Purple Shorts Remix and My Blogging Nook

La mode: I’m running a bit late in blog-land today, but let’s just say I’m fashionably late, shall we? Aaron and I decided to start our weekend a little early by going out last night. My best friend Abby and her fiancĂ© Troy invited us to go to a free concert with them. And I can’t turn down a free concert, can you?

T-shirt: Old Navy; shorts: Old Navy; earrings: Kohl's; necklace: Paris; belt: Gap; sandals: BC Footwear

I hadn’t heard of the singer, Corey Smith, before last night. He’s a country singer, and the songs I paid attention to sounded good. But to be honest I spent most of the night chatting with Abby. And trying not to sweat to death. (Did I mention it was an outdoor concert?) 

For the concert, I decided to break out the purple shorts again. I feel a little bit like I’m doing a modification of the 30 for 30 challenge—the “3 pairs of shorts in 30 days” challenge. I’m starting to forget what the jeans I own even look like. Sigh.

Mon bureau: [My office] Today’s visual Friend Friday, hosted by Suze of Miss Vinyl Ahoy, asks the question “Where do you blog from?” So here’s my poorly photographed picture of my little office area. It’s a work in progress; we just bought this desk to replace a much larger one (to make room for the piano). 

The Dog Days are (almost) Over

La mode: I start my new job one week from tomorrow. My days of freedom are quickly dwindling. I keep trying to find a way to slow down the time, but nothing has worked so far. Actually, while I’ve enjoyed these few weeks of relaxation, I’m looking forward to starting work. I’ve spent the past two years going from classroom to classroom as a substitute, so it will be nice to have a classroom to call my own.

Blouse: Loft; skirt: Old Navy; sandals: Mia, 6pm.com

Well, I’m not going to get carried away with the job-talk. It’s still summer after all. And still hot. When I saw this summery look on Calivintage, I knew it would be perfect to recreate during these dog days. And I was right; other than maybe a bathing suit, nothing keeps you cooler on a hot day than cotton separates. (And of course, ice cream.) 

Are you ready for summer to be over, or could you stand a few more months of this heat?

Song: Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine (It was just too fitting; I couldn't help myself.)

Practice Makes Perfect, I Make Muffins

La mode: Today’s look is another outfit brought on by excess heat. Lightweight tee, check. Inappropriate for work skirt, check. I hope it cools down once I have to start dressing like a professional, or I’m going to be known as the “sweaty new French teacher”.

T-shirt: Hanes; skirt: Forever 21; necklace: Forever 21; belt: Loft; flats: Merona, Target

That’s enough whining for now. (Tomorrow is another day though.) In other news, we now have a piano. My dad had been keeping my family’s piano (my maternal grandmother’s to be exact) at his house, because my little sister had been taking lessons and we didn’t have room for it when we lived in our apartment. But now that she’s no longer playing the piano and we’re no longer apartment dwellers, the piano is now ours!

So today I rooted through a few boxes in the basement to try to find some music. I was successful in finding music, less successful in playing it! I played piano for over ten years, and I had hoped that it would just come back to me. Well, it didn’t. Not like I hoped anyway. I hear the voices of all my former piano teachers shouting at me to “Practice!!!” So Vonnie, Ms. Pearson, Lexi, Becky, and Mrs. Kennedy, (yes, I had five different teachers) I might do just that. 

La nourriture:  Aside from all the noise I made on the piano yesterday (I’m not even sure you could call it music) I also made muffins. Specifically, chocolate chip muffins; and they turned out much better than the piano playing. So at least I had that going for me.

I used my favorite recipe for chocolate chip muffins, which is from the Williams Sonoma Muffins cookbook. They’re light and fluffy, very chocolaty but not overly sweet. (Sound good? For the recipe go here.)

Chocolate chip muffins are by far my favorites. What’s your favorite kind of muffin? 

Lazy Look, Lazy Cook

La mode: I did a mental checklist of the things I did yesterday, and I have come to the realization that I have nothing interesting to talk about. So, I can either talk about something uninteresting (such as the number of “before school starts” to-do lists I’ve made recently) or I can just shut up and show you my clothes.

Blouse: Loft; shorts: Loft; belt: Target; wedges: Old Navy

For your sanity, I’ve chosen the latter. You’re welcome.

