Monday, October 27, 2014

Spring in the Fall



Jacket: Kate Spade
Shirt: Kate Spade
Pants: C. Wonder
Shoes: Tory Burch
Earrings: Neiman Marcus Last Call

Without the blazer, this feels like something I would wear in the first few days of spring. However, when I discovered this top in my mom's closet the last time I was home, I knew I couldn't wait until the warm days next year to wear this colorful blouse!

While initially I thought I might wear this with basic blue jeans, I decided to take advantage of all the color in this top, and pair it with a matching pair of lilac jeans. As I checked out my outfit in the mirror, I really was quite pleased! Of all the outfits I've worn this month, I think this one is my absolute favorite.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our Engagement Session in Frederick, Md.













I'm so excited to be sharing my engagement photos today! My fiance and I have been engaged for more than a year now, and getting these photos taken was just one of the first steps we have finally taken in getting ready for our big day.

We met my freshman year in college, so all of the photos were taken at a park near our school where we spent a lot of time, and our alma mater. We had the best time with our photographer, and our so happy with how they turned out!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Color Left Behind



Cardigan: Calvin Klein
Dress: Tahari
Boots: Hunters
Necklace: Nordstrom

Ever since I was in about middle school or so, my mom and I have referred to my dad's style as "no color left behind." As you can image, it looks exactly what it sounds like. When my dad walks out of the door, he is typically wearing no less than four or five colors - from his patterned Hawaiian shirts, to his Nationals fleece jacket, and his visor. As I looked at myself in the mirror this morning, I couldn't help that he would be proud of my colorful ensemble.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Taquitos


Mmm, I love taquitos! I've only ever had the frozen variety though, so when I found this super simple recipe on Pinterest, I had to give it a try. Thankfully, these were so easy to throw together (what isn't when a slow cooker pot is involved?) and they made for a great dinner while watching Sunday football. 

Ingredients

For Taquitos
(makes about 10 taquitos)
-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
-1 tsp chili powder
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp cumin
-salt and pepper
-8 oz cream cheese
-1/3 cup water
-1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese (I used Colby jack)
-10 6" flour tortillas

1. Add chicken, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste), cream cheese, and water into the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on low 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.

2. Minutes before serving, remove chicken from the slow cooker, and shred with two forks. Return to slow cooker, and let it cook for about 15 more minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 400. Place about 2 tablespoons of the chicken into the middle of each tortilla. Top with a tablespoon or so of shredded cheese. Roll tightly, and place in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, until the tortillas are slightly browned and the cheese is melted. Enjoy!
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Monday, October 20, 2014

I'm Blue



Shirt: Theory
Skirt: I.N.C
Shoes: C. Wonder
Necklace: Claire*s

Ever have those mornings when you feel like pulling yourself together? Working in a very casual environment, it's so easy to fall into the habit of throwing on a pair of dark jeans, a simple tee, a scarf, and a cardigan, and having that even be a step above what everyone else is wearing. However, this was one of those mornings that I was in a great mood from the moment I woke up.

As I was putting together my blue ensemble, I couldn't decide on shoes. Although I have a couple of pairs of flats that I think would have worked well with this look, I knew I needed a pair of sassy pumps to put a little extra pep in my step. I decide on these calf-hair leopard high heels from C. Wonder, and I love the twist that provide to my otherwise blue look.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Upcycled Jewelry Christmas Tree


What would we have ever done without Pinterest for inspiration? I guess probably get ideas from friends, magazines, and Internet articles found all on our our. Thanks goodness for Pinterest though, it makes finding cool projects and recipes so easy and organized, too.

A few weeks ago, my mom found some pins of Christmas trees made from broken jewelry, and I was awestruck. They were all beautiful, and I wasn't sure if we would be able to near replicate what they looked like. Regardless, this past weekend we gave it a try, and are quite pleased with how our final project turned out. Although I think ours may lack in cohesion like the ones I linked do, ours has a lot of meaning to us as most of the jewelry belonged to my grandma who recently passed, and my mom. Read on for how to make this on your own!

You'll Need
-a picture frame, glass removed. (we used a 16"x20")
-broken jewelry - pins, necklaces, earrings, bracelets
-filler pieces - little pearls, beads, buttons
-wire cutters and pliers
-cardboard to fit your frame
-duct tape
-velvet material to cover cardboard
-glue gun and glue sticks

Instructions
1. Break all of your jewelry. This, by far, will take the longest amount of time. You can use the wire cutters or regular scissors to cut necklace chains and bracelets. I also used the wire cutters to cut the pins off of regular earrings and pins. The goal is to make everything as flat as possible. Once everything was broken, we organized relatively by color.

2. Cut/find a piece of cardboard that will fit in your frame. Cover with velvet, and use the duct tape to hold it down in the back. Once covered, place the covered cardboard back in the frame. 

3. Arrange your jewelry on the velvet in your desired shape. We went for a traditional triangle shape. This can be pretty tricky to do, but found the easiest thing to do was start with the largest pieces, and arrange haphazardly. Once you start to get an idea of what it is going to look like, you can move things around so you don't have too much color in a certain area.

4. Once arranged, plug in your glue gun, and get to work - carefully! I started at the top, added a little glue to the piece, and worked my way down. I wouldn't recommend doing a piece at the top and a piece at the bottom as if anything moves, you'll be committed to your shape. Either work your way up or down, removing a piece or so at a time.

5. Once the biggest pieces are glued down, look for little holes and fill with the small beads. Finally, let everything dry. In the end, you'll have something that looks a little bit like what is above. However, one of the best things about this is everyone's will always be unique and special to them.

Below is a close up of how our final project turned out. I'm looking forward to making another one, but need to get back to jewelry collection, first!


