Getting in the Spirit

I know it is crazy to think about Christmas before Halloween even comes, but honestly it the only thing that can get me in a creative state of mind. Burnout happens to me probably a few times a year and over the last couple of weeks, it is in full swing. Sometimes it is hard to feel creative enough to put content together for you that is actually worth reading. And my thought is always that quality is better than quantity and I would never want to disappoint you with some ho-hum post (although I am sure it still happens!). So that is the reason for the lack of posts lately. But when I started thinking about all the upcoming holiday parties that you might have coming up, a light bulb went off. And honestly, holiday party dress shopping is probably one of my favorite posts of the year. Dresses with a little something extra that puts you in the mode of the season are always fun to find. Here are a few that stand out from the crowd of the usual suspects that are so fun. 

1. It is rare to be able to wear white if you are not a bride. Take advantage. For Love & Lemons $255
2. This dress is actually embroidered. So so pretty and love the colors. Asos $180
3. This is the second time I posted this dress. I love it that much Alice + Olivia $396
4. The front is covered up and cute, but the sassy back and jacquard makes it a fave. Alice + Olivia $395
5. This hunter green knit is screaming for a statement necklace. Alice + Olivia $396
6. A floral digital print feels surprisingly festive. Asos $165
7. Such a sucker for a black and white dress and the draping on this is so pretty. Shoshanna $295
8. A lot of beading, but in an understated way. These silhouettes are always flattering too. Asos $181

Hopefully this is a kick for me to get my mojo back and if there is anything you are looking for specifically please let me know. Would love ideas! 



Pumpkin Bread Muffins

This last weekend was just one of those that you hope to have each week. The weather was crisp, but lovely. Plenty of play time with the kids and excursions as a family. Plus, date night with the hubs. And to top it off a prefect visit with my brother capped with fireside smores. Luckily,  I still have some of these pumpkin bread muffins I made with Tommy yesterday to keep me happy on this Monday morning and to make it feel like the weekend is still alive. 

This is truly just The Best Pumpkin bread Bread Ever, poured into a muffin tin. But I like that they are portioned out a bit as the loaf seems to go way too fast given my one-more-thin-slice mentality that magically makes the entire thing disappear. The recipe gives you the option of muffins or loaves. You could always top these guys with some cream cheese frosting. Just saying...

My Mom's Pumpkin Bread or Muffins
Imperfect Polish 2014
makes 2 loaves or 2 dozen muffins

2 1/2 cups of sifted flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp each nutmeg, cinnamon, ground clove
1 lb canned pumpkin
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Sift all of the dry ingredients (first 6 listed) together in a large bowl. 

In a standing mixer bowl (if using) or another large mixing bowl (if using a hand mixer), beat the remaining ingredients together until smooth. 

Add the dry ingredients in thirds combining well each time until smooth again. 

Fill two well greased loaf pans 3/4 full if baking loves. And bake for 1 1/4 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. 

Or fill two muffin tins lined with paper cups with the batter to about 3/4 full in each cup. Bake for 20-30 minutes until set and toothpick comes out clean. 



Shopbop Sale: My Favorites

There is a Shopbop sale for the next 3 Days! Everything gets 25% off at checkout when you use the code FAMILY25. There is so much greatness on the site right now, but here are a few of my favorites to get you started. Click pictures for links and hover for info. 

Happy Shopping! 


Jail Birdies

Sooo having a moment with black and white stripes right now. In a top, a dress, coat, all of it. Classic, yet fun, and surprisingly flattering. Here are some cute options to sport them.  

