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Be Back Next Week

Monday, March 19, 2012
I took an unplanned blogging break last week, and now I'm going to take a planned one. I dislike not posting regularly but I dislike even more posting when I'm not ready.  Hopefully next week, I'll be back revived and ready to go!

Weekend Recap: Black Tie & Birthdays

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

This tax season, I was determined to have a work life balance and this weekend was quite the example of that-- or maybe it was an example of burning the candle at both ends.  Usually by Friday, I'm toast, ready for bed at 8:30 but last Friday, we'd accepted an invitation from my friend Elizabeth to the Prevent Cancer Gala. I'm so glad I fought my reclusive tendencies and went as it was such a wonderful event for an, obviously, great cause.  I'd never been to the National Building Museum and now I can't wait to go back to visit. 

After working on Saturday, we went out to celebrate Andy's uncles' birthdays.  Fun evening out in Cleveland Park and a wonderful surprise that Andy's cousin Mindy was in town. 

So far, so good on the work life busy season balance!

31 Bits

Thursday, March 8, 2012
As I was perusing the internet this weekend, I stumbled upon 31Bits. It was one of those instances that you click one link, leads you to something, click another link and next think you know, you have no clue how you found it but you're happy you did! I might be way behind the curve here and this is something everyone already knows about (wouldn't be the first time), but it's worth sharing just in case. I was initially drawn in by the designs (dying for the Willow Knot), but then the story really got me.

31 Bits is "a business using fashion and design to empower women to rise above poverty" (source). The company works with women in Uganda who are the artists that make the jewelry with beads made from recycled paper. Beautiful! Check out more of their story here.

Top Right // Meadowsweet
Middle // Gypsy
Bottom Left // Timber
Bottom Right // Orchard Bunch

inspired by... Blair "Bee" Eadie of Atlantic-Pacific

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
I've decided to start a new little series... "inspired by".  I think it will be good practice for me in pulling things together.  I always see a picture that inspires me-- whether it is an outfit or a craft project or a room of a house.  But then I never do anything with that picture.  It just collects dust in my pinterest account (well, sometimes I'll flip back through my pins and admire the prettiness).  It's time to take action.

I'm always inspired by Atlantic-Pacific (one of my favorite blogs mentioned here and here). Blair "Bee" Eadie, the blogger, is full of style, charm and personality (even though she rarely uses words... you can just sense it from her pictures). Here's my take on an early spring version of the following outfit.  A time when you still need a sweater and a lightweight scarf but it's ok for your toes to peep out in the sunshine.

A Banquette at The Dunmore

Monday, March 5, 2012
While we had a great (albeit too short) weekend in DC, I don't have any pictures to show for it! Andy's been on a golfing trip to SC, so my mom has been staying with me. Pure bliss! She's cooked so many meals that we had to remove the drawers in the fridge to make room. Andy will be fed very well when he returns!

One thing we did do was go to a few open houses yesterday. Andy and I are getting closer and closer to buying a house (it's just so hard to leave our building and neighborhood!), so mom and I have been researching. Looking through all those houses, definitely makes me think about decorating (that's where all the fun is, right?). Last week I was reminded of a room whose decor I truly love.

While flipping through my dear friend Stacy's photos from her engagement (surprise!) trip to Harbour Island a few weeks ago, I spotted the dining room at The Dunmore.

photos courtesy of Stacy & Eric

I commented on her photos that I would love to eat breakfast there every day-- my dream breakfast nook. Well, I kept thinking about it and thought that it looked familiar. Then I realized, I had pinned this image six and a half months ago!

The Dunmore // Featured in Coastal Living // Photographer: Tria Giovan // Designer:  Amanda Lindroth
I guess it means that I truly love this look!  Click on over to Coastal Living to see more pictures of The Dunmore redesigned by Amanda Lindroth.

Bangles Round-Up

Friday, March 2, 2012

ONE // Hermes // Clic-Clac H
TWO // Alexis Bittar // gold studded hinge cuff
THREE // J Crew // classic wide bangle
FOUR // Kate Spade // Come Full Circle Idiom Bangle
FIVE // Hermes // Balcons du Guadalquivir
SIX // Alexis Bittar // skinny tapered bangle
SEVEN // House of Harlow // Sunburst Bangle

Creamed Chicken over Polenta

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I try to cook seasonally, but this just sounded perfectly warm and delicious on a chilly night when we were both trying to kick a lingering cold.  I have made this recipe once before when I lived in Dallas, and thought about it last week. I'm sure it's amazing using end of summer tomatoes, basil and late summer corn, but it's still pretty tasty in the winter on a chilly night.

Creamed Chicken and Corn Over Polenta
Adapted from Gourmet via Epicurious

For the Creamed Chicken
2 ¼-inch thick slices of pancetta, diced
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
2 cups fresh corn (I used frozen)
1 cup milk (don't need this extra milk if using frozen corn)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1¼ cups heavy cream (I use skim milk)
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced (I forgot to add these! But my plan was to roast cherry tomatoes which I love to do during the winter)
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

For the Polenta
6 cups water
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
1½ cups instant polenta
½ lb Fontina cheese (preferably Italian), diced
½ cup finely grated parmesan

To make the polenta, bring water to a boil and season with salt.  Slowly pour polenta into boiling water while whisking constantly.  Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, according to the package instructions.  Stir in cheeses.  Pour polenta into a greased baking dish and allow to cool.  This can be done a day or two ahead of time.  Cut polenta into individual pieces and reheat in a nonstick skillet.  For this recipe, I prefer the contrasting texture of this polenta preparation rather than the softer texture poured straight out of the pot.  Plus, one less thing to cook for a week night meal.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Season chicken with salt and pepper and bake until just done... about 30-45 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, cook the pancetta in a large skillet until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. In that same pan, melt the butter and add flour.  Whisk the roux for about 2-3 minutes while the raw flour taste bubbles away.  Slowly whisk in 1¼ cups milk.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a slow simmer until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Add frozen corn and tomatoes, reduce heat to warm and cover.

When the chicken is done, shred it into bite size pieces and stir it into creamed corn mixture.

Assemble-- polenta squares, topped with creamed chicken and corn, sprinkle with pancetta and top with fresh basil.