Friday, August 31, 2012

Fig, Prosciutto, & Manchego Sandwich

Or, the night I made a sandwich for dinner. There is no usual Hot Looks post today because I just plain haven't had time to research one! My busy week started last Friday when I entertained (to put it loosely) some family members who were in town and continued into a going away party, brunch, shopping, work (both actual work and my other blogging endeavor), work outs, and I even managed to squeeze in a date. Just when I thought I would have some down time my allergies attacked. Is anyone else being tortured by ragweed right now? It gets worse and worse for me every year!

Anyway, I was totally out of things to eat for dinner last night. I have my sense of taste back after being without it all of yesterday morning and afternoon. Isn't that the WORST thing about being congested? I racked my brain for about 15 seconds as I was about to leave work last night for something to cook and it finally landed on: F it; I'm making a sandwich. Joey Tribbiani might be my spirit animal because I think sandwiches are awesome. I honestly try not to eat them very often (coughcarbscough), but sometimes they are very necessary. And this was one of those times.

Before I left work I remembered that I saw figs at Trader Joe's last weekend and rejoiced that they are in season. Are figs not the prettiest fruit ever? One of my favorite sandwiches happens to include figs, so a plan was hatched.

You will need:

Bread (any kind)
Dijon mustard
Manchego cheese
Fig jam or butter

I got a fresh, chewy loaf of Italian bread from TJ's, which I knew would be perfect and comforting. There's just something about the smell of bread!

Slather the mustard on one slice of bread. I like a lot of Dijon mustard, but add any amount you want or just leave it off. By a lot I mean I like it when it makes my nose burn. Weirdo.

Next, layer on the arugula. You can use any lettuce or green you want, but the peppery arugula goes perfectly with everything else.

The prosciutto goes next. Mmmm fat marbling.

And then the manchego. Have you ever had manchego? It's a Spanish sheep's milk cheese that is kind of like parmigiano-reggiano, but creamier and lighter tasting. It's delicious. I probably ate more than those two pieces. In fact, that's probably why that photo is blurry. I was in a temporary cheese coma.

Next, the gorgeous figs. I used two whole figs and cut them into four pieces each.

Lastly, the fig jam goes on the other slice of bread. I used Trader Joe's fig butter, which I love, but I've also made this sandwich with Stonewall Kitchen's fig and raisin chutney, which is spicy and tangy and just as good.

And there, my friends, is my favorite sandwich. It tangy, spicy, sweet, smokey, and gooey. Everything one should look for in a sandwich soul mate. Another variation of this sandwich subtracts the mustard and manchego and adds a blue cheese spread. Figs and blue cheese go together like vodka and lemon soda water (just me?). I make my own blue cheese spread by combining Greek yogurt and blue cheese crumbles with a bit of pepper and whizzing it up in the food processor. It's much healthier and yummier than a store bought spread or dressing :)

My sandwich friend definitely provided some much needed comfort and the mustard helped clear my sinuses for about 10 minutes. Benefits all around! Are you a sandwich person? What's your favorite?

I hope everyone has a lovely long weekend! It's the end of an era in my house because my wonderful roommate is moving down to DC on Saturday and my new roommate is moving in the same day. Tomorrow morning will be spent putting furniture together and trying to avoid disasters and things breaking/falling down the stairs.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hot Looks Of The Week & My Faves

Image via Jean-Paul Aussenard/Bauer Griffin
Lea Michele In Geogio Armani
Lea Michele is very polarizing, yes? I don't mind her, but some folks really can't stand her. By some folks I mean everyone on E!'s Fashion Police. It is pretty hilarious when they make fun of her posing. Some folks are also really sick of hi-lo hems on dresses and skirts, but I'm still really into them! In fact, I wore one yesterday :)
Lea wore this light gray Armani dress to VH1's Do Something Awards this week and I think she looks absolutely gorgeous. That neckline would be downright dangerous on a lot of women, but since she has small boobs I think it works. I love how the waves in her hair mimic the ruffles on the neckline and hem. And how hot are her Jenni Kayne sandals? They go perfectly with this dress. Lea is styled by Estee Stanley, who just had that amazing run with Jessica Biel for the Total Recall press tour and premieres. Brava!
Image via FameFlynet Pictures

