January 31, 2013

Spring Element: Cap Toe Flats


Top to Bottom: ONETWOTHREEFOURFIVE

I am loving all the spring fashions that are being released. Especially, cap toe flats. Think of them this way, it is color blocking for your feet! I would gladly wear any of these, but I am especially found of this pair by Dolce Vita. They would look great with skinny jeans and a casual top, or a cute sundress for the warmer days ahead. Start browsing now so you are ready when spring (finally) arrives. 

In the Kitchen: French Onion and Fennel Soup

I am a little souped out. Since October I have been making various soups almost weekly. I made this  french onion and fennel soup at the beginning of the month with the temperatures were below 50 and honestly, I did not feel like going to the grocery store. The rich beefy broth and gooey melted cheese make up for the simple ingredients. Because, sometimes the most simple foods are the best. 

French Onion and Fennel Soup
Adapted from Ina Garten 

2 tablespoons butter 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 pound yellow onion, sliced
1 large fennel, top and core removed, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups beef broth 
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon kosher salt 
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 loaf of french bread, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces and toasted
4 ounces gruyere 

Method

Heat butter and oil in a large dutch oven over medium low heat. Once melted, add the onion and fennel. Cook onions and fennel over medium low heat from about an hour until caramelized. Do not try to speed up the cooking process by turning up the heat, you want to cook the onions and fennel low and slow to build flavor. 

When onions and fennel turn a golden brown add white wine and scrape any bits that may be on the bottom of the pot. Add broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered on low heat  for 30 minutes. 

To toast french bread, preheat your ovens broiler. Broil bread until browned on both sides. Next, ladle the soup into oven safe bowls on a baking sheet. Place a piece of toasted bread on top of soup and sprinkle with generously with gruyere cheese. Broil for about 3 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. 



January 29, 2013

How to: Save the Dates


When it came to choosing save the dates for our wedding I wanted something unique. I looked at multiple sites that offered save the dates with customization, but none of them clicked with me. It was not until I discovered Antiquaria  that I found something I felt like showed off our personal style as a couple. I ended up ordering a custom stamp, and the process could not have been easier. Stamping took a little practice, but after a few times it became effortless.  


First, make sure you stamp is clean by running under warm water and drying with a towel. Grab your large ink pad, and once dry begin to lightly press ink pad onto stamp. Try to dab and then whip the inkpad across the pad. I felt this gave the most even coverage. Once the stamp is well inked, press stamp onto the center of the postcard and press firmly. Try not to move the stamp in order to not smear the ink. 


Allow to dry for at least five hours. Once dried, feel free to address and mail off! 


January 28, 2013

Just Another Monday


Is it really Monday already? It is also the last week of January which is scary enough. I need to kick every aspect of my life into high gear. Especially wedding planning and working out.

This weekend was great. I attended a wedding in Jackson (at the same church we are getting married at, how cool), met with caterers, and did a little shopping.

I hope everyone has a great start to their week and enjoys this warm weather while it is in town!

January 25, 2013

It's the Weekend!


It's finally the weekend! I wish I could be on the beach in a bikini like in the above photo to celebrate the weekend, but sadly it is January and that is not an option. Sandy beaches and frozen drinks are a constant daydream of mine. I know I should try to embrace the cold weather, but it is pretty hard when spring is on the horizon. This weekend Will and I are traveling to Jackson to work on a little wedding planning and attend a friend's wedding. If the wedding is as fun as this couple, it should be a good weekend. 

January 24, 2013

Life Lately


Last week it was bitterly cold and rainy. A little snow was added to the mix, but it melted as soon as it stopped snowing. Will and I enjoyed the little time we had in it, but it was pretty lackluster. Mostly a bunch a mush by the time we got off work. So far, this week is filled with sunshine and 50 degree weather. The rest of winter is looking up to me. I spent the weekend with my bridesmaids looking at bridesmaid dresses in Atlanta. I could not have a better group of girlfriends because things went so smoothly. It was not like an episode of Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids. Seeming them in their dresses has really jump started me on wedding planning again. So, I am devoting this weekend to crossing the major points off my list I haven't finished. What will you be doing this weekend?

January 23, 2013

In the Kitchen: Chocolate Chunk Blondies


There is almost nothing better than a warm chocolate chunk blondies. Whipping up a batch of blondies on a cold/snowy January day is the perfect fix for the winter blues. Now, we should all be sticking to our resolutions and be watching what we eat, but there is always a little wiggle room. The great thing about these blondies is that they stay moist, even days after you've made them. The key is to undercook them a little. This will make sure they stay nice and moist. These chocolate chunk blondies really hit the spot. Give them a try, you will not regret it. 


Chocolate Chunk Blondies
Adapted from Ina Garten

1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 large egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 cup chocolate chunks 

Method 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 12 inch baking pan. 

