Thursday, March 31, 2011

Local Love 3.

It's Thursday and that means it's time for another Local Love.  Today - Top Chef.  Not exactly local, but stay with me here. 

The Texan and I are HUGE Top Chef fans.  We were thrilled with the outcome of last night's Top Chef All-Stars Finale.  (I won't ruin it for those who haven't seen it.)

So, we were even more thrilled when we saw a preview for next season's Top Chef Masters.  Basically, Top Chef cranked up.  They take chefs who already have established careers and throw them into a fierce culinary competition.  We noticed that local chef Celina Tio was going to be competing.  Her restaurant, Julian, is one of our faves. 

Located in Brookside, Julian offers up delicious dishes featuring local and seasonal ingredients in a cozy atmosphere.  Some of our recent favorites include the housemade pretzel sticks, the burger (get the fried egg on top...mmmm), and the crispy pork shoulder (served with Brussels sprout leaves - so tasty.)  She also offers up a Sunday brunch which looks killer - baguette French toast, house smoked salmon.  Is it Sunday yet?!

Needless to say, we will absolutely be tuning in for Top Chef Masters and cheering our local chef Celina on to victory!

Julian is located at 6227 Brookside Plaza; Top Chef Masters airs Wednesday, April 6 on Bravo. 

Images via.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For the love of paper.

I have a thing for all things personalized, especially when it comes to paper goods.  I ordered enough stationery when The Texan and I got married to last a lifetime.  But I think it may be time for an update.  And maybe just something with my name on it.  Here are a few of my faves...

Zebra print and a variety of amazing colors to choose from?  Ahhh, I die, as Ms. Zoe would say. I'd add a monogram for the ultimate modern meets preppy aesthetic. Can be found on SilhouetteBlue's Etsy shop.  She has an incredible assortment of vintage modern goods - stationery, wedding invites and super unique personalized prints for your family. 

First, what is it with me and bicycles lately?!  But how darling is naomilynn's Etsy shop?   A boy bike and girl bike?  That attention to detail is what works for me here.  Plus, a not-at-all girly option for the men in your life. 

And finally, shout out to the fabulous Viva la Violette (who designed this blog).  Not only a website magician, but an ah-mazing paper designer.  Love the unique color combos and whimsical design details.  She doesn't know it yet, but one of these calling cards just might be my next project with her...

Images via, via.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Boy Clothes.

Boy clothes are hard.  They are either little versions of daddy's or covered in bears and dogs.  I'm always searching for options for The Bug that perfectly fit his personality and fit the preppy aesthetic I seem to have created for him. 

I think the Spring collection from Janie & Jack suits us both. Janie & Jack is part of the Gymboree family but seems to be more high-end (nicer quality fabrics, dressier attire) than its sister companies.  I have always had luck finding great sales and special occasion clothes there, but lately have noticed they are carrying more "everyday" options.  This "Classic Red Bicycle" collection might have me making a trip to the mall....

Where do you find your boy clothes?

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Wanting Wallpaper.

About two years ago, my family and I moved from Chicago (maaaybe 1200 square foot condo) to our current home, which is much larger and therefore, much less furnished.  We currently have 2 rooms sitting completely empty and a pretty bare basement.  So, I have lots of decorating projects on my to-do list.  One of them is our downstairs powder room.  It's perfectly acceptable now, but it's a very small space and I'd like to do something that makes a big impact.  Like wallpaper. 

Last week, Anthropologie launched For The Decorator, an online resource for adding Anthro items to your home.  Genius!  And led me to discover that they carry wallpaper.  Who knew?!  Here are a few of my favorites:

Octopus Garden Wallpaper.  I love the blue and I love the octopus.  I have kind of been obsessed with octopi ever since Thom made over Guiliana and Bill's condo on Dress my Nest and included this print:

I have to believe that re-papering my powder room would be cheaper than this piece of art (just $3500!)

Whistling Thorn Wallpaper.  This is probably the safest pick as it's the most neutral color palette.  But it's jazzed up a bit with the metallic print.

