Coffee Dunking Deliciousness: Chocolate Biscotti

So in honor of Halloween, I tried to find some orange colored chocolate chips (I've seen them--I know they exist!) and call this "Booscotti". However, I had no luck finding said chocolate chips. Maybe that was a sign that I should lay off the puns. But I guess since I'm telling you about it anyway it didn't really work. Enough about that, I'll get to the important part--the delicious chocolate biscotti. 

I got the recipe from Rachael Ray's Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine, the December/January 2009 issue (also found here). The biscotti recipe (which I made as written with the exception of subbing chocolate chips for cocoa nibs) accompanied a recipe for "Hot Maine Mudslides" that I unfortunately did not make. I took the lazy route and spiked my coffee with Baileys instead. Just so you know, I made these in the afternoon and did the coffee spiking in the evening. When I've had these every morning since, I've had my coffee with regular, non-alcoholic cream. I didn't want any of you worrying about me drinking too much. 

Well, I hope you all have a fantastic Halloween. I'm off to go celebrate with a nice glass of Cabernet. 
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God Knows We're Gonna Talk About Your Clothes

Sometimes, when I think about how I post pictures of myself (almost) every day, then blather on about my clothes or my day or my dog, I'm astounded that people read this. People other than my mother and my best friend. But then I start to think about how I love to look at pictures of other people every day, and I love reading about their clothes and their days and their dogs (or cats, or kids). 

Now that I feel better about that, I'm going to continue with the picture and the blathering. (Only one picture today--it turns out this outfit looks a heck of a lot more flattering when you can tell I have feet. Which I do.)

Shirt: Forever 21; jeans: Loft; necklace: Anthropologie; belt: Loft; shoes (on the feet that I do indeed have): Isaac Mizrahi for Target

This week I received an award and got tagged for questions by a couple of my bloggy buddies. The lovely Jenny of Spry on the Wall gave me an Inspiring Blog award. Thanks Jenny, I would say the very same thing about you :)

Now I'm supposed to list 3 things or people that inspire me: my friends and family, the fabulous blogs I read, and the Food Network

I'm supposed to give this away, but I simply cannot choose the most inspiring people. I'm inspired by all the blogs I read, every day. So if you're reading this, consider yourself awarded :)

Additionally, Kelly, the hot mama from Dressing Mommy tagged me to answer some questions. Which I did. I love answering questions. (Read my answers after the jump.)

I'm Back in the Saddle Again

Sorry for the brief hiatus--I've been fighting a nasty cold (hence the no-face pictures). What better way to welcome the cooler weather than with Puffs, Zicam and NyQuil, right? Yet with all that, I've yet to find a remedy that truly works. I think the number of kids (and therefore, germs) I encounter on a weekly basis trumps all the handwashing, GermX, and multi-vitamin precautions I take. On the upside, Aaron made me rice for dinner last night (it sounded so good!) and went to get me ice cream. So I guess being sick isn't all bad. 

That's enough whining from me. On a quick side note, I want to make a book recommendation. I've been reading Ireland by Frank Delaney, and it is absolutely wonderful. It's a perfect blend of history, folklore and coming-of-age novel. It's one of those books that's so good that I'll be a little let down by the next book I read, no doubt. What are you reading right now? (Now all I can think about is this book--I better go finish it now!)

Sweater: Loft; vest: Old Navy; jeans: Loft; shoes: Merona, Target

Song: Back in the Saddle Again by Gene Autry

So Doggone Easy

I didn't have a chance to take outfit pictures today, so luckily I had this one from Saturday just waiting for me to post. Most of Saturday was spent trying to put together a Halloween costume (which I will hopefully have pictures of later...). Therefore, I was thrilled when I was reading Jill GG's Good Life for Less Saturday morning and I saw "What to Wear: Happy Weekend!" Yes, thank you, I think that's just what I will wear. It was like she read my mind and knew I needed some inspiration.

And now I need some sleep, so goodnight!

Cardigan: Mossimo, Target; t-shirt: Old Navy; cords: Loft; scarf: Target; belt: Loft; boots: Franco Sarto, Macy's

Song: It's So Easy by Linda Ronstadt

Dinner Last Night: Cheater's Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those meals that requires time and effort, which is one reason why it doesn't get made in my house. The other reason is that I actually like "lasagna-inspired" dishes better than lasagna itself. I know that some would consider me crazy, but the payoff on "real" lasagna simply isn't worth it. Enter dishes like Lasagna Pasta Toss and last night's meal: Lasagna Stoup. Both recipes are Rachael Ray's and both are hits in my house. This "stoup" (Ray's word for a combination of a stew and a soup) was easy and tasty. Our only complaint was that it was a little hard to eat, which could easily be remedied by breaking the lasagna noodles into smaller pieces or by swapping them entirely for a smaller cut pasta.

