Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Miscellany #5

Spring is here, friends, for sure! With today supposedly reaching a high of 82 degrees, I thought I would share some of the spring-y things I've been seeing.

Beautiful red tulips

Bright green bushes on my street...when did they grow leaves!?

The facade of the Century Theater on Clark on a bright, sunny day

A patch of daffodils on my walk to work

This guy, who flopped down in utter relaxation just as I passed this house
I hope you all have a beautiful Tuesday!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Jo Malone Osmanthus Blossom Cologne

Ah, something wonderful and springy, just in time for the season to really get in gear.

I recently had the pleasure of stopping by a Jo Malone London counter. I sampled many scents, and I am now possessed of an unfortunately long wishlist. What I came away with was their limited edition Spring scent, Osmanthus Blossom Cologne. The Osmanthus is a kind of flowering plant with many different species, most growing small, white, four-petals flowers. The company describes the scent as "Delicately exotic. This white flower captures the duality of apricot counterpoised with supple leather. Luminous petitgrain and luscious peach and orange flower ripple over voluptuous cashmere wood."

A little overblown? Perhaps. But, I think delicately exotic is an appropriate descriptor. Distinctly floral without being overwhelming, it dries down to a subtle, warm, but still fresh, scent. I don't really detect the leather, and quite frankly, I don't even know what petitgrain is. What I do know is that this smells quite nice. It makes for a lovely spring fragrance on its own, and should pair nicely with many others from the Jo Malone line to carry it into late summer and fall.

Having come into a number of samples with my purchase, I've discovered it pairs stunningly with the Nectarine Blossom and Honey Cologne, and is also quite nice with English Freesia and Pear. I liked the idea of it with Red Roses, but that scent is so full-bodied that it somewhat overwhelmed the delicate combinations of the first.

Jo Malone Osmanthus Blossom Cologne is available for a limited time online and at all Jo Malone counter. It comes in 30ml ($60) and 100ml ($110) sizes.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I Have an Addiction

Y'all. I just took stock of my nail polish collection and, well, here it is.

How can I still feel like I need new colors!?!? But I do. So, help me friends! What are your favorite spring/summer colors? I wanna add a couple really spectacular bits to my repertoire before the season gets itself raring to go!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Orange You Glad I Found This?

I found something you guys!

Acessorizing into Spring

As I was perusing the internet, I came across this punishingly adorable dress. I think it's just perfect for spring! I love gingham, and the bright orange keeps it from being too precious. Feeling inspired, I threw together these three options to accessorize. I think they're all a little off-kilter in just the right way.

Not that a $400+ dress will be finding its way into my closet any time soon, but I hope this is beginning of a trend. I could really get behind a color palette that doesn't make me look dead coming out of winter (I'm looking at you, mint).

Which accessories would you go for with this happy citrus dress?

Hip-anema All Dressed Up

Hip-anema All Dressed Up

Since I was a little vague yesterday on what I thought would be a good look with Essie Hip-anema, I thought I would throw together a few pieces that I think would be really stellar.  Obviously I have a great love of all things nautical and this lightweight sweater from Joie seemed the perfect compliment to a bright red.  With skinny jeans and either of those shoes, you'd have a winning look.

Lord knows no outfit is complete without a little sumpin' sumpin' in which to carry your goods around, and this wristlet by Saint James for Coach is sheer perfection.  Other than that, gold jewelry is always an appropriate accessory, and there's no reason you can't play with color a little bit as long as you don't go overboard (har har har).

Click through to my polyvore to get the deets on all the items!  Hope you're all having a wonderful Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Essie Spring Collection 2013: Hip-anema

Surely you could guess that I, like most nail polish junkies, love a good red.  I probably have 8 or 10 already, but there's nothing quite like finding a new one, and they are all different to me.  And so, when I came across this offering from Essie's Spring 2013 Collection, I couldn't stop myself.

    Essie Hip-anema. Poppy red, so perfect for spring, when you need to get away from your burgundies and blue-based reds.  Good coverage, though not quite as creamy as I like in an opaque polish.  I can see this transitioning well into summer, with traditional nautical wear and other classic late spring pieces, but it'll have a hard time up against this year's unstoppable trend of mint.  A punch of color suits, but it would be a bit sickly in this combination.
   Wear is pretty standard for an Essie polish, but I don't get my hackles up about that due to my need to constantly change my nail color.  I think it makes a good spring red, but not a great one.  I prefer Spring 2012's Olé Caliente or just jumping the gun to Too, Too Hot from Summer 2011.  Still, another solid red is nothing to shake a stick at, and when I want something that leans orange without jumping ship all the way into that territory, I would definitely go with Hip-anema.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Feeling a Little Neurotic: OCC Lip Tar

This weekend, I took a jaunt to the mall with my frighteningly fashionable friend Nikki, and we, of course, spent some time in the large Sephora located there.  I came across the display for Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics' Lip Tar and simply had to give it a try.

