Weddings and Birthdays and Basketball Oh My!

What a busy Saturday!  First off, we had Aaron's friend Tim's wedding.  I love Winter weddings, since they're relatively rare.  So I decided to do a Spring dress but with all black to make it look weather-appropriate.  I nearly killed myself walking into Mr. Goodcents in these shoes.  As cute as they are, they're not meant for traipsing around on snow packed sidewalks!

Blazer: Lavendar Star, Kohl's; dress: Tramp, Marshalls; tights: Gap; necklace: Target; belt: Target; booties: Jessica Simpson, DSW

Next, we went to a surprise birthday party at a bar where we could watch the K-State/KU basketball game.  The party was fun, but the game didn't go the way I'd hoped.  I felt a little overdressed for the casual bar setting, but I've been stuck in a jeans rut lately and I wanted a more creative way to sport my Wildcat purple.

Short-sleeve cardigan: Forever 21; top: Daisy Fuentes, Kohl's; skirt: Express; tights: Gap; earrings: Ann Taylor Loft; belt: Forever 21; watch: Marc Jacobs; flats: Se Boutique, DSW

Second Time Offender

I know that I just wore this sweater last week (and let's not even count how many times I've worn these jeans or boots).  But the weather made me really gloomy today, and this cardigan says "Spring!" like nothing else.  I didn't like the snow the first time around, I definitely don't like it now.  That's enough whining about the weather I guess.  One last complaint though--after my great experience taking pictures outside, I'm afraid I made it home to late today to do that.  So, it's white walls again.  On to a more relevant (and pleasant) topic...I'm a scarf fanatic, and I found this one hiding in the bottom of my over-stuffed scarf basket.  I was pleased that it complimented my Spring-y sweater perfectly. 

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Cardigan: Gap, camisole: Gap; jeans: Old Navy; scarf: Target, belt: Target; boots: Franco Sarto

Dinner Tonight: Mmm...Soup! White Bean Soup

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The cold weather has been making me crave soup lately, which is rare for me.  Generally I'd rather chew my dinner than slurp it.  So tonight I made Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup, from Giada De Laurentiis' cookbook Giada's Kitchen.  

I started by sauteeing chopped shallot with butter and olive oil to soften it.  Then I added white beans and garlic.  I was supposed to add sage, but I didn't have any, so I sprinkled in some dried thyme instead.  Then I added chicken stock, and simmered for a good 15 minutes or so.  After that, I pureed the soup with my immersion blender (you could do it in batches in a regular blender if you felt so inclined) just to thicken it.  I wanted some texture left, so I didn't blend it completely smooth.  Finally, I added cream, salt and pepper, and let it all warm through.  For a dipper (what's soup without a dipper?) I toasted up a halved ciabatta roll in the oven.  Really good.  Even for someone who doesn't get excited about soup. 

What took me so long?

Finally, I decided to brave the elements and take some photos outside.  I'm so glad I did, since I was getting mighty tired of the apartment's white walls as a background.  I froze my butt off, but I do like the results!

Blazer:  Target; white tee: Old Navy, jeans: Express; scarf: World Market; bracelets: Target; shoes: Naturalizer (way old)

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Boredom Bars

So, yesterday I was really feeling bored.  Since Aaron and I are sharing a car, and he had it, I was stuck home all day.  I hate to complain, since this time off has been really great.  But I really wanted to bake, and I couldn't go anywhere to buy ingredients.  So, I thought, what can I make with what's here?  Instantly, I thought of a childhood favorite, the peanut butter bar.  It's like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, but I insist, it's better.  And unbelievably easy to make. 

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Here's the recipe if you're interested:

-2 sticks margarine, melted
-3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
-2 cups graham cracker crumbs
-1 cup peanut butter (I prefer creamy)
-2 cups chocolate chips
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix together margarine, sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and peanut butter.  Press into a 9X13" buttered pan.  Melt chocolate chips and vegetable oil.  Frost peanut butter mixture, and refrigerate until set.  Then, just try to make them last more than a few days.  I bet you won't make it. 

Party with the BFF!

Tonight I'm out to celebrate my best friend's 27th birthday!  I'm doubly excited, because not only has it been a while since I've been out on the town, but also I get to wear the hot new shoes that have been calling my name since they arrived in my closet.  Last year her birthday got a little crazy, so I have no doubt this will be a good night.  I can't believe we've been friends for 15 years!  If you're reading this Abby, I love you, happy birthday!

 Cardigan: Old Navy, thrifted; top: Ann Taylor Loft; jeans: Old Navy; earrings: Ann Taylor Loft; belt: Target; shoes (yay!): Nine West

I couldn't resist a close-up shoe pic!

