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Clothing, Lifestyle, Style

Winter Wonderland

sea-to-sky-snow-look-2sea-to-sky-gondola-snow-day-1sea-to-sky-snow-look-12sea-to-sky-snow-look-14sea-to-sky-snow-look-6sea-to-sky-gondola-snow-day-2sea-to-sky-snow-look-8sea-to-sky-snow-look-1Hat: old, similar // Shirt: Banana Republic (old, similar here and here) // Vest: Zara // Jacket: Zara (old, similar here and here) // Leggings: Zella // Boots: Target (old, similar here and here) // Socks: Old Navy (old, similar here) // Mittens: Old Navy (old, similar) // Purse: Forever 21 (old, similar here) // Sunglasses: Karen Walker // Nail polish: Essie

As I mentioned before, my mom, sisters, brother-in-law and niece all found their way up to the PNW to spend Christmas with my brother and I. After couple of days in Seattle, we took a ferry up to the Great White North in pursuit of cozy fires and plenty of snow. Continue Reading

Clothing, Style

An Ode to a Winter Coat

cable-knit-sweater-teddy-bear-coat-2 copy cable-knit-sweater-teddy-bear-coat-4 copycable-knit-sweater-teddy-bear-coat-3 copy cable-knit-sweater-teddy-bear-coat-5 copycable-knit-sweater-teddy-bear-coat-8 copycable-knit-sweater-teddy-bear-coat-6 copy cable-knit-sweater-teddy-bear-coat-1 copycable-knit-sweater-teddy-bear-coat-7 copyJacket: Trina Turk // Sweater: Vintage (similar here and here) // Jeans: STS Blue (same cut, slightly less distressed) // Boots: Sam Edelman (old, similar here) // Necklace: Target (old, very similar) // Sunglasses: Karen Walker via DITTO

I’ve been waiting to wear this coat for exactly four months. That’s 122 days, or 1.525 trips around the world if you’re traveling  Jules Verne style. That’s right, I purchased this cozy, cocoon-like, double-breasted, wool-and-alpaca coat in the dead of summer, knowing that although I could hardly bear to try it on in July, I would be desperate for its reassuring warmth come December.

There is, of course, another benefit of purchasing a winter coat in the off season, and that benefit is something to the tune of over 70% off. After having spent more than a few harsh winters in Boston and now in Iowa, I’ve come to realize that quality really does matter when it comes to winter coats. I can get away with wearing sweaters from Forever 21 and gloves from Target, but when the temperature drops to negative wind chill, there better be some wool, alpaca or camel on my body. Of course, this quality of natural fiber comes at a price, which is why I spent more than a few days in July scouring the online sale racks for a good bargain—and I finally found it in this Trina Turk coat.

I love that the slightly oversized fit and plush, teddy-bear finish remind me of my dream Max Mara coat. I love how warm it is without sacrificing style, and most of all, I love that it cost me only $167. Talk about Christmas in July.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken-tortilla-soup-recipe-4chicken-tortilla-soup-recipe-5First let me tell you this: I’ve never not made a double batch of this stuff. I fill my trusty Dutch oven to the brim with all sorts of tomatoey, peppery, chicken brothy goodness, let it simmer away for a half an hour or so and blend it up with some masa until it’s thick enough to suspend a generous heaping of all my favorite toppings.

After first falling in love with tortilla soup at a kosher Mexican restaurant outside of Chicago, I devoted a few months to perfecting my own ideal version. I nixed the cream and added shredded chicken for healthier, heartier option. Of course, cumin and chili powder play a prominent role, but to me, the real stars of the show are the roasted peppers. I always throw in a poblano, jalapeño, and chipotle in adobo, but depending on how cold it is outside, I may toss in an extra serrano or two and maybe a dried chipotle fora little extra spice. And, as with most good soups, this only gets better with time, so it’s the perfect option for workweek lunches.

• 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 1/2 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp chili powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 cup diced onion (or half an onion)
• 1 roasted poblano
• 1 roasted jalapeño or serrano pepper
• 1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 14 1/2 oz cans of fire-roasted diced or crushed tomatoes
• 1 32 oz carton of chicken broth
• 3 cups hot water
• 1/3 – 1/2 cup masa (depending on desired thickness)

• sour cream
• avocado
• red onion
• cilantro
• Fritos (trust me)

*Note: as written, this recipe has a pretty good kick to it! For a more mild option, skip the jalapeño and chipotle peppers.

