January 31, 2011

Moody Girl Eats: Fried Plantains

I often make fried plantains in my home because it reminds me of the many Caribbean delights that I grew up loving as a child. 

What are Plantains?
Plantains look very much like bananas, but they are very different in several respects.  They are a starchy, low in sugar variety that is cooked before serving as it is unsuitable raw.  Most notably their flesh is firm when they are green, but as plantains ripen, the skin becomes more yellow and the flesh becomes softer.  Plantains are used in many savory dishes somewhat like a potato would be used and is very popular in Western Africa and the Caribbean countries.

Fried plantains make a great side dish for any entrée or a perfect snack anytime of the day.  Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:
2 firm-ripe plantains
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Cooking Instructions:
Peel and slice the plantains. I find that the best way to slice them diagonally or you can cut the plantain in half and slice lengthwise because it’s easier to fry.  Heat the oil over medium heat (around 375 degrees is good) in a large frying pan and add the sliced plantains.  Fry plantains until golden brown. They will cook very quickly, so try to be careful not to burn them.  Place fried plantains on a paper towel and dry off any excess oil.

OOTD: Refined Fayth

My cold weather days are quickly coming to end.  After all, I do live in Florida…so it’s pretty much expected that 70 degree weather is just around the corner.  I really wanted to wear my corduroy dress before the warm weather really takes over.  I decided to make my outfit a little simple and I chose not to add any extra pieces or jewelry.  Let me know what you think.

Dress: Anthropologie Refined Cord Shirtdress
Belt: Anthropologie Checkerboard Belt
Boots: Coach Fayth Whiskey Leather Boots
xoxo Natasha

miscellany monday

happy monday everyone – i realized today that i haven’t had a miscellany monday post in a while.  so, i’ve added my random ramblings to carissa’s miscellany monday party!  check out carissa’s blog here and join in on the fun. 

{one} the bachelor. i never really liked watching the bachelor on abc, but there is something about this season.  the guy (brad) is hot and the girls are wackier than ever.  i love it.  are any of you ladies watching it?  what do you think about this season?
 
{two} running. i haven’t been running as often as i should, but today my co-worker and i went out for a quick 3 mile run.  it was the first time that i went out for a run in a couple of weeks.  one of my new year’s resolutions is to run another half marathon later this year and improve my time dramatically.  i signed up for my first half-marathon last february and my time was horrible.  my only goal last year was just to finish the race and not pass out.   this year my goal is still to finish but have a better running time.  i don’t know which race i’m going to do this year, but i’ll let everyone know soon.

{three} weekend.  this weekend was amazing.  i had the opportunity to spend a fun filled weekend with my family and friends.  my weekends have been the only thing getting me going through me through the stress of my job over the last month. 

{four} knitting.  so i haven’t been able to finish my knitting projects yet, but i hope to do so real soon.   i promise that when i finish one of them, i’ll definitely post some pictures.

xoxo Natasha

January 30, 2011

Fresh Picks to Follow: Perfectly Striped

       Hi ladies.  I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend.  I did a bit of traveling this weekend that caused me to be late in posting my Friday Fresh Picks, but here it is. 
       You have probably noticed that there are a lot of striped clothes on the fashion blogs and in our favorite clothing stores. The pattern of the spring season is definitely going to be stripes. This fashion trend will cheer up your wardrobe in an instant, but these aren’t your average stripes.  Designers have showed stripes across the board from an overall skinny stripe pattern, vertical stripes, geometric stripes, Breton stripes, and gradual stripes to seaside stripe patterns inspired by nautical flags and designs.  The stripes this season are fun, flirty, eclectic and chic.  You ladies will have plenty of chances to try out this trend this spring.  Play up your youthful and experimental style attitude and choose flirty stripes that would speak for your refined fashion sense.
       Check out my top 10 favorites for the spring season below and let me know what you think.

