Dinner Tonight: Chicken Piccata Parmesan

Yes, this was quite delicious.  And bonus, it looks kinda pretty too! Unlike Monday's dinner.  This was yet another of Rachael Ray's recipes, called Parmigiano-Reggiano-Crusted Chicken Piccata.  I butterflied two chicken breasts and made Aaron pound them to a quarter inch in thickness. (I realize I'm perfectly capable of pounding my own chicken, but for some reason I always make Aaron do this.  Somehow I've convinced myself that he enjoys it.)  Then I coated the chicken in flour, then egg, finally in a heaping pile of grated Parmesan cheese.  Is your mouth watering yet? Then the chicken is cooked in olive oil.

To make the sauce for the angel hair pasta, I sautéed olive oil, garlic, and lemon slices.  Then I added parsley and white wine.  Finally I added some chicken stock, then a bit of butter.  I tossed the pasta in the sauce, added more Parm (can there be too much?) plated it with the chicken, and voilà dinner was served!

So Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

No, this isn't my back yard in case you were wondering.  The city I live in is displaying flags up and down a few major streets from now through the fourth of July to honor the men and women who have served our are serving our country.  Or maybe that's just the excuse to cover up their accidental order of thousands of American flags.  "Now what are we going to do with all these things??" And bam! We have "Flags for Freedom".  Please note that I'm not making a mockery of this idea, or my lovely city, just having a little fun.  Anyhoo, I think it makes a nice background for my simple summer look today, don't you? For a day of lounging around the house and running some errands, I felt casual was the way to go.  A scarf and chunky wedge sandals made me feel like it was worth blogging about though.  

T-shirt: Hanes; shorts: The Limited, Marshall's; scarf: LOFT; watch: Issey Miyake, gift; wedges: Jessica Simpson, from a friend's closet

Picture Book

So this was one of those days where I liked my look a heckova lot better in person than I do in this photo.  So just imagine you're here with me, in person (probably saying, "fix your hair and don't stand so stiff and robot-like").  Anyway, I wanted to dress up my trusty cropped cargo pants, since all I ever seem to do is pair them with a t-shirt.  For a complete contrast, I went for this ruffly, silky blouse, a bow belt, and black wedges.  And until I saw this (and the other quickly deleted ones) photo, I thought I was looking pretty stylish.  That's what you get for thinking I suppose.  

This leads me to another thought... When you (or your husband/photographer/stranger on the street) take photos that don't turn out the way you'd hoped, what do you do? Do you post them anyway, so as to document that day's outfit? Or, for the sake of aesthetics, wait for a better photo to post? Or even re-take the photos? I was thinking of this not only because of this picture today, but also because I failed to do a food post last night because the food wasn't very pretty.  No, I'll just come right out and say it--it was ugly.  It was a great (Rachael Ray) dish of mashed potatoes with mini turkey patties and gravy.  It was a very brown, lumpy looking meal that tasted fantastic but looked anything but.  So I didn't do a post, and now I'm wondering if I should have.  

Blouse: LOFT; pants: Gap; belt: from an old dress; watch: Natural, gift; wedges: Merona, Target

He's Going the Distance, He's Going for Speed

Sorry about the lack of weekend posting! My father-in-law and his fiancée Kathy were in town, so we spent the weekend with them.  We did a lot of eating, relaxing (on our new Adirondack chairs they got us!), and Kathy and I even did some shopping.  Successful weekend, I'd say! Anyway, on our shopping excursion, I bought these awesome shoes on sale at Aldo.  When I showed them to my loving husband, he made a face and said "Wow! They're gold!" Yes, my dear, they are.  He told me they reminded him of former Olympian track star Michael Johnson's gold sneakers.  If only they magically turned me into a runner.  (FYI, I'm wearing the sunglasses because of the blinding glare reflecting off my legs.  You may want to wear some too before looking at this picture.)

Dress: Forever 21; sunnies: thrifted, new merchandise; belt: Target; shoes: Aldo

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Cellophane Flowers of Yellow and Green

Hey look, I have a plant! Well, technically, it's Aaron's plant, since he will be the one tending to it.  You can probably guess that my history with horticulture is a rather bleak one.  Maybe the picture doesn't give it away, but if you look closely, you can see the blackness of my thumbs.  I even killed a peace lily (which I'm sure is some sort of sin, considering the name).  Everyone told me: "Peace Lilies are easy! It's impossible to kill them." Well folks, call me a plant murderer then.  (Although, there was no harm intended--would that be manslaughter then? Or plantslaughter? That sounds worse.) Despite all this, look, look at my pretty plant! 

