Thursday, December 23, 2010

This or That: Peppermint Ice Cream

I've always thought it a shame that peppermint ice cream is largely a seasonal flavor. When I was younger, I begged my mom to stock the freezer with as many tubs as possible, only to be disappointed come February when the last of the supply was diminished. To this day, my obsession with seasonal ice cream flavors (pumpkin around Thanksgiving, etc.) continues to amuse my friends. In honor of my favorite winter flavor:

 Seasonally appropriate peppermint and chocolate treats....

... and an equally sweet plaid Lacoste shirt dress.

Image via weheartit.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Presented Like a Present

When it comes to Christmas gifts, I think packaging is just as important as the contents. That's not to say that it is more important, as obviously an intricately wrapped empty box is just that - an empty box. However, I do think that the little extra thought that goes into picking a lovely paper and coordinating ribbon and creating a personalized tag really adds a nice element to the gift.

With shopping in full swing, I've had bows and ribbons on the mind. When I came across this image, I instantly was smitten. The delicate bow and coordinating nail polish come together to form a beautiful picture.

While it would be pretty simple to whip up a version with a little ribbon and an old ring, I like the polish and durability of the following rings as well:

1. Charlotte Russe, $4. 2. Charlotte Russe, $7. 3. Coach, $68 (I posted about the matching bangle earlier).

Image via weheartit.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Moleskine Collaborations

What's a Moleskine? From the company's website:
Moleskine is the legendary notebook that has held the inspirations and ideas of everyone from Van Gogh, Picasso and Hemingway to famed author, Bruce Chatwin. Artists, authors, and geniuses of all variety have long appreciated the simplicity and superior functionality of these notebooks.
Moleskine books were originally produced by small French bookbinders. However, In 1986, the last manufacturer of Moleskine, a family operation in Tours, closed and Moleskine production ceased. In 1998, a small Milanese publisher revived the classic book.

I was thrilled when I saw that Moleskine had collaborated on a special set of books to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Pacman. Pacman, and of course Mrs. Pacman and the ghosts, are indispensable pop culture icons instantly recognizable by several generations.

Moleskines are a bit pricey compared to other notebooks, but the quality and design are well worth the expense. The iconic pocket in the back of the book is handy for holding everything from business cards to ticket stubs, and I love the creative feeling I get totting around a notebook for ideas and sketches. With a variety of colors, sizes, and paper, there's a Moleskine for every type.

Image via

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sweater Dresses

I have to admit my first reaction to sweater dresses was to balk at their impracticality. After all, if it's cold enough to warrant wearing a sweater, shouldn't you at least wear some proper pants? I'd like to invoke the ignorance of youth as my defense. Moving on, I've grown to love sweater dresses paired with tights and flats or leggings and boots.

This BCBG black sweater dress with a cowl neck is one of my favorite pieces in my closet (and not just because it was a gift from a very special someone). I've experimented with wearing it with tights and bright pink flats, and with boots and a skinny belt. I love how comfortable and easy sweater dresses are, and yet they manage to look effortlessly chic and pulled together.

I was thrilled to find this tutorial for creating a sweater dress from an over-sized men's sweater. Basically, any old sweater can be flipped inside out, pinned to fit, sewn along the new seams, and flipped back to normal. Adjusting the arm holes would be the trickiest part, but if that proves too daunting, the sleeves could be simply shortened and hemmed as the over-sized look is quite current. Now to dust off the sewing machine...

Image via Bluefly

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Honey-Ginger Tea

I've been a bit under the weather, which translates into the consumption of copious amounts of TheraFlu. The taste is awful, but if you can chug it down (literally, the label recommends finishing the glass in 10 minutes) the after effects are quite calming.

I've always sworn by warm tea with a touch of honey when sick. Though I usually stick to peppermint or Celestial Seasoning's Sleppytime tea, I've managed to acquire a fair amount of green tea during the semester. I saw this recipe for Honey-Ginger tea that incorporates green tea and had to give it a try. It's rather soothing and perfect for anyone with a cold.

