Saturday, May 26, 2012

Navy wedding guest attire

This is my last post before a 2-week hiatus. I was offered an amazing opportunity to replace my boss on a work trip to Geneva, Switzerland, which I could not turn down! But with just 4 days' notice I haven't had time to plan any posts while I'm away. In the meantime, here are some photos from a recent wedding that B and I co-MC'd.

My Mom bought me this incredible dress from Laura which is a great style for those who'd rather show off legs than their waist. It would make a cute early-maternity style too (don't read anything more into that than the bride at the wedding was pregnant!). I DIY'd my shoes by tying satin ribbon into bows ($0.89) on the back. Then I pinned a pair of sparkly earrings through the knots in the bows. 

This evening I'm running my 10K with some girlfriends and about 10,000 others; wish me luck! Can't wait to cross it off my bucket list. Update: B just called to say he placed 2nd in his Olympic distance triathlon this morning!! He raced for his mom and I couldn't be happier...or more inspired :)



Dress - Laura
Clutch - Coach
Shoes - Guess via Winners
Ribbon - Fabricland
Earrings (on shoes) - hand-me-down
Bracelet - Le Chateau
Ring - Winners

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Creamy potato salad

This is not your run-of-the-mill potato salad. You'll love the crunch of fresh vegetables and the sheer awesomeness of a pink-hued dressing. But the real secret to this recipe, the thing that will have you coming back for seconds, is cooking the potatoes in equal parts water and vinegar. Why didn't I think of that earlier? It gives the potatoes that hint of vinegar taste without overpowering the rest. And it complements the vinegar in the dressing. It's like one big happy family.

To make salad: 
Scrub 24 baby potatoes, place in a large pot and add a pinch of salt, plus equal parts of water and white vinegar until potatoes are covered. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender. Drain potatoes and cut in half. Note: I've been wanting to try this with malt vinegar but based on the price you may want to adjust the quantity used.
While potatoes are cooking, hard-boil, de-shell and roughly chop 3 eggs. Chop 2 peppers, 2 stalks of celery and 1/2 bunch green onion (I omitted the green onion). Add eggs and vegetables to potatoes.

To make dressing: 

Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, rind and juice of 1/2 lemon, 4T red wine vinegar, 3T white sugar, 2T each of fresh chopped parsley and dill (or 1T each dried) and 1T paprika. Season with celery salt and pepper to taste. If possible, add dressing to salad 30 minutes before serving.

{Pre-mixed ingredients for dressing}


Friday, May 18, 2012

Mint blouse

One of life's little pleasures is discovering that something you bought years ago is suddenly trendy. Or double-trendy, in the case of this tie-front, mint-hued silk blouse I bought from Old Navy seven years ago. I think I originally paid $35 and it has more than earned its keep.

Since my dress takes its cues from menswear, I decided to wear the blouse underneath for a feminine touch. I've also worn the dress on its own with killer jewellery and stilettos, and here with a blousy bat-wing top underneath to create 'sleeves'.

Tell me - Have you found any suddenly on-trend oldies in your closet this year? What other little fashion-related pleasures do you enjoy?

Dress - RW & Co. (also here)
Shirt - Old Navy (also here)
Blazer - Thrifted (Urchin) (also here)
Tights - Costco
Shoes - Swapped (Forever 21)
Earrings - Gift
Bracelets - Joe Fresh

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Orange-bacon-tea roasted chicken

Orange, bacon, tea. Huh? We're half-way to breakfast. But then this recipe takes a right-hand turn and these ingredients are turned into...a glaze? for chicken? Weird, right? I was intrigued by the original recipe (no sign of bacon, just tea and oranges). 

Anything I can't conjure in my mind, I immediately want to make. I'll spoil the ending and tell you it was very good although my decision to substitute PC's bacon marmalade for the regular marmalade mostly masked the tea flavour so I can't really speak to it. If you don't have PC products at your grocery store, I'd just sprinkle cooked bacon bits into your marmalade. Close enough. Anyways, here's my version, with includes a couple of my other tweaks along the way. 

To prepare glaze:

Squeeze the juice of 2 oranges into a small saucepan, then cook over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until reduced by half. Cut the orange halves into quarters and reserve. In a separate cup, pour 1/3 cup boiling water over 1 Orange Pekoe tea bag and steep for 5 minutes. Remove bag and add tea to orange juice. While still hot, stir in 1 cup bacon marmalade.

To prepare chicken:

Remove giblets, wash and dry 1 whole trussed chicken, then sprinkle pepper inside cavity. Gently loosen the breast skin. Stuff the chicken cavity with the orange quarters, onion slices from one small onion, a sprig of rosemary and a sprig of thyme. Divide the glaze in two equal portions - one for rubbing and basting and one for serving after the chicken is cooked. Rub some of the rubbing and basting glaze onto the chicken, over and under the breast skin.

To cook chicken:

Place the chicken in a roasting pan fit with a wire rack. Surround with halved new potatoes. Cook at 375 for about 1 hour 20 minutes (my oven tends to cook slowly; you may not need as much time), basting the chicken with its juice and extra glaze every 20 minutes. Once cooked, remove everything from the chicken cavities, cut string, and let the chicken stand for 10 minutes before serving. Top with reserved glaze and serve with potatoes and a vegetable. For a learner version, serve chicken without the skin.