However, I do want to give a quick thank you to Claire from Spinning Threads. She passed along a “best blog” award to me! You should check her out—she’s the stylish mom of two adorable little girls and she’s got a knack for finding awesome deals (like Target/designer collaboration pieces for $10!). Thank you Claire!

La nourriture:  I suppose yesterday wasn’t completely uninteresting; I did eat dinner. And to me, food is always worth talking about. I let my Crock Pot do the heavy lifting, and it helped me make Brown Sugar Chipotle Chicken from the Can You Stay for Dinner? blog.

Other than throwing the ingredients in the blender (except the chicken…ew), then the slow cooker, the only effort I put into this meal was toasting a couple of hoagie rolls once the chicken finished cooking. The meat was ridiculously tender and shredded easily with two forks.

I made sandwiches but I imagine there are numerous ways to use the smoky, spicy chicken. Next time I might try it as a filling for quesadillas or even enchiladas. I might not even wait that long—I have some leftovers in the fridge!

Showered With Color

La mode: This weekend I attended my sister in law Gennie’s baby shower and this is what I wore. I never know what to wear to showers. Earlier this summer I went to a bridal shower on a chilly, drizzly day (I have a hard time remembering that there were days like that this summer!) and felt under dressed wearing pants when everyone else showed up in dresses. Saturday was just the opposite—I wore a dress and almost everyone else arrived in shorts.

Dress: Loft; earrings: Target; necklace: Target; wedges: Old Navy

Oh well—my only goals were to stay cool and wrinkle-free on the three and a half hour drive to get to the shower, and I managed to do that. I had so much fun at the shower, oohing and aahing over all the little girl things. I can’t wait to be an aunt! 

What did you do this weekend?

Mom Shorts?

La mode: Yes, the shorts streak continues. I got a little crazy though and busted out the purple pair. When I bought these I knew they were a few pleats away from being “mom shorts” (they look short in the photos, but they're pretty wrinkly--they looked longer this morning), but I felt like the cool color and simple style kept them out of the danger zone.

Blouse: Liberty of London for Target; shorts that would have looked better if photographed at the beginning of the day: Old Navy; earrings: NY & Co; belt: Loft; platforms: Mia via 6pm.com

Talking about “mom shorts” I feel there are two things I must say. One, I read several style blogs written by moms. They look quite chic and stylish in their shorts. Also, my mom looks pretty darn cute in her shorts too. So…maybe I should call them something different? I don’t want to unleash the wrath of moms everywhere.

Two, I’ve also seen a few bloggers wear the-shorts-formerly-known-as-mom-shorts and look amazing. Jentine of My Edit and Linda from Little Tin Soldier come to mind. Seriously, shorts I’d walk right past in a thrift shop they can style and look like they stepped right out of a magazine.

The fact that I’ve talked about nothing but mom shorts for this entire post leads me to believe the heat is starting to do funny things to my brain.

Shorts and Ice Cream: Heat Wave Essentials

La mode: First of all, thank you guys so much for all your helpful, supportive comments about what I said yesterday about blogging on a busy schedule. While I already knew that most of you are in the same boat I am, it made me feel better to know that you have trouble fitting it all in as well.

Top: Gap; shorts: The Limited via Marshall's; earrings: Old Navy; belt: Old Navy; sandals: Gap

Today, on Kansas Heat Wave Day 345 (or at least it feels that way) I’m returning to my favorite summer color combination: turquoise and coral. I’ll say one thing about this heat—getting dressed is pretty easy. Layering is laughable, even wearing a lot of jewelry is out of the question. Basically, I try to wear as little as possible without crossing into socially unacceptable territory.

Dressing for the heat also makes for pretty boring blogging, however. Shorts, again? Really? Hey, I warned you that you’d be seeing your fair share of this ghostly pair of legs this summer.

La nourriture: Other than shorts, you know what makes this heat (and actually, life in general) bearable? Ice cream. And though I always keep my freezer stocked with it (you know, for emergencies) I decided to embark on the path of making it myself.

Although I’ve had an ice cream maker for over 3 years, this is only my second attempt at homemade ice cream. Yes, you’re welcome to shake your head at me in shame. The problem is, making ice cream is not difficult, but it does involve a lot of steps and a lot of waiting. And waiting, especially when it comes to ice cream, is not something I’m good at.

