March 27, 2013

While I'm Away

I am taking my own version of Spring Break this week, so my posting will be a little sporadic. This afternoon Will and I are making the long car ride to North Carolina and Virginia. Hopefully, I will be back to regular posting Monday. In the mean time, you can always follow me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Enjoy your long Easter weekend!

March 26, 2013

In the Kitchen: Black Bean Enchiladas

I have a serious weakness for mexican food. It is borderline obsessive. We have tacos at least once a week, but every once in a while it is nice to turn the oven on and make enchiladas. I've always made chicken enchiladas, but we've been cutting back on meat, so I decided to give black beans a try. Trust me, they were delicious. If you are looking for an easy weeknight vegetarian meal, give these enchiladas a try.

Black Bean Enchiladas
serves 4-6

1 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can green chilies
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
10-12 corn tortillas

Method
In a saucepan cook onions and peppers over medium heat in olive oil. Saute for about five minutes, or until tender and add garlic. Cook garlic for one minute. Then, add green chilies, cumin, 1/2 cup water, and tomato paste. Simmer beans for 40 minutes, until a nice dark sauce is formed, but beans still hold their shape.

Preheat oven to 350. Place cooked beans in a large bowl and add shredded cheese and cilantro. Stir to combine. In a large baking dish, pour 3/4 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish. Make sure it covers the entire bottom so enchiladas don't stick. In a small skillet, warm tortillas (this step insures that tortillas keep their shape). Place two tablespoons of bean mixture in warmed tortilla, roll, and place in the pan. Continue these steps until you are out a filling.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, making sure to cover them entirely. You may now place additional cheese on top (do it). Cover dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes have passed, remove foil and allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite enchilada toppings.

 





March 25, 2013

Ombre Eggs

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. Waking up to easter baskets felt like another Christmas to me. This will be my first year without an easter basket. It is a little saddening, but still be able to dye easter eggs makes it easier. These ombre eggs were very easy to make. I picked up an egg dying package from target, drew hearts on them with the crayon provided, and then left the eggs in for varying times. Easter eggs can be as fanciful or simple as you please. Decorate them as you wish. 

March 22, 2013

Friday Favorites: Floral Pencil Skirts


ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR

I normally prefer a fuller skirt, but this seasons pencil skirts have been catching my eye. All of the bright floral patterns are perfect for the warmer weather. I would pair mine with a bright buttoned up cardigan or a T-shirt and jean jacket. How would you wear a floral pencil skirt? 

March 21, 2013

Fancy Pants

Pants: Gap (similar), Top: J.Crew, Shoes: Steve Madden (similar, love!) Bag: J.Crew (similar

I am not usually one to go for a loud print, so I was surprised last fall when I bought these polka dot pants. Polka dots were very in (and still are), plus they were on super-sale so I decided to give them a try. Honestly, I do not wear them that often, but every once in a while they are fun to bring out. Since the pants are so loud I like to keep the rest of my outfit neutral: a simple tee, patent leather pumps, and an almost matching bag were the perfect additions. How do you style bold prints? 


March 20, 2013

Styling a Bar Cart

I bought my first bar cart before moving into my rental house my senior year of college. It was old, a little rickety, and cheap. But, I loved it. It sat in the corner of our dinning room and held our hand-me down glasses and cheap liquor supply. So, when Will surprised me with a new vintage bar cart for graduation I was very surprised. I still have my old bar cart, it is now yellow and holds plants on our patio. I like to think of this bar cart as it's fancy big sister. 

A bar cart is a great addition to any home. They make entertaining a breeze and add style to a possible bare wall. Styling a bar cart can seem a little intimidating, but with the right tools you can make one appeal to your sense of style. 
Place your most used items on the top shelf. For us, that is liquors (whisky, gin, vodka, tequila, and dry vermouth), citrus, bitters, and barware. This way, your liquors and barware are within easy reach for yourself and guests. Also, fresh flowers are never a bad thing when entertaining. 
I use the middle shelf to hold essential glassware. We keep two sets of lowball glasses (one monogrammed and one slightly smaller), cocktail glasses, and stemless wine glasses. All other glassware is kept in the kitchen or on the bottom shelf. 
Our bottom shelf is used for storage. Liqueurs and mixers are kept here for when needed, along with extra glasses and a wine decanter. Since this area is hard to reach, kept this shelf simple for guests. 
Lastly, when guest are over, keep fresh citrus out for drinks along with the appropriate barware. We keep a bottle opener, cocktail shaker, muddler, swizzle stick, hawthorne and mint julep strainer, and jigger on hand. Style your bar cart to your needs, they are for making your life and making a cocktail a little easier. 

