Springtime lusts and musts

Hi there, Internet Friends! I’m beyond happy that Spring is officially here. It is my absolute favorite season for the following reasons,

1. I love Easter. (Not for religious reasons, per se, but because I am a sucker for celebrations that include family time, bright colors and cute bunnies.)
2. Flowers are blooming and trees are less naked.
3. Bulky coats and boots are swapped for skirts, shorts and sandals. (Consequently, this probably means a little bit of shopping will be necessary.)

Every new season leads to necessary wardrobe revamping.  Below you’ll find my list of “Lusts and Musts.”  What are yours?

Casual Friday

You want to feel wind in your face? Wear statement earrings. Not only will you feel a draft from these sparklers gracefully moving near your jawbones, but you will have an instant pep in your step knowing that your ensemble includes fortuitous costume jewelry.
While I adore my statement earrings, both new and vintage, I do find it taxing to find ways to incorporate them into my wardrobe with regularity. Lately, I’ve been challenging myself to wear them to the office since I spend the majority of my time there. 
Here we have my go-to belt (it’s faux… get off my back) and earrings styled with my typical office-bound get up. Spring is officially back so I busted out last Spring’s flats. Are they still acceptable? Totes.

Jeans: Earnest Sewn (similar here & here); belt: Asos (similar herehere), blouse: J.Crew similar here; earrings (similar here) and bracelets: J.Crew; shoes: Tory Burch (more colors)

Gluten-free Shepherd’s Pie


Neither my husband nor I know anything about Irish traditions. We thought Shepherd’s Pie was an Irish dish; apparently it is traditionally an English dish. Mowing this down is our Saint Patrick’s Day tradition (and year round guilt-free treat) regardless of country of origin. Something tells me the absence of beef and potatoes in our recipe would negate any true Celtic roots anyway.

I based my recipe on one from Elana’s Pantry making only a few adjustments to eliminate red meat since we do not have red meat in our diets due to health considerations. (When I say ‘we” I mean Harlowe and I because I know The Banker gets down on tri tips when I’m not looking).

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
    • 1 pound turkey cut into 2 inch slices
    • 2 cups diced carrots
    • 2 cups diced celery
    • 1 pound organic turkey
    ½ teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed and chopped 

  1. Preheat oven to 350° 
  2. Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a very large frying pan and saute the onion until soft.
  3. Add bacon pieces to pan and sauté until cooked, about 10 minutes. Add carrots and celery to pan and sauté with bacon for 10 minutes until soft
  4. While sauteeing bacon, place cauliflour in a separate pan with steam basket and steam until soft enough to cut with a wooden spatula
  5. Add ground turkey to pan with bacon and sauté until brown
  6. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika
  7. Add chicken broth and cook down broth until mostly evaporated. Leave an estimated 1/4 cup of liquid
  8. Place cauliflower and remaining olive oil in food processor and blend until smooth
  9. Pour ground turkey mixture into a 9 x 13 inch glass dish
  10. Then, pour cauliflower puree over the turkey mixture and smooth with a soft silicon spatula
  11. Place in the oven  350° for 30 minutes 
  12. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving
The delicious looking bottles in the image above were used to make the best Saint Patrick’s Day cocktail. Recipe is courtesy of my friend Gina of The Fitnessista. She has some scrumptious looking healthy recipes on her blog, and this cocktail is the only one I’ve made (fail boat). I’ll be having this one year round. 

Business in the front, party in the back…

(Dress: Flying Tomato; bra: Victoria’s Secret; necklaces vintage and Anthropologie; bracelet: Baublebar; shorts: very old cut-offs; shoes: Shoemint; bag: Marc Jacobs)
I am a phony. A fraud. How could I write a fashion blog when I only own (confession!) three handbags…one of which was ON CLEARANCE at Banana Republic. (Gasp!)
Even more shameful, the other two handbags in my collection were acquired as a.) hand-me-downs from lovely friends with less lovely (but generous) ex-boyfriends and b.) a gift from my very lovely husband.
From my perspective, it’s rationalized. My lifestyle (work, change diapers, sit on couch) requires me to carry around my laptop 80% of the time (which I put in my Longchamp… kind of chic?) and carry around diapers and other objects that distract toddlers when worn as hats. I’m so not putting puréed plum pear squeezable pouches in a Celine tote.
Anyway, let’s back up a bit. Remember how I told you my husband is lovely? Well, he bought me this new Marc Jacobs bag. He liked the color. How cute is that?
Since we’ve been blessed with Spring-like weather in Northern California lately, I wore my new bag with one of my staples, denim shorts, and a dress (tucked in the front) that is almost as loud as my new bag.  Monochromatic is so cool when it is fluorescent.

