29 February 2012

The Kate Effect

Is it ridiculous of me to want these Le Chameau Vierzon boots just because the Duchess of Perfection has them? Even though I already have a perfectly lovely pair of Hunters?

Don't answer that.

Also, I would be lying if I said I hadn't been researching cocker spaniel rescue groups in our area.

Don't judge me.

28 February 2012

Menu Monday

*This was meant to be posted yesterday, but I was home sick and tried posting with the iPhone Blogger app. FAIL.*

This is an old favorite for me. I made this meal a lot for myself in my single days, and now M loves it as much as I do. Easy, fast, and healthy. I used tilapia because it was what my store had. And I use the 90-second microwave brown rice to make the meal even faster.

This was our Mardi Gras meal. I know it's a bit of a spin on the traditional red beans and rice, but it was so delicious. I found that mine needed to cook quite a bit longer than the recipe called for, but the sauce was so yummy and honestly, next time I would add more pepper. We love spice, and this wasn't nearly spicy enough.

I bought a King Cake at our grocery store for dessert. Can you believe M had never heard of or tried King Cake?! I guess that's what happens when you marry a boy who went to school in Connecticut. Considering this was purchased at a chain store in northern Virginia, I was impressed with how tasty it was.

Best. Takeout. Ever.
Taken on Instagram, a relatively new discovery for me. Come join me! I'm @belleonheels.

M had a game on Wednesday night, so I treated myself to a falafel platter from the kabob shop across from our condo. This place is one of the highlights of where we live. The falafel and hummus are perfect and I fantasize about the chickpea stew with yogurt sauce. Sooooooo good!

Worst. Date Night. Ever.
I got M tickets to see Jim Gaffigan in D.C. last Thursday for his birthday. I made reservations for us to have dinner a sweet little French bistro before, and we were both looking forward to a night in the city.

Now, I know DC pretty well. At my last job, I went there for work quite a bit. So I know what to expect with DC traffic and factored that into our travel time. Basically, I gave us an extra hour of travel time above and beyond what it usually take to get there.

And it was plenty of time. We got into the city with time to spare. Until we tried to find a place to park. Half of the garages close at 7pm, and it seemed like most of the 24-hour garages were full. We drove around a 5-block radius for 45 minutes until we could find a place.

Needless to say, my dreams of a romantic dinner did not come true. Instead, M got fast food Mediterranean food {where I proceeded to have an emotional meltdown inside. It was a long day.} and I got a Filet O Fish after the show. Insert heavy sigh here.

I had high hopes for this dish, since it's all flavors I love, but I though it was kind of blah. I felt like the pasta to sauce/cheese ratio was way too high. I doubt we'll see this one again.

Bon appetit!

Deauville and Tory Burch

 I seriously could not be more obsessed with the Tory Burch Spring 2012 collection.  I want every. single. piece.  How unbelievably chic are these lookbook images?!  Tory said that the collection is inspired by Deauville in the Twenties — sporty and polished with special details.

Deauville is a seaside resort in northwestern France that, since the 19th century, has been a fashionable holiday resort for the international upper class.  Coco Chanel was famously inspired by Deauville.  She frequented the area with her lover, Boy Capel, and opened a boutique there in 1913 where she introduced luxe casual clothes that were suitable for leisure and sport.  Deauville was a honeymoon spot for Daisy and Tom Buchanan {of 'The Great Gatsby' fame.}  It is also considered to be the inspiration for the fictional setting of Casino Royale.

It's easy to see how Deauville would be a wealth of inspiration for both Coco and Tory.  I think I would be right at home there wearing their beautiful designs!

24 February 2012

No Rest for the Weary

Another Friday, another exhausting week.  I'd love to tell you that I'm going to spend the weekend snoozing in one of the above bedrooms, but alas, our weekend is just as jampacked.  M has another game tomorrow, we're off to a birthday bash tomorrow night, and then there's that whole pesky to-do list...

So far I've managed to make it to the gym twice, finish cleaning out that box of magazines, and I've eaten much better.  But the mail pile and file cabinet are still looming and must be completed by Sunday so that I can claim my bribe prize.

Maybe I can squeeze in a nap on Sunday.  I think I'm going to need it!

Bon weekend, sweet readers!

23 February 2012

Recent Acquisitions

February was a bit of a shopping bonanza for me.

Stila It Girl eye palette and Kajal eyeliner in Smokey Quartz.  Picked up on sale from HauteLook.  I paid nothing since I had some credits.

Another freebie. I used Plastic Jungle to return a gift card that I was never going to use and got an Amazon gift card instead.  So I treated myself to one of the coffee table books that's been in my virtual basket for ages. I've had my eye on this ever since Tory Burch mentioned it on her blog in 2010.

