My Favorite Summer Dinner

Can you believe it’s Labor Day weekend already? I feel like summer just started and now it’s nearly over. In Pittsburgh, the scorching hot days are relenting and there’s, dare I say, a chill in the air. My fiancé (Chris) and I are just trying to soak up as much of the warm weather while it lasts. One of our favorite traditions this summer has been dining alfresco. 

Because we’re still avoiding restaurants and bars, we try to eat outside as much as possible. We have a beautiful garden behind our building (thanks to Chris), where we set up an old wooden table and string lights (all Chris). We turn up whatever Spotify playlist we’re loving, pop open a bottle of wine, and just enjoy the evening. It transports us to another place for a while and has been truly essential this summer. 

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One of the best recipes I’ve made is this Linguine with Shrimp Scampi from Ina Garten. It’s sooo lemony and good and has a little kick to it from the red pepper flakes. Pair it with a fresh tomato, basil, and burrata salad, and you have, in my opinion, the perfect summer meal. For our tomato salad, I was able to get heirloom tomatoes, which are usually much more flavorful than your typical grocery store options. We even threw in one of our own from the garden. I can usually find burrata cheese at Fresh Thyme or Trader Joe’s. It was amazing!

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This meal would go perfectly with one of my go-to cocktails this summer, the Aperol Spritz. It’s light on alcohol and super refreshing. Plus it really complements the “summer in Rome” vibe of this dinner. Out of all the recipes I’ve tried, I think this Liquor.com recipe gets the proportions just right. 

What have you been cooking lately? I’d love to hear about your favorite recipes in the comments.  

Winter Wardrobe Remix: Black, Camel, and Cream

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Camel Coat / Black Cashmere Sweater / Black Jeans / Boots

My winter capsule wardrobe this year features a new color palette that I’m really into: black, camel, and cream. I started by adding a few more ivory and camel sweaters into my wardrobe before the end of the year when all of the great Christmas sales were happening. I already had some black, but was lacking a good pair of black jeans. I found this pair at Abercrombie and Fitch and I was surprised by the quality at the price. I already owned this great camel coat, which helps to top off the looks. I love how sophisticated these colors look together. They’re classic items I’ll have for a long time. I can even see these items making their way into my spring capsule wardrobe.

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Of Note – February 15

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Happy Saturday! How was your Valentine’s Day? Thursday I went to a girlfriend’s party and Friday we stayed somewhat low key and had dinner at a new-to-us BYOB Indian restaurant called Mintt. I enjoyed the random snow storm this week, but I’m glad things are warming up today. Yesterday was quite frigid in Pittsburgh. I hope you had a nice week and enjoy the rest of your weekend. Here are a few things I listened to, read, ate, or watched this week.

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How to Make Your Sweaters Last Longer

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As you may have noticed, I wear the same clothes a lot. It’s part of my plan to appreciate what I own as opposed to buying something new. The only problem with that is the more you wear your clothes, the faster they wear out. Sweaters are notorious for this. They have the potential to pill, snag, shrink, and stretch out. I do have my methods for making them last longer though. Here are a few tips if you are trying to get the most out of your sweaters.

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Winter Wardrobe Remix: Jean Jacket

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When I started planning out my winter capsule wardrobe this year, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to incorporate my jean jacket. It’s a staple every other season of the year, why should winter be any different? My main concern was how to layer it under coats. Surprisingly it layers just fine under my wool cocoon coat from J.Crew. It must be layered over a thin sweater, of course, but that’s the beauty of it. It adds another layer to something that otherwise might be too thin to wear on chilly winter days, giving that item a new purpose. Do you wear jean jackets in the winter? How do you style yours?

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Of Note – February 8

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Happy Saturday! How was your week? Winter decided to make an appearance yesterday with a thick coating of snow, and I can’t say that I’m mad. The snow is beautiful when there is nowhere to go. Although it does interrupt my plans for a run. We’re almost through watching the Best Picture nominations. Will you watch the Oscars this weekend? We watch every year and fill out ballots. Whatever you have planned, I hope you enjoy your weekend! Here are some items of note from the last week.

