My Living Room: Before & After

One Month Ago

I’ve been putting most of my decorating efforts into my living room. I spend much of my time there or in the kitchen, and (given my lack of dining room) I plan on using the space for most of my entertaining. As a result, after only a month and a half, my living room has already gone through a transformation.

I framed a whole lot of art, bought new curtains, add splashes of much needed ivories through cushions and flowers, and finally bought light bulbs for my lamps (you’d be surprised how much that changes the atmosphere of a place!).

Today

My future plans include painting my coffee table neon green (seriously, trust me on this), creating some more art for the space, and adding more bright colors through painted jars (DIY project courtesy of Pinterest, of course).

Any suggestions on the space?

Ciao!

Sarah

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5 Fall Trends That I Can’t Wait For

If you haven’t noticed already, clothing brands have been launching their fall collections this past week. I’ve already noticed a few great fall trends that I am excited to buy (I will try my best to wait until September!). I also figure it’s a good idea for me to have an understanding what I want to buy before I actually go out there  and shop, since I do have to consider my budget. These trends are currently top of my list, and I will spend the next couple of months searching for some great deals on them.

1. Colored Tights

A great variation on summer’s colored denim, colored tights will be a great way to keep the bright colors of last season alive through autumn.

$9.90 from Nordstrom

2. Venetian or Smoking Shoes

These shoes are a comfortable alternative to a heel and a unique spin on a flat. Not to mention that they can easily be dressed up or down.

$49.95 from GAP

3. Oversized Coats

They are finally available to the masses! I first fell in love with Mary Margaret’s oversized coat in the first season of Once Upon a Time.

4. Leather

I always consider leather, particularly leather jackets and bags, a staple for fall, but this season, leather is becoming even more popular (and look out for hybrid leather-fabric designs too).

$99.90 from Steve Madden at Nordstrom

5. Printed Dress Pants

I saw plenty of printed denim and leggings this spring, but I am really excited to see the prints taken up a notch in classy dress pants.

$110 from J.Crew

What fall trend are you most excited for?

Ciao!

Sarah

Great Finds: Vintage Patterns & 1970s Vogue Sewing Book

I ran across these unique vintage patterns at two different antique shops in Wisconsin. I’m going to attempt to sew using the patterns, but if I have no luck, I’ll be glad to use them as decoration in my bedroom. Sew, Mama, Sew! has some useful tips about sewing from vintage patterns. One of them happens to be buy an “old school sewing book.” Thankfully, I picked up a 1970s (my era of choice for patterns incidentally) copy of The Vogue Sewing Book of Fitting Adjustments & Alternations at Good Will.

Total Cost?

$7.50 for the vintage patterns

$3 for the Vogue sewing book

______

$10.50 (plus whatever I end up spending fabric–don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated!)

Have you ever tried to sew using vintage patterns?

Ciao!

Sarah

 

 


My Work Wardrobe

   As a business major, I’d always sort of figured I’d be wearing black dresses and blazers to work. When I got my first post-graduation job, I found myself in a much more casual work environment, which is great except that all I really owned was super casual comfy stuff, going downtown night wear, and really formal interview clothes. How horrible! Now I had a job and I had to go shopping.
My Work Wardrobe
    Still being budget-conscious, I created a vision for my wardrobe that broke it down into my essentials: polished tees, put-together jeans and chinos, a casual blazer, a cardigan, a quality watch and a quality bag, and flats. Obviously, variety makes things more interesting so I’ve expanded the basics to include nude heels, non-flip-flop (did I tell you I hate flip-flops?) sandals, and a scarf (my office is chilly in the summer, unlike my apartment at the moment).
    I prefer to shop resale and vintage since I find I can get all the quality brands I love much cheaper and still in great shape, so having a clear wardrobe vision with clear basics will help guide my shopping and hopefully prevent me from buying something unneeded.
What is your work wardrobe vision?
Ciao!
Sarah

Great Finds: Affordable Art (Seriously!)

I recently attended the Art Fair on the Square in Madison, WI, and, since I am now making an income, I decided to purchase a piece of art for my bedroom. I gave myself a budget of $50, which is pretty modest considering the price of much of the work. As expected, the most striking pieces were large…and expensive. I was nearly out of hope until I found collage artist Chelsea Hrynick’s booth. She creates amazingly intricate and symmetrical patterns out of origami paper and painted wood. The medium is perfectly simple, letting the details of her designs stand out.

(Photo from artist’s website. Visit it here!) 

To me, they reminded me of Venetian lace and Native American textiles. “I incorporate design patterns seen in different cultures throughout history such as Celtic jewelry, Islamic rugs, Modern architecture, and Ancient Greek pottery,” writes the artist on her website. “I feel a passionate connection when I work with patterns; decoration somehow transcends distance, time, and beliefs.”

Cool, right?

I bought two small square pieces for $30, which I think is a great deal given the quality of the work.

Have you had any luck with art fairs this summer?

Ciao!

Sarah

Quick & Easy Chicken Parmesan

As well as moving into my first place, I’ve also started my first job, and already I’m finding that cooking anything besides a frozen pizza is difficult. So I’ve decided to try out some easy, quick recipes and post the best ones here. I’m focusing on dishes that takes less than ten minutes to prepare and use food that I normally have around. The first dish is a really simple chicken parmesan. If I had known chicken parmesan was this easy to make, I’d done it a long time ago!

I found the original recipe here, but modified it slightly so that it feeds two instead of four.

What you need:

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk
  •  bread crumbs
  •  olive oil
  • shredded mozerella cheese
  • 1 small jar of spaghetti sauce
  • parmesan cheese
  • skillet
  • glass baking pan

Prep (10 min. to prepare, 20 min. to cook):

Pound the chicken breasts to about 1/2 inch thick.

Whisk the egg and milk. I give a range for the milk depending on your taste. Using 1/2 a cup will give you left overs and is ideal if you are making 3-4 servings.

Dip the chicken breasts in the milk and egg mixture and then dip in the bread crumbs.

Put a small amount of olive oil (about 3 tablespoons) in a skillet and place in chicken breasts. Cook until the chicken is brown and cooked all the way through. This shouldn’t take more than five minutes or so.

Set the chicken into a glass baking dish and sprinkle the mozerella on top. Then pour a desired about of sauce over on top. Top with parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350° for about 20  to 25 mintues or until the sauce is bubbly.

I served mine with spaghetti but most pasta works well!

Enjoy!

Do you recommend any easy, quick recipes?

Ciao!

Sarah

p.s. To set the record straight, chicken parmesan is not an Italian dish. You’ll only find it on the menu of tourist restaurants in Italy! It’s another example of a delicious American dish with Italian inspiration.

Great Finds: Baroque Coasters

Yep, the title is correct; I found Baroque style coasters complete with ultra-realistic, chiaroscuro-filled mythological and Biblical paintings. Did I mention they were $4? I picked up these treasures at a barn sale in New Hampshire, and not only did I come in under budget on coasters (I was expecting to spend more like $8), I found a coaster set that trumps any inexpensive one I could find at Target. Now if only I could find a real Caravaggio at a barn sale…

Have you had any great finds at garage and yard sales this summer?

Ciao!

Sarah