Spring Side Dishes

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With Easter just a few days away, I wanted to share two of my favorite spring side dishes. Both are dead simple and would go perfectly with a weeknight dinner or fancy feast. They are actually pretty similar in preparation, but the flavors of each are quite different. You’ll need a steamer, like this one, to make both.

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The first is an easy carrot dish. Sliced carrots are steamed and then tossed with parsley and extra virgin olive oil. It doesn’t sound like much, but the ingredients complement each other perfectly.

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The second is a riff on a Rocco di Spirito number. Sugar snap peas are steamed and then tossed with parmigiano-reggiano and evoo. The combination is surprisingly addictive.

The serving size for each recipe fits our family, but you can easily scale them up. Just be sure to taste them as you season the vegetables. Salt and pepper can make or break these dishes since there are so few ingredients. Continue reading

Ellie’s Bookshelf

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Reading with Ellie is one of my favorite things, but I am the first to admit some children’s books can be a little obnoxious. Difficult rhymes and lackluster illustrations become pretty tedious after you’ve read a story a hundred times in one sitting.

Over the last year and half, I’ve found some books we both love to read and a few on which we disagree. With great stories and intricate pictures, I’d recommend these books to anyone with a newborn or toddler. They also have Ellie’s seal of approval.

  1. The Napping House – This is an all time favorite of mine. Every time I read it, I notice something new in the illustrations.
  2. Red Wagon – In this story, a little girl fox takes her wagon to the market on an errand for her mother. Her imagination runs wild on the trip making this one a real charmer.
  3. You Are My I Love You - I typically don’t go for sentimental stories, but this one gets me every single time. Ellie likes it too.
  4. The Goodnight Train – We received this book as a gift, and I am a little embarrassed to admit how much I love making the train sounds as I read it. Choo! Choo!
  5. Pride and Prejudice – Counting books can be a little boring to read over and over, but the illustrations here are clever. P&P fans will find the marriage proposal page in particular to be entertaining.
  6. Bunny & Bee Playtime – Bunny and Bee are two little kids dressed as the aforementioned animals who live in a tree. I don’t think I need to say anymore.
  7. Bella Loves Bunny – At our house, I read this one as ”Ellie loves Hoppy,” since E sleeps with a bunny every night. The pictures are old-fashioned and lovely.
  8. Madeline (obviously) – Ellie has only recently come around to reading this one. The content was a little too long for her before, but now, she enjoys hearing the story. I have adored this book since I was a little girl and the love affair continues.

 

Fashion Friday: Inspiration

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Last week, my copy of Rachael Zoe’s Living in Style came in the mail. In a few short hours, I had skimmed through most of the book. I liked the content a lot, and there was one thing in particular that really struck me. She talks about identifying which style icons you are inspired by, and then, suggests adding pieces to your wardrobe based on what you see them wearing. It’s simple, sound advice, but I couldn’t think of who I was inspired by. A few names ran through my head, but they never felt right. After some thought, I came up with the following list: Claudia Schiffer, Elle MacPherson, Olivia Palermo, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Gwyneth Paltrow and Miranda Kerr.

Inspiration

 

I gathered photos online via Polyvore and created a board showcasing these ladies in mostly every day clothes. Though I’d like to be, I’m rarely on the red carpet and thought those looks may not be as relatable to my life. Can’t you just see me at daycare in full sequins? After just a few minutes of looking at the photos, there were some things that quickly stood out me.

  1. All of these ladies have similar styles.
  2. A lot of them are wearing coats. I love coats, but rarely throw on a blazer to complete a look.
  3. There wasn’t a single dress in the bunch, but a few skirts.
  4. The looks were largely classic and polished with punched up accessories.
  5. Many of the women wore scarves. I had a scarf phase, but had moved past it. Apparently, I shouldn’t have.
  6. There were several printed blouses and lots of oversized sunglasses.

Overall the looks were really classic, but punched up with cool and trendy accessories. It gave me a new perspective on the kinds of things I should be looking for. Which leads me to this question, who inspires you?

Happy Hour: The French 75

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Admittedly, I am not a big cocktail person. In college, I drank mostly whiskey and cokes, which typically led to lots of dancing and other shenanigans. Since then, I often find myself completely confused by cocktail menus, because I have no idea what I like. After ordering one too many failed drinks while out, I typically choose to have a beer or a glass of wine instead. Continue reading

Grilled PB&J

One of the biggest perks to having kids is that you can start to eat things like pizza, corn dogs and PB&J’s without judgment. In fact, it’s expected. You know, because those are the things kids like.

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Before having Ellie, lunch was always a bit of a struggle. Coming up with something to eat usually resulted in a Lean Cuisine or meal out. For some reason, I don’t think either of these options will really cut it with the kiddo.

So, I’ve been relying on experts. Recently, I’ve been inspired by Catherine McCord of Weelicious fame. She is a genius at transforming classic “kid” dishes into healthy, tasty meals people of all ages will love. Seriously, I’d recommend her cookbook, Weelicious Lunches, to anyone who packs a lunch. It’s really good.

A few weeks ago, I decided to make a PB&J in the style of a grilled cheese.
I’ve never been much of a cold sandwich eater, preferring mine hot. It may not look like much, but the peanut butter becomes almost dessertlike after being heated between two slices of bread. The whole thing only takes a few minutes to make, and you probably have the ingredients at your house already. So make it for your kiddos (or yourself), I won’t tell anyone. Continue reading

Around Here

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The weather has been bleak, but these dwarf irises are a lovely reminder that spring is around the corner.

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Ellie has been making a lot of coffee lately. She spends most of her time running from the table to the bookcase, carrying one piece at time, until everything is just right. “Sit down,” she’ll say and point to a specific point on the floor. She may need to work on her hostess skills.

Continue reading

Spring Wishlist

When I first starting writing this post, I was not suffering from a cold/sinus infection. So, you will see in my first sentence, I sound very brave. One Kleenex box in, I am a little more tentative, but still pretty excited about Spring.

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The first official day of spring is today, and it should get ready, because I have big plans for it. Continue reading

On My Bookshelf

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For book club last month, we read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.

The Plot: The story takes place in 1999. The Internet is still relatively new. The clothes are phenomenal.

The  male lead, Lincoln, has been hired to monitor emails at a newspaper. (Big Brother is watching.) While at work, he starts following the correspondence of two of his co-workers who are friends. Continue reading

An Orange Lip

Making a small change to your beauty routine can have a big impact on your appearance. Whether its embracing new nail trends or trying a different shade of lipstick, you can update your look for under $30 – sometimes for less than $10. Some seasons the difference is less dramatic, but this spring, it’s all about an orange lip.

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This look is not for the faint of heart, but I found it surprisingly flattering. After dipping my toe in the bright lip pond about a month ago, I was still apprehensive about trying this trend, but was much more up to the challenge. I asked the husband’s opinion at Sephora, since I knew he would tell me nicely if it didn’t work. Instead of saying he didn’t like it, he actually suggested I go darker in my application. (Who knew?) Since then, I’ve been sporting the shade around town, and while I do still feel self-conscious at times, I really like the look. (I’m still learning this whole selfie business, so I apologize the image is pretty blurry, but I think you get the general idea.)

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I splurged on NARS satin lip pencil in Timanfaya to try the trend. The texture is smooth. It covers really well, and the color lasts through several diet cokes. Needless to say, I’m already saving my pennies to buy a few more of their colors. If you’re not sure you want to spend as much on an orange lipstick, fear not. There are plenty of other options out there. Though, I am really happy with this one. Will your pouts be orange this season? Or, will you be sitting this trend out?

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