Eva Mendes In Thakoon Addition

I think this might be my favorite this week because it's a street style look. Eva is styled by Rachel Zoe for the red carpet, but I think it's safe to assume that she came up with this one on her own for running errands around Hollywood this week. This dress is by Thakoon Addition, which is Thakoon Panichgul's diffusion line. His main line collection ain't too shabby either.

Eva has great street style - have a look through the thumbnails here if you don't believe me. She always dresses very feminine and favors printed dresses and skirts. This Ikat print shirt dress is so adorable and something I would wear in a heartbeat. You can actually get one in a different color at The Outnet right now if you feel so inclined. Her Ralph Lauren Collection Cartridge bag and Thierry Lasry Obsessy shades are perfect compliments to her casual look. Also, her legs are insane.


My Faves

Image via
I think I talk about lip gloss and/or lipstick a little too much, but I can't help it. I love them. Did you know that Anthropologie has launched its own line of lipsticks? Neither did I until yesterday! I adore Anthropologie almost as much as I adore lipstick so you bet I'll be trying these out! The shade at left is called peony and it will be mine.
Here is a nice little retrospective on Emma Stone's red carpet looks over the past few years from her stylist, Petra Flannery. Emma is one of the best dressed celebrities on the red carpet and I can easily say that I love every single look here.
I just discovered these adorable and slip proof ballet flats from OKA b. and I think they're a great alternative to rain boots in the summer. They also come in about a million different colors and they're totally affordable. Hello, citrine!
Did you ever want to live in Carrie Bradshaw's or Monica Geller's apartments? Well, you can't because they're fake, but you can imagine with these floorplan illustrations! How cool are these? And I don't know if it's sad that I've watched this much Sex and The City or not, but I can notice an inaccuracy in Carrie's apartment - her toilet is in the wrong spot. If you remember the episode where Aiden moves out and fixes the toilet before he leaves, then you'll remember that her toilet is next to her vanity. I know. I'm pathetic.
Last night I had a dinner and movie date with my friend Julie. Did you know that if you eat at Hungry Mother in Cambridge before 6 PM that they'll pick up your movie tickets from the Kendall Square Theater for a discount and add them to your bill? Me either! But that's exactly what we did last night. It was my first visit to Hungry Mother and it was delicious. We feasted on cornbread, deviled eggs, clams and andouille sausage, roast chicken, and lemon angel food cake with blueberries, and ice cream. Yum! We saw Celeste and Jesse Forever and I loved it. I want to be best friends with Rashida Jones.  
Happy weekend, all!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nicole Richie For Impulse At Macy's

While you weren't paying attention, Nicole Richie became a bona fide fashion superstar. Or maybe you were paying attention and you're just as impressed as I am. Remember when Nicole was a crackhead? (Really. I'm not going to get sued for that.) And when she palled around with the odious Paris Hilton? Ew.

I'm thrilled that those days are behind her because Nicole's House of Harlow 1960 and Winter Kate lines are some of the most sought-after in fashion today. Luckily for those of us balling on a budget, Nicole is bringing her talents and signature bohemian style to Macy's with an exclusive capsule collection for their contemporary Impulse department.

Image via
Nicole has amazing style herself so first I'll share some of my all-time favorite Nicole looks.

Image via Bauer Griffin
This is Nicole at her boho finest - leather bell bottoms, fringe bag, hat, jacket draped over her shoulders. It's just so cool and easy. And she's still trendy with her polka dot top!

Image via Neilson Barnard/Getty Images North America
Nicole wore this GORGEOUS Emilio Pucci dress to the Fifi Awards (that would be perfume) in May. It looks like it was made for her and I love that she stayed true to her aesthetic while still being in a formal dress. It's gypsy chic.