1. Start by roasting your poblano and jalapeño under the broiler on high. Rotate the peppers every couple of minutes until all sides are nice and black, and the peppers are relatively soft. Let cool then roughly chop with the skins on. I like the little flecks of black and the slightly charred taste this adds to the finished soup.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili powder and salt together. Place your chicken breast in a small baking pan, drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil on top, then sprinkle on a small amount of your spice mixture. Set aside the rest of your spice mix.

2. Bake chicken for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Let cool then shred into small pieces with two forks (trust me, this is much easier to do once the chicken has cooled). Sometimes I don’t feel like cooking the chicken, so I just pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, shred one of the breasts, sprinkle some of the spices on top and call it a day—works just as well!

3. Heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. I like to use my Dutch oven for this. Add onions and cook for about ten minutes, or until they are mostly translucent.

4. Add your remaining spice mix and stir to combine. Then, add in your poblano, jalapeño and garlic and stir it all up, making sure the spices coat everything.

5. Pour in the canned tomatoes, chicken stock and hot water. Plop in one or two of those delicious chipotles in adobo (you can leave them whole). Bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes.

6. Grab your trusty immersion blender and go to town. Make sure everything is well blended, then start adding in the masa a few tablespoons at a time. Give it a good stir. The masa will be lumpy, but that’s okay—just keep blending until your soup is nice and smooth. I usually add closer to 1/2 cup of masa, because I like my soup to be thick enough to support a good heap of toppings, but you can add as little or as much as you want.

7. Add in the shredded chicken, ladle into bowls and garnish! After having tried store-bought tortilla chips, homemade tortilla chips and everything in between, I really have to say that I much prefer the under-appreciated Frito to top my soup. The strips are already the perfect size for each bite, they stay crispy far longer than your run-of-the-mill tortilla chip, and I find the extra punch of salt corn flavor they provide to add the perfect finishing touch.

chicken-tortilla-soup-recipe-3  chicken-tortilla-soup-recipe-1

Clothing, Lifestyle, Style

Houndstooth + Hot Pink

hot-pink-beanie-houndstooth-jacket-4hot-pink-beanie-houndstooth-jacket-6hot-pink-beanie-houndstooth-jacket-7 hot-pink-beanie-houndstooth-jacket-3hot-pink-beanie-houndstooth-jacket-2 hot-pink-beanie-houndstooth-jacket-5hot-pink-beanie-houndstooth-jacket-1Hat: Walgreens // Coat: Zara (old) // Blouse: Forever 21 (similar) // Purse: Target // Jeans: Old Navy // Boots: Sam & Libby // Gloves: Target // Lipstick: NARS in Mexican Rose // Sunglasses: old

As the weather finally starts to thaw here in Iowa, I’m hoping that this will be my last post of the season to include a heavy winter coat. And since my mood has officially turned toward warmer weather, I’ve been gravitating toward the bright, cheerful colors of spring.

Case in point: this neon beanie and hot pink crossbody bag. I bought this beanie for $4 at a Walgreens at 2AM on an overnight road trip because I was freezing cold at the time, but I’ve since fallen in love with it for its perfect pink shade. It also brings me one step closer to accomplishing my #WearMoreHats initiative (in which I find and wear hats that fit my giant head), so that’s something!

This houndstooth Zara jacket has long been a favorite of mine, but I’m not so sure I’ll be sad to pack it away until next winter. For now, I’m looking forward to more bright colors, rising temps and sometime soon: shorts!

Accessories, Clothing, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Minty Fresh

Jacket: Old Navy // Scarf: Asos // Jeans: Old Navy // Boots: Sam & Libby // Gloves: Target (similar) // Bag: Kate Spade // Sunglasses: Prada // Lipstick: NARS in Roman Holiday

I’m not going to lie, sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to walk the dog when it’s way below freezing outside. Not to mention the fact that Clarabelle has developed a real distain for walking on snow. Luckily, sometimes a handful of successive (relatively) warm days allows for a somewhat pleasant stroll down the banks of a partially frozen river.

Here are my cold-weather dog walking essentials: waterproof boots, chic leather gloves, a cozy coat and a big ol’ blanket scarf. I scored this fuzzy wool-bend jacket for about $25 in an epic after-Christmas sale, and I love how it provides the perfect pastel canvas for this amazing windowpane scarf (which I’ve been wearing with pretty much everything). Technically, Clarabelle has some winter walking gear of her own—think shearling trimmed dog vests—but Max won’t let her out of the house with it on. Yet.