Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall and Winter Uniform

Sooooo I do realize Fall officially started over a month ago.  In my defense, it's been 90 degrees in LA since we moved out here in August!  I'm a little (lot) late on the fall fashion bandwagon.  But I think I've finally "pinned" down my go-to uniforms to get me through this fall and winter season.  In the spirit of trying to Spend Less/Save More (SLSM), all of these looks are mostly made up of pieces I already own....:>)

                                                   1.                                                         2.                                                        
                                                 3.                                                          4.

Look 1 - California Breezy
Components: grey skinnies, long white tank/tee, large patterned scarf, oversize gold watch
This will be perfect for those in between days we have here in Cali - cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon, back to cool at night.  SLSM: I already own grey leggings AND grey skinny jeans, a long white tee, a few patterned scarves, and a gold watch - thanks to Christmas from Billy last year!

Look 2 - Cozy Chic
Components: oversize global patterned wrap sweater, black leggings, booties
I love me a great oversized sweater - oh the christmas cookies you can hide behind that :>)  This looks comfortable but still stylish.  SLSM: leggings (obvi), oversize black and white sweater, booties.

Look 3 - Uptown, Downtown, Anytown!
Components: carmel tall boots, black or grey tights, blush skirt, blazer
I'm seriously obsessed with this one.  I LOVE that skirt.  How comfortable, yet feminine, but still tough with the boots and tights? Eeeee! SLSM: carmel boots, tights, short blush skirt.  NEED: I would love to find a longer skirt like this one, I don't have a light colored blazer...but another blazer could work, or even a chunky sweater.

Look 4 - Casual Winter Whites
Components: chunky cream knit sweater, long white tank, jeans
I love the winter white look.  Have yet to try it this year, though.  It feels so fresh and light....great for mild California seasons.  SLSM: long white tank, jeans. NEED:  Chunky, longer cream sweater. I have several sweaters in darker colors, but if I'm trying to pull off the white look, I definitely need to invest in  the above sweater.  Its Free People - but sold out.  Guess I'm on the hunt!


What is your fall uniform?  I'd love to hear (steal!) your ideas!!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Carving Party

Last week I made a "Fall To-Do List".  In trying to cross a few to-do's off my list, I threw a last minute Halloween Pumpkin Carving Party!  Why not have one yourself?  Invite a few friends over tonight or's a great way to celebrate Halloween low-key style.  This party is easy and quick to put together....the main ingredients? Pumpkins, a signature cocktail, and some warm, feel-good Fall food!

On The Menu For The Evening:
DRINK: Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktails
SNACK: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
EAT: Homemade Meatball Paninis
DO: Pumpkin Carving Kit
LISTEN: New Fall Itunes playlist
DECOR: Finished pumpkins! Scary, funny, classy - the world is yours to carve :>)

Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktails
2 parts fresh Apple Cider
2 parts Ginger Ale
1 part Bourbon
Apple Slices
*Stir all ingredients together on the rocks.
*Garnish with a slice of apple

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1.)  Save the seeds you dig out of your carving pumpkins.
2.)  Rinse seeds well with water.  Then lay seeds out to dry on a paper towel.
3.)  In a saute pan, heat a little olive oil.  Saute seeds in oil and salt.
4.) Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 350 Degrees.
5.)  After about 10 minutes, remove seeds from stove, and spread them evenly on a cookie sheet (or 2!)
6.)  Sprinkle seeds with desired flavoring.  I chose 4 different flavors:  Plain, Lowry's seasoning, Garlic Salt, and Molly McButter (all seasonings found in the baking aisle at your grocery store).
7.)  Bake seeds for 15-20 minutes, until slightly golden in color and crunchy to the bite.

Meatball Paninis - makes 6 paninis
Italian bread
tomato sauce
red onion
sliced prosciutto
sliced provolone cheese
red pepper flakes

1 lb ground pork
1 egg
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp dried basil
3 tbsp garlic powder
garlic salt - a few shakes
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
salt and pepper
1.)  Mix all ingredients together with your hands in a mixing bowl
2.)  Roll mixture into balls roughly 2 inches in diameter.
3.)  Place meatballs on greased cookie sheet.  Gently press into each, flatting them slightly  This makes it easier to fit in the sandwich.
3.)  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, turning meatballs once.

