Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday's Fancies #49: Beachy Chic

When you are reading this post, I'll be in France, enjoying (finally!) some quality time with my fiancé, seeing my future in-laws after a very long time, and getting ready for the wedding we'll be attending on Saturday. A beach is nowhere to be seen in my near future, but still, I couldn't resist rising to the challenge of this week's Friday's Fancies. For me a beach trip means fabulous bikini, a glamorous floppy hat to keep me from burning in the sun, embellished sandals (no high heels in the sand!) and a great book to entertain me (I'm simply unable to lay motionless for more than 5 minutes). What are your beach chic essentials?

8. Estée Lauder Pure Gloss in Pink Innocence, $22.50

And on a slightly different note, I finished reading the Fifty shades trilogy, and despite my hopes, I must say that those books are very far from keeping their promises. They lack depth, it seems that no one bothered with any kind of editing (the writing is awfully repetitive), and there are far too many sexual scenes (not to say that they are often ridiculous and hard to believe). The worst thing is, that there was a promise of a great storyline (terrible childhood memories, vengeance), but it got buried and sidetracked by all that "kinky fuckery" (authors words, not mine: how awful does that sounds anyway). And I'm not even talking about the message it sends out about submissive women and abusive men. All in all, I read all three books because I was hoping it would get better (it didn't) and I wanted to know what the hype was all about, but I surely won't recommend it as a good lecture to anyone. And one fun fact: I think this was the first time in the history of literature that a man was described as yummy. I can understand handsome, sexy or enigmatic, but yummy? Seriously???

Be sure to check out all the beachy chic outfits over at Long distance loving! Enjoy your weekend and see you all on Tuesday!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Coffee table inspiration

Coffee table styling is one of my favorite parts of designing a living room. I am perpetually on the lookout for the next best styling, next amazing idea, another gorgeous item to add to the mix. And yet, I'm still quite unhappy with our own coffee table. It still feels like there's something missing, but I can' seem to put my finger on the issue. That's why I've been pinning inspiring images like crazy. I really hope they help me to find my own perfect styling that I'll be able to share with you! Here are my favorites and the best elements they showcase:

Hydrangeas, matchboxes, hot pink and stacks of coffee table books.

Flowering branches, high candles and candlesticks, glamorous coffee books about exceptional women.

Two separate coffee tables, pink flowers and candles

Gold playing cards, pink matchbox, Jo Malone, Chanel and Women of Consequence books.

Vogue, pink flowers and white candles

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

From my kitchen: Pea, mint and Parmesan crostini

I cook a dinner almost every night of the week, and it really doesn't bother me (quite the contrary - I love to cook for my fiancé!), but even I like to take a day off from the real cooking, and whip up something quick, easy and delicious to devour alfresco on our balcony. I especially love those recipes that don't require me to make a trip to the grocery store because I already have all the necessary ingredients at home. And that was exactly the case with this delicious pea crostini with mint and Parmesan.

I still had a bowl of fresh sweet peas from my parents' garden, the fresh mint is growing in a pot on our balcony, and there is always some Parmesan in our fridge for those impromptu pasta nights. 
This is what you'll need if you want to give it a try:

Pea, mint and Parmesan crostini

* slices of fresh baguette
* 1/2 garlic clove
* 1 cup fresh peas
* salt
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* parmesan (grated)
* mint leaves
* balsamic vinegar

1. Rub the slices of bread with garlic clove (you can also grill them before).
2. Blanch peas in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 2 minutes.
3. Drain peas, season with salt, olive oil and mash with the back of a fork. Add torn mint leaves and grated parmesan.
4. Spread the mixture over each toast. You can add a mint leaf a slice of parmesan and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

Bon appétit!

Monday, June 25, 2012

My style: Polka dots in the sun

Dress: Dorothy  Perkins, Shoes: Deichmann, Bag: Lancel Premier Flirt, Bracelet and ring: Six, Bracelet: Tiffany & Co., Sunnies: Orsay (similar here), nails: Essie "French Affair" and "Turquoise and Caicos"

I had a long to do list prepared for this past weekend: work on my blog, prepare my outfits for our trip to France, do some cleaning around the house...Finally I've done almost nothing and yet, my weekend couldn't have been more perfect. I spent my Saturday afternoon munching on delicious fresh berries and reading Fifty shades of Grey (and let's just say that apart from all those not-always-so-credible erotic scenes, I think there's a great story going on there). On Sunday afternoon we went to see The Avengers, and while it's certainly not a movie that will make the history, I can hardly remember when was the last time I laughed that much while watching a movie. All in all, it was just the perfect way to relax and gather new forces for the upcoming busy week.