Honey-Ginger Tea Recipe (from Southern Living)

  • 1  (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1  regular-size green tea bag
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  tablespoons  honey
  • 1  cup  boiling water
  •  Grate ginger, using the large holes of a box grater, to equal 1 Tbsp. Squeeze juice from ginger into a teacup; discard solids.
  • Place tea bag, lemon juice, and honey in teacup; add boiling water.
  • Cover and steep 3 minutes. Remove and discard tea bag, squeezing gently.
Image via MyRecipes

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Chanel's 2011 Resort collect set the fashion and beauty worlds into a frenzy with the pale blue lacquer adorning the model's fingernails.

The color, dubbed Riva, is a limited edition released December 1st. While the polish fit seamlessly into the Resort collection, it is perfectly suited for winter's bitter temperatures as well.


The color reminds me of a frozen pond dotted with graceful skaters as glittering snowflakes swirl down. Overly romantic? Surely. But that's the world of Chanel.

And for those who don't want to spend over $30 on a nail polish, Nylon magazine has a DIY beauty recipe for mixing your own.

Images via here and here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Leather Gloves

As much as I love my convertible mittens (or glittens as my friends refer to them), I felt a little silly wearing them with a business casual outfit. Of course, as it was thirty something degrees outside, not wearing gloves was far from a reasonable option. Instead, the quest begins for a pair of the glitten's slightly classier relative, the leather glove.

Of course, settling on a color may very well take me through the end of winter, rendering the process rather useless. Here are some of my favorites.

Classic neutrals for my more conservative half:
1. Lord & Taylor, $40. 2. Portolano, $50. 3. Preston & York, $27.

Brightly colored and detailed pairs for my youthful side:
 1. ASOS, $19. 2. ASOS, $28. 3. Preston & York, $34.

After compiling my favorites, I realized I inadvertently picked stop light colors. No matter. I'll just use it as a corny pun: perhaps these gloves will stop traffic? ;)

Thursday, December 16, 2010


As I kid, I loved the pattern units connected to our math curriculum. Puzzling out the next item in a sequence was an enthralling challenge. Though my eighth grade struggle through geometry problem sets are long over (thank goodness, I was never one for proofs), I continue to adore geometric prints.

 Polka dots.




Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mad or Glad, for Plaid?

I'm currently fixated on plaid. Perhaps it's the cheery red and green scarves that pop up this time of year and the cozy oversized flannels that are in abundance. Some of my favorite plaid pieces:

A polished plaid skirt.

A relaxed, ruffled shirtdress.

A classic timepiece.

The secret to wearing plaid is to keep everything else simple. Pick two colors from the pattern to structure the rest of your outfit. Alternatively, take a color from the pattern and add another coordinating/neutral color. May your plaid make you glad ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Golden Peacock

How absolutely stunning is this gold peacock inspired clutch with a pearl fastener? It's the perfect accessory to tote around the holiday season, and would look extra festive on New Year's Eve.

The crescent shape reminds me of the dainty fans women used to carry, and the embossed detailing is divine.While gold clutches can seem a bit cliché around the holidays, this Kate Spade version is incredibly elegant and luxurious with just the right touch of playfulness.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Basic Shoes

If money were no object, most women would give Imelda Marcos's shoe collection a run for its money. However, many of us live on a budget, and splurging on shoes is not the most practical of activities. As I continue to pare down my wardrobe in preparation for next semester, I've had to ruminate on what constitutes the "essential" shoe collection for a college girl.

Professional Flats
These are indispensible for work, internships, interviews, and the like. Mine are a pair of black, patent leather flats with a rubber sole. I can walk hours in them comfortably, don't worry about slipping on tiled floors, and they go with all sorts of dress pants and skirts.

