Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!  I hope you all have your pumpkins carved, costumes perfected, and a sweet tooth ready to dig into the delicious candy to be had tonight.  I'm looking forward to passing out candy and seeing trick-or-treaters dressed up in costume, but I'm most excited to celebrate my Bagheera's 6th birthday!  And there's no better companion to have on Halloween than a black cat.

Photo by Vogue Paris

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Featured Sale: Kate Spade

In case you haven't heard, Kate Spade is offering up to 75% off of their final sale items for 2 days only.  There are incredible deals on bags, wallets, tech accessories, jewelry, shoes, and clothing.  The holidays are coming up so this is a great time to buy a few gifts for friends and family, and of course there's nothing wrong with treating yourself to new arm candy.  Hurry, because items are already selling out!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lessons in Layering

Here comes the cold, and with it, the need to pile on heaps of clothing to keep warm.  Of course, with that comes the fear of the dreaded Marshmallow Man look.  However, layering clothes is actually an easy look to master.  Here are a few tips to guide you through creating a layered outfit so that you're ensured to stay warm and look stylish during the colder months.

(1) Choose neutral colors to serve as your base.  Blacks, grays, nudes, and muted blues (ie. denim) are good starting points to craft your layered look.

(2) To avoid overwhelming your body with too many bulky layers, start with something form-fitting as the initial layer.  This makes your job of adding layers to the look much simpler.

(3) Add depth to your look by mixing different fabrics and textures.  A lightweight blouse under a chunky knit adds dimension to this look.  Other fun fabrics to play with are tweed, faux fur, and leather.

(4) Make your layered look more on trend by adding a pop of color or a print.  Pops of color are easily incorporated with accessories such as a statement necklace, bag, or scarf.  Prints are a fun way to really pull this look together.  Animal prints, plaid, and stripes are the easiest and most classic prints to incorporate.

Photos by / / /

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin-Chocolate Whoopie Pies

I’m a complete sucker for anything and everything pumpkin. It doesn’t feel like Fall until I’ve had my first pumpkin spice latte or I’ve smelled the sweet and spicy aroma of a pumpkin spice candle in my house. Pumpkin puree is a Fall staple in my kitchen cupboards, so when the craving hit for a delicious dessert I knew exactly what I was going to bake. I’ve had this pumpkin & chocolate whoopie pie recipe saved in my recipe binder for a few years but had never gotten around to baking it, until now. This is the perfect autumnal treat that I know I’ll be baking for years to come. I’d love to know what your favorite pumpkin or Fall recipes are - please share!


Yields: Approximately 8 whoopie pies

Time: 30 minutes, not including wait time for cookies to cool

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted; plus ¼ cup, room temperature
¾ cup heavy cream
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1¾ cups confectioners’ sugar

1) Position oven racks to the upper and lower thirds, then preheat to 350 degrees F.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, & salt. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, melted butter, and ¼ cup heavy cream. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and whisk until just combined.
3) Drop dough in 2-tablespoon mounds (I used an ice cream scoop), 1 inch apart, onto two greased baking sheets. Bake until tops of cookies spring back when gently pressed, about 13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.
4) In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat room temperature butter, ½ cup cream, cocoa powder, and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spread filling on flat side of half the cookies; sandwich with remaining cookies.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine, with a few minor changes of my own.

Eye of the Tiger

Loeffler Randall shoes are always amazing, but this may be my favorite pair of smoking slippers of all time.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Top 10 Halloween Movies

Each October my fiance and I have an all day scary movie marathon with two of our closest friends, who are big scary movie fanatics like me.  Sadly, this year our conflicting schedules have caused us to postpone the movie marathon, so I spent Sunday evening watching a scary movie on Netflix and eating pumpkin whoopie pies (recipe to come later this week).  Although watching alone wasn’t nearly as fun as our scary movie marathon, it was just the thing I needed to get me in the Halloween spirit.  It also got me thinking about my favorite movies for Halloween, some scary and some fun.  Here’s my Top 10 list, what would be on yours?

Top 10 Halloween Movies

Hocus Pocus


The Shining


Friday the 13th


The Goonies


Sleepy Hollow

The Ring

Photo credit:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Featured Sale: Piperlime Birthday Sale is one of my top go-to websites when shopping for clothes, accessories, and shoes.  They carry hundreds of brands and are always on trend, making them a one-stop-shop for whenever you need a wardrobe makeover.  They're offering 20% off today in celebration of their 7th birthday and I thought I'd pass the good news on.  Happy shopping!

