Archive for September, 2011

I LOVE the fall and I LOVE pumpkin beer. I seriously love it. As soon as there is a slight chill in the air, I want a cold, spicy, nutmegy pumpkin beer. Every year I try to figure out my favorite, but my “favorite” is generally whatever I’m drinking at the moment.. This year I’ve decided to actually document my thoughts on each. As of Sept 19, 2011 we have 3 contenders. I’ll keep adding to the list as the season goes on…

  • Punk’n Uinta Brewing Co.:  You can definitely taste the pumpkin up front in this beer. It’s sweet and the spices warm you from the inside out! So far this is the most pumpkiny of all the beers.
  • Post Road Pumpkin Beer: This one isn’t too sweet, so it’s great for people who don’t want to feel like they are drinking a dessert, but it also doesn’t have enough of the spiciness in my opinion. It should be called Post Road hint of fall beer.  Still a seriously solid choice.
  • Shlafly Pumpkin Beer: This is what I’d call the beer drinkers pumpkin beer. Yes, it has cinnamon and nutmeg and brings to mind crisp afternoons and colorful foliage, but it doesn’t have the syrupy sweetness of a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (also delicious).
IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE! You’d think that pumpkin beer would start showing up on shelves in late September and that it would be readily available through Thanksgiving, however this is NOT THE CASE. Pumpkin beer showed up around late August this year (along with Martha Stewart’s 2012 Halloween issue..) and will probably be gone by mid-October. So be smart! Stock up! Trust me that you’ll want some of this deliciousness well into November.
~ Cait

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No I was not waiting at my computer at midnight (I was asleep) and no I didn’t get up at 5am (still sleeping) and no I didn’t even do it when I first got to work (coffee, shooting the sh*t with coworkers, checking email), but somehow I managed to snag a pair of Missoni for Target pumps online. SCORE.

Though Missoni for Target was such a hit it shut down the website for hours (seriously hours and hours and hours), designers do these kinds of collaborations all the time and they. are. awesome.

Last year when Target relaunched 34 of their dresses from their GO International collaboration I bought this great Tucker for Target work/play dress.

(not me. obvs)

Other fab collaborations (with notes on what I own from which)
Payless – Lela Rose (heels), Christian Sirano (black studded flats), Isabel Toledo, Silvia Tcherassi
Target – Rodarte (Allie has an awesomely rockerish LBD), Missoni, Calypso, Tucker (dress above), Zac Posen, the list goes on and on
Kohls– Lauren Conrad (don’t knock it.. some of her stuff is awesome), Vera Wang (also legit)
Macys – Karl Lagerfield, Sears – New Kardashian line….

I’m sure there are a ton more that I’m not even aware of. Definitely let me know if I’m missing any gems!

~ Cait

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I’m headed back to NYC this weekend for some wedding dress shopping (!!!!) and I am SO excited to be back in my old stomping grounds. Friday night it will be just me and my mom, so I wanted to take her out someplace cool to show off how awesome, hip and New Yorky I can be. We’ll be staying in Chelsea (I was more of an East Side New Yorker), so I’m not as familiar with the neighborhood restaurants. Then I remembered this great Spanish wine bar that an old coworker took me to, El Quinto Pino ,(the sister restaurant to Tia Pol) right before I moved to DC.

While we were there we split a fantastic bottle of wine. So great in fact, that I took a photo of it with my cell phone so that I would remember it for future wine purchasing purposes.

Lo and behold, a few weeks later I saw it for about $10 at my local wine shop! $10!?!?!? We paid more than $40 at the restaurant! I mean yeah, I understand mark ups, but that is kind of absurd. The silver lining though is that I can now enjoy this spicy, light, dry Tempranillo/ Syrah blend any day of the week!

P.S. The wine may have been over priced, but the food, ambiance and company more than made up for that.

P.P.S. I also snapped this photo of the decor. I want antler lamps in my house pronto.

~ c

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DIY: Cozy Yarn Vases

Last week my sister bought this amazing interior design book

After being seriously jealous for a few days I decided to go out and buy it for myself. As I was flipping through, this one DIY project caught my eye. Now initially it was actually the colors in the project that caught my eye – the cozy dark brown with the dark turquoise would look great in my living room! But once I actually read through the project, I realized if I picked my butt up and bought some yarn, I could have some new vases in a few hours.

What you’ll need

  • Any kind of vase (I had 4 cylindrical vases from a friend’s wedding centerpieces)
  • Colored Yarn (I picked a marled brown, marled turquoise and a burnt orange)
  • Double sided tape
  • Hot glue (not part of the DIY project instructions in the Design Sponge book, but I found it necessary)
  • Scissors

Design Sponge does a great job of explaining the steps, but here are a few tips that really helped me

