24 July 2012

The Kate Effect: Olympics Portrait Gallery

I know, I know...I'm supposed to be taking the week off from blogging. But I gotta give the people what they want!

With the Opening Ceremony just days away, the Duchess of Perfection made an appearance at an opening of Olympic portraits last week.  She rocked an electric blue dress by Stella McCartney and her favorite black Prada pumps.

Here's my look for less:

And while this definitely doesn't fall in to the "Look for Less" category, it was too fabulous and lovely not to include!

P.S. For those of you playing along, I've started a Pinterest board, The Kate Effect, where I'm chronicling all of my finds on how to get the Duchess of Perfection look.  One-stop shopping!

20 July 2012


I have to apologize for the spotty posting of the last 2 weeks.  You see, today is my last day of work at my current job, so I've spent the past 14 days making sure all of my ducks were in a row.  

I have worked with some really terrific people here and I'm going to miss their company, but I am so, so excited to start my new job on August 1.  It's a great opportunity for me personally and professionally.

I'm off next week getting things done around the house, so I'll be taking the week off from posting.  So I leave you with a picture of my spirit animal and an inspirational new job ensemble.

P.S.  Thinking of treating myself to the REAL DEAL L.K. Bennett 'Sledge' pumps as a little "congratulations on the new job!" gift to myself.  What do you think? Should I do it?

18 July 2012

Menu Monday...on Wednesday

Sorry for abandoing you last week!  The husband has been travelling a lot for work lately, so there haven't been so many homecooked meals as there have been sushi take-outs and salads thrown together from what's in the fridge.  

M is away for work on the 4th of July every year, so it's kind of become a little tradition that the next time he's home, I make him a 4th of July dinner so he doesn't miss out.  This year I made:


 The Best Mac and Cheese {Jenny Steffens Hobick}
For the ribs, I made my own rub using equal parts brown sugar, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika, dry mustard, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  And I used Bull's Eye BBQ sauce because that's our favorite {it's Cook's Country's favorite, too!}  They were falling off the bone crazy good! I kind of felt bad for our doggie who had to smell that deliciousness all day.

I didn't change anything with the mac and cheese recipe, but it's worth noting that I used whole-wheat breadcrumbs.  I was surprised how good this way because it's such a simple recipe, but I think that's why it was so good.  So many mac and cheese recipes {I'm looking at you, Pioneer Woman and Ina Garten} call for a million different types of cheese and spices and toppings.  And those are all fine and good and tasty, but this was just good old-fashioned comfort food.  Be warned: the recipe makes a ton!

I served the meal with baked beans {a can of Bush's Best Original just heated on the stove} and fresh watermelon.  It was a feast!

And for dessert I made my favorite cobbler recipe, but I used cherries instead of blackberries.

Easy Blackberry Cobbler {Southern Living July 2008}
 This is the easiest recipe in the world and it is SO good.  One thing: you absolutely MUST NOT overbake this.  There's a very fine line between the perfect golden color and crumbly texture and overbaked.  If it's overbaked, the topping is too hard and although it still tastes great, the texture is just not that of a cobbler. 

I had high hopes for this dish, and while it wasn't bad, it wasn't all that great. First off, this is the second recipe in recent weeks that has called for cooking garlic on high heat.  Even in this case, where the garlic cloves are whole and smashed instead of minced, this is a disaster.  The garlic inevitably burns and makes the sauce taste bitter.  I should've gone with my gut instinct and cooked it on medium, but I followed the recipe and paid the price.  That said, I'm not sure it would've been significantly better with the sauce cooked correctly.  I doubt we'll be having this again.

Bon appetit and happy hump day!

13 July 2012

Friday Favorites

I posted this picture on Instagram {you can follow me @belleonheels} the other night and my bloggy friend Jennifer of Belclaire House asked if she should be reading this.  Let's put it this way:  if you like your royals shiny, unblemished, and wholesome, this is not the book for you.  If you subscribe to the notion of "If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit next to me", you will enjoy this book immensely.  It's not tabloid-y, but it's definitely filled with juicy House of Windsor gossip.  My copy is out-of-print {it's on permanent loan from my Grandmother's extensive library}, but you can get a newer edition of The Royals here.

