Must be the Season

Despite my farewell to summer, I still find myself reaching for the lights and brights in my closet. I look like I stepped right out of April to post these pictures. I just don't see myself as much of a fall-colors person. I love a nice dark green, a plummy purple, and goodness knows my penchant towards gray, but as far as fall and winter colors go that's about it (and even calling gray a fall color is quite a stretch). When I see shades of orange and dark red I think "Pretty. But not me." Do I need to expand my horizons a little? Maybe. But today, in spite of the fact that October is hours away, I'm rebelliously embracing another season's beautiful bright hues. 

Cardigan: Gap; shirt: Gap (way old); pants: Loft; shoes: Jessica Simpson

Song: Let Your Love Flow by the Bellamy Brothers

If I Were a Boy

Well, I did throw on what I wanted but I didn't go drink beer with the boys today. I guess that doesn't really make me a boy (by Beyoncé's standards). I did dress a little like one today, which I didn't actually realize until I was about ready to head out the door. I've got the blazer and the oxfords going on--I'm just one pair of khakis away from wearing a boy's school uniform. Whew, good thing I went with jeans, that was a close call. It would have been pretty embarrassing if a truancy officer came to my work. Does that actually happen? I mean, do truancy officers actually troll around looking for delinquent, school-skipping kids? Just wondering. Anyway, in case they do, I put on a girlie necklace and earrings too. You can't be too careful.  

Blazer: Loft; t-shirt: Old Navy; tank (under tee): Old Navy; jeans: Loft; earrings: Charlotte Russe; necklace: Forever 21; oxfords: Target (I got them online--I couldn't find them in the store.)

Song: If I Were a Boy by Beyoncé 

Bring a Nickel; Tap Your Feet

Today when I was getting dressed, I started at my feet and worked up. For some reason I really wanted to wear these shoes today, so they're what I started with. When I looked at Kimberly's Outfit Inspiration Calender, I was in luck; it called for a mix of leopard and army green. Well, I had the leopard part down I just needed to find some army green. First, I tried my go-to green cargos, then an old green skirt. Neither felt right. So I pulled out this (equally old) green sweater and everything else fell into place. Nothing jaw-dropping, nothing that would grace the cover of a fashion magazine, but comfortable and chic just the same. It's a good thing that worked out. It was a little chilly today to be wearing only shoes.

Cardigan: Mossimo, Target; blouse: Loft; jeans: Express; belt: Loft; shoes: Merona, Target

Song: Down on the Corner by Creedence Clearwater Revival

(Chocolate Chip and Walnut) Blondies Have More Fun

What do I do when I can't find a job? I bake. Or shop. Today it was the former. Basically, when left to my own devices, I try to sabotage either my budget or my waistline. But if these Chocolate Chip and Walnut Blondies are wrong, then baby, I don't want to be right. And after making them yourself, you won't either.

I got the recipe from Martha Stewart, so I wasn't surprised at how delicious they turned out. I was quite pleased, however, with how simple they were to make. You never know with Martha. 

If you do decide to make these (and you should!), err on the side of caution when baking. The recipe says to bake them for 40-45 minutes, but mine were done after about 37 minutes. In my opinion, blondies, brownies and the like are better when they're a tiny bit undercooked anyway. 

Hot Legs, Wearing Me Out

No, I'm not paying myself a compliment here. Literally, my legs got hot. It wasn't the weather--once it got dark (and rainy) out, it was the perfect tights weather. However, running around at work all day got a little steamy. The cheap (yet cute!) cardigan, that probably doesn't have a single natural fiber in it, didn't help much either. Live and learn. 

The date night Friday was pretty much the highlight of my weekend. The rest consisted of working, grocery shopping, and laundry. I guess I did get caught up on Project Runway (even though I already knew who got sent home due to the unfortunate timing of my twitter status check). 

I do have a question for you though, albeit it's a random one. Last year, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to student teach French in an elementary school. Initially, I panicked--I've never taught elementary school kids before! But quickly, I fell in loved with their enthusiasm and energy, and didn't want my time at the elementary school to end. (Yes, I promise there is a question coming.) Unfortunately, the number of schools that teach French at the elementary level here is small and dwindling. Here's what I want to know: Where you live, do any of the elementary schools offer French? I know many of you may not know, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask. For a great job, Aaron and I would consider making a big move. Thank you for your help!

Cardigan: Forever 21; dress: Loft; earrings: hand made by Aaron's Aunt Mary; necklace: Banana Republic Factory Store, gift; belt: Gap; tights: Loft; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Song: Hot Legs by Rod Stewart

My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard

And. It's. The weekend. This week seemed long to me for some reason. I can barely remember what I did Monday; it seems so far away. But that doesn't matter, because it's Saturday! I'm a little late on this post, this is actually what I wore (and ate) last night. Aaron and I had a coupon to Blanc, a "burgers and bottles" restaurant. So we indulged a little (okay, a lot) and had ourselves a meal that was miles away from healthy. I had a burger stuffed with blue cheese, topped with bacon, an onion ring, butter lettuce and homemade ketchup. It was bigger than my head. Quite possibly the messiest thing on the menu, but boy was it worth it. And no, I did not eat that whole thing. I can eat, but that burger was beyond my abilities. And accompanied with a shopping cart of fries (sweet potato for me, regular for Aaron) it was perfection. But the best part unfortunately did not get a photo op. It was the "grown up" milkshake I had for dessert. Get a load of this: chocolate frozen custard, espresso flavored vodka, Frangelico. It was every bit as good as it sounds. What a delicious night! Of course, we were both too full to go do anything after that, so we just retreated to our comfy couch and watched the season premiere of House that we DVRed. (Woohoo! House and Cuddy! Finally.) I wish you all a wonderful, indulgent weekend!

Cardi: Admit One, Marshall's; t-shirt: Loft; skirt: Forever 21; earrings: Charlotte Russe; necklace: handmade by Aaron's aunt Mary; belt: Gap (very old); shoes: Jessica Simpson, DSW

Song: Milkshake by Kelis

Fill My Eyes with that Double Vision

I had everything I needed to do it. I decided to just go ahead and give it a try. I mean really, what's the worst that could happen? No, I'm not talking about starting some new venture or embarking on a challenge. Well, not unless you consider getting dressed a challenge. I'm referring to my decision to wear double denim today. Yep. Light, loose, snappy chambray on top, dark, slim jeans on bottom. And you know what? I like it. 

It's nothing new, of course. The double denim look has been rocking all over the blogosphere for some time now (examples here, here, and here). Honestly, my double denim look developed more from laziness than anything else today. I wore the top half of this look with a skirt as I was getting ready to work today, but alas the substitute gods were against me and I didn't get a job. Not wanting to change my outfit completely, I kept the shirt and tee and threw on some jeans. And done. Will you be sporting any double denim this year? 

Shirt: Old Navy; t-shirt (under): Gap; jeans: Old Navy; shoes: Target

Song: Double Vision by Foreigner 

Dinner Last Night: Beef Dip Sandwiches

When I was a kid, one of my very favorite things to eat was roast beef. My mom made a delicious roast beef, and she would always put the beef on hard rolls and serve it with au jus for dipping. It's still something I crave when I want comfort food. However, every time I've tried to make it in the past, the meat has been too dry, too tough or too fatty. Until I tried this recipe from

Not only is it the best roast I've ever made, but it's also ridiculously easy. Seriously. Ridiculous. Here's what you do: Take a 3-4 lb. beef chuck roast and put it in your slow cooker. To the beef, add a couple cloves of minced garlic, about a tablespoon of dried rosemary, 2-3 bay leaves, a cup of soy sauce (I really think this is the trick), and 5-6 cups of water. Turn it on low, then let it cook for 6-10 hours. Don't touch it, don't worry about it, just let it do it's thing and then eat it whenever you're hungry. Trust me, the beef will be tender and juicy, and the au jus is insane. I recommend toasting some hard rolls, spreading them with a little butter and making a little sandwich for dipping, à la my mom. 

On a side note, I'm not sure why we always call the beef juice au jus. Au is a preposition, and in this case means with, so when we say Beef Dip with au jus, we're saying Beef Dip with with juice. Maybe it's because au jus sounds better than just jus. Hmmm. 

When the Seasons Change

Tomorrow is officially the start of fall. Can you believe it? If you're judging by the weather, I'd guess probably not. I'm really hoping for a good long fall, so that winter can be postponed as much as possible. In fact, if we just skipped over winter entirely and went straight into spring, I'd be a happy gal. Maybe I'm living in the wrong state. 

To celebrate the change of seasons (or just because I felt like it) I bought two pairs of tights today. Of course, I can't wear them yet, but I can think about wearing them. We'll pretend that's close. For example, I thought about how great black tights would look with this outfit. And then I thought about how uncomfortable I would be in tights in 85 degree weather. So bare legs won out again. I would complain about how I'm losing my summer tan, but let's face it, I never had one to begin with. 

Cardigan: Ann Taylor, thrifted; tank: Mossimo, Target; skirt: Loft; necklace: c/o Fenno Fashion; belt: Loft; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Song: Seasons Change by Corinne Bailey Rae

Check Out the Crabs in the Bucket

No, this post will be about neither crabs nor buckets. The truth is I just got home from Jazzercise class (Yes, I Jazzercise. It's awesome.) and I had it in my head. It's one of my favorites. You should check it out. The song, I mean. Well, Jazzercise too. You'll get hooked though, I warn you. Okay, I'll stop saying Jazzercise; it's starting to sound like an advertisement. But it's kind of a fun word. It gets even more fun when you do jazz hands as you say it. Try it, come on. 

Okay, if you're still reading this you deserve some kind of reward. Here it is: today, I bring you an action-packed outfit post. See, right now I'm standing.

But now, I'm sitting. What will I do next?

Oh, that's who I was looking at. My adorable dog. Isn't she adorable? This is what she does when she's outside. She's got sunbathing down to an art.

Until she sees a bunny. Get it, Ellie get it! No, this isn't rabbit-cruelty. She won't get it. She's fast, but not sneaky. Unless, that is, she is sneakily jumping over our fence. The fence we thought, erroneously, was dog-jump-proof. Not so. I found the little rebel in my neighbor's yard today.

The end.

Cardigan: NY&Co; blouse: Loft; jeans: Loft; earrings: Urban Outfitters; shoes: Steve Madden, Marshall's

Song: Crabbuckit by K-OS

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Dinner Last Night: Nutty Tilapia and Potato Balls

When I started this blog, I had high hopes of creating and posting original recipes. But the reality is that while I often adapt recipes to meet my (and Aaron's) tastes, I just don't have the time to come up with brand new meals myself. And honestly, why should I, when there are blogs like Kitchen Belleicious and the Pioneer Woman? And of course Rachael Ray. So, why not let them do the heavy lifting, recipe-wise, and let me have the fun of cooking and eating? 

I saw this tilapia and potato dinner on Kitchen Belleicious last week and knew I needed to incorporate it into this week's menu. First of all, I'm always on the lookout for new tilapia recipes, because I adore seafood but abhor its costliness. Affordable tilapia, to the rescue! Secondly, anything that involves a potato is okay in my book. And a potato ball? Even better. (I seem to have a thing for ball-shaped food lately. A couple weeks ago it was cake balls. Last weekend I made meatballs. The pictures didn't turn out. Sorry. Now potato balls. Is it just me, or would this be a great, although slightly inappropriate boy baby shower theme? Just sayin'. Tangent over.) 

Did you make anything good recently? 

