christmas caroling party. I've been going since I started college, and it's always a treat. Friends, food, drinks, and Christmas carols--what could be better? And tomorrow, it's holiday party numero deux. The hubbie's good friend will be hosting an "Ugly Christmas Sweater" party. I'm not sure whether or not I'll be participating in the "ugly sweater" part, but I will be there regardless! 

What about you, any holiday parties this weekend?

Sweater: Loft; shirt (under sweater): Gap, oldie but a goodie; jeans: Loft; earrings: mom; necklace: Paris; socks: Target; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Song: Getting Better by the Beatles

Your Heart is Full of Unwashed Socks

You know what I love about winter? Other than the awesomely cold temperatures, of course. I love leaving in the dark every morning, then some days coming home in the dark as well. I mean, if my goal were to see as little daylight as possible, then by golly, I've achieved it today! Sorry, this sarcastic whine-fest is over now. It sounds like what I need is a wine-fest. Well, tomorrow is Friday, so that just might be possible. 

On a happier note, Finals start tomorrow! Which means I'm just three days away from Christmas break! Thank goodness. My sanity has really missed me.

Cardigan: Loft; t-shirt: Loft; skirt: Forever 21; necklace: Forever 21; tights: Loft; boots: Franco Sarto, Macy's

Song: You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch [Random, yes, but I was feeling a little grinchy today.]

Hey Santa

I was too much of a weenie to go outside for pictures today. But it's thirty degrees, and this shirt is far from warm. So it's me, Santa, and awkward lighting. But, I really like this outfit you see, and I've been terribly lame about posting lately. (I'm blaming it on Finals Week and winter, and not necessarily in that order.) 

How's your Christmas shopping coming along? I've done a lot of online shopping, which for some reason I've done little of for previous Christmases. Holy time saver! The only down side is getting all these packages in the mail, and none of them are for me. However, the less time I spend fighting crowds of crazy Christmas shoppers, the better. The later it gets though, the more I realize I'm going to have to drag my butt to an actual store sooner or later. Probably later. 

Shirt: J.Crew, thrifted; skirt: Nanette Lepore, thrifted (two of my very favorite finds!); necklace: Anthropologie; belt: Loft; tights: I don't remember; oxfords: Target

Song: Hey Santa by Carnie and Wendy Wilson

5 4 3 2 Ready Run

Is it winter break yet? No? Seven days and counting. I'm not quite sure where this weekend went, but I do know that it's ending way too fast. Do I say that every weekend? Well, don't you agree?--they're always too short! 

I've been admiring the Academic Chic girls' looks lately, especially their forays into scarf-belting. I decided to try the look myself, and didn't realize until after I wound up with this look that it's pretty much a dead-ringer for this 30 for 30 look of E's. Sometimes I start with a look in mind and I try to recreate it, but this time it was more of a subconscious effort! Either way, I wonder what I would do without all the great inspiration I get from the blog world. Especially during times such as these, when my brain is pretty much mush.

Cardigan: American Eagle; t-shirt: Old Navy; jeans: Old Navy; scarf: Merona, Target; belt: Loft; boots: St. John's Bay, JCPenney

Song: 5 4 3 2 Run by SheDaisy

I Read the News Today Oh Boy

All I could think of when I put this outfit on yesterday was a joke that always made me laugh when I was little. Are you ready for it? Okay: What's black and white and read all over? A newspaper! I can hear you groaning. But I just can't help myself, I'm going to give you another one. Where does the lone ranger take his garbage? To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump! Wow, I slay me. Here's my all time favorite: Knock Knock. (Answer me, just do it.) Dwayne. (Come on, you know your line.) Dwayne the bathtub, I'm dwowning! 

**Disclaimer: the hilariousness of my jokes is not a direct indicator of the amount of sleep I've had. I'm always this funny. It's a gift.

Black and White tee: Old Navy; "Red All Over" sweater: XT,; pants: Gap; necklace, Target; belt: Loft; flats: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Song: A Day in the Life by the Beatles

It's the Holiday Season...Giveaway!


