Friday, January 17, 2014

Sheer Plaidness

Blouse (Dress Barn); Black tank (Target); Skirt (Travel by Tribal, Pretty Woman - see it styled differently here); Necklace (Marigold); Boots ( 
It's a plaid, plaid world.  Plaid pajamas, plaid blazers, plaid blouses, plaid purses, and plaid shoes - I have a life-long fondness for all things plaid and, for me, plaid never goes out of style.  If you saw my last post, you know I was snowed in at the beginning of the year and was pretty much a plaid PJ clad couch potato (say that five times fast) when I wasn't experimenting in the kitchen.  I also made a batch of "Caramel Crispix Crack," which is probably the best cereal mix that my taste buds have ever experienced.  It's one of those things that is so good you can't walk past the bowl without grabbing another handful.  Consequently, I do not make it often because it's not very healthy (okay, it's really not healthy at all save for the nuts, but I don't like nuts so I pick around them).

I got the recipe from a friend and neighbor who served it at a holiday gathering a few years ago, and making it reminded me of that great party, and the sheer plaid blouse I wore to it.  That blouse.  Where on Earth was that blouse?  I'd forgotten all about it.  Had I even worn it since?  I'm pretty good about keeping my closet organized, and I couldn't remember seeing it in ages.  A quick inventory did not uncover it, so I was compelled to take a break from enjoying the gooey, caramel Crispix goodness and a Dr. Who Netflix marathon to find it.

Operation Find Plaid Blouse was a success - it had slipped off its hanger and was "hiding" against the wall behind a few shoe boxes (okay, several shoe boxes).  In the process, I also created a pile of other garments to donate to Dress for Success and Goodwill.  Boom.  Cooking, cleaning, and organizing accomplished, I felt completely justified in returning to my cozy spot by the fire to watch another of the Doctor's escapades in the Tardis (and polish off the Crispix mix)!

If you're interested, here is the  recipe (don't say I didn't warn you):
  • 12 oz. box of Crispix cereal
  • Small pretzel twists
  • Mixed Nuts
  • 1/2 cup light Karo syrup
  • 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Mix cereal, pretzel and nuts into a large bowl.You can add as many nuts and pretzels as you want.  I usually add about 10 oz of pretzels and go light on the nuts because I love pretzels and don't like nuts, but that's just me)
  • Melt butter (in a saucepan or the microwave - either works).  
  • Add brown sugar and corn syrup to melted butter and bring to a boil (again, you can do this in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave).
  • Stir in vanilla and baking soda and pour over cereal mixture.
  • Spread cereal mixture onto baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (or microwave mixture in bowl on high for 3 minutes, stirring after each minute).  
  • Spread on waxed paper to cool; break into pieces and store in airtight container.
...and here's a flashback to the missing plaid blouse from the 2009 party where I first tasted the salty, caramel deliciousness.
Diamond and Tahitian Pearl Earrings (Marc Aronstam custom design); Necklace (Silpada)
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Great Scott, it's cold!

Blazer (Target - really!); Sweater (Steinmart); Skirt (Steinmart); Watch (Michael Kors, Nordstrom);  Purse (Michael Kors, TJ Maxx); Boots (Zoubaby; find them locally at 14 Districts in Carmel)
Last week's record cold temperatures and heavy snowfall, followed by rain and flooding, had me scrambling to stay warm and dry, and Scottish plaid flannels were a (the) staple of my wardrobe during the height of the "Arctic Blast."  With nearly a foot of snow blanketing our frozen little piece of heaven, we were stuck inside for most of the week, and I have to confess my daily attire consisted of tartan plaid pajamas and boiled wool slippers. 

When I was finally able to venture out into our winter wonderland, I traded my cotton plaid flannel pajamas for a wool flannel blackwatch blazer.  Blackwatch is my favorite tartan.  It's a timeless classic that can be dressed up for a formal night on the town (see a favorite formal look in my prior post) or dressed down for a weekend excursion (see my "blackwatch and baseball" post).  It's also a perfect pajama pattern!
Though temperatures have risen exponentially compared to last week, it's still quite cold, so lots of layers were in order - we're talking a turtleneck and a cableknit sweater under the blazer, and two pair of tights (this really works!).  There is also a considerable amount of salty, dirty wet slush everywhere, but my favorite monogrammed rubber wellies are easy to clean and keep my feet dry (I cannot stand the feeling of wet socks).  Even the stuff in my purse stays cozy in a bag that's knitted to resemble a thick wool Irish fisherman's sweater.

Being snowed in for a week wasn't all bad, despite poor rationing of our Diet Coke supply.  I can't think of a better excuse to cozy up to the fireplace and watch the first season of both Sherlock and Dr. Who on Netflix (we started them because the storm knocked out our satellite dish, but now I'm hooked on both!)  It also gave me an opportunity to experiment in the kitchen.  When you're low on your "go to" meal ingredients and stuck inside miles from the nearest grocery, you get creative with that can of pumpkin that's been in your cupboard for the last 12 months.  The result was a cinnamon coffee cake that proved I still remembered how to cook using basic ingredients like flour, butter, vanilla and baking soda, rather than relying on Pillsbury.  I also remembered that it's entirely possible to make a delicious shrimp fra diavolo that does not involve Chef Boyardee and takes full advantage of Indiana home canned tomatoes from my mother-in-law!  Not to say that I won't buy canned spaghetti sauce and cake mix next time I go to the grocery (I love convenience), but still it was nice to get creative.

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Brave New Year!

Hat (Loreta Corsetti Couture Millinery); Dress (Betsy & Adam); Faux Fur Stole (eBay)
I happened upon the lace clutch at Macy's months after I got the dress, and added a vintage brooch to the belt;  Black crystal cocktail ring (Macy's); vintage 1940s gold and diamond watch (Wyler, G. Thrapp Jewelers)
Earrings (Givenchy, Macy's)
I found this hat on a field trip to Chicago last Spring with the Indianapolis Museum of Art's Fashion Arts Society, where we visited the studio of couture milliner Loreta Corsetti.  It's not your everyday kind of hat, and I couldn't wait to wear it on New Year's Eve for a gala celebration at the museum.  I knew I was going to wear the hat to ring in the new year and originally thought I'd title this post as "Hatty New Year."  But, I changed my mind after a woman approached our table during a pre-gala dinner at Seasons 52 to tell me how much she admired my New Year's Eve attire, and remarked that I was "so brave" to wear a hat and that she hoped she had the courage to do something similarly fabulous next year.  

Of course, it's always wonderful to receive compliments, but this particular statement was food for thought.  I guess a hat with a cocktail dress is a bold choice, though perhaps less so on New Year's Eve, but I hadn't really considered it brave.  Was it that I was confident enough to wear the hat or was it that the hat gave me confidence?  It's probably a bit of both, and I chose it because is was just so "me."  I loved it; I loved my dress; and I was excited to wear them.  The fact that the outfit was so well received by others was icing on the cake (but a very delicious cake, to be sure!)

I've mentioned it before, but I generally prefer to shop alone, and most of the examples of "buyer's remorse" in my closet are the result of too much emphasis placed on the opinions of shopping companions or overzealous sales clerks when I was otherwise "on the fence" about a particular garment.  As I've gotten older, I find that my wardrobe is more and more driven by what makes me feel my personal best, even when the choices are unconventional.  I suppose that having the courage to be myself could be considered brave, and that is my wish for all of you in 2014.  Have the courage to be unapologetically yourself - it's a brave new year!

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Linked up with:  Three-fer Thursday, Style Crone, and Style Sessions