Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloweenie!

I’ve had to wait years to say this, but now that I have a dachshund, “Happy Halloweenie!” Payton is extremely excited about her penguin costume (not). Maybe she will like it better when we go to the pet stores near us for trick-or-treating! Her penguin sweater ensemble can be found here

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sweater Weather

Today’s post is short and sweet. Sweater weather is upon us and I couldn’t be more excited. Here are some of my current favorites; enjoy!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Winter Minestrone Soup

A couple of weekends ago, we spent a lovely Saturday morning running errands and walking around our neighborhood. After our errands were complete, we decided to make an impromptu visit to Sur La Table-which lasted about an hour. It’s almost impossible to go into Sur La Table and walk away empty-handed. My boyfriend looked at new cutting boards while I roamed around the rest of the store {read: while I placed things I didn’t need into my basket}. I fell in love with these soup bowls while we were there, so, naturally, we came home and made soup that night! It was so simple and the house smelled like an Italian restaurant. Though we made the soup on the stove, I’m certain that a crock-pot would work, too. This soup will definitely become part of the cool-weather recipe repertoire. 

{Soften a mille-poix-carrots, celery, onion-in a couple tbsp of olive oil and butter. Season with salt and pepper}
{Once mille-poix is softened, add 1 box of chicken stock, 6 cups of water, ~3 cups of crushed tomatoes, 1 chopped zucchini, 2 tbsp chopped thyme}
{Bring to a simmer and add a box of pasta and 1 can of cannellini beans; we chose wheels, but any smaller pasta will work}
{Once pasta is al dente, add salt and pepper to taste}
{Serve with bread for dipping}

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Girl Behind the Blog

While I love writing about holidays, making desserts and what I wore last weekend, I think it is easy to assume an online persona sugar coating how much fun it is to peel an orange. I’m absolutely guilty of doing this, whether it is yesterday’s post or a post I wrote three weeks ago. True, it’s fun to make dessert or photograph a shoe, but it’s a fraction of what I actually do every day. I am not saying I hate what I blog about; I actually love it and it’s a breath of fresh air amongst other things. I honestly wish I could be as excited about everything else I do. Coming back to reality, I thought I’d share a few things about the girl behind the blog. It's so easy to read a blog and think the writer is someone different. Did you know:

·        I am as type A as you could possibly get. When my boyfriend and I moved in together, I think he was taken aback by how much I cared about little things, like removing plastic rings from soda in the fridge and precise laundry folding.
·        Piggy-backing off of the previous fact, I am a neat freak. I hate dirty things, especially kitchens. Everything has to be spotless and smell clean at all times.
·        It takes about 30 minutes to get me out of bed. Aka: I hit snooze 7 times or tell my boyfriend to come back in five minutes to wake me up (5 times).
·        I drink a pot of coffee every morning. I am a mean, horrible, awful person without it.
·        The number of textbooks I have in our apartment is appalling. There are 5 cardboard boxes full of anatomy, neuro, and cell biology textbooks that I cannot part with, not even to the storage unit. Every other piece of scratch paper, however, is immediately recycled because I hate clutter and little papers lying around. I want to do a mass clean of our apartment to get rid of things all the time.
·        I talk about science, French language/culture, dentistry and wine so much people stop listening to me. I also think my miniature dachshund runs the world.
·        I am very frank with people about their teeth; if you have gingivitis, I will probably tell you; if I haven’t told you and you do have gingivitis, I’ve undoubtedly noticed.
·        I can actually parallel park a car
·        My mom taught me to be grammatically correct, even via text, and it makes my blood boil when people text like this, “wat u up 2.”
·        My eyes change colors
·        Thanks to good ol’ YMCA Camp MacLean, I can: build a fire, pitch a tent, go hiking, row a boat, teach windsurfing and canoeing, paint, play sock tag, chop firewood, and a whole lot more.
·        My sister is way cooler than I am
·        I am a very picky eater
·        Applying to dental school has given me insomnia; I sleep an average of 5 hours a night and am probably up around 2, 3, 4, and 5 o’clock. I do get tired again around 7 or 8, when I have to get up.
·        I talk to my mom and dad several times a day, each.
·        One of my pinky toes has no toenail because of dance; one of my toes also bends 90 degrees to the right at the knuckle because of dance.
·        I think images of stained nerves taken with electron microscopy, especially purkinje’s, are some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. 
·        I have been likened to an Oleander flower more than once. Take that as you will.
·        I love my boyfriend, dog, and family more than anything. I look forward to holidays and time we spend together being crazy. We wear funny hats and themed-earmuffs in hottubs. You are not permitted without one.

