Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oversized Hood Denim Jacket & Camo Dress

This jacket traveled a very long way to get to me and I couldn't wait until the temperature dropped to wear it. There are many styles of outerwear, but my favorite (which is also not as easy to find), are over-sized hood jackets. When I found this one, I fell in love with the color (it's actually black in person although it looks blue), but especially the hood. It fit right into my wardrobe and has become a jacket I wear every chance I get.

This dress was really cute on the web and when I got it in the mail, I was pleased with the overall appearance. Usually if I buy a shirt dress I always have to alter the length, but this time I was lucky enough that it fit without having to do that. Being on the shorter side of life I never wear a dress like this without a belt. It definitely looks like a nightshirt on me without it.

|| Jacket: Found online | Dress: Old Navy | Belt: Patricia Field | Necklace & Tights: Forever 21 | Shoes: Call it Spring | Beanie: Urban Outfitters | Earrings: Charlotte Russe ||

So as you can see the dress falls above my knee which is critical. If you are on the shorter side, always make sure the hemline of your skirt or dress is just above the knee or else you'll appear even shorter.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My First Vintage Find!

Much of my style is inspired and created from newer clothes and occasional pieces that are made from recycled fabrics or redesigned clothes. Occasionally I like to check out shops that have unique and one-of-a-kind items that help evolve my style.

A few weeks back I had the chance to visit a clothing boutique that I'd been dying to get to for the past few months. I tried the top in the store and there was no question that it was mine. Now that I've finally had the chance to check out The Wonder Shop, I will definitely be heading back the next time I'm in that area.

The stitching and construction of the top is very detailed and adds to it's overall vibe. I only have to make a small adjustment so that it lays a tad bit better on me, but it's not too obvious to keep me from wearing it. Being a very unique top, I mixed it with more textures of black still allowing it to be the center of attention. I will continue to find more ways to wear this as I let my inspiration be my guide.

|| Top: Vintage | Skirt: Target | Tights: Forever 21 | Shoes: "Gabby" Steve Madden | Hat & Rings: H&M | Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters | Necklace: A gift from my mom ||

|| Lipstick: A combination of RiRi Woo (Rihanna for MAC) & Wild Thing (H&M) ||

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cut Out Sweatshirt Dress

So I know I've been a way for a little while. I've been working on some posts and this time of year there is always so much going on with all of the holidays coming up. I have also been working on some sewing projects which I hope to share with you all soon. In the meantime here is one of my latest looks. I got this dress for my birthday and I fell in love with it.

Instead of pairing this with a black shoe, I decided to give it a pop of color, going with a turquoise heel.

I especially love the sleeves of this dress!

|| Dress: Sparkle & Fade - you can buy it here (and it's on sale!) | Belt: Patricia Field | Heels: Jessica Simpson ||

So since it is fall, here is an alternative way I'd wear this dress. Even with the sheer inserts this dress has prove to be very warm.

|| Scarf: Old Navy | Tights: Forever 21 | Boots: Candies ||

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Staring at Stars Open Cardigan Sweater

This sweater was a birthday gift and have worn it quite a bit since I got it. It's a different looking sweater which is right up my alley. The reds and oranges in it remind me of fall. From first glance the outlines look black but they are actually navy.

The background is the first time you get a peek into my creative space where all the magic happens. Maybe one day I'll give you guys a tour, but for now enjoy me, my sweater and my record player.
 (And I promise the fur that you see on my coat rack behind me is fake.)

|| Sweater: Staring at Stars (Urban Outfitters) | Necklace: From my Mom | Black Tank: Old Navy | Leggings: Target | Cut Out Boots: Call It Spring | Lipstick Color: RiRi Woo & Wild Thing mixed together ||
(Record Player: Amazon | Record Stand: Urban Outfitters | The Donnas - "Gold Medal" Record)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Here Comes the Boom! - Phillip Lim for Target

Good things come to those who wait. I have learned that in fashion sometimes it pays to be aggressive to make sure you get what you want, but sometimes it does pay to wait. When the latest collection for Target came out from Phillip Lim, there weren't many items that really jumped out to me, except the sweatshirt. Seeing as sweaters and sweatshirts are staples in my fall wardrobe, I was excited that a little patience paid off as I finally found the sweatshirt. In fact where I went I had choices, but I grabbed the sweatshirt and kept it moving!

Even though it is still pretty early in the fall season (in terms of temperature) I am one to not waste time getting certain pieces I really like to wear during this time of year.

I decided to dress this one up a bit. Most of what I've seen is a more casual look with this sweatshirt. I am happy with the result of casual chic!

|| Sweatshirt: Phillip Lim for Target | Earrings: H&M | Jeans: Bullhead Denim (PacSun) | Heels: Dollhouse "Gravity" T-Straps ||

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Let the Sweater Sparkle!