Something extra

I've been having so much fun mixing and matching my summer manis / pedis. My collection of Essie nails polishes is ever growing, and these two shades are definitely among my summer favorites!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday's Fancies #48: Crazy for colorblocking

I must confess that when the colorblocking first appeared on the runways, I didn't consider it as something that would stick around. It seemed like one of those fleeting trends that would live their season and disappear. Well, I was proven wrong, and I'm really glad I was, because mixing bright colors has become one of my favorite games to play in my closet. The results can be sometimes very flashy, but always ultra fun and fabulous. I've been particularly drawn to various shades of pink (big surprise) paired with a touch of orange here, a dash of navy blue there. Just remember that you don't want to resemble a rainbow (so stick to no more that two or three different shades), and you always want to choose subtle, neutral accessories (nude pumps are always a great choice!).
Do you have your own philosophy when it comes to colorblocking?

Something extra

With your outfit bursting out with colors, you should keep your makeup a little bit more tamed. Forget red lips and neon eyeliner, this is the time to play it subtle. Think soft gray smoky eye (black would be too harsh), shimmery pink lips and soft pink cheeks. Your face will look fresh and fabulous, without competing too much with your colorblocked outfit.

1. Estée Lauder Pure Color Blush in Pink kiss, $28.00
6. Estée Lauder Pure Color Five color eye shadow palette in Film Noir, $45.00

Don't forget to check out all the colorblocked ensembles over at Long distance loving!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beauty: Beachy waves for desperately straight hair

After I posted my all-white ensemble on Monday, I received a bunch of emails from my readers asking me how I achieved my "beachy-waves" look, and I decided to do a quick tutorial. First thing first, what you need to know about my hair is, that it's always been impossibly straight, They say that we always want what we can't have, and it must be true, because all I ever wanted was to have a beautiful wavy hair (Veronica Lake, anyone?). Fat chance! If I had to pick my biggest hair enemy, it would definitely be the curling iron. I don't know how many of them I tried in my life but I have never found one that actually worked for me. I was able to spend hours curling my hair, almost dislodging my shoulder articulations (have I mentioned that my hair is also impossibly thick?), only to see my hair fall straight again only an hour after I finished. Impossible, I tell you. 
I've all but given up on the idea of rocking wavy hair, when I discovered the simplest and the most effective little trick: sleeping with braided hair. If you, like me, have the hardest time curling your hair, you should definitely give it a try:

1. Wash your hair in the evening and let it air dry a little bit (it should still be a little damp when you braid it).
2. Spary Bumble and Bumble's Surf spray all over your hair (it adds more structure and it'll help set the waves).
3. Divide your hair in two (it's up to you whether you choose middle or side part, it works perfectly both ways) and secure one half with an elastic.
4. Now comes the trickier part: grab a thin lock of hair at the crown and start a French braid. When it's finished, secure it with another elastic, and move to the second half of your hair. Do the same thing.
5. All fine? No disjointed shoulders? Perfect :) Now is the time to relax after all the hard work, and sleep on it (literally). 
6. All you need to do next morning is unbraid your hair, run your fingers through your new waves, spritz them with a good dose of hairspray (L'Oréal's Elnett is my all-time favorite), and enjoy all the compliments you will receive!

There's no need to say that after I discovered this amazing technique, I tossed all the curling irons away and never looked back! Let me know in your comments (or on Facebook) if you tried this before and what was your results (don't hesitate to join a picture!) Happy braiding!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shopping: Chic summer wedding

5. Aldo Rane lady bag, $66.28
Summer is the perfect season to tie the knot, so there's a decent chance you'll ba attending at least one wedding in the upcoming weeks. And that brings the usual dilemma: what to wear? At the end of the month we're flying to France, to attend a wedding of one of my fiancé's best friends, and I might as well admit that I've been obsessing over my outfit for days (or weeks?). After going through my entire closet and admitting that (once again) I have absolutely nothing to wear, I went on the hunt for the perfect wedding attire. Enter ModCloth. I've been obsessed with this shop for ages: they always have the most beautiful, feminine and glamorous vintage-inspired frocks that will help you channel your inner Kate Middleton. My search for the most amazing dress has quickly transformed into another dilemma: which ONE to choose, when I want them all? 

If you have the same problem, don't worry: I've put together not one, but five perfect summer wedding outfits, featuring five major summer trends. I'm personally obsessed with the floral and polka dot options, but I'm curious to know: which one is your favorite? And what is your usual summer wedding go-to ensemble?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

From my kitchen: Simplified strawberry tiramisu

Over the past weekend my fiancé was quite busy preparing some things for work, so in order to have my outfit photos taken, I had to bribe him with a sweet treat. Since the strawberry season is slowly coming to an end here in Graz, and we try to enjoy it as much as possible while we can, a strawberry tiramisu was a natural choice. I opted for a very simplified version (you can easily whip this up in just 10 minutes), and I think it was quite a success. I'm already trying to figure out what sweet treat I'll use as a bribe next time!

