Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Foodie Files

I got a little ambitious with last year's Easter menu since it marked the first time I hosted a major holiday by myself.  There was Easter Pie, watermelon and feta salad with crispy fried shallots, a variety of veggies and individual flower arrangements for each place setting.  I'm not gonna lie, it was awesome.  Since I'll be out of town this year and I won't get a chance to host again I whipped up a fun brunch item for dinner tonight (I had to just get it out of my system, you know?).  If you're still deciding what to make this Sunday, might I suggest this simple and delicious asparagus and gruyere tart?  I'll tell you what, it sure is tasty! 

Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (usually takes about 40 minutes)
5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry and place on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. 

Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.  Remove pastry shell from oven and sprinkle with Gruyere.  Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell.   Arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. 

Brush asparagus with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, about 20 minutes.

Inspiration Piece: Polka Dot Party

It's been awhile since I've featured an Inspiration Piece post..this Emily Green print seemed quite timely.  It had me all excited about silly Easter things (painting eggs, assortments of candy and the like)...brightly colored polka dots will do that to you, I suppose.  I rounded up a few other coordinating polka dotted items for good measure.  The bag especially is just too cute, don't you think?

1. Black and White Polka Dot Pillow, Zazzle $67.45  2. Polka Dot Bag, Hansel From Basel $32  3. Classic Pencils, Lisa Stickley £11.94 4. Matisse Kiley Yellow Polka Dot Flats, Zappos $55
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mirror, Mirror

While spring may not be here in temperature, I sure am attempting to welcome it via color palate.  In fact, come Sunday this lovely little citron getup would make a perfect Easter dress!  I couldn't bring myself to pair it with another pastel so I added the pop of tomato red to make the look a little more current.  Moral of the story: contrasting colors are your friend.  Don't be afraid of them!

1. Pleated Silk Chiffon Dress, Oscar de la Renta $2,490  2. Candy Store Collection Lime Earrings, Anton Heunis $316  3. Pushlock Crossbody Bag, Topshop USA $70  4. Crisscross Stiletto Sandals, Forever 21 $29.80  5. Nars Nail Polish, Sephora $19  6. Clinique Moisturizing Lip Balm, Sephora $16
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Get It Together: Bohemian Berry

1. Citron Home Argo Throw, Wayfair $95  2. Elya Pillow, Jayson Home $295  3. Antique Brass Chandelier, Arteriors $837.60  4. Barge Mirror, Jayson Home $750  5. Maison Jansen Red Velvet Chairs, 1stdibs  6. Color Reform Oriental Rugs, ABC Carpet and Home $3,900
Monday, March 25, 2013
Friday, March 22, 2013

Working For The Weekend

So guess how I'm starting my day this morning...go ahead, take your best shot.  I'm sure the first thing that came to mind was ballet boot camp, right?  Because if it was, you are correct!  I'm heading to ballet boot camp (if I keep saying it, perhaps I'll get used to the idea) with my dancer friend, Nina, and ten other ballerinas I'm selfishly hoping are in terrible shape.  To date, my only experience with ballet lasted just long enough for me to get one yellow-tutu-clad performance of "Mama's Little Ducklings" in.  Needless to say it's about to get interesting.  By the time the weekend actually gets going, however, it should be smooth sailing.  Anything exciting happening on your end?  Hope it's wonderful...enjoy the links!

 I'm about to meet.  To date, my experience with th

Hmm...I'm listening...

So interesting.  I wanna go!

You know I'd sign up for this in a second.

Pumped to check this out...

Obsessed with her style.

Love these Easter eggs!

Yup.  Amazing.

I so highly recommend this cd.  P.S. #2 is my fave.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Foodie Files

Today's Foodie Files may surprise you.  In fact, it surprised me.  But exploring uncharted territory is certainly fun and that's exactly what I had to do to come up with this recipe...inspired by none other than the Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme.  I know, I know- a fast food girl I am not- but I dabbled a bit in college and I've gotta admit...the crunchwrap wasn't the worst thing I've ever had.  When I had an oh so random craving for one the other day I ran to the grocery store and got to work.  The goal was, of course, to capture the essence of the crunch wrap but up the ante quite a bit with the quality of ingredients.  The reviews were overwhelmingly positive, but I think next time I'll go even more over the top with ingredients...slow cooked seasoned chicken, corn salsa, the works.  All I know is my brother is gonna love this when he gets back from tour!

