HomemadeBanana | Making things beautiful.
Style

Baby Pink

pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-1pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-5pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-4pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-6pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-2pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-7pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-3pink-ruffle-dress-skinny-scarf-8Dress: French Connection // Shoes: Zara // Scarf: old, similar // Sunglasses: Prada via DITTO // Bag: Kate Spade (old, similar) // Bag Charm: Amazon // Lipstick: NARS in Roman Holiday

This dress will always have a special place in my heart. I first spotted it on sale on the French Connection website and knew immediately it had to be mine. I clicked submit order and waited impatiently for it in the mail. At the same time, my family and I were all waiting rather impatiently for the arrival of my sister’s baby. She and her husband decided not to find out the gender of the baby, so not only were we waiting for it to be born, we were also waiting to find out if it would be a a girl or boy.

I got the call at 2AM that my sister had gone into labor. The next morning I got this dress in the mail. That night I found out that I was an aunt to a sweet little baby girl named Olivia. As I was getting dressed the next day, it seemed there was only one way to celebrate the birth of my sweet niece: a super-feminine frilly pink dress. All day, anytime someone complimented my dress I would respond with, “Thanks! I’m wearing pink because my sister just had a baby girl!” What a happy, happy day.

Food

Pretty Whole Wheat Ricotta Pancakes

multigrain-ricotta-pancakes-edible-flowers-2multigrain-ricotta-pancakes-edible-flowers-6For the past month or so, I’ve been stalking the fresh herb aisle of the grocery store for the packs of edible flowers that appear the with the start of the growing season. After seeing a beautiful flower-topped pancake stack on Instagram from the Aussie restaurant The Kettle Black, I was determined to try my hand at this beautiful breakfast dish.

This is one of those meals that looks infinitely more impressive than it actually is. I’m all about sleeping in on the weekends, so I start with my favorite Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Pancake mix plus a healthy scoop of ricotta so the pancakes get extra fluffy. I whip those up in no time, coffee in hand, and top them with layers of pretty and delicious accoutrements. A generous dollop of vanilla-infused whipped cream perfectly balances the slightly peppery flowers, while a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and pepitas add lovely crunch to the dish. Fresh, seasonal berries play wonderfully against the nutty whole grain pancakes for a dish that’s as lovely to eat as it is to look it.

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Ingredients:
• your favorite whole wheat pancake mix
• 1 cup ricotta
• 2 eggs
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, plus dash more for whipped cream
• fresh fruit (I used strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)
• edible flowers—you can usually find these in the fresh herb aisle of gourmet grocery stores or at your local farmers’ market)
• sunflower seeds
• pepitas
• whipping cream
• syrup

Directions:
1. Mix pancake batter with eggs, milk, ricotta and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Cook in butter in a pan or skillet.
2. Dress with seeds, fruit and flowers; top with a generous dollop of vanilla whipped cream.
3. Serve with warmed maple syrup.

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Shopping, Style

Color Crush: Jade

eva-chen-jade-bracelettemperlyI’ve long admired Eva Chen’s jade bracelet for its cultural significance and the touch of tradition it brings to even her most badass looks. And when I think about it, I’ve always been drawn to the luminous shade of green—sometimes brightened by clouds of milky white and often shot through the more saturated shades of blue-green—that borrows its name from the semiprecious stone.

As so often happens, as I fixated on Chen’s perma-accessory, I began to notice the beautiful jade things around me. It started with a gold-inlayed jade pendant necklace at my favorite local antique store. Then Princess Kate stepped out in this gorgeous Temperley dress and my color fixation was fully formed. I began to see jade all around me, from this beautiful deep jade lingerie set to this totally on-trend suede jacket and this lace-trimmed cover-up. To stop myself from purchasing all the aforementioned finds for myself, I decided to round them up in case you, too, have a penchant for jade green.

Click the plus-sign icons to shop each style, or follow the links below. 