As much as I anticipate it every year, I still can't believe the holiday season is already upon us! Yes, I've been enjoying (maybe a little too much!) the Christmas music and holiday food, but I'm far too behind on my Christmas shopping! Thinking you may be feeling the same way, the lovely folks at CSN stores have offered one of the readers of Bon Chic Bon Gastronomique a $55 gift certificate, so you can buy a gift for someone on your list, or even for yourself! They have an amazing selection of products: everything from children's luggage to beautiful jewelry boxes

Here's what I would pick if I could win my own giveaway (which, darn it, I can't!).

This Calphalon grill pan so I can grill even in winter!

This adorable yoga mat:

Or maybe this comfy looking dog bed for my sweet girl Ellie.

So are you inspired to enter the giveaway yet? It was the dog bed, wasn't it? Well here's what you need to do:

-Be a US or Canadian resident.
-Follow Bon Chic Bon Gastronomique with Google Friend Connect or BlogLovin' and let me know about it.
-Visit the CSN site and tell me what you would buy if you won.

That's it! Good luck and good night! 

***By the way you have until Tuesday, December 21st at midnight to enter.
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Run, Run Rudolph

I feel like I've been running nonstop from one thing to the next, and it's only Tuesday! It's that time of year for teachers and students... getting ready for finals! So forgive me if I'm a less than stellar blogger over the next week or so. I'll make every effort to continue with outfit photos and food posts (and even a giveaway!) but I may be a little stingy with the words. But since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, an extra picture or two here and there will make up for it I suppose. 

(On a side note: I've found that it is possible to type while wearing mittens with the fold down flap thing. I've also found that it is not possible for my house to be warm. Hot cocoa seems to help. Ice cream doesn't.)

Capelet: Mossimo, thrifted; t-shirt: Gap Outlet; cords: Loft; scarf: Merona, Target; oxfords: Target

Song: Run Rudolph Run by Chuck Berry

Bus, Magic Bus

I need another weekend to recover from this weekend! I was really dragging today, but I tried to act extra enthusiastic to cover it up. As a result, the students probably thought I was even more weird than usual. Anyway, every year for three of my friends' birthdays (that fall in late November-December) we rent a party bus to take us out on the town. We had a great time, even though we realized we were getting old when we got bored at a dance club. It was so loud--we couldn't even hear each other! Yes, old. Regardless, I had all kinds of fun and I feel so lucky to have such awesome friends. Happy birthday Tom, Jeff and Cassie!

Sunday I tried (and failed!) to get everything done on my to-do list. You would think I would learn not to procrastinate, but year after year I continue to do it. Sunday wasn't all work though--I did go to my little sister's piano recital. I was so proud of her: she played her music beautifully! That brought back memories. (I played piano for eleven years.) I teased my dad about trying to reach some sort of record when it comes to piano recital attendance. I hope when Aaron and I have a kid she'll play the piano too, so he can go to even more! 

Blazer: Lavender Star, Kohl's; blouse: Limited; shorts: Loft; earrings: Loft; tights: Gap; shoes: Jessica Simpson, DSW

Song: Magic Bus by the Who

Dinner Tonight: Health Food

Yeah, I'm just kidding about that. This is a pasta dish laden with bacon, cream, and cheese. Healthy? Not exactly. Delicious? Very. When I saw this recipe on Tasty Kitchen, the title alone was enough to make me drool. Bacon and Parmesan Pasta? Yes, we will have that for dinner as soon as possible. Now we don't eat like this every night, but I've never been one to turn down pasta that has both cheese and bacon in it. This made the perfect comforting, hearty weeknight meal, plus leftovers for a couple lunches. (Yes! I love pasta leftovers!) 

So if this means working out extra hard for the rest of the week, it's totally worth it. 