I’m very pleased that I put my instant-gratification issues aside and decided to make a batch. The recipe I used was Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream from Brown Eyed Baker. And holy peanut butter deliciousness! If you’re going to make your own ice cream, and you love chocolate and peanut butter, well, you must make this!

Blogging Conundrums and Taco-Stuffed Shells

La vie d’un bloggeuse: [The life of a blogger] I’m not going to talk about clothes today, because a) not a lot of thought went into this look and b) I just read a great article on IFB that got me thinking.

The article, called “The Reality of Blogging While Working a Full Time Job” is such a relevant one for so many bloggers. While I have more time on my hands than usual right now, starting in a few weeks I will be beginning my first year as a full-time teacher. Free time, I imagine, will become pretty scarce.

Tank: Mossimo, Target; shorts: Loft; earrings: Charlotte Russe; belt: Gap; wedges: K-Mart

I started thinking about how this will change the way I approach blogging. Most days during the week, I commit several hours a day to blogging, and I love every minute of it. I read blogs (I follow or subscribe to close to 250 in Google Reader), leave comments on several of these blogs, respond to comments (either directly replying or visiting and commenting on each person who comments’ blog). In addition, I compose a blog post that usually includes a style portion and a food portion. I’m sure you can relate to how quickly blogging can consume your life! 

I want to be able to do it all: blog and be a part of the blogging community, be a great French teacher, cook dinner a few nights a week, work out, not to mention have some time left over for my husband, family, and friends. The question I’m struggling to answer is how can I maintain my sanity and get enough sleep while still feeling like I’m “doing it all”?

The only solution I’ve come up with is to readjust my blogging schedule: alternate days of reading/commenting on blogs and writing blog posts. I hate not posting every day, but I don’t think it will be possible. I suppose the reason I’m writing this is because I want to hear about how you fit it all in. Can you “do it all”? Do you feel that it’s necessary to post every day? What works for you?

La nourriture: I know I just blabbed your ear (or eyes?) off, so I’ll make this portion short and sweet. For dinner last night I made stuffed pasta shells. Rather than the typical Italian filling, these were taco-style shells, stuffed with a chili-seasoned ground beef mixture, topped with cheese and taco sauce. It may sound weird, but let me assure you these are worth a try! For a printable recipe, just go here.

Weekend Wear, Weddings, and a Winner

La mode: For someone who remembers to have her own photo taken nearly every day, I sure am bad about remembering to take pictures of anything else. I hope that isn’t some sort of indicator of vanity. But seriously, one of my closest friends (and my husband’s best friend) got married this weekend and I didn’t take a single photo. Not even of the outfit I wore.

Striped tee: Old Navy; skirt: Old Navy; scarf in hair: thrifted Adrienne Vittadini; shoes: American Eagle

I’m pretty disappointed in myself. Not only was my outfit pretty cute, but the wedding was beautiful. My feet are still recovering from all the dancing I did, which to me is always an indicator of a fun wedding. (Well, that and the open bar.) So today all I have for you is what I wore yesterday, for the exciting events of grocery shopping and laundry. Note the flats, a post-wedding must.

Une gagnante!: [a winner!]: But wait, there’s more! (Do you feel like you’re part of an infomercial yet?) I have also chosen a winner for my Love is Rising necklace giveaway. Random.org selected comment number 3 which belongs to Elle from Elle Sees. Elle, I will be in touch with you very soon so I can get your necklace sent your way. 

Congratulations! Thank you all very much for entering and supporting Rachel and Love is Rising.

Maxi Skirt, Inspired

La mode: With Tuesday being Yellow Day and today being Maxi Skirt Day, it sure has been easy getting dressed this week. I love putting outfits together, but sometimes I need a good jumping-off point, which is why I love things like Everybody Everywear and Bloggers Do It Better.

Tank: Old Navy ($2!); skirt: Old Navy; scarf in hair: thrifted; earrings: Target; necklace: Fenno Fashion c/o Lizzypunch giveaway; sandals: Gap

Today is the latter of the two: Kristina of Pretty Shiny Sparkly’s Bloggers Do It Better. The only criteria for this challenge was wear a maxi skirt. I scored this one not too long ago at Old Navy, so that was my starting point. The rest of my look was a combination of inspirations. 

Who (or what) is inspiring you lately?

Hot Days, Burger Nights

La mode: Guys, it’s hot. I only left the (cool, air-conditioned) house a couple of times yesterday, and this is what I wore. My thoughts were less “How can I look super stylish and put-together?” and more “What can I wear that will not cause excessive perspiration?” The solution: a t-shirt, mini skirt, and sandals. 

T-shirt: Gap; skirt: Old Navy; earrings: Kohl's; necklace: Love is Rising; sandals: Gap

Now that I’ve gone from loose dress code to no dress code this summer, I intend to get my money’s worth out of all the skirts and dresses in my closet deemed “too short for the work place”. So if you’re already tired of seeing my pasty white legs, you might want to stay away until August.

Isn't my dog so cute? I couldn't resist putting this photo in.

La nourriture: Aaron and I have burger nights fairly often. When it comes to a delicious, versatile, easy to make meal, nothing beats a burger. My most recent burger making adventure was an Asian-style turkey burger, with sesame noodles to replace the usual fries.

I just started the “burgers” chapter in Rachael Ray’s Book of 10, so consider yourself warned. However, I did make a few adjustments to her original recipe (which called for chicken instead of turkey). I’m very happy with how it turned out; the burger was juicy and full of flavor, and the noodles were equally delicious.

For a printable recipe go here

Mellow Yellow

La mode: Today is Yellow Day at Everybody, Everywear. Here in Kansas, the sun decided to participate in full force. As a result, we’ve been under a heat advisory all day. Thanks for being such a show-off, sun! 

Blouse: thrifted J. Crew; tank: Gap; jeans: Loft; espadrilles: NY & Co

Since I couldn’t out-yellow the sunshine, I decided to be a bit more subtle with the yellow. There are tiny yellow dots all over my blouse (which I couldn’t stop myself from knotting, oops!) and they coordinate with my favorite yellow espadrilles. 

You would think that yellow would bring happy, cheery things all day, but instead it did just the opposite. I lost my summer job. I was only going to be working there a few more weeks, so it’s not the end of the world, but it was still a disappointment. Business has been really slow lately, and since I was a temp, I was at the top of the “not needed” list. I suppose on the bright side, it means I’ll have more time for blogging.

Signs of a Good Weekend and a Pesto Pasta Supper

Don’t forget to enter my Love is Rising giveaway! It ends in one week.

La mode: I’m tired, full and sunburned. If that doesn’t sound like the Monday after a great weekend, I don’t know what to tell you. My 10 year old sister Jenny stayed with us this weekend, which is always a great excuse to do fun, kid-friendly activities.

Blouse: Loft; shorts: Loft; hoops: Target; wedges: Old Navy

I learned a few things over the weekend. One, it is impossible for me to score over 80 in more than one bowling game. (I think my ball had some sort of magnetic attraction to the gutter.) Two, those Reese’s Minis are good. Three, my shoulders sunburn like crazy even after two applications of SPF 55, but my legs stay as white as a marshmallow. But since it’s eighty six million degrees outside, I’m baring them anyway. 

La nourriture: Speaking of excessive heat, it nearly killed my dinner last night. Remember the beautiful basil I showed you Tuesday? Well when I stepped outside yesterday afternoon, it looked like a sad, shriveled version of its former flourishing self. However, the problem was solved (magically, it seemed) by taking it inside. It turns out that basil hates the ridiculous heat wave we’re having as much as everyone else.

With the rescued basil, I made the Pioneer Woman’s Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce. Pasta and pesto with the addition of butter and cream? Tell me how that could be bad. Actually don't, because it was awesome. 
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Stripey and Scampi (No, those aren't two of the 7 dwarfs.)

La mode: This t-shirt is my “when in doubt, put this on” item. And it seems that I’m in doubt quite often, because I sure do wear it a lot! Today I wore it purposefully however, in an attempt to recreate this adorable nautical look

Stripey tee: Old Navy; jeans: Gap; earrings: Target; scarf as belt: thrifted; shoes: Jessica Simpson, gifted "new to me"

Lately I’ve been drawn to either looks with scarves as belts, or looks with knotted shirts or sweaters. I suppose that as long as I don’t run out of scarves, shirts or cardigans to belt or knot, I won’t be too boring of a two-trick pony.