Basically this "stoup" is browned ground beef, a combination of tomatoes and stock, and broken lasagna noodles. Basil is added at the end, and each bowl is topped with both parmesan and ricotta cheeses. Add some bread for dipping and you've got yourself a hearty meal!

Dinner Last Night: Italian Pork Chops and Mashed Potatoes

This comforting supper was perfect for our stay-in date night last night. I love the versatility of pork chops, and I try to buy them on the bone when they go on sale. They seem to stay so much juicier that way. And the breading, pan-searing, and finishing in the oven only added to the chops' deliciousness. I got the recipe (here) from 

What goes better with pork chops than mashed potatoes, right? Honestly, what doesn't go well with mashed potatoes? I think I could eat them five nights a week. This version I made with russet potatoes, butter, mascarpone cheese and milk. Maybe not the healthiest side out there, but when it comes to mashed potatoes is healthy what you're really going for? I had some leftover mascarpone that I needed to use up, and I'm so glad I did. It made the potatoes so rich and creamy I'm still thinking about them. 

Home is Whenever I'm With You

Yesterday was an interesting day. Interesting thing number one: ending the day with Kindergarteners. Adorable, exhausting, hilarious... God bless Kindergarten teachers. Interesting thing number two: my normally twenty minute drive home took an hour because of not one, but two stalled cars and an accident. Oh and a train. Interesting isn't quite the right word, but I try to keep things PG here. Finally, interesting thing number three: I witnessed a squirrel murder. Aaron and I were watching a neighbor's cat stalk this squirrel. And this cat did not mess around; he was still as a statue. The squirrel had no idea what was coming, and honestly neither did I. I was watching in awe and fascination, thinking we would have a really good chase on our hands. You see, I grew up with house cats. Like, the only things they would "hunt" were feathers on a string or toy mice. So when the cat pounced on the unsuspecting squirrel, killed it, and picked it up in its mouth and carried it away I was dumbfounded. I tried to convince Aaron we needed to rescue the squirrel, but he said it was too late. I didn't even try to warn the squirrel. I feel a little responsible. This is why I don't watch those nature shows. And why at the only rodeo I've ever been to (I live in Kansas, what?) I was rooting for the calf. 

Anyway, after all that I was really looking forward to a date night in with Aaron. Dinner at home, wine, DVRed episodes of House--that was just what I needed after all the craziness. I love getting all gussied up for a nice dinner out, but sometimes a cozy night at home is even better. Especially when there's a dead squirrel on your conscience. 

(By the way, do any of you watch House? Best quote ever last night--Wilson to House--"You're the Rosa Parks of hooker massages".)

Cardigan: Forever 21; dress: Forever 21; belt: Gap; boots: Aldo

Song: Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

I'm Seein' Red

I've been really drawn to red lately (if you can't tell). I think it's the weather--red looks warm, which is comforting since it's started to feel a bit chilly. Or maybe it's just because it's just starting to be sweater weather, and I happen to own two red sweaters. I love how this saturated, bright red can brighten up a neutral look. I had a gray cardigan on before, and it just felt like something was missing. I now realize that something was color! Apparently my face is embracing red as well--I'm not sure if it's the sweater or what but it looks more flushed than normal. 

While we're on the subject of fall (or at least we were), I have a confession to make. I don't want a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I'm sure they've been around for a while, but I've heard so much about them this year that I was starting to worry that there was something wrong with me because I didn't want one. Am I missing some Pumpkin Latte gene? Other than as decoration, I'm not much of a pumpkin lover. I feel like I'm insulting fall in some way by admitting this. Whew, I had to get that off my chest. I feel so much better now. 

Final thought: this does not mean that I don't find other high calorie ways to enjoy fall. Toffee Mocha anyone? Or a steamy cup of rich hot chocolate (Maybe with a splash of Baileys. Just maybe.)? Fall, I hope that means we can still be friends.

Cardigan: XT,; blouse: Banana Republic Factory Store; jeans: Old Navy; necklace: Forever 21; belt: Loft; boots: St. John's Bay, JC Penney

Song: Seein' Red by Unwritten Law

Giveaway Winner!

What is it that they say about the best laid plans? Something about them not turning out I'm sure. Just as I had planned to get a sub job today, I also planned to make a video to announce my giveaway winner. Neither one happened. Well, that's not quite true--I made the video, I just failed to upload it. Every time I tried, an error message appeared where the video should have been. I have a very strong dislike for error messages.

So, since I don't want to keep you waiting, I will go ahead and tell you. The winner of the cute little goody-filled pouches is #12, Lydia Marie. Congratulations Lydia, please e-mail me your shipping address so I can get these out to you right away! Thank you to all of you who entered, and to all of you who read Bon Chic Bon Gastronomique. You're the best!

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Whenever, Wherever

This is what I consider to be an "all-purpose outfit". It's casual enough for the weekend or a day off, but because cords take the place of jeans, it's okay for some work environments. I didn't wear it subbing (but I probably could have) but I did wear it to my last day at Loft. That's right, goodbye ridiculously awesome discount! Sniff. I really enjoyed that job, but I'm going to be starting a long-term substitute job soon and I will have no extra time to work there. Which I felt a little less sad about as I was removing the tissue paper from each individual button on several stacks of jackets. Those kinds of tedious tasks I will not miss. 

Well, due to the fact that my fingers hurt from the above-mentioned button work, and to the fact that I feel like doing this (picture below), I'm going to call it a night.

Shirt: Gap; tank (under): Old Navy; pants: Loft; necklace: c/o Fenno Fashion; shoes: American Eagle; houseplant that I'm trying my darndest not to kill: my mom (see what I mean about the gifts?)

Song: Whenever, Wherever by Shakira

Lunch Time: Smoked Salmon and Orzo Casserole

When my mom came to visit last week, she came bearing gifts: among them, a  bag full of smoked salmon. Not just any smoked salmon, but salmon that she and Jeff caught and smoked themselves. Yum! So I've been trying to come up with different ways to use it (not that it wouldn't be delicious enough just on its own). I came across this Martha Stewart Everyday Food recipe for Chicken, Lemon and Dill with Orzo and I thought that the salmon would taste great in place of the chicken. And I was right--this casserole was easy to make and excellent to eat. I made the whole batch Sunday night so that I could take the leftovers to work throughout the week. But obviously this would also make a delicious dinner. 

Are you a smoked salmon fan? Other than with bagels and cream cheese, how do you like to eat it? I'd love your ideas!

Hopelessly Devoted to You

No, I'm not talking about Danny Zuko, it's this skirt I'm devoted to. I do think Sandy would approve though, if it were just a little bit longer. It's so versatile, I'm having fun seeing all the different ways I can wear it. Like my black and white striped tee (hmm, I'm seeing a connection here) I have to stop myself from wearing it as much as I want to, and even then I wear it a whole heck of a lot. What are you stuck on right now? 

By the way, today is the last day to enter my giveaway! It requires little to no effort, so why not just do it already? You might win. And who can resist free stuff? Certainly not I.

Cardigan: Loft; blouse: Loft; skirt: Forever 21 (so the cost per wear is obviously next to nothing--awesome); earrings: NY & Co; belt: Loft; tights: Loft; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Song: Hopelessly Devoted to You by Olivia Newton-John

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Sweet Treat: Chocolate Cupcakes with White Frosting

Despite my busy schedule, I managed to find time to bake on Friday. Some people find that working out relieves their stress, but for me it's creating or indulging in calories, not burning them off. But, since I try to do a little bit of both I figure it's okay. 

It's hard to read the Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen blog without drooling, running to the grocery store and immediately trying to duplicate whatever delicious creation is tantalizing you from the computer screen. So I really couldn't stop myself from making these chocolate sheet cake cupcakes with "The Best Frosting I've Ever Had". And, like most Tasty Kitchen recipes, they didn't let me down. The cupcakes were moist and flavorful and the frosting was the perfect light, fluffy topper. 

I wish I had more pictures--this was the only one that turned out. If you can't tell from this sub-par group cupcake shot, these turned out to be as pretty as they were tasty!

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But All I See is Red, Red, Red

It's Saturday night and I'm at home, having a glass of wine, and blogging. I know, I live on the edge. But Aaron and I have had something going on every weekend for the past who-knows-how-long and tonight I'm taking a little break. Plus, I had to get up at 6:30 this morning to help with Aaron's dad's garage sale so I may be crashing soon. Needless to say, this is the first opportunity I've had to get yesterday's outfit pictures posted. 

