Friday, August 27, 2010

What I Want for Fall: ... is Borrowed from Him

While most people don't want Summer to leave, I can't wait for Fall! The weather, the food, the colors, the leaves and the fashion! This year, my wardrobe is ready to evoke some boyish charm as I make sure to add a few menswear pieces to my closet!

Utility Shirts



Tuxedo Inspired









  1. Anthropologie, Hasbrouck Button-Up, $88
  2. Gap, Utility Top, $59.50
  3. Loeffler Randall, Blazer, $198
  4. Gap, Tuxedo Khaki Pants, $49.50
  5. J. Crew, Thomas Mason Blue Tuxedo Shirt, $158
  6. Steve Madden, Trouser, $70
  7. Boutique 9, Ronnie, $69.99
  8. Anthropologie, Carys Vest, $148

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The tamale verdict is out!

Much to my anticipation, the tamales were a hit! My friends and I scarfed down 12 at Ravinia and they have now asked for my recipe. As you know, I began with Ingrid Hoffman's version of chicken tamales and began making changes.

To get started, you'll need:
  • 14 large corn husks
  • 5 finely chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 4 oz. can of diced green chiles
  • 2 cups of bottled salsa verde
  • 2 ears of fresh corn off of the cob
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup shredded mexican-blend cheese
  • 2 cups instant corn maza
  • Soak the corn husks in warm water for 30 minutes
  • While the husks are soaking:
    • Combine the chipotles, green chiles, corn, peas, salsa, cheese and cilantro in a bowl
    • Add the corn maza and stir until mixed evenly
  • Remove 2 husks from the water and cut into thin strips for tying the tamales and put aside
  • Unfold a husk, wide-end up and place approximately 2/3 cup of the mixture on the center of the top edge. Mold into a 4-by-2-inch rectangle.
  • Fold in both sides of the husk. Then fold up the bottom end and tie with one of the strips. 
  • After all 12 tamales are assembled, place in a steamer basket with the closed-end facing down. 
  • Pour one inch of water in the bottom of a large pot, place the steamer basket in the pot and close tightly with a lid.
  • Steam the tamales over medium-to-high heat for 45 minutes, adding more water as needed.
  • Remove the tamales from the pot and allow them to cool and firm up.
  • Serve with additional salsa verde.
This recipe is so easy and delicious. For one stop shopping, head to Whole Foods. If you don't own a steamer basket, I purchased this one from Sur La Table for just $8. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yummy Tamales

The best addition to the Food Network has been the introduction of Food Network Magazine. Ever since I saw this, an easy tamale recipe, in the June/July 2009 issue, I knew I had to make it (or at least attempt to).

Don't they look amazing?

Nate and I are going to Ravinia with a group of friends on Saturday to see the Counting Crows, making the perfect excuse to cook a fresh batch of tamales. Ingrid stuffs her tamales with chicken, green olives and peas. I'm going to try some combination of fresh corn, chipotle peppers, green chilies and peas to make it more Mexican than Caribbean or Spanish. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Our first major project is complete.

After we signed our lease, I was determined to find the perfect Mid-Century Modern dining table. The vintage furniture's clean lines blend perfectly with our kitchen but add some character to the modern apartment. Craigslist is a full-time job when it comes to purchasing MCM furniture. And with the competitive marketplace, I missed out on at least 10 dining tables. The set pictured below was one of my favorites from An Orange Moon.

After weeks of hunting, I finally found a table and chairs that someone hadn't snatched up before me. I practically stole the set for $100. But the journey did not end here. I've always had dreams of a white table and wood chairs or vice versa. The table needed a little more TLC than the chairs, so we opted to paint the table white. After weeks of sanding, painting, stripping, painting, adding polyurethane and repainting, the set has finally made its to our apartment.

I absolutely love the wood and white combination.

These chairs have amazing lines. I have plans to recover them in a bold pattern. However, the color matches the rest of our furniture for now. I'd also like to refinish them in the future.

Although it isn't perfect, I'm very happy with the finished product and am ready to start entertaining in the new place!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Suburban Sunroom

Nate and I have been at my parents quite a bit painting our dining room table. It is finally done. On Sunday we went to pick it up from Lake Forest and for the first time spent the whole night enjoying time with my parents inside instead of slaving away in the garage. With our many trips to the burbs, I thought I'd share my favorite room in my parents' house - The Sunroom.

