Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cool Metal Jewelry


I'm not a big jewelry person. I wear the same necklace and earrings almost every day, but there is something truly cool and unique about these handmade metal pieces. They have that polished-but-not-trying look that makes them feel confident yet subtle. Their natural hues make them a good match for almost any outfit. 

The cuff is from Studebaker Metals, a metalsmith workshop located right here in Pittsburgh. Everything they make is hand forged using antique anvils and classic methods. You will not find anything quite like their timeless, high-quality pieces anywhere else.

The necklace is from Ten Thousand Villages, a store that sells fair trade crafts and housewares from makers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. There is one located right on Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Fainting Goat Island Inn, Nichols, NY

This past weekend we ventured to Nichols, New York for my cousin's wedding. Nichols is a pretty rural area with a lot of farms, fruit and vegetable stands on the side of the road, antique stores, wineries nearby, and small-town charm. Other than its casino resort and racetrack Tioga Downs it feels miles and miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We got to experience the slower pace of a time gone by when we stayed at the Fainting Goat Island Inn. The Inn, which used to be a railroad hotel, is decorated with thoughtful touches and beautiful antiques that transport you to a different time and place.

You can curl up and read a book on one of the ornate vintage couches, have a drink at their bar, or swing for a while on the front porch. When you venture outside you can take in the beauty of the Susquehanna River and admire wildlife like eagles and deer. You'll be greeted by friendly animals, including three white fluffy Pyrenees Mountain dogs, a potbelly pig named pork chop, ducks, and of course, fainting goats, who will faint if you are lucky enough to surprise them. Our stay could not have been better thanks to hosts Marnie and Bill, who made sure we had everything we needed and shared their tips for local attractions.

They recommended we visit Antler Ridge Winery in Ulster, PA. We had a great time trying wines and taking in the beautiful view. 

You can book the Nubian room (pictured below) or any of their other four available rooms on Airbnb.




The Nubian Room 






View from Antler Ridge Winery

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Summer to Fall Stripes

BR Factory Sweater (Similar) / J.Crew Factory Skirt (Similar) and Necklace / Madewell Flats (Similar

I'm trying to slowly transition my wardrobe from summer to fall. As much as I love fall, I want to appreciate summer for as long as I can. I started this outfit with a navy blue sweater, which is lightweight and great for any season, and added this summery striped skirt. A pop of red is perfect for this all blue ensemble and the gold necklace adds that extra bit of polish for work. What are you wearing to transition from summer to fall?




Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Zucchini Bread


With the colder weather we had this weekend, I was in the mood for baking, but I wasn't ready to make something pumpkin just yet. So I turned to this classic summer baking project. It's a go-to for people with an unsustainable amount of zucchini taking over their garden this time of year. I've never made zucchini bread before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. This recipe from a Dash of Sanity will definitely move to the top of my list because of how easy it is to make. It has just the right amount of sweetness, which tasted perfect with a little mascarpone. I made this while watching the Steelers/Browns game. I can't believe they tied and how badly each team played! At least it was a close game.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Jean Jacket and a Pencil Skirt

Old Navy Jean Jacket from High School (Similar) / Limited Top (Similar) / J.Crew Factory Necklace / Banana Republic Factory Skirt (Similar) / Nine West Shoes (Similar)

I love a good jean jacket. I have for a long time. As you can see I'm still wearing the same one from high school. If you can comfortably avoid taking yourself too seriously at work, a jean jacket is a nice way to switch up your typical work wear. I like how it tames this bright pink pencil skirt and keeps me warm in our frigid office during the summer months. I'd love to hear about what you've been wearing lately.




Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Tuna Salad with Lemon Olive Oil Dressing


I hope you're adjusting to your routine after the long holiday weekend! A few weeks ago I shared my pantry staples for having healthy lunch options ready to go. This week I'm using one of those staples to make this light and tasty salad. The albacore tuna in olive oil that I bought at Trader Joe's is cheap (under $2) and can be stored away until you need it. With only five ingredients, plus olive oil and lemon juice for the dressing, this salad is a cinch to whip up. Add your tuna, two pearl tomatoes sliced, a few slices of red onion, a handful of arugula, and salt to your salad bowl. Mix in the juice from half a lemon and about a tablespoon of olive oil. (I use the olive oil I keep at my desk.) And your lunch is ready! It's been in the 90s in Pittsburgh so simple recipes like this are helping me stay out of the hot kitchen.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Floral Patchwork Wrap Blouse

 Anthropologie Floral Patchwork Wrap Blouse / Articles of Society Jeans / Jack Rogers Sandals 

This top is so me. It's quirky, it's undecided, it's beautiful, it has many layers. And yet it works. It's like organized chaos. I'm all about it. Somehow every pattern and every color is boldly on display at the same time. There's a balance to the crazy that I'm obsessed with. It's outfits like these that make me feel like I get to wear what's on the inside: a patchwork of experiences that all somehow fit together to make this random but beautiful life. Also, I'm claiming this as my Mamma Mia shirt! It's the type of shirt you can stuff in a suitcase and wear anywhere yet look confidently cool and at home. What outfit defines you?





Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Turkey Stuffed Peppers


These Skinny Taste Sante Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers are packed with gooey cheese, ground turkey, corn, black beans, tomatoes, and a lot of flavor. You would hardly believe that one serving or half a pepper is 160 calories. Of course you'll want to eat more than just half a pepper! I make a few modifications to this recipe. I keep the stems on the peppers. It's easier to keep the meat in the peppers that way. And I usually use 1 pound of turkey and 5 to 6 peppers because these go fast at my house and the leftovers are great!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Striped Shirt and Print Shorts

Target Shorts (Similar) / Beach Lunch Lounge Top (Similar) / Jack Rogers Sandals / J.Crew Necklace 

These soft shorts are the epitome of summer. They're comfy yet stylish, casual yet dressy. All the things you need in a summer outfit. I'm rocking these for the last few long summer days we have before fall knocks on our doors. I've worn them with sneakers for long walks around the neighborhood after dinner and lunch dates with friends over the weekend. They're so versatile, and I love the pattern mixing that happens when I wear them with this casual cool shirt. How are you soaking up the last few weeks of summer?




Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Lunch Pantry Staples

With back to school time upon us, I can't help but feel the need to get stocked up and organized despite the fact that I am well past that phase of my life. Feeling like you have everything you need to tackle your work week is just as satisfying. Since I started working full time 11 years ago, I have always packed my lunch. It's often times cheaper and healthier than many of the cafeteria and takeout options available. It's sometimes hard to stick with it, especially when I'm traveling on the weekend, but having a few pantry staples on hand helps me transition from my jam packed weekends to the work week.

Canned Chickpeas or Black Beans
These are great for punching up a salad or veggie bowl. I often use black beans to make a taco salad with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese. I add chickpeas to roasted sweet potatoes and kale for a filling veggie bowl.

Canned Tuna or Salmon
Canned tuna is great for whipping up a quick tuna salad sandwich, but it can also be used to make salad with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a lemon and olive oil dressing. Canned salmon is a nice alternative that can be added to salad or paired with veggies and rice.

Quinoa 
Leftover quinoa can easily be paired with veggies, herbs, and spices for a yummy veggie bowl.

Nuts and Dried Fruit 
I often use nuts and dried fruit to make a fall inspired salad with apples, goat cheese, spinach, and a balsamic vinaigrette.


Veggie Pasta
I add this Trader Joe's veggie pasta to leftovers such as chicken or sausage and veggies to make a quick pasta dish. I either add marinara sauce or a light dressing to make it more like a pasta salad. You could even use the canned tuna or salmon instead of leftovers.

Salad Dressing 

If you are going to really commit to packing your lunch, it's essential that you bring condiments and salad dressing fixings into work. My go-to salad dressing is balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Instead of trying to pack this in my lunch box and making a mess, I keep these bottles at my desk.

Snacks
One of the ways I supplement my lunch to feel full all day is snacking throughout the day.  Here are just a few of the snacks I try to have hand:

  • Hard boiled eggs (also good in salads) 
  • Bars (These Peanuts Go on a Date Bars from Trader Joe's)
  • Pretzels (can be paired with dips or cheeses)
  • Market Panty fruit and nut mix from Target 
  • Granola (a good topping for Greek yogurt and fruit)
  • Edamame 
  • Multigrain crackers (also can be paired with dips and cheeses)
  • Teriyaki turkey jerky (from Trader Joe's)
  •  Peanut butter (a good dipper for apple or carrot slices; I like the Better'n Peanut Butter brand) 
  • Belvita biscuits (breakfast biscuits that keep you full for four hours)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

J.Crew Factory Dressing Room Notes


I have to try on clothes to see how they fit or know if I really like them. My size is different depending on the store and the item or style of clothing. It makes shopping online, especially time-sensitive sales, a little tricky. So I thought it might be helpful to share some dressing room notes and photos for stores I frequent to help you get ready for your fall stock up. First up is J.Crew Factory. 

In the first photo I am wearing their oxford button down and skinny jeans. Although it looks a little wrinkled, the shirt has a nice weight to it, making it feel a little more high quality than some of their other shirts. It comes in this classic blue, which goes with just about everything. I'm wearing a small. 

The skinny pants have a nice fit, but the fabric does not have much give, especially in the high waist, where I found them a little tight. I couldn't find the next size up, a 28, so I'm curious to see how those fit. I especially love the rust red color of these for fall.


I was also impressed with the quality of this quilted puffer vest. It's not incredibly thick, but it does have some plush to it and the material is nice and soft. The zipper moves easily. It could be a little longer, but overall I was pretty happy with this. I'm wearing a small in navy blue.


I tried on this dress because it looked so interesting on the hanger. It has this flared skirt and floral print that seems to be really "in" for fall. I was happy with the fit and quality. I'm wearing a size 4.


Lastly, I tried on this skirt. It's lined, has pockets, and the material seems durable, which is a must for any work pieces. I'm wearing a size 4 in black. I would probably go down to a size 2, since the 4 looks a little boxy and the waist is elastic.

So what do you think? Do you like seeing dressing room notes and photos? What do you like at J.Crew Factory for fall?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Shaker Woods Festival

This weekend and next, a forest in Columbiana, OH, will turn into a crafter's/maker's paradise with more than 200 craftspeople selling their wares during the Shaker Woods Festival. I had the chance to check it out last weekend, and I was really impressed! There were countless sellers of quality handmade goods, including holiday decorations, primitive dolls, wreaths, quilts, apparel, furniture, signs, home and garden decor, soaps, toys, art, and candles. I scooped up this fabric pumpkin, wooden tray, and beeswax candle. It's definitely an interesting experience to walk through a craft fair in the woods, made even more intriguing by the crafters who are dressed as shakers.

They have live music and food vendors, so it's a fun activity for families. Wear comfortable shoes! Admission is $8. Shaker Woods is located 1 hour from Pittsburgh and 1.5 hours from Cleveland. The address is 44337 County Line Road, Columbiana, OH.

Besides my purchases, I shared a few photos of other vendors I liked and felt inspired by.










Cool Metal Jewelry

  Ten Thousand Villages Necklace / Studebaker Metals Amelia Cuff  I'm not a big jewelry person. I wear the same necklace and ear...