1. This Topshop dress is great year round. $45 (on sale)
2. This top would look great over skinnies. PPLA $35
3. This comfy shift has an exposed zipper in the back. Painted Threads $35
4. This sweater dress looks comfy for the cold weather. Would look great with brown boots.  Asos $47
5. This knit sweater dress would be cute belted too.  Old Navy $34
6. Love the soft stripes and slinky knit of this A.L.C dress. $475

And though not stripes, I just picked up some black and white pieces that I am pumped to wear tomorrow night for a night out. Black, white, leopard, and gold. Can't go wrong, right? 
1. Honestly, these Hudson jeans are the most flattering I have ever worn and so comfortable. 
2. I got this French Connection top at Bevello on sale. You can also get it here. 
3. I have black cap toe pumps like these from Club Monaco that I love so much. 
4. This Bauble Bar hassle necklace is a lot like one of my vintage costume pieces. $36
5. This Claire V. clutch is currently sold out everywhere. It has become my go to. Which is funny since I used to loathe leopard. 

I hope your weekend is black, white, and chic all over. 


Secret Lives of Moms: Change of Opinion

Things can add up pretty quickly in our lives. Moms or not. You tell yourself that you won't get so stressed or frustrated or fed up or all of the above that you will change the way you promised yourself you would parent. But, oops there it is. We all believed that we would not do those things we always judged others for doing (other mothers or our own. ha) and then we went ahead and did it, and life went on and our kids are turning out pretty great. 

This week I asked Moms: 

What thing do you do now that you swore you never would when it comes to parenting? 

"There was no way that I would let my kids eat or drink more than water in the car. Those sticky, crumby cars always grossed me out as a kid. But alas, after the first whines from the back I am handing out crackers and lollipops like Santa. Bottom line, sometimes a drive in the car is the only peace I get while sitting down in the day." 

"I am guilty of saying those things I swore I never would. Like, "If you won't brush your hair, maybe we should just cut it all off."  I might now say this once a week, at least, to my daughter!  My girls are, of course, just as picky in regards to eating as I use to be.  I say to them, "Don't say 'I don't like it' say 'I don't care for it'!" My parents always said that one day I would have a kiddo that would do just the same annoying things that I did to them...they were right.  My husband is in SHOCK that he now is living with 2 of me. "

"I swore that I would never put my kid on one of those kid leashes! But with the second one on the way, I'm seriously contemplating it."

"Talk about peeing and pooping like it is a perfectly normal topic of conversation."

"Coming from a family of all girls, I swore my children would never wear hand me downs.  They would always wear brand new spanking clothing. Two children later realizing that children grow like weeds, and some outfits don't even get worn, I'm saving everything for the future third child. It's new to them!"

"I was never going to let my kids watch or play with our iPhones/tablets while eating out at a restaurant. They need to learn to sit through a meal, right?!? But after all else fails and I'm trying to enjoy a nice meal and glass of wine, I'll do anything to keep the peace. Gotta love the Disney Jr. App!"

"As I grew up and would think about how I wanted to be a mother, I told myself I would never let my kids watch TV. However, as the first one came and then the next I have found myself using TV to help distract the oldest to actually accomplish tasks with my younger one. Whether it be nurse the younger one or change a diaper. My hope is that

 TV keeps the oldest distracted enough to not break, tear, or flush something down the toilet when I am unable to watch."

"I swore I'd never breast feed this long. She's 10 months and I'm still doing it. It's hard to just stop and since I've come this far I might as well keep going. I don't want to start dealing with formula now even if it is for just 2 months. I also said I'd never have baby crap all over the common areas in the house. Yeah right. Like I'm going to put everything away in the baby's room every time. That would be even more exhausting :)"

" Saying "bc I said so!" I've found myself saying this all of  a sudden over the past few weeks my toddler literally says "why?" 15 times minimum after everything I say... Usually I'm patient for the first say 10  but by 15 I'm like just "because I said so" and he usually replies with "oh, ok"

"Giving in to the whining when at the store. I swore I'd never be the mom that tries to buy her Child's silence by giving in to whines and screams for cookies! Lollypops and ice-cream while grocery shopping. Pretty much always end up grabbing a box of junk and handing it over so I can get my shopping done! Eek!"

"I was going to be a mom whose baby adapted to my schedule and not vice versa.  YEAH RIGHT!  My life revolves around my son's nap time.  Period."

""Let the baby cry it out" Swore I'd do it... never did! Got up every time."

"Wipe baby snot on my clothes!! Now its toddler snot and I still do it!"

"When my son was born, I swore I would make all of his food from scratch.  I would say to people, why make boxed macaroni and cheese when making it from scratch is just as easily.  Fast forward two years to this past weekend, I fed him hot dogs two days in a row. At least they were organic."

What is your answer? Would love to hear. 



Statement Sofa

Some of the spaces that I have been most inspired by lately have been full of white walls and brightly colored sofas. White walls can be kind of boring, but really it helps anchor anything you want to do to the room over time. And a sofa that makes a color statement is so fun and surprising. 

I have a bright navy sofa in my basement that I love so so much. There are so many great options out there now as home decorators are taking more risks to lovely rewards. 

1. I was floored when I saw this green number at Ikea. It is magic. $999
 2. Not quite pink, not quite red, this is such a beautiful shape and color. Deepa Gurnani $1998
3. This hot pink love seat would be fun in an entry or bedroom. Pottery Barn Teen $799
4. I love modern sofas mixed into traditional design. This yellow one would be fantastic. Hayneedle $919
5. Somehow this sofa has a clean modern feel, while also being feminine. This soft mint is so great. West Elm $899
6. A velvet chesterfield is kind of a dream of mine. Rowan Reed $2495



Baked Rigatoni with Chicken Sausage & Spinach

This is one of those perfect pasta dishes that is comforting, but not too heavy. It is now in my top ten. I love how easy it is to make and that the recipe makes two, so you can make one and freeze one for later. It came in really handy when I brought dinner to friends that had a new baby since dinner was made for both of us that night. The sauce is simple, but has so much flavor with a hint of richness. And the hearty bites of chicken sausage pairs so well with the tomato and spinach. Writing this makes me want to run to the store and grab all of the ingredients again.   

Baked Rigatoni with Chicken Sausage & Spinach 
Imperfect Polish 2014
Makes two dishes that serve 3-4 or 
Makes one dish that serves 6-8

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 lb chicken sausage 
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup of white wine (optional)
28oz can of whole tomatoes, with the juice and crush them with your hands
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lb rigatoni
10 oz baby spinach
8 oz fontina cheese, 6 oz cubed, 2 oz grated
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. 

Meanwhile, add one tablespoon of the oil to a skillet and heat to medium high heat. Cook the chicken sausage all the way through, turning to brown all sides. Turn off heat and place sausage on a cutting board to cool. 

Add the other tablespoon of oil to the skillet and turn the heat back on to medium high. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then pour in the wine. Let cook until wine has reduced by half. Then pour in the tomatoes and oregano. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cream, stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, slice the chicken sausage. And cook rigatoni according to the package instructions and add in the spinach to the pot for the last minute or so. Drain. 

Add the pasta, sausage, spinach, and cubed fontina to the skillet and mix well. Pour everything into either one large casserole dish or two smaller ones. Top with the grated fontina and parmesan. 

Bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and browned on top. 

If you are freezing one, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Then when ready to serve, thaw and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Or frozen for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 



Family Photo: What To Wear

Family photo taking season is upon us. While fun to set up and get the proofs from, it can be a little tough to put together a look for the entire family. I think these groups just nailed it. 

While I do not have anything against matching outfits (I have actually seen it done well. Rarely though), it is better to stick to a cohesion as opposed to straight up uniformity. I put together some groupings so you could see what I mean. 

Other rules of thumb are be careful with your prints, stick with clothes that fit really well to your frame, and wear body smoothing undergarments (aka spanx and smoothing tanks). That way you are comfortable moving around and wrangling the kids while they take the pictures. 

I broke the options down by their theme/dress code with a little boy and girl option to go with the parents. 

If you are doing a more formal sitting, then a cocktail dress you can sport to parties/weddings one the season is perfect. I kept the rest of the family in the same color story of navy, gray/silver, and white. 
 1. Alice + Olivia $396 / 2. J. Crew $405  / 3. J. Crew $128 / 4. Gap $60 / 5. Gap $9 / 6. Gap $26 / 7. Gap $24

We have all seen the families with the white shirts and black pants photo. This is a different take. Again, staying with the theme but breaking it up so it is not too matchy. Pair the girls tunic with leggings and boys sweater with jeans. 
1. J. Crew $98 / 2. Koral $159 / 3. J. Crew $128 / 4. J. Crew $155 / 5. Gap $44 / 6. Gap $39

Choosing a color to work around is not a bad idea. Just pick several hues and mix in at least one pattern. 
1. BB Dakota $65 / 2. J. Crew $88 / 3. J. Crew $69 / 4. Old Navy $12 / 5. J. Crew $39

Another example, this time in green and gray. 
1. Bailey 44 $174 / 2. J. Crew $118 / 3. J. Crew $69 / 4. Zara $35 / 5. Boden $30 

This is what I call "Everyone is dressed for Fall." Chunky knits, warm colors, and denim. 
1. Etienne Marcel $209 (wear with tights) / 2. J. Crew $98 / 3. J. Crew $155 / 4. J. Crew $48 (wear with leggings) / 5. Gap $44

Most likely you will base everyone's pieces off of yours. Right? So this for example shows you that by just adding in a color from your dress to the group and adding one more with pop, everything sort of mixes perfectly. 
1. Maison Scotch $120 / 2. J. Crew $98 / 3. J. Crew $69 / 4. Gap $44 / 5. Zara $19

And if you are headed outside in the cold to take your photos, try and coordinate your outwear. Yours should have a belt of fit as close to the body as possible. It is more flattering. I love this black and gray set so much. 
1. BB Dakota $144 / 2. J. Crew $520 / 3. Patagonia $114  / 4. Gap $44

I hope this helps you with some inspiration for your family photos. Really just work around a color or set of colors and you should be set. The most important piece of advice I have is to wear things you would wear normally. Everyone wants their pictures to be as natural as they possibly can be, they always turn out better. 



A Few Great Things

Just some random goodness for your weekend...

This shot from House Beautiful really struck me this week. Such statements and eclectic touch. Anyone doubting that a collection of things you love can never go together, should remember that it always will.  With the right styling of course. 

Say what you will about Lena Dunham, she is quite the character. And pretty hilarious. Check out this collection of short videos she did as promotion for her new book that came out this week. Her advice is funny but also poignant. 

My usual moisturizer ran out this week and I could not make it over to Sephora to get. So I picked up this cream at Target from Simple and I have to say my skin is looking pretty darn great. Considering it is 1/10 of the price of my usual brand, I might have to substitute this in more often. 

I came across this great company this week doing amazing things for girls like these above while also coming up with engineering genius for us. Meet Thinx

Check out their mission here. And check out their cute and ridiculously functional underwear for us. 

Again, why did no one think of this sooner? Your "period underwear" just got so much better. You know you have them in your drawer. Here is how these are better. 

My order is in. Happy helping out weekend. 


Best of the Booties

The bootie has become a Fall staple that makes it easy to elevate an outfit from "I am just wearing my skinnies and a tee" to "Look at how pulled together and cool I am."

They look great with jeans tucked over or cuffed above them, with leggings or tights with a tunic or dress, and bare legged for you lucky ladies in the warmer states. Though there are some fancier versions like Reese's above, I rounded up my favorite casual pairs that can be dressed up or down and perfect for running through your day. 