1.5lbs 80/20 ground beef
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1 large beefsteak tomato
1 cup shredded lettuce
10oz Cilantro and Lime Rotel
16oz Queso Blanco
4 corn tortillas
4 flour burrito-size tortillas

Saute ground beef and add taco seasoning according to package instructions.  While the beef cooks, set oven to broil high.  Cover a baking sheet with foil and set corn tortillas on top, making sure they don't overlap.  When the oven comes to temperature, broil for 2-3 minutes on each side or until crispy.

Microwave queso blanco and rotel for 1 minute 30 seconds, then stir.  Microwave an additional minute if necessary.  Assemble crunchwraps one at a time...start by microwaving a flour tortilla for 10 seconds.  Place fully cooked ground beef in the center, then top with tomato slices, queso and lettuce.

Top with a crunchy corn tortilla and wrap flour tortilla like picture below.  I grilled mine in a flat griddle panini press, but a lightly oiled pan over medium high heat would do the trick too.  

Eat as is or top with sour cream, guacamole, salsa or the vice of your choice.  De-lish!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Snack Attack

I'm very good at snacking.  And by that I mean if I don't have a snack every few hours I feel perhaps I should re-phrase.  I'm very good at being hypoglycemic (or, at the very least, a hypochondriac hypocglycemic...try saying that 5x fast).  I was musing on some of my most recent snacking obsessions earlier this afternoon (code for: I was hungry) and decided to share a few of my faves.  When you snack as much as I do you've gotta snack smart so I try to keep my go-to's at least marginally healthy.  That being said, I have no interest in beating my sweet tooth into submission, so when things go south, they go very south.  I've made peace with it, though...a girl's gotta eat!

1. Salted Dark Chocolate Caramels: Salty, sweet and rich all in one.  Basically perfect.

2. Blueberry Greek Yogurt: Smooth and tasty with lots of protein...not overly sweet but I'm into it.

3. Pomegranate Seeds: Delicious and tart...not to mention an antioxidant rich super-food.

4. Tonic with Angostura Bitters and Lime: Maybe it's in my head- I don't know- but if ever my stomach feels sour, this helps 10 out of 10 times.  Tastes like ginger ale but better.  Also, I think I'm mildly addicted to it.

5. Asian Pear: The crispest fruit I've ever had.  I like slicing it up and eating it with aged white cheddar cheese but it's great on it's own, too.

6. Nutella: Spread it on bread, dip fruit in it, or just eat it with a spoon.  There's no judgement here.

7. Roasted Chickpeas: Drain one can of chickpeas, mix with 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cook on a baking sheet at 425 for 20 minutes.  Flip chickpeas and cook for an additional 20 minutes.  I kid you not, I would eat this every day.

8. Cucumber, Feta and Tomato Salad: Chop up a few cucumbers, slice up a couple tomatoes (my favorites are the golden cherry ones), toss in some feta and dress with a touch of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  So, so good.

Mirror, Mirror

Would it even be possible to be in a bad mood whilst wearing this outfit?  I'm thinking no.  There's a lot happening in terms of color and pizazz so I went way simple on jewelry.  It's most certainly over the top and a terrible choice for anyone looking to fade into the background, but I know quite a few ladies who would make this look like ten million dollars.  

1. Mid Rise Skinny Jeans, Victoria Beckham Denim $240  2. Disco Ball Peplum, Topshop  3. Serpui Marie Woven Minaudiere, Shopbop $187  4. Korres Lipstick, Sephora $18  5. Crystal Square Studs, Michael Kors $52  6. Leather Slippers, Zara $89.90  7. Heart Shaped Sunglasses, Rakuten $1.99  8. Geometric Print Scarf, Zara $35.90
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Get It Together: 46 Rue du Bac

1. Fur Pillow, Wayfair $96.52  2. Marie Therese Red Crystal Chandelier, Amazing Chandeliers £96  3. Velvet Armchair, Ruby Star Traders $1,700  4. Paris to the Past, Amazon $13.10  5. Feathered Cockatiel and Parrot, Z Gallerie $19.95  6. Santorini Gold Frame, Michael C. Fina
Monday, March 18, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013

Working For The Weekend

Thank you...Lord...for Friday.  Thank you that today is Friday.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  That is all.