As soon as I saw this darling lion cachepot that Barefoot Bird was selling, I knew it had to be mine. I'm a Leo, after all! I'm thinking of a million different ways to use this. Maybe with a pretty orchid planted inside?

Our local Old Navy was having a major clearance sale, so I stocked up.  I got all of the above for less than $40! Word to the wise: if you're interested in the striped boatneck top, my store had them marked down to $5.94 in every color.  But be warned.  The fabric is not the highest quality and is rather sheer.  I had to go up a size, because in my regular size it was practically see-through in the chest area.  No bueno.
And I found some gorgeous willow candle holders {similar to the above picture} for $6.99 at TJ Maxx. They look wonderful on our mantle.  Very Terrain-esque.

Gotta love a shopping haul that's also wallet-friendly.  Here's hoping I can repeat the magic in March!

22 February 2012

Toile, Dark, and Handsome

Merriam-Webster defines toile du Jouy {often abbreviated to toile} as an 18th century French scenic pattern usually printed on cotton, linen, or silk in one color on a light ground.  The origin is French, literally, cloth of Jouy, from Jouy-en-Josas, France.

Patricia Herrera in Carolina Herrera's bedroom
One of Aerin Lauder's guestrooms
House and Garden

The above images speak to me in a language that only other crazy fabric ladies can understand.  I mean, ENTIRE rooms decked out in toile! It's almost more than I can handle. I would be perfectly content to upholster every surface in my house with toile.  Here are some of my favorites:

Which one is your favorite?

21 February 2012

To Do

I've been rather lazy the past couple of weeks, and as nice as it is to give myself a little break sometimes, I'm starting to feel kind of icky.  I haven't been going to the gym, I haven't been eating as healthily as I should, and I've let the clutter monster start to rear its ugly head all over the place.  So I have declared this week to be The Week of Accomplishment.

I will get caught up on laundry {only one more load to go!}.  I will go to the gym at least 3 times {already been once!}.  I will sort through all of the mail.  I will declutter. I will finish going through that box of magazines that is taking up entirely too much space in the guest bedroom.  I will eat healthily {except for our D.C. date night}. And I will conquer the file cabinet project once and for all.

If I accomplish all of the above by Sunday afternoon, I get to buy myself something pretty.  Because, yes, sometimes I have to bribe myself into acting like a responsible adult.

*For the life of me, I cannot find the origins of this photo.  I found it on Pinterest and I've Googled it as well, but no bueno.  If you know who the photographer is, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due.

20 February 2012

Menu Monday

Another Monday, another menu.  Enjoy!

 We needed this clean, refreshing salad after our previous week's marathon o' gluttony.  I seasoned the shrimp with Old Bay {duh}.  I didn't have any shallots on hand, so I added minced garlic to the dressing.  Easy, yummy, fresh.

 This is our favorite dish EVER.  I only make it once or twice a year because it is so rich and decadent, but it is heaven on a plate.  I made this dish for M right after we started dating, and I still think it's at least 50% of the reason he proposed.  It made for the perfect Valentine's Day dinner.

 Brownie Tart {Ina Garten Barefoot in Paris}
Ina provides an incredibly unhelpful picture for comparison purposes, and I forgot to take a picture of mine, so you'll just have to make do with this gorgeous picture from US Masala. Word to the wise:  it is really freaking challenging to butter and flour a tart pan, especially the sides.  I highly recommend using a non-stick spray formulated for baking.  
I adore Ina's recipe for Outrageous Brownies, but it make waaaaaaay too many.  This recipe still makes a lot, but it's a much more manageable amount. And it's still the best-tasting brownie you'll ever have.

These could not have been a bigger hit.  Turkey burgers scare the scrap out of me, because a) I'm always afraid they will be totally flavorless and b) I'm terrified of undercooking them, so I tend to over cook them and they end of dry.  These?  These were a revelation.  I used the low-sodium Montreal seasoning and still didn't need to add any additional salt.  They were cooked perfectly in 11 minutes.  M inhaled two of these in record time.  Winner!!!!!

All I see when I look at my picture is little turd cakes.  Sorry, I know that's gross, but riiiight?
These were delicious, but they dirtied a million different dishes, which means this recipe will not make it into the weeknight rotation.  Too much clean up work.  That said, the orange-sweet potato side dish dirtied only one dish and was incredibly easy and yummy, so I will be making this a lot.


This was what I served to our dinner guests on Friday night, so I just didn't have time to take a picture.  I thought it was pretty good.  Everyone cleaned their plates, and M raved about it, so I'll go ahead and say it's a crowd pleaser. 

Bon appetit!