Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ann Taylor Sparkle

I've been on the hunt for pieces that I can wear casually during the day and then dress up for a holiday party or two. While I do love a good LBD, sometimes I do want to wear a bit of color... and while I love a bright red, it can be a little overdone for a holiday party. How perfect is this pale pink sweater? The color is wintery and the little sparkle is a great festive touch.

I also can't get over these shoes... I really have so many shoes, I couldn't imagine needing another pair. But the grey.... the grey! They go with everything and I am not exaggerating when I say they were comfortable the second I slipped my feet into them. (Which you know is great if you have tons of parties lined up and want to feel good all night long!)

Shop more sparkly finds by scrolling below:

Thank you Ann Taylor for sponsoring this post!
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

DKM Accessories Giveaway

I'm heading home to Florida today to spend Thanksgiving with my family! It's been about six months since I was there and I'm definitely itching for some Tampa time. To celebrate going home... I thought the perfect giveaway today would be with one of my favorite Tampa boutiques, DKM Accessories!

I've been a DKM Accessories customer my whole life! My mom, sister, and I love popping into the store whenever we have a free afternoon. Between the three of us, we can do some serious damage. We each find perfect things that we really just can't live without. DKM has the best selection of nice jewelry, including personalized pieces!

Today we're giving away a personalized bar necklace! The winner can choose between gold and silver... and personalize it exactly how they wish. (I love the option they show on the website with two initials and an ampersand.... cutest gift from a significant other!)

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!
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Friday, November 21, 2014

On My Radar

It's been a full week trying to get tie up loose ends here before heading back to Florida for the holidays. Teddy and I are flying to Tampa Saturday afternoon and will be there for a full week. Really can't even tell you how excited I am... especially for the warm weather and sunshine! Packing is SO weird though... I swear, I have to go into a completely different mindset to pull clothes out of my closet.

Wearing: Sequin Top + White Skirt + Grey Suede Pumps (c/o Ann Taylor) and BaubleBar necklace (c/o)

One of the more exciting things that happened was a photoshoot of apartment for Style Me Pretty Living. To be honest, I've been hesitant to do one of these "published" apartment tours. I think the photos are going to turn out great and I think they're a really great thing to use as inspiration. BUT THEY ARE NOT REAL LIFE. Like, at all. It's pretty staged and all of my "real life clutter" was moved into my bathtub. In fact, my kitchen table wasn't photographed because there's currently a printer on it and boxes of organized clothes for upcoming blog posts. So next time you see beautiful photos on Pinterest, just picture a bathtub full of real life ;-) 

Although, I do obsessively make my bed every morning... so that's pretty accurate below.

Wallpaper: Anthropologie; Bookshelf: Container Store; Bedding: Crane and Canopy (c/o); Pillows: Caitlin Wilson Textiles (c/o) & Kate Spade

Onto my radar (lots of videos I think you'll love!):

ONE // Kids in trouble, dad can't stop laughing

This is going to be me as a parent. I don't think I'll be able to keep a straight face half the time. I think the best part of this video are the kids' eyes... they're just so guilty. 

There was this article floating around my Georgetown friends' Facebook pages. It must have been texted to me about six times, too! Jack the Bulldog (Georgetown's mascot) is killing it on Instagram. Whoever is in charge of his account deserves a raise and a great recommendation letter! I feel like anyone can appreciate this account, even if you're not a Hoya, because he really is a cute dog! (And then there's this one... ha.)

THREE // Puppies climbing stairs

Okay, well... while we're talking about dogs... I loved this video!!! There was a solid month when Teddy could not walk up or down the stairs. Even after he learned, he would sometimes topple over legs over head! (This was a BIG day!) The cutest part of this video is the older dogs teaching the pups... my heart!

Need outfit inspiration for the cooler months? This is such a good round up of New Yorkers' style right now. And unlike some of the crazier weeks, these are all pretty normal outfits anyone can pull off. Instant chic!

