31.7.11

weekend: a low-key weekend

all it needed was a splash of vodka . . . a latte at viva espresso . . . a sunday crepe
~~~~
i think this would describe my style well

loving target's new commercial

i want to stay here for a night


under the water
~~~~
This weekend was pretty low-key. I got caught up on some housework, finished some projects for a friend's baby shower, and relaxed a bit.

I have also decided to sell my jewelry tools and supplies. My new job will have me very busy, leaving me little time for jewelry making. The stuff has been sitting in my craft room making me feel guilty. So my Etsy shop is now full of tools and I will be adding more items in the next few weeks. If you know of anyone who wants to get started in beading or metalsmithing pass this along. I am thinking about taking up knitting again which I can do while traveling for work and while hanging out with the Hubs.

30.7.11

my week in clothing: july 23rd - july 29th

A few things I learned this week:
1. My pants are getting way too tight. Medication's fault or not, I need to lose some weight. I haven't really been to the gym regularly though so I am hoping to get back on track this week.
2. I realized that the shirt from my Thursday outfit might be a little casual with pants for work. I think it may work with a skirt though.

Saturday, July 23rd
For Little Italy: Sunglasses - Fossil, Dress - Faded Glory, Belt - Mossimo (Target), Flats - Mossimo (Target)

Monday, July 25th
For work: Shirt - Gap, Necklace - J.Crew, Skirt - BCBG, Heels - Nine West

Tuesday, July 26th
For work: Jacket - J.Crew, Tank - Mossimo (Target), Pants - Mossimo (Target), Flats - Mossimo (Target), Ring - from a shop in Toulouse, France

Wednesday, July 27th
For work: Necklace - gift from my grandmother, Blouse - J.Crew, Skirt - Ann Taylor Loft, Flats - Kate Spade

Thursday, July 28th
For work: Blouse - J.Crew, Pants - J.Crew, Flats - J.Crew, Ring - from a craft market in Bordeaux, France

Any favorites? Any suggestions?

29.7.11

francophile friday: canelé de brodeaux

The above pictures are of my friend, Nezia, and me trying canelé for the first time. If you are planning to travel to the Bordeaux region of France, you must try this regional specialty. This pastry has a dark caramelized crust with a custard-like center. It is flavored with rum and vanilla. I wasn't wild about it when I first tried it - it wasn't bad, I just didn't find it particularly good. But lately, I find myself craving one - maybe because I have acquired a taste for rum-flavored desserts (Jamaican rum cake.)

The history of canelé is very mysterious. While it is definite that it originated in Bordeaux, no one really knows when it came about. Some say it was born in the 14th century while others believe it began in the 18th - a pretty broad timeline. Some believe that it began in convents when the nuns used the egg yolks that were donated by local winemakers who needed the egg whites to clarify their wines. Others think that the nuns of Bordeaux used the spare flour from the ships that came into the port to make sweets for the poor.

Canelé is much like Champagne in that Canelé de Bordeaux must come from the region of Bordeaux and be made strictly by the book. Anything else is considered Cannelé bordelais.

A lot of street vendors in Bordeaux sell canelé (that is where I got my first one.) But you never really know where they are going to be. Baillardran sells them and the shops are pretty much everywhere in Bordeaux (this is also where I would get macarons at times.) You can also find Baillardran in the main train station, Gare Saint-Jean, and in Bordeaux's airport so you can get them coming into or leaving Bordeaux.

Have you tried canelé before? Have you ever been to Bordeaux?

{other images via here and here}

28.7.11

fancies & fixings

There are a few things on my wish list lately. As the Rolling Stones sang, you can't always get what you want but trust me, I have what I need. However, it is always fun to dream, isn't it?
1. The Kensington Watch (in gold) by Nixon: Yup, this is still on my wish list. And considering I still don't own a watch and will probably need one for traveling for my new job, I think it is time (no pun intended.)
2. Faceted Studs by Marc by Marc Jacobs: I have been looking for some simple gold studs for awhile now and, thanks to {long distance loving} I think I have finally found them.
3. Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker: I didn't register for an ice cream maker for our wedding because I always heard that everyone registers for and it just sits unused. Well, I think I would have been one of those few people who would actually use them. In the last month, I think I have thought to myself over a handful of times if only I had an ice cream maker...
4. Cooperative Rolling Trunk Luggage: I will be traveling from mid-September to mid-November for my new job, pretty much. How fun would it be to travel with this trunk?
5. ASOS pleated skirt (in navy): I love a skirt that you can twirl in, don't you? And this one could easily transition from summer to fall.
6. Colbalt Capri by Rag & Bone: I am slightly obsessing over all the bright denim out right now. These capris would be perfect for the rest of the summer and could even work for fall paired with the right pieces.

What is on your wish list right now?

