winner of the catju designs giveaway!

I am excited to announce that the winner of the Catju Designs giveaway is Gloria Grahame! Congrats! Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com with your information.

And special thanks to Kathy for sponsoring this giveaway!

{image from here}


francophile friday: style inspiration from inès de la fressange

Inès de la Fressange, Karl Lagerfield's former muse, shows us that you can still look chic, sexy, and stunningly beautiful in your fifties. Want her style? Pair slim leg ankle or cropped pants with a well fitted jacket and a pair of flats - you will almost never see her in heels, even on the red carpet.

What do you think of her style?

{images via here, here, here, here, here, here, and here}


poached egg and asparagus salad with shallot vinaigrette

This salad was actually inspired by the salad I had at Blue Talon Bistro when the Hubs and I visited Williamsburg a few months back. This is great for a lighter lunch but is still so filling because of the egg. I plan to make this many more times with asparagus coming in season.

You don't have to follow this recipe exactly. I used low-sodium turkey bacon to make this meal a bit healthier (and I actualy prefer it) but you can absolutely use regular bacon to crumble over top. I also used a grill pan to grill the asparagus but a grill works just as well or, if you don't have either, you could always roast the asparagus. Just be careful with the amount of oil you use.

serves 2

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
6 slices of turkey bacon, cooked
4 handfuls mixed salad greens
4 Tbs grapeseed oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp. dijion mustard
1 small shallot, minced
small chunk of parmesan
2 eggs

Place asparagus in a grill pan. Cook until tender but still a bit crunchy, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Cut into 1 inch pieces.

Meanwhile, cook the turkey bacon in a skillet until crispy. Let cool and then slice into lardons.

While asparagus and bacon are cooking, make the vinaigrette. Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, and shallots. Set aside.

Poach eggs. (I am not really good at the water swirl method so I have a metal pan specifically for poaching eggs. You could even poached your eggs in the microwave.)

While the eggs are cooking, toss aspragus and mixed greens in vinaigrette. You may not need all of the dressing. Divide between two plates. Sprinkle each plate with bacon and then add shaved parmesan. Top each plate with an egg. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.



monday giveaway: catju designs

Today's giveaway is from our sponsor, Catju Designs. This shop carries handmade jewelry using vintage and contemporary elements.

Kathy, the shop owner, says, " I make jewelry with gemstones and Swarovski crystals, glass beads and buttons. See more of my designs on my website at Catju Designs and be sure to check out my Etsy store for lots of one-of-a-kind artisan jewelry."

Kathy is giving away a chocolate jasper gemstone and copper necklace and earring set. The necklace is twenty-two inches long and the earrings are two inches long. I think this would be great with a turquoise maxi dress for summer.

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


weekend: a mini break

breaking out the bensimons for spring . . . the bomber pizza at dipietros (huge!) . . . had no idea how on-trend i would be when i bought this rain jacket a few years ago (yay neon!) . . . breakfast tacos this morning
a little inspiration for the coming week:

this book would be a cool gift for my teacher friends

an absolutely beautiful wedding story (grab tissues)

a music mix for the week inspired by this post (love 8tracks!)
My weekend started a bit early on Wednesday night. We had a mini spring break at work. Unfortunately, the Hubs didn't get back home until Friday to celebrate with me. Wednesday night, I watched Midnight in Paris.

Thursday, I cleaned the house, finally tried a Greek place I had been wanting to try (for two years), and did a little bit of work. Then I curled up with the pup and we watched the new show, Missing. Have you seen it? I love the different countries she ends up in. Alias was one of my favorite shows in high school so I love spy aspect of this. I would describe this show as what would happen to Sydney Bristow if her husband was murdered, she quit the CIA, and ten years later her son went missing.

Friday, I picked the Hubs up from the airport and we had lunch. Then I had some time to catch up on blog reading and sit outside. It was a beautiful day! I just wish it could have lasted all weekend. After doing some Pilates, the Hubs and I headed to DiPietros for some dinner. Then we came home and watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I have read two and a half of the books (couldn't get through the third) so I was excited to see it.