Temperley lace dress // J.Crew tunic // J.Crew swimsuit top & bottom // ASOS dress // Bourbon & Boweties bangle // Samantha Wills earrings // La Blanca cover-up // CeCe by Cynthia Steffe dress // Bling Jewelry bracelet // Styletrolly dress // Kendra Scott earrings // Zara jacket // Zara mini skirt // Zara maxi skirt // Cosabella bra // Cosabella underwear // Boohoo romper // Mark Cross bag // Foley + Corinna clutch // Kara bag // Butter London nail polish //Menbur sandals

// photos via New York Magazine and Temperly

Style

Saint Laurent Moment

saint-laurent-dupe-outfit-2 saint-laurent-dupe-outfit-13 saint-laurent-dupe-outfit-1saint-laurent-dupe-outfit-7saint-laurent-dupe-outfit-18saint-laurent-dupe-outfit-6saint-laurent-dupe-outfit-15saint-laurent-dupe-outfit-10Jacket: Forever 21 // Dress: Boohoo // Shoes: Zara (old) // Sunglasses: Prada via DITTO // Earrings: BaubleBar (old, similar) // Rings: BaubleBar (similar here and here) & Rachel Zoe

Truth be told, I’m not a huge Hedi Slimane fan. In fact, I’m praying that he won’t be the man chosen to fill Raf Simons’ impossible-to-fill shoes at Dior. That being said, there’s something about the Saint Laurent Spring 2016 collection that’s really stuck with me. Upon first viewing, I felt nothing. There was no fluttering of the heart like there was when I first saw the already-classic Gucci Resort 2016 collection, and there were no verbal exclamations like there were when I first laid eyes on D&G Alta Moda 2016 collection. There was nothing.

And then something strange happened: I started looking out for a slinky silver dress. I thought, hey maybe a slinky silver dress would look pretty cool with my trusty leather jacket. It turns out there is something inarguably—and somewhat annoying—cool about the Saint Laurent girl. She’s part Kate, part Courtney, and she’s who we all want to be (for a day, at least). So I put my snobbery to the side and clicked buy on this silver-flecked plissé popover dress, and I haven’t regretted it for a second.

As predicted, this bad boy layered perfectly under my moto jacket. In place of the irreverent tiaras worn on the runway, I donned my favorite pair of crystal drop earrings plus a stack of Xena-chic silver rings to finish off a look that makes me feel fierce. P.S. This dress is as comfortable as my favorite jammies, so it’s a total win/win situation.

DIY, Food

Cactus-Themed Baby Shower for Sarah!

pretty-sarah-maternity-shoot-17This is my beautiful little sister Sarah. In anywhere from 0-8 days (and hopefully not too much longer), she’ll be giving birth to my first niece or nephew, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to help plan and host a shower for little Baby Forrest at my mom’s lovely house in San Antonio. After a good bit of brainstorming, we decided to pay tribute to our South Texas location with a cactus-themed party.

Colorful cacti with vibrant blooms took center stage on the soft turquoise invitations, hinting at the decor to come. I enlisted the help of my other siblings, Genevieve and Billy, to sculpt little cactus menu card holders, and my mom painted them with bright colors—truly a great example of family teamwork. I used a cactus-shaped cookie cutter to transform regular turkey, cheese and pesto sandwiches into bite-sized saguaros. Tiny avocado toasts topped with shaved radish, a kale salad inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in SF and grilled flank steak with chimichurri sauce (another shoutout to Billy on that one) rounded out the savory small plates.

cactus-baby-showercactus-baby-shower-2For desert there were chocolate-dipped pretzels, a delicious bundt cake with cream-cheese frosting and chocolate-chip cookie ice cream sandwiches filled with mint-chocolate chip ice cream—something Sarah’s been craving a lot lately. We served all of these tasty snacks atop DIYed marble-look platters, made by affixing marble contact paper to circular pieces of wood. It’s a great way to make a bunch of beautiful and semi-disposable serving trays that all match and look much more polished than paper plates. We also used this handy contact paper to wrap around the plain planters our actual cacti came in. Gotta love a double-duty party supply.

We went old school in the drinks department, offering this wonderfully classic and still very delicious Sunday punch, as well delicious lime-flavored Jarritos sodas (jamaica is actually my favorite flavor, but I had to stay within the color scheme here, you feel me?) served in darling Cheeky x designlovefest cups.

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We eschewed the typical onesies in favor of painting wooden blocks—less laundry, more shelf-styling power, was the thought—and played all the fun baby shower standards. An over-abundance of flowers finished off the decor, and I crafted a flower crown for the queen of the party from the beautiful bunches of ranunculus and roses I scored at Trader Joe’s. The last DIY of the day was perhaps the most ambitious of them all: giant Geronimo-inspired balloons. They’re filled with glitter and festooned with layer after layer of colorful tassels, making them the perfect photo prop for an impromptu maternity shoot in the backyard.

