All That Glitters Is Gold…

Whenever I’m searching for something new or special, I’m almost always drawn toward little golden trinkets.  The majority of my jewelry pieces are gold, and for some reason, I feel as if everything else has to be gold to match.  I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite golden baubles for you to check out below and possibly inspire some future shopping lists.  Enjoy!

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1. Rebecca Minkoff Wishbone Necklace

2. Antique Golden Wick Trimmer

3. Michael Aram Olive Branch Wine Stopper

4. Catbird Ear Cuff

5. Anthropologie Embrace Cuff

6. Catbird Stacking Rings

 

* photos from catbird.com, cupcakesandcashmere.com, anthrolopogie.com, and nordstrom.com

Friday Favorites: Haute Couture Spring 2014 Fashion Week Edition

haute cou·ture [oat-koo-toor]
noun
1. high fashion; the most fashionable and influential dressmaking and designing.
2. the fashions so created.
3. the leading dressmaking establishments in the world of fashion, considered collectively.

*also, keep in mind that haute couture pieces are handmade – which is amazing and requires a LOT of time and skill

Over the past week, Paris has been bustling with fashion editors and models from all over the world to see the latest creations from our esteemed haute couture designers.  Even though haute couture has dwindled to a tiny fraction of what it used to be, the Paris shows have been no less inspiring than what they were in the 19th century.  This season was definitely exciting and brought to light some new (and crazy?) trends that we may be able to spot soon in our stores (of course in less dramatic versions).  Below are a few of my favorite looks and details from this week’s haute couture fashion week in Paris, enjoy!

Chanel: the sneakers and of course, Cara Delevigne

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Dior: the short dresses, shoes, and peekaboo fabrics

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 Alexis Mabille: aside from the costume-y feel in the majority of her pieces, I really loved the Cleopatra vibe from this golden shawl-like garment

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Elie Saab: as always, all of the looks were beautiful, dreamy, and romantic; aside from some ridiculously thin models, I loved the majority of these pieces

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 Bouchra Jarrar: the jackets and vests rocked

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 * all photos taken from style.com

A Perfect Weekend Getaway

To celebrate our first long weekend of the semester, my roommates and I decided to head a few hours north for a little relaxing getaway.  We stayed in my roommate’s adorable house on Lake Chatuge, which is tucked away in the vineyard-filled mountains of North Georgia.  When we arrived on Friday night, we decided to stay in and cook a delicious meal by the fireplace to conserve our energy for a full afternoon of wine tasting the next day.  After eating homemade fajitas for dinner, we delved into chips, cheese dip, and margaritas to fill us up while watching one of my favorite Netflix shows, Orange is the New Black.  I’m not sure how, but we even managed to roast and eat s’mores over the fireplace for dessert.  Falling asleep that night was easier than ever, with a full stomach, comfortable margarita buzz, and dreams of wineries floating through my head.

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The next morning, we ate a quick breakfast and piled on the layers to keep us warm at the wineries we planned to visit that afternoon.  The first winery we encountered was called Tiger Mountain Winery, which welcomed us with a bright atmosphere and cheery staff.  All of the wines that the staff supplied were dressed with their own adorable Tiger Mountain labels and we were happy to discover that they tasted just as good as the bottles looked.  For the tasting, we were given ten different wines to try, including one white, one rose’, and eight different reds.  I usually like to drink white wines more often than reds because they don’t make me as sleepy, but I’ve been on a “red kick” for a while now and couldn’t contain my excitement to try so many types of red at this tasting.  My favorite wines from Tiger Mountain ended up being two reds, with the Rabun Red as my favorite and the Merlot in a close second place.  The Rabun Red was so delicious that we all chose to buy a bottle of it to take back home to Athens.  When the tasting was finished, we walked around the beautiful surrounding vineyards until our hunger for lunch set in.  We found a cute local grill called University Joint near the winery and gobbled down a delicious meal before heading out to the second winery on our list, Crane Creek.

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We arrived at Crane Creek shortly before 5 pm, with our mouths nearly watering for some more delectable wine.  This winery was a bit larger yet more rustic than the previous one, making the atmosphere perfect for some tastings and relaxation.  We were each given a list to choose six wines from for the tasting, along with plain crackers to cleanse our palettes between each taste.  All of us thoroughly enjoyed the wines we chose and ended up each buying a glass of our favorite to settle down with at a table for the rest of our time there.  The cozy atmosphere was the perfect compliment to our glasses of red wine, and it was a great way to chat together with school stresses aside.  Before leaving the winery, we finished our glasses and headed outside to take some pictures with our complimentary cups of mulled wine to ease the cold mountain air.  The vineyard was beautiful even though the grapes weren’t growing at the time, and we decided to take our time to get loads of pictures together with the surroundings.  After watching the sun set over the mountains, we headed back to the lake house with a relaxing wine buzz flowing through our veins.

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I’m on the far left!

