December 30, 2011

2011 Reflections

My family's Christmas tree - the perfect mix of old and new ornaments

As my favorite season and the year come to an end, I wanted to thank everyone for their continued support of ES.  The blog has been an inspiring addition to my life and I am looking forward to bringing new ideas and improvements to it in 2012.  Since I am a very lucky girl, my big Christmas gift this year was a new camera (I've had my eye on this one for months).  I am beyond excited to learn how to use it and bring high quality photos to ES.  During my trip home, I spent a wonderful few days relaxing with family and friends, eating delicious home-cooked food, and watching all of the classic Holiday movies.  In between my time in front of the fireplace and trips to the kitchen, I took some practice snapshots with my new gift.  I certainly have a lot to learn, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites.  Each of them remind me of my cozy house and the wonderful time I had this holiday season.  Happy New Years everyone; see you next year.  Xoxo

My mom's vintage cream and sugar set - perfect for gatherings at anytime of the day

Monogrammed stemless wine glasses

My favorite cuddle buddy, Brody

December 19, 2011

Window Shopping

Festive Trees Along 5th Ave

There is nothing quite like being in New York during the holidays.   And while this is not my first Christmas season in the city, each year it seems just as magical as the year before.  One of my favorite holiday priorities (besides gift shopping of course) is checking out the store windows.  It truly gets me in the holiday spirit and allows me to act like a tourist for a few hours.  This year was probably my most productive window viewing as I dedicated an entire afternoon to checking out as many stores as possible. While Saks and Bergdorf's definitely have the most intricate window displays, it is hard for me to overlook Barney's "Gaga's Workshop" as my favorite.  Which one do you like the best?

Van Cleef and Arpels Window Decor
Bergdorf Goodman "Carnival of Animals" themed Windows 
Bergdorf Goodman's Windows
Barneys "Gaga Workshop" Themed Windows
Gaga's Crystal Cave 

Miu Miu 

Tiffany & Co. Miniature Window Scene

Gorgeous Entrance Wreath at Tiffany's


Tommy Hilfiger
Saks "Land of the Bubblemakers" Themed Windows
Saks Windows
Saks Window
Tree at Rock Center

December 16, 2011

Holiday Hands

Essie "As Gold As it Gets", OPI "Big Apple Red", Rimmel Nail Art in Gold

In light of my holiday mood these days (I have been listening to the Mariah Carey Holiday Station on Pandora all week long), I wanted to do something festive with my nails.  While perusing an amazing nail polish blog, called Steffel's, I came across a very creative way to spice up a red manicure with one coat of glitter polish sandwiched between two coats of red polish (the post can be found here).  I loved the look it created since it was much more bold than your typical shimmer red polish.  I decided to put my own twist on this concept and add in a statement nail with a little gold shimmer.  I was pretty pleased with how the manicure came out but I think next week in preparation for Christmas Eve I might try an even chunkier glitter polish in silver to kick it up one more notch.

Step 1: 1 Coat of Your Favorite Red
Step 2: 1 Coat of Glitter Polish
Step 3:  Second Coat of Red
Step 4 (optional):  Make a statement nail by dotting nail art polish on tip of nail

December 13, 2011

Holiday Sweets

This past weekend a friend of mine hosted a Cookie Exchange party.  It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon and really got me into the holiday spirit.  There were about 7 different cookie options and we all got to take home a variety of each batch that was made.  The apartment was decorated with just the perfect amount of festive cheer and the cookies all looked so amazing that I couldn't resist snapping a few pictures.  I didn't get a chance to take a picture of all of the different sweets (such as the Cowboy Cookies or Buckeye Balls) but I can assure you they were all DELIC!

P.S. I made the reindeer cookies and found the recipe here.  As a side note, I couldn't find any super mini pretzels so I cut up the chocolate pretzels I had to give each reindeer antler some character.  Enjoy!

December 8, 2011

Black and Gold Obsessions

Morgan Hobo

I have always been a Marc Jacobs kind of girl.  It was love at first sight for me when I discovered the classic "Q" bag line and its' chunky gold hardware accents on his signature buttery soft leather.  And while my love of MJ will never go away, there is certainly room for a new man in my life; his name is Alexander Wang.  I have seen this brilliant designer's bags on the arms, shoulders, and across bodies of women all over NYC and I can't contain my love for these gems any longer.  This brings my addiction to black and gold handbags to a whole new level.  With the thick supple leather and gold spiked bottoms, these purses are more than just gorgeous, they are breathtaking.  While the price tag is steep ($900+), I am hoping that a miraculous post-holiday sale will put these bad boys on the sale rack.  But for now, a girl can always dream...