Then We Will Remember Things We Said Today

Do you call into radio stations to try to win stuff? I don't usually, but I happen to have some luck when it comes to a local oldies station. My mom won money from them when I was younger, and I was a "kid DJ" there when I was in middle school. Yes, at an oldies station. Hey, I love oldies, alright? Anyhoo, every morning at 7:00 they do "Beatles for breakfast" and today you could call in with the titles of the songs to win money. Well that was right up my alley. Unfortunately I do not have Oldies 95 programmed into my cell phone, and I was driving, so I magnanimously chose driving safely over trying to win some cash. (Some days safe driving doesn't pay, AllState Agent!) But I've learned my lesson--Oldies 95 is now in my address book. The songs were "Things We Said Today" and "Paperback Writer"--it wasn't even a challenge. So next time, Larry (the guy who won), you're on! I'll be ready.

And yes I realize the complete randomness of this post. Some days, I just don't have a lot to say about my clothes. 

Jacket: Gap; t-shirt: Loft; skirt: NY&Co; earrings: Target; necklace: Fenno Fashion (Courtesy of Lizzypunch); tights: Target; boots: Target

Song: Things We Said Today (Yes, I told you I knew it!) by the Beatles

But Baby it's Cold Outside

Whooeee! Kansas sure did get a little taste of winter today. And I'll tell you what: it was bitter. Christmas is the only thing that gets me through this season--otherwise, I'd be crabby all the way from December to early March. With Christmas, I don't start to get really pissed until January. But the prospect of a snow day turns my mood promptly around, that's for sure! It actually started snowing this morning (just a teeny, tiny bit) and my students were freaking out. It's quite a challenge to get first year French students to focus on regular -er verbs when there are snowflakes in the air. Their brains immediately jump to: "If it snows a lot, will we get to go home?" Yes, they're going to send everyone home because of 13 snowflakes. 

I have to admit though, I felt the same way when I was in high school (and even in college... and let's face it even now). The only redeeming quality of the end of the fall/beginning of the spring semesters was the possibility of a day to stay at home and do nothing. Or, in my case, face the elements to hang out with my best friend. Although I don't think we'll be getting any snow days anytime soon, I still have high hopes for January.

Cardigan: Loft Outlet; blouse: Elle, thrifted; pants: Gap (I seriously wish I would have bought a pair of these in every color--I love these pants!); seriously over-worn belt; Loft; boots: St. Johns' Bay, JCPenney

Song: Baby it's Cold Outside by Dean Martin (Although I happen to love the Rod Stewart/Dolly Parton version myself.)

I'm So Tired

Did anyone else have trouble getting up this morning? Due to the fact that I indulged a little too much in both food and sleep last week, my eyes struggled to stay open and my tights truly lived up to their name. I've never hurried faster to throw on a pair of jeans. And to be honest, I can't wait to hop into my stretchy, elastic-waist pajama pants later tonight. It sounds like I really need to hit up the Jazzercise classes this week!

I decided to take a major detour from my usual denim pencil skirt today, and throw on a pencil skirt of a more ferocious variety. Yet I kept a little bit of comfort with a sweater that feels more like a sweatshirt. So, even if I felt like the circulation in my midsection was being cut off by my tights, my arms were nice and cozy. Not quite the trade-off I'd hoped for. 

Sweater, skirt, tights: Loft; shoes: Nine West

Song: I'm So Tired by the Beatles

You Can Get Anything You Want at Alice's Restaurant

When I was growing up, just as important as turkey and mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving was listening to Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie every year. I don't know when the tradition started (probably before I was even born) but Thanksgiving day just wasn't complete until we were crooning along with Guthrie's hilarious Thanksgiving song. Even though I'm all grown up now, I still try to make a point to play that song sometime during the week of Thanksgiving. What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

Well, I'm off to go start the Thanksgiving festivities with my family. I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving week, and that you have a lot to be thankful for! I know that I do! 