I struggle with what to pack/make for lunch and it's only going to get more challenging over the next few months {more to come on that later}.  Thanks to Sweet Paul for reminding me about this article Country Living did a few years ago.  They interviewed 5 chefs for their brown bag suggestions.  Lots of haute gourmet ideas for lunch is right up this foodie's alley.

I DIE for this dress. So perfect for work and very Duchess of Perfection-esque.

I am pretty much obessed with making these s'mores bars I saw on Pinterest.   They are basically a homemade-version of the Golden Graham Treat bars that came out when I was in elementary or middle school.  I LOVED those things.  Does anyone else remember those? Yum!

That's it for today, folks. What are you up to this weekend?  We're off to the Farmer's Market tomorrow morning and Sunday night we're {finally} having dinner at VOLT!

11 July 2012

The Kate Effect: Wimbledon

Although I was disappointed that Andy Murray wasn't able to win it for the home team, the Duchess of Perfection most certainly did not disappoint.  She recycled several pieces from last summer: her Joseph dress and jacket and her DVF leopard clutch.  

Here's my look for less:

I had a really hard time finding a budget-friendly jacket similar to Kate's, but the dress and clutch are such a good deal, I figured it's worth it to splurge on a timeless tweed jacket.

I haven't been able to find a picture that shows what shoes she was wearing, but since in the past she's paired both the jacket and the dress with her trusty LK Bennett 'Sledge' pumps, that seems as good a guess as any. 

I love this outfit! What do you think?  If you have any better luck finding a budget-friendly version of her jacket, let me know!

10 July 2012


Whitney Port
Ashley Olsen
Clemence Poesy
Jennifer Lawrence
SJP in "I Don't Know How She Does It" 

I'm getting my highlights done tomorrow and I'm craving something a little different.  For quite awhile now, I've had super blonde highlights, but I'm feeling like returning to my roots, literally.  I naturally have dark blonde hair, and I love the way all of the above ladies incorporate their roots to lovely effect.  I'm thinking kind of a combination ombre {like SJP and LC} and and the color that Jennifer Lawrence and Whitney Port are rocking.

What do you think?  I don't want it to be severely obvious that it's ombre.  I was never a huge fan of that trend, and that trend is a few seasons old.  Just more of natural-looking, gradual lightening as it gets longer.

Which look is your favorite?

04 July 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

03 July 2012

Wedding Bells

Best wishes are in order for one of my dearest friends who got engaged late Sunday night.  I couldn't be happier for her or her wonderful fiancĂ©.  She is going to be the most beautiful bride and I can't wait to help her start planning!

Ladies, what's the best advice you received upon your engagement?  What's the worst?  I'd love to share your words of wisdom!

02 July 2012

Menu Monday

There was a lot of good food enjoyed this week.  All recipes get my very enthusiastic stamp of approval.

Monday night we headed to Alamo Drafthouse for dinner and a movie {BRAVE}.  The movie and the meal were both kind of BLAH, but I will never get over the novelty of being able to order beer, wine, and cocktails in the middle of a movie.  It's fabulous.

Well, mine wasn't nearly as pretty as Ina's, but this sandwich + a big bowl of fresh watermelon made for the perfect "ZOMG it's a billion degrees outside" dinner.  I was only able to eat about 2 slices of the sandwich, mainly because I had already stuffed my face with watermelon.  But I stuck the leftovers under the broiler for a quick lunch the next day and it was just as tasty.

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad {Iowa Girl Eats}
  It was incredible.  My BBQ-sauce-loving husband couldn't get enough of it, and my skinny-jeans minded self loved that this clocked in at right around 500 calories for an extremely filling, one-dish dinner.  Just please promise me you'll make this.

Seriously good eating.  I made mahi mahi instead of halibut because our grocery store was out of halibut.  I added half of a finely diced jalapeno to the salsa because why not? And I have a major phobia of grilling fish {terrified it will stick to the grill pan}, so I just pan-sauteed the fish in a wee bit of olive oil.  The leftover salsa was excellent with tortilla chips.

M surprised me by coming home for the weekend {he was supposed to be away on business} so we celebrated by hosting my in-laws for brunch.  There were blueberry muffins, cheddar dill biscuits, maple-roasted bacon, bellinis, bloody Marys, and fresh fruit salad, which isn't pictured because I forgot about it until after my little photo op.  Everything was every bit as delicious as it looks.  I love brunch.

Bon appetit!