1. Anthropologie - Geometry In Motion Skirt…$78.00
2. Saks - Diane von Furstenberg Row Stripe Nautical Jersey Dress…$285.00
3. Saks - Diane von Furstenberg Lilo Chevron Strip Vest…$298.00
4. Guess by Marciano - Sugar Stripe Puff Sleeve Top…$68.00
5. Anthropologie - Draw The Line Cowlneck…$278.00
6. Anthropologie - Nautical Dreaming Chemise…$88.00
7. Anthropologie - A-Bit-Unruly Top…$48.00
8. Saks - Weekend MaxMara Bino Striped Knit Dress…$255.00
9. Mod Cloth - On a Friendly Shore Top…$59.99
10. Anthropologie - Every Saturday Tee…$68.00

xoxo Natasha

January 26, 2011

What’s in the Stars for You? Aquarius!

I came home tonight to a lovely surprise in my mailbox.  When I saw the envelope, I knew exactly what was in it and I ran into my apartment to open it up.  And ladies I was right. It’s my birthday gift from Anthropologie for my upcoming birthday celebration.  The birthday discount comes with the usual 15% off your total store purchase.  I’m so excited and I’ve already planned out my purchases.   

On another note…do you ladies have an Anthro card? If you don't have an Anthro card, I suggest that you sign up today! It's free and it only takes a few seconds to sign up. What are the benefits?  Well first of all, the Anthro card is not a credit card, but it’s similar to a rewards card.  You can make in-store returns and price adjustments without a receipt.  It also allows you to provide Anthro with feedback on their merchandise and it allows Anthro to communicate with you regarding any in-store events.  You have an opportunity to take advantage of the occasional Anthro-member surprises like the birthday discount and free shipping for online purchases. 

To sign up for an Anthro card and please check out Anthropologie’s website (here)

xoxo Natasha

January 25, 2011

Cereal with a Latte Style

I love eating cereal and I love eating it at all hours of the day.  Most mornings I wake to a bowl of one of my favorite cereals.  My favorite cereals include: Cinnamon Toast Crunch®, Special K® Cinnamon Pecan, Honey Nut Cheerios® and Honey Bunches of Oats®.  Although I enjoy cooking and eating take out, some days I just want to curl up on my couch and have cereal for dinner.  My mother always jokes that she knows I’ve had a bad day, when she calls and hears that I’m having cereal for dinner.  It’s definitely one of my comfort foods.  And, on the days that I get home super late and I’m beyond starving, a bowl of cereal really hits the spot.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought some beautiful bowls to continue eating my crunchy delights.  The Latte Bowls from Anthropologie are the right size for cereal or your favorite soup, salad or ice cream.  You can purchase these bowls in a set of 4 for $20.00 in solid colors or a set of 6 for $30.00 in assorted colors.  The bowls come in nine different colors.  If you visit the store, you can mix and match the colors to match your personality.  I only bought four of them, but I will probably go back to buy two more.  

 
Do you ever eat cereal for dinner? If so, what’s your favorite cereal?

xoxo Natasha

January 24, 2011

A Giveaway at Princess of Taylor

Wow…the ladies in the Anthro community are mighty generous.  I found another giveaway that I wanted to let you all know about.  Kathleen is celebrating her one year blogiversary and she is hosting a giveaway for one (1) $50 gift card to the store of the winner's choice and one (1) pair of earrings which were handmade by her sister-in-law.  If you are interested in entering this contest, please check out Kathleen’s blog over at Princess of Taylor for the details.  Good Luck!
xoxo Natasha

January 23, 2011

A Great Giveaway at Array of ANTHRO

Hi ladies…I hope that you had a great weekend.  I wanted to let you know about a great giveaway by Kim from Array of ANTHRO.  Kim is hosting her first giveaway of a $25 gift card to Anthropologie.  If you are interested in entering this contest, please check out Kim’s awesome blog at Array of ANTHRO for the details.  Good Luck!


xoxo Natasha

January 21, 2011

Fresh Picks to Follow: Stylish Suits

I think I’ve mentioned earlier that I wear a lot of suits to work.  So, for my Friday Fresh Picks I thought I would post about some great stores and companies that make stylish suits.  Where do you ladies shop for suits?  Let me know!

