happy (texas) weekend!

it's been a busy day of traveling to houston to visit my little brother and his awesome girlfriend gracie. it's my first time in the great state of texas and i'm excited to spend tomorrow exploring. have a happy texas weekend and i'll hopefully have fun photos to share from my time here when i return!

image via flickr


thursday pretties

screw outlook/blackberry contacts. can i please have this rolodex? 

i'll be recreating this outfit this weekend. 

the sweetest burlap valentine. love.

i would like to live in this breezy, beautiful room...

...while wearing this breezy, beautiful blouse. 

images: 1.designismine.blogspot 2.ishandchi.blogspot 3.foothillhomecompanion.blogspot 4.timzou.tumblr 5.anthropologie


garlic, tomato, and balsamic onion pizza

go ahead. try and tell me you don't like this pizza. it's impossible. it's probably the best pizza ever. i can't take full credit for the idea - my friend blair made a similar pizza last fall and i recently recreated it with some modifications. it's pretty easy to make and downright delicious. i seriously can't stop eating it. i don't often cook with concrete recipes so feel free to tweak until your heart's content, but here's the gist.

1 package of active dry yeast
1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2 1/2 cups flour

dissolve yeast in water. add remaining ingredients and mix. cover and let rise for 25 minutes  to 1 hour. when complete, this recipe makes one large pizza, two medium pizzas (which, i'm afraid i can eat all by myself), or four small personal pizzas. pictured below is a pizza made with 1/2 this dough recipe. 

while the dough is rising, prep the onions.

balsamic onions:
1/4 white, yellow, or sweet vidalia onion (i've tried all three - they all work)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

slice onions, add to olive oil in skillet. cook for approximately 5 minutes. add balsamic vinegar and sugar and cook, stirring often, until sugar and vinegar begin to thicken (about 8-10 minutes). 

grease pizza pan (or in my case, cookie sheet) and roll out dough. i also don't really roll. i flour up my hands and press it out in to a roundish shape. clearly, i'm lazy. 

instead of a tomato sauce base, this has a garlic and olive oil base. i didn't think i'd like it, but i love it. chop about 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, add to about 1/3 cup of olive oil. grind about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of fresh black pepper and mix. spread on pizza crust. (be aware - don't soup it up too much - it will run over the edge in the oven and set off your smoke alarm. just saying.) cover with shredded mozzarella or italian blend cheese, balsamic onions and diced canned tomatoes (fresh ones are out of season, so i opted for organic muir glen ones and they were great). note: i also add more toppings now since i made this first pizza photographed here. i highly recommend as many onions and tomatoes as possible. yum. 

bake for 15 minutes or so (depends on your size) at 450 degrees. cool, cut, and enjoy. you will not be disappointed. in fact, i'm about to make one for dinner right now!


the sculptor

i'm loving this quote from michelangelo that my pastor shared on sunday:

“in every block of marble i see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. i have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it... the best artist has that thought alone which is contained within the marble shell; the sculptor's hand can only break the spell to free the figures slumbering in the stone.”

i'm so grateful that the great sculptor sees me as complete before i'm completed, sees my potential perfection and beauty amid the "rough walls", and is working to reveal that everyday. 

image via pinterest


smile more

yesterday during a quick after-church stop in to dollar tree, i ran across a big display of sally hansen smile brightening lip treatment. i figured it was worth a try, and i can't believe it only cost me $1. i'm assuming it was much more somewhere else at one point. because it's awesome. and here's why:

1. my teeth really do look visibly whiter
2. the tube is very glamourous-looking and i'm a sucker for packaging (see below)
3. it's the perfect balance of gloss and color without being sticky
4. the luminous color is about the most flattering ever - it looks like i'm wearing lip color and definitely brightens my entire face, but it's still very subtle and natural
5. my lips are really chapped this time of year, but the gloss looks smooth and evens out my chapped areas

i think it's seriously my new favorite lip color. i'm headed back this evening to stock-up on a few more $1 tubes, especially since i'm fairly concerned it's been discontinued, as i can't find the product on sally hansen's site. let's hope not.


girl crush

i have a serious girl crush on actress romola garai. i try to stay away from discussing pop culture on my blog (we get enough of it elsewhere), but i think she is more of a true artist - she hasn't really bought in to the whole hollywood culture and sticks with classic films, not necessarily the ones that bring in the dollars at the box office. seriously, how insanely (naturally) gorgeous is she?

images: 1.wowgirlsonbikes.tumblr 2.romola-garai.com 3.google.co.uk 4.lula magazine 5.instyle magazine 6.romola-garai.com 


nothing to say but...

