November 2010

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[mom + dad]

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Why am I already thinking about St. Patrick’s Day? I’m not so sure but I saw this Irish Fishermen cardi on sale [for $29.99] at Urban Outfitters the other day and thought it would be perfect for gallivanting around on St. Patty’s. Can’t you picture wearing it with a kelly green tee peaking out from underneath? Okay I’ll stop talking about St. Patrick’s Day seeing as how it’s November, but while we’re on the subject, I’m a firm believer that a girl can never have too many cardigans. They’re so versatile and instantly cozy up any outfit. Here are some that go beyond the basics:

1. Modcloth Hard Rain Cardigan [$57.99] This typically sweet silhouette gets toughened up with some silver studs.

2. American Eagle Cable Knit Wrap Cardigan in Birch Heather [$89.90] This sweater is essentially a blanket that is socially acceptable to wear out in public. Sign me up.

3. J.Crew Merino Sequined Crochet Cardigan in gold [$148] No list of mine would be complete without something from J.Crew. This mustard-gold shade oozes sophistication.

4. Anthropologie Bright Specs Cardi [$98] Feminine frills make this cardi pop.

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[doughnut muffins]

These cute bite-sized treats are just doughnuts stealthily disguised as muffins. By nature, muffins are healthy, therefore by definition these are healthy doughnuts, a rarity I know. These are baked, unlike their deep-friend amigos, and I do use whole-wheat flour + skim milk so they’re relatively innocent.

Doughnut Muffins

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour [if you only have white all-purpose, use that]
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup milk [I used skim, use whatever you have on hand]

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line mini muffin tray with paper liners or grease tray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream oil and 1 cup sugar; beat in egg. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Stir flour into egg mixture alternately with milk. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. While muffins bake, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Remove muffins from pan and let cool for 5 minutes. While muffins are still warm, roll muffins in cinnamon sugar mixture.
  4. [I was having trouble getting the cinnamon sugar mixture to stick to the muffins so I added this step] Make a simple syrup with equal parts cinnamon, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil and dip muffin tops in simple syrup. Re-dip in cinnamon sugar mixture.
  5. Share and make instant friends.

*adapted from recipe at allrecipes.com

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[my phone {pottery barn} perched prettily on a gray suede chair {urban outfitters} with a glimpse of an orange box {ikea}]

The other day I had a long overdue catch up chat with a dear friend. All too often life gets in the way of keeping in touch with far away friends. There are houses to clean, projects to do, bills to pay, and before you know it the years [literally] have flown by. Like anything else worth having in life, it takes work to keep long distance friendships intact. If you have a pal you haven’t reached out to in awhile, do yourself a favor and rather than logging in on Facebook [you know you do], pick up the phone. Chances are they’re probably itching to catch up with you too.

PS: how awesome is this phone? I searched high and low for this retro look in a cordless style and finally found it at Pottery Barn. UPDATE: I just found out they no longer carry it… sad. I really do love this phone and I hope they put it back on the shelves soon!

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[the photograph online {left} versus how they look in person {right}]

I’ve been keeping tabs these sky high black booties by Steve Madden from Piperlime for the past month or so and my patience has paid off because they just went on sale, heck yes. They look trĂ©s vampy in the pic but I swear they’re more sophisticated vixen than sultry streetwalker. The sole isn’t quite so shiny as it is in the photograph and the material contrasts against the suede nicely. I’m so excited to wear them this weekend, I have a couple ideas brewing… booties are so versatile, they’re my favorite trend goin right now.

Just a few ideas:

1. Urban Outfitters Silence & Noise Boyfriend Blazer $78

2. Forever 21 Fab Racerback Tank $3.50

3. J.Crew Sequin Mesh Ball Skirt $128

4. J.Crew Couplet Shimmer Dress $198

5. Forever 21 Silk Bow Dress $26.90

6. Trina Turk Marl Cardigan $138.99

7. James Jeans Twiggy Five Pocket Legging $89.99

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On this Veterans Day I’m very thankful for two things: airplanes and our soldiers. Sending love to my grandpap Eddy Esposito who served in World War II and my great uncle Robert Morasco, a member of the Army 10th Mountain Division who was killed in action in Italy during World War II. Thank you to our brave soldiers who courageously fight for our freedom every single day and enable us to live in the best country in the world.

I’m also grateful for planes and, in particular, Southwest airlines. Southwest made it a breeze to fly home for a quick trip at a price that didn’t break my [fragile] bank. While waiting for my flight, Southwest offered postcards for people to write a message to our troops.

Let freedom ring.

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[ this picture makes me : ) ]

Happy Wednesday!


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[urban outfitters pendleton plaid weekender bag, $198]

Pretty luggage makes traveling so much more fun, don’t you think? With the holidays just around the corner, people are traveling now more than any other time of the year to reunite with loved ones. This season make a statement with your suitcase and sport one with an eye-catching print and luxe details. In the spirit of stylish jetsetting, here are a few pieces of luggage that I’d happily cart on any plane, train, or automobile.

[diane von furstenberg city bag, orig. $200, now $79.970]

[fred perry weekend bag, $94]

[cole haan wythe aviator duffel, $476]


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[princess of pale]

{ clockwise from top: cetaphil gentle skin cleanser, ~h20+ seacurrents moisture boosting body balm, neutrogena original hand cream, eurcerin plus intensive repair body creme, aveda tourmaline charged radiance masque }

This weekend was a chilly reminder that winter is indeed on it’s way….[sigh]. The wintry preview prompted me to revamp my skincare routine to prep for the temperature drop on the horizon. Winter can wreak havoc on your skin, zapping it of essential moisture and leaving it feeling dry, dull, and oh-so-blah. This year I’m determined to keep my skin soft, smooth, and glowing, by starting [and sticking to] a skincare regimen for the winter and beyond. I’m trying several new products and I’ll let you know which ones I recommend for low-maintenance, luminous skin. After seeing the damage tanning can do to skin on people mere years older than me, I made the long overdue decision to nix tanning beds for good. I’ll miss having a tan but I’d rather be pale and naturally radiant than weathered and woefully wrinkly [... shudder].

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It was a cold, windy, rainy night here in Chicago – the perfect weather to watch some Real Housewives, catch up on magazines, and bake a batch of no-fuss brownies. Good thing I always keep a box of brownie mix in the pantry for times like this. One box of Jiffy fudge brownie mix, a handful of marshmallows, some mini milk-chocolate chips, and a dash of Reese’s pieces [mini for baking] later I had a plate of my kitchen-sink brownies. And, now my entire apartment smells like velvety chocolate, one of the upsides of living in a small space.

Kitchen-Sink Brownies

  • 1 box Jiffy fudge brownie mix [makes enough brownies for 2-3 people]
  • per box instructions: 1 egg + 1 tbsp water + 2 tbsp oil
  • handful of mini marshmallows, plus reserve handful to sprinkle on top towards the end
  • handful of Reese’s pieces [the mini kind you find in the baking aisle]
  • handful of mini milk-chocolate chips*

*as the name of the brownie implies, add whatever sweet ingredients you have. no need for a trip to the grocery store on a night like this.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Pour into greased mini loaf pan [Jiffy says to use a 9"x 5" loaf pan but mine was even smaller and it turned out fine]. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Sprinkle mini-marshmallows on top and broil for 3-4 minutes until marshmallows are nicely toasted. Let cool completely. Here’s a tip I learned – if you dip a knife in cool water it makes it so much easier to cut.

[All that's missing? A glass of milk. On my nails: Revlon Minted layered with Essie Overnight.]


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