Because I'm me, I had to try a red, and I have to say, it made quite an impression.  The texture was insanely smooth, full coverage, and I could totally tell that the formula mixes well with the other colors (as it is intended to do).  The wear was incredible, it managed to mostly survive a meal in which I consumed an entire (more or less personal-sized) pizza.  As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am a pretty aggressive eater, so this was quite an accomplishment.

I used a standard lip gloss applicator to apply in the store, and I think I would rather use that than the included lip brush.  A little goes a verrrrrrry long way, and I feel like I wouldn't have quite as much control.  The formula is extremely thick, and while it wasn't exactly hydrating, it wasn't drying at all and maintained a bit of a wet look without being sticky.  Win! I'm definitely going to invest in some of these in the near future for the purpose of theatrical wear.

Happy Monday!

Lips: OCC Lip Tar
Sunglasses: Anthropologie
Coat: J. Crew
Shirt: Old Navy

Friday, April 19, 2013

Um, It's Snowing Today...

So there's that.

Can't say I'm real pleased, to tell you the truth.  I like to think that snow should stick to months occurring between November and March, not before, not after.  It's grumping me, juuuuuuust a bit.  Since I had to head to the grocery store to pick up milk anyway, I decided to check out the flowers, and came across these firey beauties.

They are cheering me considerably.  My previous selections needed some refreshing anyway.  They started to have that molding greenery smell.  Not the best.  But these ones are nice and fresh, and they are certainly bringing some much needed brightness to this Friday!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and are safe with your loved ones.  There's been entirely too much tragedy this week, and I encourage everyone to think on the good things!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Miscellany #4

My friend's adorable Kate Spade clutch | T+J Designs ring | Le Creuset wall at Sur La Table
Lee-Lee the Golden Retreiver | Cheerful flowers by moi | My biggest accomplishment this week

Here are some of the images I've collected over the past week or so.  My finger is pointed down oddly in the ring picture because I chipped the nail on the way to the train, haha.  So stealthy of me.  Especially considering I saw fit to tell you anyway.

I'm seriously proud of that orange peel, though.  Don't hate.  Not everyone can peel one in almost one piece.

The weather here is really atrocious, I was awake for about an hour at 4am but to raucous thunderstorms, so I'm feeling slightly out of sorts today.  And suggestions for getting back into my groove?  Hope y'all's week is turning out a little drier, and that mine shapes up soon!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Into the Deep

Deep clean, that is.  I must admit, shamefully, that I was one of the many who neglect to clean makeup brushes until well after they are obtained.  The importance of doing so cannot be over estimated!  Seriously, when I first washed the brushes I got for my prom makeup -- an embarrassing amount of time after I obtained them -- they were literally so filthy that they washed out black.


I had been touching my face with that crap?  One of them was so far gone, I had to toss it.  Vom.  So now, I try to do a deep clean once a week to make sure nothing terrifying is going on.

The ethereal glow in that second picture is on account of my having a not good camera and taking the picture at nighttime with the vanity lights in my bathroom. #madphotoskillz

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Unphotogenic Manicure

I liked this manicure, I did.  It reminds me of the colors of my beach club.  I finally picked up Essie Turquoise and Caicos.  BUT, LO, IT IS UNPHOTOGRAPHABLE.  Now, I know I'm no great shakes at photography, in addition to which my equipment is a little, ahem, amateur.  But I've gotten a few good snaps here and there.  And I must tell you, that of all the many photos I took of this gosh darn manicure, I could not get it to render in any way as it appears in life.  So, I guess this is a no-go blogger manicure, but perhaps one I will revisit again at some later point for my own satisfaction.

Also, the glitter topcoat is Essie A Cut Above, which is really great, y'all.  Like, you should have that one if you have any positive feelings about glitter whatsoever.

And if you don't, why are you here? (But don't go away.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

All Maxed Out: Prabal Gurung for Target

Easy Spring Weekend

Happy Tax Day my U.S. friends!  HAHAHA. Just. Kidding.

I love this racerback tank from the Prabal Gurung for Target collection.  I actually got it in the melon-y color, but proceeded to spill red wine on it the first time I wore it -- I know, sad life.  I think a floaty skirt is a great way to pull off the relaxed look, so I cobbled together some bits and pieces that I think would look just dandy. 

Can't say I have any confidence in wearing a fedora, but that seems to be the look these day, so why don't you all give it a try?  Now that they've marked down the tanks, heck, I might even grab myself one in this color.

What's your idea of a relaxing weekend outfit?

