Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Feeling Fine

Pants: Fire (similar), Ribbed Tank: American Apparel (similar), Blazer: Loft (similar), Shoes: Banana Republic (similar), Necklace: Rare Bird, Sunglasses: BP (similar), Watch: Nixon

This may very well be one of my favorite outfits of the year. It seems that in my months of wishing for something neon, I had this bright yellow tank top in my possession all along. In the past I had dismissed it as a casual piece, suitable for the beach, but the other day I paired this yellow gem with a soft pink blazer and classic black denim. The result was something perfect for going out and it made me feel great. Despite the horror of walking in heels (how do people do it?), this outfit was incredibly comfortable. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Christmas Markets

I know it's still October but excuse me while I talk about Christmas and take a moment to explore a simple dream of mine: to visit a Christmas Market in Europe. I've always loved Christmas and as I get older, that love grows more dynamic as I experience this beloved holiday through the eyes of an adult. No longer do I spend the month of December dreaming about presents and the new things I'll receive on Christmas morning. Now, the magic of Christmas lasts all season long as I find myself using every excuse in the book to get together with friends, bake spiced treats, give service, listen to Christmas music and decorate everything I can think of with lights. Wouldn't it be magical to be able to combine all of the favorite festivities of Christmas with your Christmas shopping trip? At the end of November, Christmas Markets pop up all over Europe, bringing whole cities together (in the freezing cold) to celebrate the season of Christmas. American malls try to recreate this, but they don't even come close.

Wouldn't you love to experience this? Or maybe you already have? If you've visited a Christmas Market, please share you're experience. I'd love to hear.

For a great photo essay of the Vienna Christmas Market, click here.

Click each photo to view the source. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread

Last week I shared a seriously delicious chili recipe. I don't know about you, but for me, chili is not complete without cornbread. As a kid, I looked forward to devouring my cornbread with absurd amounts of honey butter. To this day, it's still one of my favorite comfort foods. For a while, I've had trouble finding a cornbread recipe that doesn't dry out after a day or two. When you're cooking for two, it's important that leftovers remain delicious for a couple days afte the meal is made. Well, let me tell you, this recipe does the job. It's moist and sweet with that perfect, subtle kick from the buttermilk.

Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread
Yield: 9 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30-40 minutes
Total Time: about 50 minutes


1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square pan and set aside. Melt butter in a large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve with chili (or absurd amounts of honey butter) and enjoy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Señorita Style

Skirt: unknown (similar), Shirt: Target (similar), Jacket: J. Crew (similar), Shoes: Steve Madden (similar), Earrings: Charming Charlie (similar), Watch: Nixon

6 years ago, I visited Seville, Spain and witnessed my first authentic Flamenco show. I left that show determined to return to Spain to study the fine art of Flamenco dancing. The power, the passion, the intensity. It was so captivating and invigorating to watch. While I still haven't made it back to Seville, the passion of Flamenco stays with me. Everytime I wear this skirt, I can't help but do a quick little Flamenco dance and, for a moment in my mind, I'm back in Seville. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wanderlust: Bermuda

Bermuda has always eluded me as a mysterious, almost other-worldly place. It is so remote and the urban legend of the Bermuda Triangle just makes it seem so surreal. Mystery aside, Bermuda is also known for amazing tropical beaches and great weather, making it a popular vacation destination, especially for East-coasters (who I'm sure wish they were on a warm beach right now instead of enduring the horrendous Hurricane Sandy). A big shout out to anyone locked up inside today due to the crazy weather. Hopefully these pictures warm you up a little.

Click on each photo to view the source.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Smoky Sweet Turkey Chili

I love growing up and discovering new things. I feel like that's been a theme on the blog this week. Last weekend, I discovered a new chili recipe. This ain't your ordinary chili. It's got a sweet, smoky flavor with a hint of heat that will satisfy your belly and tantalize your taste buds. The secret ingredient? BBQ sauce. I give this one 5 stars and see myself making this recipe for years to come.

