Thursday, March 29, 2012

{Good Grapes Destination} Favorite Moments in Florida

Remember how I went to South Florida last week to visit my BFF Kristin? Well my trip was spectacular. I don’t know what the highlight of the whole trip would be but my top three favorite things were 1) lunch at Cheese Culture on Las Olas 2) seeing The Hunger Games in the theater while proudly wearing our mockingjay pins and 3) the ultimate beach party on Saturday. It was an incredible weekend! I had so much fun—so much fun that I actually cried when it was time to leave. Sometimes I forget how much I really miss her and how much I enjoy our time together. Here are some pictures from the fabulous trip! I can’t wait to go visit her and Zac again! 

Photo: Our spectacular lunch at Cheese Culture
Photo: Anxiously awaiting the start of the Hunger Games
Photo: Kris & me at the beach party on Saturday

{Thrifty Thursday} Best Estate Sale Find Yet

I know I was gushing about my amazing find a couple of weeks ago, but this week I spotted probably my best find at an estate sale ever! At this estate sale Jackie and I went to, I immediately spotted a hip length silver fox fur coat and was oohing and ahhing but it just wasn’t that practical. (I think the average temperature for this Texas winter was what…60 degrees?) So after hearing my debate with Jackie a lady turns to me and says “there is a lovely tweed & fur coat upstairs that is much more practical”. I darted upstairs and found this gem. I won’t even tell you how much I got it for but it was a bargain indeed! Success! 


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

{Wine Wednesday} Ravenswood 2009 Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel

My girlfriends recently took a mini vacay out to Napa Valley and since I couldn’t accompany them out there they decided to bring back a little of Napa to me. While there they visited a number of vineyards and their favorite was Ravenswood Winery. So as my souvenir they gave me a bottle of their favorite wine for the winery—a 2009 Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel. It was heaven. It is a full bodied red with distinct flavors of raspberry, blackberry, vanilla and just a hint of warm spice. And you know how I love cheese—well this is perfectly paired with strong cheeses, sausages and meats. Tell me that doesn’t sound phenomenal? You can find some of the Ravenswood wines for a bargain at but for a wider selection try the Ravenswood winery website


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nail Art

The fact that I always haveto be professional and camera ready for my job doesn’t exactly lend itself well to my--shall we say unique--sense of style. I would love to pierce my nose, dye my hair a drastic ombre or wear some of my funky fashions to the office, but sadly those have to be saved for the weekend. As for the piercings and hair—well I’m afraid that may never happen. Sigh. So how can I subtly express my creativity and fun style at work? In my nails! I love to sport an array of colors from black to neon yellow, funky designs and even multiple colored nails. It’s an easy and subtle way to still be professional but incorporate some fun and funk into the professional look. Here are some awesome nail designs I can’t wait to try! 


Monday, March 26, 2012

{We're Obsessed} Jill Ricci

Despite it being a Monday I woke up this morning feeling incredibly inspired. Perhaps it is because I just spent a few days with my awesomely talented and creative friend Kristin. Regardless of the why I wanted to share some awesome art with y'all that I'm currently obsessed with. Meet Jill Ricci. Her amazing art is crafted from taking layers of papers, graffiti and text and fusing them into arresting visuals of time and decay that can be interpreted by the viewer into his/her own collective experiences. It is absolutely gorgeous stuff and I spent a good day of my day today ooh and ahhing over her fabulous work. Check it out for yourself here.

Photo: Various works of art by Jill Ricci

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome, Spring!

Happy Spring to you!  We've been blessed with a gorgeous day in D.C. and I'm excited to take advantage of this fantastic weather.  I worked from home yesterday with the windows open and the breeze flowing throughout the house.  Then I went on a walk around my neighborhood last night and it's official: people have come out of hibernation. The day was picture perfect minus the working part, of course!  

google images

Friday, March 16, 2012

{Good Grapes Destination}: Ft. Lauderdale

Remember how I told y’all I was planning a trip to South Florida to visit my BFF? Well it’s right around the corner! In just a few short days I’ll be heading to Florida to spend 5 lovely days with Kristin and her husband. I am so excited! Not only am I in dyer need of a vacation but I’m also in dyer need of some quality time with Kristin. There are few things more refreshing than sitting with an old friend and having long talks--not to mention how Kristin has the ability to call me out on all of my BS and get me to say what I’m actually thinking. What else is on the itinerary? OPENING NIGHT OF THE HUNGER GAMES! Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to the whole trip!  


