1.27.2015

Chicken Parmesan

I feel like most of my cooking lately has been all about the classics. And making them really good. Or really easy. Either way, there is not a whole lot of creativity happening here, just my versions of foods we all love made simply and deliciously. Chicken Parm is classic American Italian and because everyone loves it, I made it for a dinner party last weekend. I also made it in advance, which is HUGE in my world right now. Little people are not the best sous chefs, so putting this together during nap time was essential. And it was great. Make this before you serve or even the day before, explanation below. Also, I use a ton of help from the store on this to save time. If you are not into saving time then feel free to whip up your own tomato sauce or bread crumbs. I envy you. This recipe is very "as you go" so you cannot mess it up, I promise you. Try it and you will rock it. 

(How bad are my photos lately? Lighting is everything and obviously my kitchen is not great)

Chicken Parmesan 
Imperfect Polish 2015
serves 6-8 (make more or less and just adjust ingredient amounts)

2 cups panko bread crumbs
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup of flour
salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried rosemary
8 thin cut boneless skinless chicken breasts (if your store does not carry this, you can buy 3 lbs of chicken and do this
Olive oil 
Butter 
2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce (I like San Marzano)
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese 
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

Place the bread crumbs, eggs, and flour in their own shallow bowl or plate. Season each with salt, pepper, a couple of pinches of oregano and rosemary. 

Dredge each chicken piece in the flour, shaking off the excess. Then coat in the egg, then place in the bread crumbs to coat well. Place on a cooling rack or parchment lined tray. Repeat with all of the chicken. 

Place a large skillet on the stove with enough olive oil to coat the bottom well and a couple of pats of butter over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, cook the chicken in batches until golden brown on each side and cooked through. About 3-4 minutes a side. Place the cooked chicken on a cooling rack. If working with a lot of chicken, you can also do this in multiple pans. Change out the oil/butter of each pan after 2-3 rounds of chicken in it. 

(Make Ahead Note: you can make the chicken in advance, let cool, and place in the fridge until ready to assemble and bake the entire dish. Can be done up to two days before) 

In a large roasting pan (you might need two), spread a thick layer of marinara sauce on the bottom. Layer the chicken along the top and sprinkle with the mozzarella and provolone cheese. Dot a bit more sauce around the edges of the chicken and on the top, then sprinkle with grated Parmesan. 

(Make Ahead Note: You can assemble this a couple hours before your event and bake off when ready. This can also be frozen at this point and then thawed a baked when you want it. If bringing this to a friend, stop at this point as well and have them bake off when ready to eat)

Place the pan in a 400 degree oven and bake until bubbling and golden brown, about 20 minutes. 

Enjoy! 
xo
Erin 


1.26.2015

SAG Awards 2015: Best & Worst

Everyone shows up to this event. Everyone. I spotted Andrea Zuckerman in the crowd. She did not look half bad, either. A lot of ladies looked fantastic, some needed some help. 

These ladies are the top of the top of the Best for me. Some real surprises too! 

Julianna's dress is wrinkled, one of my all time pet peeves, BUT the color is stunning on her. Love the cut of the dress, the hair, all of it. Felicity Jones is perfection in this sweet pink. Classic and styled simply, which so works for her. Julie Bowen! Welcome to the best dressed list! She finally got it right with this perfectly femme number with simple styling. Anna from Downton looks like a full blown movie star. Love her. 

Now for everyone else… 

1.21.2015

Currently Liking

The beginning of this year has gotten me seriously out of sorts. Between travel, sick kiddies, work, there is not a lot of rhythm to my day. But there are a few things right now that I am either enjoying or hope to soon. Some lovely randomness for you...

1. Instagram is probably one of the only social media outlets I check regularly these days and I love @natgeo. Photos and stories around the world each day that inspire and educate you, what could be better? 

2. My beloved little bracelet with my kids initials on it broke. So I am on the hunt for a new one. Thinking this one with both of their initials would be a nice replacement. Bauble Bar $119

3. I am also loving a hat right now. This floppy one from J. Crew looks perfect. $54

4. Reading actual books was a resolution of sorts and I am deep into Unbroken right now. Anytime you need some perspective start reading a book about a POW from World War II. It makes your day, no matter how difficult, feel like a breeze. Love the way she entangles the story of the protagonist and those  in his life. Plus the education on the Pacific theatre of this war is insanely eye opening. Love a good history lesson on this grand old dame of a country of ours.

5. With the influx of new things after Christmas, my mind keeps wandering on how to simplify my life. My house, my mind, my day. This 30 day challenge might be something great for the coming weeks. You into it?  

6. Santa brought a Nespresso machine, which is great, except I do not drinks coffee. But! The milk frother has changed my life. I am perfecting my Chai Latte every day. (ps: the coffee is delicious)

7. That picture is terrible, but Jimmy Kimmel was on the Bachelor this week and it was pretty great. I love how into he is. The above is Jimmy eating wings while watching the Bach and his date make out in a hot tub. Does anyone else still watch? (ps: Melissa, I miss your round ups!) 

Anything cool and exciting that is making your day/week? Would love to hear. 

xo
Erin 



1.16.2015

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Sometimes the weather and the sniffling noses calls for something classic. This recipe is not laced with some fancy ingredient and there is no new technique. It is just how it always had been made and how it should stay. This is a from scratch soup so it takes some time, but not a lot of prep. Mostly it bubbles away. I found it on one of my favorite food sites and if it is not in your bookmarks add it. We had this last night for dinner and the leftovers for lunch. It is the perfect weekend project and it will make your house smell so yummy. She also gives instructions on how to make the broth in a slow cooker as well, such a bonus. 


Smitten Kitchen 2015
10-12 servings

You can make this in 4 to 4 1/2 hours all at once or split it into two days by making the broth and then finishing off the soup on another day. This soup has a lot of noodles (I used more than the recipe and it was almost all noodles. No complaints. But if you like less noodle, just add less. 

Broth
2 medium yellow onion, unpeeled, halved or 1 large onion and 1 leek 
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed a little 
1 large carrot
1 large parsnip (optional)
1 celery rib
4 quarts of water
4 lbs chicken bones (leftover from a roast chicken) or  4 lbs chicken wings (that is what I did)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf

To Finish
3 bone in skin on chicken breast halves (you could also use already cooked chicken and skip the step where you cook the chicken, but I have to say her way makes for super juicy chicken)
2 large carrots, peeled, diced
1 large leek, trimmed and sliced into 1/2 inch segments (if leeks freak you out, just omit)
2 celery ribs, diced
9 oz egg noodles of your choice. (I used medium for kid friendly fingers)
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (optional)

Make the broth
[on the stove] Combine all the ingredient for the broth in a large (6 to 8 quart) stock pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a gently simmer, skim any unpleasant looking foam from the top, and cover with a lid. Simmer 2 1/2 hours. 

[in a slow cooker] combine all ingredients in a large (6 qt or larger) slow cooker. Cook on Low for 10 hours or High for 5. Strain into a large pot and let rest in the fridge until needed, or, if you are finishing the soup right away, bring to a simmer on the stove. 

Cook the chicken: 
[stovetop method, skip if using already cooked chicken] Add the whole chicken breasts to simmering broth. Simmer for  20 minutes, until they are cooked through, remove and set aside, then strain broth. 

[slow cooker method] Add whole chicken breasts to simmering broth on the stove, cook 20 minutes, until cooked through, then set aside. 

Both methods, taste broth and adjust for seasoning. And skim the top of the broth to remove some of the fat that is floating at the top. Leave some though, it is delicious! 

Finish the soup: 
Add diced vegetables to the simmering broth on the stove and cook for 5 minutes, until firm tender. Add soup noodles and cook according to package instructions. Meanwhile, once chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and shred or chop into small chunks. Return chicken to soup and simmer for 2 minutes, until heated through. Finish with parsley if using and serve to some very lucky people. 