***Either make your own tomato sauce (great recipe here) or use a store bought version.

1.)  Using a good crunchy Italian bread or ciabatta, cut into panini size.  
2.)  Spread tomato sauce generously on both sides of sandwich.
3.) Slice a meatballs in half and layer on one side.
4.)  Add sliced red onion, prosciutto, provolone cheese, arugula, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes on other side of bread.  Put panini together.
5.)  Using panini press, heat sandwich until warmed through.
6.)  Serve immediately with fresh green salad.

The decorations and activity for this party take care of themselves.  I simply lit a few candles and prepared the table for carving (garbage bags, newspapers).  

Fall Playlist
Ellie Goulding "Anything Could Happen"
The Black Keys "Gold On the Ceiling"
Imagine Dragons "It's Time"
Mumford & Sons "Below My Feet"
Mumford & Sons "I Will Wait"
Fun "Some Nights"
Phillip Phillips "Home"
The Lumineers "Ho Hey"
Van Morrison "Into the Mystic"
NeedtoBreathe "Stones Under Rushing Water"
Mumford & Sons "Awake My Soul"
The Black Keys "Chop and Change"
Of Monsters and Men "Little Talks"
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros "Home"


My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Home Stories A2Z

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bake

This weekend I was sitting at home looking through my Mangia board on Pinterest and I realized something very important.  I have over 400 recipes pinned to my food board, and I have probably only made about 10 of them.  I decided I need to recommit to cooking new and fun recipes.  Especially on the weekends when I have a little more time to enjoy cooking. I made this bacon, egg cheese and croissant bake Sunday morning and it was a hit. 

You could do a zillion different variations of this meal, and it would be fun and easy for a brunch or bridal shower. 

one can of crescent rolls ( I used reduced fat)
6 eggs scrambled
5-6 slices of cooked bacon-I cook my bacon in the oven on a foil lined cookie sheet. Less mess!
1 cup of cheese ( I used a mexican blend because that's what I had on hand) 
Green jalapeno tabasco sauce-or whatever your favorite is

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange crescent roll pieces on a cookie sheet in a star shape.  Place the points of the crescent roll facing out and the long flat end in the middle.  Place cooked bacon slices in the middle of the "star" then sprinkle on about 1/3 of the cheese. Add the scrambled eggs next and then generously add hot sauce.  How much or how little is completely up to you.  Add remaining cheese.  
Take the points of the crescent rolls and fold them up to the center.  Once you have folded all points up and over, make sure to press down on the center to keep them all together. 
Bake for about 18 mins or until golden brown. 

I will say that next time I will definitely strive to have a "prettier" presentation.  However this was delicious, and husband approved.  Happy Monday!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

DIY: Doily Umbrella Stirring Sticks

This is one of my favorite DIY's! So pretty and practical for a party.  The doily version is perfect for a bridal shower or wedding.  And because any kind of paper can be used to make these, why not choose stripes for a stock the bar party? Or polka dots for a baby shower for a little boy? 

Rachel Moore Photography

DIY Doily Umbrella Stirring Sticks

mini doilies - or paper of your choice
wooden skewer sticks
white card stock
glue stick 
hot glue and gun
mini beads or pearls

1.) Cut card stock to match center circle of doily.
2.) With a glue stick, add glue to card stock circle.
3.) Glue card stock circle to center of doily.
4.) Mark center of doily and cut a straight line from edge of doily to the center.
5.) Line edge of cut with glue.
6.) Bend the doily into a cone-like shape, and glue edges together.
7.) Glue jewel or bead to top of umbrella.
8.) Glue end of skewer stick to inside of “umbrella”.


Rachel Moore Photography

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thoughts on Describing "Style"

Last week I mentioned this style quiz on the Homegoods website.  I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the mini photos and picking the 5 that attracted me the most.  Hilariously (and not surprising whatsoever) each time I looked, a different set of photos would attract me.  This is a chronic problem for me - picking AND STICKING with my "style".  Whether in home decor, fashion, attitude...I've always been a fickle minx - flitting from style to style - and chameleon-like in my ability to adapt to my environment.  One thing I've always known is I like things comfortable...sofas, jeans, etc.  But Comfortable is not a style.  At least not on its own.  So now I'm on a journey to nail down the right combination of words that describe my style.

