and now, back to our regularly schedule programming

Well, I would love to say we've been so busy I haven't had time to post, but really I've just been taking a little break.  And it has been SO nice, especially having my husband at home with me the first week we have our new puppy.  He is SO cute, but quite the handful.  

Oh and uh, he does things like fall asleep like that - see his little paws over Darrell's legs?  

There have been lots of naps, lots of tea, and lots of movies.  I'm the weirdest girl ever and I went to Django instead of Les Mis, but it's on my list!  However, Django Unchained was AWESOME.  

Also, there have been lots of cookies.  Until yesterday, when I went for a great run, and made a really delicious and very healthy dinner.  

Lettuce Wrap Veggie Tacos 
(I tried hard to think of a way to make that sound more appealing.  I came up with nada, so just trust me on these.)  


a few sprays of cooking oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 package yves ground veggie beef, or morningstar veggie beef crumbles, or match ground "beef" (you get the idea, you can use real lean beef as well if you aren't vegetarian)

1 can of rotel tomatoes, with about half the liquid drained from the can

head of lettuce, peeled apart into cups - the key is the pull from the base of the leaf

1/2 cup fat free cheddar cheese

1/4 cup fat free sour cream

1/2 cup salsa (jarred is fine)

1.  Spray the pan with cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat.  Add garlic cloves and sautee until fragrant.  Add the "beef," and cook until either warmed, or browned. 

2.  Add cumin, coriander, a little salt, and the half drained can of tomatoes.  Stir and cook until all the liquid from the tomatoes is absorbed.  

3.  To assemble your tacos, fill lettuce cups with beef mixture and topping of your choice. 

Each serving of three tacos has about 200 calories, so feel free to make this dinner for two if you're really hungry!  I found it pretty filling and we had leftovers.  


wish list/etsy prints

I love a good print, perhaps more than the average joe due to my day job as a home decor design manager.  I'm constantly trolling my way through Etsy's latest offerings for inspiration, and this has led to my walls being pretty full, because that's my solution to covering up rental apartment walls.  Here are a few recent favorites!  I may have already snatched up the "Eat Cake for Breakfast" print....


breakfast for dinner/lox eggs benedict

I am a big fan of breakfast for dinner.  As a vegetarian/pescatarian, it's really one of the easiest things for me to eat, and me and Darrell usually devour a stack of pancakes or a few eggs at least one night a week while the rest of the world is eating, say, spaghetti.  

Eggs Benedict is one of my favorites, and as a person with a well-known affinity for lox (insert shoutout to my Jewish college roommates for introducing me to this magical food) I like it with with a smoked salmon twist.  

I am going to make one thing easy on you, and one thing kinda hard.  

Let's start with the easy - by God do not attempt to make your own hollandaise.  Trader Joe's carries some that comes in a tub, and it's very inexpensive and delicious.  

As for the hard, well, you are going to need to poach your own eggs and PUH-LEEZ do not use one of those plastic microwave egg poachers.  It really isn't that hard to do it on your own.  PROMISE!  

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict
(recipe by me, not adapted from anywhere, so if you steal it credit please!)

serves 2

2 english muffins
4 eggs
4-6 big slices of smoked salmon, Costco's is the best in my humble opinion, but you can also get it at Trader Joe's & Whole Foods
Trader Joe's hollandaise sauce (find it by the eggs)
salt & pepper

1.  First thing to do is get the water for the eggs going.  The most important thing is to get the water to that almost-boiling-but-still-not-quite-simmering point.  It's a toughie, and really tends to go best if you're using a gas stove.  If desired, you may also put your hollandaise in a little saucepan to get it slightly warmed at this time.  

2.  Once the water is there, salt the heck out of it.  A lot of people add white vinegar here too, but I don't ever find that necessary.  Then crack in two eggs (unless you have a REALLY wide pan, it's really best to only do two at a time).  When you crack the eggs, you want to hold them down close to the water and do it SLOWLY.  That way the egg WILL stay together in the water.  