Enjoy! 
xo
Erin 

1.14.2015

Jumpsuits

My love of jumpsuits really has no bounds. And I must not be alone because this last weekend there were some very cute options on some of the ladies I was hanging with.
 I love the ease of a one piece when planning a look and that it always looks chic. It is a great day or night option and they look great with booties, pumps, tennies, anything. They also look perfect with your favorite blazer layered on top, making it very cold weather friendly.  The options have gotten even better this winter, so I rounded up the best of the best under $200...
1. Reverse $87 (So sexy with an open back)
2. Topshop $115 (perfect for work & play)
3. Topshop $115 (would be killer at a wedding)
4. Madewell $168 (so chic for errand running)
5. Rory Becca $207 (technically over $200, but on crazy sale)
6. FindersKeepers $195 (obsessed with this one)
7. d.ra $125 (classic and flattering)
8. 5th & Mercer $157 (love the gold detail)
9. Shades of Grey $138 (looks comfy for the weekend)


xo
Erin 

1.13.2015

Making iPhones Bright



This is just a little idea that goes a long way. I wish I could take credit, but I found it on Pinterest a couple years ago and have kept the tradition alive. If you have all those Holiday cards still lying around or hanging up. Take a quick second to add those pictures to your contacts. The pictures are the person's favorite and making them their profile picture brings a lot of love to that address book of yours. It's so fun to get a call on my phone and a cute pic of that person/their chubby baby/their new puppy pops up on the screen. 

To do it on an iPhone, just go to your contacts, find the person, then click edit. In the left hand corner, click add photo. Take the photo right there or choose from your library if you already snapped it. 

Just a little cheer for your Tuesday. 

Xo 
Erin

1.12.2015

Best & Worst: Golden Globes 2015

Although I got in late last night from a ridiculously fun trip to Sonoma with girlfriends and want to curl up on the couch with the kids all day, I could not miss rounding up the lovelies from last nights Globes. There was a lot of goodness, which is great, but also I love seeing some train wrecks. That is terrible, but it makes it fun! Let's get started, shall we...

My overall best may come as a surprise, but I thought Sienna Miller really killed it. 


this dress is gorgeous on her, she looks young and fresh, and still looks cool while also looking like a total movie star. I worship her. 

Here are my other Best of the night...

Reese's look is certainly not ground breaking, but it is perfectly executed. Emma Stone kills a jumpsuit on the red carpet. Gywenth looks so great in pink and she was the only one that sported it. Naomi nailed it (except that belt). Seth Myers wife wears pleats perfectly. Kate Hudson straight up movie starred it up, she looks killer. Julianne Moore's metallic is so gorgeous as is her simple styling. Julia looks perfect. This other metallic dress on Dakota is amazing. Julianne Moore's dress is not that exciting, but the entire look just fits together flawlessly. 

These two ladies were looking good last night.
Love that blue on Amy. Tina tried something original, which I love. Her hair, not so much. 

And can we all just bow down to these ladies? I am pretty sure they are either already or pushing 70. 
They are not my favorite dresses, but holy hell do they look amazing. 

There was a lot of other goodness out there last night too...

Heidi is looking a little prom-ish as usual, but you cannot deny she looks great. I cannot decide if I love the leather belt on Kate Mara or not. But I think I do. I sort of loathe Katherine Heigl, but she looks insane in this navy number. Diane's dress is pretty, but wish she would have turned it up more. Maggie looks surprisingly elegant. Love this dress on her. 

Emily's goddess dress is ok, her hair and make up is amazing though. Love me a throw back lame dress like this on Jessica. Chisty could have been on the best, but that strange crotch seam is throwing me off big time. Taylor looks a little severe with her hair and all the red, but still pretty. Leslie Mann can do no wrong in my book. Love that clutch, but not really with the yellow dress. 

Is Kate Beckinsale still an actress? What is she in? And why is she always at the Globes? Regardless she looks fantastic, minus the hair. Katie Holmes looks pretty, kind of boring though. Anna Kendrick is so hilarious and fun, this dress is very pretty, but she could have done better. Catherine's make up is not good, but this dress suits her I think. She might want to lay off the sugary too, she is looking a little frozen. 

Allison williams. I love you. But not in love with this, but you looks gorge. J Lo does the cape well, but the seams of this dress are strange to me. You cannot deny that she looks incredible though. This halter dress on Jennifer is eh. The hater is cheesy, the proportions are strange and she could do SO much better. Love this on Selma. Not a fan of the flower in her hair though. 


There were some risk takers last night that I loved. You may not agree, but I love me some high fashion on the red carpet to keep it interesting. These girls brought it and I love the results. 


There is a lot of volume in this group, which in the size 000 world of the red carpet is probably the riskiest move of them all. Kristen Wiig and Amanda Peets' dresses are so pretty and femme. Only the artsy girl from Girls can get away with this. I kind of love her in this entire look. Then that other girl from Girls, Zosia, looks great in this beige and pink. She usually goes a little far and this is so pretty on her. Claire went with some volume and pattern, besides that sheer in the middle (so over that look), I love this. And an expectant Keira is so pretty in this frock. Hate that butterfly hanging off her hand, but other than that I love this so much. 

And now your favorite part, the worst. Which is an interesting mix this year. Mostly it was that it was disappointing, as opposed to a total train wreck… 

Melissa McCarthy lost some weight and looks great. Why or why would someone put her in a half matador costume/Mother of the Bride dress? Her hair and make up look nice though. Amy Adams. What a snooze. This dress should be on some movie star's boring wife, not a freaking nominee! I want to love this teal number on Felicity, but I cannot get behind a mock turtleneck. Especially when it is attached to a giant dress. Too much fabric. Rosamund Pike just had a baby and looks amazing. This dress is strange and ill fitting, especially in the bust. Lena actually looks so great for her, again why is this tailored like this? Like it is supposed to be unflattering. Kerry's dress is horrible. Sorry, I said it. the metallic, the colors, the seam down the middle, the length, the shoes. Cindy freaking Crawford can do better than a dress borrowed from a RHONY housewife (original cast). Amal! God I love this lady. But the white gloves and white clutch killed this entire look. And after her insane wardrobe when she got married that bar has been set very high. 

What do you think? Who were your best and worst? I love to hear your thoughts! 

xo
Erin 

1.07.2015

A Great Escape & Fresh Start


Happy New Year! I hope it was filled with roaring fires, good wine, and even better snacks. If I had been home, that is what I think makes the perfect NYE. 

Instead of that, we enjoyed a glorious week away in Playa Grande, Costa Rica. Sunshine all day, the perfect beach for swimming and surfing in the waves, and plenty of quiet time to recharge and relax. It was such a blessing and I am still coming down from it. 

For those looking for travel info, I would absolutely recommend Playa Grande (direct flight into Liberia). It is close to Tamarindo, but separated by any tourist area. Peaceful and what felt like was a true Costa Rican experience. If you want any more info or tips, email me Erin@imperfectpolish.com

So now it is a new year. New start. And I always feel like resolutions are a waste, but there is no harm in making some observations or hopes for the months to come. 

Some are things I have been working on this year that seem benign (better posture, use my phone less, stop eating processed junk). 
Other hopes are to grow my life professionally (build my real estate business, amp up the blog, expand my styling services). 
And maybe the most important is to just enjoy and live life. 

The trip away really helped me to see how the minutia of each day can pile up and make me feel like life is more complicated than it really needs to be. And that my day is really a lot better when I have a few minutes to relax, read a book, and have a beverage (diet coke before 5, wine after). 

I am going to be settling back into a writing schedule, so until then it will be a bit spotty here. But I am thinking about all of you. How you are starting your year, what content you might want to see here in the coming months, and hoping you all are doing a little something for yourself each day to feel good. 

Love you all! 
xo
Erin 






12.23.2014

Happy Present


And here we are. The week of. Christmas just days away and New Years just around the corner. 

This time of year can be joyful and brutal all at the same time. 

But even though the runny noses have been in full force and we are not exactly getting a full nights sleep, during the daylight hours I plan to be present. 

To take in the moments, the good and the bad. Enjoy the company around me. And remember the blessings we are beyond grateful for. 

So this year I am giving myself the gift of presence. As much as I possibly can. 

I hope you find it in your days as well. 

Happy Present(s) to my lovely readers and a Happy Holidays. 

There will be no posts for a few weeks, but lots of fun things to come in 2015. 

See you then. 

xo
Erin 

12.19.2014

Happy Weekend!


