Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The High/Low Project

If you're an HGTV junkie like me, you'll recognize this title as Sabrina Soto's show on the channel. On her version of the show, she creates her clients dream room (living room, office, bedroom, etc) with an unlimited budget (high), shows it to them, they fall it love with it, and then it all goes back to the store. Sabrina then needs to recreate the same look and feel with a budget decided by the clients (low). Sometimes her dream rooms cost $40K, and the clients only have a budget of $5K. Pretty big gap, yet I've never seen Sabrina fail at the task.

My version of the High/Low project will center around getting high priced designer looks, for low(er) prices. My first challenge: fall fashions!

Quilted Jacket

I'm in love with this Barbor Calvary quilted jacket. But with a price tag of $300, it is out of my budget.

This (men's) vest by Tommy Hilfiger looks pretty close, and is only $198

Polka Dots!
J.Crew neck-tie dress, $198

ASOS skater dress, $37

ASOS 3/4 sleeve dress, $112

Dark Reds and Hunter-chic

This deep red ensemble by Michael Kors has a hunter-chic vibe, and an available-upon-request price tag. 
LL Bean Maine Guide Parka, $219

J.Crew toothpick cords, $98

RL Rugby skinny cords, $90
ASOS red tie-waist dress, $141

Olive Tones

Monochromatic olive color by L'Wren Scott
Chaps cardigan, $35

J.Crew Tippi Cardigan, $85

Valentino cardigan, $182
Santorelli wool pants, $170

Lafayette 148 stretch pants, $150

J Brand jeans, $176
Lafayette 148 dress, $266

Chunky Cable Knits
Chunky cables are always in for Fall, this one is by Rodarte.

Athleta cowl neck sweater, $60

Reiss cable sweater, $165

Modern Military


Wishing this modern military look by Altuzarra could be issued to me

LL Bean Classic wool peacoat, $200

Vince Camuto boots, $170
Chinese Laundry boots, $100

And my favorite look for fall is the:
Classic Sheath Dress
Perfect for work or play, it's making a comeback thanks to the (more fabulous with Kate) young royals. Covering up the knees can be sexy, people!
Michael Kors' red lace

Lyn Devon's bright take on the modest dress

And my favorite, Tory Burch's shift dress

ASOS lace sheath, $75

Calvin Klein colorblock dress, $79

Jessica Simpson boatneck, $80

Vince Camuto peplum sheath, $85

Many of the above items are closet-worthy staples, so always go digging in your own personal store (closet) before heading out to the racks.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Eat: Blackberry Buttermilk Cake

Everybody needs a go to dessert recipe; one that is easy to whip up, delicious, and will get you all sorts of praises and recipe requests. 

This is my go to dessert, modified from this Bon Appetit recipe:


  •  1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan and parchment
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour plus more for pan
  • 10 ounces fresh blackberries and/or raspberries (plus more for decor)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice (pulp is okay), plus more for icing option
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

  • Equipment:
    Springform pan (if available), parchment paper, oven (duh), ziploc baggie (icing option)


    Make sure the oven rack is in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Butter pan (or use a PAM vegetable spray); line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter parchment. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Arrange berries in a single layer in bottom of pan; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup sugar.
    Sift 2 1/3 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter and remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and zest. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until incorporated. Pour batter over berries in pan; smooth top. 
    Bake until cake is golden brown and cake bounces back when pressed gently with fingertip, about 1 hour 25 minutes for a 9" pan and about 1 hour for a 10" pan. Let cool in pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Remove pan sides. Invert cake onto rack and remove pan bottom; peel off parchment. Dust top generously with powdered sugar  and extra berries and let cool completely.
    traditional option (powdered sugar topping)
    Icing option:
    Instead of dusting the cake with powder sugar you can give it a quick icing instead:
    Mix 1 tablespoons of orange juice with 1/4 cup of powder sugar in a ziploc bag. Use your hands to mix the juice and sugar to form and icing. Add more sugar or orange juice as needed to get the consistency you desire. Chill icing. Right before serving cake arrange extra berries on topand snip corner of icing bag. Drizzle icing on cake in a cross hatch pattern. 

    Super cheat option if your super lazy (or in a hurry!):
    Swap out the dry ingredients for this boxed cake mix (make sure it is the butter recipe!). Bake for 50 minutes.

    icing option!
    Hope you try this out!

    Friday, July 20, 2012

    Lake Day 2012

    Every summer at my work we close down the office and carpool up to Franklin Pierce Lake in New Hampshire.

    I brought my Blackberry Buttermilk Cake, and it was a big hit! We also got up to the lake around 11:30, and we're out of champagne (4 bottles!) by 1pm.

    Classy, coworkers, classy.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Orange Dreamiscle

    Orange Dreamiscle
    Orange and white is one of my favorite color combos. Depending on the base color the orange can add zest to basics in white, or be toned down with white accessories. 

    Here are a few of my picks: