August 30, 2012

Lace for Labor Day

 As Labor Day Weekend approaches, I wanted to pay tribute to my all-time favorite summer outfit:  the lace dress.To me, lace is the ultimate feminine look. I have been in love with this material for so long, I can't even remember when the obsession started. I hope to someday own a few lace items - I sadly own none at the moment. 
I realize not all the pieces below are white for Labor Day, but the mint and periwinkle are equally as delicate to wear on this last (sort of) weekend of summer.
I also don't  necessarily believe in no white after Labor Day, but it may be one of the final times this year to wear white lace.

August 26, 2012


 Sauteed Kale Salad with Mushrooms and Dried Cranberries
This salad has really contrasting flavors with the sweetness of the cranberries and the mushrooms, but somehow it works. It's extremely healthy and a great dish that can transfer on into Fall and Winter.

How to make it:
Sautee the mushrooms in olive oil with onions, salt and pepper for about ten minutes. Add the sliced kale and cook until it's wilted. Add the cranberries and serve warm. 

Calamari with Potatoes and Green Beans

This dish originally called for Octopus, but apparently it's only sold in Japanese specialty stores. So, we substituted squid, and it was just as tasty. 

How to make it:
Marinate the squid in olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper for 30 minutes. 
In the mean time, boil the potatoes and green beans in separate pots. 
Take the squid out of the refrigerator and cook on a dry pan until the piece begin to brown. 
Serve a sauce of olive oil and parsley over the dish.

Pumpkin Pie

I know, it's a little bit early to be making pumpkin pie, but we had the mix sitting in our pantry, so why not? We just made this with pumpkin puree, nutmeg, cinnamon and coconut milk. It was good, but basic. I will be experimenting more in the Fall.

All photographs by Britta Lokting.

Fall Colors

I don't know if anyone else can feel it, but Fall is creeping up. As I was laying outside yesterday, enjoying what may be one of the last 85 degree days here in Portland, I noticed how low in the sky the sun was. It was the first time I really felt the changing season. 
I was recently approached by a friend who asked me how to wear colored pants in the Fall. Most of us associate these pants with Spring or Summer, but I think they can definitely transfer into the cooler months. The trick is to choose richer colors than the neon greens and hot pinks of July. I especially like burnt reds and yellows, but when paired with the right top and shoes, blue and green can also look nice, and not at all out of place.
 It's best to wear a neutral color on top, but try to avoid black. Tans and browns simultaneously help cool down the outfit, but still make the pants very hot.

This baby-blue color is contrasted with a tan shirt and warm,
dark yellow jacket.
A neutral sweater and booties help transition this color into cool months.
I love the mustard yellow for Fall, especially paired with a warm grey shirt.

In early September, I think this green still works with the warm weather.
It would be even better to wear a tan or brown shirt.

August 21, 2012

The Power of Red

This season, the wine stained, or Bordeaux, lip (see below) seems to be all the craze. I feel that this look is very hard to pull off however, especially for those with light complexions. I prefer the bright cherry lip instead. It doesn't feel ominious or sinister in the way that a dark purple/red does. A bright red lip is underrated this season as a great Fall look, adding a bit of color to neutral jackets and blouses.

This color may wash out many complexions.
The cherry lip brightens up the face.

Me wearing Red Zin by Bare Minerals

Photographs by Alysia Duckler.

August 17, 2012

A Nicer Take on Shorts

I love shorts, but my closet is currently filled with torn jean ones from high school. Most of the pairs I own, even if not jean, are super short and sometimes uncomfortable to wear in public.On these hot summer days and nights, it's nice to wear something a bit more casual than a skirt or dress to dinner or out to the bar, without feeling inappropriate in beach shorts.
I like these silk, cotton and even leather shorts. The patterns and textures add something unique and different to the basic short, making them a bit more sophisticated and fun to wear.
Now is the best time to browse the stores. As fall styles come in, summer wear is starting to go on sale. And, there's still a bit of time to get use out of them this season.

August 14, 2012

Summer Fish

Baked Salmon with Tuscan White Beans

Making fresh beans is always a bit time consuming, but they taste much healthier than canned beans. To do this, soak the beans in a few inches of water until they begin to absorb then turn to a boil. Add or subtract water in increments depending on the dryness of the beans while cooking. 
When done, add cooked radicchio, blue cheese crumbles and salt and pepper.
Top with baked Alaskan salmon or serve as a side dish.

Fish Tacos with Coleslaw, Guacamole and Hot Sauce

For this recipe we used flour tortillas, but small, corn tortillas would have been much better, adding more crunch and flavor to the dish. Both the fish and the tortillas are prepared best on the grill.
To make the guacamole: combine a jalapeño, two avocados, 1/4 cup of yogurt, lime juice, salt and pepper. 