Cranesbill Castle Wallpaper.  Plumed birds, cheerful yellow.  Need I say more?

The other projects that I'd like to complete before summer - finding the perfect cork board for The Bug's room and putting the finishing touches on our recently re-done Master.  Pictures soon!

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Monday, March 28, 2011

The Bug.

This is The Bug.

After my wildly popular "This is The Texan" post, The Bug became green with envy and announced that he, too, had obsessions.  Things he couldn't live without, the must-haves for every 3-year-old.  So, it's his turn to shine.  Here we go....

The Bug has loved puzzles from the second he entered the world.  Problem is, he does them once or twice and then he wants a new one.  In order to challenge him a little, I found this 3-D puzzle at our favorite local toy store.  It was very tough for him to figure out that the pieces fit together dimensionally, instead of flat, but once he did, he loved it.  I love that the pieces are bright, colorful and well-made.  He builds the animals, lines them up and pretend plays with them.  He's also discovered that he can mix and match pieces.  Moose ears on an elephant?  Ha-larious to a toddler.  Keeping my eyes open for more of these fantastic puzzles.

We play "school" alot around our house, and mazes are proving to be a very popular subject.  These books, by Kumon, are great for little hands.  We have worked our way through all their My First Book of Mazes options and moved on to My First Book of Cutting and My First Book of Tracing.  According to The Lady, these will help him when it comes time to start writing and reading - fun times while learning?  WINNING!  I have found these at Target and Barnes & Noble. 

The Bug LOVES a soft, comfortable, pull-on pant.  "Cozy pants" he calls them.  The second we get home from anywhere, he's off to find his cozy pants and slip them on.  Now that the weather is getting warmer, he's going to need "cozy shorts" and these ones from Gymboree (soft French terry cotton in a punchy color) will fit the bill.  

Images via, via, via.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lazy Sunday.

There's nothing better than a relaxing Sunday.  It's easy, as Lionel would say.  We're early risers around here so I always count on The Texan to brew us up a big pot of coffee and The Bug to immediately starts constructing his train for the day.  And if I'm feeling especially domestic, I'll whip up Ina's insane Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

As silly as this sounds, I'm always on the hunt for lounge around clothes.  I'm sure hubs is tired of my worn out workout pants, tank and slipper look I'm usually rockin'. 

That's why I was thrilled to see this DARLING image of Jenna Lyons and her sweet Beckett on the J. Crew site this week.  And of course she looks nothing short of fabulous in her weekend wear. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Canteen Pant.  Adorbs!  Super soft cotton, utility styling - perfect for relaxing at home, but roll up the cuffs, throw on some flats and off to the grocery store you go.  These pants look great on a variety of bodies and will be a major workhouse in your weekend wardrobe. 

Danny Tunic.  French cotton terry.  Cute now with leggings, cute later as a pool cover up, totally comfortable. 

Most comfortable sweatshirt.  Ever.  What I love about this Coastline Stripe Pullover is not only is super chic and cozy for lounging, but it could also be dressed up with jeans or black pants for an afternoon out.  (Or the white version of the skirt I blogged about last week...)

What are your favorite weekend clothes?

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Season for Skirts.

I hate shorts.  I hate the way they look on me, hate that my skin gets stuck together when wearing them (TMI?), hate that most are either too short or too mommy-looking.  Therefore, I have declared Spring 2011 the Year of the Skirt! 

Skirts are a practical option - they are easy to pull on, keep you nice and cool and give you the appearance of trying just a little bit before stepping out of the house. 

Here are my picks...

Urban Outfitters Kimchi Paperbag Skirt.  A paperbag waist is super fun and the color is spot on for spring.  But Urban.  Sigh.  Your windows are always cute, but your stores are over-stocked and confusing.  I do best browsing online and then heading to the store to search specifically for my item. 