Of course you can't make chili without cornbread, right? Stay tuned for a sinfully delicious cornbread recipe, coming next week.

Smoky Sweet Turkey Chili
Adapted from
Yield: about 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1-8 hours
Total Time: about 1.5-8 hours


1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup diced carrots
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup salsa (I used peach-mango salsa and it was delicious!)
1 cup chipotle barbecue sauce
1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sour cream, chopped avocado, crushed tortilla chips and chopped cilantro for garnish

*Feel free to add or change up the vegetables. For example, replace the cup of carrots with diced red and green bell peppers. Or add a cup of cooked corn kernels to the mix. Have fun and customize to your liking.


{Slow Cooker Method}

Heat a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat and stir in the ground turkey, onion, garlic and carrots.  Cook and stir until the turkey is crumbly, evenly browned and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Transfer turkey mixture to a slow cooker and add tomatoes, salsa, BBQ sauce, green chilies, black beans, lime juice, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, oregano and salt. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Top with garnish, serve with cornbread and enjoy!

{Stove Top Method}

Heat a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat and stir in the ground turkey, onion, garlic and carrots.  Cook and stir until the turkey is crumbly, evenly browned and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, salsa, BBQ sauce, green chilies and black beans. Season with lime juice, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, oregano and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low, cover and let simmer until the flavors develop, 1 to 3 hours. Garnish with sour cream, chopped avocado, crushed tortilla chips and cilantro. Serve with cornbread and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Home Style: The Living Room

Today, I'd like to introduce a new series on FEST called Home Style. While I clearly feel passionately about defining your own style in regards to your wardrobe, I also feel that defining a personal style for your home is equally important. Most of us spend a good deal of time in our homes and it can have a huge impact on how we live our life. As my husband said to me a while back, "the home sets the tone for your day." 

Starting off, I'd like to share with you my (current) idea of a lovely living room.

1. Urban Outfitters 5'x7' Batik Bird Rug - $89.00
3. Kohl's Adesso Lena Tall Floor Lamp - $157.24
5. "Kite Flying on Golden Beach" Art - $299.00
6. Horchow Granite-Top Side Table - $629.00
7. West Elm Pin Dot Faux Suede Chester Sofa - $1,099.00

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wanderlust: Palouse Hills, United States

Palouse is one of those regions which, up until a couple weeks ago, I had no idea even existed. This process of discovery is what makes me so drawn to travel. Did you know that there is a region in the Pacific Northwest with expansive rolling hills that are filled with lavendar, wheat, grass and other vegetation? And did you know that when the sun hits these hills just right, it creates an incredible, jaw-dropping tapestry of colors and textures? Well, I sure didn't. And now I'm mesmerized that I could go 27 years without knowing about something this beautiful.

As we grow older, we tend to have "new experiences" less often. While responsibility often gets in the way of this, I believe that being able to discover new things is an important key to staying young and staying happy. Be it a new friendship, a new trick, a new level of understanding, a new favorite food, or a new spot in the world, opportunities for discovery are all around us if we only seek them out. 

Go. Do. See. Smell. Listen. Taste. Be.   

Click on each photo to view the source. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Smiles

Another week has gone by and I'm slowly getting more and more excited for the upcoming holiday season. Last night, Bradford and I decided on our Halloween costume (it's a good one, mainly because my husband is so funny--he'll fit the part perfectly). Have you guys decided your Halloween costumes yet? I love hearing all the different ideas people come up with.

Below are some links from around the web that have made me smile lately.

Bodysurfing in Tahiti.

Sneak peek into a beautiful modern home.

What do you want to do before you die?

Love this funky, warm cardigan.

Cute business cards.

This site is chock full of inspiring and interesting content.

Using cancer to sell something else entirely.

Photo via.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Candy Corn Cookies

Call me crazy, but I've never been a huge fan of candy corn. I think they're one of the most festive candies out there and I LOVE the way they look, but I just can't eat more than two or three before the sweetness becomes too much. Since I do love cookies of all types, I was pretty excited when I found this recipe. Once I started making these cookies, I was pleasantly surprised to see how small they are. Isn't it true that everything is better bite-sized!? Seriously, these cookies are probably the cutest thing I've ever made. They're simple to make, delicious to eat and they'll brighten up your kitchen table.