All that being said, I am fun once you get to know me and I do love my blog. I can’t wait to share all my holiday festivities with you! Anything else you want to know? Go ahead and ask!  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Individual Apple Crisps

{We love using these individual Rachael Ray trays- similar here and here}
I’ve always been a big fan of dessert, but apple crisp brings back so many memories of cooking with my mom. Her apple crisp is the most delicious crisp I have ever had; while I certainly cannot top her crisp making abilities, these individual apple crisps are delicious. I wanted to embrace the fall season and take advantage of the freshly picked baskets of apples at the grocery store. We have a few apples left that are perfect healthy snacks, but I don’t feel too bad about eating the apples coated in butter and sugary goodness. Plus, because there are only two of us, individual crisps are a better option and easy to warm up in the oven or microwave. 
{Incorporate one stick of butter into: 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, and 2 tbsp granulated sugar} 
{Mix in one cup of old-fashioned oats; put in refrigerator while apples are prepared}
{Cut up about two pounds of apples}
{Mix apples with 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 tbsp ground cinnamon, and the juice of 1/2 lemon}
{Separate into four portions and bake in 375 degree oven for about 50 minutes}

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How To: Make the Best Bloody Mary

With Halloween coming up, as well as any other occasion, I thought I’d share my favorite way to make a Bloody Mary. The name is so accurate because this drink, especially this version, is STRONG and not for the faint of heart. It includes:

-Chili Powder for the rim of the glass
-Crushed Ice
- A Generous pour of vodka
-A can of tomato juice
-Worcestershire sauce
-Lemon juice
-Tobasco sauce
-Celery for garnish 

Pier 1 table runner; Bloomingdales dishes; Christopher Fischer Sweater from yesterday's post

P.S. Payton makes a cameo in the video; can you spot her? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Coffee in Cashmere

{Sweater: c/o Christopher Fischer; Jeans: vintage; Shoes: Steve Madden -similar here and here-; Coat: J. Crew; Scarf: Pashmina; Bracelets: J.Crew; Sunglasses: Chanel; Nail polish: O.P.I. Lost on Lombard}
I am very excited about today’s post because it features a beautiful cashmere sweater from Christopher Fischer and Lakeshore Lady! The sweater is so versatile and comfortable that I feel it can be worn anywhere. I love the red accent along the bottom of the sweater and I can’t wait to create different looks for the sweater all through winter! Yesterday, we decided to take our coffee outside and enjoy a brisk Sunday morning downtown. I decided to pair the sweater with vintage jeans and edgy, zipper heels, but I also think the sweater would be perfect paired with a fitted pencil skirt for brunch. While it was a bit chilly, I enjoyed the quiet and loved spending time with Dan before the chaos of the coming week caught up with us. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Five

{I love to mix Reese's pieces with popcorn!}
Hello and happy Friday! I am sorry for the lack of Halloween posts the latter half of this week. Several of the posts required water and clean dishes, which is difficult when your building has emergency plumbing problems and needs to shut off the water. Nevertheless, the pumpkin seed recipe and a Halloween-themed cocktail how-to will be posted sometime in the coming week. There is still plenty of time to celebrate! This week went by quickly and I know this weekend will, too. We are celebrating a couple family birthdays and getting ready for our trip to visit my sister next weekend. Today’s Friday Five highlights how I like to enjoy my favorite Halloween candy! Have a great weekend! 
{Bart Simpson said it best... but I love these crushed over ice cream}
{Kit Kat bars are perfect by themselves; fun fact: my first AOL screenname included this candy}
{Twix and a diet coke was my go to snack in high school}
{Snickers are my all-time favorite candy; I will eat them in a box, on a fox, etc. My favorite way? Frozen}

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Orange Is The New Black

I have never been one to make fashion statements, however, orange is appearing everywhere and I think it’s a fun trend for fall/winter. I’m not condoning wearing an outfit that is entirely orange, but an orange dress, pant, shoe, or bag amongst neutrals gives your look a refreshing pop during the cool, gray weather. Paired with a black jacket or a neutral trench, I can definitely see myself wearing an orange dress to a cocktail party this winter! Which of these items do you think you’d wear?

Alice + Olivia Cocktail Dresses · Obey Dresses · Shoshanna Day Dresses

P.S. Shopbop is having a huge sale right now! 25% off everything. Get on that! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Decor

Dan and I moved into our apartment last November; while the apartment experience is no longer new, we are finding a new apartment experience we have not yet had in Halloween. It’s fun finding decorations that we both like and transforming the apartment to fit the season. In fact, as I am writing this, the weather is exactly what I picture when I think of Halloween: Cloudy, misty, gray, and cold. A few weeks ago, I made a trip to Woodfield’s Z Gallerie with my sister and came home with a few Halloween items I knew Dan would tolerate. I have since fallen for the gold, skeleton hand so much that I am considering keeping it out year round.  