So during my birthday weekend, (yes I claim the whole thing), I bought a few really cute tops. I absolutely love funky sweaters, especially the ones that remind me of Bill Cosby. This sweater popped out to me in the store because not only is it my favorite color combination, but it sparkles of course! A decent short sleeve sweater is hard to come by so I jumped at the opportunity to buy this one.

Oh the shoes! These heels have been on my mind since the first I saw them and oh are they comfortable. They are unbrushed leather and so easy to walk in. I hate having such a weakness for shoes!

|| Bowler Hat: Forever 21 | Sweater: Aryn K  | Jeans: Bullhead Denim (PacSun) | Heels: Steve Madden "Gabby" | Earrings: Kohl's ||

Monday, October 14, 2013

Berry Bluz

This is the time of year for tights. As it get cooler I love to wear them. Mixing purples and blues are so fun, the end result always comes out chic. Another twist to this outfit are the shorts. They are herringbone, which is a very popular fall fabric, adds more texture to the outfit, but still complements it nicely.

|| Scarf: Forever 21 | Sweater: Forever 21 | Shorts: Forever 21: Tights: Hue | Bag: Betsey Johnson | Shoes: Seychelles ||

Oh the shoes! I love these babies so much!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Autumn Food Shopping

This is the time of year I love to be in grocery stores and the local farmer's markets. There are so many great things to see and buy that will put you in the mood for the holiday season. I posted a few pictures on Instagram of my experiences this past weekend and here is a snapshot of what I bought.

(Challah bread rolls, Saranac Shirley Temple sodas (the best!), Black and White Straws, Heirloom tomato, 2 Candy Crisp apples (for applesauce), Wax beans, Sweet Potatoes, Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale, Saranac Pumpkin Ale, Honeycrisp & Sweet Tango apples (applesauce!), and Kale)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Food Fun: Homemade Ricotta Cheese Part II

So as promised I'd share with you all what I did with my newly made cheese. I found a recipe online from Ciao Italia and made her Ricotta Cheese Sauce with some pasta. You can find the recipe here.

Here is my take on the recipe and it was so good!

I used pretty much the same ingredients with a few differences:
- The ricotta cheese I made was from 2% milk instead of whole milk and I used all of it which was a little more than what the recipe called for.
- I added salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to my ricotta 
- I also added garlic powder (to taste) to the sauce. When I make anything Italian I always like to add it because it enhances the flavor, but it's optional.
- I reserved about 1/2 cup of pasta water instead of 1/3. It's better to have too much than not enough. This allows you to thin your sauce but retain flavor. Many cooks use pasta water to help create more sauce and a little more flavor.
- Since Parmesan is a low lactose cheese, I mixed it with some freshly grated Peccorino Romano (a sheep's milk cheese with low lactose) to give it an extra kick. Peccorino is a little on the salty side so it adds another layer of flavor.

**When cooking your pasta always salt your water and add a few drizzles of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). Many people forget this step, but it is very important because it is the only time you can season your pasta while it cooks.

Mmm! The rigatoni is al dente! Don't over cook your pasta because it will become mushy.

- Once you add your sauce ingredients, wait until after you mix these to add your pasta water.

- I added tomatoes as a garnish to give it some color. I can say I was pretty happy with the result. Next time I think I'll try to make lactose free mozzarella and ricotta so I can attempt lasagna!

The Red Hipster

This is the time of year where there is no excuse to not have at least 3-4 pairs of colored tights. Well I own over 30 pairs of tights. From black lace to orange polka dots to lots and lots of solids, there are endless possibilities to making a fab fall outfit with an extra punch.

|| Sweater: Lucca Couture | Shorts: Forever 21 | Solid Red Tights: HUE | Oxfords: Aldo ||


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gray Dayz

Fall is perfect for sweatshirts and this is a simple, yet chic way to casually wear a sweatshirt without the fuss. I am totally excited for fall!

|| 5 Min. DIY Necklace ||
(See rest of outfit details below)

|| Sweatshirt: Hanes | Necklace: Forever 21 | Skinnys: Bullhead | Metal Cap Toe flats: JC Penney | Studded Clutch: DIY | Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters ||

Undeniably the best part about Fall are the leaves changing colors! The foliage really puts me in the mood for this time of year.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Shredded to Pieces

Bandage leggings are a different way to wear traditional leggings. I love them because they are easily styled casual or dressy. This look leans toward rocker, edgy and casual. I will find myself wearing these a lot this fall. I feel like I should be on stage at a concert rocking out, electric guitar in hand.

|| Sunglasses: Betsey Johnson | Gold Earrings | Gold Layered Necklace: Forever 21 | Star Wars Shredded Tee: Hot Topic | Teal Lace Tank: Pins and Needles | Bandage Leggings: Amazon | Boots: 1460 Doc Martens ||

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Long Fall Overalls

This summer not only did I invest in a pair of overall shorts, I also bought a pair of long overalls. I used to own a pair when I was younger and have been dying to find a decent pair with no result. Finally I found a pair by BDG that flatter my shape and I can cuff to give a different look. With this particular look, I decided to liven up the overalls with a bold print, but still kept it chic, pairing it with a fierce heel.