Turn the Quiet Up, Turn the Noise Down

Just the thought of my morning coffee tomorrow brings a smile to my face. Mondays are typically rushed for me, which I'm thankful for because if I'm busy (generally) it means I'm working. Making money is a good thing. But, all that rushing around makes me crave slowness. And tomorrow, I can take my time getting ready in the morning, and actually enjoy that steaming cup of caffeinated goodness. Sometimes, it's the simple things, right?

By the way, I did not wear this to sub. today. I did wear the shirt, but it was part of a nice little fall look that did not last one minute after I got home. Ninety five degrees does not a fall day make. So, for the sake of comfort, I decided to bore you (and, I suppose, everyone else who saw me after 4 pm) all with the same pair of shorts I wore in my last outfit post. Fall, where did you go?

Cardigan: American Eagle; blouse: Loft; shorts: Loft; earrings: NY&Co; shoes: Aldo

Song: Smoke a Little Smoke by Eric Church

When We Look Back Now Will Our Jokes Still Be Funny

The weekend's finally here! Just a quick outfit post, then I'm off to start mine. Tonight, my best friend Abby and I are going to meet one of our closest friends from high school. We haven't seen her for several years, but she recently moved back to Kansas City. So we're going to do some catching up over tapas and Sangria. I can't think of a better way to catch up, can you? I'm looking forward to seeing her again, and I've been thinking a lot about how much fun we used to have together in high school. It's amazing how fast life goes. People move away, they get married, they have kids, and all the sudden it's been ten years. Thank goodness for Facebook is all I can say to that. 

Well, I hope your weekend is also filled with memories, whether it's making new ones or remembering old. Hopefully, it will be a little of both.

Blazer: Isaac Mizrahi for Target; blouse: Banana Republic Factory Store; shorts: Loft; earrings: H&M; necklace: Target; belt: Loft; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Song: Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C

Dinner Last Night: Smoky Chicken and Sweet Potato Kebabs

Sorry, I've been bad about putting the "gastronomique" in Bon Chic Bon Gastronomique this week. But I did make a meal I felt worthy of posting last night. It was a meal (who else?) Rachael Ray made on her show earlier this year, and I bookmarked it to make at a later date. Aaron volunteered to grill yesterday, so it was the perfect occasion to make this dinner on a stick. 

The chicken (Use any boneless skinless variety; I used tenders because they were on sale.) is marinated in a combination of chopped chili pepper, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and smoked paprika. It's possible that I took a nap for too long yesterday and only marinated the chicken for 20 minutes or so, instead of the hour the recipe called for. It still tasted excellent; no harm, no foul right? Meanwhile, I boiled the sweet potato slices for 7 minutes, then let them cool before they met their skewered, grilled fate. I skewered the chicken with chunks of red onion, then had Aaron grill them for about 8-10 minutes (this will depend on the thickness of your chicken chunks--mine were pretty thin). Wrap some (or all, I'm not judging) of the par-boiled potato slices in bacon, then skewer the slices and grill them for about 10 minutes. I admit this was a somewhat tricky maneuver: I had to work carefully to get the skewers through the potatoes without breaking them (the potatoes, not the skewers). Next time, I might try cubing the potatoes instead, and therefore cutting the bacon into smaller slices. Or, if you don't want to grill the taters, make a nice sweet potato mash and cook up the bacon to crumble on top. Either way, it tastes delicious! 

The result: the chicken is tender, spicy, smoky and full of flavor. The sweetness of the potatoes is perfectly balanced with the salty, smoky bacon. Yum!

P.S. Did you know that the sweet potato is one of the most nutritious foods in your grocery store? (In my opinion, this totally cancels out the bacon.) So buy these sweet orange tubers by the bagful and eat up! 

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These Boots are Gonna Walk All Over You

There was a chill in the air this morning, so I did it: I busted out the boots. I've been itching to wear them, but the weather hasn't been cooperating. And I wouldn't call today's weather perfect for boots either, but today was the first day that actually made me believe that fall is on its way. Therefore, boots. It's a celebration of sorts. 