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Recipe: Ina Garten’s Mac n Cheese

Last night Jackie hosted mom, dad and me for dinner at her house and she made the most amazing dinner- pork tenderloin, mac n cheese and roasted brussels sprouts. My favorite part? Tough call between the mac n cheese and the pork tenderloin, but I’m gonna go with the mac n cheese. She used Ina Garten's (aka Barefoot Contesa) recipe and it was phenomenal. And she said it was super easy which is always a bonus! You can find there recipe and a how-to video here


Monday, March 12, 2012

{We’re Obsessed} Mercury Glass

I mean, it’s no secret we’re obsessed with home décor. There are more than just a few daily e-mails exchanged between the three of us asking each other what we think of this piece for the home or this one? So I thought for this week’s obsession post I’d tell you about a home décor trend I’m currently obsessing over. What is it? Mercury glass accents! I love the mix of rustic and modern pieces and I think these mercury glass pieces are the perfect mix! Their modern shape and silver or bronze color contrast with the rustic look to create a perfect look. Love! What do y’all think? 


Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday y’all! Yesterday I received some super exciting news from my best friend Kristin that she had purchased OPENING NIGHT Hunger Game tickets for the two of us! We both read the books and were obsessed so naturally I felt I had to see the movie with her so I purchased a ticket to South Florida and will be spending 5 wonderful days catching up with my BFF. I can’t wait!! Oh, and not to mention we’ll be the coolest fans on opening night thanks to these mockingjay pins I purchased for us. Two weeks and counting! 


Thursday, March 8, 2012

{Thrifty Thursday} Stylish Spring Maternity Tops

Well, we've gotten our first tease of spring weather here in DC and with the arrival of spring I'll be bidding farewell to my second trimester and welcoming my third!  I've griped about how much fashionable maternity clothes has cost to date, but there is finally relief for those of us that want to look stylish without spending the fortunes that maternity clothing companies ask.  The secret is in the swimsuit coverup!  The construction of a swim coverup is much like the construction of a maternity blouse: kimono sleeves (thank goodness that's in this season), empire waists, elastic bands and long enough to cover those adorable bumps.  Let's compare:

Silk graphic blouse, A Pea in the Pod, $74.50; an alternative tunic-length tee  in Target's 2012 swim collection
For a cheaper alternative to the cool graphic top on the left, try the Xilaration coverup available at Target stores.  For coverups, I recommend buying a size up from your pre-maternity size.  I bought it in cobalt/white/pink and it fits like a real maternity top and will look great with my white maternity Joe's jeans.

Next up we'll compare stripes.  Seems like wherever you go for maternity clothes, you can't get away from the classic black and white horizontal stripe.  Take a look at these two tops- one is maternity and one is a swim coverup.   I actually prefer the swim coverup version because it's length also lends itself to be worn both either crop leggings and skinny jeans. 

Striped maternity blouse, $185, A Pea in the Pod

Striped coverup, $20, JCPenney
Last we take a look at two boho printed tops, again, with striking similarities.  If  you're ordering the maternity version, order your normal size.  If you're ordering the swim alternative, go up a size.  

A Pea in the Pod top, $79.50
A similar print on a coverup, $20, JCPenney
Now, remember if you're trading actual maternity tops for these swim alternatives, you'll likely need tank tops to wear under the coverups.  Don't worry, we've got you covered!  I've been wearing men's Fruit of the Loom tanks both as undershirts and to the gym over my maternity sports bras.  I bought my pre-maternity size in the men's tanks (S) and will likely grow a size before the baby gets here.  The tanks are long enough to cover my bump and actually look kind of perfect under tops or alone, all things considered.  
My replacement tanks

and my 'gym' tops, set of 4, $11.49, Target,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Balsamic Steak and Asparagus

We enjoyed a delicious steak dinner the other night and the preparation could not have been more simple.  We paired the steaks with asparagus and red wine.  