It's always important to explore you wardrobe and never be afraid to mix it up!

|| Hat: Forever 21 | Leopard Blouse: H&M | Scarf: Calvin Klein | Overalls: BDG | Heels: Dollhouse "Gravity" ||

Food Fun: Homemade Lactose Free Ricotta Cheese Part I

Because my re-lactose intolerance has somewhat plagued my existence since it came back at the end of 2011. I have tried and tried to live without dairy like milk, sour cream cheeses, cream, ice cream, etc. I've known about the lactose free products for a while but I thought I'd give the no dairy thing a try. Well the result of that helped me drop 10 pounds within a short period of time because forcing myself to stay away from items that contained milk. (To this day, I have been still able to eat butter without a problem.) So after all of my searching and experimenting, I have found there is NO I repeat NO substitute for cheese.

The lactose free milk tastes okay, but because it's been such a long time since I've had it, anytime I tried to drink it there has been an after taste to it. So far out of all the LF foods I've tried, ice cream has been the only successful item that has stayed in my diet.

When I discovered that I could make my own cheese, especially with using LF milk, I was all over it. Making ricotta cheese was a lot easier than I thought and I will definitely make this again. It doesn't take a lot of ingredients to make. This will also work for regular milk. I found a couple of recipes online simply by searching the Internet and compiling what I found with what worked best and what I already had in my pantry.

Ready...set...let's make cheese!

Here are the ingredients:

- Half Gallon of Lactose Free Milk or Regular Milk (Here I used 2%)
- 8 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (Lemon Juice also works here)
- Large pot
- Large pitcher without the top
- Food thermometer (mine is a digital one)
- Wooden spoon
- Large deep bowl
- Cheesecloth
(Not Shown: Scissors, Twine, and a container to store your cheese)
Yields: about 2 cups of ricotta cheese
Step 1: Add the entire carton of milk to the large pot on medium heat. You don't want the milk to get too hot. So stir the milk as it get hotter to keep it from sticking to the bottom. Using the thermometer, periodically check the temperature, careful not to touch the tip to the bottom of the pot.
Step 2: Make sure the milk is at a temperature 175 degrees. This is the ideal temperature you want. Some recipes said to get it up to 190 degrees, but this works just fine to achieve the end result. While the milk it heating up, use your scissors and cut the cheesecloth and place two layers of it in your bowl. I laid each layer of the cheesecloth in opposite direction to catch as much of the cheese as possible.
Step 3: Now that the milk has reached the right temperature, turn off the stove and remove from the heat. Add the apple cider vinegar to the milk.
Step 4: Only give it ONE stir and let it sit, that is crucial. Over stirring will mess up the process. The milk will start to curdle. This is exactly what is supposed to happen so when you start to see separation in the pot don't worry! Let is sit for 15 minutes untouched.

Step 5: After curdling, pour the contents of the pot into the cheesecloth and bowl.
Step 6: Cut a piece of twine about a foot long. Set aside. Get your pitcher and sit it next to the bowl along with the wood spoon. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and tie it closed leaving a tail on both ends. 

Step 7: Tie the tails of the the string to the wooden spoon. Carefully lift the cheesecloth out of the bowl and let it hang for a few seconds. Lift and place the bundle into the pitcher.  The pitcher will catch any additional liquid that drains from the bundle. Set it in the refrigerator for the next 2-3 hours, pouring off any liquid in the bottom of the picture.
Step 8: What is left in your bowl is whey. It can be used to thicken soups, to add to smoothies and drinks, and can even be successful in making more cheese! (It has to been heated to a higher temperature of about 200 degrees to make more ricotta). I've decided to freeze mine for now until I figure out what to do with it. From what I've read it lasts about six weeks so I placed it in a container and dated it with the date I made it and 6 weeks after. Don't get rid of the bowl just yet!
Step 9: Pull your pitcher with the bundle out of the refrigerator. (You will know it's ready because you will not find much whey left draining into the bottom. Take your empty bowl and place you bundle in it. Untie the bundle and open and spread the cheesecloth open. What is left in the bundle is your cheese!
Step 10: Take the spoon and scrape the cheese into your container. You can go ahead and add a little salt if you choose or you can eat it as is. Some people like to spread it on toast and add fruit or you can do it more savory adding it to stuffed shells. Depending on how much you need, you may have to make the ricotta in a bigger batch.
Stay tuned for Part II to see what I do with my newly made cheese!