And I didn't notice this when I bought this sweater, but the sleeves are an odd length. Either a, I have long monkey arms, b, the sweater's sleeves shrank in the wash (nothing else--just sleeves) or c, they're supposed to be that length and for $10 I didn't notice (or care). But if I scrunch them up, they're 3/4 sleeves and I guess I'm okay with that. Okay, I'll stop boring you now with my sweater sleeve stories. Well, since it's Saturday night and all I have to talk about are sweater sleeves, I'd better let this post come to an end. Happy weekend everyone! Here's to wine and cheap sweaters.

Odd sleeve-length sweater: Gap, thrifted from Clothes Mentor; jeans: Old Navy; shoes: Merona, Target (they're getting really dirty--any suede cleaning tips? I should have weather-protected them!)

Song: Red, Red, Red by Fiona Apple

Comfortable and So Broken In

Usually comfort only plays a supporting role in my sartorial selections. However, this week I've spent the majority of my week in elementary schools. If that won't convince you to dress comfortably, I don't know what will. In an elementary school, you have to be on your feet (both literally and figuratively) all day.  So today, the fashion-y outfit complete with heels lost its battle to soft corduroys and a cozy sweater. And as I tried to keep up with fourth graders all day, I didn't regret my decision for a minute. Do you dress for comfort or are you content to suffer for fashion? Or does it depend on what you're doing?

Have you entered my giveaway yet? Check it out--you have until Monday to enter.

Cardigan: Merona, Target; t-shirt: Hanes; cords: Loft; scarf: Forever 21; oxfords: Target

Song: Comfortable by John Mayer
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Give it Away Now (A Thank You Giveaway)

In honor of my one time seemingly lofty goal of 50 followers, I'm hosting my very first giveaway! While I wish I could buy every single person who reads this blog a present, I simply don't have that kind of cash. But, I can buy one of you a present so that's what I'm going to do. 

I went to Target recently to search (in vain) for the Tucker line, but I did not leave empty handed. Is that even possible when going to Target? Instead of Tucker, I came across these adorable Poketo for Target zip pouches. I thought they would be the perfect thing to give away. And, what's even better is that I found more goodies to put in each pouch. 

So, how do you win these adorable pouches, you ask? Well, just be a follower of Bon Chic Bon Gastronomique either on Google or BlogLovin' and leave a comment below. Make sure you provide an e-mail address or a link so I can contact you if you win! You have until Monday, October 18 to enter. Good luck, and thank you, my wonderful, kind, lovely readers! 

And by the way, the pumpkinettes (so just made that up) are staying with me, they just seemed appropriate for the season. 

Song: Give It Away by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

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Man, I Feel Like a Woman

Can I get you a drink? Perhaps a cocktail or one of our house wines? I felt a little like a server today in this outfit. And in a way, I suppose I was. I served French to grade-school kids all day, and for the most part, they were buying. (Lousy tips though.) Until I got to the Kindergarteners and First-graders--they just got served a Madeline video. Come on, who can resist those twelve little girls in two straight lines? I nearly teared up when Madeline's dog, Genevieve got lost. Don't lose any sleep over it though, they found her. 

Anyway... I loved Indiana of Adored Austin's menswear look so much yesterday that I decided to do my own version. (And what do you know, great minds think alike--Kimberly was rocking her Adored-Austin-inspired look as well.) Unlike Indiana's, however, I had no actual menswear in my look. While I'm sure a vest borrowed from my husband would look great, my husband isn't exactly a vest-wearin' kinda guy. He bought a blazer a little while ago, and I think I've maybe seen him wear it once. We're one of those "opposites attract" sort of couples. And you know what, that's just fine with me. I think I'd feel a little threatened if my husband were better dressed than I. Just as he may fall right over if I ever start rattling off baseball (or football or golf...) stats. 

Blouse: Forever 21; mine not Aaron's vest: Old Navy; pants: Gap; earrings: NY & Co; brooch: Target; shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target (I'm going to cry my eyes out the day these babies fall apart.)

Song: Man! I Feel Like a Woman! by Shania Twain

P.S. I just reached my goal of 50 followers! Stay tuned for a giveaway coming soon! Thank you all so much! (I think I may have a quota for the number of exclamation points I must use in one day. I think I'm there now. I'll just add one more, just in case!)

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All the Leaves are Brown, and the Sky is Gray

I'm not sure which came first, my gray mood or the gray skies. Last week when I dressed for hazy fall days, I got summer's last (or I hope its last) hurrah. Today I embraced the cool, rainy Monday morning with a coordinating palette. But since my clouds always have a silver lining, I added some sparkle. 