I’m feeling 22

Yeah, this dress is from Forever 21. The blouse underneath is from Rampage. Yes, Rampage: the junior’s apparel store. This seems like an appropriate time to admit that not every label in my closet is as cosmopolitan as I would like it to be. I think I’m okay with that.
 I am loyal to this dress because a.) it hasn’t fallen a part and b.) it’s color story makes it fair game for any season so long as it is styled properly. Here, I added some roughness to the girly frock with an embellished collared blouse and my absolute favorite blazer on top.
My most recent days have been marked by sheer fascination with pattern mixing. Boldly-paired prints gracing the pages of my favorite Spring glossies (magazines) have left me dizzy with inspiration and are partially responsible for what you see here. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.
Jacket: Silence and Noise via Urban Outfitters (in black here); dress: F21 (similar here & here), blouse underneath: Rampage (similar here & here); bracelets: F21 & Tiffanys; shoes: Calvin Klein (slightly more exotic print on sale here).

Luck o’ the Irish

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! 

Today, we will be lounging at home making (Paleo) Shepherd’s Pie, listening to bizarre Irish music and drinking guinness floats. We first started this little tradition two years ago as we experimented with shepherd’s pie recipes; we ended up liking the paleo version so much that we eat it year-round (spoiler alert: post on said Pie is forthcoming).

Our St. Patty’s Day traditions make the holiday one of my favorites. There really isn’t anything that leaves me wanting. That being said, IF the luck o’ the Irish were to hit me like a ton of super-fortunate bricks, I could be seen expensively dressed in green garb from head to polished toe… and I’d devour a red green velvet cupcake made with REAL flour. 

So, in the spirit of my favorite spring holiday, I present this year’s thematic food and clothing lusts, (Just in case there happen to be any generous Leprechauns reading.)


                                      I hope you all thoroughly enjoy your St. Patty’s Day!

Scarfing down sequins

 
Six years ago, I saw this dress at a vintage store in Arizona, and I was like, “shut up!”  Admittedly, it was probably a year after purchase that it was first worn, but it continues to get consistent use because sequins make my soul sparkle.
I love the neckline; it’s utterly unique. Pairing it with a white blouse makes it less appropriate for the Vegas strip and more appropriate for date night in Palo Alto. The scarf provides a casual twist on sequined glamour, which I prefer to straight-up glamour.
I’m surprised at the amount of use I have gotten out of this vintage number (the formula for fabulous prevails!). Have you impulsively picked up any pieces that have unexpectedly earned your loyalty?

Dress: vintage; shirt BCBG (old); scarf: hand-me-down from Grandma; shoes: Shoemint; sunnies: RayBan

Investing in fabulous

Imagined investments


So, here’s a secret: When it comes to purchasing clothing and accessories, I have a formula for success. Cost divided by # of projected times worn equals value. (Or…C / PW = Value)  The ‘value’ has to equal 1, or less than 1, before I will consider buying.  (1 = $1 per wear).

Example:

$100 shoes / 100 projected times worn = 1 = I totes buy.

$350 shoes / 100 projected times worn = 3.5 = too rich for my blood. 

This formula kept me from buying these J.Crew collection Etta calf hair pumps even though they seem to have been made for me. They do not meet my definition of value when it comes to fashion.

You’ll notice I posted a collection of high-end items above. Obviously, my equation would presumably rule out the majority of said collage. But sometimes a girl needs to make a statement and should just ignore the stupid math. I consider the following pieces to be ‘investment’ pieces not because of their cost or anticipated value, but because they are all items that I would wear A LOT in the foreseeable future and am bullish on their upside. (I included buy recommendations for each item. I’ve seen Boiler Room…no bigs.)