This look is my take on this one from the beautiful Louise of Fifth Sparrow. To me, her look just sums up all that fall should be. I love her plaid shirt (and had to use every bit of self-restraint to keep myself from buying a similar one from the men's section at Target today), and its roomy proportion paired with skinnies and boots is spot-on. The temperature will be rising the next few days, so these black beauties may be returning to their box for a bit. But something tells me it won't be for long. 

Hooray fall!

Shirt: Merona, Target, Aaron's closet; jeans: Old Navy; earrings: Charlotte Russe; boots: Franco Sarto, Macy's

I may have picked up a few goodies for my upcoming giveaway today!

Song: These Boots are Made for Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra

What I Want Wednesday

I've decided to do something a little different today, and show you a few things that are on my "to-buy" (or "want to buy") list. This is due to the fact that, a. I've been wanting to shop like nobody's business, and b. my outfit today was kind of a yawn. 

1. As I mentioned on my fall wardrobe post, I think a must-have is a loose white button up. In fact, my very favorite is this one at Ruche, but I'm a little hesitant about the $43 price tag. 

2. I could also use a new handbag, and this one from Urban Outfitters really fits the bill. It's ladylike, but big enough to hold all my stuff.

3. I have a few blazers, but I'm really craving a gray, textured version like this one (also from Urban). I'd take this one from J. Crew any day too, but it's really out of my price range!

4. I feel my badassness (come on, it's a word right?) would increase exponentially if I had a leather, or faux-leather motorcycle jacket. I'm quite impressed by this one from Target.

5. Skinny. Red. Corduroys. I think they speak for themselves.

6. I love the desert boot look, and I love it even more when it's given a feminine touch. These from Seychelles are perfection. And more than I usually spend on shoes. Sigh.

7. The entire Tucker for Target line. I was going to try to choose my favorite. But I can't. Can someone please just buy me all of it? That would be great. 

Tomorrow it will be back to regularly scheduled programming (aka outfit posts), I promise!

Lean on Me

I think I ought to buy another plaid shirt and another striped cardigan, because  I'm sure you're all growing tired of these. I have a closet filled with clothes, yet I tend to reach for these pieces again and again. I love combining this cardigan with other patterns, and this plaid shirt is just so comfortable. Plus, I just feel cool when I wear it. You know you have clothes like that. I was hoping to be able to wear the brown oxfords I ordered from Target, but alas, they haven't yet come. So I went for the gold. These shoes too have been such a go-to, and I wasn't sure they would be. They're surprisingly versatile, and standing-on-my-feet-all-day-at-work friendly. From a shoe, who could ask for more? Tell me, what are the pieces that you're leaning on the most right now?

Cardigan: Loft, thrifted; shirt: Gap; jeans: Loft; necklace: Target; shoes: Aldo

Song: Lean on Me by Bill Withers

Time Keeps on Slippin Slippin Slippin

It's only Monday, but I'm already feeling frazzled. Honestly, where does time go? (To blogging, to cooking, to working, working, working, to guiltily thinking about how I need to walk my dog, to reading blogs instead of walking my dog, to laundry...) I'm exhausted just typing all that! One thing I recently spent time doing was entering a giveaway over at Lizzypunch, and it was time well spent, because I won! She gave away this beautiful leaf pendant necklace from Fenno Fashion, a beautiful online boutique filled with gorgeous, vintage-inspired hand-made jewelry (all designed by the super talented Megan Fenno). Check out Megan's online store here--you won't be disappointed! I don't shop online too often, because it's so difficult to judge what an item will really look like when it arrives on my doorstep. But this necklace was even more lovely in person than when I saw it online! So thank you so much Liz for hosting the giveaway, and thank you Megan Fenno for giving me such a fabulous new accessory! 