Well...almost all.

I spent just about every waking moment this week working or deep cleaning the upstairs level of my house.  One of my best friends in the world is moving in our guest room for a couple weeks and a few of my things were in there (read: more than a few.  A lot more than a few).  It took a little bit of wardrobe editing and re-organizing to make it work but I'm so thrilled we did it.  My body is tired but my heart is happy.  Can't wait 'til we get her all moved in!  Hope your weekend is lovely in every imaginable way.  Enjoy the links!

It's too pretty.  It's just...too...pretty.

Great advice.


Quite the impressive collection...

Speaking of great advice!  Here's more.

What a moment.

These sound real good!

Scary but effective looking...

Gonna try some of these.

You know I love this.
Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Foodie Files

My lovely and talented roommate, Courtney, took the helm for today's Foodie Files and I'm oh so excited to share what she made.  After spying this recipe for Paleo friendly stuffed peppers she decided to make a few adjustments and tackle it.  I'm glad she did...and I suspect you're about to be, too.  For those of you who- like us- aren't on any variation of a Paleo diet, believe me- this recipe is still for you! It's a tasty one, ladies and gents.  Thanks again, Court!

1 lb ground beef
4 bell peppers
2 carrot, diced
2 parsnip, diced
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup tomatoes, diced (fresh or canned)
garlic powder

Cut off green pepper tops and toss the seeds.

In a saute pan, brown ground beef and onion. Drain and add carrots and Parsnips.  

Cook until the carrots start to become tender. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Stuff peppers with mixture. Bake the peppers at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mirror, Mirror

I've always loved the silhouettes of the 1960's but I've been especially enamored with them since discovering a TV station that is basically one big Bewitched marathon (best discovery ever, by the way).  This get-up is far more referential than costume-y, which is always the goal.  I think Samantha herself would approve!

1. Nallie Floral Print Pants, Malene Birger  2. Coast Luxe Scarf, Lyst $35  3. Sleeveless Roll Neck Shell Tops, Topshop $64  4. Alcantara Clutch, Luis Viaroma $451  5. Cobalt Heels, Zara  6. Star Ring, Maison de Morgana $45.99  7. Vanina Earrings, Luis Viaroma $159
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Get It Together: Pink and Gold

1. Teak and Wicker Chair, 1stDibs  2. Fuschia Wool Throw, Jayson Home & Garden  3. Brass Schnauzer, High Street Market $49  4. Isla Clear Pendant Light, LampsPlus $276.91  5. Olin Gold Rug, Crate and Barrel $19.95-$299  6. Gold Dots Fuschia Throw Pillow, Society6 $20
Monday, March 11, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013

The Big 1-0-0-0!

I'm excited and freaked out and just the tiniest bit emotional to announce that today is Design Muse's 1,000th post.  Our 1,000th post, people.  I've been cheesing all day just thinking about fact, I even brought in cake batter rice krispy treats to work in celebration.

Since the big 1-0-0-0 calls for some reflection, I got to thinking about my favorite posts over the last few years.  Turns out we've gone through a lot together, you and I.  We've powered through design overhauls and the re-organizing of the blog itself, survived a salon opening and reveled in the excitement of starting a more hands on design business, had some sappy moments (prime examples here and here), mourned a national tragedy, and had a blast doing everything from throwing a Breakfast at Tiffany's themed party to actually having breakfast at Tiffany's.  So!  In lieu of my usual Working For The Weekend links, I decided to use today to count down my top 10 favorite Design Muse posts of all time.  Let's take a quick stroll down memory lane, shall we?

10. Disney Princess Makeovers: I've gone back and laughed at this post dozens of times over the last few years.  It's a personal fave, plain and simple.

9. Crafting with Maps : This short series was a lot of fun to put together and really turned out beautifully.  Ideas that don't cost much and make a fun statement will always top my list!

