Les Petites Choses

I love how accessories can completely change a look.  I mean, this outfit is painfully basic.  A black cardigan, a white tee-shirt, and slacks.  But, with a chunky necklace, a pretty pink belt, and purple flats, suddenly, it's interesting.  Not interesting enough, however, to keep talking about.  I can hardly keep my eyes open.  And it's not even 7:00.  I'm pathetic.

Cardigan: Mossimo, Target; t-shirt: Old Navy; pants: Gap (really, really old); necklace: Francesca's; belt: Target; shoes: Se Boutique, DSW
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Dinner Tonight: Fast Food...Please

I love making burgers.  They're so easy, yet so freaking good.  I'm partial to the school of "put as much crap as you want to in the meat, and still call it a burger" burger-cooking philosophy, unlike burger-purists who feel that a burger is seasoned ground meat only.  Anyhoo, tonight's burger (of the former variety) was inspired by who else, the Ray.  I used a recipe from her 365: No Repeats book, called the "Paella Burger" but instead of ground chicken I used ground beef, and omitted the shrimp and chorizo completely.  I've had it that way before, and it's good, and Aaron and I are good eaters and all, but whoa.  Way too much food, and let's not even get into how to fit the damn thing in your mouth.  

The recipe, in a nutshell:  ground beef, parsley, paprika, garlic, lemon zest, onion powder, grill seasoning, hot sauce.  For the fries:  melted butter infused with garlic, parsley.  See how they glisten?  Wow, I think I need to work out just looking at this meal. 

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Remix: When My Ship Comes In

A couple of weeks ago, I wore this shirt and these pants for a look based around a necklace I liked (which I didn't happen to buy, because I found some others I liked better, but that's not important right now).  At the time, I liked what I put together, but after seeing pictures of it, I was a little like, "meh".  So I decided that this new capelet--I guess that's what you call it--I recently thrifted would liven these basics up a bit, and the boots would give them a relaxed feel.  It's still not super exciting or fashion-forward, but for a day spent surrounded by eighth-graders, it's as comfortable as I can get.  God bless middle school teachers.  I don't think I could do that every day.   

T-shirt: Gap; capelet: Mossimo, thrifted (How is it that even when I don't go to Target I go to Target?); pants: Gap; boots: St. John's Bay, JCPenney
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Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

The Outfit Inspiration Calendar on Fab Finds Under $50's blog served as a reminder for me that yes indeed, opposites really do attract.  (Thank you too, Paula Abdul.)  I've worn this tie-neck blouse quite a bit of late, but hadn't thought of pairing it with my almost forgotten corduroy vest.  But, as it turns out, I love the feminine, delicate top juxtaposed with the menswear vest and wingtip shoes.  The purple tights keep me from looking too somber.  And can you believe I got this denim pencil skirt for $7 at Target?  As much as I sometimes drool over designer duds, I think it's much more fun to be a bargain shopper.  Don't you? (Also, I'm heading back outside soon I swear.  It just needs to warm up ever so slightly.  As much as you love seeing close-ups of my thermostat, I'm sure.)

Tie-neck blouse: Nine West, Marshall's; vest: Old Navy; skirt: Converse One Star, Target; tights: Gap; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target
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Hazy Grays for Monday

Finally, I can stop whining about needing a haircut!  I decided to go quite short, and its taking me a little time to get used to.  But as of right now, I like it.  

My color choice today wasn't intentionally mimicking the gloomy weather, but I guess that was the result.  Just so you know, my legs aren't really gray.  I wear these tights so often that it may seem that way, but they're actually really, really white.  Like the color of the door behind me.  It's not pretty.  I desperately need more tights in my wardrobe, but I was hoping to hold off until next winter. If the weather stays this cold (Damn you Punxutawney Phil!) I'm going to have to break down and buy some more. 