 Source: adapted from Reader's Digest's Cook Smart for a Healthy Heart cookbook

Thursday, May 10, 2012

EBEW: Nautical

When N of A Fine Balance and I decided to participate in this month's Everybody, Everywhere: Nautical challenge, we didn't expect to both show up in ripped jeans, navy blazers, gold starfish accessories and stripes, but we had a good laugh about it. See N's half of the twinsie look here

I thought about using red as an accent colour in my outfit but decided a turquoisey-blue would be a *refreshing* change (colour of the ocean and all that). I finished it off with a coral lipstick. 


Jeans - Dynamite
Tank - RW & Co.
Sweater - Calvin Klein via outlets
Blazer - Thrifted (George)
Shoes - Thrifted (George)
Watch - from my Dad's closet
Brooch - Thrifted
Earrings - ? (Gift)
Ring - Le Chateau

Nautical | Everybody, Everywear

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Black and bling at a 'formal' wedding

I got this column dress with a mesh-and-beaded halter neckline during the clothes swap I hosted earlier this year (score!). When B and I got an invitation to a wedding with a 'formal' dress code, I knew it would be just right. I decided to break the fashion rule of not wearing long earrings next to an elaborate neckline, because ignoring fashion rules is what bloggers do best. It was still pretty chilly so I added my new FAVOURITE THING EVER - a cropped faux fur cardigan I found at Laura for about 80% off, aka $25 (psssst my fellow Canadians, don't dismiss Laura as a store for your's actually got some GREAT stuff, though I tend to stick to the wallet-friendly sales). 

I suppose I could have found a better spot for photos than the hotel stairwell but both my photog-of-the-day C and I were too cold to go outside. At least I thought to place our coolers outside the camera frame. As they say, you can dress 'em up but...


I thought B was looking pretty dapper. He had another great-looking suit, shirt and tie combination picked out but I helpfully suggested he coordinate colours with me. Thanks for being accommodating hun :)

Dress - Swapped (L.O.L.)
Cardigan - Laura
Shoes - Guess via Winners
Earrings - Ardene
Ring - Winners
Clutch - From my grandmother's closet

Friday, May 04, 2012

Thai-style chicken and tofu soup

A good Thai soup combines the 4S - sweet, salty, spicy and sour. This version balances out those flavours nicely. Spice-wise, it's on the mild side but I added hot sauce before serving. The ingredients below can easily be adjusted to suit your tastes. This recipe makes a little over 12 cups and could serve 6 people as a main dish.

 Bake 12 small chicken thighs in oven, then cut into bite-sized pieces. Alternatively, shred the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Cut one package of firm tofu into 1-inch cubes, pat dry, then sautee in a small amount of oil until just starting to brown. Set aside chicken and tofu.

Pour 12 cups of chicken stock into a large pot. I used a combination of low-salt homemade and commercial stock. You can also replace some of the stock with water. Add two thumb-sized pieces of peeled grated ginger, 1 T chopped garlic, 1 bunch finely chopped green onion, 3 diced red chilis, 3 T fish sauce, 2T brown sugar, 2 stalks bruised lemongrass, and 2 large handful of fresh lime leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add 1 can of coconut milk and continue simmering for 10 minutes. Add 2 cans of bamboo shoots and 1 cup of carrots sliced on the diagonal. Simmer for another 5 minutes or until carrots are tender-crisp.

Tip: You will need to remove the lime leaves and lemongrass before serving. To make this process easier, you can tie them up in cheesecloth and dunk them into the soup. 

Prepare 2 small packages of rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and add to soup, along with chicken and tofu. Alternatively, you can add the noodles directly to the soup and simmer but the soup will be starchier.

Served with chopped cilantro and sambal oelek or any other hot sauce for extra spice.


Thursday, May 03, 2012

Trend trial run: Denim on denim

Fun fact: Denim-on-denim is also referred to as the Canadian tuxedo. And yes there are places where this is true. (Actually, my top may be chambray, not denim, but I'm not really clear on the difference.) Either way, it's thanks to an unseasonably cold day in Brussels that I happened to pop into a thrift store for warmth and found this absolutely classic Ralph Lauren button-down for ₤5. It takes to washing, drying and ironing like a dream. *Sigh*

I've been looking to replace these non-stretchy (what was I thinking?!) skinny jeans which have grown too tight. I was shocked when a $13 of jeggings from Forever 21 fit me well.  That wouldn't even cover the tax on one or two pairs in my closet. And to keep up the momentum, I decided to finally give away these expensive but uncomfortable ballet flats, who found a home with N of A Fine Balance. No amount of padding or insoles have ever made them work with my narrow heels. Anyways, keep an eye out for them on her blog! 

Have any of you bought jeans at Forever 21? 


Shirt - Thrifted (Ralph Lauren)
Jeans - Forever 21
Belt - Thrifted (Nygard)
Scarf - Swapped
Watch - from my Dad's closet
Shoes - Elie Tahari via Winners

For this post I'm linking up with Spunky Chateau's Thursdays are for Thrifters Link Party