3.  If you need to, slowly coax the white to form around the yolk.  Let the eggs cook for 3-4 minutes, I'm good with 3 but it's personal preference.  Then lift them out with a slotted spoon.  I usually pat mine dry with a paper towel.  

4.  While you're doing the second round of eggs, pop the english muffins into the toaster.  Butter them lightly when they come out.  

5.  To assemble, top your english muffins with a few slices of smoked salmon.  Then put on a poached egg and pour hollandaise all over.  Salt & pepper lightly!  


this weekend...

This weekend we have so much going on.  It's one of those perfect holiday weekends where the whole thing is a celebration of all the people we love.  Tonight we'll head for Charleston, the college town where we used to live because Darrell's little brother (well, I suppose OUR brother now)is graduating.  So excited to see him walk across the stage - I'm a sentimental one so I love stuff like that.  

Tomorrow after the morning's events we'll head back to St. Louis because we are hosting our annual Christmas party.  I suppose I can call it annual because we hosted one last year as well, except this year is even better, because I recruited a partner in crime to help.  Right now it's difficult to get to the yogurt in my fridge because it's stuffed full of champagne.  

A few of my favorite things this week:

this hairstyle looks easy and adorable

a heck of a deal on some beautiful mint julep cups

my dining room table isn't my favorite right now - i've got a nice inexpensive one picked out to replace it, but wouldn't it be amazing to have a little nook like this?

love this beautiful arrangement for a christmas party, and they have these for a few bucks at Trader Joe's right now!  

finally did this in our bathroom and I'm loving it - our bathtub has ugly blue tile all around it and this is the perfect solution


tis the season - incredible fruit crumble

Before you read on to the recipe for this pan of deliciousness, I feel as though I should let you know that it is a big deal I am sharing this with the universe.  This is my one true, fail-safe, pleases anybody and everybody recipe for the best dessert I ever have and ever will make.  If it's a holiday, it doubles as breakfast.   It can be made gluten free.  It can be made vegan.  It's incredibly hard to believe I found this  recipe in an old issue of Glamour Magazine (article titled "20 things every woman should know how to cook" or something like that...) but I did.  

It's always been sort of my secret recipe, but I got to thinking, why keep secrets?  It's Christmas, and this just screams Christmas to me.  So um, here's my Christmas gift to the internet!  

1/2 cup flour (use bob's red mill all-purpose gluten free flour here if gluten free)
1/4 cup rolled oats (use bob's red mill certified gluten free oats here if gluten free)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt - don't skimp on this, i may even go a tsp.  the salty/sweet thing is the best part about this crumble
10 tbsp. chilled butter or earth balance, cut into small bits
1 cup chopped pecans

4 cups fresh fruit (i like a mix of raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries, but just peaches, or peaches and blueberries, or just apples would be great here.  okay anything goes, you get the idea.  whatever you do, DO NOT use frozen fruit.  it'll be all kinds of watery if you do.)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
pinch of salt

1.Preheat oven to 375°F. Place first 6 ingredients in food processor and pulse to combine.
2.Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times until mixture has pea-size pieces of butter mixed in. Toss in pecans and pulse a few times to chop. Refrigerate in a bowl for 15 minutes.
3.In a large bowl, combine fruit, sugar, corn starch and salt, folding them together. Place in a round pie dish or 9x9 baking dish.
4.Sprinkle chilled topping over fruit. Bake until fruit is bubbly and top is golden, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving (best with vanilla ice cream!). Makes 6 servings.


wishes & wants/cable knit socks

There are about a hundred picture of cable knit socks like this all over the internet, and yet I seem totally unable to actually find them to buy!  Anyone want to let me in on the secret of who sells these cozy things, or (as i presume to be the case) are people ACTUALLY knitting them??


first world problems

It has been one.  of.  those. weeks.  