I love the categories they came up with.  I've listed them below, with my thoughts after:

Boho - whimsical, carefree, eclectic
Classic - elegant, traditional, seamless
Urban Funk - edgy, industrial, soulful
Set Sail - beachy, calm, comfortable
Socialite - high end, trendy, fashionable
Spa Life - serene, contemporary, organic, Asian influence
The Traveler - global, collective, eclectic
Vegas Baby - trendy, glitzy, over the top
New Country - comfortable, rustic, modern simplicity
Farmhouse Glam - rustic, elegant, opposites
Modern Metro - contemporary, industrial, minimalist 
Sassy - fun, feminine, colorful

What I think is missing:  
Tuscan (could be lumped with The Traveler however I believe traveler is more global than strictly Tuscan Style).  And honestly, I think Traditional needs to be its own category.  Classic and Traditional seem to be lumped together, but to me traditional means an elegant, collected style with antique accents. Classic has a modern edge to it.


source - CLASSIC

BOHO Style

source - BOHO

As I really think about these categories and what they mean to me, the ones that hit closest to home are Boho and Classic.  On first look, it seems like these are complete opposites.  But maybe that's why it fits - I am a bit opposite. I mean, my nickname when I was little was "Ms. Opposite".  The basic pieces in my house are Classic: navy wing back chairs, neutral L shaped sofa, striped floor rug, metallic mirrors.  But my accessories are all Boho: patterned pillows and throws, purple accent chair, turquoise side table, candles and books galore.

This also fits when I think about my style when it comes to fashion...

The bones of my wardrobe are classic pieces - think skinny jeans, trench coats, striped tees:

But I love being whimsical and fun - floppy hats, lace dresses, fringe, booties:

Apparently, a blend of the two is just right - classic pieces like a white tank and butter leather jacket mixed with a colorful maxi skirt, clutch, and necklace OR a simple navy dress with an outrageous necklace and snakeskin clutch:

Soooo, after all this, what is my style?

Classic Comfort with Boho Flair

or maybe

Classically, Comfortably Bohemian?

Classic Bohemian Comfort?


Either way, there we have it! Apparently I've expressed all along what my style is - I just needed to break it all down and really study it to be able to describe it concisely.  And I'm dead serious when I say I just figured this out.

Yeesh, thanks for listening :>)


PS: Let me know what your style is! What other categories are missing?  Does your home style match your fashion style?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bringin' the Fall Back

I can remember when I moved from Los Angeles to Nashville 6 years ago I was completely enamored with Fall again.  You really do forget how refreshing it is to walk out your front door into the crisp, cool air.  How vibrant and inspiring the colors of the changing trees can be.  How curling up on the sofa in front of a fire sipping apple cider is simply good for the soul.  Now that I moved back to LA,  I realize I have to fully embrace what Fall is here - it's my favorite season!  Why not make a list of all the "fall" activities I'd like to accomplish before Thanksgiving you ask? Don't mind if I do!

1.)  Visit the pumpkin patch on the corner.

2.)  Watch a scary movie and carve said pumpkins with friends :>)

3.)  Create a new apple cider cocktail.

4.)  Come up with a creative Halloween Costume.

5.)  Discover some delicious new soups to make this throughout the fall and winter.

6.) Start a gratitude journal.

7.) Take knitting class with a dear friend.

8.)  Design the Thanksgiving decor concept for my family's table (even though I won't be there this year - e design anyone?).

9.) Bake pumpkin seeds!

10.) Make a pumpkin pie from scratch - I'm talking from an actual pumpkin people :>)


Monday, October 22, 2012

S'mores Bars

I have loved S'mores since I was a kid at the lake, and as an adult that love has not faded.  These bars are almost too easy to make, and I guarantee every member of your family young and old will love these babies. 