At the mall the other day, I noticed how CUTE the mannequins at The Limited were.  I honestly don't think I've stepped inside a Limited since the mid-90's, but checking out their website, it seems an update has taken place.  This cotton-spandex striped skirt screams spring to me and just might be the next addition to my skirt rotation.

J. Crew Dorrie Skirt in Chambray.  I own this.  I know, I know, stonewash denim.  But it is the softest, lightest material ever and is super flattering on everybody (cuter than the model, I think).  I love it with a white Vintage V-neck, Forever Cardi and Mesh Necklace.   It also comes in four other colors (white, red, blue and khaki) for those who can't re-embrace the 80's.

J. Crew overload, but they really do have a lot of great options.  Like this Eyelet Mini.  Short enough to be mini, but not too short for those of us our of our 20's.  (Ahem.) Perfect for a sunny afternoon outside.  The faded gray is a great neutral that would blend in well with the rest of your closet.  I love this with a stripe on top.

Think you can prove me wrong?  Show me shorts that will make me convert....

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fits the Bill Flats.

It's the time of year when I begin my hunt for park-friendly, yet stylish, spring flats.  Most afternoons, The Bug and I walk down to the neighborhood park.  It's about a ten minute walk, so I need something with a high comfort factor, but I still want to look like the Cute Mom at the same time.  I'm not really a tennis shoes kind of gal unless I'm in my workout gear.  So, a ballet inspired flat usually fits the bill.  Here are a few of my picks this season:

Gap City Flat.  These flats are EVERYWHERE.  Everyone seems to love them because they are very Lanvin inspired, but apparently super comfy.  I love that they come in a kazillion colors.  Thinking the gold is going to be my next purchase. 

I adore Jack Rogers.  I have 3 pairs of their iconic preppy Navajo sandal.  The Slim Ballet Flat would be perfect for the spring season. 

There's something about a huarache-inspired sandal that gets me every time.  I think it's the wanna-be hippie in me.  I think these Seychelles flats would look great dressed up with denim and slinky top, but play-date perfect with capris and a v-neck.

It wouldn't be a fashion post without something from J. Crew.    To say I am obsessed with these Quorra flats is an understatement.  I LOVE the die-cut leather and LOVE, LOVE that the pattern is teeny-tiny X's and O's.  I used to own a pair of similar flats and I wore them to death.  Perhaps a replacement is necessary?

What are your favorite spring flats?

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Local Love 2.

It's time for another installment of Local Love and today I'm featuring my favorite pick-me-up - The Roasterie Air-Roasted Coffee.  The Roasterie was founded in a Brookside basement in 1993 and has become one of the most renowned specialty coffee makers in the nation.

What makes their coffee so special?  Well, one, it doesn't taste burnt like some other brand that shall remain nameless.  This is mostly because like the name implies, they air-roast their coffee using a convection roaster (instead of the more traditional drum-roasting method.)  And two, there is just something special about drinking something that is so tied-in to your local community. 

They offer a large variety of blends, many of them named after (and offered in) some of Kansas City's most loved restaurants.  (Blue Bird Bistro Blend, American Restaurant Blend, etc.)  If I had to choose, my favorite is the Classic Cup Blend - it's the perfectly perfect cup of coffee at any time of day.

I also especially love their Never Summer Blend.  One of my favorite drinks is an iced coffee and I've discovered that most places don't do it right.  It's not as simple as pouring room temperature coffee over ice.  Not only does the ice melt, but the melted ice also masks the flavor of the coffee.  Not a good combo.  The Never Summer Blend is made for drinking cold and in fact, tastes better cold.

The Roasterie has 2 locations in KC - Brookside and Leawood. 

Image via.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lady of Lyrics.

This is mildly embarrassing to admit, but I'm a bit of a rap aficionado.  The other night The Texan and I had a friendly competition to see who could name more Jay-Z songs.  His only contribution was New York State of Mind - of course he can name the most recent song!  Last week, I was saddened to hear that Nate Dogg died and spent most of the day listening to Regulate.  (Mount up!)  And the most intriguing commercial for me during this year's Super Bowl was the Chrysler commercial featuring Eminem.  (It was two minutes long - unheard of!)

