When I make these seasonal wishlists, I typically pull photos from the previous year. Before I get into my plans for fall, I think I have to start by saying I can’t get over how little Ellie was last year. I mean, how adorable is she. It’s too much.
1. Take Ellie trick-or-treating.
2. Visit an apple orchard.
3. Decorate pumpkins and roast their seeds.
4. Find the perfect pair of black ripped skinny jeans.
5. Catch Gone Girl on the big screen. I loved the book and can’t wait to see it.
6. Eat my weight in roasted butternut squash.
7. Pick up some delicate jewelry, like this ring cuff.
8. Find a great shearling coat.
9. Trim the house in spooky decor.
10. Spend some girl time at the spa.
This last weekend, I made a big pot of chili on Friday night, and in the process, realized the photos on that post needed updating. I’m still learning a lot about photography, but those pictures from 2011 were proof that we’ve come a long way baby. Like a million miles.
So, when you pull up this recipe, you’ll see shiny, new pictures. Because, the last thing I would want is for anyone to be discouraged from making this soup. Big and hearty, this chili is a workhorse. Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers or keep it in the fridge and reheat it later in the week. The best part is it couldn’t be easier to make.
As you’ll see in the photos, I served ours with whole wheat biscuits, which were seasoned with coarse sea salt, cracked black pepper and a little white cheddar (more on these later). We topped each bowl with a few pieces of avocado and some grated cheddar. Not too shabby.
1. Though I love make-up, I don’t use many products on my hair, mostly because I don’t know where to start. This round-up from hair expert extraordinaire Kristin Ess has me ready to shop.
2. Megan shared photos from the Louisburg Cider Mill on Instagram, and people, I was excited to go before, but now I can’t wait.
3. I recently picked up this cookbook and love it. In addition to lots of informative information on food, there are some really cool recipes. Did you know you can cook an entire chicken and stock overnight in the crockpot? Lisa Leake shows you how to do both. That lady knows her stuff.
4. I’ve been a big fan of House of Harlow jewelry for a long time. The fall collection is my favorite yet.
5. Cookie + Kate has started a new series where she shares what’s in season each month. It’s such a cool idea. I love how easy she makes it to see which fruits and vegetables are at their peak.
6. Emily Henderson’s house is featured in Domino Magazine this month. I can’t get over how great it is. Pretty sure, I’m ready to move into a Mid-Century Modern house now and just gut it. Who’s with me?
So, now that you know what has me excited this month, I want to know what you have been buzzing about online.
After Ellie goes to bed, sometimes I whip up a little adult appetizer. I’m telling you this in confidence. No one should mention it to Ellie. If she finds out what we’re doing, she may never go to sleep.
The night we made calzones, I whipped up this simple dish while Keegan put Ellie to bed. It doesn’t get much easier or pretty than toasted bread layered with figs, ricotta and honey.
When I was testing the recipe, I had a few ideas of how it could work. So, for you, we tried it four ways. It was pretty awesome. One option was savory with black pepper and the other three were sweet. Keegan and I were split over which was best, so I thought I’d share all of the delicious options with you. You don’t mind, do you?
Friday nights, we typically eat dinner in. I try to choose something easy and indulgent to make the evening feel more like a celebration. A few weeks ago, I made calzones two ways. One was our usual preparation – beef, cheese and tomato sauce. The second was a new twist for us – crispy pancetta, ricotta and peas. Both were delicious, and using pizza dough from the store, the whole meal came together in about 30 to 45 minutes.
Calzones are really filling, so I cut each one into three pieces. That way, we each got to try a little of each. To go along with it, I warmed up some of the easiest tomato sauce and served it on the side as a dip.
For about a month, I’ve been making my own tomato sauce. It’s nothing fancy, but it tastes a lot better than the jarred stuff and comes together in a few minutes. I love that I can control the sugar and salt that goes into it, customizing it for our family.
It’s pretty delicious, inexpensive to make and you may already have the ingredients for it on hand. We have it with noodles, as a dipping sauce and on homemade pizza. Here, Ellie is eating it on a pita pizza. As you can see, she hates it.