Simplified strawberry tiramisu

You'll need:

* 20 - 25 strawberries
* 15 ladyfingers
* a small cup of strong coffee
* 2 spoonfuls of Amaretto
* 200g Mascarpone
* 3tsp vanilla extract

1. Cut each ladyfinger in three and dispose several pieces in small bowls. Sprinkle them with a few teaspoons of coffee mixed with Amaretto.
2. Combine mascarpone and vanilla extract and  spread a spoonful of this mixture over the ladyfingers.
3. Cut the strawberries in quarters and place them evenly on mascarpone.
4. Add another layer of ladyfingers, sprinkle with coffee, add mascarpone and strawberries. Continue like that until you run out of the ingredients. Finish with a layer of strawberries.
5. Put in the fridge for a few hours.

Bon appétit!

Monday, June 18, 2012

My style: White summer

Top: Gate, Skirt: Marks&Spencer (similar here), Sandals & Bag: Deichmann, Cuff: Forever 21, Rings, earrings, necklace: Six, Sunglasses: Ray Ban Aviators, Nail polish: Essie Cute as A Button (mani) + Essie Raspberry (pedi)

I've been seeing all-white ensembles popping up here and there on the blogosphere, and I was really dying to give this trend a try. Since I'm not quite ready to rock white pants or skinnies, a snow white skirt was an amazing alternative. And to all the white-weary girls out there: I promise you, this ensemble is easier to pull off that you would have expected. It's just like wearing a little white dress: all you need is a bunch of colorful accessories and jewelry, and a pair of ultra fabulous, forget-me-not sunnies. Of course, a little bit of tan would be a nice finishing touch, but since I'm not the one to bake in the sun (and a tanning bed is definitely not an option), I just need to find a great self-tanner. Any recommendations?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday's Fancies #46: Outfit crush

Photo via Fash Boulevard
Anna James, the creative genius behind  an ultra popular and fabulous blog Fash Boulevard, is one amazing, inspiring and creative lady. I discovered her blog maybe a year ago, and I've been following her incredible fashion sense and style, and witty writing ever since. I swear, I don't miss a single post, and I'm never disappointed. Anna shares her flawless ensembles, snippets from her fabulous life (she's been sharing photos from her fairytalesque wedding this week, and I swear, it was the most beautiful wedding I've ever seen), as well as inspired styling tips. If you haven't discovered her blog yet, I strongly urge you to do so immediately (of course, you're allowed to finish reading this post first :), you're in for an incredible colorful fashion treat.

There's no need to explain why I chose Anna as my inspiration for today's Friday's Fancies: I've been crushing really hard on her dramatic style, and her blog has been a constant source of inspiration on those blah mornings when I don't know what to wear. When it comes to mixing colors and accessorizing, this girl is a genius!

2. H&M lace skirt

Be sure to check out all the inspired ensembles over at Long Distance Loving!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

From my kitchen: Provencal muffins with a twist

My parents have a fairly huge garden and even if I'm not the biggest fan of gardening (as a child I simply hated it), I'm not completely immune to the joy of having fresh, home grown fruit and vegetables to savor (after all, who likes his vegetables with all those fishy pesticides?). With summer season in full swing, every time I go to visit my parents, I come back home with bags full of fresh produce. Then I always have the biggest fun trying to come up with new, original recipes. 
So yesterday, when I got back home to Graz with 3 kilos of fresh sweet peas, I immediately dived into my recipe binder. I've had the Provencal muffins recipe bookmarked for several weeks, and I felt that a great dose of fresh peas could only improve it. And I was right. The peas added a touch of sweetness to otherwise savory muffins and their bite size would be perfect for any impromptu summer al fresco diner.

And after you enjoyed this delicious treat, be sure to hop over to Pure Bliss, a blog by the very talented jewelry designer Lauren (she's the one to blame for my continuing obsession with Peerless Charm!). She did an interview with me, and I would love to hear what you think about it!

Provencal muffins with sweet peas

You'll need:
*220g all-purpose flour
* 3 eggs
* 10cl olive oil
* 10cl milk
* 2tsp baking powder
* 50g tomato purée
* 200g mozzarella
* 100g emmental
* 50g ham
* 4-5 dried tomatoes
* 150g sweet peas
* fresh basil leaves
* salt, pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 210°C.
2. Beat together flour, baking powder, eggs, olive oil, tomato puree and milk. Add salt and pepper.
3. Stir in gently cubes of mozzarella and emmental, squares of ham, slices of dried tomatoes and chopped basil leaves. 
4. Grease the muffin / cupcake baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil. Distribute the mixture evenly (you should get 12 pieces).
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
6. Serve warm with a fresh green salad.

Bon appétit!

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