March 19, 2013

In the Kitchen: Deviled Eggs

Growing up, we only ate deviled eggs on Easter Sunday. So, I was taken aback my freshman year of college when my sorority house had a plate of deviled eggs out at lunch. Each time they were offered I  had one, but I will always associate them with Easter. I made a plate of deviled eggs for Will to take to a work picnic last week, and even though it wasn't Easter Sunday, the eggs were still fitting for the time of year. 


Deviled Eggs 
Inspired by Martha Hall Foose

12 large eggs, hard boiled and cut in half lengthwise 
1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, salted 
1 teaspoon yellow mustard 
2 green onions, white and green parts chopped 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
paprika for garnish 

Method: 
In a small bowl mash egg yolks with a fork until smooth. Add next seven ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add a dollop of egg mixture to each egg white. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.



March 18, 2013

Life Lately

This weekend was not what I expected. On Friday, we ended up making a last minute day trip to Oxford, Saturday my brother stopped in on his way back to school, and Sunday I lazily hung around the apartment all afternoon. None of these events were planned, but the weekend was perfect. Today, I am heading back to work. So, this is my first normal Monday in a while. I hope it is kind to me. 

First: Waffles, the perfect Sunday treat // Ina spending an afternoon outside
Second: My adorable bachelorette party invitation // Prosecco to celebrate my new job 
Third: Cookie break // Jelly Beans in a little gold bowl 
Forth: Signs of Spring at the botanical gardens // Making deviled eggs 

March 15, 2013

Friday Favorites: Statement Necklaces

BRIGHT // MUTED // METAL // CRYSTAL // COLLAR

Statement necklaces have been around for a few seasons, and I am glad to see they are staying though  spring. The are the perfect accessory for dressing up or down. Add a collar necklace to an evening gown and you have a glamed up outfit, or pair a bright necklace with a lightweight sweater and jeans and you are ready for just about any occasion. Whichever look you choose this season, just make sure you let your necklace shine. If you are feeling extra bold, put on two to really turn heads. 

March 14, 2013

Feeling Dotty

Dress: Sue Wong // Blazer: Madewell // Tights: J.Crew //  Shoes: Steve Madden // Sunglasses

The little black dress: everyone has one, but how often do you wear it? They are a staple in every closet, but they can be a little dull. An easy way to make your little black dress more unique is with accessorizing. Here, I paired mine with a polka dot pair of tights I bought last fall. They added a little whimsically to the look. So, how do you accessorize your little black dress?


March 13, 2013

Bee's Knees


The time change has never effected me this much. My parents moved to Atlanta while I was in college, so I was constantly making the one hour time difference, but springing forward has me staying up much later than expected. What is a girl to do? Make a cocktail. A Bee's Knees is pretty similar to my favorite drink, a gimlet. The only difference is the addition of honey syrup, which is a nice change from simple syrup. So if the time change is keeping you up, give this drink a try.

Bee's Knees

2 ounces vodka
3/4 ounce honey syrup
1/2 ounce lemon

Method:
In a cocktail shaker combine vodka, lemon, and honey with a fair amount of ice. Shake until shaker begins to chill over. Strain into a coupe glass, garnish with a lemon slice, and enjoy.

Honey Syrup:

1 cup water
1 cup honey

In a saucepan, combine water and honey over medium heat. Stir until combined. Keep in refrigerator.


March 12, 2013

"Shiny Ponies"

If you know me well, you know I am obsessed with J.Crew. So, when I stumbled across this video about their spring shoe collection I instantly fell in love. How can you not love a shiny pony? See more of their spring shoe collection here. Enjoy

How to: Succulent Terrarium

I have long been a fan of succulents not only because of their unique beauty, but because they are the perfect house plant: low maintenance and hard to kill. I bought this large hurricane glass from target last summer when I moving into my apartment, and it has been a great investment. It held multiple succulents last summer, christmas ornaments during the holiday season, pine cones during the first of the year, and it is back to succulents. So, with the weather warming up, it was time to ditch the pine cones and enter spring with something more seasonal. Succulents were once again the answer. Here is how to make your own.
First, find a large hurricane glass so your succulent has room to breath. I choose a tall glass with a medium width mouth. Fill the bottom of your glass with a small layer of stones and top with a thicker layer of topsoil.
Next, add your succulent to the soil. Make sure to break up with roots so the plant settles and grows properly. I choose a low lying succulent. If you choose one that grows vertically you have the risk of it growing out of your container.
Then, add another layer of stones. You want the soil to be partially covered, so that you do not suffocate the succulent.
And you are done! Make sure to water it weekly and place near light. I have mine of the coffee table in my living room, but i will probably place it outside occasionally so it can get a little more sun. Choose whichever succulent and glass speaks to you, and you will have an instant warmth to any room.