Image via Bennett Raglan/Getty Images North America
I want this dress. I need this dress. This dress is amazing. It's a Winter Kate dress that has a cut out back and is brilliantly styled with red heels and a top knot in her hair. Are you getting my obsession yet?

Image via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America
The girl looks good in yellow. This time from Julien Macdonald.

Image via Bauer Griffin
I could go on and on (really), but I'll end with this fun casual look. The Proenza Schouler zebra sweater is perfect with black skinnies, orange heels, and a House of Harlow 1960 bag.

Now that we've established that Nicole can dress herself rather well, let's take a look at the clothes she wants us to wear via Macy's.

The collection obviously skews heavily to the bohemian side of Nicole's taste, and why shouldn't it? It's what she's known for and what she does best. The collection is also very print heavy, which I happen to love. So many women are scared of prints. They are your friend! Nicole also brings in richer fabrics like faux fur, faux leather, and solid velvets. The prices will range from $49 to $149, which is incredibly reasonable. Here are the items on the top of my wish list:

Image via
 A lace t-shirt with faux leather sleeves- lurve. I'd have to see this in person before I could say whether or not it's okay for work. I have a feeling it will be though. I'd wear it with colored trousers for work or black jeans and leopard heels for a night out.

Image via
A black and yellow chevron/tribal print blouse. How great is this top? I would wear the crap out of this. With trousers or a skirt (faux leather would be hot) for work or evening. It's a must have!

Image via
A graphic print long sleeve dress with lace panels. I imagine this will be a little much for some people, but I'm all about it. I think this print is a fabulous canvas for an insane statement necklace.

Image via
A cap sleeve asymmetric hem top with neckline details. This top can be worn with absolutely anything and I love it. The fun neckline details mean you don't even need a necklace! But do wear some dangly earrings :)

There are many more pieces I love from Nicole's Macy's line, but these are the ones I'm most likely to buy. Have a look at the rest of the collection here and tell me what your favorite is! The collection is available in 100 Macy's stores nationwide and online from September 12th. You better believe that I will be at Macy's, which just happens to be across the street from my office, at the stroke of 5 on that day.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

Have you all been taking advantage of strawberries while they're fresh, in season, and hopefully local? I hope so! I sure have been. Strawberries were always such a special treat when I was little because they weren't around for very long. At least not in the 90s in our Western New York supermarket. Now you can get them all year round because they're shipped in from all over, but those off-season strawberries never taste quite the same.

I think the most common way I ate strawberries when I was a kid was with Cool Whip for dessert, but I also recall many strawberry shortcakes. I know a traditional strawberry shortcake is made with a biscuit-like cake, but we always went for those little round sponge cakes that came six in a package. They got instantly soggy with strawberry juice and a healthy amount of Cool Whip, but they were yummy!

I saw this recipe on Pinterest (obviously) and I knew I had to make it before the good strawberries went bye bye for the season. Prepare for strawberry deliciousness.

12 ounces of strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4 inch dice (2 cups)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
Sanding sugar for sprinkling (or just regular sugar)

Preheat your oven to 375. The first thing I did was slice my strawberries, eating one for myself about every third strawberry. You can adjust that ratio to your liking. Once the strawberries are sliced, put them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of sugar and the lemon juice and stir. Set them aside and try not to just eat them like that with a spoon.

Next, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a large bowl.

Cut your butter into cubes.

I clearly need a new cutting board.

Martha suggests cutting the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter. I am not the owner of a pastry cutter, so I just used my hands and made sure to smoosh (that's a technical chef term) it in good so there were no big chunks. The texture you're looking for will resemble wet sand.

Stir in the cream until the dough starts to come together and then add the strawberry mixture.

Take a 1 1/2 inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon measure and drop the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with sanding sugar, or just regular sugar like me if you had never heard of sanding sugar before today.