...happy, happy friday! have a fantastic weekend!

image via emizok.tumblr

suit up

since i'm hopefully going to have job interviews in the very near future, i'm in the market for a fresh new suit. my current one has seen better days. being 5'10", i've decided that the fashion world discriminates against tall people when it comes to suiting. banana, ann taylor, and jcrew seem to be some of the only places offering tall suit options. after a looottttt of shopping, i've decided banana republic's basic black suit is the one i'll be purchasing. but then they introduced this snazzy three-piece one the other day. how much do i want this? a lot. isn't it gorgeous?
i kind of love the whole office-chic look and i miss getting dressed for work in the morning. i'm excited to wear my new zenni glasses, grab my new kenneth cole laptop bag (purchased on super sale for only $35!!) and re-embrace the world of early mornings, conference calls, and lunch meetings. while we're at it, here's some other work-wear inspiration...

i want this whole outfit. i also want to roll in to work looking this effortless. 

if my boss looked like tom welling, i'd never, ever be late to work. 

this dress is like jackie o in the coolest color possible. 

i am stalking this top at loft. as soon as it stops being $49.50, i'll be buying it. 

sexy but practical. 

you know that fashion rule where you shouldn't buy something unless you can think of at least three ways to wear it? i can think of about 17 for this one. including tucked in to my high-waisted pinstripe wide-leg trousers. 

possibly the sweetest pencil skirt ever created.

the look i was going for with my zenni's. so cute. 

i really appreciate that all this super cute girl seems to need for work is a clutch. i don't really see how this is possible, but it's a nice thought. i'm pretty obsessed with this entire look and need to find an oversized slouchy blouse. 

i love this pant length. excellent for tall people that still like to wear heels. (me.)

images: 1.bananarepublic 2.emersonmade 3.vogue editorial via trevology 4.modcloth 5.anntaylorloft 6.shoehunting 7.vogue editorial via trevology 8.modcloth 9.sayyestohoboken 10.vogue editorial via trevology 11.lucylaucht 12.glammafia 13.vogue editorial via trevology


i'll have a grande-double-shot-soy-latte, thanks

i know that coming from a small town, i should be in support of local coffee shops. but i love starbucks. (and pretty much anywhere else that wants to serve me coffee - dilworth and caribou are also among my favorites.) and once, about forty years ago, starbucks was a local coffee shop, too. i don't really think starbucks has done much to offend me beyond charging me 0.50 extra for soy milk (that actually does irritate me) and basically overcharging me for coffee in general. but i choose to pay those prices, so i can't really get upset. as far as i'm aware, starbucks is pretty dedicated to fair trade and corporate responsibility and strives to maintain a neutral front when it comes to politics and major issues. i can't say that i know about everything in their history, but i don't think there have been any big scandals or obvious financial mismanagement. and, they have an excellent customer service department - issues are handled personally and generally involve free coffee. they also give me free weekly music downloads, which are usually a great addition to my itunes. so, until something comes up that changes my mind, i plan on enjoying lattes and coffee and tea and scones and pumpkin cream cheese muffins there, even if they are a corporate giant.
but, here's the BIG NEWS. starbucks is turning forty this year and because of that, two very exciting things are happening (there could be more than two, actually - but these are the ones i know about...)

1. the TRENTA. 31 ounces of coffee. meaning, bigger than a venti. meaning about 1/2 cup shy of one liter. i'm pretty sure my heart might explode if i drank that much caffeine, and i'm also pretty sure this drink will break the $6 mark, but just the same, the trenta is hitting menus as we speak (iced drinks only at this point), so get excited.

2. a new logo, as seen above! i get really excited when companies re-brand. i'm a dork and marketing excites and interests me. some re-brand efforts are great (recent - caribou, country living) and some not-so-great (recent - belk - ew), but the jury's still out on this new look. i find it rather interesting that the actual "starbucks coffee" name isn't part of the logo. i guess it's so big now it speaks for itself? what do you think? i, for one, really wish they'd bring back "the way i see it" quotes on their cups. i loved those!

in honor of these fun changes, i'll be enjoying starbucks twice today. i already had an early morning meeting, and i'll be rejoining them this evening for book club. thanks to my friend and blog reader mrs. crowell's christmas generosity, one of my drinks today will be a free one! happy coffee drinking...