Since my trip, I have been scouring my favorite sites for other Halloween finds. Here are some of the other items I have on my list:   

1. Gorgeous Day of the Dead Ornaments from Christopher Radko
2. Halloween-Themed Kitchen Towels
3. Williams Sonoma Haunted House Decorating Kit
4. Golden Pumpkin Candles
5. Day of the Dead Cocktail Napkins 
6. Halloween Cupcake Kit 
7. Skull Cake Pan

Monday, October 14, 2013

13 Nights of Friendly Halloween

About a week ago, I posted a Friday Five highlighting my favorite scary movies. It is probably a good thing the list only required five because I’m not sure I could come up with many more I can stand. This is why I have decided to come up with a list of movies and TV episodes that get me in the Halloween spirit without jeopardizing my ability to sleep. What are some of yours? 

         I.            Hocus Pocus
     II.            It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
   III.            Modern Family (Season 2 Episode 6)
   IV.            Friends: The One With The Halloween Party (Season 8 Ep 6)
     V.            The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror V (Episode 606)
   VI.            Casper
VII.            Monsters Inc.
VIII.            The Nightmare Before Christmas
  IX.            Halloweentown
     X.            Ghostbusters
  XI.            Beetlejuice
XII.            Community: Intro to Statistics (Season 1)
XIII.            ANY Harry Potter movie

Pumpkin Pie

I am so excited it is Halloween week! All week, Living’s As Easy As 312 will be featuring Halloween-themed recipes, drinks, and d├ęcor. First up, our favorite pumpkin pie! Dan and I both love pie and I figured this would be a perfect time to feature the blog's first. We started from scratch on each step, but I am a firm supporter of canned pumpkin and store-bought pie crust, too; it tastes great and it is infinitely easier. However, if you do have the time or the interest in making homemade crust and filling, it’s a great weekend project—made even better when you use the extra whipping cream in the fridge to make homemade whipped cream! A few helpful tips: the pie crust needs to be FREEZING cold. I know every recipe says this, but if you make homemade pie crust, always chill the dough as long as you possibly can because it is mostly butter. Tip two: the pumpkin pie filling will be thinner than you expect—it’s ok. It firms in the oven. Tip three: brush the crust with melted butter or milk to prevent burning in the oven. Even though we both love pie, I haven't found a pie pan that I have liked enough to purchase-this one does come awfully close. 
{First, make the crust. It needs to chill for at least an hour before cooking}
{While crust is chilling in fridge, cook whole pumpkins in oven for 40 minutes @ 375 F}
{Hull seeds-recipes coming later this week :-) }
{Blend filling until smooth; roll pie dough and form to pan-a portion of ours ripped, just pat it back in place}
{After 15 minutes at 425 F, reduce heat to 350 for addtl. 40-50 minutes}
{While pie is cooking, whip up some Vanilla Whipped Cream: 1 carton of whipping cream, 1 tsp. of sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp Cointreau} 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Five

{Me writing this post...yes, I have a sprained wrist and yes, I am at work}
Katharine and I were roommates in college, and went through some crazy things that brought us close together. Although we've seen each other once in the past year, she is one of my dearest friends and we talk almost every day. I really think that she is BEDinNYC's #1 reader, and so when Katharine asked me to write a guest blog post, I obviously said yes! I've never written a guest post for anyone, so here goes nothing. 

Have you ever noticed that bloggers love to list 5 things? Whether it be adequately titled "5 Things" or "Friday Five", everyone does it and everyone loves it. I've seen posts list anything from: 5 things that inspire the writer, 5 things to do this week/weekend, 5 songs that the writer loves right now, etc.  My friends in college used to play the embarrassing game "what did everyone google last?" You think you know someone, until you steal their phone and look at their search history to find out they just googled how many calories are in a banana. 

On Monday, I posted my own version of "5 Things"- the last 5 things I googled on my iPhone. Katharine loved this idea, and asked me to spill to the public (again) what I've been searching for this week:

Disclaimer: I won't explain the circumstance of any of these searches, so feel free to use your imagination. 
1.      "darien, ct arrests"
2.      "mac n cheese truck location nyc"
3.      "josh charles"
4.      "how do i know if i sprained my wrist"
5.      "toddler leather pants"

What are the last 5 things in YOUR search history? Don't be embarrassed, let us know! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

20 Things Every 20-Something Needs To Hear

1.      Life is a gift. Live it well and live it with the people you love. Don’t waste your time on those that aren’t worthy of being a part of your life.