Blazer: Gap (old); t-shirt: Forever 21; jeans: Loft; scarf: Merona, Target; boots: Franco Sarto, Macy's

Song: Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie

I'm Thankful for...Peanut Butter Balls

If you want to see what it looks like when an amateur makes one of Smitten Kitchen's beautiful creations, you've come to the right place. If you can even compare them, these are my attempt at her buckeyes. Although I did not try to make them look like an actual buckeye. I'm not sure what look I was going for to tell you the truth! But despite their ugliness, they tasted delicious.

I made these because I was reminiscing about the yummy plates of goodies my mom used to receive from friends and clients (she used to be a hair stylist) during the holiday season. (And lucky for me my mom doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, so guess who got to enjoy her gifts?) Among the treats, these little peanut butter balls were my absolute favorite! I'm delighted with how they turned out! Once I perfect my dipping skills, I might even be able to pass them out to my friends!

I See Your True Colors

It's denim pencil skirt Monday! For some (completely subconscious) reason, I reach for this denim pencil skirt almost every Monday. I don't know whether it's the skirt's versatility or my way of easing myself out of jeans and into work wear. Do you have something you always gravitate toward at the beginning of the week?

Today was one of those bizarre fall weather days; I left the house when it was still dark out, but it was about 65 degrees. Then, when I left the school this afternoon (with my jacket in my arms, remembering the morning's warmth) I was plagued with goose bumps--the temperature had dropped twenty degrees! I love Kansas, but we have the most unpredictable weather. Thanksgiving is always a crapshoot. This year it's supposed to be cold, but I'm hoping the weather forecast is wrong (not that that ever happens...). 

Cardigan: Banana Republic; skirt: Converse One Star, Target; scarf: Merona, Target; boots: Franco Sarto, Macy's (talk about easing out of the weekend--this is day numero 3 for these babies!)

Song: True Colors by Phil Collins [I think he's the original singer, but the version that's in my head is the one from the movie Save the Last Dance. In case this was information you needed.]

Let's Get it Started in Here

So yesterday was the big day--I started my long-term sub job! This will be a great trial-run for the job I want to find next year: high school French. I was excited, yet nervous, and my nerves were far from calmed when I arrived and the copy machine decided not to work. But after that, things turned around--I found a working copy machine, I got a free chocolate milkshake from Sonic at lunch, and everyone I encountered (students and teachers alike) was friendly and helpful. I'm so lucky to be working at such an amazing school, with the nicest kids! 

I hesitated to wear jeans on my first day, but I learned that almost everyone wears jeans on Friday. I wanted to dress them up a bit though, so I wouldn't be mistaken for a high school student. (Although I did have a shoe-twin in one of my classes! What can I say, French students are stylish!) Anyway, thanks for letting me gush a little about my first day. I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Cardigan: Loft; shirt: J. Crew, thrifted; jeans: Loft; necklace: Loft; shoes: Target

Song: Let's Get it Started by the Black Eyed Peas

Oops I Did it Again

Sorry for the Britney Spears reference, but seriously, Oops! I wore this shirt again. And these pants. And this belt. I mean, am I boring you yet? I seriously wear these all the time. But you see, these pants are ridiculously comfortable. They're my "I want to wear jeans but I can't because I'm going to work so I'll wear these soft corduroy pants" pants. And then the gray in this plaid shirt just pairs perfectly with them, making an instantly cool fall outfit. From there, the possibilities are endless. So when I saw Sydney of the Daybook rocking an awesome red sweater belted over her plaid shirt I knew my bright red cardigan was going to be the perfect topper. Another oops! I copied from the uber-stylish Daybook again.  (Side note--one of the suggested words to replace uber is tuber, which is cracking me up. I'm imagining a super chic potato right about now. I know that uber needs those two little dots over the "u" but I'm too lazy to figure that out right now. Although not too lazy to ramble on about stylish potatoes...) Okay, I see that I'm scaring you, so I'll stop now. Happy almost-Friday!

Cardigan:; shirt: Gap; cords: Loft; belt: Loft; shoes: Target

Song: Oops I Did it Again by Britney Spears

Dinner Tonight: Moroccan Mini Meatballs

When I need a hearty, comforting dish that will please both Aaron and me, I turn to the trusty meatball. Over the years, I've made countless varieties, and very few have let me down. This time, with the help of Rachael Ray of course, I've gone in a slightly more exotic direction with the meatballs. I tore this recipe out of my Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine's October issue. 

