Sunday, January 30, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate is such a perfect complement to so many other flavors...peanut butter, caramel and peppermint, just to name a few.  While these flavor combinations are seen every day in candy bars and coffee beverages, one of my favorite chocolate pairings is much harder to come by.  I have loved the banana and chocolate combination ever since my first banana split.  The fresh beachy flavor of super ripe bananas paired with the silky smooth sweetness of chocolate just cant be compared to anything else.  So when I found this banana chocolate chip cookie recipe on my favorite food blog, I couldn't wait to make them.  Not only were these quick and so easy to make, the banana flavor really stood out just how I like it.  These would make a great dessert in the summer after a long day in the sun, but I guarantee I'll be making them again before the warm weather hits.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

These Boots Were Made For Walking

Frye Dorado Riding boots
If you know me at all, you probably know that I pretty much loathe everything about winter besides the holidays and the occasional day off from school and work due to that whole 2 inches of snow.  But there is one more thing about winter that spring and summer just can't beat, and that would be boots - especially Frye boots.  If you haven’t heard of Frye boots, well then let me tell you that they are the most beautifully crafted and impossibly comfortable boots.  The styles range from slightly equestrian to slightly cowboy, without looking like you just came from the ranch.  And not to bore you with the company’s history, but I should mention that this brand started as a family business way back in 1863 and Fryes were even worn by our soldiers in WWII.  Pretty amazing if you ask me.  But don’t let Frye’s military history make you question their sleekness.  Frye counts the most fashionable young celebrities, from Anne Hathaway to Miranda Kerr, as some of their most devoted customers.  The boots that I covet the most, the Frye Dorado Riding boots seen above, are currently out of my price range at $498, so unfortunately I’m left admiring from afar…for now at least. 
Frye Billy Short boots

Frye Melissa Button boots

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shades of Citrus

Photos Compliments of and
Orange!  It's this season's biggest color.  A more powerful shade of citrus than the coral of springs past, this is one of the hardest colors to wear and can leave you looking like a pumpkin if you're not careful.  But as Drew and Zoe know, pulling off this look is possible for everyone.  It just requires finding the right shade for your skintone and balancing the orange with more natural and muted tones.  Spice up an outfit with a bright orange clutch or if you're feeling brave, try this look from top to bottom.  Whatever you do, just make sure you buy something in orange this season.  Here are some ideas to get you started.
1.  Forever 21 ring, $5.80
2.  Diane Von Furstenberg dress, $162.50
3.  Victoria’s Secret shorts, $19.50
4.  Vince Camuto shoes, $79.00
5.  Marc by Marc Jacobs bag, $395.00
6.  Essie nail polish - Vermillionaire, $8.00
7.  Banana Republic blouse, $69.50
8.  Maybelline lipstick - Coral Crush, $5.49

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Award Winning Weekend

Photo Compliments of
This weekend has been the perfect balance of productive and relaxing.  My boyfriend’s parents came down for a weekend visit, which was the perfect relief from the school work, errands, and cleaning that had to be done.  Not to mention that when his parents are in town we’re bound to be treated to the most delectable food and to discover new local restaurants like the Majestic in Old Town.  And the weekend keeps getting better because tonight the Golden Globes are on.  This is my favorite award show because it mixes movies with television, and celebrities that seem just the right amount of tipsy without looking like pre-rehab Lindsay Lohan.  My bet is on Glee and Black Swan to be the big winners, but most importantly I watch for the red carpet pre-show to see what and who everyone is wearing.  And as for the playoff game tonight, go PATS!
goldenglobes-worthy dinner - sushi & riesling

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Apple Pie Muffins

Ever since my boyfriend received a KitchenAid Stand Mixer as a Chanukah gift, I’ve been on a baking spree that’s bound to make my waist size expand.  Thankfully though, it has brought back my long lost love for baking and trying new recipes.  This past weekend I made these apple pie muffins and they did not disappoint.  I used Pacific Rose apples, but the reviews suggest a variety of apples from Granny Smith to MacIntosh so just about any type of apple should work.   And the crumb topping was the perfect final touch to compliment the sweet apple flavor and the moist texture of these muffins.
What are your favorite baking recipes?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter On Sale

Now that the new year is here, retailers are phasing out their winter gear and transitioning in their spring collections.  However, most of us are guaranteed at least another two and a half months of frigid temps.  The good news?  Well besides getting a preview of the trends for the warmer weather to come, stores are having amazing sales to get rid of all their winter clothing and accessories.  Whether you’ve been holding out for a new winter coat or want to add another pair of boots to your shoe collection, you’re bound to find an amazing deal if you just look in the right places.  Like each of the items below, which are all on sale for $50 or less!