8. Vintage Beretta: This post is filled with hilarious pictures of outfits I "designed" when I was a kid.  It's ridiculous and laughable but it's always made me smile for a handful of reasons.

7. Gabees Lip Balm: I'm so enamored with my Dad's many "Most Interesting Man In The World" hobbies, so when he named part of his empire after me I was smiley to say the least.

6. My Bedroom and Living Room Makeovers: These particular before and after posts were high points for me for very practical reasons, but even years later I'm still thrilled with how they turned out.  It was important for me to learn first hand that a little bit of re-decorating changed more than just my space, it changed my disposition.

5. Best Day Ever: I'm excited to continue this series in the near future because we had such a great time putting together our first post.  They're sometimes a challenge to orchestrate but I'm determined to make personal style posts a regular part of Design Muse soon and very soon.

4. Project Pep Talk: This post will always be very close to my heart as it centered around a really special present I made for my partner in crime.  It took some time to orchestrate but it was worth every second!

3. Banana Nutella Bread and Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter and Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies: When it comes to Foodie Files, these two recipes tied for my favorites...though I think we can all agree the real winner here is Nutella.

2. Amazing Race-Cation (parts 1 and 2): By far the coolest thing I've ever done.  Period.

And my #1 favorite post of all time...


Table For Twelve Tuscan Night: A breathtaking night and precious memory...up there with my favorite evenings of all time.

So there you have it!  I enjoyed writing (let's be honest...almost) all 1,000 but these 10 have a special place in my heart.  I wish I had words to tell you guys how grateful I am for your willingness to keep coming back and allowing me to share my adventures with you.  The fact that even one person out there would find what I have to say interesting is so humbling to me.  Thanks for showing up and engaging...we've built something pretty cool together, don't you think?  Here's to at least 1,000 more!
Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Foodie Files

Baked macaroni and cheese has seen me through some times, people.  I've made it to celebrate, I've certainly made for the express purpose of eating my feelings, and I'll even occasionally make it just cause I'm craving the taste (crazy, right?).  While I'm comfortable with my made-up recipe, I wanted to stay open to the idea of taking it to the next level...especially when it's so often called upon to save the day.  I toyed with a new recipe today that turned out delicious, even in spite of a few unexpected ingredients that required some serious trust (nutmeg and cayenne pepper?  So weird, right?  But it works!).

1 lb cavatappi pasta
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 oz shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
6 oz shredded gruyere cheese
2 oz finely grated parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water 1 to 2 minutes less than package instructions.  Drain and rinse with cool water.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add flour and whisk for about a minute.  Add milk, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste then bring to a simmer.  Cook, whisking, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes.  Whisk in cheeses until smooth.  Pour over pasta and toss to coat.  Transfer to a baking dish.

Preheat oven to 375.  Cover with foil and bake until bubbling, about 60 minutes.  Remove foil and broil on high for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mirror, Mirror

I'm back in Nashville, ladies and gents!  My NYC/ Philly/Jersey/Washington D.C. trip was wholly delightful but, like all great trips, it's left me in a slight daze.  I need a day or two to shake it off, then it'll be business as usual (or maybe even better than business as usual!) around these parts...promise.  Today's Mirror, Mirror might be slightly ahead of it's time in the warmth category (ten minutes in those shoes right now and I'd be frozen solid) but hey, a girl can dream.  And the purse is a definite fave of mine...I just love interesting pieces like that.  Anything in particular stick out for you?

1. Printed Silk Maxi Dress, Chloe $2,995  2. Cross Earrings, ASOS $10.17  3. Cat Eye Acetate Sunglasses, Stella McCartney $212  4. Black Boucle Jacket, Miss Selfridge $61  5. Enameled Resin Perfume Show Clutch, Lanvin $3,610  6. Mirrored Cork Wedges, Emilio Pucci $1,622  7. Metallic Collar Necklace, ASOS $42.39
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Get It Together: Salut!

1. Multi Moldings Wall Mirror, West Elm $299  2. Go Home Industrial Trolley, Pure Home $935  3. Cobble Hill Daphne Dining Arm Chair, ABC Carpet & Home $445  4. Jamie Young Chalkboard Globe, Zinc Door $311  5. Salut 3oz Flask, Izola $24
Monday, March 4, 2013