August 26, 2015

Succulent Terrarium


After college I became obsessed with succulents. I spent many weekends browsing the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for inspiration and succulent care tips. I bought a few different varieties, planted them in a hurricane glass, and after a few months drowned them. I tend to be a little overzealous with watering. So after a few years off, I am giving succulents another try. I visited Fifth Season Gardening where I learned how to build a proper succulent terrarium and how to keep my succulents alive. See below for a few tips and how to create this succulent terrarium at home. 



Succulent Terrarium

Glass Container
Rocks
Pea Gravel
Cactus/Succulent Soil
Assorted Succulents

1. Select a glass container with a wide opening so that succulents are able to breath easily and moisture does not collect.

2. Place a 2-3 inch layer of small rocks on the bottom of the container. Then, place a thin layer of pea gravel over the rocks, this will help with drainage.

3. Place a thick layer of cactus/succulent soil over the pea gravel. You want it to be deep enough so the roots are fully submerged. Create holes in the soil for assorted succulents. Arrange them however you please, but keep in mind that some succulents spread while others become taller.

4. Remove succulents from pots and break apart roots. Place succulents in pre made holes and secure in place by pressing soil firmly around the base. Repeat this process with remaining succulents.

5. Add any desired accents like rocks, gravel, or garden ornaments.

Tips

Place terrarium in sunny spot. Succulents like sunlight, but do not need to be in full sun. Placing the terrarium in indirect sunlight will be sufficient, like on a coffee table or dresser. If you are afraid they are not getting enough sunlight place outside for a few hours each day. Succulents are adapted to survives droughts so watering once a week until soil is moist is sufficient. Beware of over-watering which can kill succulents. Splurge on the cactus/succulent soil. It helps improve drainage and increases evaporation keeping your terrarium from becoming overly moist.


August 25, 2015

In the Kitchen: Peach & Blackberry Cobbler




Want a final go at making a delicious summer dessert? This peach and blackberry cobbler will solve all of your summertime blues (probably not, but it is really good). We took this cobbler to a friend's dinner party last summer, and I have been craving it ever sense. The biscuit topping is light enough that it does not overpower the fruit, and it pairs perfectly with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. I'm hoping we will be able to enjoy it again before peach season comes to an end. 



Peach & Blackberry Cobbler 

Filling:
4 peached peeled & sliced 
1/4 cup sugar 
1/4 tsp nutmeg 
1 cup blackberries

Combine first 3 ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, removing from heat and stir in blackberries. Set aside.

Topping:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
3 tbs cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup milk

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a small bowl. Mix butter into dry ingredients until butter resembles small peas. Gently stir in milk and mix until combined.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour filling into a greased baking dish. Spoon topping onto filling, they should be about 1 1/2 inches wide. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.



August 24, 2015

Style: Sleeveless Beaded Top

I pretty much live for end of the season J.Crew sales. You can get great deals on pieces you have otherwise turned down or snag a piece you've had your eye on all season. I picked up this  beaded zip top a few weeks ago. I love how the brightly colored beading pops against the white cotton fabric. Pair it with your favorite jeans and sandals, and you have a simple summer look. My only regret is not buying this top earlier in the summer so I could get a few more wears in. For now, I'll just have to save it for next year. 


August 21, 2015

Style: French Market Bag




With the summer quickly coming to an end, I am enjoying every trip to the farmer's market I can. We snapped these photos after a trip to the market last weekend where we stocked up on tomatoes and squash. My french market bag is the perfect size to carry our bounty while still looking stylish. We plan on heading to the market tomorrow morning, to once again buy too many tomatoes. Do you plan on heading to your farmer's market this weekend?



August 19, 2015

Style: End of Summer Deals


We're over halfway through August. How did that happen? I'm not fully ready to give up summer, but I am ready to shop a few summer sales. Stores are starting to push fall merchandise, so now is the perfect time to grab a few end of summer deals. When shopping at the end of any season I like for pieces I can wear for through the next few months. I wore this swing tunic earlier in the summer and I know it will look great with boyfriend jeans and booties in the fall. It is now on sale, plus an additional 20% off. How can you say no when a sale is on sale? Shop a few of my favorite sale pieces below, and let me know what great summer deals you've found.  