There's really not a lot to these meatballs--just meat (I used ground beef instead of lamb), garlic, parsley, some spices, and lemon zest. I really enjoyed the unique flavor that the lemon zest added. Also, I liked having the warmed pita bread for dunking as a nice change from the traditional pasta. I especially appreciated that these are baked first before they simmer in the sauce--in my opinion that's the easiest method. So if you're looking for something to shake up your normal spaghetti and meatball supper, you should give this recipe a try!

Oh, one more thing. The recipe called for eggs to cook in the meatballs and sauce at the end, so you have nice, sunny-side up eggs to mix into the sauce. While I would have enjoyed this, Aaron would have been appalled. To him, they only good eggs are scrambled and cooked to the point of looking burnt (which seems equally appalling to me). So I just went ahead and left the eggs out. But if you do make it with the eggs, you'll have to let me know! 

Baby, You're Not Lost

Ugh, I'm sorry this is such a grainy, awful picture. I debated not even posting it, but I hope the fate of this blog isn't judged by one bad picture. Besides, I do like my outfit. I'm learning why I need a tripod. My husband lovingly takes all my pictures, but if for some reason our paths don't cross at the right time I'm either stuck without a picture or forced to do awkward indoor shots. And with the sun setting around five o'clock getting an outdoor photo can be tricky this time of year.

Speaking of tricky, why did it take me a half hour to find the DMV today? Going to the DMV isn't the most pleasant experience in and of itself, so you'd think they would make the building a little bit easier to find. A sign on the building saying "DMV" would be slightly helpful. I mean, I'm not supposed to walk in to the DMV wanting to punch someone am I? That emotion should be saved for when I leave. (Actually, the lady helping me today was very nice. I can't say the same for the annoying couple sitting next to me.) Anyway, I circled the area I thought it was in for what felt like forever before I found a building that I thought could be it, and lo and behold I saw a teeny tiny sign that said "Vehicle Registration". Sighing in relief, I parked. And the sad part is, I'm pretty sure I've been there before. I really wish I had that "sense of direction" gene. 

Cardigan: Loft Outlet; blouse: Loft; jeans: Express; belt: Target; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Song: Lost by Michael Bublé

Judy in Disguise

I thought if I could disguise this cozy sweater as workwear, today would feel less like a Monday. I was wrong. Today, unfortunately, was very Monday-ish. So, in lieu of whining to you all about the stresses of my day, I'm going to go to bed and be thankful that tomorrow is Tuesday. So here's to Tuesday! 

Cardigan: I Heart Ronson, JCPenney; t-shirt: Old Navy; skirt: Converse One Star, Target; necklace: Dean Harris, Target; shoes: Jessica Simpson, gifted

Song: Judy in Disguise by John Fred and His Fabulous Playboys

Dinner Tonight: Arroz con Pollo

For this meal, we're going to pretend that it was a recipe I picked up from an abuela in Mexico, instead of from my grocery store's e-mail newsletter. Which is why I'm titling it "Arroz con Pollo" instead of the infinitely more boring "Chicken with Rice". Yes, it means the same thing, but food sounds so much more interesting when it's in another language, does it not? (So I should be careful ordering from a German menu, or other foreign-to-me tongue, that I don't order something like cow's feet because it sounds pretty and exotic...) 

Anyway, here's the recipe: (courtesy of Hen House Market)

Chicken with Rice (or, Arroz con Pollo, which is rice with chicken, but sounds better)

4 slices bacon
1 1/2 lbs chicken parts
1 cup chopped onion (1 small)
2 cloves garlic (large)
2 cups long-grain white rice
2 1/2 cups salsa (24-ounce jar)
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (14 1/2-ounce can)
8 oz tomato sauce ( 1 can)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin

Cook bacon in large saucepan over medium-high heat until crispy; remove from saucepan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add chicken to saucepan; cook, turning frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove from saucepan. Discard all but 2 tablespoons drippings from saucepan.

Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add rice; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in salsa, broth, tomato sauce, salt and cumin. Bring to a boil; place chicken over rice mixture. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until most of moisture is absorbed and chicken is no longer pink near bone. Sprinkle with bacon.

Yeah I'm Free

Happy Friday everyone! I'm finally able to do my Friday post on Friday; I'm not rushing to go somewhere or do something. It's nice just to be able to make plans as they come. I tend to make too many lists and try to plan everything, but finding my inner free-spirit is just what I need every once in a while. So I'm off to go hang out with friends, read my book, have some coffee... or something. I haven't decided yet. But the beautiful thing is that I don't have to.

Shirt: Old Navy; cords: Loft; scarf: Merona, Target; belt: Loft; shoes: Target

Song: Free Fallin' by Tom Petty

Wouldn't You Know it, Pouring Rain

I've decided that this dress attracts bad luck. Remember the first time I wore it, the dreaded Chipotle spill? Forward to today: not only is it raining when I leave the school (on my silk dress, mind you) but also Aaron calls to tell me his car battery is dead. I'm not wearing this dress when it starts to get icy, that's for sure! 

Although, the more I think about this the less it strikes me as a matter of luck. I mean, no one held a gun to my head and forced me to go to Chipotle (land of huge, messy burritos) in this dress. Likewise, I knew it was going to rain at some point today, yet I did not grab my umbrella. And Aaron sabotaged his battery by leaving his lights on. So maybe this dress attracts stupid decisions? I'm going to hedge my bets and wear luckier clothes tomorrow. I guess my new dress made of broken mirrors is out of the question. 

Cardigan: Merona, Target; t-shirt: Old Navy; dress (under): Loft; belt: Target; tights: Loft; boots: St. John's Bay, JCPenney

Song: Come Back Song by Darius Rucker

Now It's Too Late

This week I'm working with the French teacher I'll be long term subbing for soon. I'm starting to get excited, but also nervous! She's an amazing teacher, and all her students love her; I hope they can learn to like me too! So if I don't blog as much in the next few weeks, please forgive me. As a regular sub, I've been lucky enough to have a lot of free time due to the fact that I never take any work home. The down side is of course, with less responsibility comes less money, and less challenge (and therefore, less fun). So, while overwhelming, I'm welcoming the work (and the pay increase) that being a long-term sub brings. And maybe, just maybe it well bring me closer to a full-time job. A girl can hope, right?

Okay, on to the clothes. I was inspired once again by Kimberly's Outfit Inspiration Calendar today, which called for mixing stripes, pattern, and leopard. That's three patterns, people! I wasn't sure whether or not I could do it, which is exactly why I wanted to try. And what did I learn from this experience? Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Sure, it looks okay, but to be honest, I just don't love the striped top with the other pieces. It doesn't look quite right. But by the time I figured that out it was too late to change. I'll try to go a little less crazy with the pattern mixing next time. But hey, if that's the worst thing about my day (and honestly, it has been so far), I'm counting it as a success! 

Cardigan: H&M (old); t-shirt: Gap; skirt: Loft; belt: Loft; tights: Target; shoes: Merona, Target

Song: It's Too Late by Carole King

Here Comes the Sun

The past couple of days have been warm and sunny. I'm starting to get confused and dress like spring. Then I look at all the leaves and dead flowers in our yard and I'm reminded what season it really is. Not that I mind fall; in fact, I like it. I just shudder to think about the season that follows it. It's a four-letter word in my book. 

Anyway, this combination of colors and fabrics seemed to coordinate with the bright, cheerful weather we were having. The teacher I subbed for must have been thinking the same thing, because when I saw her at the end of the day she had the same sweater on! What's that they say about great minds?