Photographs by Britta Lokting.

August 13, 2012

Anya's Wedding Shower

This weekend my mom threw a bridal shower for my cousin, who is getting married next month.
 Everyone brought their favorite recipe for the bride.

Cupcakes from Jones Cupcakes in Portland, Oregon.

Joey is getting excited for the shower!

Mom's chicken salad with homemade egg-yolk dressing.

The bride opening presents.

All photographs by Britta Lokting.

Summer Treats

Grilled Corn with Jalapeño Butter

Both of these dishes are from Fresh Mexico, one of the better Mexican cookbooks I've found. It's filled with simple, non-traditional recipes that veer away from the heavy bean and cheese based meals Mexican cookbooks usually offer.

This grilled corn is a great side dish and the jalapeños give it a nice kick. It's a bit difficult to keep the pieces of pepper on the cob, but their flavor mixes in with the butter to keep it hot.

All you need is:
Salt & Pepper
Chopped Cilantro
Queso Fresco (not used below)

Spicy Shrimp in Cream Sauce
I've made this meal a few times, and depending on how much Adobo sauce you put in, it can be very spicy.
To make this dish...
Coat the shrimp in flour and chopped parsley, transfer to a pan and cook through.
Remove the shrimp and set aside.
In the same pan, add white wine, garlic, Adobo sauce, Worcestershire sauce and heavy cream.
Add the shrimp back in and serve over rice.

Photographs by Britta Lokting.

August 9, 2012

Back to School?

It's hard to believe that next week I would normally be flying back to Lehigh. It hasn't quite hit me yet that I won't be able to go back for another fall semester. August and September are one of my favorite months at Lehigh - everything is new and exciting, everyone is happy to see friends, and yet the start of a new year brings jittery anticipation for what may come.

At Lehigh, this is also the hottest time of the year. I saw these pictures and they reminded me of my back-to-college style - trying to look cute in the simplest, most comfortable way - while simultaneously also trying to stay cool.

Now that I am out of the college world, I may have to dress up my style a bit, but my eye, and hand, still always wanders towards the casual, care-free, effortless look.
I love back-exposing shirts - I have one almost identical to this from Urban Outfitters.

Skirts like this are great staples - they go with almost everything.

This look reminds me of girly-girl meets hipster.

August 8, 2012

Shake That Groove Thang

I did something today that I haven't done since I was sixteen (or maybe even thirteen). I danced in my room. And when I say dance, I mean dance. I jumped, I twisted, I shook, I sang at the top of my lungs. I even had a made-up routine going on for a while. And it felt great. It felt freeing and energizing. It was the first time in a long time that I actually forgot about all my stresses and worries. I let loose.

I sometimes forget how fun it is just to dance with no one around, without the worry of whose judging and whose snickering. It seems so juvenile when thinking about it, but after doing it, I realize that's exactly what makes it so great.

As I grow older, I've tried to relax with yoga and pilates (just like most of the other women in the world). And while I think it's a great physical activity, it does nothing for my stress levels. In fact, I find myself rigid and tense during class, straining to hold the precise positions. But today, I finally forgot about the steps, the moves and the routines.

It felt nice to do away with perfection for a moment, and just shimmy aimlessly around my room. Now, as I write this, I feel a better energy and at the same time, relaxation, than any yoga class I've taken. And much happier.

This is probably what I looked like.

August 1, 2012

The Mary-Jane

It is not unusual to me, that when it comes to fashion, items which were once considered conservative or traditional make their way once again into the modern world as sexy and edgy. Style is constantly being reinvented.

The Mary-Jane shoe immediately comes to my mind as one such example. It has made its way through history beginning from the Renaissance and Tudor periods of Europe (King Henry VIII even wore them), onto the roaring twenties, to then be worn by great icons such as Twiggy.

While the shoe has found its way onto the feet of women, they were typically worn by little girls, and were particularly associated with school children. The Mary-Jane of today however, has developed into a flirtatious and seductive high-heeled shoe.

While on some level, this shoe style still shows a hint of innocence, I believe the Mary-Jane further represents the ironic idea of aging. Young girls are constantly trying to mature, by both looking and behaving provocatively, while on the other hand, women are doing just the opposite: trying furiously to appear younger. The Mary-Jane is stuck in limbo between girl and woman.

I recently (and very sadly) wore out my black, patent leather Mary-Janes. While that is the typical, standard style of the shoe, I've found much more creative versions since looking for a new pair. It's always good to have a staple, but the more interesting styles of Mary-Janes that have now emerged really show how fun the shoe is. Yes, it is practical and comfortable (which is probably why it has been worn so much throughout history!), but it truly is flirty and girly. 

Of course, Mary-Janes come in the forms of flats, but I prefer heels :)

 I love a white Mary-Jane for summer.

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