Monday, July 27, 2015

Green and White Stripes

In my opinion, this floral Kate Spade Lorella skirt begs to be worn with stripes. The first time around I paired it with a pink and white striped shirt, but this time I opted for a slightly different spin. When I found this green and white button-down shirt a few weeks ago for a mere $19 at the Ralph Lauren Factory Store, I knew immediately I wanted to pair it with this skirt; the two were made for each other!

I wore this outfit to go out to dinner this weekend with my husband. It wasn't a special occasion or anything, but it's nice to have a "date night" once in a while, as we usually are more homebodies in the evening, preferring to cook at home and spend nights watching TV with our English Springer Spaniel, William. For this night out, we went to a 50s-style steak place that makes the most incredible pepper filet mignon. Although the food, and to some extent the decor (sadly, this particular place renovated its inside in the 1990s, but it still has much of its original character), of the restaurant were a throw back to a different era, it saddens me that people don't get dressed up like they used to to go out for a night on the town. I am trying to bring that back, Hello Katie style!

Shirt: Ralph Lauren similar here
Skirt: kate spade "Lorella" skirt 
Shoes: J. Crew "Valentina" pumps in mirror similar here 
Bag: LV Speedy in Grenade
Sunglasses: Prada "Baroque" 

Linking Up With: Bloggers Who Have Inspired Turning Heads

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Trading Palm Trees for Palmettos

I can't seem to stop buying palm print items for summer! But the price of this piece made it totally worth it. Would you believe that this tank top from the J. Crew Factory was under $5? Thanks to the extra 60%, plus my extra 15% educator's discount, the prices at J. Crew were insanely low.  The selection and the sales of the other outlet shops in the South were also unbelievable. I was truly in outlet heaven!

In my last palm inspired post I joked that palm prints are almost like camouflage among all of the palm trees in California. Turns out they are also great camouflage when among South Carolina's state tree, the Palmetto, too.

I wore this outfit on the last day of our trip. The fact that it contains an image that closely resembles some of the native plant life in the area was very appropriate due to the fact that we visited the Coastal Discovery center on Hilton Head Island, which is devoted to educating visitors about the natural history of the island as well as the cultural history. The museum features information about the native trees, plants and wildlife found in the region. Below are some pictures of our adventure through the grounds of this museum, starting with the historic Honey Horn house below that now houses the museums various exhibits and a gift shop.

Below is a boardwalk that allows visitors to view the marshes up close and personal. If you look closely you will also see some of the wildlife that call the marshlands home. We saw about a million tiny crabs and a few birds, but luckily no gators...they come later!

My husband took this picture of the flower. I am not sure what it is called, but it sure is pretty!

A butterfly enclosure houses hundreds of fluttering, colorful butterflies, but good luck trying to get them to stand still for a photo! 

A local organization brought a variety of animals to pet and hold, including these boa constrictors...

and a baby gator! 

Yours truly holding the alligator. My husband said the band around its mouth made the photo look less dramatic, but I am sure glad it was there!

Below is a random sculpture that caught my fancy as I was leaving the Discovery Center. It depicts what appears to be one very literate bird enjoying his favorite books. That's one of the things I really love about the South, you never what you'll discover around each corner!

Shirt: J. Crew Factory Photographic Palm Collector's Tank here
Jeans: J. Crew "Reid" here 
Sandals: J. Crew 
Hat: Off Saks Fifth Avenue (Outlet) here 
Sunglasses: Prada 

Linking Up With: How I SummerStill Being MollyShoe and TellHello Monday

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Get Your Veggies by Eating Pizza!

I am not the most healthy person when it comes to what I eat and drink. Now that I am getting older and "maturing" I suppose I have more of a guilty conscience about this, which often results in pathetic attempts to make myself feel like I am being healthy. For example, I'll notice on the ingredient label on the back of a bag of chips that you get 2% of your recommended vitamin A from Doritos. Or I'll get fast food and then make a salad with it just to "even" it out. My husband will joke around with me and say something along the lines of, "That salad totally cancels out the chilly cheese fries you just ate!" Well, every little bit helps, right?

Pizza is a guilty pleasure that I share with most Americans. In my opinion, I've never met a pizza I didn't like. From Little Caesar's to the pies I had in Italy, it's all good in my book. Sometimes it's fun to make pizza at home, and what could be easier than using something simple and quick like the Indian flat bread naan as the base? To go along with the idea of finding the healthy elements in junk food, I loaded these naan pizzas up with tons of veggies.