FIVE // Idina Menzel and Michael Buble

A) this is one of my favorite holiday songs B) Idina Menzel is brilliant C) the video could not be cuter. Enjoy!

Anything good on your radar this week?


PS Did you miss any of my gift guides? Monogrammed Gifts // Gifts for Guys // Gifts for Girls // Stocking Stuffers
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stocking Stuffers

Stocking stuffers are so much fun to open. I know a bunch of families have different traditions when it comes to stockings. Growing up, we'd hang the stockings at night and then in the morning my mom would have each of the family member's (dad, grandparents, Stacy, hers, and mine) on different couches and chairs in the living room. Some years we'd have bigger gifts instead of straight up stocking stuffers, but they generally were small, unwrapped fun little things.

Hilarious "sign of the times" side story... When I was in seventh grade, my friend and I begged our parents for cell phones. Mind you, cell phones at the time were little boxes with a black and white screen with which to play Snake. Our moms must have shopped together because they got us these round disk games (where you try to move the pieces inside to the right holes... filled with water? no idea how to explain) that had a picture of a phone instead. We were not thrilled with their cleverness.

We always start the morning with opening our stockings and then move on to the presents under the tree. Always such a fun time– my mom is great with stocking stuffers!

Here are some of my suggestions:

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Bit By the Baking Bug

I'm really beginning to settle into my hibernation mode over here. There's something so cozy about baking and very holiday-y. It makes me feel like I'm back at home! And if there was any question about how much I am turning into my mom, this whole baking thing is totally Meesh (my mom's name is Michele, we call her Meesh). At one point this week, there was banana bread, cornbread muffins, apple cinnamon doughnuts, and cookie dough in the freezer.

My trip to Sur La Table (recapped here) has really reinvigorated my spirit for baking. I've gotten over the fact that my kitchen is the size of a postage stamp, figured out how to fit everything in my oven for storage, and even converted my bar cart to a mini-pantry for appliances that don't fit anywhere else. It's so relaxing for me to just measure, mix, stir, bake... and enjoy!

For some reason, I never take inventory of my cupboards before going to the grocery store. So I have a bit of a surplus of flour. I'd rather have extra than not enough though... so it's not so bad! (Funny enough, it's the same case for sugar... whoops.)  

Banana Bread smells so great! It's not necessarily my favorite thing to eat in the world (don't get me wrong, I will eat and like it...), but it smells heavenly. It's almost worth baking just for the smell alone!

I think the recipe I use is from Betty Crocker... My mom sent me a scan of our recipe book at home so I can't be too sure:

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cups milk
1 egg
2-3 mashed bananas (OLD over-ripe)

Mix everything together (that easy), pour into loaf pan, bake for 65 to 75 minutes at 350ยบ.

Chocolate chip cookies. Garrett and I obviously can't eat all the cookies from one batch of dough, so I've been double-wrapping in wax paper and storing it in the fridge. Thaw the dough and roll out the cookies... however many or few as you like!

(Our family favorite recipe!)

The doughnuts have to be the best thing I've ever decided to buy... and make. I picked out the doughnut pan from Sur La Table and the Apple Cider Doughnut Mix, too. It's so easy and the results are insanely delicious. I do have a couple of tricks about the doughnut pan from my first run. You have to grease the pan really well. I did an okay job with butter, but a spray like Baker's Joy would have been better. The doughnuts got stuck in the pan anywhere it wasn't perfectly greased and they fell apart a bit while taking them out. The biggest tip I have is to PIPE the dough into the pan. I didn't have pastry bags, so I spooned the dough into a plastic bag and snipped the corner. Instant pastry bag! I would go light on the dough per doughnut as they do rise a lot while baking and it cooks more evenly if they're smaller.

Next up on my to-bake-list is zucchini bread! I'll share the recipe we love when I bake it... So, so good.

What's your favorite thing to bake? Any family favorites?

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