Saturday, October 29, 2011

Six Spooky Fun Finds

Happy Halloween Weekend!  I'm a bit late getting all the decorations up, but always love going through my box of Halloween items and of course finding a couple new things to add to the collection!  Here's what's happening at my house this year:
New find!  I always dread a trip to Big Lots just due to the lines and crowded aisles, but as I was there picking up some storage containers I browsed through their piles of Halloween bins and found these great tarantula tea light holders!  They had me at glitter & sparkle!
Great gift I received last year - Skull & crossbones candles.  The middle is hollowed out so you drop in a tea light for a spooky glow that never melts away!
My tried & true Halloween costume!  Sparkly kitten ears...How can you go wrong?!
These chocolates are amazing!  Love the detail & honestly too good to even want to try and take a bite. 
Creepy Crawly ribbon to adorn some very special Halloween treats!
New addition to the front door succulent wreath...  Compared to some of the spiders I've come across in the garden, this one is not too off base!
Have a safe, spook-tabulous weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Feeling Gilty

Who doesn't love getting packages in the mail?  Especially when it's a fabulous Trina Turk handbag purchased through Gilt Group.  Gilt is a fantastic site for all things fashionable - includes items for women, men, home, travel and many more.  I have been a member for a year or so (it's free to sign up!) and always a constant browser, but never seemed to log on in time to secure the item I wanted before it was sold out... This time I was ready!!  Take a look at my new favorite bag below and then go browsing on Gilt - They have so much fun stuff - you're sure to feel a little Gilty yourself!
Black Patton leather trim, nautical rope and gold grommet details - How could I ask for more...
And then I looked inside... SWOON!  Hot pink fabric lining the inside and signature Trina Turk mod-tiled zipper tassels!!  This is pure quality craftsmanship.
Even my handsome Trooper-Boy got into the excitement!  His favorite part of the new handbag was the box it came in (which was really cool packaging BTW).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Classic, Hearty Chili

Nothing beats a nice, hearty bowl of chili.  My favorite, classic recipe comes from The Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (full recipe here) for an easy, stove top chili that can be ready in about 90 min.  I have been perfecting it over the years and have added a few ingredients along the way.  Today I made it with a lean, ground sirloin as the recipe calls for, but have also gone with ground turkey and loved it... The husband insists it's best with "real meat".  Another great option is to go vegetarian and add in zucchini, butternut squash, carrots & cauliflower.
Gotta love the toppings!!  Do a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese and some tasty green onion.  I am also a big fan of Oyster crackers... Yes, many calories will be added with these embellishments... Don't forget a nice, cold beverage!
There are many great items that go in this chili like the rich, red diced tomatoes and kidney beans shown above, but I do add a few more ingredients.  In addition to the recipe, add in a can of black beans, sweet crisp corn and a couple extra cloves of chopped garlic.  I also tend to go a little heavy handed on the chili seasoning, basil and a couple extra dashes of sea salt. 
Simmer on low heat for about 45 min.  I have found that the flavors pop out more if you give it some time on the stove.  And the next day... Even better!  I always make a double batch - it's too good!
What's your favorite Fall recipe?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Four Fall Finds

I am taking in all the season has to offer (have you noticed how much I LOVE Fall?) with a few new finds and a couple others I enjoy around this time each year...
I love spiced, hot apple cider - it's a mixture of all the scents of the season.  A new discovery is the delicious Jack 'O Lantern cookies filled with vanilla bean cream from Trader Joe's - Great combo!
Another new find - This fun, Fall leaf pumpkin from an amazing store in Manhattan Beach - Growing Wild.  It's impossible to go in there and leave empty handed!
Old is new again!!  I haven't seem these BCBG heels in forever!  Perfect timing - The gold leaf detail must be paraded around this season.
The big, old Oak Tree perfectly shading the backyard is dropping acorns like crazy!  The squirrels are loving it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

All That Glitters...

I love gold tones - I'm always drawn to these warmer tones maybe because of my coloring.  It looks so much better on me than silver and knowing we are closely approaching all the fun, festive days of the holiday season and I am definitely collecting a few accessories to sparkle up my look.  Here's a few easy ways you can add a touch to your style:
Add a little pop to your ponytail! (H&M)
I fell for this amazing Art Deco looking statement necklace (again...H&M).  The chunky gold hardware mixed with the peachy-orange faux leather texture will be super fun to add to a simple LBD or dress up my favorite jeans and t combo. 
I know this is not new to many, but I finally just picked up a bottle of this super versatile confetti gold glitter polish.  I've seen it many times swiped over a color as a top coat, but I also love it as my new staple to wear between manicures for a slight shimmer on clean nails.
You have to brush on a couple coats to try to evenly distribute the larger pieces of glitter - Simple & fun!

Now go out into the world and shine!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Pasta

Thank you Rachel Ray!  This was an absolutely delicious recipe - perfect for a Fall dinner party or potluck!  The thick, rich pumpkin sauce was super easy to make (note:  the sauce starts out quite like soup, so to get the thick creamy texture you may need to simmer 5 - 10 min. longer than the recipe calls for).  Pour it over pasta noodles like penne or rotelli (as I did below) as they hold the sauce much better than linguine or spaghetti.  I added in sweet Italian sausage to make a bit more heartier and it totally worked.  See full recipe here and some pics of my outcome below.
So tasty!  I highly recommend using fresh grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese.  The saltiness of the cheese works great with the slightly sweet pumpkin sauce.
The perfect bite!
All the key ingredients for the sauce - Don't forget the heavy cream!
Pair this with a slightly sweet wine like a Riesling (It's Bev Mo's 5 cent wine sale until 10/24)... Cheers!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Love the LOFT!

