holiday cheer

[h&m sweater, habitual coated denim, mossimo heels, kate spade bag, gifted gorjana necklace, michael kors watch,  rings- madewell/vintage, polo ralph lauren glasses]

Wore this festive little number to our company's holiday dinner. There's nothing more perfect for this season than the look of leather and oversized sweaters in my book.

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! The beau and I are in New York City with family--I'll be sure to share more on that later. I hope you all have a happy + healthy holiday with the ones you love.


vodka, please

It's no secret to everyone by now that I have a love affair with wine, champagne, and whiskey.  That may sound bad, but it's not in a "I like to get drunk" kinda way; it's actually that I genuinely enjoy the taste of them.  Vodka, on the other hand, is something I have more of a love/hate kind of relationship with. I'm not particularly into the taste, and even if it's an excellent vodka I still prefer only a small amount in my cocktails (one exception here).

However, vodka sauce is an entirely different story. I was first introduced to this unique spin on the classic tomato sauce in college.  My best friend brought home a pre-made bottle, and we were hooked.  Last week Jasmine and I decided to give the homemade stuff a whirl.

You Won't Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta (spotted here)
What You'll Need:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (once around the pan in a slow stream)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 cup vodka
-1 cup chicken stock
-1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
- Course salt and pepper
- 16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
- Bread, for passing

What You'll Do:
Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3-5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan (3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup). Reduce vodka by half--this will take about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente. While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes (in our case, Jasmine and I just ate the bread...and drank wine, obviously).

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves.
Tip: it takes the sauce a bit to thicken, so allow it to sit for a bit before tossing with the pasta. 

This creamy pasta was a hit for us both, and (bonus) we had a ton of leftovers.  I actually preferred the pasta the next day as the sauce had thickened even more!
Recipe via here.

P.S. I just realized I haven't posted a recipe in over two months...clearly I need to get my act together and start cooking decent meals on a more regular basis. I mean, my dinner tonight was a half a quesadilla and chicken nuggets...what is that? It's like I don't even know myself anymore.



manic monday

[mossimo blazer, zara tee, j brand jeans {outlet score}, nine west booties {last season, similar here}, ray-ban aviators, michael kors watch, necklace- gift, rings- madewell/vintage]

Yesterday was one of those crazy days where everything was going wrong.  Luckily I had this comfortable getup to get me through the day, followed by some much-needed girl time spent with my friend Holli. We scrounged our fridges to make a delicious dinner, sipped some hot chocolate, bundled up in blankets, and watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas...and suddenly I'm good as new!

We're almost to vacation time, y'all. Can't wait to spend it with the people I love the most!


counting down

Holy moly, you guys...I am already in vacation mode. This is a problem, considering I don't leave town for another week and a half(ish).  Oh, and that to-do list? Yeah, it's still got quite a few items on it. And these pretty photos aren't helping the wanderlust.

all photos via middle child complex
New York + Colorado are calling to me...I think I have no choice but to answer a little bit early. Where are you headed for vacation?


can't stop/won't stop

[h&m sweater + skirt, bcbgeneration boots {old}, kate spade bag {scored from the outlet!}, ray-ban aviators, michael kors watch, rings- vintage/madewell] 

Sometimes I just can't resist throwing on cowboy boots with an otherwise fancy(ish) outfit.  That Oklahoma girl in me just screams to get out, and I don't dare mess with her. Homegirl gets what she wants.

I've worn this outfit a few times, and I have to say it's one of my favorites lately. Except to eat dinner in; maybe one day I'll finally learn that high-waisted things + fatty meals just don't mix. Sadly I actually think I've attempted to teach myself this lesson a few times, and clearly I still can't stop. It's an addiction.

Happy Wednesday. We're halfway to the weekend!


heidi merrick

When I first started at the mag as an editorial intern, I was enamored with the personal style of several stylish co-workers.  Specifically, my former editor Sari (who's now at the awesome fashion/outdoor mag Foam).  This amazing gal has an an extremely covetable collection of handbags, jewelry, and clothes--but more impressive than that is her ability to effortlessly put these pieces together.  Her style is a perfect combination of laid-back and structured.  So naturally, when she walked in the office one day wearing an incredible ruffled maxi skirt, I had to know who made it.

Enter Heidi Merrick: an LA-based designer who captures the ideal amount of California cool factor in her high-end collection.  All of her pieces are handmade in Heidi's downtown studio with quality fabrics, creating a luxe look + feel to the entire collection.

I've been a fan of Heidi Merrick ever since I first laid eyes on her Fall 2010 collection, but I'm even more smitten after visiting the studio for the gift + sample sale over the weekend and meeting Heidi herself.

Browsing all the pieces from past seasons was such a great way to see how Heidi's collection evolved each year, while still maintaining her unique design aesthetic.  Also, how amazing is her inspiration board? [Excuse the iPhone snaps...a big bag that holds a camera+ shopping don't really go together in my world]

You can find Heidi Merrick's collections in select boutiques, or on her website.  I'll be sharing the pieces I scooped up soon. Which are your favorites? I for one simply can't choose!



image via middle child complex
Was so not ready for it to be Monday yet. My never-ending to-do list is very much unfinished, and I'm watching the days fly by me. Is anyone else behind on Christmas shopping? I finally got some done this weekend, but I definitely have my work cut out for me over the next couple of weeks.

I'll be tackling the day in an outfit eerily similar to this gal's--simple and chic, with classic accessories.  This combo can do no wrong. Although my blazer isn't nearly as amazing as this one. I mean, that thing is good. I wanna be friends with it (name that movie).
Happy Monday, friends. Let's do this.


hat attack

Whenever I was in college, I was pretty much always too lazy to do my hair.  I know this comes as a shock to everyone, considering I've already so eloquently shared my awesome sense of style during that time of my life.  Nine times out of ten you'd find me rocking a ball cap to class because not only was it socially acceptable, but it was easy. Since then my love of baseball hats (I still have quite the collection) is mostly reserved for weekend hikes, but I've been thrilled to see hats recently make a bigger comeback in the fashion world.  From ball caps to oversized fedoras, hats are popping up everywhere.
photo via middle child complex 
photos via kendi everyday
photo via the glamourai 
photo via could i have that?
photos via brooklyn blonde
photo via eat.sleep.wear.
photo via could i have that?
photo via eat.sleep.wear.
photo via breakfast at yurman's
I recently picked up this beauty from Target, and it's been my go-to for bad hair days. I've been having quite a few lately, and here's the honest truth: it's been rainy and I've been lazy. I'll take a hat day any day. I guess some things never change.