Candy Corn Cookies
From Coastal Living, October 2012 Issue
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: about 3 hours
Yield: about 120 cookies


1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus a little extra for topping
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Yellow food coloring
Red food coloring


In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together at medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar and lemon zest. Gradually beat into butter mixture.

Divide dough into 3 equal parts (about 1 1/4 cups each) in 3 separate bowls. Tint one piece with yellow food coloring. Tint another piece orange using red and yellow food coloring (the ratio should be 2 drops of yellow to every 1 drop of red).

Cut wax paper to fit smoothly in the bottom and along the sides of a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Place the white, un-tinted dough in the bottom of the loaf pan and press down evenly. I used another loaf pan to ensure evenness. Top with orange dough, then yellow, pressing evenly each time. Cover and chill for 2 hours.

When ready to bake, start by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkling a few tablespoons of sugar on a shallow dish. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Cut thin slices, about 1/2-inch thick. Then cut each strip into 6 or 7 triangles. Dip one side of cookies triangles into sugar and place on parchment paper or aluminum foil-lined baking sheets, sugar-side up. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until set but not browned.

Pour in a bowl and just watch these little suckers make their way into your mouth, bite after bite after bite.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Shirt: F21 (similar), Skirt: Zara (similar), Shoes: Steve Madden (similar), Clutch: Urban Outfitters (similar), Watch: Nixon, Necklace: Stella & Dot (similar)

Now that fall has finally hit, I seem to be wanting to wear this red flannel shirt all the time. It's classic and comfortable when paired with jeans, but by adding a dynamic striped skirt to the outfit, this shirt seems to take on a whole new personality. I wasn't sure I'd like this combination together, but I do!

Do you have any unexpected clothing combinations that you love?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wanderlust: Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

When Eleanor Roosevelt first laid eyes on Iguazu Falls she said, "Poor Niagara". I've never been to Niagara Falls (or Iguazu Falls), but from my limited experience visiting waterfalls (the most impressive being Akaka Falls in Hawaii), I can say that even just one waterfall that is 100 feet high is an amazing sight to behold.

Iguazu Falls is an impressive series of waterfalls that spreads across both Brazil and Argentina. I can't imagine the feeling of being at Iguazu Falls, with thousands of feet of water crashing down at heights of up to 270 feet. Scary. Amazing. Breathtaking. Wild. I don't know what I'd call it, but I'm pretty sure it's pretty inspiring.

Click on each photo to view the source. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Apples

It's fall and pumpkins and apples are everywhere! It seems that every other blog post I read is about pumpkin patches or apple picking. I decided I'd create a recipe that incorporates bloggers' two favorite things about fall and let me tell you, this recipe does not disappoint. The apple topping is the perfect complement to the hearty, warm pumpkin pancakes. Make this and make your loved ones happy. Ready.... go!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Apples
Pumpkin Pancakes from Epicurious
Yield: about 15 pancakes
Prep Time: about 10 minutes
Cook Time: about 5 minutes per batch


{for the pancakes}

2 cups all-purpose flour
6 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups buttermilk*
3/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

*If you don't have buttermilk, you can make a substitute using lemon juice and regular milk. For every cup of buttermilk, start by putting 1 tablespoon in a measuring cup. Then fill with milk to the 1-cup measure line. Let sit for 5 minutes before using.

{for the apples}

3 large Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon


Start by making the apple topping. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until apples are tender.

To make the pancakes, start by heating a pan over medium heat. Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs and melted butter. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.

Spray pan with cooking spray and drop batter by 1/4 cup-fuls onto the pan. Cook pancakes until bubbles form on top, about 2 - 2 1/2 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. To keep warm, store pancakes on a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve, but not more than 20 minutes.

When ready to serve, top pancakes with cinnamon apples and ennnnnjooooooy!