August 18, 2015

In the Kitchen: Biscuits & Tomato Gravy


My husband and I have very different, yet similar relationships with biscuits. Will grew up eating them for breakfast along with eggs and bacon, while I grew up eating them with dinner slathering them with butter and jam like they were dessert. But, we both grew up eating the kind that comes out of a tub. I still enjoy the occasional store-bought biscuit, but my husband has perfected his homemade biscuits. He makes them every few months for leisurely weekend breakfasts, and when we visited the farmer's market on Saturday morning I knew I had to make tomato gravy to accompany them. Tomato gravy is like a buttery version of tomato sauce, that goes perfectly with a flaky biscuit and a fried egg. Plus, you're eating vegetables for breakfast so it can't be that bad for you, right? 


Biscuits & Tomato Gravy 

Biscuits 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 milk
1/4 greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse butter in food processor with dry ingredients until butter is thoroughly combined. Pulse a few time to add in yogurt and milk until a ball forms.

Remove mixture onto a floured surface. Knead a few times, and then roll mixture out until 1/2 inch thick. Cut biscuits into 1 inch round biscuits using a biscuit cutter or a glass. Place biscuits on a baking sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes until golden brown. 

Tomato Gravy 
3 tablespoons butter 
1/2 yellow onion, diced 
1 1/2 tablespoons flour 
1/2 teaspoon thyme 
3 tomatoes, roughy chopped  
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons half & half

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add flour and stir constantly until roux has a light brown color, this should take about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes until tomatoes have reduced and thickened. The mixture should coat the back on a spoon. Remove from heat and add cayenne pepper and half & half. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. 



August 17, 2015

Style: Switch It Up


One of my favorite aspects of blogging is sharing what is fresh and new. Putting together a new outfit for the blog is always a highlight of my week but, the majority of my outfits you never see. Not all of the are aspirational, and some days they are downright boring, but I want to start sharing how I restyle pieces from my closet. I posted this midi tank while I was living in Charleston down by the water. It is a great summer top, but it can easily be outfitted to fit different locations. This time I put it on backwards and tied it in a knot to accentuate its shorter hemline. When paired with a longer bottom, a crop top can still look appropriate for all ages.  



Anthropologie Tiled Midi Tank // Madewell Skirt (similar) // Rebeccam Minkoff Cross Body Bag (similar) // Karen Walker Sunglasses

August 14, 2015

In the Kitchen: Classic Ratatouille


One of my favorite aspects of living in Charlottesville is how overflowing the farmer's market is in August. Stands are filled with squash, peaches, and enough tomatoes to eat them on almost everything. Once this time rolls around I have one dish on my mind: ratatouille. I featured ratatouille on the blog a few years ago, but recently altered my cooking method for a more classic french style. The tomatoes create a light sauce, and there is far less prep work involved. I love it with pearled couscous and a little sour cream, but it would also work well as a side dish served with your favorite grilled meat. What are your go-to meals during the summer?


 Ratatouille 

2 small eggplants cut into 1/2 inch dice 
1 red pepper cut into 1/2 inch dice 
2 small zucchini cut into 1/2 inch dice 
1 large yellow squash cut into 1/2 inch dice 
1 yellow onion minced 
4 cloves garlic minced 
1/4 cup chiffonade basil 
1 tablespoon fresh thyme 
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3-4 tablespoons olive oil 

Place eggplant in a colander and toss with a tablespoon of salt. Allow eggplant to drain in the sink for 20 minutes. 

Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and saute eggplant until golden brown on all sides. Remove from dutch oven and set aside. 

Add additional 2 tablespoons olive oil to the dutch oven along with diced onions. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash and saute until golden brown (add more olive oil if necessary). Add garlic and herbs and saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and eggplant and reduce heat. Cover dutch oven and cook until tomatoes have softened and a sauce has formed. Garnish with basil and serve warm. 


August 13, 2015

Dog Days of Summer Playlist


The last few weeks have been like one long vacation. As we get back into our routine in Charlottesville I am missing the freedom this summer has offered. We've been able to visit family, travel, and relax. Before classes start back and fall arrives, I hope to get a few more long summer days in. Sipping a drink at the pool while listening to this playlist sounds like the perfect way to end a memorable summer. 


Let Her Go // Mac Demarco 
Feel It All Around // Washed Out 
Teenage Talk // St. Vincent 
We Are the People // Empire Of The Sun 
Afterlife // Arcade Fire 
Heatwave // Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
Catamaran // Allah-Las 
Who Know Who Cares // Local Natives 
Electric Love // BORNS 
Home // LCD Soundsystem 
Time of the Season // The Zombies 
Step // Vampire Weekend 
Hamilton Road // Ducktails 



August 12, 2015

Style: Linen Midi Dress


We've officially reached some of the hottest days of summer. We are in the final stretch, and I am reaching for lightweight dresses to get me through the last few weeks. I picked up this linen midi dress from Ann Taylor on a sale a few weeks ago. I love that it is a mix of cotton and linen so the wrinkling is at a minimum. So, I still look put together at the end of the day. Paired with my favorite straw hat and I have a look that to me, embodies August.


August 10, 2015

Style: Lace Up Flats


A pair of lace up flats are high on my wish list. I had my eye on them earlier in the year, and now that multiple designers are carrying them for fall I want a pair of my own. I love that you can easily pair them with either denim or dresses. The pointed toe elongates your leg, so you can forgo your heels in favor of comfort. Plus, they've proven the ability to be worn during any season which adds to their wearability. Shop a few of my favorites below and let me know what you think of this new trend. 




August 5, 2015

In the Kitchen: Lowcountry Boil


My husband and I love seafood. We normally have fish for dinner at least once a week so while we were in Charleston we took advantage of the abundance of fresh seafood. Shrimp is hard to come by in central Virginia so we indulged all summer. Making a lowcountry boil quickly became one of our favorites. It is incredibly easy to make: throw it all in a pot and enjoy! Plus, using only one pot makes for easy cleanup. This recipe can just as easily feed a crowd as it can a couple for dinner. 



 Lowcountry Boil

1 pound shrimp
2 ears corn
dozen small new potatoes
2 lemons, sliced
2-4 tablespoons old bay
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add old bay, garlic, 1 lemon, onion, and salt and stir to combine. 

Add corn and potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft. Add shrimp and cook until pink, this will only take a minute. Remove from water and serve with additional sliced lemon and your favorite cocktail sauce.

August 4, 2015

August Favorites


I'm finding this are to believe, but I am ready for fall. It has been a long, hot summer and I am ready to dive into a new season. I know it will still be too warm to wear a few of these items, but putting together my a new wardrobe has me excited for cooler weather. Does anyone else feel this way? See a few of my favorite pieces this month below. 

ONE This tank would look great layered under a dress or sweater. // TWO One more straw hat can never hurt, right? // THREE Keep your notes in one place with this chic notepad. // FOUR This black bucket bag is a perfect year-round choice. // FIVE It is way to warm for a jacket so layer on this sleeveless blazer. // SIX & SEVEN This matching set is high on my wishlist. // EIGHT Lace-up flats are huge for fall, and these are under $100. // NINE Add a little glam to your home with these golden dogs. // TEN Get matte lips for fall with this art stick set. // ELEVEN Wrap up in this polka-dot and stripe scarf. // TWELVE A classic black jumpsuit will last through all seasons. 

August 3, 2015

Style: Summer Wedding Guest Dress




Do you have any more weddings to attend this summer? I had two earlier in the summer, and I wore this dress to both. I love the simple cut and bright yellow color of this 4.Collective dress I bought at Anthropologie. When shopping for wedding guest dresses I look for two things: comfort and usability. I want to be able to spend the evening dancing and wear it again. This dress covers both of those easily. What do you look for in wedding guest attire? 



 

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