Blazer: Old Navy; t-shirt: Old Navy; camisole: Gap; pants: Banana Republic Factory Store, from my mom's closet; necklace: c/o Fenno Fashion; shoes: Ann Taylor Factory Store, gift

(Side note: Don't you love getting mail? It seems we mostly get bills these days, but I still get excited opening the mailbox every afternoon. And hey, sometimes there's good stuff in there, like a magazine or this pretty necklace!)

Song: Fly Like an Eagle by Steve Miller Band

Another side note: As I mentioned a few days ago, I hope to soon be hosting a giveaway of my own here at Bon Chic Bon Gastronomique. I just need a few more followers to reach my goal of 50! 

Bakerella's Famous Cake Balls

To spread the love to my friends at work, I made chocolate cake balls. Nothings says love like chocolate, at least in my opinion. I've been wanting to make these for a while, since I saw Bakerella's red velvet version. But not surprisingly, I went the chocolate chocolate chocolate route. I used dark chocolate cake mix, traditional chocolate frosting, and chocolate bark for dipping. Everything went smoothly until I got to the dipping. There was a bit of a struggle between me and the chocolate bark; I won, but as you can see the cake balls look a little worse for the wear. Nevertheless, they tasted fantastic. 

Takin' Care of Business Every Day

Yesterday was one of those days off that doesn't feel like a day off. Love those, right? Since it was my only day off this week, I pretty much tried to cram my entire to-do list into yesterday. Bad idea. Not only did I not get everything done, but Aaron was greeted by a crabby, frazzled woman when he got home. I get really frustrated, you see, when I can't accomplish everything that I plan for the day. However, this condition can be remedied with offers of food and wine. So Aaron and I headed to Spin Pizza and I promptly forgot about my to-do list. (I don't recommend this treatment for daily use. Not only will you never get anything done, but you may have to start attending 12 step programs. But every other day? Sure.) 

This is what I wore to eat pizza and forget about my troubles. Elastic waist: perfect for Patate Pizza consumption. Belt: there to make sure I don't completely overdo it. I have to admit that I've had this skirt for several months now, and have been too afraid to wear it due to its length which is verging on inappropriately short. I had been waiting to wear it with tights, but since I was throwing caution and to-do lists to the wind, I went ahead and wore it, pale legs and all. I know. I'm a rebel.

Cardigan: American Eagle; tank: Mossimo, Target; skirt: Forever 21; necklace: Dean Harris for Target; belt: Loft; flats: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Song: Takin' Care of Business by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Dinner Last Night: Aarti's Orange Roasted Chicken

I didn't catch this season of the Next Food Network Star, but luckily I did tune in to the winner, Aarti Sequeira's new show Aarti Party. It made me wish I had watched the competition. I adore her! She's so bubbly and enthusiastic; she seems to genuinely love food and cooking, and her excitement is contagious. Plus, everything she makes (classics with an Indian twist) looks delicious. I decided to give her "I Ain't Chicken Chicken: Crispy Roasted Chicken Breasts with Orange and Cardamom" a try. 

Aarti, you did not disappoint. The chicken was flavorful and juicy, and the roasted potatoes were the perfect simple side. The chicken and potatoes are roasted in a 500 degree oven (Yes, you read that right. Lots of smoke people, be prepared.). The chicken is jazzed up with a mixture of softened butter, cardamom, orange zest and ginger stuffed under the skin of each breast. The potatoes are simply dressed with a little thyme, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Waiting to eat is the hardest part!

(Is it just me or are the chicken breasts I buy at my grocery store ginormous? There must be some well-endowed chickens running around Kansas.)

Send a Card, Spread the Love

For my second day of Spread the Love week, I decided to send a card to two of the teachers I student taught with. Since it's the beginning of the school year, I've been thinking of these two lovely ladies and what a great experience I had learning from them. E-mail is great, but every once in a while, it's nice to send a hand-written note or card. And yes, I'm one of those people who buys the cards with puppies on them (or kittens...I don't discriminate). They're cute. Sue me. 

Have a good day, and send a card to someone special in your life. I'm sure it will brighten their day!

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