Shirt: Gap; skirt: Nanette Lepore, thrifted; earrings: made by Aaron's aunt Mary; belt: Target; tights: Gap; boots: Xhiliration, Target
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Never a Dull Moment

It's Sunday, and I'm just now getting around to posting what I wore Friday.  This has been an exhausting weekend, to say the least.  But I can't say that it hasn't been fun.  Aaron and I took care of my sister Jenny this weekend, who is 8 going on 21.  We had an Olympic movie marathon--we watched Cool Runnings and The Mighty Ducks.  We didn't quite get to The Cutting Edge, but I'm pretty sure I'll have to watch that soon.  I'm actually quite addicted to the Olympics this year, which is surprising considering what a non-athlete I am.  Another surprise for me is that I bowled over 100 twice last night when we took Jenny bowling.  Granted, there were bumpers on the lane, but that's quite a record for me.  We all discovered that Lady Gaga (Jenny's favorite singer) helps our bowling averages.  Who knew?

Blazer:  Lavender Star, Kohl's; tee shirt: Forever 21; jeans: Old Navy; boots: Aldo
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I can't Take the Credit, but Can I Still Have an A?

My blog reading list just keeps getting longer and longer.  Thank God for Google Reader!  (Which, I'm shamed to admit I just started using.)  Two of my most recent favorites are Fab Finds Under $50 and AcademichicThis outfit was influenced by the latter, but I changed it up by swapping shorts for the skirt.  Call me crazy but I'm really loving the shorts + tights look right now.  So anyway, thanks fashionable blogging ladies for your unfailingly inspirational posts!

Sweater: H&M; shorts: Old Navy; scarf: Old Navy, gift; tights: Gap (?); boots: Franco Sarto

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Wearing a dress that looks as if water-colored by a child, I found it entirely appropriate that I worked at an elementary school today.  In fact, it was the school where I student-taught, a wonderful, warm place that I have missed since the day I left in October.  I loved seeing the teachers and kids there, and it was nice to be remembered by so many.  While I was shelving books in the library (Oh, elementary school libraries, how I love you!) a little girl asked me, "Are you Mrs. Madame Sayers?" I was happy to say that I was.  

Okay, the clothes, the clothes.  This dress I scored several months ago at the Limited, at a deeply discounted rate.  The fit is a little weird--there seems to be a bit of extra material in the bodice, but I'm not sure what sort of alteration would fix it.  I hope it's not too noticeable though, because I love the dress otherwise.

Turtleneck: Gap; dress: The Limited; watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs; tights: Gap; flats: Merona, Target
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Stripe Hype

While I enjoy keeping up with the latest fashion scoop, I am not by any means a slave to trends.  I prefer choosing pieces that I love, and then making them my own.  Usually, I'm drawn to classic clothes, especially those that have a French feel to them.  Now, I'm not entirely sure that what says "French" to me is necessarily defined as such in a Fashion Dictionary, but I'm thinking pearls, quilted leather, cardigans, flats, and the like.  Maybe by "French" I mean "Chanel".  Lately, I've been spotting one of my Frenchie favorites almost everywhere I go:  striped tees.  I already own a couple (one really old, one too transparent to be worn alone).  So when I went to Old Navy yesterday after a disappointing thrift store run, I instantly fell in love with this black and white striped v-neck pocket tee.  I can't wait to style it up for Spring, but for now, it's a great layering piece.  As you can see, my goal for today was simply warmth. 

Cardigan: American Eagle; tee: Old Navy; jeans: Old Navy (I had forgotten I had these!); scarf: Target
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Dinner Tonight: Pasta alla Norma

Tonight I fixed "Roasted Garlic Pasta alla Norma" from the Rachael Ray Show last week.  I've been wanting to try a dish with eggplant, so this dish fit the bill.  I'm not sure where the name originated, but Pasta alla Norma is an Italian dish that always has eggplant in it.  But the whole bulb of roasted garlic that just melted right into the sauce made this one extra delicious.  

First, I roasted a bulb of garlic in the oven (425F, 45 minutes) with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.  When that was done, I sliced an eggplant into half inch slices, brushed them with olive oil, seasoned them, and roasted them for 15 minutes.  Next I added the roasted garlic (mashed with a fork) to a hot pan with olive oil, red pepper flakes, and grated onion.


