Angelic Color vs. Devilish Cookies

La mode: I seem to have a thing for pairing these jeans with light pink; I’ve only worn them twice, but both times have been with that color. I think it’s because the jeans themselves are a light, soft color. My taste has had a bit of a personality disorder lately, because I’m either drawn to bright, bold colors or their opposites: delicate, blush tones. Today was a blush tones day.

Blouse: Loft; jeans: Gap; earrings: Kohl's; belt: Loft; platforms: Mia via

I used to think that I shouldn’t wear this shade of pink because it’s too close to the color of my skin. However, when I actually tried on this color I liked it for that very reason. (I didn’t think I liked broccoli either until I tried it… funny how that works.)

What color do you refuse to wear because you don’t think it looks good on you? I dare you to try it on anyway—you never know until you try, right? (I guess my mom was right. I'll hear about that for sure!) 

La nourriture: If my outfit of soft pink and pearls has fooled you into thinking I’m sweet and angelic, these cookies will convince you of my devilish side. That’s right, these cookies are downright sinful. But in the best way.

They’re Bakery Style Cookies and Cream Cookies, from Picky Palate. They’re made almost like a regular chocolate chip cookie, but you add in cocoa powder and finely ground Oreos. Basically, anything that goes from chocolaty to chocolatier is a win in my book. I under baked them a little so the centers stayed nice and gooey, just the way I like ‘em.

Black and White Prints and a Cheesy Quiche

La mode: Ew, Monday stinks. I’ve been dreading this one especially, since it means my mom goes home and my five day weekend is over. But I suppose all good things must come to an end, and besides, I’d better go back to work if I want to make any money this summer. This long weekend has been a wonderful time though—I don’t remember the last time I’ve had so much fun talking, eating and shopping.

Cardigan: thrifted Old Navy; feather top: Forever 21; jeans: Loft; shoes: Target

I’m behind on my outfit posting; I actually wore this last Thursday. I was featured that day on Kimberly of Fab Finds Under $50’s June Outfit Inspiration Calendar, so I wanted to mix black and white prints, as the calendar said. Although it’s a departure from my usual tendency to wear color, I like how dramatic wearing all black (and denim) can be.

My mom and I :)

La nourriture: I spent almost no time cooking while my mom was here—there were too many restaurants we needed to visit. However, I did make cheese quiche, a recipe that came from my grandma (my mom’s mom). My mom would make it for breakfast every Christmas morning, and I looked forward to it every year. I thought it would be a nice thing to have while she was here.

The original recipe includes ham, but I’m not a big ham fan (although bacon is a whole other story!). It’s definitely an Americanized version of quiche; this version is much more cheesy and less custardy than its French counterpart. But it is delicious, I’ll tell you that for sure. For a printable recipe, go here.

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An Ode to Good Times and Color

La mode: Hi guys, I’m just popping in for a quick outfit post. I’m really enjoying my mom being here to visit—we’ve already had so much fun shopping and eating, and she just got here Wednesday night! But, I haven’t cooked a darn thing since she’s been here—we’ve been bad, eating out every night.

Cardigan: Loft; gray tank (under): Isaac Mizrahi for Target; skirt: Gap; necklace: Fenno Fashion c/o Lizzy Punch giveaway; belt: Old Navy; wedges: Target

I’m sure next week I’ll get back to regular food posting, but since I am still wearing clothes every day I can take a little time for an outfit post. This outfit is another ode to color, and really another ode to this cardigan. Yes, I just wore it this weekend, but it’s the perfect color to pair with other bold, bright hues. 

I hope you all are having a fantastic week! 

Red Cords and Red Sauce

La mode: Yesterday morning I played a fun game while I was getting dressed. Here’s how it went: first, I prepared by skipping my workouts for a week, going to the Cheesecake Factory (bonus points!), and eating more than my fair share of junk food throughout the weekend. Then, I put on my skinniest pair of red cords, because apparently I’m a masochist. I was only uncomfortable for the first few minutes… thank goodness for fabrics with stretch!

Blouse: Loft; cords: Gap, gift; necklace: Kohl's; flats: Merona, Target

I have not been able to make my regular workouts lately, and it’s starting to show. Not only have my clothes been feeling a little tight, but I notice I don’t have as much energy as I do when I work out regularly. It’s driving me crazy, but until someone finds a way to put more hours in the day, I’m not sure I have a solution. Does anyone have any tips for fitting workout classes (at specific times) into a busy schedule?

La nourriture: Speaking of busy, lately I don’t have time for complicated cooking. (Not that much complicated cooking goes on around here anyway.) I love meals that require few ingredients and little hands-on time. This dinner of penne pasta with Italian sausage tomato sauce was just that.