Dinner Tonight: Pasta + Sausage + Cheese = Yum!

Tonight's dinner came from another one of my Food Network faves, Giada de Laurentiis.  I just adore her, and it doesn't annoy me at all that she pronounces all her Italian ingredients with an Italian accent (this annoys Aaron, among others).  Anyhoo, I made her Orecchiette with Sausage, Beans, and Mascarpone from her cookbook Giada's Kitchen for this evening's meal.  It was absolutely delicious, and surprisingly, not that bad for you because it was made with turkey sausage.  Orecchiette, which means "little ears" in Italian, is aptly named, because that's just what it looks like.  I got a little chuckle, because on the bag of orecchiette I bought, it said "Fancy Shape".  It seemed to be saying, see, you can't just get this stuff anywhere.  Definitely not at Walmart (more on that later). 

I browned some turkey sausage (casings removed) with some onion, then added white beans.  The recipe called for cannellini beans, and all I could find (why did I try to buy groceries at Walmart?) were Great Northern.  I think the cannellini would have been a better choice though, they have a softer, more creamy texture.  

Then I added some pasta cooking water, and a couple heaping spoonfuls of mascarpone cheese, which melted to make a creamy sauce.  I was pretty much sold at that point.

All that was left to do was stir in the pasta.  Oh, and of course, eat it! 

The Wild Side

So, I found a great leopard-print top when I went thrifting the other day, and I was really looking forward to wearing it.  However, I didn't notice that it was ripped in the back.  And, since I can't return it (and of course there's not another one) I'm out both the money and a cute shirt.  Not that it was a big expense or anything, I think it was 7 bucks.  But that's not the point...

So, still feeling in the animal-print mood, I decided to wear this scarf instead (also thrifted, but luckily, in good condition).  It added just the spice I needed to an otherwise basic outfit of a cardigan, jeans, and boots.  

Cardigan: Gap; tank: Target; jeans: Old Navy; scarf: thrifted; boots: Franco Sarto


This morning I found an old pair of cutoffs in the back of my closet.  What they were doing there, instead of in a drawer with my other shorts, I couldn't tell you.  Nevertheless, I decided to try out the shorts + tights look, which at first I spurned, but after seeing it on others I've since converted.  I like the way it turned out, although the picture makes my legs look shinier (and unfortunately, bigger) than they appeared in person.  Also, since it is still Winter, I had to wear a coat when I went outside, and I may have looked like I wasn't wearing pants.  Oh well, at least I know I was covered up.  

  Sweater: H&M; jeanshorts: Hollister, really old!; tights: Gap; necklace: Forever 21; flats: Target

Red and Pink and Go Big Purple!

I love magazines, I love shopping, and I love people-watching.  But I always feel the most inspired after reading my daily blog list.  For example, I was reading the lovely Homerun Ballerina the other day, and she was wearing a boldly mixed red skirt and pink blouse.  I love both colors, but it was her pairing of the two together that made me want to mix them in my own wardrobe.  

While I'll have to try for a more dressed-up look at some point, considering I was going to a friend's house to eat chili and watch basketball (Go K-State!) I went for a pretty casual look.  But I really liked the unexpected combination of colors.  

My shoes are a little hard to see, so here's a close-up.  


Sweater: Gap; scarf: Target (?); jeans: Express; shoes: American Eagle

Dinner Tonight: Spanish Steak and Rice

Before tonight, I can't remember the last time I had a steak dinner.  For one, steak is expensive, so we don't usually buy it (and ordering it in a restaurant is nearly laughable for that same reason).  And secondly, it's not something I usually crave.  But for some reason, a big juicy piece of meat sounded too good to pass up tonight.  So I decided to make a Spanish steak recipe with chimichurri and rice with pimientos, from the December/January issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray.  Yes, again with Rachael Ray.  I'm telling you I really can't get enough.  

That's a huge steak, right?  Needless to say, we blew our grocery budget this week.  Worth it.  Aaron grilled them up on the $15 habachi we got today at Walmart.  Wow, I think the steak cost more than the grill!  I made the chimichurri (parsley, shallot, garlic, marjoram, thyme, vinegar, and olive oil) and the rice (with pimentos, toasted orzo, chili powder, and smoked paprika).  The steak was delicious, and the sauce really complimented it's rich flavor.  The rice was the perfect pairing for the grilled meat, since it had a bit of smoky flavor from the paprika.  Yum!

Color Needed

While scanning my closet recently, I realized that I'd been buying a lot of gray and black lately.  Either it's the weather, or I'm turning into my mother (whom I love dearly, but she tends to continually gravitate toward neutrals).  Not that owning lots of neutrals is a bad thing.  But I'm a Spring person.  I love colors:  bright pinks and purples and blues.  And just because everything outside is covered in shades of black and gray, doesn't mean that I have to be too.

Sweater: Banana Republic; tank: Target; jeans: Express; necklace: Forever 21; shoes: Nine West

A Little Spring to Keep Me Sane

Here in Kansas City, we've reached that point where all the snow is starting to melt, and everything is gray and bleak looking.  It's not a pretty sight.  Not that I was a snow fan even in its state of pristine whiteness, but even snow-lovers can't argue with me that now it's just plain ugly.  So today, I needed some Spring.  For Christmas, my best friend gave me this lovely floral scarf, and it's just the pick-me-up my wintry outfit needed.  (Excuse Ellie, she just couldn't miss an opportunity to be photographed.  Also excuse my horribly over-stuffed bookshelf.)

Cardigan: American Eagle; dress: Banana Republic Outlet; earrings: Target; scarf: Old Navy, gift; belt: Forever 21; tights: maybe Gap?; boots: Franco Sarto

Dinner Tonight: Lasagna Pasta Toss

Tonight, I let Rachael Ray supply my dinner (at least the recipe) once again.  This time it was from her book Express Lane Meals (2006), "Not-sagna Pasta Toss" (p. 208), which was a deconstructed lasagna.  I probably make her meals more than anyone's.  They always turn out well for me, and Aaron usually likes them too.  Also, it was watching Rachael Ray on the Food Network when I was in high school that really made me want to start cooking.  Before that, I liked to bake, and help my mom (another wonderful cook!) in the kitchen, but I didn't make many meals on my own.  Unless you consider cookies a meal.  Which they should be, right?  

To make this pasta toss, I browned ground beef and added onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, a pinch of allspice, and worcestershire sauce.  (Meanwhile, I had a pot of water boiling for the pasta.)

To the meat and onions, I added beef stock and a can of crushed tomatoes.  I let this simmer while the pasta finished cooking.  Meanwhile, I mixed ricotta cheese with some of the pasta cooking water, then stirred in some grated parmesan.

Finally, I mixed the pasta and some of the sauce with the cheese, and then served it with more sauce and cheese on top.  Call me crazy, but I'm not a big lasagna fan.  However, I really liked this pasta, and I liked how it required so little effort. 


Sugar and Spice

I wouldn't say that I have a defined style, because I love so many different looks, but I am always drawn towards clothing and accessories that are classic yet feminine.  This look really encompasses that style--classic shapes, but with touches of pink and lace.  

Cardigan: Urban Outfitters; tee: Old Navy; jeans: Express; necklace: jewelry shop in Paris, I can't remember the name; belt: Target; shoes: Target

Dinner Tonight: Chicken Tacos à la Rachael Ray

Tonight for dinner I made some spice-rubbed chicken tacos that Rachael Ray made on her show last week.  They turned out really good, but it was way too much food for Aaron and I.  I would recommend this recipe, but only if you have some time (about 45 minutes) and lots of pots and pans at the ready.  The only thing I didn't put in mine that she suggests is giardiniera, which are Italian pickled veggies.  It's not something I use on a regular basis, plus there's already enough going on.

 The chicken had a mixture of chili powder, cocoa powder, and a tiny bit of cinnamon rubbed on it.  It had a pretty mild flavor.

 The chicken was topped with sautéed peppers and onions.  No cheese--this was a pretty healthy meal!

Along with the peppers and onions, the taco was topped with avocado slices and a tomato-chile sauce. 



Last Hurrah

The end of the holiday season always makes me a bit sad.  Mind you, I couldn't be more ready for Spring, but I do adore Christmas.  Last night, I went to my last Christmas party of the season, an annual gift exchange with friends.  Not only did I walk away with a Border's gift card, but also some leftover cheesecake and gratitude that I do not have any kids yet.  I made a baby cry.  I think she could smell the fear.  

So for the party, I decided to (finally!) break out of my jeans rut.  I wore leggings under my tights, so my legs stayed nice and toasty.  

Blazer: Kohl's; tee: Forever 21; skirt: Express; tights: Gap; boots: Franco Sarto

Winter I-Wonder... Land Part Deux

Not the new purple platforms, but purple boots aren't a terrible substitute.  Happy Friday!

Sweater: American Eagle; blouse: Nine West, Marshalls; jeans: Old Navy; boots: Aldo; earrings: White House Black Market (they were my "something borrowed" when I got married, then my mom gave them to me one year for Christmas) 

Winter I-Wonder-How-Much-Longer-This-Will-Last Land

I hate to whine, but I am so TIRED of this arctic weather.  How is a girl supposed to look cute, and rock the new purple platforms she just got in the mail, when it's only 5 degrees out and there's a foot of snow on the ground?  Surprisingly, I've only busted my butt once, but I wasn't in the mood to make it a second time today, so tennis shoes it was.  Not a terribly creative look I'm afraid, but comfort ruled today.  I may have a Part II to come, if I decide to jazz up the sweater a bit for evening.  