Bake your cookies until the edges turn golden brown. In my oven this was about 20 minutes, but the recipe calls for 24 or 25 minutes. So be sure to keep an eye on them if you have a wonky oven, like me. Remove them with a spatula and set them on wire racks to cool.

These might be my favorite cookies ever. Yes, I say that about all cookies I make, but I might be serious this time. They're soft and buttery and the baked strawberries remind me so much of a strawberry rhubarb pie, which just happens to be my favorite dessert of all-time. As I mentioned before, I love chocolate, but I really only like it in small doses so cookies with fruit or nuts are more up my alley. I could have (and did) eat an obscene amount of these over the weekend and I've happily offloaded the rest to my office kitchen where they're already being scarfed down. In fact one co-worker e-mailed this to me already: "God Damn those were f’ing tasty.  Crap, they are good.  I’m going to be thinking about those for the rest of the day." So I think they're pretty good!

If you love strawberries, then definitely give these a go! What's your favorite cookie? Have you ever made cookies with fresh fruit before?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hot Looks Of The Week & My Faves

I'm going to do something a little different for Hot Looks this week because there were far too many to choose from! Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale are currently on the international promo tour for Total Recall and they are both knocking it out of the fashion park. I tend not to see the major blockbuster movies like this one (no interest), but I am all about the press tours because the fashion is always major. So strap yourselves in and prepared to be wowed.

Images via and Bauer Griffin
Here's Jessica at the London premiere wearing Giambattista Valli Couture from his Spring 2012 collection. This is PERFECT. The dress is incredible, her hair and make-up are spot on and the punch of pink from the Christian Louboutin heels is unexpected and daring. LOVE. Estee Stanley outdid herself on this one.

Images via and Bauer Griffin
Kate also brought her A++ game for the London premiere in this Donna Karan gown from Fall 2012. This is a total movie star look and it's very Kate. You may recall that Kate was one of Rachel Zoe's original clients whom she worked with for years. If you watched Rachel Zoe's reality show and/or are familiar with her recent assistant turmoil, you'll remember that her former assistant Taylor Jacobson left on some bad terms. Rachel accused her of stealing clothes. If that is indeed true, clothes aren't the only thing Taylor stole because she is now styling Kate Beckinsale. Escandalo! And I must say she's styling her damn well because this is gorgeous.

Image via Sean Gallup/Getty Images Europe
Try and tear your gaze from her redonkulous chaturanga-sculpted arms and look at how beautiful this Elie Saab gown is. Jessica wore this to the Berlin premiere. This gown is from the designer's Fall 2012 collection, but it wasn't shown on the runway. Why? I have no idea because it's stunning. Elie Saab's heavy reliance on beading and sequins gets to me sometimes and feels extremely repetitious, but I have no problem with this!

Images via and Sean Gallup/Getty Images Europe
Not to be outdone in Berlin, Kate chose this amazing Naeem Kahn dress from Fall 2012. I'm so glad she went with the cream base version of this dress because it's about 100 times nicer than the black, don't you think? The black comes off very matronly to me and the cream seems a lot fresher. Her hair here is perfect as well. It would have overwhelmed the dress had she worn it down.

Images via and Bauer Griffin
I saved my favorite for last. As utterly perfect as that Giambattista Valli couture dress is, I am smitten beyond words with this look. Jessica wore this white lace Valentino jumpsuit from their Resort 2013 collection for press interviews in London. Say it again- a white lace Valentino jumpsuit! I am a sucker for a good jumpsuit and I think this is spectacular. And with the orange heels and earrings it's so young and fresh! Did you also notice that she's carrying a Fendi Baguette. A Fendi Baguette! No one's carried a Fendi Baguette since the third season of Sex And The City. Bravo Jessica and Estee. This will be one of my favorite looks for a very long time!