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Date Night in Pittsburgh or Cleveland

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Photo by David Dabney

Outfit details: Bodysuit / Skirt / Shoes / Scarf / Coat / Purse

I was born and raised in Cleveland and live and work in Pittsburgh. I’ve been made well aware of the sports rivalry whenever I tell people this piece of information. I’m still convinced that both cities are awesome, which is why I’m sharing date nights you can enjoy in either city. They are only 2.5 hours apart, so if you live in Pittsburgh and have never been to Cleveland or vice versa, get in your car! Either city would be a great road trip for Valentine’s Day or a Galentine’s Day weekend. Here are some restaurants and activities we enjoy in both cities.

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3 Ways I’m Wearing My Striped Turtleneck

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Turtleneck / Jeans / Headband / Heels

Happy Tuesday! How is your week going so far? Did you enjoy the Super Bowl? I haven’t seen such a high-energy half time show in quite a long time. Shakira and J.Lo rocked it! Today, I’m featuring one of my winter capsule wardrobe staples: my black and white striped turtleneck. There is just something about black and white stripes that looks perfectly chic. This turtleneck looks great tucked into a pair of black high-waisted jeans and adds an interesting layer to sweaters and button downs for those colder days. This particular one is the lightweight tissue turtleneck from J.Crew and lives up to its name. What have you been wearing on repeat lately?

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Turtleneck / Jeans / Chambray Shirt / Loafers

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Turtleneck / Jeans / Sweater / Boots

Of Note – February 1

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We’re officially out of the month of January. We made it! There is something quiet and calm about January. It seems like a time of hibernation for most. Like taking a deep breath before the year really gets going. I can already feel the change in pace. We’ll be watching the Superbowl on Sunday and next weekend is the Oscars (they moved it up this year). Over the next week, we’ll be doing our best to watch all of the best picture nominations. What have you seen so far? Whatever your plans are, I hope you hold on to the relaxing vibes of January for as long as possible. Here are some items Of Note from the last week.

Podcasts

The Crown: The Official Podcast

If you watch The Crown and would love to learn a little more about the historical background and thought that goes into each episode, The Crown: The Official Product is a delight. They interview creator Peter Morgan who, I suspect, enjoys revisiting the episodes too.

Drinking (Or lack thereof)

Dry January

I completed my first dry January. It felt weird at first to not be drinking in certain social settings. At a bar on a Friday night. At Sunday night dinner, where we usually have a few glasses of wine. But overall I loved it. Physically I felt and looked better. More energy, better sleep, better skin. Mentally I felt better. Sharper, less irritable, more positive. It definitely made me re-think when and how I consume alcohol. The positive benefits are enough to make me want to cut back.

Blogs

Best Black Blazer

Cupcakes and Cashmere tested out six of the best black blazers and found a clear winner. This is a great list of options for anyone trying to add great foundational pieces to their wardrobe (capsule or otherwise). But I also found it interesting that a Target blazer made it to the top three. Target has been impressing me lately with their work wear pieces at affordable price points.

Pittsburgh Things

Oscar Preparation  

Row House Cinema is helping you with your Oscar Preparation. Over the next few days, they’re showing some of the Best Picture nominations as well as the Oscar-Nominated Shorts. The shorts are obviously a little bit harder to come by, so I love when theaters combine them into one showing. The categories are Documentary, Animation, and Live-Action. Always fun and interesting to see.

Also, here is the official Oscar Ballot. We like to fill ours out every year.

Recipes

Trader Joe’s 1-Minute Lentil Salad

I was perusing my local Trader Joe’s when one of their employees saw me holding their bag of premade lentils and said she likes to prepare hers with bruschetta and feta cheese. I was originally just going to throw it on a salad to add a little protein, but I had to copy her recipe because it sounded delicious. Then I found the official Trader Joe’s 1-Minute Lentil Salad recipe on their website and had to share it with all of you. It’s yummy, healthy, very filling, and, as the name implies, very easy to make. One serving of lentils has 9 grams of protein.

 

10 Questions to Ask Before Buying New Clothes

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In the beginning of the year, I committed to becoming a more mindful consumer. Part of that means appreciating what you have and consuming less, but eventually the need or desire to buy something new will arise. This is especially true of my capsule wardrobe. A few weeks ago, I purged my winter wardrobe and narrowed down my closet to just the essentials. Although I feel like I have everything I need at this moment, this may change as my style evolves and my needs change. Responding to these changes with the right mindset will help make sure any new purchases I make are worthwhile. Here are 10 questions I’ll be asking myself before adding anything new to my capsule wardrobe.

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