What are you doing this weekend? Tonight we are celebrating Christmas a little early with some family and going out to dinner at our favorite French restaurant. It is sadly closing tomorrow, so had to get one last visit in! Tomorrow I have two holiday parties with girlfriends and Sunday the Nutcracker with my Mom. So much on the agenda to look forward to.  

I have also started menu planning a bit for next week. This will be the smallest crowd yet, so it has been nice to not think about quantity so much. I am eyeing this ragu for Christmas Eve dinner since church is late and it will be easy to come home to. And a possible surf and turf situation on Christmas Day? Giant crab legs from Costco sound like heaven. And these mushrooms could be a great addition. This only after our traditional Dreamy Sour Cream Waffles. The best part of the day, really. 

Do you have any recipes you love to make for the holidays? Would love some new ones! 

Happy Weekend! 
xoxo
Erin  

12.18.2014

Valentino: Winter White Inspiration

Last week Valentino presented a gorgeous all white haute couture collection that was to die for. Here are a few of my personal favorites. 


Gorgeous lace mixed with mod touches and clean lines. It was so so beautiful. 

White can be so hard to pull the trigger on if you are not a bride, but it makes such a statement with minimal effort. Though Valentino may be out of range (way out), there are some options that would yes stunning for this winter. 

White coats in different shapes, but clean lines to covet. 
From Left: Loft $188 (love the soft texture) / Asos $142 (cocoon coats are the shape of the season) / Asos $123 (classic pea coat. love) / Anthropologie $398 (gorgeous shape and love the fur)

I want all of these. How chic is a white dress???
1. This MiH dress is 70% off. So gorge. $168
2. A mod swing dress, much like the Valentinos Asos $85
3. Worship this Asos sweater dress. Pair with booties. $72 
4. The lace bottom offsets the structure well on this Chalk Rider dress. $138
5. Paired with black tights, this is the perfect dress for anything. Anine Bing $200
6. this lace dress is so so pretty. Would look cute with boots. Free People $128
7. Hello NYE dress. For Love & Lemons $194
8. The easiest way to wear white. A cable sweater dress. Madewell $128

xo
Erin 


12.17.2014

Simply Decked Halls

Though I never really go ALL out with the decorations, I do like things to be festive around here. This year though everything feels better when it is simpler. 

The tree has only plastic ornaments that will not break. Kind of a bummer in the looks department, but this way the kids can decorate and undecorate the tree to their hearts content with no breakage. Which is really fun to watch. 

Then there are the mantels. Usually done up in garland and lights and this year I was just not feeling that. A more modern aesthetic and clean look was what I craved, so just a couple wreaths and twinkle lights surrounded by the usual suspects. 


Loved making this guy into Rudolph. 





And no, I do not have those fun, matching family stockings. But I love the ones we have.  




And outside, just enough lighting to make the house look merry. 


Of course there are some out on the column. But just like the blogs name, the imperfectness of the entire holiday is what makes it real and not a fantasy. 

I know my tastes in design will change on a constant basis, so it is fun to switch it up each year. Next year there could be a light show and tinsel on every surface. Who knows? 

And in other big big news. Baby girl had her first day of school this week and she rocked it. 


xo
Erin 



12.15.2014

Skinny Pancakes

I have been wanting to try making the no flour/no sugar/gluten free pancakes that are all over Pinterest for awhile. And while I will not be retiring my tried and true classic pancake, these are a nice break during the indulgence of the season. 

 I have modified the recipes I have seen a bit since we are not a gluten free house and added just a bit of whole wheat flour, but you can omit the flour if you want (some recipes use coconut flour if you want to try that). 

These pancakes are loved by the kids and full of protein. Bonus is they comes together in seconds and no sticky syrup fingers because they do not even need it. 


Skinny Pancakes
Imperfect Polish 2014
serves 2-3 people 

2 ripe bananas (use those over ripe ones too, even better)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (I like pastry flour, but any will do)
few dashes of cinnamon
coconut oil spray (or use any oil you have, like Pam)

Preheat a griddle or large pan to Medium low heat and spray with oil. 

In a blender, magic bullet, or Vitamix combine the rest of the ingredients until smooth. 

Pour batter onto how griddle and cook on one side until bubbling. Flip and cook until well set and just browned. Just like regular pancakes! 

Serve warm with syrup, honey, or nothing at all. the bananas keep them sweet. 

Enjoy! 
xo
Erin 


12.12.2014

Wall of Love

I have lagged a bit on getting our Christmas cards out this year. But thankfully, many people have not. 

This year I wanted to display the cards that are so lovingly sent from those from near and far. Ideally in a place everyone could see them and the kids could pick out friends and family's faces. I had lofty DIY goals that involved string and stars and washi tape. 

And just like every other pinned DIY and bookmarked design blog challenging me to be creative and resourceful, it never happened. 

When the cards started arriving, I decided I did not need anything fancy, just some scotch tape and blank space. So the side of the fridge has become the Wall of Love. A once blank space has started to fill with the pictures of chubby baby cheeks and wide eyed toddlers. Of loving parents, very proud grandparents and tinseled homes. And when each day the wall gets covered more, it makes me a little teary.


There is so much love, so much joy, and so much to be grateful for when I look at that wall. What a beautiful reminder of those that love us and their happy lives. That they are feeling joy and love and special moments together. It really makes the season even more special. 

There is much to be celebrated, and not just in our own lives. But every one's. 

We all have complications, stresses, tragedy, and disappointment. Some more than others. But 'tis the season to be joyful. To be grateful. And to celebrate all the love.  Because there is a lot of it happening all around us. 

And that perfect display is not missed. In fact, the imperfection of it all makes it even more lovely. And I cannot wait to fill it even more. 

Happy Weekend
xo
Erin 

12.11.2014

Buffalo Check





I am really digging buffalo check right now. In fashion and interiors. Clearly a bit of cliche in the winter months, but there are so many fun ways to wear it now that go beyond the flannel shirt. 

1. This BB Dakota biker jacket is on sale and so so good. $91 
2. I love the colors of the this shirt and the longer style to wear over leggings. Madewell $79
3. Been looking for a new vest to wear with chunky sweaters. Love this. J. Crew $138
4. A color update on the classic flannel shirt. Gap $54
5. The perfect stocking stuffer, plaid sleep shorts. J. Crew $38
6. A light jacket covered in check would be great for running around in. Ralph Lauren $90 (on sale)
7. I worship Hanna Anderssen for the kids and these pjs would be perfect for Christmas. $38
8. Christmas cookies would look mighty fine in this C. Wonder cookie jar. $58
9. This coat for little girls is too much. I want it in my size. J. Crew $248

Additional sales today on some sites listed above! 
J. Crew 30% everything with code MERRYMERRY
Madewell 30% off with code GOFORIT

xo
Erin 




12.10.2014

Ragu Alla Bolognese

There is nothing like the smell of a great tomato sauce on the stove. Bubbling away for hours and teasing you by taking its sweet time getting delicious. And then, the magic. A meaty and gorgeous sauce over silky noodles is heaven and so perfect for a winter meal. This bolognese is one of my favorite for a few reason. One being that it makes a huge pot that freezes well and can be served for months. It also does not require a ton of ingredient, but does include some vegetables for depth and health? ha It is great on pasta, served in a big bowl with crusty bread, or even on top of soft polenta. Time to tuck in. 


Ragu alla Bolognese
Cristina's Tuscan Table, 2007
makes 1 gallon (freezes great and feel free to half or quarter the recipe, cooking times will be shorter)

3 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground lean pork
3 1/4 cups red wine, divided
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, minced*
1 large carrot minced*
2 stalks celery, minced*
3 cloves garlic, minced *Note: to save time, mince the veggies in the food processor
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 cup diced pancetta (about 1/2 pound)
salt and pepper to taste
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
18 cups canned tomato puree (I used crushed), about 5- 28 oz cans
pinch of hot red pepper flakes

In a bowl, marinate the beef and pork in 1 3/4 cups wine and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the minced onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and parsley and saute over medium high heat until onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the marinated meat, pancetta, salt and pepper. Cook uncovered, stirring with a wooden spoon until meat is browned, about 30 minutes.

Add remaining 1 1/2 cups wine and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the bay leaves and tomato paste, and cook 2 more minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and red pepper flakes, and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: You could easily put this in the slow cooker to bubble as well if you cannot man the stock. 

Enjoy!
xo
Erin

12.09.2014

Gift guide 2014: Under $100

Honestly, there are so many great gift ideas. Many of which are under $100, but these are just a few I found that stand out from the crowd and in the very best way. I hope it helps! 

1. Rebecca Minkoff $95 (also comes in blue, red, black)
2. A polaroid camera is honestly so much fun. Never knew until I had one. $100
3. A sign language monogram necklace is too cool. Monserat de Lucca $32
4. Love this catch all in emerald green.  C. Wonder $20
5. Classic cozy moccasin slippers. J. Crew $49
6. This earring set allows you to try all those ear cuffs and mismatched studs you have been curious about. Bauble Bar $100
7. This preppy striped over sized hoodie is perfect Asos $37
8. The best universal make up on the planet. Nars bronzer/blush combo in Orgasm and Laguna $42
9. Such a fan of Garance Dore and her collab with Rifle Paper is so fun. $18
10. This Love cuff would be perfect in an arm party. Kate Spade $88

xo
Erin 



12.08.2014

Bronzer Find: Nars Illuminator



I would love nothing more than to to be Magda. To lay in the sun all freaking day, soak up that vitamin D, and get to a golden brown. 

Actually, I was Magda. In college. Hence why I have to avoid the sun at almost all costs now. But I crave that glow. Even in the winter months. 

Bronzer is the best. The absolute best. And while I love a great blush, I really need the look of a bit of sun on my face to feel human. Especially when my skin has not seen the sun in months (hello February). 

The problem with a powder bronzer (much like a powder blush) is that it seems to disappear within hours of applying. So I researched a way to have that glow last all day and into the night. 



I use it in Laguna and apply just the very smallest amount where the sun would hit my face if I had been laying around like Magda (top of forehead, top of cheeks, maybe a little on the jaw line for contour). Blend well and you are set. It wasn't even designed to be used like this (you can apply before foundation for a natural illuminated look too), but I love love love it like this. 

Bonus is it comes in a few colors, so if you are looking for blush with more staying power it comes in the ever popular pinky Orgasm. Or if you want just a bit of sheen a pretty and subtle beige. 

Happy Healthy Bronzing. 
xo
Erin 




12.05.2014

Happy Weekend

What is on your agenda this weekend? 



(Someone's excited. Mary, not so much)



Matt is out of town, so I will be manning the children solo, wish me luck. I plan on making that lovely rigatoni that was posted a few weeks ago. Already looking forward to it.
 And driving into Amy Poehler's book if I am lucky. 
Although I would really like to see Chef & The Hundred Foot Journey which are both on demand now, so we will see what wins out. 
Brunch on Saturday with a friend will be a nice break and picking up some new decorations for the holidays. Including a wreath! I lagged.
 Doing a lot of my online shopping as well on the couch, a lot of ladies on my list are getting pretty little things from Plum Pretty Sugar. I am a little obsessed. 

I hope you have a cozy and relaxing weekend whatever you are doing. 

xo
Erin 

12.04.2014

Minted. More than Cards

We are all doing it. 
Scrolling through the printing sites we love, agonizing over each design, hating the sticker shock, but loving the result. Yes, it is Christmas card design time. 

I have used a few different sites over the years (tiny prints, cocodot, pinhole), but this year I went with Minted. Their design options are beautiful and fun, and they had a clean multi photo design that I think will be great for this year. 

Much to my surprise though as I was searching the site, I found that Minted also sells prints. Gorgeous ones that can be printed in many sizes (including large scale). And to top it off, you can have them framed. I obsess over prints and knowing that a site I trust has some options gets me pumped. 

Check out some of these beauties...


Gorgeous, right? And the pricing is not scary, in fact it is great. 

The other bonus on the site is fabric. I wish that I knew how to sew, but luckily I know someone who could make some great pillows or table linens out of some of these lovelies. The selection for options for little people's rooms is adorable too. 


Love a good find on a site I already love. 

xo
Erin 


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