In a bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fully with an electric mixer, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract and egg and mix well. Remember to scrape down the bowl so the mixture is well combined. In a small bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and salt together. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks. 

Spread batter into pan and bake for 15 minutes. The mixture will be a little underdone. Store in the fridge. 





January 22, 2013

Where Will You Go?


Last week, The New York Times released their list of The 46 Places to Go in 2013. Inspired by their list, I made my own with my top five picks. The best thing about traveling is experiencing something new, and I feel like with each of the cities everyone would be able to understand a little more about the world. Which cities make your top five list?

January 18, 2013

Friday Favorites

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This long, cold, rainy week has me dreaming of spring and a long weekend. We are hoping to honeymoon somewhere warm, and if we do I will hopefully have this cute one piece in my bag. Statement necklaces are all the rage, so why not give them a break with a armadillo pendant for spring. Valentine's Day will be here before you know it. So, get ahead of the curve by ordering your cards now. I have this fun print on my mind. The most beloved eyeshadow palette of our generation now comes in a smaller, more portable size. My favorite chair in a new color for spring. Kate Spade can do no wrong with this mint baby. Once again, I need a warm vacation to slip on these loveliess. Have a great long weekend! 

January 17, 2013

How to: A Winter Table


After the holidays, it is nice to have a simple decor. White plates, a sparkly runner, and fresh fruit is all you really need to brighten up your table. For the center piece I  used satsuma's, but you can use whatever citrus looks good at your grocery store. I love that the leaves are left on satsuma's. It lets the feel of the holidays stay a little longer. Place the citrus on a white cakes platter, and there you have, and simple winter centerpiece. Add a few glowing candles, and you are ready to entertain. 





January 16, 2013

Winter Elements: Coats

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We are expected to get a wintery mix tomorrow. That news has me grabbing my warmest coat on my way to work. I own a classic black peacoat, but I am looking to add a little variety to the mix. Especially now that stores are putting spring clothes front and center, and winter coats are on sale. I think  a toggle, puffer, or peacoat in a vibrant color would add great variety to a typically colorless winter palette. 

January 15, 2013

In the Kitchen: Mushroom Bourguignon


Last week was a tease. Mother nature tempted us with 70 degree sunny weather. I didn't even need a jacket on my Birthday! In January! Now, the south is not known for it's cold winter, but 70 is a little warm around here. So, when the temperature dipped into the 50's yesterday, I knew it was time to break out my dutch oven. 

I have been reading Smitten Kitchen since I lived in the sorority house and was without a kitchen. Her recipes are great, but it is her commentary and photography that keeps me coming back. When I received her cookbook for my birthday I knew I had to try her mushroom bourguingnon. It is a hearty, warming dish without a lot of the time or effort of a traditional bourguingnon. Using mushrooms instead of beef cuts the cooking time down to under a hour, which is perfect for me.

Also, Elements of Katie has its own facebook page. Make sure to like it, here!

Mushroom Bourguingnon 
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 yellow onion, diced 
2 carrots, diced 
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
1/2 pound button mushrooms 
2 garlic cloves 
1/2 red wine (I used merlot) 
1 cup vegetable stock 
2 tablespoons tomato paste 
1 teaspoon italian seasoning 
1/2 pearl onions, frozen 
1 tablespoon four 
Salt and pepper 
Egg noodles

Method 
In a dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion and carrots and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Once cooked, add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes until browned and soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. 

Once all the vegetables have cooked, add red wine. Scrape brown bits of the bottom of the pan and let reduce by half. Stir in vegetable stock, tomato paste, and italian seasoning. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the pearl onions and flour and cook until thickened. It will be pretty thick. Serve immediately over egg noodles.  




January 14, 2013

New Year, New You: Blog

a little something bubbly 

I've been meaning to rework this blog for quit some time. So, over the weekend I finally sat down (with a very large cup of coffee) and took the time to play around with fonts, colors, and css. Yes, not that much has changed, but to me it looks so much better. I am not a graphic designer or web developer. I know that, and I know that this blog is still not perfect, but I am happy with the outcome. I feel that everything is a little more reader friendly. I hope that this new look will inspire me to be more creative with my posts. I want to give you better photos, layouts, and inspirations. So please, let me know. What do you think of the new look? 

January 10, 2013

Life Lately

Is it seriously only the first full week of January? I feel like ever since I got back to work I've been moving a mile a minute. Shipping publications right after the holidays is not the easiest project. Put that on top of trying to plan a wedding, and I am a train wreck. I am so ready for the bid day to be here. Even though all that is stressful, I did manage to have a great weekend. Ole Miss played in a bowl game here in Birmingham on Saturday, so we had a lot of friends in town. It was the first Ole Miss game I've been to in years (I'm a really bad fan). Then, on Sunday I celebrated my 23rd birthday. I don't feel any older yet, but i'm sure it will kick in soon. 