Mostly in relation to my car.  Which, to some people, would not be much of an annoyance at all.  I, however, drive frequently if not every single day and pretty much feel like I can't accomplish anything without being able to drive.  

Here's a little breakdown: 

Sunday the 25th I get hit by somebody not looking where they're going in a parking lot.  Car still drive-able, so we move on with life and pray that the insurance company sees reason and calls it their fault.  Still waiting...

Tuesday the 27th I'm driving back from working out of town all day and I get a flat tire.  In a town where there's just been a bank robbery, and the robber is on foot, and he's still not been caught, but sure has been spotted right by where I break down.  I wait terrified with the doors locked until my sainted father-in-law and brother-in-law come to change my tires.  Praise the lord I married into a family with lots of handy men!  

Thursday the 29th I go out to my car and it's totally dead.  I get jumped by my parents a few hours later, because luckily they were in town on business, so then I go to the shop and buy a new tire to replace the spare.  

Today, December 4th, I wake up and my car won't start but makes a funny buzzing noise.  I need a new battery, an oil change, and a new filter.  

Lots of money later (our poor emergency fund...) I think I'll spit on my car if anything else goes wrong with it but I am strangely unstressed.  

I mean, talk about first world problems.  If anything, all kinds of stuff going wrong with my car just shows me how awesome all my people are.  

Because when my car got hit Sunday, Darrell made me hot chocolate and just cuddled with me all night because he wanted me to smile.  
And when my tire went flat Jimmy & Dylan came to the rescue right away, smiles on their faces, and let me sit in the warm car while they fixed it.  
My Mom picked me up for work the next day because she didn't want me to drive on the spare.  
My Dad & Mom jumped my car when it died, and he had no time to have breakfast because of it but he came out anyways.  
My job was just fine with my being late to work today because of my car trouble.  

So I think, for now, I'll just get over all my problems because they aren't really that big.  
I'll realize that stuff happens, and I should just be grateful I could afford to fix the "stuff."
I'll say a little prayer of thanks for all the awesome people in my life.  
And maybe while I'm watching "New Girl" tonight, I'll re-sign up for AAA.  


christmas cocktail

We have a favorite restaurant in St. Louis (the Demun Oyster Bar) and their cocktail list is pretty impressive.  My favorite - I may or may not have been sucked in by the cute name - is the French 75, a pretty little cocktail I was thrilled to learn is nice and simple to make at home.  I even made them when we had friends in town for a wedding a few weekends ago and despite the girly appearance the guys all loved them as well - the cocktail actually originated in Paris in the 20s (when champagne was all the rage) and it was sort of a manlier spin on a glass of bubbly.  I like to serve it in a coupe or cocktail glass, Goodwill has tons of pretty vintage ones, but a flute is also fine.  

This is a great one to serve at a party, you could easily pre-mix a few and they're so easy to make you don't have to miss out on the party trying to play hostess.  

French 75

1 oz gin
1/2 oz simple syrup (if you infuse it with lavender or rosemary it's lovely in this, but not necessary)
1/2 oz lemon juice
Champagne or Prosecco - not sweet
Lemon Twists

Cocktail Shaker/Strainer
Coupe glasses

Instructions: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, pour in gin, simply syrup, and lemon juice and shake vigorously.  Strain it in the coupe and top with champagne.  Garnish with a lemon twist.  

photo credit: elephantine


A Few Winter Favorites

Advent calendars add to the excitement of the season, this one is my favorite from Etsy.  

I want to lay around my house all day in this sweatshirt, reading and drinking cocoa.  

Aren't these stockings beautiful?  And only $45 for three of them!  Would be perfect for my family (me, the hubs, and the dog.)  

I'm the apple pie maker in our family, and although I've always made Betty Crocker's version, I might switch it up this Christmas for this one (with cider caramel!)  


a special sunday dinner

Last night we were making dinner, and basically had a Thanksgiving food hangover.  All we wanted to eat was something ridiculous & decadent, but what we really needed was to eat something light and healthy.  So we compromised.  

