the beautiful things

{things i did} down by the sea

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As I said at the beginning of the week, I spent a very happy day of last weekend down by the Jersey shore with family and friends. As promised, here are some pictures of all things beach-y (if you would like like to find oumore about what I am wearing, check out this post here). I will be thinking about the day a lot this Saturday and Sunday–because nothing says summer better than lots of sun, sand, and salty fresh air.

 

{things i learned} distressed wood floating frames

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About a year ago, my sister started a complete overhaul of her bedroom so it could better fit her current style. I helped her shop for accents and make some color/themeing decisions (you can check some of the results out here). The process is still on-going–the best part of decorating in my opinion. Eventually her knick-knack collection grew too large for her available surfaces and a few walls started to look a little blank, so we decided to brainstorm shelving options. After a lot of browsing we decided that faking reclaimed, distressed wood was our best choice (the results are above and the finished project–full selves!–is on Instagram). Read below for how we did this D.I.Y.!

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What you need:

A sturdy, thick board (size of your choosing, preferably 2-inches)
Stain, such as MinWax (we used "Dark Walnut")
Tools for distressing
Brackets and screws for securing to wall
 

What to do:

1. Once you've chosen a board that will fit your space, begin the distressing process using a combination of techniques. Sand the edges so they looked worn, make divots with the claw of a hammer and dents with its front, chisel out ridges, file off chips, and use a mallet to pound a chain. The important thing is to avoid making patterns with similar strokes in similar areas since they won't look natural. Alternate with other people for variety and leave the wood for a while to return to look at it with fresh eyes. Also focus on parts of the board that would naturally wear, like the edges, and leave natural defects, like knots, eyes, or damages alone.

2. After all distressing is complete, cut the board into a final desired length. Then, run a fine grained sand paper over all the marks and edges to obtain a smooth finish. Apply a few coats of a chosen wood stain by dipping an old cloth into the color and rubbing all over the wood surface. Be sure to go back and wiping off any excess between coats. The stain highlights the distressing, so be careful to not over use it (one or two coats should be enough). Allow the wood to fully dry.

3. Measure for shelf placement, mark walls, then level the board. Methods for hanging will depend on the type of wall you are using. Since we were able to find beams, we used metal brackets and two sets of screws: shorter ones for attaching to the bracket to the underside of the shelf and longer ones to enter into the wall from the top. Other options include dowels, nails, or metal rods that the shelf can sit on–do some research at a hardware store or online to find which one will best work for you.
 

{things i covet} try, buy, spy

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{try}

an easy way to m​ake your own kale chips without ever turning on your oven [cook]

a clever homemade ice-cream cookie-sandwich trick [slice]

confetti too messy? try a bag of pretty pom-poms at your next party [inspiration]

{buy}

small rosette stacking ring, blanca monros gomez [$495]

demelza bra, agent provocateur [$250]

 

santorini print m​axi skirt, flying tomato [$119]

{spy}

 

refrigeration:​ you’re probably doing it wrong [learn]

the surprising history of the date palm and how it ended u​p in america [read]

what celebrities use to tote their beach essentials [see]

 

{things i made} braised chicken with dates

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I have tried tagine-type recipes before, loading lots of spices, meat, and a braising liquid into a pot and cooking until all of the flavors blend. None have held that much of an appeal to me but not anymore–this mixture has the perfect balance of sweet and savory, thanks to the wonderfully unique taste and texture of dates and carrots. It was my first time cooking with carrot juice and I was pleasantly surprised–it tastes  just as hearty and full-flavored as the vegetable itself. 

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​3 lbs. ​bone-in, skin
​ned​ chicken 
​pieces​
 
​S​

alt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. ​olive​ oil
1

​-2​ large red onion
(s)​, peeled and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)

2

 tsp. ground ginger
1

​.5​ tsp. ground cinnamon
​2​

 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1.5 cups carrot juice
3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/2 lb. (10 to 12) Medjool dates, pitted and halved lengthwise
fresh lemon juice

​ and ​chopped fresh cilantro
​, for serving​

​1. ​Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a straight-sided sauté p​ot​, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Arrange the chicken pieces in the pan​,​ cover with a splatter screen, and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook until the other sides are deeply browned, 5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Discard all but 1 Tbs. of the fat in the pan.
​2. ​ Put the pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it’s soft and begins to color, 8 minutes. Add the spices and stir into the onions for about 1 minute. Pour in the carrot juice and broth and bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. 
​3. ​Return the chicken pieces to the pan, along with any accumulated juices. Cover and braise​ on the stovetop​ for 15 minutes. Add the dates and continue to ​cook​ until the chicken is tender and the meat starts to come away from the bone, 35 minutes more.
​4. ​ With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and dried fruit to a serving dish and keep warm by covering loosely with foil. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, and serve with a side of  
couscous.
 