1 10 oz bag of small marshmallows
1 12oz package of choc. chips-Keep in freezer, so they don't melt. ( I didn't not use the whole bag, but how much chocolate you want is up to you!)
5 TBS of butter
1 12oz box of Golden Grahams

Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Melt butter over medium heat in pan.  Add 5 cups of marshmallows until almost completely melted.  Transfer mixure to a mixing bowl and add in cereal.  Take choc. chips out of the freezer and stir those into the mix.  Add remaining cup of marshmallows to the bowl as well. 
Gently press cereal mixture into pan and place in the refrigerator until set.  
Remove and cut into squares. 

Told you it was easy :)


Thursday, October 18, 2012

DIY Peacock Feather Headpiece

This would be just perfect for a Flapper Girl Halloween Costume - a cast member from Boardwalk Empire maybe? Or perhaps Daisy from The Great Gatsby!

Peacock Feather Headpiece DIY
4-5 peacock feathers (mine were from Hobby Lobby)
1 plastic hair comb
hot glue and gun
bobby pins that match your hair color

1.)  With scissors, cut the feather stem about an inch and a half below the main bloom.
2.)  Arrange 4 (or as many as you deem necessary to fill it out) peacock feathers on top of hair clip evenly.
3)  Glue the stem of each feather to the top rim of the hair comb.
4.)  After the glue is fully dry, work the comb into your hair.
5.)  Using bobby pins, pin the brooch on top of the hair comb to help hide the plastic comb and to secure in place.**

**One of the benefits of only pinning the brooch to the comb is that you can then interchange the brooch depending on the style or look you are going for.

photos with model taken by Mike Wootton


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Did Someone Say Handbag?

Purses are my weakness.  Big, small, colorful or muted it does not matter.  A new bag is the key to my heart.  This fall there are so many fabulous bags out there. Some that threaten to break the budget and others that seem to fit right in to my kind of guilt free spending.

I typically throw my life into my bag, so these first two bags are perfect for my day to day life. I love the teal of the Vince Camuto, and the buttery leather of the Michael Kors.  How do you chose just one??
Crossbody bags are still super trendy for fall , and I have been searching and searching for one. This might be the time to tell you that not only am I am bag addict, but it always has to be just right for me. :) My loved ones might call me picky. I think this Marc Jacobs might be the one.  If you follow the link you can see the just how perfect this bag is size-wise.
MARC by Marc Jacobs "Classic Q Natasha" Crossbody
Snakeskin prints are trending everywhere this season, and I LOVE how affordable both of these Steve Madden options are.
Steve Madden "Sugar" Tote

Steve by Steve Madden "Sugar" Snake Embossed Clutch
If you haven't gone out to purchase your new fall bag yet, get out there! There are so many beautiful bags just begging to be taken home and loved ;-)



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On The Couch: Pulling the Trigger

Lately I've been a little...well let's say paralyzed when it comes to making a decision.  This can be anything from sending my resume into a new but unknown company, to picking an area rug for our new dining room.  Big, small - a decision is a decision. I find it's much easier to completely avoid choosing which path to take than to suck it up and just pull the trigger....well at least at first.  After awhile the lack of forward momentum and the constant niggling in the back of my brain begins to drive me crazy.  But why does making a choice always feel so permanent?  And why does that commitment bring about such anxiety?

I think the first thing we need to look at is our fear of commitment.  The definition of commit is to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance; pledge, to give in trust or charge; consign. (source)

These are all heavy words - to bind, to pledge, to give in trust - and heavy words must be treated with respect.  But who said every decision we make has to be permanent?  Yes, decisions come with consequences.  Some big - hello marriage, children, moving, new job.  Some not so big - well, that color is completely wrong for the dining room...however it looks great in the guest bedroom!  But as long as every decision is made with as much truth to our spirit as possible, it can't be a wrong decision.  If we continue to see our commitments as something separate from our spirit, then they will always come with anxiety and fear of the unknown.  However, if we know ourselves inside and out, if we have really spent time discovering who we are and what we believe, then everything we choose to do in life is simply living up to that.  Our essential truth.  And there is nothing to be scared of, because no matter what it will be a discovery and learning process that leads us closer to joy.

Oh, and I chose a rug.  Finally :>)


Monday, October 15, 2012

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

 A long time ago, I had to reconcile myself with a sad conclusion.  Brace yourselves - this is a tough one.

