Wednesday, October 31, 2012

apple cider doughnuts - part one

I nearly didn't post this since it's quite late in the day {or evening rather} and there are more pressing matters right now. My mom was nice enough to take time out of her day today to drive me back to my apartment in the city. Our house in NJ, along with so, so many others, is without heat and power. Hopefully it will come back soon! It's crazy to see the damage that was done to the East Coast and the Jersey shore, a place I have vacationed many times. So many places and things have just washed away. Please keep those affected by the storm in your thoughts.

But, I thought this would be a nice little bit of 'happy' during some less than sunny times. While I was home for the weekend, I decided to try out some recipes for apple cider doughnuts. Two recipes with minor differences that resulted in two very different looking doughnuts. Both equally delicious!

Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts
{From the Kitchn}

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp. canola oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients {everything from the egg and below}. Pour this into your bowl of dry mixture and whisk until just combined.
4. Pour or spoon your batter into your doughnut mold {mine were about half to 3/4 full}. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes and cool on a wire rack. {They're going to look really dark but that's just the apple butter so don't worry!}
5. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

The recipe says it makes 8 doughnuts, but as you can see from picture, I was able to make 11 full size and 12 mini. This probably depends on the size of your mold and how much you fill it with.

These are best warm and with some tea, coffee, or warm apple cider!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

weekend in the suburbs

I left the city on Friday night after work to head home to the suburbs in NJ. I had only planned on staying for the weekend and going to see the NY Jets play the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Sunday before heading back to my apartment. Hurricane Sandy put a dent in those plans, and my parents and I decided it was probably best for me to just stay at their house. It was definitely a good decision with the crazy weather that has hit the East Coast.

I managed to snap a few pictures of the seasonal set-up my parents had outside of our house before they  tucked it all away.

{A pretty seasonal wreath + pumpkin and bundles of hay}

{A family of scarecrows}

Monday, October 29, 2012

eat this, wear that: halloween cake

Halloween is two days away, but it seems that Hurricane Sandy may put a dent in some plans. I left the city on Friday to spend the weekend at home and go to a football game with my parents on Sunday, and it seems like I'll be staying here til the storm blows over. I'm taking this it as a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep and to bake a few Halloween treats.

I love the mix of Halloween colors in this bundt cake. The purple, black, and orange mixed layers are so perfect and a great way to get into the spirit of the day. I don't plan on leaving the house but make sure you dress appropriately if you do. Layers plus an anorak, cozy scarf, and rain boots is the best way to go. Add just a tiny bit of sparkle to brighten up the gloomy weather.

If you're on the east coast, stay safe!

Happy Monday!

{Image via Cooking with Sugar}

Friday, October 26, 2012

friday's fancies: celebrating 100

Cheers to Friday {finally!} and to av of long distance loving! This week is her 100th Friday's Fancies, which is quite the accomplishment! The series has grown so much and I'm glad to be apart of it. In honor of the big 100, here's a fancy celebration outfit.

Head on over to long distance loving for some other party-worthy outfits!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

fall scents

Perfumes and candles are two things that I use everyday. I spritz on some perfume just before heading out the door, and I always light a candle once I enter my apartment. Here are a few of the scents that I'm loving this fall.

Dior and Ralph Lauren fragrances have been a favorite of mine for a long time. I was pleasantly surprised by Lady Gaga's perfume. It's certainly eye catching, don't you think?

Bath & Body Works is my go-to store for candles. There are so many choices that I spend so much time just smelling them, trying to decide which to buy. I'm currently burning Autumn Day and have completely used up my large Cranberry Woods candle. I'm debating whether or not to purchase Mahogany Teakwood. I love it, but it smells an awful lot like an Abercrombie store and I'm not sure if that will be too much after a few hours.

What are your favorite scents this season? 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

dressed up for halloween

So I'm going to be completely honest - I really don't like Halloween. At all.

I've never been a fan of putting together a costume. I don't like candy corn, the bite size candy bars {really just because there's too much temptation to eat them all!}, or anything pumpkin-flavored. I'm a big scaredy-cat when it comes to haunted houses, hayrides, etc. Really, nothing about Halloween is that appealing to me.

All that aside, I have put together many costumes {sorority, that's all I can say} for lots of occasions so it's not as if I've never dressed up. I just like to try to keep the outfit simple and work with what I already have in my closet. It keeps costs low and I know I'll be able to wear some part of the costume again. I'm keeping this same mindset and have thought of a few outfits to wear next Wednesday night.

There is nothing that I don't love about this 1920s-inspired outfit. Who wouldn't want to wear a jeweled dress as beautiful as this with T-strap heels that can become a staple in your shoe collection? A few lovely accessories, like pearls, art-deco inspired earrings, and a headpiece, and you'll be feeling glamorous all night. 

While the black dress and pearls Audrey Hepburn sports as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's is a pretty outfit, why not try wearing something different? Throw on a men's tuxedo shirt in a few sizes too big, some comfy flats, and the iconic sleep eye mask and everyone will still recognize you while you're out and about. An adorable plush cat is the best accessory here.