Cardigan: Express, gift; t-shirt: Loft; cords: Loft; shoes: Se Boutique, DSW

Song: Califormia Dreamin' by the Mamas and the Papas

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You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello (Traveling Scarf)


Recently I signed up to participate in a Traveling Scarf project, created by Kimberly of Fab Finds Under $50. As you can imagine, a scarf travels around the country, visiting various fashion bloggers, who creatively style the scarf and photograph their looks. After seeing the first few traveling scarf looks, I wondered if I could come up with something as unique and creative. When I received the scarf on Friday, I had my answer. 

As I mentioned, Friday was the day my mom arrived, and she stayed with us until today. (I wish it could have been longer. Sigh.) Anyway, since I keep all my clothes in our spare bedroom, I had to plan my weekend outfits ahead of time. As luck would have it, I pulled out these pieces not even thinking about how the colors coordinate perfectly with the scarf that was headed my way. In reality, this is one of my warm-weather (yes, fall is once again absent) weekend uniforms. Stripey tee, cardigan, skinnies, flats. It always works. So I threw my hope of being an ultra-unique scarf-styler out the window and instead wore something typically, comfortably me. 

Thanks Kimberly for creating such a fun project! I had so much fun being a part of it. Also, thank you to Affordable Scarves for providing us with this beautiful, fun scarf!

Scarf: c/o Affordable Scarves; cardigan: Gap Outlet; t-shirt: Old Navy; jeans: Loft; flats: Merona, Target

Song: Hello Goodbye by the Beatles

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She's Somebody's Hero

This is going to be another quickie post, because I have very important company right now. My mom is visiting from Colorado! After Aaron and I got off work (this is what I wore to work by the way), we met my mom and her man for dinner. It was a lot of eating and a lot of talking; all in all, a perfect night. They're staying through the weekend, so there will be even more eating and talking (and maybe a little shopping!). I don't get to see my mom often, so this is such a treat! Yay for moms!

Also, I have to shout out to my dad (I love how my parents read my blog.) because yesterday was his birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad, I love you!

This was a very parents-focused blog, but what can I say, I've got great ones. I hope you and your families have a wonderful weekend!

Cardigan: Loft; blouse: Elle, thrifted; skirt: Converse One Star, Target; earrings: White House Black Market, gift (from my mom, who they first belonged to, then I borrowed them when I got married, then she wrapped them up and gave them to me later); belt: Target; shoes: Mossimo, Target

Song: Somebody's Hero by Jamie O'Neal (Makes me think of my mom and makes me cry every single time.)

With Your Head in the Clouds

This outfit made me think of a cloudy day. I was so proud of myself, because I managed to make this light, white skirt, that almost went away with the summer clothes, work for fall. (Thanks to the lovely Dotty for inspiration.) With the cozy sweater and boots, I was ready for a beautiful, crisp October day. And then it was eighty degrees outside. So much for crisp. 

On the positive side, however, I managed to make it through the day with my brain and keys where they needed to be. Thanks for your funny "locking yourself out" stories, they helped to bolster my wounded pride. And for those of you with the automatically locking doors, cheers to you for not locking yourself out every day!

Sweater: Loft; skirt: Nicole by Nicole Miller, JC Penney (old); necklace: c/o FENNO Fashion; boots: St. John's Bay, JC Penney

Song: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles

Where's Your Head At?

Remember what I said yesterday about leaving my brain at work? Well, when I locked myself out of my house today I knew that truly was the case. I was headed out the door (to go to work, coincidently, to retrieve my brain) and I picked up everything I had carefully set by my keys so I would remember to take it all with me. Which I did. Everything, that is, but the keys themselves. And of course I remembered this right after I locked and closed the door. 

I called Aaron, and by the grace of God he was on his lunch break and he was able to come home and let me in. That was unbelievably lucky, because I did not think I would be able to successfully train my dog to unlock a door. I mean, she's smart, but let's not kid ourselves. But I got in, got my keys, made it to work (on time even!), got my brain, and since then everything's been fine. What stupid moves have you made lately? Please share, so I don't feel like such an idiot.

Jacket: Gap; shirt: Ann Taylor Factory Store; pants: Gap; earrings: NY & Co; scarf: thrifted; shoes: Nine West

Oh yeah, by the way, this outfit was inspired by a new-found (to me) blogger--Jill from Spoils of Wear. I love her traveling scarf look and wanted to try the scarf-as-bow trick. I hope I look as cute when the scarf makes its way to me. (More on that later.)