La nourriture: For Aaron’s birthday on Tuesday, I made his favorite meal, shrimp scampi. (It didn’t seem to matter that he just had it when we went to the Cheesecake Factory, then again at Ricco’s, an Italian restaurant, when my mom came to town.) I can’t say that my meal was restaurant-worthy, but he did say “that was really good” about seventeen times, so I think he liked it.

When I’m looking for the best version of a classic recipe, I always trust Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa). Ina never lets me down, and this time was no different. The only thing I changed in her Linguine with Shrimp Scampi recipe was the pasta. The birthday boy requested thin spaghetti, or vermicelli (little worms—don’t you love that?) so I swapped that out for the linguine (little tongues—equally cute). 

So for me it's scarf belts and knotted tops, for Aaron it's shrimp scampi... what's your addiction right now?

Playing with Color and a Love is Rising Giveaway!

** giveaway closed**

La mode: Today I wanted to try a new color combination I love right now: navy, fuchsia, and turquoise. You see, I wanted to create a look around this beautiful necklace that has a little touch of turquoise. I started with a navy tee and jeans, added a fuchsia cardi, and finally the necklace and shoes. So you like this necklace too? Would you like to have one of your very own? Keep reading to find out how!

Cardigan: Gap Outlet; tee: Gap; jeans: Loft; necklace: Love is Rising; shoes: Merona, Target

Un cadeau: Recently, my friend Caroline told me about an Etsy shop called Love is Rising. Her friend Rachel started the shop to raise money for an adoption. Rachel and her husband Landon have an adorable daughter, London, but they are hoping to grow to be a family of four by adopting a second child. You can learn more about Rachel and her family, and at the same time get lots of inspiration on her blog, also called Love is Rising. (Check out her Ginger Ale from scratch!) If supporting Rachel and her family isn’t a great excuse to do a little shopping, I don’t know what is! 

So thanks to Caroline, you can win your own beautiful “It’s all Charming” necklace from the Love is Rising shop, just like the one I’m showing off here. Does that sound good to you? I hope so! Here’s how to enter:

Do at least one of the following things:

o   Follow Rachel’s blog: Love is Rising
o   Follow Rachel on twitter
o   Favorite the Love is Rising shop on Etsy
o   Leave me a comment telling me which thing you did!
·         For additional entries, you may do more than one of the things listed above, just be sure to leave an additional comment for each entry.
·         Please leave a way for me to contact you if you do not have a Disqus profile or blog.
·         US and Canada readers only (I’m sorry international readers!)

You have until Sunday, July 17th at midnight, central time to enter this giveaway. I will choose a winner on Monday, July 18th.

Also, if you don’t want to wait until next Monday to find out if you won, you can save 15% on your purchase at Love is Rising now through Thursday, July 14th. Just use the code “celebration15” when you check out. 

Have a great Thursday!

Date Night Dress

La mode: This is what I wore to dinner for our anniversary on Friday. Now it's only Tuesday, but Friday seems like ages ago. This weekend was incredibly busy--we had something going on every day. I need another day to recover I think!

Cardigan: Loft; dress: J.E.M. Apparel via Style Obsession giveaway; earrings: Kohl's; necklace: Oh Sweetlee Me via Much Love, Illy giveaway; clutch: Rafe for Target; shoes: Target

Anyway, I have to brag a little about this dress. I actually won it in a giveaway  from the blog Style Obsession. The giveaway was for J.e.m. apparel, and I was hesitant to choose a dress because you never know how it's going to fit. But it turned out to be a great fit, and I know I'm going to get so much wear out of it! 

Also, I hate to be such a braggart but do you see that basil in the background there? It's really flourishing--I see some pesto in my future! The cilantro could learn a little from it's neighbor; it isn't doing so well. 

I don't have any food to post (the only thing I made this weekend was brownies from a box) but I do have to give a shout out to my wonderful husband Aaron. Today is his birthday! Happy birthday, Aaron, I love you! I see some shrimp scampi in your near future. :) 
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