Sunday morning, we woke up fulfilled, relaxed, and slightly sad that our getaway was over, but ready to get back to Athens.  It was nice to arrive at home knowing that we had today to catch up on schoolwork before the week really started.  The entire weekend was wonderful, and if you live anywhere near a winery, I highly suggest taking a day or two to let your hair down and relax with your friends.  Whether you know it or not, a weekend vacation is always a necessity and you should never feel too guilty to take advantage of a long weekend when the opportunity arises!

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Three of us acting silly in the vineyard

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The pretty sunset over Crane Creek Vineyards

Feelin’ Sketchy: Bohemian Rhapsody

In light of the dreadful winter weather that I’m quickly getting tired of and the Coachella Music Festival’s setlist release, I figured I’d post a few of my favorite bohemian-themed designs that I created for Fall 2014.  Enjoy and feel free to envision yourself being surrounded by music and sunshine while viewing these!

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Inspiration Board for “Bohemian Rhapsody”

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In the making

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An Ode to the Stuart Weitzman 5050 boot

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One day over my Christmas break, I was at Saks Fifth Avenue in Richmond, VA with my parents, looking for a few nice coats for my dad.  I didn’t want to look at anything that I’d like there because I knew that Christmas was a few days away and I honestly didn’t want any more money spent on me.  No matter how determined I was to avoid any shopping, I was eventually enticed by a salesperson to browse the shoe section while waiting for my dad to make his own purchases.  Of course, right when I entered the glorious shoe section, I was instantly greeted by the amazing and covetable Stuart Weitzman 5050 boot.  I had previously written about this boot on my blog and knew very well of its magnificence.  Especially since I’m a boot girl, I knew that these were special and it felt like a crime to even touch them.  After my mother caught me admiringly stroking their soft leather, she egged me to try them on “just to see how they look.”  I’m not usually willing to get so intimate with such prestigious fashion items because I know I don’t NEED them in the first place, but this time it was too hard to deny my curiosity over how they really looked and felt.  After slipping on the one of the last few pairs the store had in stock and the last in my size, I stood up and looked in the mirror with feelings of immense guilt in my head but a ridiculous smile on my face.  These boots were awesome and everyone in the area, including my initially hesitant dad, agreed.  After a few minutes of admiration, I rushed to take the boots off so that I wouldn’t endure any hard feelings about leaving them behind, since I knew there was no chance that I could ask for these as a gift from my parents.  However, by some miracle, both of my parents started telling me how great they looked and in no time I was giving them the biggest hugs ever with a very large bag in my hand.  The boots were mine, which was something that I’d never expected.  Of course they were an “extra-special” Christmas present and I couldn’t wear them until Christmas day, but nothing could’ve wavered my surprise and happiness that day. 

Since Christmas, I’ve worn my boots hesitantly since I don’t want to tarnish their perfection, but whenever I do put them on my feet, they feel amazing.  I still feel guilty that I actually let my parents purchase the 5050’s for me, which probably won’t diminish anytime soon, but I’m glad to know that they trust my ability to care for them.  As a boot with such versatility, chicness, sexiness, classiness, and functionality, I’m confident that they’re THE iconic piece in my wardrobe that will always be able to break the style barrier.    

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Homemade Macarons!

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Over my Christmas break, I decided to break in my new Macaron baking kit that my parents got me for Christmas.  I knew I had a difficult task ahead of me because I’ve always read and been told that macarons are only for the expert bakers, but I figured it was worth a shot.  The kit that I used is sold by the company, Lékué, which is sold in U.S. stores such as Sur La Table or online.  It came with a recipe book for a few different macaron flavors, including the one I chose for Tiramisu Macarons.  The first difficulty I ran into in effort to make these pastries was trying to find all of the unique ingredients.  I found the icing sugar, ground almonds/almond flour, instant coffee, mascarpone, and powdered cocoa at Whole Foods, but I had to purchase the amaretto at Total Wine and the basic ingredients at Harris Teeter.  I also had to buy a sieve at Target since I didn’t have one of my own at home.  It was quite the frustrating search but I was happy to get home with everything I needed to make these delectable sweets.

The kit I used

The Macaron kit I used

Since the English recipes in the included recipe book were translated from either Spanish or French, they weren’t very clear and resulted in quite a bit of confusion while I was cooking.  For example, one of the steps asks to sieve icing sugar, which had to be done with the cheap sieve I bought from Target.  Unfortunately, the sieving was a disaster and not only did I lose a bit of the sugar, but I also had to use the unsieved sugar in hope that it wouldn’t make a big difference to the final product.  Therefore, if you try out this recipe, I urge you to invest in a really good sieve and if that doesn’t work, just nix that step because it didn’t seem to noticeably affect my macarons.  Another issue that arose from the confusing recipe was during the step that requires one to whip egg whites, sugar, and salt until it becomes a thick meringue.  I’d never made meringue before so I had no idea what it needed to look like and how long I needed to whip the ingredients.  While pouring the batter onto the baking mat, I learned that I didn’t whip the mixture enough and it came out much thinner and less airy than it should’ve.  The thinness of the mixture could’ve also been partly due to the missing icing sugar that the sieve stole from me in the recipe’s previous step.  The last mishap that I encountered in my baking adventure was associated with my purchase of instant coffee and the vagueness of the recipe.  I think that the grounds from the coffee I bought were too large and needed to be either ground more finely with a food processor or simply purchased in a finer or even liquid form.  I don’t think that the coffee issue heavily affected the flavor of the macarons, but finer grounds could’ve definitely distributed the coffee flavor more effectively.