Song: Where's Your Head At? by Basement Jaxx

Dinner Last Night: Roasted Tilapia with Potatoes, Lemons and Olives

I've told you before how much I love tilapia--it's light, versatile, and most of all, affordable. This oven-roasted version makes an easy, delicious weeknight meal. I got the recipe from the October issue of Real Simple magazine. The magazine's title does not lie, indeed this was simple to make. The flavors are excellent, and the oven does most of the work. What could be better than that?

Roasted Tilapia with Potatoes, Lemons and Olives

1 pound baby potatoes, halved (I used yukon golds)
1 lemon, sliced
8 (or so) sprigs fresh thyme (you don't have to take the leaves off, they'll fall off as they roast)
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
4 skinless tilapia fillets
1/2 tsp. paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the potatoes, lemon and thyme in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast (giving them a shake once or twice) for 20 minutes. (If your potato pieces are on the larger size, I'd keep them in the oven an extra five minutes before adding the fish.) 

Add the olives to the potatoes, and give them another shake. Rest the fish on top of the potato mixture, and drizzle it with a little more olive oil. Season it with a little salt, pepper, and paprika as well. Return it to the oven, and let it roast for 12-15 minutes. The potatoes will be golden brown and the tilapia will be opaque. Enjoy!

You Can Go with This or You Can Go with That

Since I slacked off yesterday in the outfit post department (we'll say that was the only place I slacked off...) I wanted to redeem myself today with a fun look. And what did I do? I went and left my jacket at work. So, I had to substitute this (old) brown one for my (cuter, new) gray one. (It's the one I wore here.) I must have left my brain at work too, because I've run out of things to say. Good night. 

Not-the-one-I-Wanted-Blazer: Isaac Mizrahi for Target; shirt: Old Navy; skirt: Forever 21; necklace: Loft; tights: Target? maybe; oxfords: Target

Song: Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim

Dinner Last Night: Pasta with Walnuts and Canadian Bacon

This just may be my favorite pasta dish. It doesn't sound like much, but believe me it's fantastic. I make the whole recipe so we can have leftovers, and I'm lucky if I get any. So it's Aaron-approved as well. Not surprisingly, it's a Rachael Ray recipe that I found several years ago, called Walnuts, Ham and Cheese... Oh My! Say what you want about the cheesy title; this pasta is delicious! I'm not even going to write out the recipe, because I wouldn't change a thing about the original. BUT... you could swap out another meat for the Canadian bacon. (I've tried prosciutto and pepperoni, the latter tastes great but gets a little greasy.) You can also substitute pecans, almonds, or pine nuts for the walnuts. But try the original way first. I think you'll be pretty happy.

If my raving and the picture below haven't done enough to convince you, maybe this will: There's an entire cup of Parmesan cheese in this pasta dish. Yes. One whole cup. 

Mix it Up Monday

Hi, all. It always comes, the same time every week. Monday, I mean. And since today my outfit had a case of the Mondays, I'm bringing you something a little different. One of my co-workers recently bought an adorable striped sweater, and she told me she was going to return it because she didn't know what to wear it with. I absolutely love the sweater, and told her she should keep it. I challenged myself to come up with three different ways to wear said sweater, for three different occasions. 

As it turns out, this was way too much fun. Well, if she does return it anyway, I guess I know who will be buying it. Of course I need another striped cardigan.

The first look is a work look. The sweater (It's this striped one from Loft. I know, I can't believe she's going to return it either.) is paired with gray wide-leg pants and a white blouse. A statement necklace and dark red pumps add personality. She worried that if she wore this sweater with red she'd look like a flag. No star-spangled banner references here, right?

My second look is a casual, weekend look. The cardigan tops a cozy gray t-shirt and relaxed jeans. To pull these casual separates together, add a pink (solid or patterned) scarf, big hoops, and silver flats. (Aren't these from Charlotte Russe adorable? Something else I need.)

My final look would be perfect for a casual lunch date, shopping with friends, or even a casual work environment. It's my favorite of the three. Be a master print mixer by putting the striped sweater over a printed dress in a similar color family, like these navy blue dresses. Leave the sweater unbuttoned, but belt it with an extra-long brown belt. Final touches? A fun pendant necklace and lace-less oxfords. 

Is there anything in your closet you're thinking about returning (or donating) it because you don't know what to wear it with? Or have you returned something for that reason?