{things i wore} halter dress

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It wouldn't be summer if we didn't take at least one trip to the Jersey Shore. Normally we go just about as south as we can–to gorgeous Cape May–but this day we decided to visit some friends in Ocean City. Cape May is all about quaint Victorian charm but here there was a good, old-fashioned boardwalk brimming with weekend crowds. More on that side of things later this week but today I'm sharing what I wore for my shore day. This maxi dress was a steal from Forever 21 and though I had to size way up from what I normally wear (I wanted a looser fit and longer length), it was worth it for the bold and unique print. And, as I said earlier, this summer belongs to my nubuck Donna bag–it's the perfect color, size, and weight for a full day out.

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Southwestern-Inspired Halter Dress, Forever 21 [$14.80] // Sandals, Nine West [similar] // Donna Washed Hobo in Ginger, Alexander Wang [similar// Large Metal Aviators Gold Frame, Ray Ban [$145] // Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400]; Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; 'Russian Roulette' Nail Polish, Essie [here 

 

{things i did} the great outdoors

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As promised, here are some photos from a day-trip we took last weekend to the area near the Delaware Water Gap. I have never been camping, canoeing, rafting, or hiking–this Pin pretty sums up my usual thoughts on the idea–but I was completely taken by how beautiful the area was. There is nothing more perfect than a summer day:​ the softly lit blue skies, dense forests, and winding roads have a wonderful way of reminding you that even if you‘re only a small part of the world, at least you belong to something that is awe-inspiringly beautiful.  By the way, that holding-hands shot of my boyfriend and I? We were each in a different state–the bridge u​nderneath ou​r feet crosses from Pennsylvania into New J​eresy. Cross one m​ore thing off the bucket list! 

 

{things i wore} racerback maxi dress

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If you were following my Instagram this past weekend, you probably noticed that I left the city for a bit to enjoy some wide, open spaces. Our day outdoors was spent with family friends in Pennsylvania along the Delaware River to be exact, and I can honestly say I haven't felt so relaxed or inspired by natural scenery in a while (more photos tomorrow!). I kept things simple for or little excursion–flat sandals for climbing, my favorite carry-all for my travel essentials, and the perfect black maxi dress for comfort and style (seriously, this dress is a dream to wear).

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Racerback Challis Maxi Dress, LC Lauren Conrad [sim​ilar] // Basic Thong Sandal in Nude, Zara // Neverfull MM in Monogram Canvas, Louis Vuitton [shop// Plain Thin Expandable Wire Bangle in 14k Gold Fill, Alex and Ani​ // Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44] // Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175] // Gold & Pavé Diamond Tiny Disc Ring, Sydney Evan [$375]; Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44] // X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400] // 'Russian Roulette' Nail Polish, Essie [here

 

{things i covet} summer sunnies

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Here are a few pairs of sunglasses I have my eye on–which ones are your favorite?

 

{mirrored lens}

'Classic Fox – Deluxe' 50mm Sunglasses in Crystal, Wildfox [$179]

49mm Round Sunglasses in Gray, Steve Madden [$38]

'Original Aviator' 58mm Sunglasses in Green Flash, Ray-Ban [$170]

{cat-eye shape}

'la femme' 55mm sunglasses, wildfox [$169 $113]

54mm cat eye sunglasses, prada [$245]

'mohotani' 58mm cat eye sunglasses, dior [$315]

{tortoise frames}

leonard round-frame acetate sunglasses, illesteva [$180]

round-frame acetate sunglasses, saint laurent [$350]

joyridy acetate sunglasses, thierry lasry [$485]

 

{things i wore} ruffle tank

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As you probably could tell from yesterdays post, I had a lot of fun at Zespri's NYC tasting event (that broad a smile can't be faked). As promised, here's a closer look at what I wore. It was a rainy and overcast day, so I ruled out a sundress or maxi and opted instead for my favorite pair of flared jeans.  This blouse is a new favorite–I love anything black and white, but the tiny herringbone pattern and super long neck-lace make the look feel updated and modern.