All in all, it was a lovely evening spent celebrating the imminent arrival of little Baby Forrest. I can’t wait to find out whether it’s a boy or girl!

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Style

Americana

chambray-off-the-shoulder-top-panama-hat-4chambray-off-the-shoulder-top-panama-hat-7 chambray-off-the-shoulder-top-panama-hat-6 chambray-off-the-shoulder-top-panama-hat-1chambray-off-the-shoulder-top-panama-hat-3 chambray-off-the-shoulder-top-panama-hat-2 copyHat: J.Crew (old, similar) // Top: Boohoo (sold out, very similar) // Skirt: Forever 21 // Shoes: Halogen // Bag: DIY // Sunglasses: Prada via DITTO // Necklace: Forever 21 (old, similar)

As of 5PM today we’ll (hopefully) all be joyfully skipping from our desks to begin the three-day weekend that kicks off the summer season. That is truly something to be excited about. But before I go on to talk about the lighthearted things that so often occupy my mind and space on this blog, I want to make sure to offer a little written note of thanks for all the men and women who have given their lives in service of this country. Sure, we may be about to elect Donald Trump (heaven help us), but this country is pretty darn great, and I’m so thankful for the people who helped keep it safe.

After observing a moment of silence on Monday, I plan on donning my favorite new top for summer—this perfectly oversized off-the-shoulder chambray number—for a day spent drinking cold beer and grilling delicious food. Sweet corn isn’t in season yet, but it’s been popping up in small quantities at our local grocery stores, and I’ve been buying bags of it because it’s already so delicious.

Whether you plan on attending a Memorial Day parade, grilling out, hitting some epic sales or all of the above, I hope you have a lovely three-day weekend!

Food, Shopping

The Gold Bar

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1. Pigeon & Poodle coasters // 2. Marchesa by Lenox old fashioned glasses // 3. West Elm bar tool set // 4. Yukiwa gold-plated cocktail shaker // 5. The Fowndry pineapple cup // 6. Indigo gold rim glasses // 7. Houzz corkscrew // 8. Kate Spade cocktail shaker // 9. Pigeon & Poodle ice bucket // 10. Chairish drink stirrers // 11. Douglas and Bec bottle opener // 12. Sears ice bucket //  13.  Godinger gold julep cup // 14. Houzz bottle opener

In a gilded tribute to my magpie tendencies, today’s round-up is all about the new gold standard for barware. From midcentury-inspired glitter swizzle sticks to hammered gold ice buckets and 14-karat-ringed Champagne coupes, I can’t stop shopping for all gold everything when it comes to drinking paraphernalia. Perhaps it’s because I’ve run completely out of cabinet space, so every new purchase has to be display worthy. Or perhaps it’s just that I really, really like the warm sheen of gold. Either way, I’m sold on those gilt pineapple cups and I’d be shocked if you aren’t, too.

Food

Jamaica Mezcal Margarita

jamaica-mezcal-margarita-8jamaica-mezcal-margarita-9There’s one really good taco place in Iowa City, and it’s good enough to hold its own against the Mission’s best Mexican joints—a fact for which I give thanks at least once a week. Sometimes twice. Along with my usual order of fish and carnitas tacos (and a chicken tostada if I’m really hungry), I always ask for a jamaica agua fresca. In fact, it’s become such a routine that the guy who seems to be working every time I stop by always says, “and a jamaica, right?” before I can finish my order.

A few weeks ago, tragically, they were out of jamaica, so my guy took me over to the other side of the restaurant where there’s a small tienda. He reached up to the spice rack, pulled down a packet of dried hibiscus flowers and told me to brew them with hot water and sugar to make jamaica at home. Bless him.

What followed was my joyous exploration into the making and drinking of jamaica. Consequently, I was compelled to add some of this delicious jamaica concentrate to one of my favorite liquors, mezcal, to combine the sweet and tangy hibiscus with the lovely smokiness of mezcal in one delicious cocktail that’s more-than-worthy of Cinco de Mayo. Cheers!

jamaica-mezcal-margarita-10jamaica-mezcal-margarita-3Ingredients:
• 1 1/2 oz. mezcal
• 2 oz. jamaica concentrate*
• 1/2 oz. ginger simple syrup
• 1/2 oz. lime juice

Directions:
1. Combine mezcal, jamaica, ginger simple syrup and lime juice in a cocktail shaker, add ice and stir for 15 seconds.

