Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From my kitchen: Pink velvet cupcakes



I know that the macarons are supposed to be my signature dessert(and they certainly are, whenever I find myself in the Ladurée's vicinity). But with those little bastards being so tricky to whip up, every time I'm craving a sweet fix that won't take me three days to prepare, I invariably reach for my favorite vanilla cupcakes. As I was whipping up a batch last Saturday,  I happened upon the pink food coloring and thought, what the heck. Everyone's always raving about the red velvet cupcakes, but pink being my favorite shade, pink velvet sounds so much more appealing to me! I'm surely nowhere near to switching my blog's name to "cupcakes and pearls", but I'm definitely going to turn these sweet beauties into my easiest signature instant mood lifter!

Pink velvet cupcakes
(makes 12)

You'll need:

* 90g sugar
* 100g melted butter
* 130g all-purpose flour
* a pinch of salt
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 2 eggs
* 100ml buttermilk
* pink food coloring   

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2) Beat the sugar with butter and honey until creamy.
3) Add eggs (one by one) while still beating. Add a few drops of food coloring, and mix well.
4) In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.
5) Incorporate the flour little by little into the sugar mixture.
6) Add the buttermilk. Continue beating for 2 or 3 minutes.
7) Pour the dough into cupcake liners (fill two thirds of each liner).
8) Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool down, then decorate. I used the simple sugar icing, but you can also try white chocolate ganache or buttercream frosting. 

Bon appétit!


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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Inspired by: Oscar de la Renta for The Outnet


Usually, the designer collections created for high street department stores (i.e. Target or JCP) don't impress me that much. I can't remember any that would have struck me as original and memorable. But when the email announcing the upcoming launch of Oscar de la Renta's collection for The Outnet (it launches today, ladies!), modeled by no other than the always fabulous, utterly stylish and extremely lucky (after all, she goes home to this man every night) Olivia Palermo, all I could say was "Be still my beating fashionista heart!".

If there is one collection that is truly glamorous and swoon-worthy, it's this one. There's no denying that Oscar de la Renta is a fashion genius, and one of the most important and inspiring figures of American fashion. So when he goes on and creates a rather affordable collection, it's sure to send all the stylish ladies across the world into a frenzy. Of course, talking about affordable designer clothes is, in this case, absolutely ridiculous. With prices ranging from $315 to $995, it's hardly something that you will buy on a whim. But it's still something really beautiful and memorable. Oscar de la Renta took some of his most successful runway elements (think cinched waist, feminine floral prints, chiffon blouses, tweed separates) and turned them into a capsule collection that screams perfection in every single piece. 

Below are my favorite models presented by the gorgeous Miss Palermo. Which piece is your favorite? Would you consider buying something from this collection?



Something extra:


1. Sand coat with ruffle
2. Red sleeveless dress
3. Pink ruffled silk chiffon top
4. Pink floral painted pencil skirt
5. Natural cap sleeve shirt dress

And a little video of Olivia, modeling the most gorgeous pieces from Oscar de la Renta's collection for The Outnet:


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Monday, February 25, 2013

Inspired by: Alaina and Danielle, The Everygirls

Photography by Stoffer Photography via The Everygirl

When I was at the university, I had my life pretty much figured out: I would get my Masters' degree in international relationship, get my first job at the Ministry of Foreign affairs, or, better at the European Commission, steadily climb the career ladder while, somewhere along the road, finding the perfect man with whom I'd have two perfect children. Sigh.

Fast forward three years, and here I am, working as an international relations manager in a small company by day, blogging about things I love and dream about by night, single, and as far from having my imaginary "perfect life" as I could be. And you know what? That's perfectly fine with me. What I've learned in those past few years is that not every dream is as perfect and ideal as you imagine it would be. I learned that my moral principles weren't flexible enough for me to work in politics. I learned from experience that working for the European Commission mostly means transporting stacks of papers from point A to point B (which, frankly, is neither intellectually challenging, nor exciting). And finally, I've learned that being single is far better than marrying the wrong guy (again, personal experience).

I haven't always been this optimistic about life's learning curve. I've had my moments of doubt and I've felt lost more often that I care to admit, wondering what on earth was I going to do with my life. Like any other Everygirl. So when, a year ago, The Everygirl first appeared on my laptop screen, it felt like making a new friend with whom I could discuss all the fears and doubts I had about my future without being judged or laughed at. Whether it is carving out my own career path, dealing with the finances, decorating my place or throwing a fabulous party, The Everygirl has always been here with tons of helpful tips, advice and a lot of smile-inducing reading material as a bonus.

That's why, by means of this post, I want to say a huge Thank you to Alaina and Danielle, the utterly fabulous and inspiring ladies behind The Everygirl. Thank you for showing me every day that working hard, being kind, dreaming big and never giving up can bring even the wildest hopes and dreams into reality.

