Sunday, November 28, 2010

back in the saddle

Trepak

Trepak

Trepak

Trepak

Sorry for the brief absence. I had such great aspirations for blogging over my "staycation," but it was nice to have zero deadlines and schedules for a week, so the blogging took a bit of a hiatus, too.

Trepak

Trepak

This editorial by Zanita Whittington starring Bambi Northwood inspired me to bust out my "boot bling" again. Need to make a mental note to hunt for more when I'm in New Mexico for the holidays... Speaking of the holidays, I'm already in full "holiday mode." The Nutcracker channel on Pandora has been playing nonstop and I can't help but smile every time I see Christmas lights. We even did all of our decorating this weekend. Yup, we're fast becoming those people.

Trepak

Topshop military cape
Target v-neck
H&M jeans
Dolce Vita boots
"boot bling" from a random western store
Saddleback Leather bag

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A little gasoline... blowtorch... no problem.

A little gasoline... blowtorch... no problem.

A little gasoline... blowtorch... no problem.

A few months ago, B and I were watching "Beetlejuice," and thought to ourselves, Adam and Barbara were onto something with their stay-at-home vacation idea (minus the unfortunate demise and posthumous home confinement). So our Thanksgiving week has been dedicated to "home projects," which is really just lazing about and occasionally hanging a picture or two when the mood strikes us. It's glorious.

A little gasoline... blowtorch... no problem.

A little gasoline... blowtorch... no problem.

A little gasoline... blowtorch... no problem.

Remember I told you I might have cheated when I chose "only one bag" from Saddleback Leather? I did. Officially. I love this bag. It's kind of heavy, but I kind of don't care (I sense my husband rolling his eyes as he's reading this. Stop rolling your eyes!)

French Connection sweater
Rubbish shirt
H&M jeans
Saddleback Leather bag
Balenciaga boots

Monday, November 22, 2010

French Scalloped Potatoes

French Scalloped Potatoes

With Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to share one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. It goes great with turkey and ham! This recipe is a hybrid of a few different ones I've tried over the years and, I like to think, combines the best elements of all of them.

For this recipe you will need:

  2 1/4 lbs potatoes
  2-3 cups cream
  1 bay leaf
  at least 3 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (this time I used rosemary, thyme, sage, and marjoram)
  1-2 tbsp butter, softened
  3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  1 cup grated gruyère
  salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the potatoes into fairly thing slices.

Put the potatoes into a large saucepan and pour over just enough cream to cover the potatoes. Add the salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the fresh herbs and simmer for an additional 5 minutes until the potatoes just start to soften, but are not completely cooked, and the cream has thickened.

Generously butter a 2 liter/8 cup shallow baking dish and sprinkle the garlic over the base.

Spoon the potatoes and cream into the baking dish, alternating with some of the gruyère. Sprinkle remaining gruyère on top.

Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the cream is absorbed and the top is a deep golden brown.

French Scalloped Potatoes

PS I've really enjoyed the tips I've gotten for the past few recipes I've posted. Keep 'em coming!

Friday, November 19, 2010

cashmere + the crème de la crème

cashmere + the crème de la crème

cashmere + crème de la crème

cashmere + crème de la crème

Recently, Bebe offered me and 8 other stylish bloggers the opportunity to participate in a contest where we each got to style one of their incredibly soft cashmere sweaters. Not normally being a red person, I picked red - makes sense, right? I'm so glad I did. It's a very rich color and I feel like my wardrobe could use some color right now. Pretty perfect for the coming holiday season, too. Check out all of the looks here (I'm sure you'll see some familiar faces :-).

cashmere + crème de la crème

cashmere + crème de la crème

These are my first Pradas and, I have to say, they're built like sports cars. Or at least I'm guessing they are from the way my husband talks about them (sports cars, not the shoes).  I don't know very much about cars, but I imagine if one could wear a pair of Ferraris, it would feel like this. I also love the bows because they look like whiskers.

cashmere + crème de la crème

H&M hat
Bebe cashmere sweater
vintage necklace
Hermes bangles
vintage belt
Reiss skirt
Boyy bag
Prada pumps

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

you might be the strange delightful

you might be the strange delightful

you might be the strange delightful

you might be the strange delightful

you might be the strange delightful

The weather was gorgeous this weekend! You'd hardly know it was November. Perhaps all this mild weather is making up for Snowmageddon?

you might be the strange delightful

Still loving the bag and the furbies, in case you had any doubts.

you might be the strange delightful

Gap sweater
Young, Fabulous and Broke t-shirt
vintage beaded necklace
Saddleback Leather bag
H&M tights
Dolce Vita fur-trimmed booties

PS I started a tumblr to share the inspiration that I find in my daily Internet travels. Not everything that I love always fits into blog format, so I hope this will fill the gaps in between.

Monday, November 15, 2010

black bag found

black bag found

Some of my regular readers and twitter followers are probably sick of hearing about my black bag search saga. I've tried and returned no less than 4 bags, not to mention the countless ones I've saved to my favorites file. At long last, the search is over (at least for now). Thanks to this post on Vanessa Jackman's blog and a helpful anonymous commenter, I found Saddleback Leather Company. A bag that's fashionable, practically indestructible, and has a 100 year warranty? Sign me up. The hardest part was narrowing the choice down to one bag (and I may or may not have cheated on that). Oh and did I mention this little number converts into a backpack? Yessss...