Saturday, we went to breakfast and then ran some errands. After that I did some laundry and hung out around the house. When I became crazy for staying in the house all day, we headed out to dinner for MoJo's. After that we came home and watched the documentary, City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story. I found myself cheering for the team at the end of the documentary.

Today, we made breakfast and I did a little bit of work. After lunch, we laid around and had an extremely lazy day. Now we are excited for the Mad Men premiere. It stinks it is on at the same time as Shameless but at least we can OnDemand that tomorrow.

How was your weekend? What did you do?


winner of the specs appeal papers giveaway!

I happy to announce that the winner of the Specs Appeal Papers is Tracy Taylor! She won by following me on Twitter. Congratualtions Tracy! Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com with your information.

And special thanks to Tommy for sponsoring this giveaway!

{image via my pinterest}


francophile friday: midnight in paris

Two nights ago, I rented Midnight in Paris. I don't want to give anything away so I won't say much but the film was absolutely charming. I think I may need to purchase it.

Without spoiling anything, the film follows a American man and his fiancée tagging along on a business trip with his soon-to-be in-laws. He loves the magic and history of the city and wants to move there. His fiancée would rather be in upper class suburbia.

As they spend their time in Paris, their differences become very apparent. One night, instead of joining his fiancée and her friends for night a dancing, he decides to walk Paris in search of Hemingway's spots. What he finds that night is magical...

If you appreciate the Lost Generation Writers and the Parisian painters of the 1920s or you just love the romantic air of Paris, you will enjoy this film.

Have you seen the movie?

{images via here}


petit girl vs. the maxi skirt

I am short. Not under-five-feet-short but short enough to be considered petit. (And actually over a foot shorter than my husband.)

I am curious, do you think short girls can wear maxi skirts? I love the easy breezy style of a long skirt but I wasn't sure if someone my size could pull it off.

I own a black maxi dress (seen here.) It took me forever to find one that worked. While searching, I realized that I had to stay away from pattern and volume because both swallowed my body. I would assume I would have to do the same with a maxi skirt. I just want something that is a bit more adventourous than black (since I am stepping out of my style box.)

Here are few maxi skirts I am loving:

{skirt 1, 2, 3, 4}

What do you think: can short girls wear maxis? What skirt is your favorite? What color?


guest post: jessica from arcadian lighting

Hi everyone! I'm Jessica, a writer for Arcadian Lighting, a one-stop website for beautiful and affordable light fixtures. I'm delighted to be guest posting for Morgan today because I'm going to be sharing a collection of gorgeous interiors inspired by Morocco. The wonderful thing about Moroccan style is that it has an impressive range, from bright colors and loud patterns, to sparse minimal decor that incorporates natural elements. I hope you enjoy these interiors as much as I do!

Morocco Inspired

This lovely, serene living room illustrates a modern rendition of Moroccan style. The golden mirror and drawers, and matching garden stool, have intricate detailing that picks up on the floral patterns throughout the room. The carved fretwork on the fireplace shade is a traditional feature of Moroccan designs.

Morocco Inspired

The vibrant yellow blanket and traditional serving tray are luxurious details in this airy bedroom. The vintage reading lamps on either side of the bed are a neat touch.

Morocco Inspired

A mix of patterns and colors go together beautifully on this sofa. The orange pouf coffee table is a fun idea.

Morocco Inspired

The stark, sun baked atmosphere of this room is inspired by the Moroccan coast. The carved statue and skulls add a sense of place and history.

Morocco Inspired

Flowing curtains and high ceiling help make this sitting room feel cool and relaxing any time of year. The traditional golden pendant lights are beautiful and certainly eye-catching.

Morocco Inspired

This cozy nook is such a romantic space with its sumptuous fabrics and warm orange curtains. The orange painted wall adds more depth.

Morocco Inspired

Everything about this room is luxurious. The ornate, painted ceiling and the golden ceiling light and wall sconces are just beautiful.