January 8, 2013

In the Kitchen: Mocha Chocolate Icebox Birthday Cake


I'm an Epiphany baby. I've always enjoyed having my birthday so close to Christmas because it is like a continuation of the party, but this year it caught me off guard, I wasn't ready. Since high school I've been making my own birthday cakes. I'm not neglected, it is something I enjoy doing. So, when Friday afternoon came around, I had friends coming in town, and I still felt stuffed with coconut cake from the weeks before I decided to switch it up. I made my first icebox cake. Yes, it wasn't perfect. It came out of the pan a little funny, but it was light and delicious. The perfect cake after weeks of heavy desserts. I'm glad that there is a considerable amount left over, because that means I can keep celebrating my birthday all week.

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake
adapted from Ina Garten

2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
2 tablespoons coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package crunch chocolate chip cookies (roughly 40 cookies)
Shaved dark chocolate

Method:
In a large bowl combine heavy cream, cream cheese, sugar, coffee liqueur, dark cocoa powder, coffee, and vanilla. Beat ingredients with an electric mixer with whisk attachment until stiff peaks form, starting on low and gradually raising to high.

To assemble the cake, place one layer of cookies in the bottom of a spring form pan, breaking cookies if necessary to create an even layer. Spread a third of the whipped cream mixture over the covers making sure to meet the sides. Continue layering until all cookies and whipped cream mixture are used. Smooth the top and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge and allow to cool for at least 12 hours.

Once cooled, run a sharp knife around the edge of the spring form pan to help cake release. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate and serve cold.


January 7, 2013

This & That


Until last summer, I rarely wore yellow. I was afraid that because of my fair skin and hair I would look washed out. But, I slowly learned that it is all about the shade of yellow you wear. I can only wear bright yellow. This isn't an everyday color, but every once in a while it is fun to throw on. This yellow dress by J.Crew is perfect for the upcoming warmer months. I would pair it with a simple pair of sandals, but if you're feeling adventurous, these yellow heels would be fun too. So, find which shade of yellow looks go on you, and do it be afraid to rock it. 

January 4, 2013

Winter Comfort

ONETWOTHREEFOUR (On Sale!), FIVESIX

If I could, I would live in a variation of this outfit. Cozy sweater, cashmere scarf, and stretchy pants. That is my idea of heaven. The great thing about all these pieces are that they go together seamlessly with almost anything. I own the heeled MacAlister booties (which are sadly no longer available online), and the pixie pant. Both pieces are great. They go with almost anything and are extremely comfortable. Isn't that what we want in the winter? Something comforting and easy to wearhggggg22222222,.32222. Plus, the pop of color from the scarf and socks never hurts. Add a few comfy cozy pieces to your wardrobe this winter, you will not regret it. 

January 3, 2013

New Year, New You: Stationary

ONETWOTHREEFOURFIVESIXSEVENEIGHTNINE

New year, new you. Easy right? Not always. This year, I am not making any resolutions. I just want to be a better version of myself. I feel like it makes, making small changes a little easier. I also do not think that all changes have to be negative. That is why this year, I making a goal to write more letters. Snail mail from a friend always brightens your mood. So, this year get our your best pen and splurge on new stationary. It will make your day and some other lucky individual so much better. 

January 2, 2013

10 Things...

Winter did not officially start until a few weeks ago, but I feel like it has been here for months. To me, January is the heart of winter. Even though the temperature is chilly, there is still a lot I like about January. It is the start of a new year, a fresh start. I am going to try to take advantage of that this year. So, here are my favorite things about January.

CLASSIC WATCH, Is your new year's resolution to be on time? Splurge on this Kate Spade Watch to make sure you are always on time. RICH LOTION Between dry indoor heat and cold outside winds, my skin is always dry. This hand lotion is on my list of lotions to try this month. BIRTHDAY CANDLES My Birthday is in a few days. I'm going to celebrate with a delicious cake and fun candles. STUNNING HANDBAG Give your closet a fresh start with this classic handbag. CITRUS A ruby red grapefruit brightens up my morning. CALENDAR I still don't have a new calendar for my office, but I have my eyes on this one dedicated to famous cities. SNOWFLAKES Living in the deep south, we don't get a lot of snow days, but I'm always hopeful for a snowfall. SNOW BOOTS If you live up north, a good pair of snow boots is necessary. I may just have to buy them for looks. STATEMENT NECKLACE New Year's Eve was Monday, but I think you should celebrate the new year all month with this necklace. WINTER WHITE I know it is not for everyone, but I am a fan on winter white. Are you? Happy January!

January 1, 2013

The New Year


Happy New Year! I am actually sad to see 2012 go, but I am welcoming 2013 with open arms. I have a lot to look forward to this year. In May I will be getting married. So, the next few months will be fully devoted to wedding planning (I've been seriously slacking). I've knocked out the majority of the bigs items, so now it is just the little details I have to worry about. I hope everyone is having a great day off. See you in the new year!
 

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