2.    There will always be an opportunity for you. As we move through life, we will meet more people and have more chances. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s true: when life closes a door, it opens several windows; you just have to find them.

3.      As we grow up, unfortunately we realize we are no longer in high school or college. That means: stop dressing like a college student, stop pretending you were just a cheerleader, and stop trying to look like you did when all you worried about was which bar would let you drink the most. Aka don’t dress in a dish rag and massive heels to go eat a pizza.

4. If you are 25, chances are your body doesn’t look like it did when you were 16. That’s ok! You are about a decade older. You shouldn’t strive to look like an adolescent.

5.      You deserve to be told you are beautiful every single day.

6.     If you haven’t had a grilled peanut butter sandwich, get on it. It’s the best invention in the world. (especially for someone who doesn’t like grilled cheese, like me)

7. Take pleasure in being smart and knowledgeable. Guys like it and other women respect it. Dont pretend to be stupid. I majored in Zoology and minored in Neuroscience and French. In high school, I wouldve thought I was a nerd and pretended I didnt like science that much. Now, Im winning.

8.      Put your phone down and read a damn book. One every three months. That’s attainable.

9.     If you want to read 50 Shades of Grey, read it. I don’t care. It’s absolutely no different than watching an HBO show.

10.            Don’t talk about other people behind their back. It’s a waste of time.

11.  The universe does not revolve around us. In fact, we are so minute. Remember that next time you can’t afford a Starbucks coffee or someone interrupts you.  

12.  No matter how much we don’t want to believe it, first impressions really are everything. Take note and reference point number three. Let it sink in.

13.Manners Matter. Always.

14.                        New Years revolutions are a great thing. Don’t just do it on January 1st. Set a goal each week. Even if it’s small, like pick your socks up off the floor for 7 days straight.

15.   Don’t go to bed wearing make-up. Take it off.

16.               If you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life, or if you hate what you do every day, find something that makes you happy.

17.  “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt. Truth.

18.         Take care of yourself. You get one life.

19.                       Watch the show Community. It will change your life for the better and you’ll be cool. Cool, cool, cool.

20.  Just try your best. You aren’t supposed to get it right 100% of the time. You will screw up and that’s ok. Just don’t make the same mistake twice. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How-To: Fall Eyeshadow

I am normally part of the 5-minute face club, but there are also nights when I want to put a bit more effort into my make-up. On Friday, we met my parents at NoMi Lounge for a nightcap and I decided to try a new, fall eye shadow look. I bought this palette (seen here) last weekend and I couldn’t be happier with the colors; it is a perfect neutral, however, the darkest shadow is perfect for transitioning from day to night. I've had the palette in step C for over a year and it is still going strong. 

A: Cover eyelid and under-eye with primer and/or concealer (I used this foundation).
B: Apply shades of neutral palette to specified areas. The amount of number 4 depends on how dark you’d like the smoky eye to be.
C: Apply a medium brown shadow to inner eyelid and blend the crease between areas 3 and 4. 
D: Apply two coats of your favorite mascara (mine is le volume) and/or eyeliner. 

Tip: to keep make-up in place, spray a bit of hairspray on your face (with your eyes closed). It will keep all the colors and products in place! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Blueberry Scones

My boyfriend and I are in the habit of having coffee for breakfast, just coffee; it’s a terrible habit and come 1p.m., I have a heinous temper. On Sunday, we decided to make these scones for an afternoon snack and use the rest as a breakfast option this week. If they are sitting on a cake stand (similar here) next to the coffee pot, I am guaranteed to pick one up and eat it. The scones are extremely easy to make and delicious both hot out of the oven and with coffee two days later! Confession: my breakfast progress will probably halt as soon as they are gone. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

DIY Exfoliating Scrub

Chicago winter weather is notorious for being cold, long, and miserable, especially according to my mom. With the cold weather comes dry skin, chapped lips and in my case, a serious lack of moisture. Using the Epsom salts from my most recent Walgreens trip, I decided to make my own exfoliating scrub and it was one of the easiest DIY projects I’ve ever done. It took three minutes and I now have a simple, exfoliating scrub stored in a couple of extra spice jars (similar here). Because the Epsom salts were scented, I used a bit of brown sugar and un-scented oil to keep the scrub from being overwhelming. The brown sugar adds a finer exfoliant, maximizing the scrub’s efficiency. Next time, I plan to try a lemon scrub with unscented Epsom salts, brown sugar, lemon zest, and this lemon oil from Burt’s Bees.