Or you can keep it simple but fancy with any LBD in your closet. Put on some pretty heels, sparkly jewels, and grab a mask and you're ready for any Halloween occasion.

I am definitely considering one of these, but haven't really made up my mind yet. Have you decided on a costume for next Wednesday?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

method products to clean house

Last week was really rough for me, and it wasn't til Saturday that I felt things were starting to look up. A series of events plus my awful mood led me to do some serious apartment cleaning on Wednesday night. I clean my apartment every Saturday, but I really went to town that night. I spent just a little over three hours cleaning my little teeny tiny studio apartment.

I'm pretty sure the only reason my mom and I decided to purchase Method products was because of their price. We bought them at Target before I moved into my apartment, and I really love them. They do a great job, smell nice, and are super affordable. I highly recommend trying the Method brand if you haven't yet.

Monday, October 22, 2012

eat this, wear that: pink and pocky

As we all know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I haven't done a pink outfit in awhile {or maybe ever since I don't really like the color} and thought I needed to pick something soon. I stumbled upon this Pink Vanilla Pocky Cake months ago and thought that it not only sounds delicious {if you haven't had Pocky, you're missing out!} but it's perfect to celebrate the month and raise awareness.

This pink sweater dress looks comfy, cozy, and is very budget friendly. Accessories in other shades of pink add more to the outfit without being too over-the-top. Tights, heeled boots, and a bag big enough for all your work essentials make this a pretty way to start off the week.

Happy Monday!

{Image via Sprinkle Bakes}

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

on the bright side

After an awful, awful Monday, here's a reminder to leave the stressful times behind and that everything will be A-OK.

I hope you have a wonderful and happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 15, 2012

eat this, wear that: breakfast quinoa

I'm a big quinoa fan. I wouldn't mind eating it everyday. I've been wanting to try out some breakfast quinoa dishes and I think this is going to be a favorite.

Quinoa with chocolate chips and blueberries - how good does that sound? Brown and blue is a classic combination that I love. Details like peplum, animal print, and a statement necklace add the perfect amount of 'trendy' to a work outfit. But my favorite part of this whole outfit are the shoes, a bootie-style pump that is chic for the office, nights out, and so many other occasions.

{Image via How Sweet Eats}

Friday, October 12, 2012

friday's fancies: leaf love

Chilly days and nights are here to stay! I am really loving this weather because I can break out some of my favorite pieces from my closet. Comfy cable knits and corduroys, what's not to love?

I think this is a lovely outfit to wear this weekend in a color pairing that completely represents fall to me. Pull back your hair in half-up hairstyle gathered with a pretty gold bow and grab your sunglasses {love the shape of these from Kate Spade} and you're all set for the day. If heels aren't your thing, try these boots or these flats for more comfort.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

gemstones for the home

Decorating my apartment will always be a work in progress. I'm always searching for ideas on adding little and pretty touches here and there. I've been admiring over gemstone accents for the home for quite some time now. I certainly would not mind having a few of these in my tiny studio.

What's not to love about the pretty jewel tones and touch of sparkle? Even better, you can easily take the DIY route with a few of these, like using this tutorial by Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere to create more budget friendly bottle stoppers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

under and over $100

I added some new favorites to my Currently Obsessed page and thought I would share my picks. These are just a few of the things that I'm loving right now.

I have Essie 'Stylenomics' on my fingers right now and absolutely love the deep green shade. The TopShop jacquard pants and H&M burgundy dress are two things that I've been admiring for quite some time now but can't justify my desire to buy them. I've mentioned and featured the Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC bag several times. So many people rave about it, but whenever I see it, I can't decide if it's really as great as people say. Thoughts?

What are you loving this season?

Don't forget to check out my Currently Obsessed page or "Shop With Me" tab to see what other things have caught my eye and are on my wish list!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

chrome nail polish

It's no secret that I love nail polish, specifically colors from Essie, but there are always nail polish trends that I'm not immediately drawn to. Metallic and chrome polishes are so trendy for fall and I admire them whenever I see them in the store. Really, they're beautiful in the bottle but I just can't imagine wearing them. The great thing about fall is that since riding boots and other closed toe shoes are necessary, it's the best time to use a pedicure to test out polishes you're unsure about. I'm determined to try out some of the metallic and chrome shades that I've been admiring before the year is over.

*A note and heads up!: The polish shade that Nordstrom advertises as Essie 'Blue Rhapsody' is NOT what the color actually looks like. Do not base the color on that picture.

I really love Blue Rhapsody and Swagga Like Us. Those two are definitely at the top of list of polishes to try. 

Have you tried any of these metallic and chrome polishes? What are your thoughts?

Monday, October 8, 2012

eat this, wear that: pumpkin cream sauce

Because it's Columbus Day and the weather is definitely reflecting the season, I chose this pasta dish with a pumpkin cream sauce. If I'm being completely honest, I don't always love pumpkin foods {especially pumpkin spice lattes - do not get the hype over those} but this looks absolutely delicious. I'm a sucker for pasta and this seems like a good warm dish to have on a cool day.