I'd been toying with the idea of making mussels in garlic wine sauce at home for a while now (one of my FAVORITE things to order in restaurants) because I had heard that mussels are actually relatively inexpensive, which is kind of funny when you consider that mussels run you upwards of $20 at a lot of nicer restaurants.  So we went to Whole Foods, talked with the fish monger for a minute about if they were good that day, was it really that hard to cook them, and eventually went home with a pound of live mussels for $5.  That was silly, we should've bought 3!  Mussels don't have much meat, so you need quite a few, and you have to account that you'll throw out about a 1/4 of them.  

So here's what I made - I didn't follow any real recipe, I read 4 or 5 and then just improvised, and they were DELICIOUS.  End of story.  Don't be scared, just make them!  

Mussels in Garlic Butter White Wine Sauce
(serves 2 for dinner, 4 for an appetizer)
takes about 30 minutes, no kidding

3 lbs mussels - this is not a "buy ahead at the weekly shopping trip" purchase
buy your mussels the day you plan to cook them, and when you get them home, remove from ice and set the bag in the cold corner of your fridge
3 cups white wine
8 tbsp butter (one stick)
1/2 cup shallots, chopped into a fine dice
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf

1.  Start by picking through and cleaning your mussels.  Toss out any with cracked shells, and if they're open a bit, tap them on the counter firmly and set aside.  If the open ones don't shut up in a minute or so, toss them as well.  

2.  Rinse the mussels well, scrubbing off any stringy bits.  Then go through them removing the beards (little bunches of stringy muscle peeking out from the side).  They won't all have these, most are removed during processing, but to get the few that remain just pinch between your pointer finger and thumb and tug around until it comes out.  This is, by the way, not entirely essential.  Beards aren't inedible, just not that pleasant texturally, so don't panic if you feel like you missed some!  

3.  In a large stock pot (I used a cast iron dutch oven but anything wide and deep with a tight fitting lid is fine) pour in the wine, butter, shallots, thyme and bay leaf.  Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, and let boil for 2-3 minutes until the liquid reduces a bit.  

4.  Add all the mussels (gently so that don't crack, but quickly) and close the lid tightly.  The mussels will cook for about 5 minutes before the shells open and they're done.  Every minute or so, give the pot a toss so that the mussels are evenly coated in the sauce and each get plenty of heat.  

5.  Remove the pot from heat, and with a skimmer spoon, divide the mussels among wide shallow bowls (you want to be able to keep them in the yummy sauce).  Then spoon the remaining sauce between the bowls.  Serve each person with a chunk of good, crusty french bread.  

Either impress your company with your fancy french cooking skills, or enjoy in your pajamas on the couch Sunday night, while watching Revenge.  


it's coming on christmas

I'm a holiday purist, so the day after Thanksgiving is pretty much the highlight of the year for me, as it's when I FINALLY feel like it's okay to start listening to Christmas music, decorating for Christmas, and initiating the general merry-making!  
My friend Lauren and I are hosting at Christmas party later this month so we sent these invites out a while ago, because people make plans so early for the weekends in December.  
 However, I had been waiting to send out Christmas cards until we got our wedding pictures back (which we love, and I can't wait to post my favorites!)  I usually go with Tiny Prints (inexpensive, tons of choices) or Minted (often the best designs, pricier but you get what you pay for) but this year after reading a post on Cup of Jo, one of my favorite lifestyle blogs, I decided to check out Pinhole Press, a newer NYC based company that focuses on simple, modern designs.  

They had a collection of ultrathick cards with a pinstripe down the side that looked so lovely and high quality (I'm a sucker for beautiful stationary paper), and their prices are amazing.  I picked THIS one, and below I've included a few of my favorites, just click the pic to go to its listing!  


a monday disaster & i'm overly caffeinated

Sooooo we received a Keurig as a wedding gift last night.  It could become a serious problem, this ability to just pop into the kitchen and have a cup of fresh coffee every once in a while.  