1.  The Limited - Plainweave Shawl Collar Jacket ($128.00) and Plainweave Stitched Pencil Skirt ($59.90)

2.  Macy’s - Kasper Suit, Two Button Contrast Jacket & Skirt…$49.99 (was $240.00)

3.  Nordstrom - Theory 'Kiersten K - Strategy' Jacket…$212.90 (was $355.00) and 'Joanie K - Strategy' Skirt…$79.97 (was $200.00)

4.  Macy’s - Kasper Suit, Open Front Jacket, Cami & Pants…$181.99 (was $280.00)

5.  Macy’s - Tahari by ASL Suit, Belted Jacket & Skirt…$181.99 (was $280.00)
6.  Macy’s - Evan Picone Suit, Belted Jacket & A-Line Skirt …$129.99 (was $200.00)

7.  The Limited - Navy Tweed Shoulder Detail Jacket ($148.00) and Cassidy Navy Tweed Flare Pant ($79.90)

8.  JCrew - Pinstripe Two-button Jacket in super 120s ($240.00) and 1035 Pinstripe Trouser in Super 120s ($140.00)

9.  Banana Republic – Lightweight Wool Belted Jacket ($198.00) and Martin fit Suit Pant ($98.00)

10.  Macy’s – Kasper Suit, Tweed Three Button Jacket & Pant…$155.99 (was $240.00)
xoxo Natasha

January 20, 2011

Moody Girl Eats: Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I love to cook, but I haven’t been made anything for a couple of weeks.  I’m sure you are wondering what has this girl been eating? Frankly, I’m not sure myself – it’s been a lot of frozen meals and take out.  However, this is not in line with my New Year’s resolutions, so I had to cook. Monday evening, I finally rustled up the energy to cook a meal for the week.

I had a leftover bag of fresh spinach and some chicken cutlets, so I wanted to find a recipe that involved those two (2) items.  I ended up finding the above recipe online from Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meal via the Food Network.  I modified the recipe a little and I took out the mushrooms because I didn’t have any in my fridge.  Here is the recipe below along with some pictures that I took along the process.  I really enjoyed making this meal and I would definitely make it again.  Enjoy Ladies!

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 6 oz.
Lg. plastic food storage bags or waxed paper
1 package, 10 oz., frozen chopped spinach
2 tablespoons butter
12 small mushroom caps, crimini or button
2 cloves garlic, cracked
1 small shallot, quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated or ground nutmeg
Toothpicks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth

Directions:

Place breasts in the center of a plastic food storage bag or 2 large sheets of waxed paper. Pound out the chicken from the center of the bag outward using a heavy-bottomed skillet or mallet. Be firm but controlled with your strokes.


Defrost spinach in the microwave. Transfer spinach to a kitchen towel. Twist towel around spinach and wring it out until very dry. Transfer to a medium-mixing bowl. (I used fresh spinach since that's all I had in my fridge. I think you can use frozen or fresh spinach).

Place a nonstick skillet over moderate heat. When skillet is hot, add butter, mushrooms, garlic and shallot. Season with salt and pepper and sauté 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms, garlic and shallot to the food processor. Pulse to grind the mushrooms and transfer to the mixing bowl, adding the processed mushrooms to the spinach. Add ricotta and grated cheese to the bowl and the nutmeg. Stir to combine the stuffing. Return your skillet to the stove over medium high heat. (I omitted the mushrooms and the nutmeg and added more garlic and shallots).




Place a mound of stuffing on each breast and wrap and roll breast over the stuffing. Secure breasts with toothpicks. Add 3 tablespoons oil to the pan, 3 turns of the pan. Add breasts to the pan and brown on all sides, cooking chicken 10 to 12 minutes. The meat will cook quickly because it is thin. Remove breasts; add butter to the pan and flour. Cook butter and flour for a minute, whisk in wine and reduce another minute. Whisk in broth and return breasts to the pan.
(I wasn't a big fan of the wine sauce.  When I make this again,
I will use a standard chicken stock gravy).