I love nothing more than a great blogger success story, and right now, I can hardly think of a better example than these two extraordinary women. I've already read about their journey three times, and I can't help but be utterly inspired and motivated by their hard work, optimism and willingness to carve their own path towards a happy and successful life. In only a few years they accomplished so much! And they learned a bunch of life lessons in the process which they were generous enough to share. Keep reading to learn what advice they would give their 23-year old self, and feel free to be inspired by their extraordinarily chic and stylish work spaces.

PS: Be sure to visit my Facebook page to see who landed on my Oscars best and worst dressed list!

Alaina Kaczmarski


"Never compromise your integrity. You do not have to be cutthroat to be successful."

" Disregard any plans you have for a lifetime. After all, things might happen a lot sooner than you could have imagined."

"New York City is lovely. Undeniably a place for creatives and dreamers. But you don't have to be in New York City to make your dreams come true. If you want them badly enough, you'll figure out a way to bring your dreams to you."  


Danielle Moss


"Try not to be so hard on yourself and know that you don't need to have all the answers right now."

"Never let anyone tell you that you are not good enough, beautiful enough, or smart enough to do anything you set your mind to. Never ever stay in a relationship because you're afraid of being alone. Do not base your happiness on anyone other than yourself. Find someone who looks at you in a way you never thought possible and never settle for anything less."

" Surround yourself with friends who will love and support you unconditionally. Always follow your heart."

"Work hard, don't forget to smile and give yourself a break when you need one. Stop second guessing yourself. You will make mistakes, and you will also make some pretty great decisions, too. Just stay true to yourself and you will find your way."


 
Shop Alaina's and Danielle's office:


Essentials:



Accessories:


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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Style icon: Ashley Davenport


Let me set one thing straight first: I'm obsessed with Revenge. I tend to be very picky when it comes to TV shows I watch, so for me to become this engrossed in something, it has to be really good. And this story of betrayal, hatred and revenge is all sorts of amazing.

Of course, it wouldn't be me if, while biting my nails from nervousness and rooting for Emily Thorne, the ultimate revenger (always dressed impeccably, bien sûr), I wasn't checking out the fashion and home décor on the set. And while it's Emily  who has the best lines and the best revenge strategies, it's undoubtedly Ashley Davenport, the party planner turned political aide, who has the best and the most enviable closet.

Hampton's resident social climber, and my favorite bad girl to grace the small screen ever since Blair Waldorf put her headbands away, Ashley is hands down the best dressed and the most fashion forward character on the show. Her apparitions always make for a great style inspiration. Her supply of figure-hugging or skater dresses, flowy cupcake skirts, silk blouses, structured bags and chic pencil skirts seems to be endless. And don't even get me started on that hair of hers. Jealousy doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about it. See the first photo below? That's the kind of hair I've always dreamed of having. Enough said.

Oh, and have I mentioned that Ashley Madekwe, the utterly beautiful and talented young lady who impersonates Miss Davenport on the screen, is a successful fellow fashion blogger herself? The girl is all kinds of fabulous, mark my words!


Shop Ashley's style



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Monday, February 18, 2013

Inspired by: Put a bow on it

How they wore it 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

When it comes to adding prints and patterns to my wardrobe: I tend to play it safe: stripes that epitomize Parisian chic, playful polka dots, subtle florals...they all are part of my daily outfits. On the other hand, when it comes to animal prints, I'm still at the first stages (meaning: I won't go any further than a leopard print scarf or a pair of cheetah pumps just yet), and as for huge psychedelic prints so often seen on runways, well I guess I am just not ready to take that road .

Oddly enough, there is one lovely, chic and feminine print that's been sadly missing from my closet. I'm talking about bows, of course. You can hardly find a print that's more playful, adorable and smile-inducing! And of course, it must have been Kate Spade who brought my attention to this major lack in my style arsenal. Kate Spade bow collection is nothing short of extraordinary, going from subtle details like bow ring or a scarf to a full blown fit and flare dress that's bound to make you want to dance all around your apartment (and beyond). And suddenly, everywhere I look I see bows that are begging me to add them to my closet.
My new manta for spring? Put a bow on it!

How I'd wear it


Black skinny pants are a staple that shouldn't miss in any wardrobe, while a bright pink coat livens up any given winter morning. Bow bag and wallet are bound to become classic, especially when they are in neutral or muted pastel colors. I can imagine myself slipping on these pastel bow pumps under the desk at the office, to instantly add some glamour to my workday. And when it comes to jewelry, there's nothing as adorable as a matching set of bow studs and bangle. This is my idea of a perfectly balanced bow-embellished outfit!

