Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day to Night: Orchid Dress

I recently purchased this dress from J.Crew to wear to my best friend's shower and have already gotten so much wear out of it!  The cut is classic and flattering, but the punchy orchid color makes sure that you stand out just the right amount.  Pair it with a cute sandal and delicate gold jewelry by day {throw on a cardigan or jean jacket for the office} and with a statement necklace and heel by night.  If you're looking for the perfect spring dress I would highly recommend this one!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Playa Del Carmen

Although I have done a lot of traveling lately {France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, England} there is something so rejuvenating about the classic beach vacation.  While I generally prefer a more active trip, sometimes there is nothing better than spending a week lounging in the sun with a good book and a cocktail.  A couple of years ago my boyfriend, dad, and I went to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico for a week and it was absolutely lovely.  We relaxed by the beach alternating our time between swimming in the crystal clear ocean, napping, drinking pina colodas, snorkeling with sea turtles, snacking on ceviche, and reading.  In September we will be heading to Italy {pinch me!!} but after that it will definitely be time to start planning our next beach holiday :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Signs of Spring

About three weeks ago we were blessed with the first warm day of the year, so my boyfriend and I headed out to the beautiful Clifton Gorge State Park for an afternoon of hiking.  The trees were still bare but all around us were signs of life - a flower peeking up through the ground, green moss coming alive on rocks, birds chirping, and water rushing.  There is nothing like spending a day in the woods to clear your mind and recharge your spirit!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Charlotte Olympia

If you know me, you will know that it is a rare occasion that I wear heels.  While I absolutely love the look of them, I have the worst time finding ones that fit correctly and are at least moderately comfortable.  However, if I woke up tomorrow and that changed {and if I stumbled upon a large sum of money} I would head straight to Neiman Marcus to pick up a few pairs of Charlotte Olympia beauties.  I absolutely love how her designs are so retro, feminine, and whimsical.  And don't even get me started on this heart-covered pair.  Until then, I will just have to swoon at them from a distance.  Sigh...

Images via Neiman Marcus

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring Vegetable Risotto with Poached Eggs

One of my favorite days of the month is when my beloved "Bon Appetit" Magazine arrives in the mail.  I have always been a huge foodie {I know, such an overused word these days} and love trying new recipes and unusual foods.  Weird fact, I actually bring the magazine with me to the gym and read it while on the elliptical - almost seems like it's defeating the fact that I'm working out, no?

This past week I tested out their "Spring Vegetable Risotto with Poached Eggs" recipe {find it here}, and although it did take a few hours to prepare it was most certainly worth the effort.  My family was just crazy about it, and best of all it makes more than enough for leftovers!

2 cups shelled fresh (or frozen, thawed) fava beans or peas (from about 2 lb. pods)
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
6 large eggs
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth {I used vegetable broth to make it vegetarian friendly}
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 pound chanterelles or crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large leeks, whites and pale greens only, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine {I used a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc}
1 bunch flat-leaf spinach, trimmed, leaves torn
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan (about 3 ounces) plus more for shaving
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives plus more for serving {I also served with some fresh basil}
Freshly ground black pepper

If using fresh fava beans, cook in a large saucepan of boiling salted water 1 minute. Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water and let cool. Peel favas and transfer to a small bowl.

Bring a large skillet of salted water to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. Add vinegar. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl, then slide into simmering water. Repeat with 2 more eggs. Cook until whites are cooked but yolks are runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water. Repeat with remaining 3 eggs.

Bring broth to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large, wide heavy pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with favas.

Heat oil and remaining 1 tablespoon butter in same pot over medium heat. Add leeks, fennel, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated, about 4 minutes.

Add 1 cup broth. Cook, stirring often (no need to stir constantly), until broth is almost absorbed. Add remaining broth by cupfuls, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more, stirring often, until rice is tender but still firm to the bite and mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total.

Add spinach, crème fraîche, 1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino, 1/4 cup chives, and reserved fava beans and mushrooms to risotto. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted and cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Season risotto with salt.

A few minutes before risotto is done, reheat poached eggs in a large skillet of simmering water, about 1 minute.

Divide risotto among bowls and top with eggs, shaved Pecorino, chives, and pepper.  Enjoy!

Image via

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Never Stop Wandering

Sorry for the radio silence as of late, there has been a lot going on these past few weeks in my life.  But things are looking brighter and just make me realize all the more that everyday is a gift.  So this is just a friendly reminder to enjoy the time you have here on this beautiful Earth - never stop wondering and never stop wandering :)

Image via

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Forgotten Places

German photographer Sven Fennema has captured images of some of the most beautiful, decaying spaces imaginable.  Her subjects include crumbling churches, abandoned castles, and forgotten palaces.  It's fascinating to think of all the amazing stories which have taken place in these magical spaces, and how they came to be forgotten.
Images via Honestly WTF

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Alberta, Canada

I am having a major case of wanderlust after watching this absolutely beautiful video about Alberta, Canada.  Every single shot is absolutely gorgeous.  I can almost smell the clean, fresh mountain air and feel the crystal clear water all around me.  Still not convinced?  Here are some more photos of the stunning landscapes you will find in Alberta.  Take me there, please!
Images via {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6} {7} {8}