I was feeling mediocre about this outfit (the skirt fits me a little funny, and I think I need heels or something) but I thought the color complemented the flowers so nicely I went ahead and had Aaron take pics.  It's not bad though--I'm just feeling like it needs something, but I can't figure out what.  Hmmm.  Well I'm off to work now (hence, no heels) but have a lovely, flowery afternoon.

Top: Express; skirt: Gap; earrings: handmade by Aaron's Aunt Mary; belt: Target; watch: Issey Miyake (sent by my mom & Jeff, awesome!); sandals: Ann Taylor Factory Store, gift

I Found My Thrill on Blueberry Hill

Not surprisingly, I immediately thought of food when I put this outfit on today.  Berries, more specifically--my skirt is sort of a raspberry shade, my dress evokes blueberries, and my shoes, well they're a combination of the two.  Or maybe I'm just hungry.  While on Glamour's website yesterday, I was reading an article about breathing fresh life into your summer dresses.  One suggestion was putting a skirt over it, which I've seen other people do, but haven't tried myself.  I thought it would be great to try it with this dress from Forever 21, which I love, but that's too short to wear to work (or anywhere with possible strong breezes).  And you know what? I totally love it!  I love the color combination, and the fullness of the skirt with the ruffles on the dress. What do you think? Is this a trend you'd like to try?

Dress (as top): Forever 21; skirt: Gap; hair clip: Forever 21; earrings: Charlotte Russe; belt: LOFT; shoes: Se Boutique, DSW

Walking Through the Park and Reminiscing

I went to Lawrence today to hang out with my friend Becky.  We went to dinner at a little Vietnamese restaurant, where I probably should have tried some Vietnamese food, but I had Pad Thai instead.  Then we went to Sylas and Maddy's for some ice cream.  I swear, I'm a terrible (or wonderful) influence--ice cream usually ends up being part of the night when I'm around.  I'll admit it, I'm addicted.  Why can't I be addicted to something healthier, like carrots? I guess if that were the case they wouldn't call it an addiction.  

I digress... After the ice cream, we walked to this little park and took some pictures.  We tried taking some of both of us, but those didn't turn out so well.  I considered waking up the dude sleeping on a nearby bench and asking him to take some pictures, then thought better of it.  

Blouse: LOFT; camisole: Gap; shorts: The Limited, Marshall's; sandals: Gap

Dinner Tonight: Chicken Enchiladas

More accurately, this was last night's dinner.  It was another success from Budget Bytes (recipe here).  Aaron especially thought they were heavenly.  He's a sucker for an enchilada though.  If given the choice between me and a big plate of enchiladas, I think he'd hesitate, I really do.  And then he'd choose the enchiladas.  No, I'm just kidding (I hope). Me, I rarely make them or order them when we go to dinner.  It's not that I don't love them, it's just that my mom makes the BEST ones ever and I'm always disappointed when I order someone else's sub-par enchiladas.  I've made them her way a few times myself, and they're quite an endeavor to make (lots of frying, lots of crisco, big mess, but so so good).  So, anyway, I decided to try these because they're so different from my mom's.  They're filled with a creamy chicken mixture (chicken, sour cream, cheese, green chiles) and topped with more cheese and green enchilada sauce.  Yum!

Aaron grilled up some corn and I made a spicy sour cream sauce for it (sour cream, lime juice, chipotle powder).  I cannot express to you my love for corn on the cob, so I'm not even going to try.  (I hope you're not too distracted by those industrial looking corn pokers...they do the job though.)

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She Comes to You Light as the Breeze

This was actually from Saturday night, I'm just a little late in getting these pictures posted.  Aaron and I had a date night--nothing fancy, we just went to dinner at Spin Pizza (my fave!) and came home and watched True Blood.  We're pretty exciting, I know.  It's been positively scorching out, so I decided to dress up my most respectable looking jean shorts.  

Oh, and sorry for the lack of food posts lately--dinners around here have been pretty boring lately.  I'll be better this week I promise!  

Blouse: LOFT; shorts: The Limited, Marshall's; earrings: NY & Co; necklace: handmade by Aaron's Aunt Mary; shoes: Ann Taylor, secondhand

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In the Jungle the Mighty Jungle or Safari Chic

This week, Jessica of What I Wore issued another style challenge.  This time, it was safari-themed.  I love a good style challenge, and despite my lack of safari-esque clothing items, I was bound and determined to participate.  The sweltering summer sun made my army-green jacket with cargo pockets seem a tad inappropriate.  So cargo capris in the same shade were my starting point.  I added the one bold animal print item I own, (that needs to change, now doesn't it?) the scarf.  Things got a little crazy when I put on my snakeskin-print sandals.  But I figured the pattern was subtle enough that I could get away with wearing two animal-print accessories at once.  Finally, I topped it off with my leaf necklace, because hey, when you go on safari you see a lot of trees, right?  Bit of a stretch? Maybe.  