Sneakers and/or Comfortable Day Shoes
Depending on your activity level, these might be more casual (like Converse) or girly (ballet flats). The idea is this is your daily go-to shoe. These are the sort of shoes you could wear as a tourist; comfort is key. A more casual version is great for class and daytime exploring, while a dressier flat does double duty for dinners and dates.

Dress Shoes
These are your shoes for going out with friends, attending parties, etc. This is your chance to grab a pair of trendier shoes. Since you don't wear them as much, you won't tire of a bright color or interesting material. If you love heels, this is a great spot to incorporate them into your wardrobe, but for those more inclined to wear flats there are plenty of great options.

Flat Boots
These become indispensable in the winter months. A nice pair of riding boots can be worn day and night. Paired with cozy socks, snow storms seem less threatening, and they can also be waterproofed if you're worried about the occasional rainstorm. They look great with tucked in jeans, tights and skirts, and even leggings and a tunic top.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Chanel showed a pre-fall collection with a Paris-Byzance theme. As Lagerfeld explained, the collection was inspired by the Empress Theodora and the lost culture of Byzantium. "Theodora was a circus artist who became empress, like Chanel, who was a little singer and became a fashion empress."

I love the rich, deep colors embellished with bits of gold and lavish embroidery.

The simplicity of both of these looks is beautiful. I love the off center brooch and draping of these two outfits.

 The multicolored embroidery coordinates beautifully with the deep teal of these two dresses. I also like the longer hemline.

 This brown striped dress looks incredibly cozy and chic. The long gold gloves make it extra elegant. The green coat is equally stylish. I especially like the length of the cuff/arm detail.

What a stunning dress. I love the styling with sandals, but it would look gorgeous with gold strappy heels as well.

Images via

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Color of the Year

Pantone released 2011's Color of the Year: Honeysuckle.

"In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues," explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone.

The Pantone website goes on to suggest ways the color's "bold spirit" might crop up in your everyday life. There's the expected: fashion, home interiors, and wedding accessories. And the less apparent: packaging and a Visa Card.

I love the compilation of designer sketches. Looks like honeysuckle dresses are the thing to wear to spring weddings!

Images via here and here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Safe Keeping

How neat is this book safe? I always wanted to do this as a kid, but the thought of taking an X-acto knife to a favorite novel still saddens me. I suppose a cheap hardback book wouldn't be too difficult to find at a thrift store.

My favorite part: how perfect is the book selection? I love that the title, The Tower Treasure, hints at the surprise hidden within the pages. Very clever.

The book is available for purchase from SecretSafeBooks on Etsy.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Books, Books, Books

What I anticipate most of Wednesday evening, and early Thursday to entail.

The hopeful result.

What I need to avoid.

My last paper of the semester is due today. One step closer to the end of the semester!

Images via weheartit

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Salted Caramels

In two short weeks I'll be home for Christmas. I'm already dreaming about the cooking, baking, and candy making that surrounds the holiday in my family. On this year's list: my mom's famous toffee, spritz cookies, peppermint bark, fudge, and peanut butter balls.

A new contender? Salted caramels. I love how easily these can be packaged as a gift or holiday treat. If wrapping them individually in wax paper is too time intensive, they can be bagged in a pretty cellophane bag tied with a large ribbon and decorative tag. If you're feeling extra generous, you can share the recipe on the card as well.

Salted Caramels
Ingredients and Equipment
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling on top.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8" square baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Candy thermometer
  • Wax paper for wrapping or paper candy cups

  • Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper.
  • Bring the cream, butter and sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and set aside.
  • Boil the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan; then cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 248°F, the firm-ball stage.
  • Carefully stir in the cream mixture—the mixture will bubble up. Simmer, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. The temperature should not go higher than 250°F.
    • Tip: To get the caramel consistency you want, test by dropping a spoonful of caramel into a bowl of cold water. It will form a ball, which you can test with your fingers. Stop cooking when the ball is the consistency that you want.
  • Pour the mixture into the baking pan and cool 2 hours.
  • Optional: dip the caramels in tempered melted chocolate; sprinkle the top with some grains of sea salt (pretty salts make a difference); or press in some culinary lavender buds.
  • Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, folding ends or twisting to close like taffy.
Images via The Kitchn