I don't really remember when the obsession started, but it definitely peaked in college.  Seemed I had a natural talent for figuring out lyrics when no one else could.  In fact, the title of this post was a nickname my besties had for me college.  I also had a natural talent for showcasing those lyrics, especially after a few bevies at our favorite bar.  I'm sure there are embarassing pictures to illustrate my point. 

So, back in the Fall when I found out Jay-Z was releasing his book (and waaaay before that darn Oprah decided to make it her Favorite Thing), I was super psyched.  I love biographies, I love rap.  Clearly this book, read by actual adults and available at my library, would legitimize my relish of rap.

It doesn't disappoint.  It's an homage to hip-hop, but it's also a fascinating look inside Jay's life, his upbringing in the hip-hop community, the business of rap and a place for all of you who can't figure them out, his lyrics.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pretty Little Things.

Tiny things are so cute.  Think about it - baby shoes, ladybugs, puppies.  Seems tiny is in when it comes to accessories lately.  This kind of bums me out as I had fully invested in many a statement necklace.  But if I must get on board with the tiny trend, these are my picks:

Mizuki Side Cross Necklace.  I have a weakness for crosses - I have a lot of them and they never go out of style in my book.  My latest want is this one.  It's a modern interpretation of the traditional symbol and I LOVE that it sits on the side of the necklace.  Alot of designers do something similar, but I think Mizuki does it best.  The cross to chain ratio is perfect - not too big, not too little, just enough chain.  Mizuki's style is spot on too - fine arts mixed with a downtown sensibility.

J. Crew Mini Supernova Mesh Necklace.  Super delicate but with lots of shine.  It's the pefect length, 18", and looks fab with everything.  It's very affordable at $55 and something that will look great with a simple sundress or a v-neck and cut offs. 

Anything Heather Moore.  She's bringing the charm bracelet back in vogue with modern designs that can be as creative and personal as you want.  The Texan started a Heather Moore necklace for me shortly after the birth of The Bug.  I currently have a handful of charms, including this one to celebrate The Bug's birth and this one (again with the crosses).  I love that each charm tells a story and can document what is important in your life.  I think I need a few more charms as it's been several years since I've added to my collection.  Maybe one of these?

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Monday, March 21, 2011

The Texan.

This is The Texan. 

We met about eight years ago on a very cold, snowy night in Chicago.  He says he was impressed I ordered a beer - but apparently not impressed enough to call me right away after our first date.  A few months after our first meeting, we were officially dating and a few months after that, we were engaged.  He's a great hubs, an amazing daddy and I'm lucky to have him. 

He was a big fan of me starting this blog and over the past few weeks has been helping me scout out new obsessions.  He's gotten so good at helping me, he wanted to share his obsessions with you.  So here we go...

Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.  Seriously, the best ice cream ever.  Made the old-fashioned way (milk, cream, sugar - mmmm) at a creamery in Brenham, Texas, just a few miles down the road where The Texan's parents live.  One can't get Chocolate Chip year round as it's so special, but March (and September) are the months you can find it in Kansas City.  We buy several every week so a bowl is always available.  (Full disclosure:  eating a bowl as I work on this blog entry.)

Pegas Beer.  Brewed in the basement of a hotel in the Czech Republic, The Texan discovered this beer during a beer tour with his dad a few years back.  It's currently the largest small brewery in the Czech Republic, but not large enough to be found anywhere in the States.  Anywhere.  It is an obsession of his to find it and drink as much of it as he can get his hands on.

Overcoats.  This is a wee bit odd, but The Texan likes to look dapper.  He's recently employed the help of a personal shopper and suddenly the man is wearing pocket squares and purple shirts.  I LOVE IT.  It's a vast improvement from where he started eight years ago.  We watched The Switch a few weekends ago and he has been talking about the overcoat that Jason Bateman wore ever since.  Looks like that will be the next addition to his ever-growing wardrobe. 

Images via and via.