images: 1.dannyycho.tumblr 2-3.starbucks

book review

if i had to pick a time to have been laid-off at work, it probably wouldn't have been the week before christmas. that said, however, not having a job in cold, dreary january hasn't been so bad. it's an ideal month to spend time at home, under a quilt, in stretchy pants and big sweaters. so, since i've had eight hours a day freed-up, i've had some time to read. i'm currently lost reading malcolm gladwell's genius (i'm a little behind the curve there), but i've also read two books lately that are just outstanding. like total must-reads:

the help by katherine stockett
this story follows two groups of women in 1960's mississippi - the white, affluent socialites in town, and the black women that work for them. it was an exceptional story in general - told from three different alternating perspectives - but really made me think about the way southern society viewed race differences, even 100 years after the civil war was over. it's shocking that our country had such a backwards way of thinking for so long. the story was very real and engaging and actually quite entertaining, the characters were extremely well-developed, and i found myself pretty sad when it was over.

a thousand splendid suns by khaled hosseini
this book may just be the most depressing book i've ever read. if you're looking for a breezy beach read, this isn't it. i actually didn't want to read this book at all initially. middle-eastern culture doesn't really interest me much. however, it was my book club's monthly pick, so i started reading like a good sport. and i'm so glad i did. the book may have been depressing, but i was so intrigued. the story follows two women in afghanistan from the early 1970's through present day, and the political turmoil, the war on terror, and oppression they endured. i learned a great deal about afghanistan's history and i'm fascinated, again, that in our day and age women are so oppressed, and that it's something that is just accepted as a cultural norm in many middle-eastern countries. (this book doesn't really take a political stance on the war on terror, just outlines the realities of the rise and fall of the taliban.) i pulled an almost all-nighter reading because i just couldn't put it down. and while the book itself is heart-wrenching, you can rest assured that it does have a happy(ish) ending. you'll be glad you read it - trust me.

as you can see, these books had some clear similarities and while i often stick to lighter leisure reading, i'm so glad that i picked up both. i think it's so easy to turn a blind eye to injustice - especially when it's halfway around the world and we're not the ones being unjust or oppressed - and these books both reminded me that injustice isn't just something that happened years ago or that happens in foreign countries to faceless people. it happens every day, all the time, all around us. ironically, in the midst of reading both of these books, i had a job interview with the international justice mission, an organization that seeks to end many forms of present day injustice, and quite frankly, is awesome. i didn't get the job (boo), but it was another reminder of how important it is to move out of my comfort zone to speak for those who don't have a voice. it is my sincere hope that the Lord's plan for me allows me to do this as i continue my career. and hey, since it's so cold and icky out, why don't you pick up one of these books? you won't be disappointed.

image via laauraa.deviantart

snapshots of a snow day

during the very un-north carolina-like weather we had last week, i spent a lot of time inside. in my pajamas.
it was really fantastic, until around tuesday afternoon when i decided i desperately needed to get out of the house. here are a few little snapshots i grabbed of my two blissfully quiet and cozy snow days at home...


runway for the ballet

what are you doing on february 5th?
if you live in or around charlotte, you should definitely check out runway for the ballet - a fabulous fashion show benefitting the north carolina dance theatre. the theme this year is a mid-winter night's dream, and will feature spring looks so you can start getting excited for warmer temperatures and bluer skies. i've been working hard on the planning committee for this event since about august, and i'm really excited how everything is coming together! i'm handling day-of event logistics, so i'll be the one running around like a crazy person on the 5th. if my presence and the details i've already mentioned haven't sold you, here are a few more awesome details:

1. all 36 runway looks provided by neiman marcus
2. all 12 models are ncdt 1st and 2nd company dancers
3. three dance pieces in between runway sets from ncdt's innovative works performance, including tree hugger - a piece choreographed by ncdt's own sasha janes (yum). two men and one woman perform this piece in which the female dancer's feet never touch the ground. it's awesome.
4. delicious treats provided by dean and deluca and pinkberry. here are a few menu listings to get your mouth watering: truffle macaroni and cheese; mediterranean chicken, fig and tomato skewers; petite lobster pot pies, five varieties of american-style sushi, pink champagne cupcakes, dark chocolate strawberries. hungry yet?
5. two words: open. bar. (with several very cool signature cocktails)

there are two shows: an afternoon matinee, which is going to be geared a little more toward families, and an evening show, which is going to be more of a fancy evening out.  you can purchase tickets online here! hope to see you at the show!

images: 1.notoriousfashion.blogspot 2.northcarolinadancetheatre