Sunday, November 23, 2014

Guest Post: Out My Front Door

Today I am featuring a guest post courtesy of Elora from Out My Front Door. She is also featuring me on her blog today so please check it out here! Below you will be introduced to her wonderful blog, her travels and her various literary and creative endeavors. Additionally, she's included her gorgeous photos of San Diego, including Balboa Park, Coronado Beach, and the San Diego Zoo for me to share with my readers. These are all some of my favorite travel destinations also, so I hope you will enjoy them too!

In a Time of Possibilities

Hi! I'm Elora. I'm so excited to be here! I run my blog Out My Front Door. I love sharing my travel adventures, my perceptions of the people, the history of different places, and most of all, telling stories. Telling good ones.

So far I've been to different places in the US, from Alabama, to California, and the Midwest. Currently I'm sharing the different things my family and I did during our Illinois trip last month, visiting places like Antique Archeology, shop outlets along the old streets of LeClaire, the banks of the Mississippi, and a historic preservation called Walnut Grove. Last year we had a family trip to San Diego, and it was a lot of fun to share all the pictures from that trip! It's a gorgeous place that will always be full of memories.

It's my dream to move myself into a position to work on a cruise line, and save up as much money as possible over a couple years and continue traveling, taking my experiences and incorporating them into my writing. I've been writing novels since I was a kid, and since then I've branched out into screenwriting. After my travels (which of course will give me the advantage of becoming familiar with other locations) I want to get into a local film school called Film Connection, try to get the screenplay I'm working on made. See what happens from there. I want the grit of the journey. I just want to see what life is like in different places—what the people are like, what their customs are, what their heritage is. What are their stories? What are their lives like?

In my interviews of other travel blogs, like Alex in Wanderland, The Great Affair, and Hippie In Heels, my readers and I get to see people through the other's experiences of others' culture, through their food, the way they dress, the way the express themselves. That is something that I always find fascinating! Everybody tells a story. Rachel from Hippie In Heels writes posts all the time about how the food, communication, and behavior is different in India (where she now lives). What their lives are like. Their apparel code is different, and she has even incorporated it's style into her own wardrobe. We're talking colorful scarves and billowy fabrics—it's stunning. India is vibrant. It has its own spectrum of colors. When we think of India I'm sure most of us just think burkas, head wraps and the Taj Mahal, but through Rachel I've been able to see more into the people there, their heritage, their customs. Their dress. She even does a series on local boutiques! My favorite series of hers has to be the This Is India one, where she shares random, interesting stories of things that have happened. India is a wild place.

One of the top places I want to see is Africa. It's been a dream since I was a child. And, with all the encouragement and shared options put out there from blogs like Nomadic Matt, Wandering Earl, The Great Affair—the more I see that there are endless possibilities to making that happen. People are doing this all the time, getting out there, backpacking around and actually meeting new people, making new friends, learning new things. They make it possible. There are so many options. Who knows where I'll be next year? Perhaps I'll even finish the obnoxious novel I'm working on. Perhaps I'll be serving people on a cruise ship. Digging my toes into the sand during a break and making a friend from one of the locals. We're all the same in the end, but the excitement is that we never know what to expect. So many possibilities.


Elora Shore can also be found on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Her writing has been featured in various online magazines, and can be seen on Authonomy, Figment, with some published work on Amazon Kindle. She runs her own jewelry shop, Transcendence Designs, where she sells handmade jewelry inspired by different cultures and time periods. She is currently selling on Ebay.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Preppy Pooches

When fall rolls around, I always find my wardrobe taking a bit of a preppy turn. For example, lately I have been lusting over some of the selections from Brooks Brothers fall/winter line which is filled with plaids, flannels, cable knit sweaters, loafers and other such preppy staples. When I saw this adorable wool skirt featuring embroidered dogs from their Red Fleece line, I was sold. How much for those doggies on the skirt? Needless to say the whole litter of these preppy pooches came home with me, well actually I ordered this skirt online, but you know what I mean.

My only complaint? Use English Springer Spaniels instead of what I presume to be Pointers as your breed of choice next time, Brooks Brothers! William, my English Springer Spaniel is actually my ultimate preppy accessory. I'll have to feature him next time I wear this skirt!

Below, Colonel William Van Winkle The Bard of Bardstown, also known as "The Ultimate Preppy Puppy Accessory"!

Linking Up With:

Skirt: Brooks Brothers here
Shirt: J. Crew similar here
Boots: "Vintage" J. Crew, last seen here
Belt: Brooks Brothers here
Bag: J. Crew "Tartine"
Watch: kate spade "Carlyle: bow watch 
Sunglasses: Prada

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Channeling Carrie

I'm guessing that many women who are obsessed with fashion are also obsessed with the TV series Sex in the City. Aside from the jaw dropping fashion, you have to admit that the writing for the show is pretty good. I'm not afraid to admit that I am a fan and somehow end up watching the show no matter how many times I've seen an episode. My husband and I (yes, he's a fan too) even recite lines to each other from the series. In addition, I'm also a bit hooked on the prequel to the series The Carrie Diaries, which is about the teenage Carrie Bradshaw.

It came as a surprise to me that my students took note of the similarities between the way I dress and the way the younger Ms. Bradshaw dresses in The Carrie Diaries. They Googled some images of her and pointed out various articles of clothing that I own that are either the same or similar. (They are oddly perceptive about my wardrobe.) I am not sure if I should be flattered or take this as a sign that I need to start dressing my age more and maybe start watching TV shows for people my age too! Well, either way, this sweater was worn by the younger Carrie on The Carrie Diaries and the tutu skirt is an obvious reference to the older Carrie in Sex in the City. I guess I found a way to fuse the two Carries together!