Shirt: Gap (very old); cardigan: Loft; skirt: Gap Outlet; necklace: c/o Fenno Fashion; belt: Loft; shoes: Target

Song: Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles

Dinner Tonight: Beef Stir Fry with Snap Peas

This was not what I planned to write about today. I actually hadn't planned to post it at all, not because this meal wasn't delicious, but because I wasn't happy with the pictures. But it was so good I'm going to tell you about it anyway, bad picture and all. Actually, it's a Pioneer Woman recipe, so you can go check out her site for some spectacular photos. The only thing I changed about her version was I swapped sugar snap peas for the snow peas. I just like sugar snaps better. 

Anyway, if you're looking for a quick, easy meal that's full of flavor, you should give this one a try! I'm not sure how I would get through my week without the Pioneer Woman. She's a genius!

It's Gray It's Gray

Since I neglected to do this last night, I'm going to squeeze this (two-for-one deal) outfit post in this morning before I go wedding dress shopping with my best friend and bride-to-be Abby. And I can't believe that it's already been five years ago that I was bringing her along to do the very same thing! 

On a less cheerful note, I did finish Flowers in the Attic. I was amazed by the response I got about that book! For those of you asking if you should read it, I think you should. It was extremely well-written, and one of those books that's sad, horrifying, yet beautiful at the same time. And for those of you who have read it, I instantly understood what you meant when you said it gets weird and disturbing. But mostly just sad. Sad and disturbing, yet I find myself heading to the library to get the rest of the books in the series. Go figure. 

Sweater: Loft; skirt: Loft (bought during completely different seasons, I swear!); tights: Gap or Target, can't remember; shoes: Gap 

Jacket: Converse One Star for Target; top: Loft; Jeans: Loft; earrings: Loft (again, different shopping trips people); sash/belt: from an old dress; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Song: Black is Black by Los Bravos

I Love You Madly, Madly Madam Librarian

I felt like a librarian today in this outfit. Which, if it were 1962, I think I would love to be a librarian. I love books, I love organizing things... sounds like a good fit to me! However, this little thing we're obsessed with now called technology lessens the appeal of the librarian's job. When I was researching for my master's classes, I was overwhelmed by the countless sources available online. Trying to find the perfect sources for my research papers, whether they were about the feminine voice in French writing or the role of culture in second language learning (or anything in between), made me go a little batty. So if I had to maneuver through the world of online resources everyday, you can only imagine how crazy I'd be. It's a bummer though, because I sure do love books.

Speaking of this love of mine, I'm now reading Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews, about a crazy mother who locks her children in the attic. It's quite a feel-good story. It's also pretty hard to put down. I just started it last night, and already those poor kids have been in the attic for a year. 

Blouse: Nine West, Marshall's (old!); cardigan: NY & Co; skirt: Converse One Star for Target; earrings: NY & Co; tights: target; shoes: Issac Mizrahi for Target (speaking of Target, best commercials ever right now, don't you think?)

Song: Marian the Librarian from the musical The Music Man

By the way, was this post nerdy enough for you? Sorry about that--sometimes I can't keep it in.

Everyone Knows it's Windy

Sorry for another faceless shot! This was the only picture in which my hair did not look like I just stepped out of a convertible after driving on the highway... in Chicago. People with long hair can pull off that "windblown" look--I just look like I stuck a fork in an outlet. 

In addition to my hair, the wind's force also had a detrimental effect on the neat little piles of leaves I raked up this afternoon. And I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that today was my first real yard work experience. My job was to rake the leaves then suck them up with our leaf blower/sucker. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a leaf sucker! As it happens, there is, and you can even wear the bag on your back as you go, ghostbuster-style. It was pretty dirty, so I didn't. But just having the option made me giggle a bit. Oh, and by the way, this picture was taken pre-leaf raking. The wind may have been blowing, but I managed to rid our yard of some leaves. 

Cardigan: I Heart Ronson, JCPenney; t-shirt: Loft; jeans: Old Navy; earrings: Target; boots: Franco Sarto, Macy's

Song: Everyone Knows it's Windy by The Association