P.S. Be sure to scroll down after my outfit details to have a look at some of my favorite kiwi recipes–the finished products were pictured in yesterday's post when they were served at the event! And thanks again to Zespri! 

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Printed Ruffle Top​, J. Crew​ [$65 $35] // 'Iris' Flare Jeans, Buffalo David Bitton [similar] // Saffiano Lux Double-Zip Tote Bag in Black, Prada [shop here] // Balnit Peep-Toe Slingbacks, Aldo [$110] // Gold & Pavé Diamond Tiny Disc Ring, Sydney Evan [$375]; Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44] // Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400] // 'Russian Roulette' Nail Polish, Essie [here

 

MY FAVORITE ZESPRI RECIPES

 

Bacon Lettuce and Kiwifruit Sandwiches (BLKs)

1/4 cup herbed soft cheese spread
8 medium slices bread
2 Zespri Organic Green Kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
2 Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
8 slices crisply-cooked lower-sodium bacon
4 lettuce leaves

1. Spread 1 tablespoon cheese on each of 4 slices bread. 
2. Divide kiwifruit, bacon and lettuce over cheese. Top with remaining slices of bread.

 

Kiwifruit and Prosciutto Crostini

16 slices toasted crostini
1 4-ounce package garlic and herb goat cheese
2 Zespri Organic Green Kiwifruit
3-oz thinly sliced prosciutto (8 slices), cut in half

1. To make crostini, heat broiler. Slice 8-ounce baguette into 1/4-inch slices. Using about 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, lightly brush each slice. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes per side. Cool on wire rack.
2. Spread crostini slices with goat cheese.
3. 
Peel and slice each kiwifruit lengthwise into 8 slices. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each kiwifruit. Top crostini with prosciutto-wrapped kiwifruit. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 30 minutes.

 

Kiwifruit Mojito

1 Zespri Organic Green Kiwifruit, peeled
3 mint sprigs
1 tablespoons sugar
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces light rum
Ice and Club soda, for serving
Mint leaf, for garnish

1. Cut a 1/4-inch slice from center of kiwifruit to use for garnish; chop remaining fruit. 
2. Muddle diced kiwifruit, mint, sugar and lime juice in cocktail shaker. Add rum and fill shaker with ice. Cover and shake 15 seconds or until very cold.
3. Strain into ice-filled highball glass. Top with club soda and garnish with sliced kiwifruit and mint leaf.

 

{things i did} zespri kiwifruit tasting event nyc

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I've attended my fair share of fashion-related events, but none that have been explicitly dedicated to food. I genuinely love cooking–especially with good, wholesom​e ingredients–so an invitation to a kiwifruit tasting, sponsored by Zespri, the brand responsible for all of the fruit grown in New Zealand, made me super excited. Besides getting to taste the m​ost clever dishes ever (BLTs with kiwi? Yum! Serious kudos to The Little Owl NYC for their kitchen!) we had the chance to learn about the history of the company. Glen Arrowsmith, a "Kiwi" New Zealander himself, spoke very proudly about the company, which is owned by 2,700 local growers that by all appearances seem to truly care about their product. I have always tried to snack healthy, especially while at work or school, but Rebecca Scritchfield, who spoke at length about the different ways kiwi can be incorporated into a daily diet, made me want to do even more. Of course all of this meant nothing until we actually got to dig into some samples–if you look closely at the photos above, you can see two different types of kiwis, both the typical green and a brand-new variety Zespri is importing called SunGold. While I've always loved kiwis–seriously, they're the one fruit I used to pick out of salads to eat when I was younger–the SunGold blew me away: it was sweeter, smoother, and with less seeds.

So what is the take-away? Kiwifruit are nutritional powerhouses and are a great source of micronutrients like Vitamin C (they contain more than an orange!), Vitamin E, potassium (more than a banana!) and antioxidants. They’re high in fiber, cholesterol-free, have a low glycemic index, and two fruit have fewer than 100 calories. Plus, they taste amazing! I seriously cannot wait to incorporate them into some savory dishes (I left feeling very inspired).Check back tomorrow for a more detailed look at what I wore to the event and for a few of my favorite recipes that I took home with me!

 

This post was generously sponsored sponsored by Zespri® Kiwifruit but was written by me. The opinions, photos and text are all my own. Special thanks to Luisa Tejada for coordinating the day and to everyone who worked on the truly wonderful event!




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