Morocco Inspired

The classic Moroccan drawer and intricate mirror frame add lovely texture and detail to this otherwise all-white bathroom. The yellow picture frame is a cute accent.

Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

What do you think of this beautiful style? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to stop by Arcadian Lighting for a wonderful variety of lighting fixtures to fit every décor style!


steak sandwich with french cucumber salad

I am not a huge meat eater. When the Hubs isn't home, I eat mostly (or all) vegetarian. But there are times when I try to make a meal just for the Hubs. This meal was for him (and I really enjoyed it too.) He really likes beef and cucumbers. So I created a steak sandwich inspired by a French dip. For the cucumbers, I went with a dressing that had less vinegar since the Hubs is not really fond of vinegar.

This steak sandwich can be made with many different cuts. Just find something that is conducive to cutting into strips.

For most of this recipe, I didn't use measurements. Everyone likes their sandwiches a different way, more cheese, more meat, etc. So build your sandwich the way you see fit.

canola oil
red onion, sliced
preferred cut of beef
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
beef broth
garlic cloves, crushed
crushed red pepper, to taste
horseradish sauce (see recipe below)
crusty bread or rolls
provolone cheese

Heat a little bit of canola oil in pan. Cook onions until desired tenderness.

Heat beef broth in a pan with garlic and red pepper.

Meanwhile, season steak with salt and pepper. Cook steak on a grill or grill pan until middle is somewhat pink. Let sit for a few minutes and then slice. Add to beef broth for a minute or two.

Spread horseradish sauce on rolls and top with meat, onions, and cheese. Put under broiler to melt cheese.

Use the remaining beef broth for an au jus.

HORSERADISH SAUCE - Mix 1 Tbsp. sour cream, 1/2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish, and 1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard in a small bowl.

1 cucumber, cut lengthwise and sliced
2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
pinch of salt

Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pour over cucumber.



monday giveaway: specs appeal papers

I am so excited for today's giveaway! Today's giveaway is from the Etsy shop, Specs Appeal Papers, which boasts handmade, heat embossed notecards, invitations, and paper tags. I have been following Tommy's blog, Specs Appeal, for quite some time, so I was very excited for him when he opened his shop.

Tommy says, "Specs Appeal Papers is a new Etsy shop where you'll find hand stamped and heat embossed notecards, invitations, and gift tags, all made to order. The style is classic, simple, and a little bit whimsical. The shop is also as green as possible. Take a look and see what you can no longer live without! "

The winner gets a set of ten teal-colored, flat notecards with a heat embossed whale in silver. The winner can choose square or rounded corners and select either kraft or golden green envelopes.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below the jump.


weekend: st. patty's day

at the parade on saturday . . . my after dinner hot chocolate
a little inspiration for the coming week:

yes, too busy

yoga in paris

have to try this smoothie

when i make it to london, i want to go here

excited for the march catalogue

Friday night, after a lot of traveling this past week, we decided to order in Chinese (again) and we watched 50/50. Have you seen it? It was funny and sad at the same time. Saturday, after having breakfast with the SIL, we headed to Ocean City for the St. Patrick's Day parade with my mom's family. I definitely wasn't dressed right - instead of it being sunny and warm like it was in Salisbury, it was fifteen degrees colder and a little rainy. After the parade, we had a late lunch at Tequila Mockingbird (so Irish of us.) Then we headed back home, hung out with the pup for a bit, and then headed out to Green Hill for their St. Patty's Day specials with the Hub's family. For dessert, the Hubs and I went to Sobo's and had créme brulée. Today, we slept in, did some laundry, and hung out. Tonight, we are excited to watch Shameless.

What did you do this weekend?


blog award

This is completely late and I am totally embarrassed. I received the Versatile Blogger Award from design chic . . . in January. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Can we agree, better late than never? If you haven't come across their blog before, they are a mom and daughter team with a beautiful collection of design posts.

The rules:
1. Worship the person who nominated you and link back to their blog in your post.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself that only your ferret know.
3. Pass the award to 15 other bloggers.
4. Contact your nominees and let them know you tagged them.