Reduce heat and simmer until ready to serve. Remove toothpicks. Serve breasts whole or, remove from pan, slice on an angle and fan out on dinner plates. Top stuffed chicken breasts or sliced stuffed breasts with generous spoonfuls of the sauce.


(Here is a picture of my final meal with green beans and spinach for my sides).


January 17, 2011

OOTD: Looking Sharp and an Anthropologie Giveaway

Happy Monday ladies!  I just returned home from a great weekend getaway.  I’m so, so, so happy that I have the day off.  I plan to spend the rest day getting my house in order – laundry, cleaning my kitchen and bathroom and straightening up my bedroom.  I wanted to discus a couple of things below – Dr. Martin Luther King Day and an Anthropologie Gift Card Giveaway from Anthro Flux!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a national holiday honoring the great and inspiring civil rights crusader and martyr, here is a video of MLK delivering his famous “I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C on August 28, 1963 and the full text of the speech (via The US Constitution Online).


Giveaway:  Kay from Anthro Flux is giving away a $100.00 gift card to Anthropologie to the winner of an organized closet.  The participants must submit a before and after photo of their closet and the blog community will vote on the best closet transformation.  Please visit Anthro Flux’s blog to read more about the details of this exciting giveaway. 

And finally my OOTD: The Look Sharp Tunic

Shirt: Anthropologie Odille Look Sharp Tunic
Tank Top: Banana Republic Timeless Tank
Jeans: Anthropologie Joe’s Jeans ‘Starlet’ Mini Bootcut Stretch Jeans
Boots: Nine West (old pair from 2 years ago)

xoxo Natasha

Saturday’s OOTD: Breezy Polka

I currently work in a pretty conservative state job.  The dress code is business casual, but lately, I have been required to wear suits everyday.  It almost feels as if I have a work uniform.  I don’t have much creative license with a suit, but I do try to jazz it up a little bit by adding a cute Anthro top.  Needless to say, I’m extremely jealous of all of you ladies that get to wear your Anthro clothes everyday.  I think that’s why I love the weekends so much.  I get to wear my some of my Anthro collection and take a trip to my favorite store.  I wore this outfit on Saturday when I went to visit my boyfriend.   I really love this cardigan, but I wish I got it in red as well.

Cardigan: Anthropologie Breezy Polka Dot Cardigan
T-Shirt: Banana Republic Timeless Crewneck Tee
Jeans: Anthropologie Joe’s Jeans ‘Starlet’ Mini Bootcut Stretch Jeans
Boots: Banana Republic Hina Slouch Knee Boot

xoxo Natasha 

January 16, 2011

In the Window: Anthropologie’s Spring 2011

The visual team at Anthropologie continues to amaze me every season.  I love to visit different Anthro stores to go shopping of course, but also to see the store layouts and visual displays.  Anthropologie has definitely hired the best of the best when it comes to the company’s visual displays.  The visual teams know how to think outside of the box, go beyond the window display and exceed the audience’s expectation. 

This Spring season the windows are colorful and whimsical and each silhouette exhibits a fusion of art and fashion.  This season, the windows are made up of clothespins, zippers, hangers and draped construction paper.  Each of these everyday items has been transformed to a point that you no longer see it for what it was, but it becomes something new and unexpected.  The creativity and craftsmanship that the visual teams exhibited on these projects are just spectacular.

Anthropologie’s window displays and store decor are always so creative and inspiring. I recently took pictures of a few displays in my local Anthropologie store that I wanted to share.



Here are some pictures from other stores around the country…courtesy of the Anthropologie Facebook page.  I thought my store’s display was pretty amazing, but all of these windows are equally stunning! 

Washington, DC

Charlotte, NC

Marlton, NJ

Skokie, IL

 xoxo Natasha

January 14, 2011

Fresh Picks to Follow: Elephants


TGIF! Boy, I have had a crazy week.  I can’t even really describe to you what work has been like this past week, but trust me it was stressful.  I’m very happy that I get to relax and recharge for another grueling work schedule next week.  Well, enough about my week…below is my Friday Fresh Picks focusing on ELEPHANTS. 