Linking Up With:

Skirt: LC Lauren Conrad Tulle Skirt from Kohl's here
Sweater: J. Crew "La Parisienne"
Shirt: J. Crew "Tilda"
Shoes: Christian Louboutin "Simple" pump
Bag: Chanel Jumbo Flap
Bracelets: J. Crew Factory and Forever 21
Cocktail Ring: Tiffany Ziegfeld Collection
Watch: Tissot
Sunglasses: Prada "Baroque"

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Time for Tartan

I'm so excited that here in Los Angeles a string of overcast, cloudy, cool days has come our way. It doesn't feel like SoCal, rather it feels more like Seattle. I suppose it's a little strange that this type of gloomy weather makes me feel so happy since it's usually the other way around with most people. I guess it's just because it feels so exotic in this part of the country!

To be brief, I am ushering in the holiday season by wearing a little Tartan today. Both the sweatshirt and the Blackwatch tartan pants are from LOFT and both were purchased last year, however they quickly became some of my go to pieces last year and will get much love this fall and winter. It might be a little early to start breaking out the plaid, tartan and rich hunter green colors, but if they can play Christmas music already at the mall than I can start donning holiday attire!

Pants: LOFT similar here
Shoes: Forever 21 (only $18!) here
Bag: Lauren Mirken 
Watch: Tissot 
Bracelet: Forever 21
Sunglasses: Prada "Baroque"

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Comfy Food

We have had quite a few grey days here in California, and this type of weather inspires me to want curl up in my sweats and shovel something calorie laden and warm in my mouth, otherwise known as comfort food. Just be forewarned that if you are a vegetarian you should definitely avert your eyes from this post!

I've never been a fan of meatloaf, but for some reason I was inspired to make it a few days ago. I had a recollection of Ree Drummond, more notably dubbed "The Pioneer Woman", making a bacon wrapped meatloaf on her TV show that I thought I would try. Let me just pause for a moment to say I love Ree and here's why: She lives on an incredible cattle ranch, she has two of the cutest Basset Hounds ever, everything she cooks looks incredible and she isn't afraid to use heaping amounts of cheese, and last of all she seems genuinely, sincerely nice. While much of the above doesn't necessitate being a good cook (with the exception of the cheese thing), the Pioneer Woman's recipe (at least in this case) really came through. Just look at the end result below!

So I won't take you step by step through the process. Do you really want to look at a bunch of pictures of gooey meat like the one below? I'm not sure how you make this look good, but I will provide the link to The Pioneer Woman's recipe here. Go check it out! I don't even like meatloaf, but this one has it all: bacon, Parmesan cheese, and a lovely BBQ sauce.

 Eeew! Raw ground, mushy beef. Is it weird that combining all of the ingredients: ground beef, milk, bread, eggs, etc. with my hands turned out to be oddly therapeutic? 

While Ree the Pioneer Woman's recipe was near perfect in my book, I would just make one small adjustment: more sauce! Feel free to double or even quadruple the recipe for the BBQ sauce that goes on top and is a dipping sauce, I didn't have nearly enough. 

I would also recommend serving your "loaf" with some sides like mashed potatoes (I don't have a recipe, but just add lots and lots of butter) and green beans and mushrooms. I used this recipe here from Martha Stewart. I make these sometimes for Thanksgiving as a side if you're looking for ideas!

Above you will see that I am working on my "plating" skills. If you've ever watched a reality cooking show you'll understand that plating and making your dish look elegant and appealing is half the battle. I thought this tuned out picture perfect and yummy too! Try it yourself if you're in the mood to get comfy and cozy! Bon Appetit!

Recipes Courtesy The Pioneer Woman and Martha Stewart

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Uniform

I'm always game to try something new, but sometimes when it comes to my wardrobe, sticking to what I know best is, well, just easier. The individual pieces I am wearing today represent a lot about what has come to become almost my basic "uniform" or wardrobe staples, especially for fall. Whether I am doing a blog, or just kicking around town, these are some things I can't get enough of. Let me take you through the essentials of my uniform below...

Above you will see the newest addition to my growing collection of "statement" sweaters or, as I like to refer to them, "bedazzled" sweaters. If you've followed my blog closely, you will remember that I have a twisted love hate relationship with them, but I keep coming back for more. However, I think nothing adds a little "visual" interest to a simple crewneck sweater like some "jewels".

My next fall wardrobe staple are loafers. I don't wear loafers that much on my blog, but trust me, I have a lot. Loafers like these are great with jeans, cropped pants, and I am just now trying to wear them more with skirts. I like to have something a little unique on my loafers, in this case, these "Darby" loafers from J. Crew are sparkly and covered in sapphire colored sequins. I get a lot of people giving me weird looks directed at my feet as I walk by, but I guess that's because I choose to wear shoes in the shape of bunnies, taxi-cabs, or, in this case, sequins on a regular basis!

Full skirts, pleated or otherwise, are another staple. The length is perfect for work, but still sort of fun and youthful at the same time. Plus the bows. I can't get enough of bows. It's kind of my thing. 

Last of all, a great clutch. A few years ago I only wore clutches for dressy events, but I have come to appreciate the virtues of a more casual clutch, such as this leather one from Vince Camuto. Plus, this one looks a little like a version that begins with an "H" and is in the five figure range. (I won't name names, but you know who I mean!) Clutches are more practical than you might think and this one fits all of the necessities.

Well, that concludes my musings on some of my favorite staples for fall. I could add more, but this will suffice for now. What are some of the staples in your fall "uniform"? 

Linking Up With:

Sweater: LOFT here
Skirt: kate spade "Jolie" bow skirt
Shirt: H&M
Clutch: Vince Camuto similar here
Shoes: J. Crew "Darby" loafers similar here
Watch: Tissot
Sunglasses: Prada