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ski Coat

It's finally starting to feel like winter, by which I mean I nearly managed to get frostbite this weekend. At the last minute I ended up helping out at an outdoor activity (that I knew I wasn't dressed for, but there was no time to change) in thirty degree weather. Not the smartest choice, but I thankfully recovered. The whole time, I kept imagining my warm, double layered ski coat sitting unused at home.

Moral of the story? Don't forget this guy. It may not be the most fashionable of clothing, but when it comes to a day on the slopes, or a few hours in below freezing temperatures, there's nothing I'd rather have than my ski coat.

Monday, December 6, 2010

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream...

When all else fails, find cute pajamas...
Ay, there really is the rub.

It's a fairly well accepted fact that seven to eight hours is the "golden" amount of sleep. That is, too much more or less can be detrimental to one's immediate and future health. According to David Dinges, chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, "Some of us are so used to not getting enough sleep that we've forgotten what it feels like to be fully alert."

I couldn't agree more ardently with that statement. On this chuckle-worthy list of "32 Undeniable Truths for Mature Humans", number nine reads "I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired."

Is there any hope? Fortunately, yes. Our brains, always looking out for our well being, have a mechanism that allows us to sleep deeply when we're most in need. The amount of "recovery sleep" recharged depends on how much sleep you've lost. While a full eight hours after a week of squeaking by on five to six hours a night won't do much, ten hours is enough to get you almost back to normal. The study warned against carrying a "sleep debt" as well. Bottom line: It's alright to skimp every once in a while on sleep (nothing a recovery night or two can't fix), but persistent sleep deprivation is rather harmful.

The article's suggestions for actually getting eight hours? "If you think you're just too busy to get the requisite amount of slumber, try removing all electronic media devices—BlackBerry, TV, computer—from your bedroom. These distractions, says Dinges, are a prime reason many of us turn out the lights an hour or two later than we originally intended." Bad news for those of us who rely on cell phone alarms clocks... Rest easy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Apple Cider

One of my favorite wintertime drinks is apple cider. What's the difference between apple juice and apple cider? Juice is filtered to remove solid matter, like seeds and skin, whereas cider retains its cloudy appearance due to their inclusion. From a nutritional standpoint, the two have nearly the same amount of calories, fiber, and sugar. I enjoy the stronger flavor of cider, but both are delicious.

Hot Spiced Cider Recipe (from Southern Living)

  • 2  quarts apple cider
  • 1/2  cup  molasses
  • 4  lemon slices, cut in half
  • 12  whole cloves
  • 2  (2-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4  cup  lemon juice
  • Garnishes: cinnamon sticks, lemon wedges, whole cloves
  • Bring cider and next 4 ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  • Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves with a slotted spoon; stir in lemon juice. Garnish, if desired.
Image via we heart it

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ann Taylor Challenge

Billy Reid
Each of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists completed in a series of challenges to win the prestigious prize. In one challenge, the designers were given a box of images from Ann Taylor campaigns from the ’50s, when the brand launched, to today. Each finalist was asked to create a look that would "set the next major career style trend.”

Loden Dager
The designers had to balance an accessible price point (Prabal Gurung had to forego hand stitching and pleating) with the spirit of the line. The winning designer Billy Reid's look is perhaps my favorite. In addition to an amazing pair of pants that are career chic, he created a genius trench coat with - get this - a lining that when removed becomes a bubble hemmed shift dress. I love the pastel aqua and blush colors of the Loden Dager set and the amazing movement of the Gregory Parkinson dress as well. Unfortunately the designs were just part of the contest and will not be going into production, although the originals will possibly be auctioned to benefit the CFDA.

Gregory Parkinson
Images via Fashionista