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pink Lemonade Meringue Cookies


Have I ever mentioned how much I love meringues? Well, if I haven't already, let it be known that I love meringues. They look like little pillow clouds of air, and that's pretty much what they taste like. When done correctly, the outside shell has just a little bit of crunch, and the inside is smooth and airy. Mmm.

So when I found this recipe with a twist on the classic, I had to give it a try. So easy, so quick, and so delicious. This is a keeper, for sure!

Ingredients
-4 egg whites
-1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
-1 cup sugar
-powdered lemonade, crystal light, or kool-aid mix


Instructions
1. Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites on medium-high until they become frothy (look for lots of little bubbles.

2. Next, add the sugar in small amounts - by the teaspoon, or so. Finally, mix in the cream of tartar. Continue to whip the mixture until stiff, meaning that the meringue holds a shape when the mixer is stop.

3. Once the mixture is stiff, add a 1 tsp of your powder at a time until the desired color and taste is achieved. These kind of powders are very strong, so go slow! I ended up adding about 4 tsp of the pink lemonade powder mix until I was satisfied.

4. Prepare your baking sheet with a layer of foil covered with non-stick spray, and preheat your oven to 225 degrees.

5. Add the mix into a piping bag, or a gallon-sized plastic bag and pipe into desired shape on your cookies sheet. I just went for a swirls and brought the swirl upward.

6.Bake for 45 minutes, or until the tops are just becoming a little brown. Let cool, wait for about 5-10 before cooling and enjoying! Pin It

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall in an Outfit


Shirt: J. Crew
Pants: J. Crew
Shoes: Lucky Brand
Scarf: Jones New York
Earrings: Gift

If I had to describe fall in an outfit, this is exactly how I would to do so. On a crisp, cool, autumn morning, there's nothing quite like a cozy scarf, dark rinse skinny jeans, and worn-in riding boots. 

Because I had a lot of energy this morning, I decided to spend more than five minutes on my hair and make-up, and make myself look a little more presentable. I'll tell ya, it does loads for your confidence when you start off the day looking your best!
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Biscoff Cookies


Have you ever had Biscoff before? I first heard of it a year or so ago, when Trader Joe's cookie butter became pretty popular. It's nearly the same thing: a creamy, smooth spread, akin to peanut butter, but made from ground Biscoff cookies and other spices. You can spread it on toast, cookies, apples...just about anything, really. But then I saw this recipe for Biscoff cookies, and I just had to try them. Although it only makes 13 (boo), these are some of the best cookies I have ever had, and I don't take that lightly. They have a great cinnamon flavor, and are so soft and chewy. I'm savoring each morsel very slowly, but once I finish these up, I'm sure I'll be making another batch soon.

Ingredients
-1 egg
-1 cup Biscoff spread
-3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
-1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
-3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour
-2 tsp cornstarch
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp baking soda
-pinch of salt, optional

Instructions
1. In a stand mixer, cream egg, Biscoff, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium-high until fluffy and light, which takes about 4 - 5 minutes. Do not over mix.

2. Scrape down the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking soda, salt. Mix on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute. The dough should be combined (and a little oily), but should not be sticky or wet.

3. Using a spoon, form heaping two-tablespoon mounds on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Do not skip this step.

4. Preheat oven to 350, and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place your cookies about 2 inches apart, and bake for about 8 minutes. They may seem a little underdone, but they will be perfect, trust me. If you want the cookies soft, do not bake any longer than 9 minutes. Allow cookies to set on the tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A week in Instagram





Yes, I'm behind as usual. Now that I spend a considerable amount of time each week at work, I just don't use Instagram as much as used to in college. To be expected of course, but it then just takes a little bit longer than it used to to gather up a decent amount of photos for a post. And to be warned, this is pretty food/sunrise heavy ;).

1. Visiting one of my clients in DC, a gourmet pizza shop. I enjoyed a white pizza with garlic, basil, and tomatoes. So good!

2. Derrick and I finally tried out Ted's Bulletin in Reston, and I thought it was kind of "meh," to be honest. The peanut butter bacon poptart was the best part of the meal!

3. Sunrise over the Potomac on an early morning in the office.

4. Peanut butter milkshakes and burgers with Derrick after a particularly long week.

5. Cotton candy like streaks that I captured at a red light one morning.

6. You guessed it, another sunrise over the Potomac. My office is right on the water in Alexandria, so I get to see this amazing view almost every day.

7. I finished Gone Girl in January, so it felt like it would be forever until the movie would come out. Last weekend I got to see it, and I was really happy with it. A great book to film adaption, which is rare.

8. Getting lost in a corn maze in Leesburg on an absolutely perfect fall Saturday. Pin It

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pumpkin Ginger Spice Muffins


'Tis the season for pumpkin spice everything. What started innocently enough with Starbuck's pumpkin spiced lattes (or something else, I'm not quite sure), has turned into a phenomenon of everything pumpkin flavored. Some of the newest contenders I've seen this year? Pumpkin Oreo's, pumpkin creamer, pumkin Milano's, and pumpkin swirl peanut butter. I'm not quite sure how half of those would be tasty, but in true copycat fashion, I had to make something with a little pumpkin myself. I found this recipe on my cupcake/muffin daily calendar, and knew this would be the perfect thing to make.

Ingredients
-2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
-1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
-1 tbsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1/2 ground cloves
-1 tsp ground ginger
-pinch of salt
-1 lightly beaten egg
-1/2 cup pureed pumpkin, fresh or canner
-3/4 cup fat free milk
-1/3 cup sunflower oil
-3 tbsp chopped candied giner

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with tinfoil liners. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients with a spoon. In a large bowl, beat the egg, pumpkin, milk, and oil with an electric mixer until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, mixing until nearly combined. Fold in the candied ginger, but do not over mix.

2. Spoon the batter into the cups. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

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