1. The shorter heel height is nice on this pair. Splendid $195
2. I love the contrast of the gray with the light colored heel. Loeffler Randall $319
3.  This is slightly chunkier style where your jeans could fit over the top easily. Jeffrey Campbell $154
4. This is a really classic style with a pointier toe. Madewell $218
5. This black pair is more refined and sleek than the others. Madewell $258
6. This is my favorite pair. Love the shape and the hint of Western. Arrici $259
7. These are more of an investment, but they really started this entire trend. Rag & Bone $525
8. Kind of obsessed with an open toe. Coach $298
9. This suede open toe is also so chic. Vince $395



Grilled Pork with Rosemary & Onion Compote

Something sweet and savory at the end of a long day is kind of glorious. Especially with a nice glass of wine. I absolutely love this recipe and how you only need a few ingredients to make it happen. It is nice to be able to still break out the grill before the cold comes, but this recipe is much more Fall like than its Summer counterparts. 

Grilled Pork Chops with Rosemary & Fig Compote

serves 4

3 large onions, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup fig preserves, like Bonne Maman (you could use orange or 

apricot as well)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary, plus some for garnish

crushed red pepper to taste

salt and pepper

4 tablespoons Dijon mustard

4 pork chops (I prefer the bone in loin chops, so much flavor)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, once hot

add in the onions. Toss with the oil to coat and cook, stirring 

frequently, until just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add in 

the preserves, balsamic, rosemary, crushed red pepper, and salt and 

pepper to taste. Combine well and bring to a boil. Turn heat down 

to medium-low and cook, stirring and scraping bottom 

occasionally, until onions are very tender and caramelized, about 

30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Brush pork

chops with the mustard and season generously with salt and 

pepper. Grill chops on both sides until thermometer registers 150 

degrees, about 8-10 minutes per side depending on thickness of 

chops. Let meat rest for 5 minutes.

Serve each chop with a generously helping of the onion compote 

on top. Serve immediately.



Sweater Dress Weather

Happy Monday loves. Monday is the worst, so I hope yours is going ok. I was doing some shopping around for a client and thought I would share the sweater dresses I found for her. Honestly, a sweater dress is the easiest things to throw on in the Fall. Add tights and boots, possibly a belt and you are so set for a day when leggings just will not do. 

1.  A classic knit dress from Asos $22
2. Not really knit, but I can vouch that I wear this dress all Fall. Asos $15
3. This is such a pretty pink and the lace underlay is very girlie. Free People $128
4. White is so classic and flattering. Free People $105
5. A cable knit that fits close to the body would be great. Nordstrom $78
6. The leather seaming on this knit dress gives is little edge, but the silhouette keeps it sweet. Nordstrom $135

Hope this makes your Monday a little better. 


Sleep Pretty & Tight

I am such a huge fan of sleep. Probably too much since I am always thinking about how to get more even when I am getting a good nights worth. And though I have a couple of t-shirts of Matt's that I wear once in awhile, I mostly like to wear pretty little things when it is time to go to bed. 

I found the sweetest little store that has gorgeous sleepwear in pretty prints and soft satin with great price points. Which is hard to find for quality pieces you actually want to curl up in. 

It is called Plum Pretty Sugar, and there is a so much to love. Here are a few pieces that caught my eye, but there is much more on the site. 

Clockwise from Top Left: A satin two piece $45 / A Cami and shorts set $48 / A sweet little night gown $44 / Floral shortie set $44 / Pretty eye masks $12 / Rosey printed cami set $48

The bottom three are actually done in collaboration with BHLDN, probably one of the sweetest bridal stores ever. 

I hope you have a sweet and restful weekend. 



Reading Nook for Tommy

I so wish I had a before picture of his room. Not that there was huge changes in this corner, but there certainly a big impact with just a few added pieces. Tommy has built-ins in his closet, but there is only one shelf he can reach and a toddler has a hard time picking a book based solely on the spines. I should know, since he loves playing the "let me take my sweet time picking a book so I can stay up later" game. Plus, there was always a giant pile of books next to the chair that was a complete mess. So I searched for a few solutions and came up with these photo ledges from Ikea. 

They come in white and black and are super easy to install. We hung them low for little people and now he has his own "library" we can switch books in and out of easily. 