Images via and Bauer Griffin
Lastly, I have to highlight (pun intended) the dress Kate wore to do press interviews in London. This is a dress from Preen's Resort 2013 collection and I would do anything to have it in my closet. I love this hybrid yellow/green neon shade and it looks so incredibly cool on her. I love the sporty touch with the raglan sleeve, which was all over the Fall runways. It's good to know it will carry over into Resort! On the shoes - I usually HATE white shoes, but I'm not that offended by these Walter Steiger heels at all. I think I've been softened by the rest of the great fashion on display here! Congrats to Taylor Jacobson for having an amazing run with Kate for this tour!

Kate and Jessica wore many more looks for this tour, which I'm not even sure is over yet. You can see the rest at my fave celeb fashion spotting site The Fashion Court. If this had been a week without a major movie press tour my hot looks picks would have gone to Kristen Bell in this Jenny Packham jumpsuit and the ever perfect Miranda Kerr in this skirt and top from Erdem. Better luck next time, girls.


My Faves

This September's Vogue cover marks the 120th anniversary of the magazine. Can you believe it's be around that long?! has a special feature with current editor Anna Wintour's favorite images from the Vogue archives.

J.Crew's Fall 2012 advertising campaign features real people and not models. Granted, the real people are mostly fashion industry insiders who are thin and attractive, but it's something. I like my friend Marissa from The Well-Appointed Catwalk's take on body image and real people in fashion.

I have a weird little entry way/hallway in my apartment and I have been searching for the perfect table to go there for almost a year now. I think I've finally found it in this chartreuse (yes!) tray table from CB2.Yay!

In food news this week, I've discovered Unreal candy thanks to a CVS coupon. Yes, it's still candy, but it's made without hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives and is significantly better for you than some of the leading candy brands. And they're YUMMY! I could taste no difference between an Unreal 8 and a Snickers. So the next time you have a candy craving, which I often do, try some Unreal!

I stumbled upon this gallery of Sean Avery's Soho loft in NYC on Pinterest yesterday. Sean Avery is a professional hockey player and is incredibly fashion savvy. He's also kind of a jackass, but he does a lot of work promoting marriage equality so I can't hate on him to badly. His loft is designed beautifully, but still maintains masculinity. Bravo, Avery. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Ode To Chambray

I've mentioned it before, but chambray deserves its own post. I don't know if there are words adequate enough for me to describe just how spectacular I think chambray is. A button down chambray shirt will change your wardrobe. It goes with everything. This is a fact. Don't question it.

Chambray is a light weight woven cotton that often resembles denim. Jeans are the most versatile thing you can wear on your bottom half so taking that and turning it into tops, dresses, etc. is a stroke of genius, yes? Yes! Some exhibits for your viewing pleasure:


See? Chambray even makes a Canadian tuxedo (denim on denim) look okay. If you would have told me two years ago that denim on denim would be okay again I would have called you insane. That's the beauty of fashion - it's cyclical and just when you think you'll never EVER see a trend again there it is staring at you from a Barneys window.

Price points for chambray tops range from totally affordable to kind of ridiculous. Obviously you'll be getting higher quality with a more expensive shirt, but it's really not necessary to spend half a paycheck on one. I put a range of prices in this little shopping slideshow - from Marc Jacobs to Old Navy. You can't go wrong with any shade either. Light, dark, faded, patchwork (but not too Raggedy Ann) - it all works.

A chambray shirt is always my first answer when someone asks me how they can refresh their wardrobe and hopefully now you understand why! Below is exactly how I wear my chambray. No, I don't own these exact items, but close enough. The perfect leopard print pencil skirt still alludes me, however. I hope to find it before I'm 40.