Friday, April 12, 2013

April Showers and Flowers

Hola mis amigos.

Aquí está donde I paint my nails and do my bloggy thang.  I found some lovely and inexpensive flowers at the grocery store the other day, and I'm finding that they're just the thing to liven up my space.  As you can tell from my wall decoration, I'm quite fond of flowers.  That piece was a simple DIY: all I did was find an upholstery fabric I liked and then staple gun-ed it to those wooden piece you use to stretch your own canvas.  All told, it cost me maybe $40 to do, most of which was the cost of the fabric itself.  Would I love to have curtains of it?  Of course, but I ain't got that kind of money (or those skills).  But this was a perfect solution, and I like how lively it makes my room.

Base coat: Orly Bonder
Red: Essie Forever Yummy
Pink: Essie Cute as a Button
Nude: Essie Mademoiselle
Top Coat: Orly In a Snap   

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Got the Blues for Brunch: Outfit

Got the Blues for Brunch - Spring Weekend Brunch Outfit

You've got to admit, one of the best parts of the spring is being able to enjoy the weather by dining al fresco. In the absence of nice weather, I've pulled together this look in the hopes that I'll get to wear something like it to a charming weekend brunch soon.  Hey, a girl can dream.  I love all the different blues in this outfit, and I think the shoes and jacket rough it up a little and keep it from being too precious.

I already have a denim jacket, but I have to say, this slim cut beauty from FatFace, called the Delphine Denim Jacket, is really catching my eye.  If I'm not careful, I may have to stop myself from going on a full 90s kick to fill the needs of two denim jackets, eeek!

What's your ideal brunching outfit?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

You Can't See Past My Shades

Here they are, friends:

I did not go with the color-backed Bettys!  I was shocked, too.  But I told myself I would only get thsoe if they were perfect, so I was trying on other styles and these screamed at me!  So now they are mine.  They've got a slight retro touch that you can turn up or down with your outfit.  I can't wait to really get them going once this rainy week clears up.

Today is very thunderstormy, for those of you not dwelling in Chicago.  As much as I complain about nasty weather, I do love thunderstorms because they're the perfect kind of gloomy.  Plus, they are relegated to the warmer months, so I consider them a sign of impending good weather.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Recipe: Smitten Kitchen Knishes

This weekend, I set out to make one of my favorite snacks (I use the term snack loosely) from my childhood: knishes.  As I explained to my friends who were unfamiliar with this carb-lover's heaven, it's basically mashed potatoes wrapped in dough and baked into mouth-scorching deliciousness.  Every once in a while, my dad would come home from work in New York with a massive potato-filled pastry for my sisters and me to enjoy, and when I wasn't begging for a stale hot pretzel on a trip into the city, I was desperate for a knish, ready to sacrifice the skin in my mouth rather than wait for it to cool off a bit.

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and, always trusting Ms. Perelman, gave it a stab.  I had some difficulty with the amount of water called for in the dough recipe, so I would say to start with half of the listed amount and then increase from there if the dough seems too dry.  Ultimately, my dough did not turn out as flaky and delicious, but if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  I chose to make a traditional potato knish, but I would be lying if I said I weren't thinking about adding bacon to the next ones...

Find the recipe here : Potato Knish, Two Ways | Smitten Kitchen

Monday, April 8, 2013

Recipe: Spring Vegetable Risotto with Poached Eggs

Shoes: Old Navy
Skirt as dress: Target online
Belt: Target
Jacket: J. Crew
Bag: Coach 

I had a simply lovely weekend, filled with reasonable weather and delicious food.  I finally had the sense to purchase one of those grocery carts and it made my trip to Trader Joe's about 100x more enjoyable.  And I love Trader Joe's at all times, so just imagine how good it was.  Plus, they had lovely sunflowers!  They now grace my desk with their undeniably cheerful attitude.

I also made a Spring Vegetable Risotto with Poached Eggs on Saturday night as I enjoyed some NCAA basketball, and I thought I would share the recipe.

Spring Vegetable Risotto with Poached Eggs
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 6

1 1/2 cups thawed frozen peas
Table salt
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
6 large eggs
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 fresh mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, whites and pale greens only, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 lb. baby spinach
2 tablespoons light sour cream
1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper


Bring salted water to a light simmer in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add vinegar. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl, then slide into simmering water. Repeat with 2 more eggs. Cook until whites are cooked but yolks are runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water. Repeat with remaining 3 eggs.  (If you are like me, this step will probably go medium at best, but don't worry, the eggs taste just as good.)

Bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and keep warm.  Make sure you do this on an easily accessible burner, as you will be going back and forth between this and the risotto pot the whole time.

In the mean time, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan.  Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a separate bowl.