Especially today, because I woke up at basically dawn due to my husband's yelling about the fridge door being left open all night - yes it was my fault - and I obviously had to get up to immediately assess the damage (everything was warm) toss out all that needed to go (eggs, yogurt, soft cheese, condiments with eggs or milk) and then proceed to clean the entire house to make up for it. 

Anybody want to tell me the best K-Cup flavors?  I'm making a grocery run on my lunch break (obviously...) and I'm thinking of picking up a few kinds.  

Oh Monday, at least you picked a three day work week to do this to me.  


insalata caprese

Isn't it funny how one trip can just really alter your views on food so completely?  I left for Italy the type of person who wanted to put sriracha on EVERYTHING and was really happiest when food involved like 100 ingredients.  

I came home wanting to eat no more than 10 food items: mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, good crusty bread, pasta, salt/pepper, parmesan, balsamic vinegar, and truffles (okay, I know truffles is a bit ridiculous, but they were in season over there and came on just about every dish.)  I was also seriously missing the socially acceptable 1/2 bottle of wine at lunch, but I managed to get over that.  

What I didn't get over was this salad.  I ate some variation of this salad at basically every single meal when we were in Florence, knowing full well that there would never be sweeter tomatoes or fresher mozzarella once I got back home.  I managed to come up with a somewhat approximated version of it at Trader Joe's, and then realized that fresh mozzarella is key, so if you have an Italian market nearby that makes their own in-house daily, go that route first!  

The sweet saltiness of the balsamic vinegar reduction will make up for any imperfections in the tomatoes.  

Sorta-Close-To-Italy Insalata Caprese

for one, and then just keep adding to it for more people

2 really good tomatoes

1 ball of fresh mozzarella - if you're going the trader joe's route for this, get the kind packaged in water

10-12 basil leaves

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

rresh ground sea salt and cracked pepper

Slice the tomatoes & mozzarella with a serrated knife and layer back and forth.  Tuck the basil leaves in between each slice.  

Pour the balsamic vinegar into a very small shallow saute pan, heat over medium heat until boiling and then let simmer away until it reduces to about half.  Do not walk away from this!!!!  Balsamic vinegar reduction goes from syrupy to scorched in the blink of an eye.  It's worth it to watch it.  

The reduction will thicken up more when it cools.  Let it get down to just "warm" and then pour over the entire salad - not too much, you don't want it sitting in a pool, but just enough to wilt the basil leaves a little.  Enjoy, preferably with a crusty piece of french bread swiped with a little butter, to sop up the extra balsamic.  


welcome home

So as I mentioned, we moved!  And we're fairly enamored with our little place, and I swear that piece of art in the photo below is not actually crooked.  It's just like that in the picture.  Although the doors.....yes, all the doors & doorways in this apartment are lavender.  

Our little entry-way/dining room, complete with a buffet table I got at Hobby Lobby for $120, which feels much larger in real life than it looks in that first picture.  I am no architectural digest photographer.  

Our living room, which I love.  It is the coziest, and that giant piece of art makes my life. I hung those curtains by myself.  WITH A DRILL!  Hurray for new skills.  I also think that couch could use more pillows, a comment I'm sure Darrell finds hilarious, and we plan on replacing that tiny ($20 @ Target...) coffee table next week with something more substantial.  

The other love of my life, our new bar cart, which I found on Craigslist. I stocked it up with wedding leftovers and any mixers I could find with pretty labels AND glassware entirely from the Goodwill.  There are coupes just like that at Anthropologie right now for $14 DOLLARS EACH!!! MADNESS!  These were $.50.  I'm thinking about going to the Goodwill every week to scour the home section and giving out "vintage" glassware as Christmas gifts this year.  

Our bedroom, which always somehow ends up feeling more girly than I originally intended for it to.  