I have the formula for a small batch here, but I’d recommend sizing it up. I keep some in the fridge and use it one way early in the week and another way later. The recipe includes measurements, but scale the ingredients up or down based on your family’s taste.
Updating your look for fall can be done really inexpensively. This year, easy-to-wear purple and metallic eyeshadows are on trend, so I picked up some drugstore finds to tackle each look. Both pack a lot of style for just a little money.
The one on the left is from Sonia Kashuk. I found it at Target, and it is named rather fittingly, The Metallics. The lavender compact is Revlon. On the backside, it gives pointers for using the shadows. I love it when cosmetics come with directions.
In the first look, I’m wearing the purple shades from the Revlon Color Stay 16-Hour palette in Seductive (Yes, that’s really it’s name.). I paired it with black ink pen liner, my favorite Josie Maran cheek color in Endless Guava and a new-to-me lipstick from NARS, Funny Face.
When we first bought our house eight years ago, it needed a ton of work. Slowly, but surely, we made changes to every single space in our home. Although we have finished most of our big projects, I would consider only one room “done” in our place. It is my favorite space in the entire house – Ellie’s playroom.
Her playroom is a former sunroom, which was used by the original owners to watch T.V. When we moved in, we turned into a virtually unused breakfast room. Seriously, we never went out there. But when I was pregnant with Ellie, I thought it would make the perfect play area for our daughter. The space needed a fresh coat of paint, new light fixtures, storage and furnishings, but it had easy access to the outdoors, which I thought would come in handy. Last winter, we hired our favorite contractor to add bookshelves and a desk, install new lighting and paint the room.
We really wanted the room to grow with Ellie, so we tried to keep everything neutral and multi-functional. I chose gray paint and simple light fixtures in the hopes that they would last us awhile.The built-in desk is used mostly for storage now, but I think it could be a great spot for homework and art projects later.
When our contractors were finished, we had a pretty, but blank slate to work with. I wanted to inject color and personality and chose a palette of purple and gray with spots of pink.
I know this will shock many of you, but I’m not a huge sports fan. Oh? No one is surprised. Hmm.
But you should know, I love watching games at friends’ houses. It’s the appetizers. They get me every time. If you invite me over, you will find me posted up at the snack table cleaning out every last dip container, because while I’m not into sports, I am a big fan of appetizers. Dips, nachos and potato skins in one place are my idea of heaven.
There are a handful of dip recipes that I make each year for movies or big games at our house, but I have really been wanting to integrate a different kind of appetizer into my repertoire. Inspired by the potato pizza at Spin and these sweet potato rounds, I came up with an elegant twist on potato skins. It’s dead simple and uses just five ingredients: potatoes, bacon, roasted red pepper, scallions and goat cheese. I mean what’s not to like about that.
Lightly browned and crisped, these potato rounds may just be the perfect the appetizer for game day (or movie night) at your house.
Accessories are the simplest way to take your look into a new season. Here are six easy trends that will revive old favorites – like that great little black dress from two years ago.
1. Ear Cuff: Ear cuffs are having a big moment this fall. Starlets have been rocking diamond encrusted versions on red carpets for a while. If ear cuffs are too tame for you, wear just one statement earring, and you’ll be on trend.
2. Small, Top Handle Handbag: Small, structured bags with top handles are this season’s “new” shape for purses. The simple, classic design will add a bit of polish to even a casual outfit.
3. T-Strap Shoe: T-Straps always make me the think of some 40′s film with great dance routines. I love how this option has a little bit of snakeskin – conquering two trends in one shoe. These would be great with jeans, skirts or even a dress.
4. Delicate Jewelry: Small, gold jewelry has been gaining ground for a few years. Most pieces show a lot of personality, making items like this ring cuff really fun to wear.
5. Fringe: Fringe is not typically my thing, but I love how fun this clutch looks. Something tells me I’ll be test-driving this swingy trend soon.
6. Snakeskin: In college, I had a pair of snakeskin shoes that I wore all the time. Now, I always try to have a pair in my closet. I’m thrilled that snakeskin is having a moment, because I plan to stock up.