March 11, 2013

Signs of Spring

Jacket: Jcrew, old (similar) // Top: Jcrew, in stores only // Belt: Jcrew // Jeans: Gap // Shoes: Madewell // Bag: Kate Spade // Sunglasses: Karen Walker

Yesterday may have qualified as the perfect Sunday. It started with waffles, had side trips to a picnic in the botanical gardens and a run to Steel City Pops (totally counts as exercise), and ended with homemade pizza on the patio. I wore this outfit on our picnic. The high was in the low 70's, but it was a little chilly around lunchtime so I put on a military style jacket to tone the look down. This new peplum top from Jcrew was perfect for this lovely spring day. I am looking forward to pairing it with skirts later this season, but for now, I will enjoy the warmer weather and longer days. 



March 8, 2013

Friday Favorites: Beach Bound


Sadly, I am not beach bound this year like my undergraduate friends, but I sure wish I was. A little dip in the gulf would be really nice right now. I honestly cannot believe it is already spring break. Where is the year going? My undergraduate spring break wardrobe consisted of bikinis, t-shirts, cheep sunglasses, and sandals. If I could go back and do it again, I would wear a one piece swimsuit and stow a skirt in a beach bag so I could easily go out for a bite to eat or a little shopping. If only I could do it again...

March 7, 2013

Spring Element: Electric Lips


When it comes to makeup I normally stick to the classics: nice blush, subtle eyeliner, and a creamy lip. But, every once in a while it is nice to step outside my comfort zone. Bold matte lips hit the runway for spring 2013 so I decided to give it a try. It was a nice change of pace compared to my usual mauve or coral. I was afraid the matte texture would feel to heavy, but it was actually very soothing. I used Nars Pure Matte in Carthage, but I also interested in trying a bold orange or red. Are there any beauty trends you will be trying this spring?

March 6, 2013

Life Lately


We have spent the last two weekends away from home. One was spent wedding planning, and the other was spent at a wedding. It really seems like weddings are taking over my life. I have almost every weekend scheduled with a wedding related event. All the planning is going according to schedule, and I am I anxiously awaiting seeing all my ideas come together. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy this upcoming weekend at home. 

Top: Camilla bush outside my apartment // Pink grapefruit in the morning 
Middle: Ina, the sleepiest cat around // Drinks at my favorite bar, City Grocery
Bottom: Leftover birthday cheesecake // Polka dot tights 

March 5, 2013

In the Kitchen: Coffee Fudge Cheesecake


Birthdays only happen once a year, so I believe you should have whatever dessert you want. I enjoy the classic birthday cake, but for Will, he prefers cheesecake. I find regular cheesecake to be heavy and dull, so I always like to switch it up. Last year, I made and almond flavored cheesecake. This year, I was in the mood for chocolate, and you can never go wrong with a classic combination like chocolate and coffee. Warning, this cheesecake is rich. So rich, you can only have a little piece. Will's birthday was two weeks ago, and we still have leftovers in the fridge. Make this cheesecake for a crowd if you do not want leftovers for weeks.

Coffee Fudge Cheesecake
Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients

Crust
15 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (I removed the cream filling)
5 ounces melted unsalted butter

Ganache
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
20 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup Kahlua

Filling
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons instant ground espresso
1/4 cup coffee
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature 

Method
Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor combine chocolate wafer cookies and melted unsalted butter. Pulse until crumbs begin to stick together. Transfer crumbs to a 9 inch cheesecake pan and press into bottom of the pan. Once crumbs are firmly packed, back for 10 minutes and let cool.

In a heavy sauce pan scald whipping cream. Remove from heat and add bittersweet chocolate and Kahlua. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour 3/4 of the ganache over the crust. Place in freezer and freeze until solid, about 30 minutes. Save remaining ganache for topping.

In a large bowl beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour, dark rum, instant ground espresso, coffee, and vanilla extract to the cream cheese mixture. Blend until combined. Add eggs one at a time, scrapping down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is combined.

Pour cream cheese mixture over the ganache and bake for 1 hour until top is browned and puffed. The middle will remain slightly jiggly. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, spoon leftover ganache mixture over the cheesecake to your liking. Keep chilled.

 

March 4, 2013

10 Things I Love about March


Spring is my favorite season. The longer days, warmer weather, and lighter layers makes for one happy girl. This past weekend showed no signs of spring, but I am staying positive. In a few weeks we will celebrate easter and daylight saving time. It will be time to break out the white denim before we know it, but until them I am going to enjoy the buds on the trees and tulips beginning to bloom. 

March 1, 2013

Friday Favorites: Spring Trends


It is the first day of March, and to me that means spring is here. We have a possibility of snow over the weekend, but I am not letting that get me down. I usually enjoy light colors and pastels this time of year, but I am enjoying all the graphic prints and pops of neon that are showcasing heavily this season. I am swooning over this black & white tibi dress. It is out of my price range, but a girl can dream, right? 

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I am heading to Mississippi today for a friend's wedding, and I am looking forward to revisiting my little college town. 
 

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