  1. At first I put the tape all the way over the edge and over the lip of the vase, but you’ll need to leave a few centimeters of glass at the top and bottom of the vase so in the end the tape over the sides made it a bigger pain in the a** because I had to peel it off and then cut it. After that I left a little space at the top and bottom. The tape is really there to just hold the yarn in place. It doesn’t work to really secure it.
  2. Make sure that the yarn isn’t tangled up at all, otherwise you’ll have to cut it and the more times you start and stop this project, the more it looks like a DIY.
  3. Smear (I hate the word smear, I think it’s super gross. But it’s appropriate here and I want you to do it the right way, soo..) some hot glue a few centimeters up from the bottom and secure the start of the yarn. Then quickly wrap the yard around a few times, being very careful to place the string directly above the last line of string over the glue so that it is very secure.
  4. Make sure to keep pushing the string down so that there isn’t any space between the lines. You don’t want to be able to see the glass vase at all.
  5. When you change colors set yourself up so that you can do it quickly and seamlessly. Cut the color you are using. Smear the hot glue to secure the end and then start using the new color where you left off, placing the tip of the string on that same hot glue smear (I can’t stop saying smear).
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 with as many colors as you would like. I personally chose to keep the patterns simple and similar so that they could be used separately or as a group of 4 and then secure the final strand of yarn with hot glue and you are done!

You could use these as vases (like in the Design Sponge book) or you could use them as candle holders, like I plan on doing.


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Hair Salvation

By the end of my first summer in DC, my hair dresser full-on yelled at me, screaming “What did you do to your hair?!” and yelling “Straw!!” everytime she touched it.  It was true; the heavy humidity had sucked the moisture right out of every last strand, leaving my hair a brittle, dry, and not to mention bleached out by the sun.  Think bale of hay.  She went on to prescribe me a regimen of tonics, cremes, and potions to fix my haystack hair, wracking my bill up to a number so high I’ve blocked it from my memory.  This summer I was fortunate to find something under $10 that honestly has done better than her prescription, keeping my hair supple despite the meteorological abuse.

Unrefined Virgin Coconut oil.  You can find it in grocery stores in the Baking or Oils Aisle (I get mine at Whole Foods).

Yes, this is the same coconut oil that sits in my kitchen cupboard, waiting to be dolled out for onion sauteing, salad dressing, or aromatic cookies baking.

However my most common -and helpful -use of this sub $10 jar is for an ultra-hydrating hair mask.  In the summer, I focus mostly on my ends, massaging it into them and working up towards my roots.  In the winter, when my scalp is dry and itchy, I also massage it into my roots.  I wrap my hair up in a towel and [fold laundry, putz around online, watch a Law & Order: SVU, what have you] for an hour before hopping in the shower.  I wash my hair with shampoo (you may need to wash it twice if you have really massaged the coconut oil into your roots) and often use the smallest dab of conditioner to help me run a comb through my wet hair.

I tell you, working this into my routine on a bi-weekly basis has helped to combat dryness and frizz better than a $25 tub of Kiehl’s Hair Mask.  This $10 jar holds a special place of leadership in my artillery of frizz-fighting, silk-ify-ing, moisturizing potions.

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Chicken Sausage Jambalaya

The other day I made this spicy chicken sausage jambalaya for dinner. It was delicious, spicy, filling, healthy and cheap.
The best part is that the entire dish cost about $10 and it had 4 – 5 servings! That’s just around $2 a serving (probably less actually because most people have the grains and spices already on hand). Plus it is really delicious and healthy. So actually that’s the best part.. that it is really freaking good.
(Sorry for not taking any photos! I’m obviously not an experienced blogger yet….)
Healthified Spicy Chicken Sausage Jambalaya
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 smallish white onion (or ½ large)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • ½ – 1 cup of chicken broth (depending on how soupy you want the  sauce)
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ – ½ tsp of cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you want it)
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 Andouille chicken sausages (you could also use regular sausage, shrimp, chicken etc etc)
  • 1 cup (dried) brown rice
  1. Make 1 cup (dried) brown rice according to directions on package
  2. Sauté 1 smallish white onion (or ½ large), 2 cloves of garlic, 1 red bell pepper and 2 celery stalks in 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil for about 3 – 5 minutes until veggies are softening, but still crunchy
  3. Add in can of diced tomatoes
  4. Add in spices/herbs: 2 bay leaves, cayenne pepper and dried thyme (salt & pepper too)
  5. Let simmer for a while adding in the chicken broth to thin out as you’d like (the final outcome should be kind of soupy so that the rice soaks it up)
  6. In a separate pan brown chicken sausage (or whatever meat you are using)
  7. Add in the frozen peas about 5 minutes before serving (so the peas don’t get mushy) Layer rice, tomato/veggies and then the meat on top

You could add more veggies, but I only had peas so I threw them in. Frozen okra would be great too. Enjoy!

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Cupcake is a frou-frou word. Cupcake wine sounds like something you’d serve at a bridal shower, or give to a friend who just broke up with her boyfriend. But Cupcake Wine is legit.

Wine-Down Wednesday: Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc

DC has been unbearably hot this summer, but this past week the weather has been quite beautiful. Tonight we went up to our unfinished roof and watched the sunset with a glass of wine. This wine is particularly good with an appetizer of cheese, crackers and grapes or with a seafood dinner. Especially a rich seafood dish like lobster risotto. However it is equally as delicious sipped alone on a tar roof catching up with your fiance.

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