T-shirt: Old Navy; pants: Gap; necklace: Dean Harris for Target; scarf (as belt): thrifted; sandals: Ann Taylor Factory Store, gift

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Lend Me Your Ear and I'll Sing You a Song

First of all, I'm finally wearing the dress I won in the giveaway Jolie from Senorita Fashionista hosted from Dirty Betty Vintage!  Isn't it adorable?  I LOVE it even more in person than I did when I saw it in the shop.  So thanks Jolie and Dirty Betty Vintage!! You should definitely check out the DBV etsy shop--it's packed with some great stuff! 

Last night, my dad called me and told me one of our family friends that I haven't seen since my wedding (about 4 years ago) was in town, so Aaron and I went to go hang out with them.  It made me think about my childhood, and how (as an only child) I used to sit around and listen to music and talk with all the grown-ups.  And now I'm one of the "grown-ups" myself! 

Dress: Dirty Betty Vintage; necklace: Forever 21; belt: Target; shoes: Gap

Inspired By: There is Room for You by Charlotte Bacon

I know the scenery leaves a little to be desired today, but forgive me, it was raining.  I once again turned to the book I'm reading for inspiration.  There is Room for You is a beautifully written novel about a mother, a daughter, their complicated relationship, and India.  Rose, Anne's mother, grew up in India when it was still a colony of Great Britian.  At 17, she leaves India for England, and eventually moves to the U.S. and marries an American.  Rose never shared her childhood experiences with her daughter, but when Anne decides to travel to India, Rose finally finds a way to open up to her.  

My outfit is simple, but I put it together thinking of Rose, and Anne, and India.  My earrings, which I know are difficult to see clearly, are Indian-inspired; they're gold with pink, purple and red stones.  They were my starting point, and I picked up on the purple with this scarf, which seemed like something Rose would like.  The jeans and tee are classic American pieces, and I could see Anne wearing something similar in her travels.  

If you're looking for a good book, let me recommend this one by Charlotte Bacon.  It's not a fast read, but it is beautiful and touching.  

T-shirt: LOFT; jeans: Old Navy; earrings: secondhand; scarf: Forever 21; sandals: Gap

Baby's in Black and I'm Feeling Blue

Until now this summer, my trusty LBD has been out of sight, out of mind.  A black shift dress just didn't scream "summer!" to me.  (Although if my clothes start screaming anything at me, you'll know I'm having serious issues.)  But I decided that it was time to pull this baby out from the back of the closet.  I added some color with a chunky necklace, bow belt, and flats in oceanic blues and greens. 

So, how are you making your favorite LBD work for summer? 

Dress: Banana Republic Factory; earrings: Charlotte Russe; necklace: Target; belt/bow: from a Gap trench; shoes: Nine West

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Today I was reminded what it's like to stand on my feet all day! As a sub, I was often just a babysitter: the token adult in the room making sure kids were doing what they were supposed to.  They usually weren't.  But working in a clothing store is much more physically exhausting, which means only one thing.  I better get myself more pairs of stylish, yet comfortable shoes!  Yep, I can always relate it back to shopping. At least at this job, I get actual lunch breaks. (As opposed to when I worked at a bakery and had to stand the entire time and eat only when there were no customers...fun.  I remember reheating leftovers over and over again, being ready to take a bite, then in walked someone-or-other.  Oh, f it, I'll just make a sandwich.  I'm done now, I swear.) 

I was going for a neutral look today.  While nothing says summer like bright florals and neon prints, I also like the crisp freshness of white with tans, khakis, and golds.  Somehow, it even makes my pale skin look like it was a planned part of the ensemble.  Anything to justify the whiteness... Sometimes I stand in front of the patio furniture just to make myself feel tan.  Is it working? 

Tank: Gap; skirt: Gap outlet; earrings: Target; necklace: LOFT; belt: Target; shoes: Gap
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A Woman's Work is Never Done

It's official: I'm no longer a lazy summer bum! I started my first day yesterday at LOFT.  It went well, and everyone I met was really friendly.  My only worry is that my whole paycheck will go towards clothes; this will be quite an exercise in willpower.  And, since I always record where my clothes come from on the blog, I can't even hide it.  

Anyway, after work yesterday I went to my friend Katrina's baby shower.  I can't believe that I'm getting old enough for my friends to be starting families! Well don't be expecting any babies from me any time soon--I'll let my friends go first.  I'll see how it goes for them, then I can decide if I want to go down that road.  Being a dog-mom is about all the responsibility I want right now.  Well, give your dogs or kids a hug, and have a good rest of the weekend!  

T-shirt: Forever 21; skirt: LOFT (not new by the way); belt: Target; shoes: Se Boutique, DSW

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Celebrate Good Times Come On!