Photo: my own
2 (6-8 ounce) steaks
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar + 1 tablespoon, divided
1/4 cup dry red wine
pinch of brown sugar
2 cloves minced fresh garlic
1 large bunch asparagus, stems cut and stalks washed
1  tablespoon champagne vinaigrette (Italian salad dressing will substitute well)

Let steaks sit out until they reach room temperature.  This helps keep them tender.  
Set oven broiler on low
In medium saucepan, add 1/4 cup balsamic, red wine, sugar and garlic.  Bring to boil, then reduce and let simmer until mixture becomes a thicker syrup-like liquid.
Meanwhile, sprinkle salt and pepper over steaks on all sides
Place steaks in broiler pan (aluminum, not glass) or a cast iron skillet and broil for 5 minutes.  
Remove steaks from oven, turn steaks over and turn broiler to high.
Pour balsamic glaze over steaks in pan and return to oven cooking 3 minutes on each side for medium rare.  
Meanwhile, throw asparagus spears in a large ziploc bag or plastic container with lid.  Add 1 tablespoon champagne vinaigrette and 1 tablespoon balsamic.  Mix well.  Cook on skillet at high temperature, turning spears to cook through.  

Serve steak and asparagus with a dry red wine.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hill Country Wrap Up

Remember the wine I was drinking last week that I told you was a souvenir from a trip to the Hill Country? Well I promised a summary of my trip, so here it is! A couple of months ago I attended on my closest friend’s bachelorette party and had a wonderful time! Her matron of honor and cousin planned the most amazing itinerary for us girls and made the weekend one to remember! Wanted to share some of the highlights from the amazing weekend! Friday we checked into the Stephen F. Austin hotel and went for dinner and drinks at the Roaring Fork restaurant in the hotel. I got the special-deconstructed Alaskan king crab on top of a corn husk filled with a hominy salad and it was TO DIE FOR. After dinner we headed to LP’s suite for a super fun lingerie shower and got to shower the bride to be with super cute and sexy lingerie followed by drinks at the Stephen F Bar & Terrace Lounge.

Saturday was the best day of it all! We boarded a bus at 10am, decked out in dresses and fascinators (if you don’t know what a fascinator is…think Kate Middleton’s super posh and pretty head pieces) and headed to three local vineyards for a day of wine tasting. Now you see why it was the best day! Our first (and my favorite) stop was Becker Vineyards where I sampled 6 of their fabulous wines and fell in love with their Tempranillo which I ended up purchasing a bottle of! The second vineyard we want to was Grape Creek Vineyards and the third was Torre di Pietra Vineyards.  It was such a fun day filled with my favorite things, pretty dresses, the best of friends and amazing wines! The hill country of Texas is probably one of my most favorite places in the US! It is so beautiful and away from the hustle and bustle of the city but also a convenient 1hr drive from Austin. I’ll definitely be back for another Texas Hill Country wine tour! Who’s coming with me?

Later Saturday night we headed to dinner at Carlos Santana’s famed Maria Maria restaurant and then hit the town dancing for a super fun filled night. The whole weekend was a great success and I am so happy for LP and everything her future holds! 


Monday, March 5, 2012

{We're Obsessed!} Chevron Stripes

I've been slightly obsessed with this trend for over a year now, and with no way to incorporate it into my home I decided I'd blog about it in hopes someone out there can take one of these beauties home.  How sharp are chevron stripes?  Either adding a rug, a throw, some dinnerware, home accessories or a simple pillow, this trend clearly isn't going away.  Do you like it as much as I do?

Add some DIY panels to your home decor.  photo:

I have been eying this rug, but don't have a place for it.

Desk Accessories would be a cool way to add some chevron to your home's decor.

Or maybe a throw?

Or an accent piece?

Or maybe just some outdoor dinnerware?
If you keep your eye out, you'll spot this look everywhere!  


Thursday, March 1, 2012

{Thrifty Thursday} More Estate Sale Finds

Remember how we told you we loved to go to estate sales in Dallas? It is after all where I found the amazing frame that I turned into my inspiration board. Well last Friday Jackie and I went to two estate sales just miles apart and I wanted to share one of my awesome finds.

I bought a set of 8 of these amazing gold plated mugs for $30!! So my next step is to either make or buy a chevron patterned gold and white tray to put them on. How chic are they? My mom has already tried to buy them off of me, but she’s not getting these!

The picture just doesn’t even do them justice. Once I find a tray and get them set out, I’ll post another pic.