2010: this has all been wonderful, but now i'm on my way

2010 has been a pretty cool year - I'm actually kind of sad to see it go.  
Lots of huge things happened: From having the most amazing last senior semester I could ask for.. To feeling all the stress and anxiety that comes along with graduating from college.. To realizing you don't have to have all the right answers now, and your whole future doesn't have to be mapped out as long as you're happy and surround yourself with amazing people.  
The year has certainly had its ups and downs, but it definitely made me grow and learn so much more about what I want out of life.  I hope Two Thousand Ten leaves you with many great memories to look back on, and Two Thousand Eleven brings you even more.  Now slide on those stilettos, and pop that bubbly.. Cheers to a fabulous New Year!

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new year's eve inspiration

There's nothing I love more than getting all dressed up for a night out, so New Year's Eve is certainly one of my favorite holidays.  Since it's such a big deal to me, I usually tend to spend way too much time choosing my outfit.  In an attempt to avoid spending what seems like hours playing around in my closet, I put together 3 very different looks for whatever your NYE plans may be.  I know they stir up a lot of inspiration for me - whether I want to go for an artsy/bohemian look, a glam/Parisian look, or a laid-back/luxe look - so hopefully they help you style a fun outfit as well.  Everyone knows you've got to bring in the new year with some serious style.. Don't let 2011 be any exception, my darlings.

Look I - Bohemian

Look II - Parisian

Look III - Laid-back Luxe

Oh yes, and don't forget to stock up on a few bottles of this.. Embrace all your lovely little vices to bid farewell to an amazing 2010.

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Although I completely respect how comfortable Uggs are, I've never been able to bring myself to get over their bulky, unflattering frame.  Needless to say, I've never owned a pair in my life.  People usually think I'm crazy for not getting some, so I've made it my mission to find boots that are not only as comfortable as Uggs, but are way more stylish (I'm just not really down with the whole bulky Eskimo look).  The boots pictured above are all lined with shearling or faux fur, but are way more flattering.  I'm a proud owner of the pair on the top right, the Sam Edelman Mateo boot in the graphite color (seen on the website), and it just might be the most perfect comfy boot out there right now, in my humble opinion.  I hope you like some of my picks, and maybe - just maybe - I might sway you away from falling into the Ugg trap; I promise you'll never go back.

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savory cookies

[Nutty Bacon Blue Biscuits]
[Cheese Biscuits]

Over the holidays, people tend to fall into a sugar coma after sampling all the super sweet Christmas cookies everyone and their brother seems to be making.  In my family, however, we're much more addicted to vices of the salty variety.  One of our biggest Christmas traditions is to make my Grandmother's famous Cheese Biscuits - a savory, crunchy, spicy, cheesy cookie that is sure to win over even the biggest sugar addict.  I decided to up the ante this year, though, and add one more savory cookie to the roster:  may I introduce the Bacon, Blue Cheese, & Pecan Cookie (or as I prefer to call it, the Nutty Bacon Blue Biscuit).  I found the recipe for it here on Yum Sugar, a really great place for unique recipes.  Both cookies are simply delicious, and different enough that you will want to make both.  They'll be a huge hit with you and who ever else is lucky enough to sample them during the remainder of the holiday season.

Nana's Cheese Biscuits
  • 2 Sticks of Oleo - Let soften
  • 2 Cups plain flour
  • 8 Ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese - Grated
  • 2 Cups Rice Krispies
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Grate cheese & let soften.  Add pepper & mix well with hands.  Add flour little bit at a time.  Add the Rice Krispies last.  Make into small balls & then flatten with fork dipped in flour.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes (or about 30 minutes if you like them super crispy like I do).  Makes about 60 Biscuits.

Bon appétit!

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leather shorts and leopard

[ray ban sunglasses.  scarf from nordstrom.  f21 sweater.  hue tights.  f21 leatherette shorts.  louis vuitton speedy.  jessica simpson ballet flats.  opi malaga wine nail polish.]

All my Christmas shopping is done for the most part, but there are still a few little things I want to pick up for pretty some special people.  I wore this out for some last minute shopping, and I couldn't have been more comfortable.  The leather shorts (a trend I first mentioned here) were so easy to pull off, and gave the outfit a unique touch.  I definitely recommend picking up a pair if you haven't already (perhaps for a little Christmas present to yourself? No judgement here..).

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little things that are currently making me very happy...

 [My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree - Complete with Linus' blanket.  This tree NEEDS you!]
[My new Cheap Monday Bullet Rock Necklace that makes me feel oh so tough.  I think you should totally buy this, too.]
 [Reindeer Feed (yes, yes I know it's really called Puppy Chow, but I like this name a lot more).]
 [My Lenore ornament I first showed you here proudly displayed on my Christmas tree. Gotta love Edgar Allen Poe.]
[Finally having all the decorations up in my house.]
[Having the time to sit down and enjoy an amazing novel by one of my favorite authors, Fitzgerald, with a large glass of wine, no less.]
[Most importantly, looking forward to spending some quality time with some pretty amazing people.]

Between Christmas shopping, cooking, and playing with some of my favorite people, I haven't had too much time to blog, so I thought it'd be fun to list some things that are currently making me a very, very happy girl.  I hope you are all relishing in the last few days of the Holiday season, because they're running out fast, my darlings - much too fast in my humble opinion.  Enjoy them while they last, and remember to take notice of all the little things in life.. They're always the best.