PS Check out the gallery of customer photos. My favorite is this one.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quiche Lorraine with a Twist

Quiche Lorraine with a Twist

This Quiche Lorraine recipe is one of my favorite recipes. Period. The end. I've made a lot of quiches in my time, but this one is, hands down, the best. It's filling, but whenever I make it, people always seem to take second (and third) helpings. I wish I could take credit for it, but it's another one of the genius creations from French: The Secrets of Classic Cooking Made Easy. The other day, I thought it might be fun to switch it up a little with one of my favorite veggies, leeks. I love the pop of color it added and it's a most delicious change of flavor from the traditional onions. Here's the recipe:

Quiche Lorraine with a Twist

For this recipe you will need:

  1 9 in pastry crust
  1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  6 slices of bacon, chopped
  1 leek, thinly sliced*
  3 egg
  1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  5 oz Gruyère cheese, diced
  salt and freshly ground black pepper

Quiche Lorraine with a Twist

**The thing about leeks is they're a big fat pain in the butt to clean. I've found that, rather than doing the whole flaying song and dance, it's a hell of a lot easier just to remove and discard the dark green parts, slice the remaining part into ringlets, and rinse them in the colander or salad spinner. This is a much simpler way to clean the leeks thoroughly

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prick the base of the pastry crust and line with foil. Fill with baking beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and beans, brush the crust with mustard, and bake for an additional 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.

In a frying pan, cook the bacon over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and browned.

Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Pour off most of the fat from the pan, add the leeks, and cook over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until soft.

Beat the eggs and cream together and season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle half the cheese over the pastry crust, spread the leeks over the cheese, and add the bacon, then top with the remaining cheese.

Pour on the egg mixture and bake for 35-45 minutes until set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Quiche Lorraine with a Twist

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

end of days

end of days

end of days

end of days

I actually bought this skirt at Goodwill with the intention of using it for my Halloween costume. However, when faced with the prospect of possibly ruining it in a bar on Bourbon Street, I freaked. It's in such great condition and I have such great plans for this skirt - how could I place it in the line of fire like that? When I took it to the tailor to have it fitted, she even commented on the fact that it's actually the right length for me (she's usually letting hems out on whatever I bring in). Needless to say, another, less fortunate skirt stood in.

end of days

end of days

end of days

I got this bag in an antique store in Annapolis waaay back at the beginning of the summer and I've been biding my time for velvet season to come back around again. What can I say? I'm a sucker for tassels.

end of days

end of days

H&M blouse
vintage pocket watch necklace
green amber ring from a market in Biarritz
vintage sweater
vintage velvet skirt
vintage velvet tassel purse
Betseyville shoes

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fair Isle and Furbies

Fair Isle and Furbies

Fair Isle and Furbies

I found this delightful little sweater whilst vintage shopping in New Orleans. It's generally impossible not to find vintage treasures in New Orleans, but I have to say I wouldn't have taken this one home if not for some well-needed peer pressure from my little shopping peer, S. If she had her druthers, I would have come home with a few additional things (aside from a beautiful lace dress that I just couldn't let go).

Fair Isle and Furbies

Fair Isle and Furbies

Fair Isle and Furbies

Almost fell here. Not the most agile of creatures. No, that we are most certainly not.

Fair Isle and Furbies

Also busted out the soon-to-be much-loved furry boots (affectionately dubbed "the furbies"). They keep my ankles so warm and toasty!

Fair Isle and Furbies

vintage Fair Isle sweater vest
vintage lace blouse
vintage necklace
H&M jeans
Dolce Vita fur-trimmed booties
Bally bag

Friday, November 5, 2010

B's Spicy Pinto Beans

I have a major backlog of recipes to share with you all! This slow-cooker recipe is perfect for when the days start to get cold and you're craving something hot and satisfying to warm you up. It also requires very minimal work/attention.  I have to credit this recipe to my husband's culinary genius, as he is the bean expert in this family. This recipe has been carefully refined over the years and I can safely say it's pretty much perfect by now.

For this recipe you will need:

  1 lb dried pinto beans
  6 cups filtered water (no chlorine, it will ruin the flavor)
  4 strips bacon, chopped
  1 large yellow onion, chopped
  3-4 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  a couple dashes of cayenne pepper
  at least a teaspoon of salt (but this can be adjusted according to your taste)
  10 grinds of fresh pepper

B's Spicy Pinto Beans
Need I say more?

Rinse the beans and check for rocks. Place the beans in the slow cooker. Add the filtered water and let them soak overnight (8 hours minimum).

In the morning, add the bacon, onion, jalapenos, spices, salt, and pepper.

B's Spicy Pinto Beans

Turn the slow cooker on High and cook for 6-7 hours until the beans are soft and the broth is thick. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

B's Spicy Pinto Beans

Ridiculously easy, right?

These beans are great for "Round 2" recipes. Slap them on a tortilla with cheese, microwave for a minute, and Bam!, you've got yourself a delicious bean burrito. Fry 'em up and you've got refried beans. I'm sure you creative cooks out there can dream up endless possibilities.

PS I apologize for the shameless use of Food Network catch-phrases. It was too easy. Yum-O!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

where the livin' is easy...

where the livin' is easy...

where the livin' is easy...

where the livin' is easy...

where the livin' is easy...

This is probably the most "summery" outfit I'll be wearing for a while. Considering the current DMV temperatures, I think it's going to be wool layers, boots, and thick outerwear from here on out. Not that I mind. With so much traveling, I haven't had quite the selection I usually like to pull from. I'm definitely looking forward to staying put and being a shut-in for a while. All the more time to devote to you, my virtual friends :-)

where the livin' is easy...

where the livin' is easy...

A couple NOLA Halloween decoration photos I forgot to share yesterday.

where the livin' is easy...

I instantly feel like I'm on vacation when I see this view from Balcony Bar looking down Magazine Street. Ah, I miss it already...

H&M blouse
Topshop leather shorts
Candela lace oxfords
KMRii bag
Hermes bangles