Because of the federal holiday today and since most people have the day off, a more casual outfit seemed like the perfect way to go. A gingham orange shirt, jeans, and flats is a great comfy and casual look. Add a few simple accessories {love, love, love animal bangles!} and a crossbody bag for your day off of shopping and sales or just errands. Just make sure to bring a jacket to keep yourself warm!

You can also find me over on Natalie's blog, Natalie Dressed, for her brilliant "Love Who You Are" series. Thanks so much for having me Natalie!

{Image via food + words}

Friday, October 5, 2012

friday's fancies: marvelous monotone

I think I may have taken the easy way out this week for Friday's Fancies. But let's be real. Black is a color that looks good on everyone. It's a classic color, a neutral that can be paired with so many others, and it's slimming.

While I opted to go with black for this week, I'm glad I chose to go with different shades. The button up blouse is my favorite part of this whole look - seriously, I just can't seem to get enough. With such a dark look overall, going with a pink neutral color for your lips will definitely brighten this up. Or go with the trend and try it with a burgundy shade. No matter what you choose, you really can't go wrong here.

Head over to long distance loving to see over monotone looks for this week!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

bottoms up: spiked apple cider float

Apple cider has been on my mind lately, and I've been having some serious cravings for this fall treat. I was looking for some recipes - cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, donuts, cupcakes - and stumbled upon this recipe for a spiked apple cider float.

Apple cider, bourbon, schnapps, vanilla ice cream, and cinnamon simple syrup. Yup, I'm pretty sure this delicious treat is autumn in a mug.

Even better, the color palette lends itself to a work-appropriate outfit that you can take from the desk to drinks. Tuck the blouse into the skirt for a bit of polish and top it off with a cardigan to keep yourself warm in the office. The three inch heels add the perfect amount of height without being too painful. Just a few pieces of jewelry and lipstick that surely won't wear off are the finishing touches. I have plans to meet two college friends for a long overdue catch up session {I haven't seen my friend Brittany since graduation!} and I wish I was wearing an outfit as pretty as this!

What's your favorite way to unwind after work?

{Image via food + words}

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

all buttoned up

I love button up blouses and shirts all year round, but I've noticed that I've been reaching for them more often in the morning to wear to work. I don't have too many since I did not like them all too much a few years ago. I've been wanting to grow my collection, especially given the great reviews Equipment blouses get. Perfect to wear to work and easily dressed up or down, button ups are great pieces to have in your closet.

I nearly purchased the J. Crew buffalo check shirt the other day when they were having their 25% off sale but refrained and decided to wait on it instead {though I did purchase other things...}. I'm really loving the color - block Equipment blouse with its Peter Pan collar and hot pink cuffs. It would be a great way to spruce up a work outfit! And while the Sonia Rykiel and LANVIN shirts are way, way, way out of my budget, I couldn't resist including them because they are just too pretty for words.

Are you a fan of button up shirts?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

sleepy time

For over a week now, I've been having trouble falling asleep. There has been just one day when I've gone to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour! I've made it my goal to be in my bed by 10 or 11 - lights and TV off, laptop and cell phone put away. Unfortunately for me, it hasn't been working because I've been falling asleep between 4 and 5 AM. This obviously isn't ideal since I wake up between 7 and 7:30 AM everyday and running on less than four hours of sleep is just exhausting.

I've decided that maybe it's time to try out some new methods to get myself to sleep at an earlier hour. And maybe purchase a new pajama set while I'm at it.

I love pajama sets, especially since the shirt can worn day and night. Try it over a cami with jeans, ballet flats, and a light jacket for a casual fall weekend look, similar to these outfit ideas. Sleep masks have always fascinated me for some reason, though I have yet to try one. This pillow mist from Bath & Body Works seems like a bizarre concept {spray it on your pillow and sheets before going to bed to help you fall asleep} but maybe it's worth a shot.

Have you tried sleep masks or pillow mists? Any tips or tricks for a good night's sleep?

Monday, October 1, 2012

eat this, wear that: plum & raspberry cake

I was going a bit of grocery shopping at Trader Joe's on Saturday and saw plums while I was waiting in the checkout line. They looked so good so I grabbed one to have at breakfast on Sunday. It was delicious, let me tell you. It was so good in fact, that I spent most of last night looking up plum recipes to try out. This black plum and raspberry upside-down cake looked pretty and delicious. I was immediately attracted to the deep purple and raspberry red colors and can only imagine how good this must taste. Fall is a great season to wear this color combination with wine-colored corduroys and a pretty and silky blouse. When temperatures are cooler in the morning and early evening, just top this outfit with a jacket like this trench coat or this downtown field jacket.

And the winner of my one-year blogiversary giveaway is Laura of Beauty and the Beard! If you haven't already, you all need to go read her blog for her awesome recipes, DIY projects, and style posts. Congratulations lady! I'll be emailing you shortly!

Happy October!