My pot rack, which is my current love.  Especially with those colorful wedding-present pots hanging on it.  My handy father-in-law built this for me and I've decided I will always have to have one.  

So that's it!  Not a big fancy space, but we sure do love it.  


photobooth fun

No wedding pics yet, but we do have a few of the best shots from the photobooth our photographer set up!  These are my favorites of my groom and I, with lots of our friends and showcasing our new gold bands.  


our honeymoon in 8 pictures

So now you get the explanation as to why this blog has been MIA - we got married & went on our honeymoon!  Oh, and then we moved.  All in three weeks.  Why yes, we are a bit insane, but now that everything's settled I can't help but be thrilled that it's all over and done with!  No wedding pics yet, but I have all the good pics from our trip to Italy (and accidentally, Paris).  

So we had quite the wedding party - we were literally up pretty much all night the night of the wedding and we left for the airport at 8:30 the next morning!  We decided to just suck it up until we got on the plane across the Atlantic (from Atlanta to Amsterdam) because at least then we could sleep through 8 hours of sitting in coach.  While at the Atlanta airport waiting for our flight, I was in line changing some USD to Euros and Darrell spotted Dave Matthews walking by our gate!  I was much too shy to say hello, but Darrell walked right up and said hi, and I was so glad he did!  He was incredibly friendly, asked us all about our honeymoon and even offered to take multiple pictures to make sure we got a good one.  It was a fun little start to our honeymoon, especially since I've listened to Dave Matthews Band ever since I was a little kid and me and Darrell have seen him three times together!  

When we got to Florence, we were greeted by THIS beautiful terrace.  Our apartment in Florence was truly beautiful, and only steps (literally, about 10) from the Duomo, the biggest church in the city.  

Our first full day there we walked to the Arno to cross the Ponte Vecchio, the beautiful bridge in Florence pictured below.  It was covered in shops and street artists, and we bought three paintings that we were so excited to bring home.  

 Once we crossed the river into the other side of the city, we went to most likely my favorite restaurant in Florence.  This is a bit ridiculous because we ate at probably 15 different places, and some were much fancier with multiple courses, but this pizza was hands down the best thing I ate while on my honeymoon.  I don't know how they did it - although I have a hunch that this mozzarella was made fresh in the back of the store - but this pizza, simply crust, fresh tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil, was one of the top 5 meals of my life.  We ate a whole one each, and went back the next day!  If you are ever near Florence, you must go to Gusta Pizza and get the Margherita.  

Friday we went to Venice for a day trip, which was both wonderful and slightly terrifying.  Venice is a beautiful city, but it is laid out like a maze (literally, like the kind you did in grade school as a child).  The streets are short, take frequent turns, and it isn't uncommon to reach a dead ended courtyard or just a canal with no bridge when trying to head in a certain direction.  The difficulty getting around almost caused us to miss our train back to Florence, and I'm sure we made quite the sight running in the rain, stopping intermittently to ask stranger in my admittedly broken and not-so-perfect Italian how to get to the station.  

Nevertheless, we did make it back (yay!) and even made our 10 pm dinner reservation at Coquinarius, where we had probably the best wine of any place we ate.  Chianti, a variety that is usually mediocre at best in the US at almost any price, basically tastes like the nectar of the gods when you actually have it in Tuscany.  According to our waiter, only 5 cities in Tuscany produce the only good Chianti in the entire world, and they don't much like to export it.  Stingy!

I sadly wasted some - I was so tired from our day in Venice I poured some Chianti into my Pellegrino....

Our last day in Italy, Saturday, we mostly rested up for travel Sunday and it was a good thing too!  We had a terrible morning I still don't understand entirely at the Florence airport, and Air France wouldn't let us on our flight!  We had to buy a ticket to Paris to get to speak to a Delta agent in person (our cell phones didn't work in Europe and there was a 5 hour wait to speak to a phone agent because of Hurricane Sandy so a pay phone was out of the question.)  Basically we were told we couldn't leave Florence without speaking to a Delta agent and the only way to do that was in person.  It was a bit insane, but once we get to Paris our agent Pierre Laurent was so friendly.  He upgraded us to business class for our flight home (Which was awesome!  Free champagne & your seat is like a bed!), and since he couldn't get us on a plane until the next day, he put us in a very nice hotel near the airport and told Darrell he had to "take his wife to the Tour Eiffel" since we were going to be "stuck" in Paris for the night.  