Chambray Love

J.Crew cotton shirt, $125 / J.Crew leopard print pencil skirt, $165 / 7 For All Mankind zipper jeans / ASOS shoes / Dolce Vita nude sandals / Tory Burch mini handbag / MICHAEL Michael Kors michael kors jewelry / J.Crew woven jewelry / Kate Spade hardware jewelry / Wet Seal summer fedora

This concludes my love letter to chambray. If you're not an appreciator, then I hope I've converted you or at least convinced you to try one on. I'd love to hear what you wear chambray with or plan to wear it with once you've made your purchase. And, yes, I am a full-time shopping enabler. If you need to decide between paying your electric bill or buying some shoes, I will tell you to buy the shoes every time.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hot Looks Of The Week & My Faves

Image via Zimbio
Emmy Rossum in Monique Lhuillier & Christian Louboutin

Neon is in! I picked this look from the lovely Emmy this week mostly because neon is on my radar. The fact that it's a gorgeous dress doesn't really hurt either! I've loved wearing neon accessories and accents this summer and I plan on making neon and neutral a major color pairing for me this fall. If Monique Lhuillier has anything to say about it, neon will live well and truly into next year's resort season, as her Resort 2013 collection (of which this dress is a part of) is full of amazing neon dresses.

Emmy wore this look to a taping of Project Runway this week and I think even Nina Garcia, who I can't remember ever seeing wear color, would approve! I love how delicate the top is and I love all of the wrapping it does. I'm pretty sure she can still lift her arms. The dress is so pretty though that I wouldn't really care if she could or not.

It should also be noted that Emmy does not use a stylist, which I love! She smartly kept her accessories and make-up very simple, including a pair of Christian Louboutin Pigalle heels, so she clearly knows what she's doing.


Image via Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images North America

Miss USA Olivia Culpo In Sachin + Babi

I'm so glad I caught this look on Sachin + Babi's twitter feed this week because I absolutely love it. Their dress in the same fabric as the top portion of this look (below) was not only the stand out from their spring 2012 collection, but one of my stand outs from all of New York's spring collections.

Orange was the number one color for spring/summer (which I fully expect to carry over into fall/winter) and I think they incorporated it so beautifully with this dress. It obviously doesn't hurt that Olivia is a beauty queen and would look great in a paper bag. Olivia has modeled before, so she's no stranger to the fashion scene. This still seems like a risk from a relative red carpet newcomer and I applaud her. I'll be keeping my eyes open for her future sartorial endeavors.

I first became aware of Sachin + Babi when Jennifer Lopez wore this gorgeous striped black and mustard yellow dress back in 2010. That may be one of my favorite dresses of all-time so I've been trying to keep up with them ever since. Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia and are husband and wife design team who have been designing embroideries and furniture for years and just recently branched out into ready-to-wear clothing. Their RTW line has been incredibly successful and I look forward to seeing a lot more of their work in the future.

My Faves
Solange Knowles was revealed as the star of Madewell's Fall ad campaign and I don't think they could have picked anyone better. Solange is one of the most stylish women in the world and this is a coup for Madewell, if you ask me! Madewell is having a bunch of Style Sessions in their stores all over America next Thursday, including the Newbury St. store. I'm not sure if I can make it, but you should check it out if you can.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies. Look for a blog on these soonish because I don't know how long I can wait to make them!

I'm trying to hold off on looking at fall clothes because realistically I cannot buy them for about another month (Furniture buying D Day is tomorrow... Bye bye lots of $.), but this dress from J. Crew caught my eye this week. It's sparkly, it's chevron, it's everything I want right now. Hopefully ASOS will knock it off so I can afford it *ahem*.

DIY Utility Rope Necklace. How pretty and colorful is this?! And easy! I promise I will try to make this at some point.

Lastly - The Spice Girls are back! I have absolutely no shame over being a Spice Girls fan and I can't *&^%$*@ wait to see them perform Sunday for the closing ceremony of the Olympics. The Union Jack dress had better make an appearance!

I'm sad the Olympics will be ending. I've loved watching everything - the amazing gymnasts, the hot swimmers, the greatest sprinter of all-time, Usain Bolt, Misty and Kerri dominating at beach volleyball, and the US Women's Soccer team. London turned out to be a great host city and I think all of Britain should be proud!

Happy weekend all!