Monday, October 31, 2011

The fancy layer

Victoria's Secret coat, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent dress, Max Studio shoes, vintage purse

I have always been in love with evening coats, even growing up in California, I longed for chilly nights to slip on something special for a night out. Their large buttons, sturdy fabrics, and feminine shapes make me wish I could live without my sleeping bag/ down jacket this winter and make every night a lady-like affair. Unfortunately, my Los Angeles blood is going to keep me in numerous knitted layers and down fabrics during the coming months, but every once in a while it's fun to brave the cold and put on an outer piece that is just as special as what is hiding underneath. This coat was one of my first fancy outerwear pieces. It's long white shape and soft velvet collar make it the perfect addition to evening looks and paired with a few other sumptuous pieces, like a silk dress and velvet shoes, the outfit made an equally warm and fancy combination.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Life lately

The weather is getting cozy, tights are becoming a wardrobe staple, and home cooked meals are the perfect answer to the long nights. After cracking into my growing number of photos, I thought I would give you a little peak into what life has been like lately.

Silk polka dots and a cozy sweater for date night

Blood red velvet cupcakes

Finally finding the perfect arrangement of candles

A puff of smoked salmon and creme fraiche for appetizer night

Monday, October 24, 2011

Party bites: Gouda and apple panini

I love entertaining and luckily Paul has the same excitement as I do for sprucing up our place, laying out a spread of delicious food, and crafting the perfect party mix. Since I tend to obsess a little too much over making all of the food, decorating, and displaying everything perfectly, I've learned to take a few shortcuts that still result in tasty and convenient bites. My favorite new go-to are mini panini with simple contrasting flavors, like a strong Gouda cheese and tart honeycrisp apples. Paired with thinly sliced baguette, each component of the tiny sandwiches can be prepared ahead of time and assembled quickly before the guests arrive. Serve stacked high on a wooden tray for a rustic touch and the result is a warm cheesy treat with an unexpected crisp, that looks every bit gourmet.

Mini Gouda and honeycrisp panini
1 fresh baguette
1 block strong Gouda (I like goat's milk Gouda)
1 large honeycrisp apple or other hard tart variety
juice of 1/2 lemon

Ahead of time:
- Slice baguette into thin slices. Don't slice diagonally, you want two-bite sized sandwiches.
- Slice cheese into 1" x 2" rectangles
- Slice apple by cutting around core to make 4 large pieces, then cut those into small slices. Toss with lemon juice to prevent browning.

20 min before guests arrive:
- Heat up panini press (a skillet can provide the same look if you push down lightly with a spatula to melt and compress everything together)
- Assemble sandwiches by placing one slice cheese and one slice apple between two pieces of bread. Arrange each in a row on the press.
- While sandwiches are grilling, assemble the remaining ingredients so they will be ready to press when the others are finished.
- Arrange sandwiches in a stack on a long serving board (I like thin cheese boards).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A bit vampy

1. Violet Fatale Lipcolor, Noir Absolute for Eyes, Bordeaux Lust Nail Lacquer, Tom Ford Beauty
2. Smoking Jacket Robe, $148, Anthropologie
3. Prada Amber, $57-$115, Sephora
4. Cotton cashmere tights, $69, Fogal
5. Ambre Japonais candle, $65, Byredo

Nothing is quite as alluring as the impact a touch of vamp can add to someone's personal style. Moody colors, a silk slip, even a rather musky candle can add that mysterious touch that only seems to work when it is unknowingly achieved. I've held onto a deep plum lipstick that I use to stain my lips, slip into a silk robe on lazy mornings, even replace a light perfume with something a bit muskier during the daytime to switch up the normal routine. Even if it's something simple for the home, the small touches create a great unexpected combo that provide an amazing allure and an edge that is undoubtedly vamp.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Big love

London Fog trench coat, shirt (from a blogger swap), Gap jeans, Steve Madden shoes, Erin Fetherston for Target purse

I am a huge fan of classic clothes, so when this weekend's perfect Fall weather brought crisp mornings and breezy leaf filled days, I took advantage of it and pulled out some weekend staples. A trench coat, striped tee (which I've been living in lately), and denim were my go-to picks and paired with an overly large purse, my love for the weather was quite visible. I've held on to this bag for a couple of years, ever since Paul woke up at the crack of dawn to buy it for me before it sold out at Target, but after knocking into a few too many people with its rather structured curves, I decided to take a break from the lovely purse. After rediscovering it in my closet, I thought it deserved to go back into the rotation and as I began bumping into people while attempting to run errands, I happily ignored their glares and went on enjoying the beautiful weather and my love-inspired ensemble.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Roasted butternut squash and garlic ravioli with sage

The moment the weather starts to get a littler cooler I like to pull out my mental list of cozy things and attempt to make my home as warm and inviting as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to make something homemade and preferably roasted. On a particularly adventurous night, I decided to achieve that autumn feel by making my own pasta. I love the flavor of the homemade version because it has a meatier quality that dried versions just can't compare to. Paired with roasted butternut squash, garlic, and a simple sage sauce, the homemade raviolis were the perfect Fall comfort food.

Roasted butternut squash & garlic ravioli with sage

For pasta dough:
1 1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
2 tblsp olive oil
pinch of salt

- Pour flour onto a worksurface and create a little well in the middle. Crack both eggs into the well and add olive oil and salt.

- Begin whisking the eggs to combine, then slowly start pulling in flour. Push aside about 3 tablespoons of flour, then continue mixing dough until everything is fully incorporated and you can push a finger into the center and remove it without anything sticking.

- knead dough for about 5 minutes until it feels slightly leathery. Set aside.