 All in all, a mostly perfect trip, and any slip ups we mostly made the best of!  

(ps - big thanks to my Mom & Dad for the amazing trip!)


style # 3 : everyday fur

While I can't get behind the for "real" versions of the gorgeous pieces above, I love a touch of fur in a winter ensemble.  The softness of a faux mongolian lamb vest or a mink-like scarf is a perfect add-on when the wind is really biting outside, and sometimes a full on leopard coat is just the thing to top off a simple outfit.  


my bicycle picks : a necessary round-up

So while in general I like to have a "Pollyanna" outlook on the world, I have lost the ability to have that feeling about bicycle storage.  In the past 3 years, I've had both bikes I've owned stolen, the latter having disappeared this past week (from the basement of my building, which means I know it's one of my neighbors but I'm not tough enough to go around asking...just glad we're moving in two weeks.)  Although I'm upset about my pretty turquoise cruiser being gone, I had sort of already been scheming to get a nicer bike (and sturdier lock!) around Christmastime from my soon-to-be husband, so here's his hint!  

These are a few of my favorites.  In general, I have a big thing for a red bike with cream tires, and I don't need more than 3 speeds.  I also tend to use it most for trips to the market, so a cute basket is a must.  I have to say I'm probably the most into the one on the top left at the moment.  

Where are your favorite places to get bikes?  I see Papillionaire a lot around the blogosphere, and Public is another big favorite in NYC.  I've also heard great things about Linus bikes!  

Bikes top to bottom: from Papillionaire, Schwinn (only $188!), Public, and Public.  

PS: These stores have some great discounts right now - Papillionaire has free shipping on all bikes, and Public is offering a free rack & U-lock with all bike orders!  

(Quick note - this post isn't sponsored!  i just thought these bikes were really cute.)  


a letter from the white house...

If you follow any wedding-minded folks on Pinterest, you've probably seen this photo floating around your follow page: 

The post leads to a little story here about how if you send an invitation to the President and First Lady 6 weeks before your wedding date, you will receive a congratulatory letter back from them.  We are getting married this Saturday the 20th (crazy soon and yes I am a little frazzled at the moment!)  
I know this might seem like a silly thing to waste an invitation on, but I really wanted to get to see the White House stationary - I'm such a dork for those sorts of things - and I just thought it was cool!  

Sure enough, today our note arrived, almost too pretty to open (the beauty of this stationary is a lot in how quality it is, kinda hard to see in my amateur photos): 

I don't have any grand ideas about those signatures being real or anything, but I just had to do a little write up about this to show that sometimes fancy, serious places do neat things just for fun.  And if getting a personal letter from the White House wouldn't put a smile on your face I don't know what would - regardless of who you're voting for!  Such a neat little thing.  


words for your week

Always good to remember at the start of a new week.  


style # 2 : winter braids

I really love it when the weather starts to turn cold, and there's reason to wrap up in scarves and cozy coats.  I don't love the more complicated part of that outfit equation, when your long hair goes crazy in that tangle of fabric.  If I wear my hair down in the winter it more often than not turns into a kind of static-y mess, so you'll likely see it woven up in a braid.  These are a few of my favorites - i.e. ones I've actually managed to accomplish.  Braids are such a pretty way to frame your face, and as you can see in the top left picture they compliment the season's burgundy lip as a Russian inspired nod to opulence for everyday.  

I fully plan to do a few tutorial videos on some of these when I get around to it!  Most of them are less complicated than they look - much faster than a usual blowout.  

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