Tommy also needed a new lamp since his last one broke. There is no overhead lighting in his room currently, so it needs something that will illuminate most of the room (there is a table lamp in the opposite corner). So when I came across this industrial style floor lamp when I went to get the photo ledges, I was psyched. 

This is the bronze color, but it also comes in a very dark gray. Now he has an even better place for night time stories with us and he loves that the lamp has a floor button to turn it on and off. It is basically a club in there during the day. 

He is still in a crib, but when it is time to move to the big bed, I cannot wait to paint and get some more toys/organization in his room. Then he should be good for many years to come. 


PS: The rug is from Dwell Studio (discontinued), Ottoman from Burke Decor, Chair from Ikea


Back to the Future

I know I am not the only one with a high school reunion this month and it is kind of fun. Not the part that it has been fifteen (15!) years since I graduated from the Home of the Broncos, but the part about how people you once spent four years of your life with still want to get together after all these years. My father still gets together with his grammar school buddies and he is in his seventies. Bonds like that make me so happy and I can only hope that mine will be just as strong. 

There are plenty of things that I miss from high school. Hanging out at our lockers, after school drives through the Hills, Friday night football games (and the parties following), dance class with all my favorites, and eighth hour open. The fashion though, not so much. 

The funny thing is though that a lot of my favorite Fall pieces are straight out of the nineties. A more refined and chic version thank goodness, but certainly a nod to the glory days. 

Clueless has to be on my top ten favorite movies. Cher was so cool. When you look at her outfits now, they had this whole school girl vibe, albeit one straight from Contempo Casuals. 

I wish I could still pull off knee socks, but instead here are some ways to channel Cher this season. 

1. The Olson twins must be Clueless fans too. This screams Cher. Elizabeth & James $325
2. These Mary Janes are way better than Cher's and would last forever. Manolo Blahnik $745
3. Trade Cher's beret for a slouchy beanie. Plush $48
4. Buffalo check was huge on the Fall runways. I am obsessed with the cut of this jacket too. BB Dakota $105
5. A tweed mini with black tights is pretty timeless. Topshop $68

Beyonce really used to show some swagger in her Hilfiger wear. It is a far cry from her current couture closet, but it is so great to remember where it all began. Tommy Hilfiger was the label in the nineties. Everyone wanted that little red white and blue flag on their shirt. Or jeans, Or jacket. 

Red, white, and blue is not just for July and there are some great ways to pull it off for day or night. 

For Night: 
1. How pretty is this pleated midi skirt in cobalt? Asos $66
2. What could be more nineties than a bodysuit? and I kind of want one for outfits just like this. Indah $52
3. Red is such a statement in a shoe and I worship the shape of these Joie booties. $315
For Day: 
4. This crisp white duffel coat is gorgeous. Asos $114
5. Love a good gingham. Wear this over legging or skinnies, the length is perfect. Madewell $74
6. A classic sneak in red is fun. Superga $65

This throwback made me laugh so hard. Do you remember how everyone was either wearing a North Face tee shirt or one of these Banana ones? Why or why? 

There are some cuter animal options these days...

1. This Wildfox sweater shirt is insanely soft. The writing says "I want one." lol $108
2. You do some good with this elephant tee from J. Crew. Proceeds go to a Wildlife Trust. $47
3. This deer jumper is adorable. French Connection $150

I watch Empire Records every freaking time it is on. Cannot resist it and the fashion is amazing. It was a mix of that grunge and school girl thing that we all copied so much.  

While grunge/school girl is far from my comfort zone now, mixing in some updated, more refined pieces is perfect. 

1. Throw a belt over this shirt dress and you have the perfect update on the grunge fanned trend. Madewell $74
2. A much classier version of the pleated mini.  Parker $209
3. Polished, but with a edge. These skinnies are so great and flattering. Madewell $128
4. Cropped sweaters that come with a sweater underneath is perfect for over thirty year olds. Or really anyone. Elizabeth & James $365

Hope you liked that trip down memory lane. What trend are you going to try and sport? 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...