Last night I made two veggie-laden pizzas: pizza primavera containing everything but the kitchen sink in terms of fresh, spring veggies and a spinach pesto pizza. Sure, these aren't exactly diet foods, but they do give you a healthy dose of vegetables. Below you will see the ingredients for both pizzas, plus a little step by step walk though of how to throw these two pizzas together at home.

I'll start first with the primavera pizza. First preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then practice good mise en place by getting your veggies ready. I used these: asparagus tips, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and yellow squash. Feel free to experiment with whatever you want.

  Next, set your naan (or you can use pizza dough) on a baking sheet and create a glorious blank slate of sliced mozzarella and ricotta cheese.

Then layer on the veggies in an artistic way. I like to pretend I'm the Picasso of pizza! If I were the TV chef The Barefoot Contessa, I'd ask the rhetorical question she always does: "How easy was that?" (That rhetorical question of hers seriously drives me nuts!)

Now, I'll move on to the pesto spinach pizza. It's just as easy as the first. Begin by spreading some pre-made pesto sauce onto the naan. (I sometimes make my own pesto sauce, but I was in a particularly lazy mood this week.)

Next, top the pizza with a bed of fresh spinach. It will wilt in the oven, so don't be afraid to be fairly generous. Plus, spinach is really good for you, so you can justify the next part by knowing that it's underneath all the glorious cheese!

Top the pizza with more mozzarella and some Parmesan cheese.  I really love cheese, in case you didn't know. You can use any cheese you want for these. It's always fun to experiment. 

Before you put these in the oven, there is one last step. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on top. (I would say, "use a good olive oil" like the annoying Barefoot Contessa always does, but mine is just from Trader Joe's, so it's nothing fancy, but still very tasty.) Also add a little salt and pepper, especially to the pizza primavera to bring out the flavors of the veggies.

Now bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling at 400 degrees in the oven.

When the pizzas come out, let them cool for a couple minutes and then slice. Or, if you are doing a blog about said pizza, take lots of pictures of your creation while your husband and dog patiently wait to eat.

By the way, I am working on my food photography. It's hard to make food look cool, but I am working on it! Bon Appetit!

Linking Up With: Motivational Monday

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

American Gothic

I think everyone has one thing that really stands out in their mind as the highlight of a vacation. For me on our South Carolina trip it was visiting and touring the Rose Hill Plantation house. As soon as we pulled up to the Gothic revival mansion I knew I was in love with its unique architectural style and Southern charm. But what made the house even better was the fascinating tour given by the owner of the house regarding its history and her endeavors to restore the house back to its former glory.

So just a brief note about fashion: for the the tour you will see I am again decked out in my straw hat. I promise I only have one more post featuring me and this hat. I also decided to go with an easy striped tee shirt type dress that, as you can see from the one picture below, has a host of darling bows on the backside. The dress, like the house, is full of all sorts of pleasant surprises!

I highly recommend that if you are in the Hilton Head/Savannah area you make reservations to see the house. You will receive a wealth of information about its origins, the people who resided in and around the home over its 150+ year history, and the joys and perils of restoring a historic estate.

However, if you can't do that, I'll just give a brief overview of its history. Basically, the house was built in the 1850s by the Kirk family. It was never officially completed (at least not all of the interior) due to a little interruption called the Civil War. In the 20th century the house passed hands many times and was home to everyone from tenant farmers to a World War II pilot. Unfortunately, in the 1980s a fire ravaged the house, leaving it in a state of disrepair. Although the fate of the house was perhaps uncertain at this point, the current owner (who received the house as a gift from her husband for her 30th birthday) saw its potential. Since then she has devoted her life to unraveling the history of the house and returning it to its original grandeur.

The inside of the Rose Hill house is as beautiful as the exterior. Below is a glimpse at what we saw inside on our tour. 

The paining above is of the owner of the house. Believe it or not her husband painted it. I told my husband that I am expecting him to paint my portrait for our up coming anniversary!

The pictures above and below are of the ladies sitting room. An interesting factoid that endeared me to this particular room is that it was featured in Vogue in the 1950s. I love anything that has been in the pages of Vogue!

Thank you for coming along with me on the photographic tour of the Rose Hill Plantation house. It truly was a highlight on my trip and something I will remember for years to come. If you would like to see it for yourself or find out more about its history you can find more here.

Dress: Anthropologie similar here
Bag: J. Crew "Sophie" crossbody 
Sandals: J. Crew
Hat: Off Saks Fifth Avenue here
Belt: Target