We took quite a bit of artistic liberty with our background today.  That liberty being, make this backdrop as bland as possible.  Sorry 'bout that--I had to squeeze photo time into the few minutes before I left for the KC Blogger meetup.  I wanted to wear something a little more weather appropriate (it's pretty sauna-rific out) but when I put on heels with the skirt I planned to wear it showed a little more of my business than I felt comfortable with.  So I went with my favorite jeans, which never let me down.  Except when I put them on after spending too much time with Ben and Jerry.  Bastards.  No, I don't mean that, I love you.  Okay, well I think that's enough out of me.  'Night.

Blouse: Elle, secondhand; jeans: Old Navy; earrings: NY & Co; belt: Target; shoes: Nine West

I'm going to go ahead and post this photo, despite how awkward and imbalanced I look in it.  But this was outside of La Bodega, a tapas restaurant in KC, where I met up with some local fashion and beauty bloggers.  Other than the fact that it was so loud in the restaurant we couldn't hear each other, it was a good time.  It was great meeting these sweet, down-to-earth, chic gals!  Thanks Jolie for putting this together!  Oh, also, I will post the links to their blogs when I get them!  

Wastin Away Again in Margaritaville

Finally, I decided to go beyond my own yard to take pictures--shocking I know. We went all the way across the street to a little park, where I tried to do some creative poses on the playground equipment.  Yeah, those didn't turn out so well.  I look goofy enough just doing regular poses.  Also, do you realize that this is me wearing self-tanning lotion?  I really thought it was working, and then I saw pictures of myself.  Is it possible for skin to just reject self-tanner? If so, that's what's happening here.  

We went to dinner tonight with my dad, Gail, Jenny and my cousin Sherill.  Ponak's in KC.  Best Margaritas ever.  They're so good I can't even type complete sentences.  If you live near here, you definitely need to check it out. Even if you don't, you should still come check it out.  It's worth it, believe me. Okay, I better end this while I'm still making sense.  Am I still making sense? 

Blouse: Liberty of London for Target; tank: Old Navy; shorts: The Limited, Marshall's; earrings: Target; belt: Target; shoes: Xhiliration, Target

Look at the Stars, Look How They Shine for You

This shirt makes me think of a night sky.  It's spotted, but the spots aren't perfect circles, instead they look hand-painted.  It's the perfect subtle pattern to pair with another of my favorites: stripes.  My love affair with the stripe continues... Of all the print mixing looks I've tried, this one is my favorite.  It just works, and it's interesting but not overly complicated.  If you can't tell by now, I don't like overly complicated.  

Cardigan: Loft, secondhand; blouse: Banana Republic Factory; jeans: Express; belt: Target; shoes: NY & Co.

Dinner Tonight: Not Another Asian Pork Dish!

Yes, I know I just made an Asian pork stir fry dish, but when I saw this recipe on Budget Bytes I knew I had to try it.  Besides, other than the pork and some other Asian condiments and spices (garlic chili sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger) the two dishes are distinctly different.  This dish balanced spicy and sweet (I was careful with the chili sauce this time!) and the sauce gave great flavor to the pork, green beans, and fluffy white rice.  Instead of the pork roast the recipe called for, I cut up a couple pork chops because they were on sale at my grocery store.  Although it did take a little time to prep all the ingredients, once I did everything came together quickly.  A perfect weeknight meal!

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I'm Shameless

I admit, I'm shamelessly copying this look from the ever-chic Reese Witherspoon.  I adore her style--she always looks put-together and ladylike, even in flip-flops.  I did opt for a chunkier shoe, just because I like the added height with shorts this short.  Today was a pretty laid-back summer day, so I needed a look that would take me from running errands to getting coffee with a friend.  I think this look fit the bill (and didn't have me sweating in the 90 degree weather!).  

Shirt: Gap; tank: Old Navy; shorts: Old Navy; ring: secondhand; shoes: Jessica Simpson, from a friend's closet (Thanks Cathy!)

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Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad

If you've never read The Pioneer Woman's blog before, you should.  If for no other reason than for this pasta.  It's her spin on a Barefoot Contessa recipe, and it is ridiculously good.  I'm always on the hunt for new lunch ideas (eating quesadillas day after day can get a little old), especially recipes that I can make once and eat all week.  This is a perfect example of such a recipe.  I had it today, right after I made it, and it was heaven.  I can't wait to eat it tomorrow after the flavors of the sun-dried tomatoes, olives and basil have had a chance to get to know each other better.  If you're looking for a new pasta salad to try, definitely give this one a go! 

Oh, FYI, I made her recipe exactly as she wrote it except for one thing: I only used about half the olive oil she called for and added some starchy pasta water instead.  

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