2. Strain over ice—bonus points if there are edible flowers in your cubes—and serve with chips and salsa.

*To make the jamaica concentrate:
1. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan then add 2 cups (about 2 ounces) dried jamaica blossoms and 1 1/4 cups sugar and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for more than an hour but no more than two hours. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and refrigerate until ready to use in your cocktail. If you want to drink the leftovers as an agua fresca, water down the concentrate with a few cups of water to taste.

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DIY

DIY Bust Bud Vase

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Sometimes DIY projects flop, and sometimes they turn out even better you thought they would. Now, I’m definitely no sculptor, so please don’t judge these against the work of real artists. That being said, I’m pretty darn happy with how these a-little-bit-naughty-a-little-bit-nice busts turned out. I got the idea for these saucy tchotchkes after spying a vintage bust vase on the perfectly styled dresser of Sara over at Emily Henderson’s obsession-worthy blog. I was hoping to click my way right to a purchase, but after Sara noted it was a vintage piece, I thought I’d do the next-best thing: make one myself.

Admittedly, mine’s not as…shall we say, polished…but I’m sort of into the imperfect charm of my handmade version. And yes, it took a few tries to get the shape right (it turns out it’s not so easy to sculpt perky-but-non-vulgar boobies on the first try), but overall this project was super easy. All you have to do is sculpt a couple of busts while you’re finishing an episode of American Crime Story, pop them in the oven while you watch another episode (even though you should be going to bed), paint a few red dots then slap on a coat of clear varnish and you’ve got yourself a miniature vase. Or matchstick holder. Or place to corral bobby pins on your bedside table. The possibilities are endless—as long as they involve things small in scale. What can I say? I love miniatures!

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For this project, you’ll need the following:
• one 8 oz. block of white Sculpey oven-back clay, 2 oz. blocks of yellow and hot pink Sculpey oven-back clay
• red acrylic paint
• Sculpey Gloss Glaze
• X-acto knife

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1. To make the perfect shade of soft pink, start with a big block of white clay (for reference, I used about 4 oz. of white clay for the large bust, and about 2 oz. for the small bust. Then, shave off about a pea-sized chunk of yellow and pink clay. Make a long snake out of the white, pink and yellow clay, then roll them all together. Keep rolling and twisting and kneading until all three colors are totally combined. At this point, if you want to tweak the color at all, you can add more pink or yellow clay and mix it in.

2. Once you’re happy with the color, roll the clay into a rounded rectangle that’s just a little bit taller than the finished height you’re looking for.

3. Using the X-acto knife, shave off some of the bottom so that you have a nice, flat surface so your vase won’t wobble at all when you’re done.

4. Now’s the time to put your sculpting cap on. Using your fingers and whatever tools you have laying around (I dragooned a bobby pin and a kitchen knife into service) to form an approximation of the female form. Once you’re happy with the shape, use the X-acto knife and a small spoon to scoop out an inch or two of the innards, depending on how big your bust is.

5. Pop that sucker in the oven and bake according to the instructions on the clay package.

6. After the bust cools, use a small paintbrush to dot the nips and belly button with bright red paint. A little goes a long way here.

7. Once the red paint dries completely, go over the whole bust with a coat of the gloss glaze and you’re good to go!

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Trendspotting

Trendspotting: The Statement Strap

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via // via

We know that the mind of Karl Lagerfeld contains many magical and mysterious things: glamour shots of his beloved Choupette, images of perfectly stacked bookshelves, chocolate sculptures of beautiful men and little furry monsters.  And now, we can add statement handbag straps covered in candy-colored studs to that wonderful list. I first encountered the Fendi Strap You collection at work and immediately thought three things:

1. I want that. 2. I obviously can’t spend $1,000 on a strap that doesn’t even come with a bag to clip it to. 3. It’s only a matter of time before this concept trickles its way down to us non-heiresses. As of now, Marc Jacobs and Rebecca Minkoff are offering affordable takes on the statement strap (both of which are pictured below), but until the fast-fashion world catches up, here are a few of my favorite designer takes on this trend to watch.

kenzojw-andersonfendimarc-jacobsmiu-miuloewedolce-gabbanafendi-karlitoversaceguccirebecca-minkoffvalentinoburberrythe-rowpradamarniKenzo // J.W. Anderson // Fendi // Marc Jacobs // Miu Miu // Loewe // Dolce & Gabbana // Fendi Karlito // Versace // Gucci // Rebecca Minkoff // Valentino // Burberry // The Row // Prada // Marni

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