Once the onions softened, I added a splash of chicken stock to the pan.  Next a can of tomato sauce went in, along with the eggplant that I roasted and chopped.  Finally, I stirred in some basil.  It was smelling pretty tempting at this point.

I tossed the sauce with cooked penne pasta, then topped each bowl with crumbled feta cheese.  I really liked this dish; the flavors were strong but not conflicting.  While Aaron said he agreed about the flavor, he could have done without the eggplant.  I can't say I'm shocked. 


This year for Valentine's Day, Aaron and I decided to stay in and cook dinner together.  Our first few years together, that was our Valentine's Day tradition.  The last couple of years we went out, but this year I thought it would be more special (not to mention cheaper) if we went back to our former tradition.  So we made a meal together, bought some ice cream, and watched a movie.  We made salmon with a mustard-parsley glaze and champagne risotto with prosciutto.  Both were delicious!  I'm pretty sure I could have eaten just a big bowl of the risotto alone and been completely satisfied.  

 Speaking of satisfaction, Aaron surprised me by giving me a necklace I discovered while on a shopping trip with a friend.  I didn't buy it at the time, but I came home talking about how gorgeous it was.  The store where he bought it, Francesca's, is a small boutique in Leawood that's filled with unique jewelry, accessories, and clothing.  I was pleasantly surprised that he found the exact necklace I had been gushing about.  Way to go, husband!


I know it's huge, but I absolutely adore it!  Unfortunately, I have no where to store it.  I really need some creative jewelry-storage options.  If anyone has any ideas, let me know.  Well, I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day!

Color Me a Lady

I look about as tired as I felt in that picture!  I toyed around with the "highlight" feature in Picasa to try to wake me up a bit, but I'm not sure how much good that did.  (Or if I even used it correctly--I'm certainly no photo editor.)  Anyway, for this look, I wanted to look ladylike but in an unpredictable color palette.  For a day of teaching high school Spanish, I was comfortable and professional, yet still me.  Now, time for a siesta? 

Cardigan: American Eagle; tank: Target; skirt: Gap; pearls: my mom's; tights: Gap?; shoes: Nine West

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Aubergine Queen

Today was my first day substitute teaching!  I was a Social Studies teacher today, although I didn't do much teaching really.  Just a bit of directing (an activity) and projecting (a film).  But overall, it was a good day.  

My outfit was inspired by My Style Pill's post on colored tights.  I love my colored tights, and I can't wait to get some more next Winter.  But I hadn't thought to pair them with other pieces in the same shade--I always just let them stand alone or contrast with another part of the outfit.  I do like this though; the black and the brown break up the color just enough.  My fear of looking like a giant eggplant (or the more elegant British/French aubergine) was abated.

Sweater: Admit One, Marshall's; long-sleeve tee: Gap; pencil skirt: Ann Taylor Loft; belt: Target; tights: Gap; boots: Franco Sarto, Macy's
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Well, at Least Football is Over Now

I'm just now getting around to posting my Superbowl Sunday look.  I wish I could say I've been busy working, but unfortunately I've just been a little under the weather.  I swear, this year has not been the most healthful for me.  Maybe I should get a plant.  They're supposed to purify the air.  But I'm notorious for killing every plant that I try (and I really do try) to tend to.  Does anyone have any plant-keeping secrets?  

I must admit, this look was pretty uninspired.  I got the idea to wear my sweatshirt-fabric double breasted jacket from glamour.com.  I love it, because it is so comfy and warm, but it looks so much more presentable than the hoodie I wear around the house.  I just threw it on over one of my favorite summery tops, with jeans and flats.  My hair is looking extra fluffy in this pic.  I'm not too happy about that--I desperately need a haircut.   

Jacket: Converse One Star, Target; top: H&M; jeans: Gap; shoes: Nine West

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Dot Night

When I'm not being a total cheapskate, Ann Taylor Loft is one of my favorite stores, especially when it comes to work clothes.  I was looking at their website the other day, and I loved how they played around with polka dots.  They paired feminine, dotted scarves with everyday basics, resulting in a simple but chic look.  I wanted to get the same effect with a polka-dot cardigan I recently thrifted, so I paired it with a lace-trim, tie-neck (it's hard to tell from the picture) blouse.  To toughen up this lady-like combo, I wore jeans and leather boots.  Then I was off to enjoy some fish tacos at Los Cabos with my hubby. 