Diane von Furstenberg Zarita dress. I’ve had a love affair with lace since Easter 1990 when I got a pink lace Easter dress and wore it until it resembled a dry mop. I admire this lace dress and deem it a good investment because it is conservative for weddings and corporate holiday parties, but has enough sex appeal to land a spot in the date night and cocktail party rotation. Rating: Strong Buy

Balmain leather jacket. I love leather. I love black. I love moto-jackets. Rating: Strong Buy

Burberry trenchcoat. This trench can be worn through any Northern California season. I am in love with the leather sleeves which add just the right amount of edge (well, as edgy as you can be while still wearing Burberry). Rating: Buy

Jason Wu h
igh-waisted skinny leather pants. These are an advantageous investment despite what many investors may think. This one might be a short term investment, but depending on your style-profile, returns can still be lucrative. To achieve a strong return, one would need to invest in them asap as some analysts think leather pants have an age-appropriate shelf life. Rating: Neutral

Christian Louboutin Batignolles. These may have made me a Francophil. Classic shoes that can be styled with almost everything in your closet, no matter the decade, are a must. These shoes are like Singapore’s REIT in 2012. Rating: Strong Buy
Manolo Blahnik suede BB. Because blue suede shoes go with just about everything else. Rating: Neutral                   

Hermès Birkin. sophisticated and chic with a twist. The bold blue hue makes the classic Birkin more modern, but not so much that it’s shelf life will expire anytime soon. Not to mention, the texture is marvelous and bizarre (ostrich skin). Rating: Buy

Vitafede titan crystal bracelet. Romantic rose gold meets black swarovski crystals. This is one bad ass bangle that will never go out of style. Rating: Strong Buy / On my Christmas list

Disclosure:  Bethanimal has no position on any of the investments mentioned, nor has any intention of acquiring any of the above items during 2013. 

Weekend warrior

                         

Happy Friday, Internet friends!

As you can probably imagine, welcoming offspring into this world can change your plans for the weekend for about the next 18 years. What used to be Sunday Funday is now Weekend at Wholefoods.

Dressing for my domestic duties is akin to dressing for battle. Harlowe still thinks of me as her main mode of transportation so, I’ve reluctantly ditched heels for flat-ish soles like these rad perforated booties with gorgeous gold accents.

In an effort to keep my nether regions private, I avoid skirts. Luckily, pants don’t have to be boring. They can be coated to look like leather. (These here are the opposite side of my Bleulab jeans from my ‘Good enough for Beyonce’ post.)

Running around on my “days off” like I’m on a Tough Mudder course can be good cardio and I don’t want to get sweat stains on my small collection of silk blouses. I wear super cheap tops like this Joie tank top that I got on a ridiculously steep discount a few weeks ago. This buy is a good example of my favorite acronym: CANT (can’t afford not to.) You will see this a lot if you are a consistent bethanimalprint reader.

Have a great weekend and a wonderful International Women’s Day! Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to see a post on what clothing and accessories I would “invest” in if I could invest in trivial things!

Hat: f21; scarf: random boutique in Mountain View; sunnies: Ray-Ban Limited Edition Wayfarer NYC Subway Series; 
shirt: Joie; pants: Bleulab; shoes: Jeffrey Campbell

Can’t be tamed

Hello internet friends!


I spent the last three days in LA testing the boundaries of my favorite frizz control products. I straightened my hair 3 times and resorted to sloppily composed up-dos twice so, I can now boast my mane’s theme song is, “Can’t be Tamed” by the great Miley Cyrus. 

Speaking of girls that can’t be tamed, this post features my childhood friend, Tracy. She and I got through some questionable decisions during our teenage years and now have an unbreakable bond. Tracy is one of those effortless beauties that I wish I were more like. I’ve been enamored with her wardrobe since day one and have benefited from her generosity with clothing and accessory loans more than once. 

In fact, I lived with Tracy and 3 other like-sized girlfriends when I was in my early twenties which enabled me to have an enviable outfit on each day despite the fact that I was an executive assistant at a tech start-up who spent her nights serving tacos at a Mexican Restaurant called Loco Patron. Hashtag, youngbroke&fabulous

These photos were taken by Tracy and I during an impromptu shoot on Venice Beach the first evening.

Since, I was in LA for YouTube certification training; my 9-5 wear gets an honorable mention. I know more than I ever wanted to know about copyright and policy and I learned it all in blood-orange pumps. 

Shoes: J.Crew (old, similar here); skirt: Greylin via StitchFix (other color on sale here, similar skirt here)

P.S. Thanks for being my internet friends and real friends alike. I appreciate your support and I hope you enjoy my posts.