1.      Aeropostle Coat – Reg $99.50, Sale $19.99
2.      Ralph Lauren Gloves – Reg $39.50, Sale $24.99 + additional 25% off
3.      Madewell Scarf – Reg $49.50, Sale $24.99
4.      Chelsea Crew Boots – Reg $69, Sale $39.99
5.      Unlisted by Kenneth Cole Wedge Booties – Reg $59, Sale $39.99
6.      Arden B Sweater Dress – Reg $59, Sale $29.50
7.      Vila Knit Cardigan – Reg $68.96, Sale $41.38

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Last Weekend Of Freedom

For the past few days I've been trying to hold on to the last bit of winter break that I have.  But with classes starting tomorrow, reality has set in that this is my last weekend of freedom…at least until spring break.  Besides having a great time with some of my closest friends and family this weekend, here are the little things that have me smiling.

Anthropologie Fireside candle - smells like a fireplace and perfect for winter

Sephora by OPI nail polish in "Run With It!"

Bouquet of Purple Daisies

New Anthropologie Apron

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Show Off A Little Back

Photo Compliments of

I was hoping to attend an upcoming event - Barrister’s Ball (aka law school prom) - in the perfect open-back cocktail dress.  During my search for the perfect dress, it seemed that all the backless dresses in my price range were either tacky or trashy, or both.  But backless dresses, when done right, can be sexy and classy at the same time.  It simply takes the right amount of coverage in other places and a fabric print that’s not overly ornate – take for example Kate Hudson’s Emilio Pucci gown.  Since Pucci sadly is not within most of our budgets, here are some beautiful and refined back-revealing dresses that wont break the bank.

1.       Mod Cloth, $64.99
2.      Factory by Erik Hart, $120
3.      Herve Leger, $500
4.      Victoria’s Secret, $78
5.      3.1 Phillip Lim, $550
6.      Asos, $163.78

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I've always admired people who make New Year’s resolutions and actually keep them.  I, on the other hand, have never been good at keeping resolutions so a handful of years ago I stopped making them altogether.  This year I've decided to revisit the whole idea, but rather than focus on goals for 2011 I've decided to focus on goals that I'd like to see carry on throughout my life.  Here are my top 3 resolutions:

3.   Cook/bake at least 1 new recipe a month.  This doesn’t sound like much but with my hectic schedule it’s easier said than done…yet still an attainable goal.

homemade blueberry scones

2.  Make more time for "me."  Between law school, work, boyfriend, friends, family, and other commitments I often forget to slow down, take a deep breath, and enjoy some time away from all the hustle and bustle.  It may sound selfish, but everyone deserves a little time to themselves.

"me" time plans - finally catch up on my overflowing pile of magazines

1.  Remember that “It’s 10% what happens to you, and 90% what you do with it.”  This is the motto that a former undergrad professor of mine challenged his students to live by.  It’s so easy to focus on the bad, but we’re all much happier when we remind ourselves that we are in control of our lives and in the grander scheme of things life is good.  

the beach (Miami) - proof that life is good

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The New Year

Welcome to A Refined Outlook!  While there is a handful of blogs that I absolutely love and check daily, the general idea of blogs seemed somewhat vain so I'd never planned to start my own.  Then the year 2010 happened to me - a year that I have gladly bid adieu to.  Thankfully a bad year ended on a great note, and on a whim I've decided to start this blog in hopes that this will be just the creative outlet I need in the midst of everything else.  This blog will focus on sharing the things that I love with other people - mostly fashion, food, books, and entertainment.  Please enjoy, and happy new year!!

Photo Compliments of
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