I’m not even going to include a recipe, because it’s too easy! Just brown up the sausage, add some garlic, then add tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes. (I always add a little Italian seasoning to my tomato sauces too, for extra flavor.) Then let it simmer for as long as you want while you cook the pasta and make whatever side(s) you want. I slaved away rolling up crescent rolls from a can. (Don't judge me... that chubby Pillsbury Dough Boy knows what he's doing!) 

My mom (who I haven't seen since March!) is coming to visit tonight, so if my blogging is sporadic the rest of the week, forgive me. I'm just enjoying some time with my mamma! 

Dressed Up Shorts, Once Again

La mode: This is what I wore to the Cheesecake Factory on Saturday. I love the idea of dressing up a pair of denim shorts and making them perfectly date-night worthy. This is nothing new; when I was looking at old blog pictures, I saw that I dressed up the very same pair of shorts to wear on a date the very same weekend last year.

Cardigan: Loft; ruffle blouse: Loft; shorts: Limited via Marshall's; earrings: Urban Outfitters; belt: loft; pumps: Seychelles via DSW

For some reason, I was extremely tired yesterday. I thought I got enough sleep, but I kid you not I did the “falling asleep sitting up head bob” more than once at work. (Come on, you know you’ve done it. Even if not at work, maybe during those really long prayers at church. ‘Fess up.) I hope that was just a Monday thing. 

So, since I took a nap instead of cooking dinner last night, it's going to be a rain check on the food post. But eventually I'll run out of Lean Pockets and have to cook something, so don't fear. 
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So Many Reasons to Smile

Shea chez les autres: It's always so hard to start the work week, but it's especially difficult after the fantastic weekend I just had. It started in the best way: when I got home from work Friday, I discovered that the Bon Bon Rose Girls featured me as a Freshly Picked Rosebud on their beautiful blog! I was so thrilled. Thank you so much Kristin and Megan!

Monday isn't all bad though. One great thing about the start of this week is that I'm guest posting over at Academia Sartorial today, while Emily is enjoying a California vacation. If you check it out, you'll find out why I'm reading in this photo. Emily is such a sweetheart, not to mention smart and stylish too. I know you'll enjoy her blog as much as I do.

La nourriture: Aaron and I had a date night this weekend, which made it even more enjoyable. We really indulged ourselves and went to the Cheesecake Factory, where I ate entirely too much. 

We started out with fried macaroni and cheese balls, and yes, they are as good as they sound. I had salmon for dinner (which sounds healthy until you add the mashed potatoes and buttery lemon sauce), while Aaron had his favorite, shrimp scampi. That was great and all, but the true highlight to the meal of course was the cheesecake! I had Godiva chocolate cheesecake, which was heavenly. 

Are you a cheesecake fan? What's your favorite kind? 
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Foolproof Fashion and Favorite Summer Fare

La mode: After exhausting myself trying to come up with something neon yesterday, I needed something foolproof today. A white shirt, jeans, and a scarf… what could be more foolproof than that?

White button-up: Forever 21; jeans: Gap; earrings: Charlotte Russe; scarf: World Market; sandals: Ann Taylor Factory Store, gift

La nourriture: This week’s Friend Friday questions are near and dear to my heart. They’re about food! She asks us to share our favorite seasonal dish for the summer.

One of my favorite things to eat in the summertime is a burger, which is what I made for dinner last night. I love the versatility of burgers: they can be made with a variety of meats (or veggies!) and topped or filled with countless yummy fixin’s. 

Last night, I made Jalapeno Popper Burgers, a recipe from the Queen of Burgers (and yes, my obsession) Rachael Ray. This burger (which I modified from the recipe's slider version) is complete with a flavored cream cheese spread that is hidden beneath the melted slice of Colby jack. All the flavor of a popper, in a burger. Delicious. 

Here are some more of my favorite summer dishes:
Okay, now it's your turn. What else should I be making this summer?

Neon and Neutral, or Something Like That

La mode: Lately I’ve been a party pooper when it comes to blogger challenges. My lack of lace made Tuesday’s Everybody Everywear challenge impossible, while lack of planning is the reason I’ve missed several Friend Fridays in a row. And I’m not sure what it was that made me not want to jump on the latest 30 for 30 bandwagon, but I’m not doing that one either. See? Party. Pooper.

Cardigan: NY&Co; tank: Old Navy; shorts: Gap; scarf in hair: Gap, maybe?; earrings: Target; wedges: Old Navy

However, when (the recently engaged) Kristina of Pretty Shiny Sparkly issued a Bloggers Do It Better challenge this week, daring us to combine neon and neutrals, I jumped on board. 

I may have jumped a bit hastily, because I realized that while I have a lot of brights in my wardrobe, I don’t have much that could actually be considered “neon”. Surprisingly, this tank top I picked up for a couple of bucks at Old Navy is the closest thing I have to being highlighter-worthy. I’m still not sure that it’s neon, but it’s close enough.