I kind of want to go back to school for something more creative, like graphic design. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed my Econ classes but I feel like I need a career where I am using the right side of my brain more.

I still get scared that there is something under my bed - only at night though.

I have thought seriously about disabling my comments on the blog. I feel like I have become a slave to them and get really sad when a post doesn't get any comments. But then I am afraid I will miss the conversations that happen after a post. I guess there is always email, right?

I guess this is along the same lines as the first fact but . . . I have a little book where I write down greeting card and paper print ideas. A lot of them are inappropriate. Now I just have to learn how to design them on my computer, print them, and sell them.

I am extremely jealous of the bloggers who have jobs that allow them to take food photos during the day so they have beautiful, natural lighting. But then again, their job most likely is "food blogger," so I guess I am just extremely jealous of their jobs, as well.

I think being a Pilates or BodyFlow instructor would be such a cool part-time or full-time job. Too bad I have no experience, certification, or any background that qualifies me for that job. (I would teach my classes on a nearby beach.)

When it is just the pup and I home alone, I make up songs about her and sing them to her . . . as loudly and as horribly as I can. I still can't tell if that face she makes is a face of pure joy or annoyance.

Now, my turn to send out awards:

Tell us seven things that we don't know about you...

{images via here, here, here, here, here, and here}


pilates inspiration

This month is hectic. I am doing a decent amount of traveling (in fact, I am in Baltimore right now.) And when I am actually home, the Hubs is traveling for work as well, so I have to go straight home to the pup - not to the gym after work. But I decided that an entire month of not working out wasn't going to cut it.

So I joined a website called My Yoga Online that hosts videos with yoga, pilates, and meditation instruction. You can search videos based on type, length, and instructor. They also have posts and videos about health and wellness. It is really convenient to be able to do pilates anywhere, anytime, and it is a lot harder for me to make excuses not to exercise. (It is also really inexpensive - less than $10 for a month or even less if you sign up for an entire year.)

Another thing that motivates me is new workout gear. Here are a few things I have been eyeing:
{1, 2, 3, 4}

If you would like to try My Yoga Online for two weeks for free, you can sign up using my code here.

What is your favorite way to workout? Does new gear inspire you?


mushroom and spinach tart

I love savory quiches, tarts, and souffles. And I love mushrooms . . . and spinach . . . and goat cheese. So, really, I just love this recipe.

I actually made it on a Sunday and took slices to work during the week but it would work for something fancier as well. It would be great for a girls brunch served with a salad (and a glass of champagne.)

And it is so simple and versatile. I can't wait to start going to the farmer's market again and switch up the veggies.

serves 6
adapted from here

1 lb. of baby bella mushrooms
5 Tbsp. EVOO
kosher salt
8 scallions, sliced
3 1/2 c. spinach
13 sheets phyllo dough
6 oz. goat cheese
3 eggs
1/3 c. milk

Preheat oven to 425° F.

On a baking sheet, toss mushrooms with 2 Tbsp of oil and salt, to taste. Roast for 10 minutes. Toss in scallions. Roast for 15 minutes more. Push mushrooms and scallions to one side and place spinach on other side. Roast for about 3 minutes, until wilted. Let cool a little bit.

Brush tart pan with some oil. With one phyllo piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp towel, brush a sheet of phyllo very lightly with oil. Fit into pan leaving about a 1-inch overhang. Repeat with remaining sheets, overlapping and creating a crust that is at least 5 sheets thick at bottom of pan.

Place on baking sheet and bake until edges are golden and begin to set, for about 8 minutes. You may have to cover with foil if the edges are browning too quickly.

Reduce oven to 375° F. In a blender, puree goat cheese, eggs, milk, and a few pinches of salt. Spread vegetables over crust and pour custard on top.

Place tart back on baking sheet and bake until custard is set, about 20 minutes. Let cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes. Remove sides of tart pan and cool for about 10 more minutes.