27.7.11

j. crack's fall lookbook

Remember my rant about J. Crew's last fall collection? Well, I am feeling quite the opposite about this one. The way J. Crew plays with color and structure in this collection has me absolutely giddy (and I am normally a girl who gets excited for the blacks, browns, and greys of fall.) Although I have loved how J. Crew has evolved and changed, I fancy how this is somewhat a throwback to the old J. Crew. Although the brand has never actually lost its fundamental style, this collection really captures the preppy, classic pieces I remember when I first started shopping there in high school. Fall is my absolute favorite season and this collection (and this awful heat) makes me even more excited for it to be here.

What do you guys think?

{images via here}

26.7.11

turkey and basil panini

I make a lot of meals that are super simple and just "thrown together." I have never thought of posting them because I figure it is something anyone can think up. But I guess I forgot that some people are beginner cooks that read this blog. And others come from different backgrounds where an "thrown together" meal may be a curry instead of a sandwich. So, I am going to start posting some of my simpler recipes.

This first one is a turkey and basil panini. I have a panini machine but you can certainly make this grilled-cheese style, just throw a plate on top to press the sandwich a bit. I didn't post measurements because, to me, sandwiches are all about ratios. Some people like more meat; some people like more cheese. So I guess this is more of a guideline than a recipe.

TURKEY AND BASIL PANINI

slices of fresh country bread
slices of havarti cheese
slices of turkey breast
slices of tomato
basil leaves

Layer together the sandwich. I put the slices of cheese closest to the bread so everything sticks together. I like putting the basil right next to the cheese so it becomes warm and fragrant. Enjoy!

24.7.11

weekend: little italy in baltimore

the benches that surround the bocce ball court . . . the only way a fire hydrant should be painted . . . a street sign next to st. leo's church . . . a sign in little italy . . . sabatino's - where we had dinner . . . chicken parm at sabatino's . . . vaccaro's italian bakery . . . gelati in vaccaro's
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

super cute diy boxes

such precious pictures

i want to meet disney princesses too!

i think i need to sign up for this e-course

anyone want to go camping?