Add oil and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to saucepan and heat over medium heat.  Then, add garlic and leeks, stirring frequently, cook until leeks are softened, about 4 minutes.  Add rice and stir, making sure it is coated, for about 2 minutes.  Add wine and cook until fully absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Add 1 cup of broth, stirring often, until broth is mostly absorbed.  Repeat until you are about 3/4 of the way through the broth.  At this point, I like to start checking the rice for texture.  It should be creamy, but with a little body left to it.  Al dente, if you will.  All told, the rice should be done about 20 minutes after the first addition of liquid.

Add spinach, sour cream, 1/4 cup chives, parmesan, peas, and mushrooms to the risotto.  Stir to combine and cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Divide risotto among bowls, top with the eggs (which you can reheat if you want, but like, whatever), and sprinkle with chives, a little more cheese, and some pepper.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Julep Maven April 2013: Avery Review

Oh my God, oh my God, you guys.

I'm in love. Head over heels, can't get it out of mind, about to lose my head in love. With this nail polish, duh. I got it in my April Julep Maven box and it is deeeeee-vine. Solid one coat potential for anyone better at this than me, and almost a dupe for Essie Punchy Pink, but less neon, making it the perfect hot pink.  I defy you to present me with a hot pink that I will like better.  And lemme tell you, as hot pink as it look in that picture, it is even hotter.

I may have to wear it Avery day.

Haha, I'm so punny.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It Burns, It Burns!

Well, not yet, it doesn't, but it will.  I'm talking about the sun, of course.  Now, I'm young and vain enough (and Irish and Puerto Rican enough) to still enjoy getting a sunburn that turns into an effing golden goddess tan.  I am looking into some fake bake options of the self-tan variety, because anyone with half a brain knows that those sun coffins in tanning salons will put you in the grave (if you didn't know that and you're reading this, please let me help you, keep reading this blog), but that takes a bit of an investment that I'm going to need to wait for a second job to fill, natch.

In the meantime, however, I am so not about continuing to squint in the sun, y'all.  I need a new pair of sunglasses.  I always lose my sunglasses on the train, even once in Florence, and I understand that using public transportation in Chicago makes this an inevitability, but I want them.  They make my eyes feel good.

Sunglasses 2013 - Get On My Face!

Soooooo, here are some that I think would be just plain groovy.  I think vintage style sunglasses are just the way to go, who doesn't like to hearken back to a more glamorous time while they're strolling about, preferably in a bathing suit?  I would be remiss if I didn't admit that I've already found my target in that bunch: the Color Backed Betty Sunglasses from Anthropologie.  Do I love some of the others?  Of course, but with my propensity for shedding sunglasses like hair on a shampoo day, I think the $38 option is the safe way to go.  Plus, I've already tried them on and they are fabulous.  Seriously, I look like a movie star.

What kind of sunnies will you be rocking my fine friends of the blogosphere?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Essie Resort Collection 2013: In the Cab-ana

Next up in the Essie Resort Collection 2013:

In the Cab-ana is what I selected for my second go. I am in love with this blue. It's a tropical sky blue that applies opaque easily. Another potential one-coater for sure. I think this is going to be making the rounds quite a bit, and I can't wait to try some nail art with it, maybe rocking an 80s vibe as we head into summer. If you hadn't noticed, 80s redux is still in this year (I'm looking at you, Prabal Gurung for Target), and I seriously dig it.

With two more colors to go in this collection, not to mention my April Julep Maven colors, I don't think I can call it on the manicure front. Have any of you hit on your ultimate spring/summer mani yet?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Wishlist: Anthropologie

Hey friends.  I took a walk on in to Anthropologie and spied with my little eye some fly threads waiting to be tried.  Didn't get the chance to throw anything on, but I must say, I am impressed.  Loving the colors and, of course, the stripes.

Seen anything in there lately that strikes your fancy?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Greetings from New Jersey

The stupid Blogger app failed to post this on Friday as I had intended.

It's been a lovely day so far, jaunting around with my mother as we visit the relatives and collect all the fixin's for tonight's lobster dinner. I'm loving all the wonderful colors around here! The sky is blue, the weather is a balmy 48 degrees (remember, my skin is used to Chicago), and I can finally wear nice shoes 😊.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, here are some of the pretty things I've been appreciating.

A Perfect Weekend

This weekend, I got to spend time with my loving family, and the creatures of my heart (our Jack Russell, Gemma, and my best friend's St. Bernard, Beau). It started with a lovely lobster dinner and ended with a tour of my aunt's beach club, which was totally destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. It is certainly heartening to see it going back up so quickly, I can't wait to hang out there when I visit in the summer months!

It's back to Chicago for me this evening, and I'm hoping to bring some of the warmer East Coast weather with me. Happy Monday everyone!