Blazer: Target; sweater: American Eagle; jeans: Express; scarf: Target; shoes: Converse


Cozy Cool

So, I've been cooped up in my apartment for the past couple days, because of excessive snow and colder than cold windchills.  Call me a weenie, but I'm not even going to think about driving when it's this bad outside.  Regardless of the fact that I drive like a grandmother when there's something that even resembles a snowflake on the ground, I don't think one can be too careful.  But, I digress.  I decided to go ahead and get dressed today (at about 3:00 this afternoon) and at least pretend I was headed somewhere outside of these apartment walls.  And hey, maybe I will decide to brave the elements.  

 Plaid shirt: Gap; tank: Old Navy; jeans: Gap; belt: Target; necklace: hand made by Aaron's (the hubby's) aunt Mary; boots: St. John's Bay, JCPenney

Simple Pleasures

I love to cook, but there are times when I'm too tired, or in this case too cold, to put a lot of effort into a meal.  When this is the case, I turn to roasting.  In my opinion, most foods just taste better after spending an hour or so in a hot oven. 

Potatoes are no exception.  While this tasty little tuber can be prepared in countless ways, I find that a golden brown oven "fry" beats an oil-drenched offering from the fast food joint around the corner any day.  What's even better is that they are enormously simple to prepare. 

To accompany dinner tonight (roasted chicken, naturally) I chose a bunch of small red skinned beauties.  But, if you have a tub of russets you're hankering to use up, by all means, use those.  Because of their small size, I quartered them.  

Then, I drizzled in some olive oil and sprinkled them with chopped fresh rosemary, some oregano (I only had dried), salt and pepper.  A number of flavors would work, however, try garlic and thyme, or crushed red pepper for a bit of heat.  

I roasted the potatoes in a 375 degree oven for 50 minutes to an hour.  During the last ten minutes of roasting, I basted the potatoes with more olive oil to help them brown.  

Ridiculously simple, but so good.  Aaah, the perfect side for a lazy winter's day. 

Art Imitating Life

Or fashion imitating weather...

I've felt so motivated to update and post new pictures, but the weather (10 inches of snow anyone?) has made looking cute quite a challenge.  So, I've been living in a world of jeans (I swear, I do own other jeans) and boots.  What should I wear today?  Oh, jeans, boots, and...a sweater.  Or, how about, jeans, boots, and...a jacket.  So, despite the excitement that comes with a new year, my outfits are feeling ever-so blah.  Maybe this is a sign that I need to do some food posts. 

Jacket: One Star, Target; tee: Old Navy; cami: Forever 21; jeans: Old Navy; boots: Franco Sarto; dog:  Ellie, best mutt in the world from local shelter

Trying to Stay Warm!

I looked at the weather this morning on my computer, and was horrified when I saw "3 degrees, feels like -8 degrees".  My hatred for winter continues.  And it's only January.  Sigh.  Can you buy fireplaces, just on their own?  I'm sure the apartment complex wouldn't mind... 

Anyway, we're going to my Dad and Stepmom's (proud fireplace owners) for a late Christmas celebration today, so I wanted to wear something a bit nicer than the K-State Snuggie (yes, I know, but it's warm) I got for Christmas that has been calling my name all morning.  So I went with a fun new top I just purchased, but paired with a cozy sweater and boots to keep me from freezing to death. 

Top: Ann Taylor Loft; cardigan: Target; jeans: Old Navy; boots: Franco Sarto, Macy's (Christmas gift from loving husband); weird expression on my face: I'm not sure where that came from.

Joyeux 2010!

I started this blog in 2009, and despite my best intentions, my efforts to keep it up have been less than stellar.  So, for 2010, one of my resolutions (the other being to eat more vegetables) is to put BCBG higher on my priority list.  And now that I am done with school, I think it's a reasonable goal.

Additionally, I'm changing the format a bit.  I'm so inspired everyday by so many creative bloggers out there, especially those who provide daily outfit photos.  And, although my camera is old and my husband and I are far from being photographers, I'm going to give it a go.  

So, to start the year off right, here's my first outfit of 2010.  I wore it last night to ring in the new year, which, with the help of many glasses of champagne, I definitely did.  We went to a party at a pretty casual bar, so I decided to go with jeans, but add a bit of sparkle.  It is a holiday after all.  

Sweater: Express; tank: Target; jeans: Old Navy; booties: Jessica Simpson, DSW; earrings: Ann Taylor Loft; watch: Marc Jacobs