I started collecting elephants ever since I pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. during my junior year of college.  To me, elephants symbolize strength, wisdom, prosperity, good luck and prudence. They are also highly revered for their strength and power.
 
In some cultures, an elephant with a raised trunk is symbolic of good luck, and indicates that you will persevere and overcome any obstacles in your path. The uplifted trunk also represents high goals and the right foot forward represents forward movement. 

If you are an elephant collector, the elephants should be placed high upon a mantel, shelf or on an altar for recognition and should have their trunks facing upward, as if trumpeting the good news.  So for this week’s post, I bring to you a collection of elephants from various stores and websites in honor of my sorority. 

Enjoy your weekend ladies!


1. Anthropologie - Savannah Story Bust, Elephant…$128

2. Etsy – Organic Elephantree T-shirt sold by Sevengill…$25.00


4. World Market – Soapstone Elephant…$7.99

5. World Market - Wooden Carved Elephant Drum…$39.99

6. The Aspen Shops - “Lucky Elephant” Tea Light Holder…$2.61 - $3.42 ea.

7. Banana Republic – Cotton Elephant Tote…$24.99

8. Anthropologie – Elephant Salute Scarf…$138.00

9. Anthropologie - Trumpeting Twosome Shakers…$29.95

10. Pier 1 Imports – Elephant Teapot…$15.95

xoxo Natasha

January 11, 2011

Sale and OOTD: Ruffled Up

So the title of my post sums up my day earlier today and the past week.  My job has become very hectic and challenging since the beginning of last week.   My work days are starting earlier and earlier and my evenings are ending later than I would like.  Today, I wanted to try to make myself feel a little better so I pulled out this jacket for the first time.  I love the ruffles on this beauty; it’s the perfect statement piece.

Anthropologie – Terrace House Jacket
Ann Taylor Loft – Sleeveless Boatneck Sweater
The Limited – Lexie Fit Pants
Nine West – Black Ankle Boots


Did any of you ladies buy anything during Anthro’s sale today?  I’m trying to be good and refrain from shopping.  So, I’m sitting this one out.  I did a little too much damage last month and my wallet needs a break.   Check out Anthro's newest markdowns here.  Happy Shopping!


xoxo Natasha

January 10, 2011

DIY: Knitting 101

I taught myself to knit in 2005 with the help of a couple knitting books and online videos.  I decided that I wanted to expand my blog and share my needlework with all of you.   I thought that this would be a fun way to let people know what I’m working on.  I enjoy using all sorts of knitting and sewing tools, patterns, and yarns.  I also enjoy the process of creating handmade items that create style, comfort, and warmth for both the home and individuals.

Unfortunately, I only know how to make scarves and baby blankets.  I currently consider myself a knitting novice.  Even though I started this hobby a few years ago, I stopped knitting for about 3 years when I went to graduate school.  I have started many projects, but I haven’t finished them.  My hope is to learn more difficult knitting techniques and finish the projects that I previously started.  I also hope to inspire other women to start a new craft.  I plan on letting you all know about some of the projects that I’m working on and then post my finished projects for you all to see.

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I was knitting a scarf for my sister as one of her Christmas presents.  However, I didn’t get it finished in time.  In fact, I’m kind of still working on it.  I’m using my last ball of yarn, so I should be able to post the finished product real soon.  In the meantime, here is a picture of what it’s supposed to look like.

Please check out the “Do It Yourself” page for video links if you are interested in learning how to knit.

xoxo Natasha

January 07, 2011

Fresh Picks to Follow: Polka Dot, Dot, Dot

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved polka dots.  Not only are polka dots fun, feminine and whimsical, but there is also something sort of 50’s glam about them.  You have to agree that polka dots can hardly be called a trend since every year they get reinvented with a funky and playful twist.  

Did you know that the polka dots trend has been influenced by lady bugs, which in increasingly popular in both the spring and summer?  I’ve also noticed that some of the major designers are using polka dots for their upcoming Spring/Summer 2011 collections.   