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vintage gucci & enchanted forests

[vintage gucci bag.  gianni bini sweater.  f21 leggings.  urban outfitters tank top.  jessica simpson ballet flats.  chanel sunglasses.]

After a long day of running errands, D and I decided to go check out the "enchanted forest" about a mile from our house.  I was dressed for function instead of fashion, but my mother's vintage Gucci bag made the outfit a bit more special (and the ballet flats let me run around and play like a kid).  It's so nice to really enjoy the little things in life.. Whether it's enchanted forests or vintage Gucci.

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homemade mozzarella stuffed meatballs and pomodoro sauce

With all this unusually cold weather, I started to crave one of my favorite comfort foods - Spaghetti and meatballs.  I was having a few people over for dinner, though, so I decided to change up the recipe by stuffing the meatballs with yummy mozzarella and making a fresh pomodoro sauce instead of the usual marinara.  I used Giada De Laurentiis' stuffed meatball recipe for the most part, but I changed it a bit and used my own pomodoro recipe to lighten it all up.  It was a quick, easy, cheap, and satisfying dinner for about 4 people, and we even had leftovers to spare (keep reading to see what my super talented friend, MacKenzie of Grilled Cheese Social, did with her stuffed meatballs).  The dinner was so yummy that everyone started eating it before I could even snap one last picture of the final product, so you'll just have to make it yourself to see how pretty and delicious it is!

  • 1 small (6-ounce) onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/2 cup for the pasta
  • 1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 16 ounces organic ground chuck (or you can use 16 ounces of meatloaf mix)
  • 2 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes
  • 1 pound angel hair or other long pasta
  • 10 chopped roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Julienne cut basil
  • 3 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 minced cloves of garlic 

For the meatballs: Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, 1/2 cup parsley, 2/3 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef (or whatever meat you chose). Using your hands, combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Shape the meat mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch-diameter) meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Meanwhile, sauté garlic in the olive oil on medium heat for 30 seconds before adding the tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Stir the tomatoes every now and then until they begin to make a light sauce.  Once the tomatoes are cooked more (see photo 3 above), add the julienned basil leaves.  Turn the stove to low, and let it all simmer until the meatballs and pasta are ready. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add the sauce, toss gently, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan, and serve with the meatballs (and an optional bottle or 2 of your favorite red wine - we went with Coppola Claret).

And don't think that the fun ends there – head on over to Grilled Cheese Social to get the recipe for the amazing “Meatwad” grilled cheese sandwich that Kenzie created.  (And a little friendly warning: Prepare to drool over all her ridiculous creations.. I’m telling you, the girl’s got more than a pretty face - she's flat out talented in the kitchen).  

Hope you enjoy these yummy recipes, and a big thanks to Kenzie for letting me show off her lip-smacking blog!

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black hats and over the knee boots

[vintage hat.  f21 sweater. vintage leather belt.  h&m dress.  jeffrey campbell over the knee boots.  hue tights.  furla bag]

The temperature has been unusually cold here in Florida, so bundling up has been essential.  I wanted to play around with some fun but weather appropriate looks, so I decided to dress-down my over the knee boots with a slouchy sweater (which is my new favorite item for cuddling up).  The outfit definitely did its job of keeping me comfortable, warm, and fashionable in this crazy weather.

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drunken gummy bears

Since my roommate had just finished up all of her exams and D and I had just wrapped up a long work week,  we decided to get creative and make a little treat - drunken gummy bears.  Weird, I know, but seriously, who doesn't love gummy bears and vodka?  The night before, we put a package of gummy bears (you can use whatever kind of gummy that tickles your fancy) into a bowl, covered them with vodka (again, you can use whatever kind you like - we just happened to have Smirnoff lying around), and then sealed them with plastic wrap overnight.  The next day, the gummies had transformed into juicy, vodka-soaked goodness.  We opted to make the snack even more fun by using chop sticks to pick them up so we could avoid having gooey fingers.  They were a lot of fun to pop into your mouth, and ended up being similar to bite-sized jello shots.  I definitely recommend them for a fun, casual party - they'll be sure to entertain!

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anthropologie christmas ornaments

As I continue on my search for amazing Christmas decorations, I've found my perfect one-stop-Holiday-shop in Anthropologie.  Their ornament selection alone is simply stunning.  The collection strikes that perfect balance of "rustic yet glamorous" that I always look to have in my home (a style I first told you about in this post).  The beautiful animal ornaments combined with the sparkly globes are sure to make any tree look absolutely gorgeous.  Also, most of the items are between $8 and $20, so I'll hopefully be making my way to the nearest Anthropologie (with a yummy Starbucks in hand) soon to scoop some up before they're all gone.  I can't wait!

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new clutch

I received this little bundle of joy from the amazing online store, Asos, last week.  The fluffy feathers and unique details caught my eye, and I just had to have it.  I was pleasantly surprised when I received it and saw that the feathers were actually nude in color, and not as pink as the photo on the website shows.  I think it makes it more wearable, or at least in the case of my wardrobe.  When I wore the bag out to grab some drinks, I decided to toughen up my look with a leather jacket and my go-to black booties.  I got a lot of compliments on the bag, so I definitely recommend buying it if you're in the market for a new fun clutch; and for under $45, why not?

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