Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Woman's Love For Shoes

I was late to develop the stereotypical love of shoes that women often have. I've always much preferred shopping for clothes or handbags, but lately I've gained a strong appreciation for how easily a pair of shoes can amplify an entire look. I’m constantly on the lookout for a high quality pair of shoes at a great discount (they’re out there if you look hard enough). To be honest, I think I've developed a shoe obsession and now there’s no turning back. Here are some that I’m currently coveting from afar.  

Clockwise from top left: Pierre Hardy Cube Cutout Pump / Jimmy Choo 'Hourly' Pump / Sergio Rossi Beaded Sandal / Christian Louboutin Crystal Mesh Pump / Kate Spade Bow Slingback / Bionda Castana Snakeskin Pump / Prada Square-Stud Suede Sandal / Saint Laurent Studded Pump / Charlotte Olympia Minx Leather Pump / Oscar de la Renta Metallic Jacquard Pump / Gianvito Rossi Embellished Pump

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Staples To Wear This Fall

{ mixing summer's mesh or eyelet with classic fall plaid }

August marks the end of summer and the point when everyone beings shifting gears to fall.  Every year around this time I get antsy to update my fall wardrobe, but at the same time try to find ways to incorporate my summer favorites into colder weather outfits. Here are some ways I plan to blend summer and fall trends together to get the maximum use out of key summer pieces.

{ adding a leather jacket over top a summer jumpsuit }

{ pairing a sweater with a maxi dress or maxi skirt }

{ teaming boots and a bulky sweater with a leather mini }

{ Photo credit: 1 / 2 /3 / 4 }

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Bucket List

It’s already August and I’m not sure where this summer has gone.  My new favorite weekend ritual this summer is to grab a coffee from a local cafe and sprawl out on a blanket with a good book in a park, choosing a different park each weekend.  Not only does this ensure some relaxation and reading each weekend (not to mention good coffee), but it has allowed me to explore neighborhoods of D.C. that I’ve rarely been to in the seven years I’ve lived in the area.  It leaves me feeling fulfilled and reminds me that this is what summer is all about - the great outdoors, exploration, and new experiences.  I’ll be sure to continue my weekend mornings in the park and plan to have just as much fun tackling the other items on my bucket list this summer.

A Refined Outlook’s Summer Bucket List

1) Make a summer spritzer using the lemoncello that my parents gifted to me ages ago

2) Clean and organize each room in the house

3) Update my work wardrobe

4) Join an online book club (a few favorites include: one, two, three)

5) Finish my Sex and the City marathon

6) Educate myself on home-buying and mortgages

7) Host a girls’ brunch

8) Create a summer playlist

9) Find new accent pillows for the living room

10) Dine al fresco in my own backyard

11) Experiment with hair styles for my newly short hair

What do you plan to accomplish this summer?

P.S. You can find my Fall bucket list here.

{Photos courtesy of Style Me Pretty and Project Wedding}

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summertime Peach Ice Cream

Last weekend I got the urge to make something for dessert that felt quintessentially ‘summery.’  Although I hadn’t decided what this dessert would be, I knew that it had to call for ingredients that are only in-season during the warmer months, not something that could be just as easily whipped up in the winter. Once I laid out the criteria, it took about five seconds to settle on my summer dessert - homemade peach ice cream.  

Fresh peaches have been a summertime favorite of mine since I was a kid and ice cream is a summer no-brainer.  My husband and I came up with the recipe below, and the outcome is beyond either of our expectations.  The rich peach flavor coupled with the sweet cream mixture is everything you could want in a dessert.  And a new go-to summer recipe is made!


Yields: 2 quarts (16 servings)

Time: Preparation 2 hours, ready in 6.5 hours

5 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1 tsp vanilla extract
1¾ cups white sugar
¼ tsp salt

1) In a saucepan, mix together the egg yolks, heavy cream, half-and-half, and vanilla extract on medium heat, stirring often.  Do not allow the mixture to boil.  Once, the mixture is hot, add the sugar and salt to the saucepan, and mix well.  Continue to cook on medium heat for approximately three more minutes so the sugar and salt dissolve, continuing to stir often.  Remove from heat and allow to cool in the saucepan, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.  Once cool, strain the mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap touches and lays across the surface of the mixture.  Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.  (The plastic wrap trick prevents a skin from forming on the surface of the mixture while cooling.)
2) Puree the peaches in a food processor until smooth.  Cool in the refrigerator for an hour.
3) Add the peach puree to the cream mixture, and mix well.  
4) Turn on your stand mixer to the slowest setting and pour the mixture into the frozen ice cream bowl attachment.  Mix until the mixture thickens, or approximately 25 minutes.
5) Transfer the ice cream to a storage container and freeze for at least five hours.  
6) Enjoy a bowl-full (even better with fresh peaches thrown on top) and save the rest for up to two weeks!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back At It

You guys, I’m back! A new job, a wedding, and a honeymoon all had me tied up and overwhelmingly busy for the past few months. While the job is still busy and going great, the wedding and honeymoon (I’ll be sharing more on those soon!) are behind me, so now I can devote more time to the things I love, including this blog. I have a great roundup of posts ready to go, so check back tomorrow for the first of many.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wishlist: Spring Forward

To say that this has been a brutal winter would be an understatement. Even those who love winter and snow are begging for spring at this point. After a fantastic run along the Potomac and a cookout this past weekend, I'm reminded of all the fun and happiness that warm weather brings. The number one thing on my spring wishlist is that these warmer temperatures stick around. The rest of my wishlist is packed with furniture, florals, and light pastels and neutrals.    

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Orleans Style Shrimp Po'boys

Happy Fat Tuesday! New Orleans is one of my favorite cities, and one of the many things I love about it is its food culture, which is so unique from anywhere else in the country. From seafood gumbo to beignets, there's no shortage of rich decadent flavor when eating your way through New Orleans. The first thing I ever ate in New Orleans was a shrimp po'boy and it remains one of my favorite meals to this day. My fiance and I have nearly perfected this New Orleans staple, and it's been on heavy rotation in our house for several years. There's no better time than Mardi Gras to try the recipe for yourself.


Yields: 4 Po'boys

Time: 25 minutes

1 egg
2 cups flour
salt and pepper
2 cups canola oil
1 pound of uncooked shrimp, peeled
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
pinch of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon lime juice
2 French baguettes
1½ cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 large tomato, sliced

1) Crack the egg into a small bowl. Fill a mixing bowl with the flour, mixing in a pinch of salt and pepper.
2) Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Once warm, dip the shrimp first into the egg and then into the flour, coating the shrimp completely. Place the shrimp in small batches into the frying pan until golden brown, roughly four minutes. Remove shrimp from pan and place on a drying rack.
3) Mix together mayonnaise, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and lime juice in a small bowl, then spread mayonnaise mixture over each half of the baguette. Top with shrimp, shredded lettuce, and sliced tomato. Your New Orleans Style Po'boy is ready to serve!

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