Aside from those three recipe issues and hard-to-find ingredients, my macarons surprisingly turned out delicious and almost perfect!  The flavor of both the filling and shells was really tasty.  The only major issue was in the shells, which weren’t as fluffy and thick as they should’ve been.  If you’re a baker and have been too intimidated by the fancy ingredients and somewhat complicated process to make your own macarons, I hope this post urges you to take a chance and try them out.  I received a lot of compliments on my macarons and they were definitely worth the small mishaps and tough ingredient search.

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A Classy Yet Delicious Breakfast Sandwich

This morning, I woke up feeling especially awake and adventurous, which resulted in a much more exciting breakfast than usual.  I wanted to eat something that was healthy yet filling and easy to make.  I narrowed my choices down to eggs with some sort of toast, which never fails to be tasty and hearty enough to keep me satisfied throughout my morning classes.  Since I was on an adventurous kick this morning, I decided to go with a style of egg that I had never personally cooked before but had heard was simple enough to make- the poached egg.  To class up this unconventional style of egg, I chose to convert it into an open-faced breakfast sandwich for the ultimate quick, classy, and healthy breakfast (in my opinion).  I was a bit short on time and didn’t have all of the ingredients that I would’ve liked to put on my sandwich, but I decided that spinach, pesto, hot sauce, and some shredded cheese would still make for a great sandwich.  Below is a simple recipe for the egg sandwich I made but feel free to swap out or add on more toppings such as avocado, tomato, onion, etc. on your own sandwich.  I was very satisfied with my delicious sandwich and perfectly cooked egg, which was quite gratifying as it was my first time cooking a poached egg!  Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • ½ whole wheat or multigrain English muffin
  • Pesto spread/sauce
  • Hot/Tabasco sauce
  • Any preferred type of cheese
  • Fresh spinach leaves (or arugula)
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • Salt & pepper

Steps:

  1. Fill a pot with about 3 inches of water and heat it until boiling.
  2. Reduce heat on the water so that it’s not bubbling anymore but still very hot.
  3. Crack your egg into a small bowl.
  4. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar into the water and swirl the hot water in a circular motion with a spoon for a few seconds.
  5. Pour your egg into the water and carefully swirl the water around it for about 5-10 seconds so that the egg whites coat the sides of the yolk.
  6. Let the egg cook for about 4-5 minutes or you can pick the egg up with a slotted spoon after about 3 minutes and touch the yolk to determine how runny or solid you want it to be.
  7. While the egg is cooking, put your English muffin into the toaster.
  8. When the bread is toasted, cover it immediately with pesto, cheese, and spinach so that the cheese melts.
  9. When the egg is cooked to your liking, carefully dry it off on a paper towel and slide it onto your sandwich.
  10. Top it with more cheese, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of hot sauce.
  11. Dig in!!

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Best & Worst Dressed at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards!

Best Dressed:

Amy Adams

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 Wearing Valentino

Margot Robbie

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 Wearing Gucci

Amy Pohler

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 Wearing Stella McCartney

Tatiana Maslany

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 Wearing Jenny Packham

Naomi Watts

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 Wearing Tom Ford

Lupita Nyong’o

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 Wearing Ralph Lauren

Worst Dressed:

Drew Barrymore

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 Wearing Monique Lhullier

Heidi Klum

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 Wearing Marchesa

Paula Patton

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 Wearing Stephane Rolland Couture

Who were your favorites and least favorites from last night’s awards show??

photos taken from E Online, perezhilton.com, popsugar.com, and huffingtonpost.com

8 Reasons to love “It Girl” Cara Delevingne

  1. She proudly rocks thick brows like no one else can…Image
  2. She enjoys and is really good at making ugly faces…                 Image
  3. She’s a freak…                                                          Image
  4. She loves to photobomb…Image
  5. She’s friends with EVERYONE…ImageImageImage
  6. She isn’t afraid to eat…                        Image
  7. She’s Poppy Delevingne’s sister…which rocks                                               Image
  8. She’s basically Hollywood’s newest badass…Image

Friday Favorites!

Here are some of my favorite things from this week:

Favorite Exes: Nina Dobrev & Ian Somerhalder

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via E Online

Favorite Winter TV Return Episode: Revenge

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Favorite Food Porn: Decorated Mush

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via Into the Gloss

Favorite New Blog Discovery: White Whine– full of hilarious “first-world problems”

http://whitewhine.com

Favorite Vine Video:

Adorable Baby Lion Cub!

Favorite Polar Vortex Photo:

via Huffington Post