This room is full of pieces from the large living room from our last house. My parents took the best from our formal living room to create a welcoming sunroom that is used every day in our new house. It is beautiful without being pretentious. Not to mention, my mom has a fabulous eye for color! The yellow chairs, needlepoint rug, side table and lamp are all finds from a great estate sale. One has to be an early riser to nab all of these pieces. The china cabinent and French chest are from my grandma. And finally, the sofa and coffee table are courtesy of Walter E. Smithe.

The framed birds over the couch are one of my dad's DIY projects. He purchased a bird book, chose his six favorites and framed them in matching gold frames.

While my mom tends to be a little more traditional than I am, I appreciate her sense of style and use of color. Although I have never lived in this house, I feel at home in this room. Job well done Mom (and Dad)!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Office Inspiration: West Elm Parsons Desk

Normally I try to stay away from things that are overdone. But, I have to make an exception for the West Elm Parsons Desk. It has been around for a while and my craving for the desk has not faded. Why? I'm not sure as it is relatively simple and you think something else would have caught by eye by now. Here it is featured in both Metropolitan Home and Elle Decor.

Metropolitan Home

Elle Decor

While I would normally lean towards the shiny white desk, the one that is most often pictured, I may stray from the pack and opt for it in Polished Turmeric as it is sure to add some punch to our apartment.

This desk is asking for a great chair and I'm thinking a Louis Ghost Chair might be my best bet. The pair is pictured together all the time. Cliche, I know. That seems to be the theme of this post.

Cupcakes and Cashmere

The Love List

Or, possibly the Snille Chair from Ikea. I'm really trying to embrace this Scandinavian retailer for their great lines and price. It has, however, been a struggle. Could be kind of cute, right? For $22, it may end up being mine.

 And finally, a fun pillow -- like these from Esty's Milk and Cookies shop! Which one do you like the best? So many great choices.

Our "office", also known as the dead space between our living and dining room, is lower down on our priority list right now. I'm not sure if this will be happening for a while, but I'll be ready when time comes!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lovin' The Loft

As most of my friends know, my closet is full of clothes from J. Crew and Anthropologie. The two retailers have nailed three very important things - color, feminine details and great sales. But I have to say, Anne Taylor Loft has stepped up to the plate with two fabulous pieces that I'm hoping to purchase for Fall.

Flutter Silk Dress

This dress is so versatile. I love it shown dressed down with a belt and a pair of suede booties.

Twill Anorak Jacket in Gold Velvet

Perfect light weight jacket in a great color

I'm sure I'd find even more must-haves if I had more time to look. For now, these two items are on the short list!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Best Corn Salad

Earlier this week my mom gave me some fresh farmer's market corn to take home. Corn is in season right now and I knew just what to make for dinner that night - my favorite corn salad. Last summer, I tried Amagansett Corn Salad courtesy of Food 52 and was pleasantly surprised that raw corn could taste so good. The recipe calls for -
  • Raw Corn
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Red Onion
  • Sugar Snap Peas - Optional
  • Basil or Parsley - Optional
  • Salt and Pepper
I'm really not one to follow recipes and pay no attention to the amount of ingredients I'm adding to the salad; it really is whatever looks good to me at the time. I don't think the sugar snap peas and basil are optional and I steer clear of the raw red onions. And to top it off, I add a little bit of good olive oil. Other than my few tweaks this recipe is amazing and has got me hooked on raw corn. I may have to make it again for our upcoming trip to Ravinia later this month!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Garden Sunday

Our new place needs a little TLC. And, so does our balcony. We have yet to find a bistro set we love or a grill that fits our budget and space limitations. So, this weekend I promised myself I was going to spruce up the balcony with flowers. Hey, it may not be functional but at least it will be pretty.

Nate and I began by picking up two window boxes at Home Depot. While Nate installed the boxes on our balcony, Rachel and I hit Old Town Gardens to shop for the fun stuff. We scored a deal and walked away with begonias, marigolds, violet stars, herbs and peppers for $40! The selection wasn't huge as most people don't wait to begin their garden in August. But, we did manage to create something beautiful.

Entrance to the balcony with two things I love - flowers and Phoebe

These are going to look great as we transition into my favorite season, Fall!

Closing with a picture of a sunbathing dog

Thanks Nate and Rachel! It is always great to have a boyfriend and a best friend that will lend a hand. Or in this case, a green thumb!
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