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.  


for the home #1

Love, love, LOVE this darling chalkboard display from A Girl In Transit.  I don't actually read her blog (yet) but I found this photo on Pinterest linked there, and I thought it was such a genius idea!  If you really got creative with your chalk drawing - something as simple and impactful as the above passes as art in my book - you could constantly switch it up!  I'm always swooning over a new word or phrase I've seen lately in a book or on a blog, and this appeals to me as something you can keep fresh.  Also, I haven't looked into it yet but I'm guessing you can pick up a simple chalkboard like this for around $10 from stores like Hobby Lobby, yes?  Let's all go see, and start getting creative (and inspiring!) with our "art."  


Coconut Curry Stew with Grilled Tofu

I'm somewhat of an obsessive cooking nerd, so whenever I stumble upon a recipe I want to make, it gets filed into an obscenely large database (yeah...I have a recipe database*) that is easily searchable.  This is super handy for me when I have no idea what I want to cook - I can just look in my fridge, type in the best looking ingredients I have on hand, and come up with 2 or 3 things I could make for dinner that night.  In addition to just searching ingredients/courses/etc, I've also marked a few of the recipes with the tag "Darrell" just in case he's looking particularly annoyed at having had soup (my favorite food) or salad for dinner for the past four nights.  These "Darrell" tagged recipes are kind of special - my man will eat almost anything, but his favorites are few and far between.  So when this one got the mark last night I felt it was basically my duty to share it with you.  
Coconut Curry Stew with Grilled Tofu

adapted to serve more portions and be a bit spicier from this recipe, from Nat the Fat Rat


Step 1: Press your tofu.  This is important - gets the moisture out so that it will sear nicely.  Slice the tofu lengthwise (so that it's thinner) and layer the two pieces between two kitchen towels.  Stack 3-4 heavy cookbooks on top and let hang out for about 20 minutes.

Step 2: Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a big soup pot, add garlic and onion.  Sautee until the onion is translucent.  Heat your indoor grill or grill pan to high heat/sear.

Step 3: Add all the rest of your vegetables.  Season with as much salt, pepper as you'd like and about 2 TBSP of curry.  Honestly, I'd go for three.

Step 4: Add 1 cup of vegetable stock.  Sautee veggies until potatoes are softened - they don't need to be mushy like they would for mashed potatoes, just sort of "al dente."  While this is going on...

Step 5: Season & grill your tofu with the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili sauce.  Stir it all up, and dump on the grill with the marinade.  Cook until browned on the outside.

Step 6: Add 2 cans coconut milk.  Taste for seasoning - add more salt, pepper, or curry powder as needed.  Bring to a low boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes.

Step 7: Add grilled tofu and serve!  You can serve it with brown rice, but I thought it was super filling without and my version of this made about 5 (grown up) servings.  We topped the final product with a drizzle of more sriracha.  

*PS - I LOVE my Bento database.  It is not an expensive program (about $50) and you can use it to organize WAY more than just recipes.  The recipe template is included and I wouldn't change a thing about it - you can add a picture, the number of calories per serving, the course, and like I said above every ingredient/word you add to the recipe becomes instantly searchable.  You can even search by cook time, i.e. a favorite recipe that takes less than 30 minutes.  You can read all about Bento and download it HERE.  


style # 1 : autumn apparel

Nothing terribly trendy or exciting here, but these are some of my favorite pieces for fall, most of which I already own (although those oxfords are on my list...)
Those sweatpants get lots of wear from me indoors & out, the burgundy trousers come in multiple colors and never has there existed a more flattering pant, and the leather boots are from TARGET, less then $75, and gorgeous in every shade.  
I would say, although perhaps the least exciting item on the page, the one you must go out and get right away are the tights - there is no other pair in black that manages to be so completely opaque and also entirely matte.  Nothing I hate more than when I can see my reflection in my stockings.    


words for your weekend

I have grand plans for a day by myself, some running, a yoga class, perks of being a wallflower (i sort of love going to movies alone) and then an evening spent with friends!  Keeping it low key all around these last few weekends before the wedding.  Hope your weekend is wonderful!  


roasted garlic butter mushrooms

I don't have a whole lot to say other than this was awesome.  I had some mushrooms and everything else to make it, and it sounded delicious.  Bonus: the leftover crusty french bread I had from tasting it for my wedding dinner was perfect for sopping up the butter sauce at the bottom of the pan.  I highly recommend you make this inexpensive, delicious, and vegan optional side dish/pasta topping stat.

You'll need:

1 pound white mushrooms
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or Earth Balance vegan buttery spread, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

First, halve the larger mushrooms:

Side note, make sure you have some of this in the house.  I realize this is completely irrelevant to the recipe, but I had one while I was cooking made with almond milk, and it tastes identical to the store bought version minus about 150 calories.  

Second, mix up the capers, garlic cloves, and vegetable oil, and toss the mushrooms in the mixture.  Top with chunks of the butter or Earth Balance.  I used Earth Balance and it was a great substitute.  

Last, throw those babies in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  

They should come out looking browned & bubbly.  

Like I said before, I recommend serving them with some crusty french bread, and I also had some spaghetti squash with San Marzano sauce, and a few drops of ricotta salata.  Best lunch ever!

I adapted the recipe from Smitten Kitchen's version here, if you're into parsley and creminis!  


new wife life # 2

When I was little, every time the seasons changed my mother would redecorate just a bit.  In our basement, there was a cupboard filled to the brim with seasonal decor - stuff you wouldn't leave out year round, but only put on display during Christmastime, in February for Valentine's Day, or in April for Easter.  I loved this stuff - it seems as though because we didn't get to use it all the time, it was all more special.  She collected those things over the years, and has such good taste most of it still looks fresh every season.  Now that I'm sort of making my own home (well, apartment) I wanted the same kind of thing when fall came around this year.  I found a pretty cute little selection of items at inexpensive stores like Wal-Mart and Target, but these were some of my favorite finds from around the internet.   


just go

I'm sure I've mentioned before that my fiance Darrell gets up at 5:40 am.  Every.  Single.  Morning.  
Lately, the man has even been working on Saturdays.  I work at home, and technically don't HAVE to get out of bed until about 8, which feels very luxurious in comparison.  But I always felt guilty, and for the past month have been trying (and completely failing) to get up and go running in the morning.  I like to run, but I hate doing it so early.  Running is for my lunch break, or on the weekends in the afternoon, it's a little intense at 6 am.  This morning, I decided to go to a 6:30 yoga class instead, and it was the perfect compromise.  I love yoga, and go semi regularly (by which I mean at least once a week) , and the hourlong class was the perfect thing to wake me up and jumpstart my October with a clear mind.  Surely something I need, since I am getting married in NINETEEN DAYS.  Also, because a psychic at the fair yesterday told me I was "confused" about decisions I would be making in the next three weeks, and needed to remove some blocks.  (Don't worry Darrell, I'm not confused about saying "I Do.")  No, I'm going to assume she meant "energy blocks" and start upping my asanas.  

To keep me going, here are some reminders that I should go to yoga more, and I don't really have any excuse for skipping class...

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