Blouse: Nine West, Marshall's; cardigan: Old Navy, thrifted; jeans: Old Navy; earrings: Kohl's; boots: Aldo
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When My Ship Comes In

 I'm experiencing that post-Christmas shopping lull.  You know what I mean, when you really want to go shopping, but can't reasonably say you need anything since you just got a bunch of stuff with Christmas money?  Also, since I haven't had much luck on the subbing front thus far, I can't really justify going out and buying myself treats.  BUT...there's this necklace I've really been coveting, from ModCloth.  It's cute and kind of kitschy, but not in a way that looks cheesy.  So my look today was inspired by what I would wear if I had the necklace.  That way, when I get some spending cash, and if it's still there, I'll be ready. 

Blazer: Merona, target; long-sleeve tee: Gap; pants: Gap; necklace: handmade by Aaron's Aunt Mary; shoes: Mossimo, Target

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Dinner Tonight: Chips and Salsa with a Twist

Tonight I made Salsa Stoup and Double-Decker Baked Quesadillas from Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats cookbook.  I love that cookbook because it's filled with so much variety.  I can't stand eating the same thing every week, and that book always gives me new and creative meal ideas.


First I sauteed jalapeno, red bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic in vegetable oil.  

 Then I added crushed and stewed tomatoes, chicken stock, and cilantro.  I let the soup simmer while I baked the quesadillas.

To make the quesadillas, I sprinkled cheddar cheese and chopped scallions on a tortilla, then added another tortilla and topped it with pepper jack cheese.  Finally I topped that with another tortilla and brushed it with some vegetable oil.  I baked the quesadillas in the oven (350-375 degrees) for 10 minutes.


I ended up pureeing the soup with my immersion blender, one, because I like a smoother texture to my salsa so I figured I would feel the same way about the salsa soup, and two, because I seem to be addicted to blending things.  As it turns out, I really liked the soup as something to dip my quesadilla in, but I didn't love it on it's own.  It doesn't surprise me at all that I only want vegetables if they're somehow an excuse for me to eat more cheese and bread.  

Hey, Teacher, Leave those Kids Alone!

I just got my teaching license, and since schools don't usually hire in the middle of the school year, I'm going to substitute teach for a while.  I have mixed emotions about it.  I'm glad to be adding to our household income for once (we had to rely on student loans last semester while I student taught).  On the other hand, I remember how subs were treated when I was in school, and it doesn't really make me want to jump for joy.  Anyway, today I didn't actually get to teach, I just went to an orientation for substitutes.  But now I'm officially eligible to sub, so I wanted to look the part.  I was feeling very teacherly in my navy and yellow ensemble. 

Cardigan: Gap Outlet; blouse: Banana Republic Outlet; skirt: Nanette Lepore, thrifted; tights: Gap (?); locket: small shop in Boulder, CO whose name I don't remember; belt: Target; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

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Dinner Tonight: Cheap and Easy Pizza Casserole

I love pizza, therefore I love almost any dish that resembles it, either in look or flavor.  Tonight, I made an Upside-Down Pizza Casserole, a recipe I got from Better Homes and Gardens' website.  I loved that it was so simple to make, and also quite inexpensive.  I thought of my friend Lindsay when I was making this, since her chief complaint about cooking is recipes that are overly complicated, with too many ingredients.  Lindsay, if you're reading this, you've definitely got to try this one out!

 First, I browned up some ground beef.  Then I seasoned the beef and added tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.


Next, I poured the beef mixture into a casserole dish, and sprinkled it with shredded mozzarella.  Finally, I flattened some biscuits from a tube, and arranged them on top of the meat and cheese.  Then I baked it (400 degrees) for 15 minutes.

The result: an affordable, unpretentious, and most importantly, delicious dinner!