Style Tip: Polka dots can be tricky to wear, so be cognizant of your proportions and to the size of the dots.  Smaller dots seem to be the ultimate solution if you wish to visually polish your figure and get rid of the visible beauty flaws. However, larger spots create a bulky and more prominent effect.  Therefore, if you are not totally pleased with your body shape, then skip the large dots.

Polka dots are among the timeless designs used to decorate dresses, pants and other clothing items.   Please check out my top 10 polka dot designs below.  Let me know what you think about the polka dot phenomenon and Anthropologie’s new polka dot items. 


1. White House Black Market - Tiered Polka Dot Skirt…$88.00

2. The Limited - Printed Dot Strapless Dress…$98.00

3. White House Black Market – Pin Dot Tight…$15.00

4. Ann Taylor - Polka Dot Shirt Dress…$138.00

5. Anthropologie - Across The Land Dress…$138.00

6. Anthropologie - On The Agenda Shell…$88.00

7. Anthropologie - Take Action Dress…$168.00

8.  L.L. Bean - Bean's Buckle-Toe Skimmers…$39.99

9. Anthropologie - Freckled Blouse…$98.00

10. Tracy Reese -   Crimson Dots Jersey Prim Shirt Dress…$268.00

xoxo Natasha

January 04, 2011

For the Love of the Sale!

I was kind of surprised that Anthro had another sale so close to the Tag Sale.  I was also hopeful that I could honor my New Year’s resolution for at least the first week of the year.  However, that didn’t fly.  I really wanted to sit this one out, but I was tempted with the Refined Cord Shirtdress…$59.95 (was $128.00).  I wanted this dress since it came out in the red color.  I went to the store today after work and I was able to snag it in red.  I’m super happy that I grabbed it and I was even happier that I paid almost nothing for it with all of my PAs for my second cuts.  Yeah Anthro for second cuts!  Did you ladies sit this one out or did you give into temptation like me?  Let me know what you bought.  Happy shopping!
xoxo Natasha


January 02, 2011

Fitting Room Review: Another Shopping Day!

I hope that your new year has started off wonderfully.  Mine is starting off just lovely.  Yesterday, my boyfriend and I watch several movies and had some Maggiano’s take out…so delish.  Today has also been a low key day around the house. 

So...onto the reviews. I went shopping in Orlando last Thursday and visited the Anthro at Mall at Millenia.  I always manage to find a handful of sale items and some of them always end up coming home with me.  Unfortunately, I have no will power.  I wanted to share these purchases with you all, but I don’t think everything will be staying with me.  I love everything that I bought so far, but that’s kind of the problem...check it out below:

1.  Kirklees Sweater Coat…$59.96

(small) I had already loved this sweater coat on all of the other bloggers, but I wanted to see it in person.  I really wanted to find this sweater, to see if it would fit.  When I saw this on the rack, I snag it and high tailed it to the fitting room.  I really hoped that it would fit and I’m glad that it did.  The pattern on the coat is unique and the colors are different, but they work. 

2.  Hanakotoba Cardigan…$74.96

(small) What’s not to like with this cardigan?  This sweater has the most beautiful and colorful embroidery that I’ve ever seen. The sweater material is soft and somewhat on the thinner side, but still plenty sufficient. It is very comfortable and true to size.  This cardigan is perfect to add to a dress or just to add a punch of color to a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.   

3.  Girl’s Best Friend Robe…$44.96

(small) So, I didn’t know that this was categorized as a robe when I tried it on.  This sweater is thick and soft and the intarsia diamonds pattern and colors are perfect.  This would be a great sweater to lounge around in the house.  The cashier told me that I could even wear it out of the house. 

4.  I don’t know the name of these items…(prices from L to R) $37.46, $22.46, and $29.96.

5.  I don’t know this belt’s name; the receipt says it’s a Brocade Ribbon Belt…$14.96.

Here are some other items that I bought on another shopping adventure last week, but I didn’t take any pictures in the fitting room.

Saturday’s Favorite Henley…$29.96

Wee Hours Blouse…$37.46

Vapor Rise Dress…$59.96 (see review here)
xoxo Natasha