Black Rocco with Pale Gold Hardware

Black Emile with Rose Gold Hardware

Black Millie with Antique Brass Hardware

December 5, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

As I mentioned here, I have always been a huge fan of anything in the pasta family.  In an attempt to turn this habit into something healthy, I have been trying to eat the "good" carbohydrates such as whole grain noodles, brown rice, cous-cous and my new favorite, quinoa.  While perusing various blogs one day, I stumbled upon a delicious looking recipe for Lemon Blueberry Quinoa muffins (recipe here).  Since I had some free time this past Saturday morning, I decided to cook a batch of these little power muffins for a mid-afternoon snack.  After my initial taste test, I learned that snack is probably not the best word to describe this recipe as they tasted like they were in-fact healthy.  While this of course is not a bad thing, I am going to put my own spin on the next batch where I will substitute vanilla yogurt for the sour cream, add in pecans or walnuts, and a few dashes of brown sugar.  I will be sure to let you know how this version turns out!

November 30, 2011

ES Doesn't Discriminate: New Store Kicks

I am beyond overdue on a men's post so I apologize to all my male readers.  I decided to take a little bit of a different angle with this post and focus on a single store, Zara.  While this happens to be one of my favorite stores, it is certainly not somewhere I thought to shop for my boyfriend too.  This being said, I began working on a post for guy's winters shoes (per a friend's requests) and decided to check out Zara.  After 5 minutes of perusing, I realized I didn't need to go any further.  Zara offers every type of shoe there is for men.  From funky velcro sneaks to the classic oxford with a twist, this is a serious one stop shoe shop for guys.  I selected a few of my favorites below, most of which are perfect winter options.  Who knew fur lined shoes could look so manly?  All the links to the shoe selects are below.  Enjoy boys!
All Shoes from Zara: 1. Vintage Brogues; 2. Blucher; 3. Winter Sneaker; 4. Urban Ankle Boot; 5. Ankle Boot with Brushed Cap Toe; 6. Welly Boot; 7. Herringbone Shoe; 8. Urban Blucher

November 28, 2011

Knitted Comfort

I can't remember a time where I didn't love pairing together slouchy sweaters with leggings. This fall, I have been loving the sheer cable-knit sweaters that can easily be transitioned from day to night, a factor that was crucial during my time home last week. I spent 5 wonderful days with my family and friends going straight from day to night activities almost every day. While leather leggings might feel a little aggressive to wear to a trip to the mall or movies, I chose to dress mine down with minimal jewelry and a simple black tote. For nighttime, I was able to fit a smaller clutch into my day bag, along with my chunker earrings and statement wrist candy to really jazz up the look. Not only is this combination incredibly comfortable, but the slouchy cut of the sweaters make everyone's legs look long and lean (especially when worn with a pair of black booties). Depending on how risque (and warm) you like to be, you can opt to wear a camisole under these types of sweaters. If you opt not to, just make sure you have a some killer undergarments options to work with. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
Sweaters: Helmut Lang; MBYM; Mod Cloth; Hollow; Leggings: Malene Birger; Shoes: Steven by Steve Madden; Day Bag: Reed Krakoff Boxer; Night Bag: TopShop; Bangle: Kate Spade; Earrings: Judith Jack

November 23, 2011

Arm Statements

Bracelets: Anthropologie, J. Crew, Michael Kors Watch

As I have mentioned here, I love stacking bracelets with my watch to really give my arm some bling.  On Monday I decided to make a statement with just my wrist by wearing a simple white sheer blouse, black skinny pants, and grey booties.  With this neutral palette, my arm candy stood out even more than usual with the shiny juxtapose of materials.   I plan to get extra creative with my wrist decorations this holiday season to glitz up even my ugliest Christmas sweater.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

November 20, 2011

Fancy Fries

I am sure I have mentioned this before, but I have a slight (okay major) obsession with french fries.  This unhealthy love affair started at a young age when after a fun trip to the zoo, my grandparents took me to a local eatery, The Greengarden Tavern.  This restaurant served typical diner food, with the classic shoestring fries that had that perfect mix of crispiness and saltiness that every fry should have.  It was since this experience that I was officially hooked to any and all fries.  Over the years I have tried fries cooked every way possible (including on sandwiches thanks to Pittsburgh's famous and incredible sandwich chain, Primanti Bros.) and have never gotten sick of these delicious potatoes.  However, for as obsessed as I am, I had never actually attempted to make my own fries.  In a recent pinning session, I saw a mouth-watering picture of White Truffle Oil and Parmesan fries and immediately clicked on the recipe (which can be found here).  Since the recipe was so simple, the only additional items I needed to purchase were Yukon gold potatoes and white truffle oil (all of the ingredients needed are pictured to the right).  The prep is simply slicing 4 to 6 potatoes into thin wedges and mixing them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Once the potatoes are evenly coated, they are laid flat onto a baking sheet (I used foil to line the pan but I recommend parchment paper if you have it) and cooked in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.  When crisped to your liking, the cooked wedges are put back in the bowl and tossed with drizzled truffle oil and parmesan cheese.  I also added parsley for a pretty garnish, but this of course is not necessary.   Since these fries are not fried, they feel a lot healthier than the traditional versions I am used to, and I am certainly OK with that.  This was a perfect snack for our Sunday afternoon of football.  Since the pig skin season is far from over, I will definitely be making these fancy fries again.  Enjoy!