Friday, October 18, 2013


This week has flown by thanks to the long holiday weekend! I hope you all have something fun planned for the upcoming weekend, and in the meantime enjoy these good reads from around the web...

To splurge or to save, the ultimate shopper's dilemma.

Fantastic tips (all of which I can vouch for) to transform your bad day instantly.

The panda cam is back.

Handy guide to makeup brushes.

Conde Nast's Top 10 Cities in the US.

Festive DIY escort cards for Fall.

The best recipes for putting all those apples to use.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pretty Paper

I love a good paper product.  As a little girl I’d send handwritten letters in adorable little cards featuring puppies or flowers to my “pin pals,” my aunt and great grandparents who lived across the country. Since then my love of stationery has grown into a love of pretty much any paper product you could name.  Here are some fun paper products that are much more delightful than your typical spiral notebook, and all of which I'd love to add to my collection.

Paper Source Prism Wrapping Paper / Etsy Gift Tags / Leif Stationery
Etsy Notepad / Bloomingville Napkins / Etsy Washi Tape
Etsy Pocket Journal / Treehouse Paper Straws / Paper Source Fox Wrapping Paper

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Vegetarian Chili

Last week, on my Fall Bucket List, I mentioned my excitement to discover a delicious vegetarian chili recipe. I can now check that to-do off my list. I made this recipe (with a few tweaks*) this past weekend to soothe my head as I fight off a cold, not to mention the non-stop rain in DC was practically screaming for me to make a hot chili for the nights in on the couch. This recipe surpassed my expectations, and even my meat-eater fiance loved it.

*my suggested tweaks to the recipe -- Substitutions: 2 cups of water (not 4) // Additions: 1 extra chipotle in adobo, a few extra garlic cloves, 1 can of corn, 1 can of white kidney beans, shredded cheddar or colby jack for topping (I used colby jack)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fall Trend Report

As promised, here are some trends I can’t wait to try this Fall. I snagged these booties at a great price on sale, and I love that they can just as easily be paired with jeans as with skirts and tights. All of these pieces would make great additions to any wardrobe and can easily be incorporated with the staples that I featured last week.

Friday, October 11, 2013


What's on your weekend agenda? I'm really looking forward to a relaxing weekend and accomplishing some things that have taken a back seat to my busy schedule. Hope you have a great weekend, and here are some fun reads to get you through the final work day of the week...

The Land of Oz really does exist.

Any story that begins "Once Upon A Time," especially this one, is a classic.

Emerald green to glam up your home.

A lovely cheese pizza is one of the world's greatest gifts to man.

Mastering the shirt-tuck.

Quick and easy yoga moves to improve posture.

Hilarious prank just in time for Halloween.

I'll take this skirt in cobalt, oxblood, and cream please.

{Photo: Vogue, photographer: Annie Leibovitz}

Fall Bucket List

Every new season I feel inspired to make the most of the special charms that make each season so distinctive from the next. There’s something so incredibly magical about Fall so I can’t wait to dive into my bucket list asap. What else is on your Fall bucket list?

1) Go apple picking for my first time ever

2) Learn how to use my new DSLR camera before my trip to Thailand

3) Master a delicious vegetarian chili

4) Decide on a honeymoon destination

5) Tackle some holiday shopping early

6) Attempt watercolor painting

7) Walk through a haunted maze or go on a haunted hayride

8) Reupholster our dining room chairs

9) Begin a wedding workout routine

10) Get my first ever facial

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Classic Fall Staples

The shopping bug hits me harder than ever right before Fall hits. How could it not? Back-to-school shopping has been a part of our lives practically ever since we can remember. Even once we’ve completed school, the special tradition of refreshing our wardrobes remains. Fall is also the biggest season for trying new trends and incorporating old favorites. Today I’m sharing classic pieces that everyone should own for Fall, and next week I’ll show you a few new trends I’m loving and looking forward to trying out this season.

A Refined Outlook Relaunch

It’s been a while to say the least! In the nearly two and a half years since my last blog post a lot has happened in my life, namely graduating from law school, getting engaged, and starting my career as a young attorney. Amidst all of these exciting changes and experiences there’s been something about blogging that I've really missed. Whether it’s the desire for a creative outlet or the fun of sharing my favorite things with others who share similar interests, lately I've really felt that it’s the right time to revamp and relaunch A Refined Outlook. I’m happy to be back, and I hope you have fun following along with me!

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