loving this mud room

what a magical bedroom

follow me on twitter and pinterest
~~~~
Friday ended with me passing out in bed before 9 pm. New jobs make me tired. I have a feeling it will be much of the same this week but hopefully by next week, my body will have adjusted. Saturday, the Hubs and I drove to visit my grandparents and go to dinner in little Italy in Baltimore. My grandfather used to hang out there when he was younger and was astounded that the beef braciole tasted just as he remembered. Afterwards, we cooled off with some gelato. Today, I caught up on chores and blog reading. I am hoping to adjust better to my new schedule so I don't fall so behind during the week. I am loving my new job. I am busy but am really enjoying my work and the day goes by so quickly.

Keep those that lost someone in Norway in your thoughts. Such sad news...

How were your weekends?

23.7.11

my week in clothing: july 16th - july 22nd

This week proved to be a little difficult with the humidity. I had to keep running back to my tripod and camera to wipe my lens off. Sorry for some of the blurry pictures.

I am also starting to develop awful roots. I got my hair colored for my wedding to give it a bit more dimension but had no intention of maintaining it. I decided that I now have "ombre" hair that seems to be so trendy right now.

Saturday, July 16th
For Our Annual Summer Shindig: Fedora - J.Crew, Romper - H&M, Belt - H&M, Sandals - Rampage (Marshall's)

Tuesday, July 19th
For Shopping: Tank - BCBG, Shorts - Ann Taylor Loft, Sandals - Merona (Target)

Wednesday, July 20th
For My First Day of My New Job: Blouse - Gap, Skirt - J.Crew, Pumps - Calvin Klein

Thursday, July 21st
For work: Sweater - Ann Taylor, Blouse - Gap, Pants - J.Crew, Flats - Mossimo (Target)

Friday, July 22nd
For work: Scarf - Gift from Friend, Dress - Mossimo (Target), Flats - Kate Spade
For Dinner: Sunglasses - Fossil, Blouse - The Limited, Tank - Old Navy, Shorts - Old Navy, Sandals - Merona (Target)

What is your favorite?

21.7.11

la dress

Have you ever needed a dress for an event, knew exactly what you wanted in your head, but could not find it anywhere? Well, fear no more. La Dress probably has exactly what you are looking for. Their mission is to help you find the perfect dress for your shape and needs. I love how you can search by color or style and they have a vast selection. (This would be a great way to find bridesmaid dresses, as well.) The only problem is the price tag - dresses start at $230. But considering most of these dresses are classic and will last in your wardrobe, you probably should just this an investment. I definitely have my eye on the this polka dot dress.

20.7.11

winner of the strawberry universe giveaway!

I am excited to announce that the winner of the strawberry universe giveaway is G from lin3a rossa. Congrats! Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com with your information. And special thanks to Ashley for sponsoring this giveaway.

{image from here}

what is your skin care routine?

A few years ago, I made a New Year's resolution to take better care of my skin. Before then, I never washed my face except for splashing some water in the shower and I didn't take any steps to make sure my skin was well hydrated.

(Almost) every day now, I clean my face before I go to bed. I used to use water and a facial cleanser but, more recently, I have been using cold cream to remove any make-up because I have heard it was better for your skin. After reading Garance's recent post about how her dermatologist told her to stop using water, I was even more curious about people's skin care routine.

What is your skin care routine? What do you use? Do you have a certain routine for the day and a different one for at night? I would love to know any tips or advice that you have? If there are any Estheticians out there, I am sure people would love to hear your opinion.

{image from here}

19.7.11

jalapeño infused margarita

My friend, Katie, sent me an email a few months ago saying that her sister had gotten a jalapeno infused cocktail in NYC. I was immediately intrigued. I finally got around to trying this out over the Fourth of July weekend. We enjoyed them outside on our patio as a pre-dinner drink.

I was determined to make a margarita that was both yummy and easy on the wasteline. To do this, you must use good tequila. If you make a margarita with good tequila, you don't need to laden it with sugar like most concoctions you find in restaurants. The key to this is using a tequila that is 100% agave. It is going to cost you a bit more but is completely worth it. The bottle I got was a middle-of-the-road tequila and I got if for about $25.

When infusing the tequila, please keep in mind two things:
1. Do you like consuming spicy things?
2. Do you like the taste of jalepaño?
I played it safe this time - I only used one jalepaño and only infused it for six hours. I found this method perfect. There was a hint of heat and it wasn't overpowering.

JALAPEÑO INFUSED MARGARITA

For infusing tequila:
1 jalapeño (or more for more heat), sliced longways in three pieces and de-seeded
1 bottle 100% agave tequila

Pour tequila in a pitcher. Add jalepaño. Infuse for desired amount of heat and flavor. Use funnel to pour tequila back in original bottle.

For margarita:
7 parts jalapeño infused tequila
4 parts triple sec
3 parts fresh lime juice

Put ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake and pour into glass.

Salud!

18.7.11

monday giveaway: strawberry universe (NOW CLOSED)

Today's giveaway is from the Etsy shop, Strawberry Universe, which carries a fun selection of hand painted button jewelry. Ashley, the shop owner, takes old buttons and re-purposes them into wearable art.

Ashley says, "I consider myself a very fun and lighthearted person. I have crazy curly hair and love going on adventures. When I was a kid, I used to get into trouble because I was always painting or 'making something beautiful' that I wasn't supposed to (aka my toy box lids and wood pillar I carved with flowers that I blamed on someone else.) Nowadays, I take full credit for my beautiful work. I make handmade jewelry and accessories. I love re-purposing vintage buttons and findings into wearable art. I also love painting, so I decided to combine the two!

I think my favorite part of the creation process is piecing together the details. When I go into a project, I don't plan the end result - the materials take me there. Most times, it's a surprise and that's why it's fun.

I think a lot of times, it is the materials that inspire me. Vintage buttons have such unique details. They all have a story! Most have been forgotten and lost. I like finding these materials and creating them into something even more beautiful, continuing their already interesting history. My parents are also antique collectors, so I am always surrounded by one-of-a-kind, high-quality items."

Ashley is giving away her beautiful heart necklace which is made from a gold pearl button painted with silver accents. The button rests upon an acrylic light brown heart which as laser cut flower details. The necklace also includes a 16 inch silver chain but can be made gold upon request. I think this would be beautiful to wear to a fancy cocktail party but is also versatile enough to be worn with jeans and a tee.

Ashley is also offering la chapstick fanatique readers a discount. Just enter the coupon code HEART25 for 25% off.

To be eligible for this giveaway, you must be a follower of this blog so, if you aren't yet, be sure to sign up through either Google Friend Connect or Bloglovin'. And be sure to let me know what name you are following with.

Ways to win:
1. Visit Strawberry Universe and leave a comment below letting us know your favorite item.
2. Write about this giveaway on your blog and leave a second comment with a link to your post.
3. Follow Ashley's blog and leave a separate comment telling us you did so (and what name you follow with.)
4. Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway making sure to "mention" me and leave a separate comment below letting me know you tweeted.
5. Like Strawberry Universe on Facebook and leave a separate comment below telling us you did so.

This giveaway ends Wednsday, July 20th at 7 pm Eastern Time. A winner will be chosen at random.

17.7.11

weekend: summer shindig

our summer shindig tablescape . . . picture with alissa . . . a game of nighttime beer pong . . . wild horses at assateague . . . proof that skipping stones can be dangerous
~~~~
a little inspiration for the coming week:

i have bought some pretty stupid things when i have been drunk but a puppy? seriously?

what to bring to paris

i really want to visit this shop and go crazy

i think a french-themed party is in order

i could live here

i want this puppy (peyton does as well)
~~~~
This weekend we had a bunch of friends over for our annual summer shindig. It was a lot of fun. This year each person brought a dish and, now, I will be requesting a lot of recipes. Everything was so good, I am not sure if I can pick a favorite. Today, most of us went to Assateague to hang out on the bay side and look at the wild horses. And one of our friends impaled another while trying to skip stones on the water. But the weather was perfect all weekend and not even a near skull fracture could ruin it.

My weekend is kind of extended for the next couple of days. I have Monday and Tuesday off and then I start my new job on Wednesday. I am super excited but I am starting to get the new job butterflies. Wish me luck!

How were your weekends?