By the way, I'm still experimenting a little with the style and content of my posts. I decided to do my headings en français to incorporate the "French" theme a little more. I'm still liking the combined fashion/food posts, but what are your thoughts? Do you like the more structured format, or do you prefer the separate food and fashion posts with fairly random content? Any constructive feedback is appreciated!

A Little Refreshment: Cool Colors and Drinks

Wearing: One of the perks of having a job where all you do is type all day is being able to wear uncomfortable shoes. I mean, the only walking I do is to and from my car and the break room. Therefore, shoes that had previously been ruled “not for work” when it came to teaching, have now been given the green light.

Cardigan: Gap; black tank: Target; skirt: Gap; earrings: Charlotte Russe; scarf: Target; belt: Gap; sandals: Target

That means I finally got to bust out these Target knockoffs of the Seychelles shoe I’d been lusting after for the past year or so. I’m sure the real deal is more comfortable, but I couldn’t pass these up when I saw them on sale at Target. And again, I wasn’t worried about my feet being uncomfortable during a day full of sitting. (Now my fingers, on the other hand… they’re exhausted.)

I was channeling J from J’s Everyday Fashion in this outfit. I loved her mix of black, white, and turquoise blue, and since I had similar pieces myself I decided to give it a try. I really like how it turned out, and it’s a nice departure from my recent jeans craze. 

Drinking: Have you guys tried McDonald’s new Frozen Strawberry Lemonade? I just did today, and I might just be making a habit of it this summer. What's your favorite treat so far this summer?

New Colors, Old Favorites

Wearing: It wasn't intentional, but somehow I’ve slipped into a jeans rut again. Yes, I know, if I stopped buying so many jeans maybe I wouldn't wear them so often. I’m cutting myself off though—I’m not buying any more jeans until the fall. Hold me to that. Please.

For my look today, I was inspired by this post on the blog Spry on the Wall. I loved Jenny's takes on the combination of turquoise and olive green. I wouldn’t have immediately thought to pair my olive button-up with turquoise accessories, but I love how it turned out!

Olive button-up: Gap; jeans: Loft; necklace: Forever 21; flats: Merona, Target

Don’t forget to check out Everybody Everywear today to see countless ideas for how to wear lace. I do have a little lace peeking out from my button-up, but I don’t think it’s enough to count. I’m sitting this challenge out due to lack of lace in my wardrobe. (This needs to change, don’t you think?) But I can’t wait to see what others came up with.

Eating: Tell me, have you ever seen a photo of shepherd’s pie that is visually appealing? It’s just not a pretty food, people. But it’s delicious, so I’m sharing.

This Turkey Shepherd’s Pie is found in Rachael Ray’s Book of 10, but I found it originally in her 365: No Repeats cookbook. I've been making it for years, and it’s one of Aaron’s favorites.

I made a few modifications to her original recipe (found here): I substituted corn for the peas (I think it makes it more summery. Oh, and I don’t like peas.) and I left out the carrots, celery and peppers. In the past, I’ve made this recipe with ground beef as well; I happen to like the turkey better, especially with the addition of the corn. But this one is an easy one to modify based on whatever meat and veggies you like!
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Siam, Souvlaki, Etc., Etc.

Wearing: Monday, you’re back again so soon? You could have taken a little longer, I wouldn’t have been upset. I had a great weekend, the highlight of which was seeing The King and I at Starlight Theater, a local outdoor theater. I’ve loved that musical since I was little, and it took all the strength I had to hold myself back from singing along. But I managed to spare Aaron that embarrassment.

Blouse: Banana Republic Factory Store; jeans: Gap; belt: Loft; shoes: Target

This is what I wore to see the show. I know it doesn’t look very summery, but this weekend felt more like spring than summer. Actually, the weather was perfect to see an outdoor play; we really lucked out. 

Eating: For last night’s dinner, I did a bit of indoor grilling, which is the only kind of grilling I’m capable of. I leave the outdoor grilling to Aaron. I made Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce, a recipe I found on the blog Patio Daddio BBQ. (Isn’t that the cutest name ever?) To go with it, I just cooked up some orzo and added lemon zest, parmesan cheese (I know, it’s not Greek), and parsley.

It was only recently I discovered the miracle that is Tzatziki Sauce. Sure, I’d heard of it before, but it never sounded appealing. Silly me, it’s delicious! So lately I’ve been experimenting with different dishes of the Greek variety as an excuse to eat Tzatziki on a regular basis. And this recipe is a winner, both for the pork and the delectable cucumber sauce.
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Bell Bottoms and Bubble Up Pizza

Wearing: Remember how I said I bought two pairs of jeans at Gap this weekend? Today pair numero deux makes its debut. I’m really jumping full-force on the 70s trend train. I can’t help myself! I fell in love with this pair of jeans when I tried them on; something about the high waist, the faded color and the exaggerated bell leg made them irresistible.