For the filling & ravioli:
1 package diced butternut squash
3 garlic cloves
olive oil, salt, pepper to taste

- In a pan, layout squash and garlic (unpeeled) and top with olive oil, salt and pepper.

- Roast at 400 degrees until soft. Remove the garlic peel and in the pan, smash the garlic and squash to form a slightly smooth mixture.

- Roll out pasta dough to form a very thin sheet, then place 2 small rows of filling towards the top. Fold over the bottom and cut out each little pouch with a knife.

- Seal all of the edges by crimping the square with your finger.

- Cook pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes, or until all are floating on the top.

For the sauce:
2 tblsp fresh sage chopped finely
2 tblsp butter
1/2 tblsp butter

- In pan over low heat, melt butter and olive oil. Add sage and simmer until butter is slightly browned.

- Arrange pasta on a plate and drizzle with sauce.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lovely little touches

1. Love Written Bracelet, Solange Azagury-Partridge
2. Bow leather gloves, $395, Valentino
3. On the Ave earmuffs, $85, Kate Spade
4. Sequin leather wallet, $195, DKNY
5. Orchestra Hall statement earrings, $78, Kate Spade
6. Duchess lace cape, $610, BHLDN

Like most fashion obsessed people, I like to dream about owning iconic pieces, the latest wardrobe addition, and that incredible party dress that could complete your holiday wish list. The lust-worthy items just keep growing, but sometimes it's nice to look past the big things and focus on the little details that make an outfit memorable. While I'm always enticed to stare at the perfect outfit walking down the street, the ensembles that draw me in are the ones with those small touches that you only notice on second glance. A little bow on a belt, playful mittens, or a luxe fabric are a few of the polished accents that elevate an outfit.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lacquered jewelry bowls

I love collecting little keepsakes on my vanity, a silver tray for necklaces and perfumes, red leather boxes and a few candles to keep everything scented nicely, but I am always in the mood to switch things up a bit as well. The look of bowls holding an assortment of jeweled, sparkly things is one of my favorite home decor touches. The slightly mismatched feel has a wonderfully eclectic quality and instead of buying a pre-made ceramic holder, I decided to craft a few myself. Using a few metallic and vibrant paints, tape, and a finishing gloss, I created the perfect jewelry holders with a touch of playful shimmer and a good dose of color.

1. Pick thin ceramic bowls, not too deep, and in a small to medium size. Wash and dry to remove any dust.

2.Select a few colors that look good together (I went with a sunny glitter, metallic gold paint, and turquoise to match)

3. Tape off the section that you want to paint with painter's tape. This is where it's fun to get creative, paint the entire bowl, a small circle, or a little strip to make a dip effect.

4. Using long strokes to get a brushed look, paint 3 coats (4 for the glitter), drying with a hairdryer in between each layer. Wipe the lip of the bowl with a paper towel between each coat.

5. Top with a clear gloss coat (only a thing layer so it doesn't drip) and let dry over night. Remove tape once fully dry.

6. Arrange and enjoy your lacquered glittery bowls.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mid-week pop

Zara sweater, Asos blouse, J.Crew pants, Steve Madden shoes

When it's the end of the week and the work day manages to linger a little longer than it should, I like to turn to my outfits to make the day a bit more interesting and exciting. The other morning I couldn't think of a better way to add a little energy to my 9-5 than to pick out the brightest shades in my closet and mix them together for a little pop. It was my equivalent of that large cup of coffee that accompanies me into the office and paired with a fun top knot and a nude chiffon blouse, my purple trousers and burnt orange sweater were the perfect thing to get the day rolling. In addition to the beautiful weather we've had the past few days, my vibrant outfit was helped me power through one more day that took me closer to an alarm-less Saturday morning.

Also, today is the last day to enter my r-ki-tekt giveaway! Picking a winner tonight at 6pm Eastern. Make sure to enter the contest below for a custom hair bow.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Settling in & looking back

Every time I look back on the past few months, I realize how fast the summer went by, then I shockingly exclaim "Wow, I got married this summer!". It's amazing how fast the months pass and the whirlwind of planning, celebrating, and traveling, are quickly over and life is supposed to go back to normal amidst a haze of wedding buzz. Now that the gifts are finally put away and the last thank you note has been placed in the mailbox, I really feel like it's time to settle in. Of course, the cozy weather and holiday planning really help that along. Although the wrapped boxes and cards have all been opened, every now and then I like to peak at the stack of photos, pull out a few of the hidden shots that made the day so special, and relive the moment.

Does anyone else get that same feeling of looking back on something and realizing how quickly the time has passed? I'd love to hear how you like to remember any big moments in your life.

Also, don't forget that Friday I'll be picking a winner for the adorable r-ki-tekt custom Greidon Bow, make sure to enter!

Monday, October 3, 2011

R-ki-tekt Greidon bow giveaway - closed

I came across the adorable accessories of R-ki-tekt while perusing hair adornments for my wedding and instantly fell in love with her handmade, velvet creations. Kelly's designs are the perfect mix of whimsy and feminine styling that can accent any outfit with a touch of candy colored fun. I've been having fun styling my bow and I am incredibly excited to give one of her pieces away to a lucky reader!

Kelly designed one of her Greidon bows in a gorgeous coral color that she sourced specially for this giveaway (how sweet!). The medium-sized bow can be worn as a hair accessory or bow tie and is the perfect way to indulge in a little bit of prettiness.

To enter, leave a comment below with how you would love to style the Greidon Bow and make sure to follow Stay in the Lines and R-ki-tekt with Google Connect or on Twitter for an extra entry (let me know which one in your comment). I'll be picking a winner this Friday, October 7th. International entries welcome too!