1. J.Crew Bow coat // 2. RED Valentino bow cardigan // 3. Forever 21 Dainty bow belt
4. Kate Spade skinny mini bow bangle // 5. Kate Spade Bow Terrace Janis bag // 6. Michael Kors Samantha pants //
7. Kate Spade skinny mini bow studs // 8. Kate Spade Bow Terrace Cindy wallet // 9. J.Crew Contessa bow pumps

Shop the trend


 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Beauty: Bright lips

How they wore it

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

I will be honest with you: I've never really got to like the whole burgundy lip thing. I've seen so many girls trying to rock this trend, but sadly I've yet to see someone who look great doing it (except maybe Maegan here, but then again, she looks smashing whatever she wears).

Now bright lips, that's a completely different story. They look amazing on everyone. They are cheerful, an instant mood lifter (just as a bottle of pastel nail polish), and they bring a touch of sunshine to the darkest of mornings. That's why I'm always so excited when I see bright lipsticks making their reappearance on the runways, on my favorite celebrities and bloggers, over and over again. And I'm happy to report that the spring makeup collections really didn't disappoint this year. All those gorgeous pinks, fun corals and dramatic fuchsias make my heart beat a little faster, and they make me even more excited for the warm and sunny spring days ahead.

Do you have a signature shade of lipstick? Are you going to add any of these to your collection?

How I'd wear it



Shop the trend



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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

From my kitchen: Coleslaw salad


I have something really easy for you today. It doesn't require cooking or baking, so it feels almost like a no-recipe (and it surely is a no-brainer). But it's full of vitamins and fibers, and it's certainly a perfect (and delicious) way to boost your health in winter.
I remember first discovering Coleslaw salad with my brother, in one of the fast food chains (of all places) a few years ago. It was probably the healthiest (and the least fat, mayo notwithstanding) option on the menu, and I was instantly taken with the rich and savory flavor. I never even thought of recreating the recipe at home, until I stumbled upon it in one of the cooking magazines. What a revelation! You can whip it up in just 15 minutes, and with a little bit of patience, you can savor it for dinner, with a few slices of fresh bread, or as a side dish with a steak or some sautéd chicken. An instant favorite! I think I will be making this very often, at least until the winter is finally gone!

Coleslaw

You'll need:

* 1 white cabbage
* 3 carrots
* 1 onion
* 250ml white yogurt
*200ml mayonnaise
* 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1. Peel the cabbage and slice it into small pieces (you can use mandolin). 
2. Peel the carrots and shred them.
3. Peel the onion and cut it into small cubes.
4. In a large bowl, mix well yogurt, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, add salt and pepper.
5. Add cabbage, carrots and onion and mix well, so they're all well coated in sauce. 
6. Let rest in the fridge 2 hours.

Bon appétit!


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Monday, February 11, 2013

Inspired by: Winter pastels

How they wore it

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Aren't you already over this winter? I know I am! I'm a tiny bit fed up with these dark mornings, heavy winter boots and beanie-induced fizzy hair. I'm so ready for the spring and the feeling of new beginnings and renewal it provides!
However, as I'm looking out of my window on a thick layer of snow on the ground, I'm afraid that this winter is going nowhere quite yet. That's why I've decided to brighten my days and my mood with a healthy dose of pastel colors (my favorites). There is nothing that cheers me up in the morning than pulling my favorite mint green or baby pink sweaters out of my closet (except maybe for my first morning cup of coffee...). I usually throw them over a pair of classic blue jeans and a turtleneck for an extra dose of warmth, but right now I'm very much tempted to invest in mint green, soft coral or lavender pants to liven my wardrobe up a little bit. Soft pink coat or handbag might be an option, too. And I'm definitely going to splurge on a statement necklace and earrings: after all, aren't the baubles the easiest way to transform an outfit from drab to fab? 
What is your favorite way to cheer up in the morning? Have you given winter pastels a try yet?

How I'd wear it



Shop the trend



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Friday, February 8, 2013

Beauty: Pastel nails

1. Chanel "Fracas" / 2. Estée Lauder "Absinthe" / 3. Dior "Nail Glow" / 4. Lancôme "Sugar Rose" / 5. Dior "Gris Trianon" /
6. Chanel "Accessoire" / 7. Dior "Rosy Bow" / 8. Lancôme "Peach Melodie" / 9. Estée Lauder "Coral Cult" /
10. Yves Saint Laurent "Jade Impérial" / 11. Estée Lauder "Narcissist" / 12. Dior "Tutu" / 13. Lancôme "Rose Macaron" /
14. Estée Lauder "Lilac leather" / 15. Estée Lauder "Dilettante" / 16. Laura Mercier "En pointe" / 17. Chanel "Emprise"


I am the ultimate nail polish hoarder. One day, I will show you my collection, and you will think I'm crazy. And you'll probably be right. I'm constantly struggling with the lack of storage space for my collection: I even had to empty one of the drawers in my closet to store them. Yet somehow, I find myself buying more and more bottles, trying out new colors and brands, and looking for the perfect one. I'm a firm believer that paining your nails is an instant mood lifter: at least it always works for me.