Wow!  I am so loving the great flyer that arrived in today's mail for Ann Taylor's LOFT stores.  They really put together fantastic looks for the season with bright vibrant colors all mixed together for a really classic look.  I quickly took a couple pics before the sun went down and included their great discount offers for in store and online purchases.  I think at the very least, try adding in one of the great, patent leather belts into your current favorite look you have hanging in your closet... A little pop of color never hurt anyone!
Colored cords, cozy capes & perfect, pleated skirts... Where does a girl begin!!
Which one's your favorite?  I already have sand colored cords, so I'll go with the vibrant tomato red skinny belt, please.
Orange looks great with everything!
I also found a few more coupon codes here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mid-Week Inspiration

What an amazing sunset glow this evening!  It's super warm, the moon is still pretty full and so bright and the crickets are chirping like crazy.  If only LA had fire flies this night would be my heaven!
"Invent your world. Surround yourself with people, color, sounds, and work that nourish you." -SARK


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sparkle & Shine

Made a trip yesterday to my favorite little beauty shoppe for a mani / pedi and had my colors all picked out (which is a task - WAY too many good choices!).  I chose Essie's Bahama Mama for the toes and Case Study for my fingers.  Results below... With a little extra sparkle!
The rich camel brown was a little to bland on its own so we lightly brushed on a bit of Essie's Carnival to add a touch of sparkle. 
Case Study
Love the deep plum shade - oddly named Bahama Mama... I don't really think of a tropical location with this color... It's more of a "Please Pass the Merlot"?
Bahama Mama

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fur Sure!

I've been searching around for a simple piece based on this season's must have look... FUR!  It's showing up lining boots, jackets, vests & handbags and I figured it's time to give it a go.  I am not into wearing real fur and finding a simple jacket or vest with good looking faux fur is a little challenging since you don't want it to look too fake.  Below is my find (love it!) and a few ways that I plan to wear it:
I paired the vest with a fun tribal-like necklace and white tee... The vest is definitely a great accessory for the dressed up jeans and t-shirt look!
The back is a great cable knit pattern - warm and cozy!    
FUTURE PURCHASE - I love the look of these boots as well - simple, classic with just a touch of fur.  Lots of fun styles can be found on Piperlime or Zappos.
Another great looking accessory - just a little goes a long way!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Funday Finds!

Out and about over this weekend and came across a few simple things to pick up that have quickly made it onto my "Must-Have"lists. 
Perfect for the cold weather (whenever that happens in LA) these cute little chartreuse bow mittens remind me of something I would find at Kate Spade... Do I even have to say where I got these for $2.50?
Goody came up with a brilliant idea... The added a cool touch to their basic, black elastic ponytail holder so they don't look so blah in your hair... Or on your wrist!  I never leave the house without one around my wrist and now they look like a cute bracelet accessory when not holding back the locks - Simple idea - LOVE!
I've been toying with the idea of adding a primer to my makeup routine as friends who use it under makeup swear by it.  I was browsing Sephora and saw this perfect little starter kit for the eyes.  It comes with a sample size primer for your lids, a fantastic concealer aptly named Erase Paste (if only!) and a shimmery cream shadow that would be perfect for anyone - All for $10. 
Hope you all had a "Fun-day", too!

Textured Tights

As the temperature dips and my summer tanned legs start to fade, I know it's time to reach in the drawer for my go-to black opaque tights... But this year, I'm moving onto a little texture.  I've been searching around for some colors I can easily mix in to outfits and have found that I am also drawn to all the patterns that are popping up all over this season.  They are still understated, but add in a fun & sophisticated look with skirts, dresses and cropped trouser pants.  Here's a few that I will be wearing this year:
Love the simple, small pattern on these oatmeal n cream colored tights from Forever 21.  Looks cute all the way down to your toes and in LA we can do open toe shoes through Winter (minus any rain).

Best grey-blue color I could find and I really love the subtle diamond pattern on these tights.  I bought these at Marshalls... Came in a 3 pack for next to nothing and included the black, chevron pattern below. 
Skip your basic, black tights this year and go for a pair with a little pattern!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall Fever!

Now that the calendar officially says it is Fall (even thought LA is SCORCHING hot today) I woke up in a mood to pretend I am somewhere chilly and filled my surroundings with reminders of the season.
Started off the morning with my new favorite Cardamom Custard danish from the local bakery, Berolina and a nice cup of cinnamon hazelnut coffee.
Created a festive arrangement on my outside coffee table with some mini pumpkins and new Rae Dunn pottery (introduced in a previous post here)...   Gotta love her singular words - they are powerful to me.  Happy Hour is outside this evening!
The Crate & Barrel catalog came earlier this week (I caught it before the husband was able to toss in the recycle bin) and I love acorns so I picked up a couple of these perfect kitchen towels (buy here).
How are you celebrating the new season?