I'm a terrible cookie maker.  Seriously.  Terrible.  No matter what I do -  follow the directions to a t!, room temperature ingredients, non-room temperature ingredients, tweak for high altitude, and on and on - my cookies come out flat.  Like negative in height.  My sweet husband always tells me it's not how the cookies look but how they taste...but let's get real.  We all want light, fluffy, delicious looking cookies.  

And I'm also weighed down with the burden that both my sisters were blessed.  They make PERFECT  cookies.  I'm not sure what happened with me....sigh.

Then I came across this recipe - Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies.  I knew I had to try to make these - hoping that even if they didn't look pretty, they would taste good.  Look at these ingredients! It's mathematically impossible for these cookies to not taste delicious.  And wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles...these cookies... 


Do a dance, sing a song, the impossible has happened.  See here for the original recipe - my tweaks are below.

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup peanut butter chips

1.) Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.) Mix flour, baking soda, salt, and pudding together.
3.) In a separate bowl, beat together butter, peanut butter, and both sugars until fluffy and light in color - about 3 minutes.
4.) Mix in the eggs, then vanilla, then honey until all is combined.
5.)  Add in the flour mixture slowly.
6.)  Finally mix in the chocolate and peanut butter chips!
7.)  Bake the cookies for 10 minutes....and enjoy.

Make these soon - you will not be disappointed!  The original recipe also calls for reeces pieces - I'm not a huge candy in my cookies fan, so I added a little more chocolate chips and peanut butter chips instead.  Next time I might remove the peanut butter chips.  These cookies are awfully rich, and more chocolate could be interesting.  I'm thinking it's the pudding mix that makes the difference. mWhat do we think about adding vanilla pudding mix to my original chocolate chip recipe?  Has anyone done that? 

Hope this week is a good one!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Favorites

It's Friday again? Already? Yay! This week flew by for me (Kate).  I'm excited to spend a quite weekend at home with my husband and the pup.  Some USC football on Saturday, some rug shopping on Sunday...sounds pretty good to me.

 This week included International Day of The Girl - a movement that speaks out against gender bias and advocates for girls everywhere.  CNN's article "To My 15 Year Old Self: Things I Wish I'd Known" featured several prominent, current women leaders of today.  Check out the full article here.


I seriously need this Union Jack coffee mug from Zara Home. 
It only comes in sets of 6...maybe I need 6?

Song of the week is Ellie Goulding's new single Anything Could Happen.  "This album for me is a journey from dark into light, from confusion to understanding. I didn't set out to write a break-up record but I think it became one," Goulding said of the record.  It's a great track - I'm eager to hear the rest of the album.

My favorite instagram this week is of me and my dear friend Ann.  This is us at the Nashville wedding we attended last weekend - I miss this girl! She has a wonderful blog...check it out here.

Weekend Weekend Weekend!! Can you tell that I (Kara) am overjoyed at the thought of a few days to relax? Not much planned at our house this weekend, we will be watching college football, getting together with friends, and just hanging out with the pup.

I stumbled across this fall front porch, and I am thinking I need to create something similar this weekend.


I have been on the hunt for new drapes for our office, and this look has inspired me to find something burnt orange. I love the color in this room.


My favorite inspiring quote this week relates to music.  In my world music makes everything right. I am going to find a way to make this or buy it, because it is perfect.

WELL!  It has certainly been an entertaining week for me (Kacey) :)  I'm in Macon, Missouri right now working on a show called Honky Tonk Angels!  It's a tiny little Midwest town with LOTS of good people, and I get to work with 2 amazingly talented women.  BUT!  My favorite parts of this week???

First of all:

Check out the view from my bedroom window!!  IT'S FALL Y'ALL!!!!!!! Sigh...that just makes me super happy.  I never get fall like this in Los Angeles!!  

This week we are learning lines, songs,  and dances...opening night is...
and I have a lot to learn:)  My character sings some songs by the incredibly talented Bobbie Gentry which brings me to my next favorite of the week...

I mean COME ON!  What a pic! 

love the hair, love the style, love the make up.  She was one of the first female country music starts to write, record and produce her own music! Talk about inspirational.  

I'm going to leave you with a link to a video of her singing "Ode to Billy Joe".  It's downright haunting...

And I get to sing it onstage:)  I love my life!

Good stuff...enjoy it lovely friends! And Happy Friday~!