It seems that the upcoming spring will see my collection grow bigger still. The spring nail polish collections can only be described as breathtakingly beautiful, packed with everything I love: pastel colors, rich pink hues, a touch of sparkle and a lot of glamour. I simply couldn't resist showcasing all those pretty bottles as flower petals, which, after all, they strongly resemble. Lancôme's Rose Macaron and Dior's Gris Trianon are already on their way to me, and I would love to know: which color is your favorite? Will you be adding any of these to your own nail polish collection? And which brand is your favorite?

Something extra

Don't forget that today is the last day to shop Macarons and Pearls pop up store at Peerless Charm. Don't miss your chance to buy beautiful pearl jewelry with 25% off!



 
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

On my nightstand, February 2013


January has come and gone, and with him my January reading list. One of the positive aspects of being forced to turn off my computer and relax (due to that stupid flu, that I hope I'm mentioning for the very last time here) was having more time to  dedicate to reading. And read I did. I tackled a small portion of my ever growing stack of magazines, and I dived straight into the enchanting world of Harry Potter. For some strange reason, I turn to the universe of Hogwarts every time I feel down. And it always helps to cheer me up. And if I should choose just one book that really influenced me in January, it was Julia Child's autobiography My life in France. I dare you to read this book and not to feel happy, uplifted and inspired for weeks to come. Julia was such an incredibly hardworking, passionate and dedicated woman who conquered everything she set her mind to, whether it was French language or the perfect bouillabaise. Her story is one of deep love for France and for French food (something I can absolutely relate to), of hard work (she could spend hours and even days working on one single recipe) and well-deserved success and recognition. And without being irreverent, I think that should she live today, Julia would be a very successful food blogger. She would have been perfect!

Feeling this inspired and motivated by  my January reads, I'm very much hoping to uncover similar gems on my February reading list. These are the books that are currently sitting on my nightstand, waiting to be discovered:

1. The Gospel according to Coco Chanel. I guess there's no need to explain this one. To me, Coco Chanel is an icon, a hero and a life long source of inspiration. I'm so looking forward to getting a few life lessons from this book!

2. Howard Schultz: Onward. I have recently read a short biography of the founder of Starbucks (as we know it today: he was the one who saw the potential of these cafés and who bought the first five Starbucks shops from their original owners). He's always been passionate, he's had a vision and he was able to bring this vision to reality (and with an incredible success). I'm really looking forward to reading his story written in his own voice!

3. Paul Arden: It's not how good you are, but how good you want to be. I've discoverer this one thanks to a recent article on Refinery 29. Their description of this book as "one of the most succinct self-help books" got me intrigued, and I've already downloaded it to my iPad, expecting to be surprised.

4. Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice. I'm blushing from shame when I type this, but I've never read any of Jane Austen's novels. Seriously. I consider this a major flaw in my education, that's why reading every single book written by Jane Austen is part of my 101 in 1001 list. I'm kicking it off with the most famous of her novels and frankly, I'm looking forward to reading something where there is no gratuitous violence, where people have manners and where, hopefully, love conquers all.

Now it's your turn: do you have any amazing book recommendation to make? I would love to hear about your favorites!

Something extra

Don't forget that you can still shop Macarons and Pearls pop up store over at Peerless Charm:


 
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Inspired by: Bedroom serenity

Images via Brunch at Saks

One of the perks of the blogging world is seeing my fellow bloggers excel in areas varying from styling, writing cookbooks and interior design. Sure, it's always inspiring to see the works of a well renowned interior designer, but it's even better to see a blogger style a room in a jaw-dropping way.

And my jaw certainly did drop when I first saw this guest bedroom styled by Annemarie, an utterly fabulous and inspiring author of Brunch at Saks. Everything is perfect, from the serene grey walls, simple headboard, crisp and elegant white bedding, big Paris-inspired art, perfectly styled nightstands, and a bunch of vintage elements (like the chest at the foot of the bed, or the vintage sewing machine in lieu of vanity). Simple and whimsical art, a vase full of fuchsia blooms, and strategically displayed jewelry add the perfect touch of color. I'm utterly in love with this entire styling. Plus, calming and serene that this room is, it would also provide a perfect canvas for a more colorful summer styling, with  a bunch of coordinated patterned accent pillows and a fluffy throw. I'm so hoping to recreate this look in my own home one day!


Perfectly styled bedside table.


Idea to steal: Vintage sewing machine in lieu of vanity.


Simple art, books covered with white paper, small mercury glass bud vase, pink blooms.


Gorgeous and glamorous statement mirror.


Pretty jewelry display.

Something extra

Don't forget that you can still shop Macarons and Pearls pop up store over at Peerless Charm:


 
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