Ruffle cardigan: Loft; white tee: Old Navy; bell jeans: Gap; earrings: NY&Co; necklace: Jess LC; belt: Target; platforms: Mia

In other, unrelated, news, hiding Ellie’s new toy did prevent early morning squeaking. However, until I can find a way to hide all the neighborhood cats, my alarm clock problem still won’t be solved. 

Eating: Pizza is a favorite at my house, and I’m always looking for new interpretations of this classic meal. In fact, if there’s a recipe that involves bread, cheese, and pepperoni, there’s a pretty good chance I’ve tried it.

When I came across this recipe for Bubble Up Pizza (from Pass the Sushi), I was happily surprised that it was one I haven’t yet tried. It’s like a pizza casserole made with cut up biscuit dough, pizza sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese. It was unbelievably easy to make—just mix the ingredients and put them in a pan and bake! (FYI: I had to bake mine for a lot longer than what the recipe called for. It was in the oven for about 30 minutes, and towards the end I covered it with foil to keep it from getting too brown.)

What kinds of meals are you constantly recreating at your house? (And if it’s Hamburger Helper, that’s okay too! I've been down that road a time or two.)

Lo Mein-tenance Day

Wearing: I was going for easy, cute and comfortable today, and I knew that a great place to start would be this dress. I added a few of my favorite summer colors, and I quickly had an outfit. There are days when I like to take a lot of time to carefully plan what I’m going to wear and go through several options. Yesterday, however, was not one of those days.

Orange cardigan: Loft; dress: Merona, Target; belt: Old Navy; suede flats: Merona, Target

You see, I accidentally bought myself a new alarm clock. One that goes off at least an hour earlier than my usual wake up time, and one that doesn’t have a snooze button. It sounds like this: “squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak”. Yes, my new alarm clock is the new toy I bought for my dog Ellie. And yes, I hid that thing before I went to bed last night. I might be a slow learner, but at least I learn.

Eating: I started to make this meal on Monday night, but our power went out. We forced ourselves to go to Panzon’s, a Mexican restaurant, while we waited for the power to come back. So I had a mini case of déjà vu when I began to cook last night. Luckily, the power loss didn’t repeat itself.

I adapted this Chicken Lo Mein dish from Rachael Ray’s Book of 10. (If you can’t tell, I’m slowly trying to work my way through this cookbook. So I apologize in advance if you’re already tired of the Rachael Ray dishes.) 

I really loved how it turned out. The sauce (made with tamari, hoisin, and hot sauce) was so flavorful, and it would taste great with so many different ingredients. You could easily take out the chicken and add extra veggies (such as snap peas, cabbage, or carrots) to make this a vegetarian meal.

For the recipe, go here

My Treasure Chest of Drawers

Wearing: Inspired by this lovely look of Kendi’s, yesterday I went one step further in my “taking advantage of the dress code” plan for summer. As long as they hit the knee, I can wear shorts to work. Shorts! To work! It’s a crazy world we’re living in, folks.

Pink button-up: Old Navy; jean shorts: Gap; earrings: White House Black Market; brown belt: Loft; woven wedges: Old Navy

I found these shorts the other day at the very back of my jeans drawer…I don’t remember when I bought them, but I know that they’re old. They’re kind of a weird length, so I decided to cuff them a bit.

Don’t you love it when you find forgotten treasures in your closet? (Okay, it’s a bit of a stretch to call this old pair of jean shorts a “treasure”, but I’m still glad I found them.)

Two Things I Love: Jeans for a Steal and Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Wearing: When Sam and Kathy (my wonderful in-laws) visited this weekend, we girls did a little shopping while the boys did some manly garage work. We had so much fun that we lost track of time and didn’t get home until seven in the evening (after shopping all day!). We literally shopped until we dropped!

Pink blouse: Loft; trouser jeans: Gap; gold belt: Loft; platform sandals (that you can't really see, sorry!): Mia

These jeans were one of my purchases of the day. I’ve had my eye on these Gap jeans all season (I even had them on my spring wish list, remember?) and I snagged them on Saturday for twenty bucks. Can you believe that? I know I’ll be wearing them constantly, along with another fun pair I picked up there as well. (I’ll show those off later.)

Eating: I love breakfast, but I rarely take the time to make breakfast food. I remember when I was growing up, my mom made the best cinnamon rolls! I’d always look forward to having company, because that was when I knew she’d be making them.

Sam and Kathy coming gave me an excuse to make her famous cinnamon rolls (which aren’t really rolls at all—more like a sticky bun cake) for breakfast. They are unbelievably easy to make, and I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t love them. If you want to make them too, just go here for a printable recipe.
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