November 16, 2011

Easy Prints

Work to Play
1.  Dries Van Noten Printed Silk Dress - $1,235; 2. International Jewellery Earrings;
3. House of Harlow 1960 Black Tote - $429; 4. Supertrash Grey Pumps - $205

This week has been a whirlwind of post-work activities.  As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts here, to prevent packing new outfits for week night events, I am always on the lookout for pieces that transition easily from day to night.  Recently my go-to item is various printed, long-sleeve dress options because they take minimal thought and planning during my morning routine.  Additionally, since the print is a statement piece in itself, these dresses pair perfectly with muted neutral accessories (a funky grey bootie will ALWAYS work).  While the printed dress pictured above is a bit (ok A LOT) out of my price range, I have found some affordable options at Zara and Anthropologie.  Enjoy!

November 14, 2011

Delicious Simplicity

Photo Credit: I Nom Things
I have been wanting to do more recipe posts since I enjoy cooking when I have the time and the gas in my apartment is actually working (that's a whole different story).  Pinterest has given me motivation to try new meals since I love to pin dishes and recipes that I want to make.  Yesterday a friend and I were pinning away and we came upon this delicious image above.  When I clicked on the recipe (which can be found here) I saw that it was incredibly simple and would satisfy my 24/7 pasta craving.  The main ingredients include a garlic clove, olive oil, fresh basil, pine nuts, a lemon, Parmesan cheese, of course, pasta.  My boyfriend and I decided to also add grilled chicken to give the dish more protein. The total preparation took less than 25 minutes and the end result was delicious.  While I always remember to take pictures AFTER I have consumed half of the meal, I swear ours looked similar to the above image (with slightly more Parmesan cheese).  I promise to start taking pictures of my own in the future.  If you decide to try out this recipe, be sure to let me know what you think!

November 11, 2011

Tough Cuffs

Coach Joe Paterno, Photo Credit: Sun Journal

I don't want to use my blog as a place to express my opinions about the recent allegations at my beloved Alma Mater, Penn State.  I think the one thing that everyone has agreed upon in this awful situation is the true tragedy in all of this is the terrible and unspeakable actions that were taken upon innocent children.  I have full confidence in my school and in the legal system that those that were in the wrong will be punished accordingly.  And yes, it was a sad day for many of us Staters to learn that our beloved coach of 46 years was being terminated on someone else's watch, but I personally still want to remember him for all of the positive actions he did make during his time at Penn State.  While Joe Pa has so many memorable characteristics and traits, my absolute favorite is his cuffed pants.  He has been rolling these bad boys up since the 1960s because his wife (aka Sue Pa) would get upset when mud would get on his then wool slacks.  This trademark style stuck as a part of Joe Pa's uniform and truly will never be forgotten in my eyes.  Coincidentally, cuffed pants have been all the rage this past year. Was Joe Pa a trendsetter ahead of his time?  Absolutely.  And when I am at the game this weekend, I will not only cuff my pants because it looks cute, I will do it for Joe Pa.

Let's go State.

November 9, 2011

Chunker Jewels

One of my closest friends from Pittsburgh has always been obsessed with large statement jewelry.  Additionally, her favorite word to reference to this style of jewelry is "chunker".  Whether it is a massive bauble necklace or giant ring, it always described as a type of chunker.  I immediately adopted this phrase because it is a.) hilarious and b.) a very appropriate description of her style of jewelry.  Since I also love statement jewelry, we always look forward to hearing about each others latest  finds.  This past weekend, I picked up my newest chunker piece when I was in Hoboken, NJ, where my boyfriend and several of our friends live.  We had some time to kill and he had remembered passing a "funky crazy jewelry" shop that he thought I might want to check out.  The name of the storefront is Aaraa and it features gorgeous and unique handmade Indian jewelry pieces.  Luckily for him (and me) there was an eclectic antique shop attached to Aaraa, which kept him distracted for a good 20 minutes.  I perused the tiny storefront a few times over since there were so many gorgeous pieces to choose from and decided on a pair of glitzy bronzed earrings.  The muted color makes them simple enough to wear everyday but since they are so large, they can certainly dress up any outfit.  I couldn't resist sharing my chunker find with everyone so I snapped a few pics of the jewels.  If you too are a fan of large obnoxious jewelry and are ever in the NYC/Hoboken area, I highly recommend checking out Aaraa.  Do you have any chunker pieces of your own?  Please share!