Vegetarian Dinner Party

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Here is the full menu:

Antipasti:

Focaccia and Broccoli Bread
Fresh Mozzarella (served with extra virgin olive oil to drizzle)
Zucchini a Scapace*
Pickled Radish and Cucumber
Caponata (Which I stole from my mom. Doesn’t everyone do that?)
Various peppers and olives from Whole Foods’ Olive Bar

Entree:

Pineapple Fried Red Rice*
Sweet and Sour Meatless Balls*

Dessert:

Summer Fruit Pudding*

[Quick aside: I am lucky that the neighborhood I work in has a weekly farmers’ market. I am even luckier that there is a new addition to the vendors there. Vito, who sells awesome fresh mozzarella (and I am quite the critic), great breads, and a million kinds of homemade ravioli. He has won a loyal customer in me for the entirety of the farmers’ market. I got the fresh mozz, broccoli bread, and focaccia from him.]

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As you can tell, I like a lot of little dishes for antipasti. I think it’s nice to have a plate full of a bite of this and a bite of that. As far as entrees, I figure (as long as it’s good) one is enough.

Isn’t casual entertaining the best in the summer?

xo,
Elle

*I’ll post these recipes over the next two weeks.

High Five For Friday

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My favorite parts of the past week, in no particular order:

1. Salads and iced tea when it is too hot to even consider eating anything else. Gossiping while eating said salads is a major plus.
2. Waking up one day with Breck Girl hair. I will never be able to replicate this magical moment.
3. Yoga pants and delicious coffee on mornings off. Nuff said.
4. An extremely successful shopping day. Love.
5. 18k gold flecked mani. So fun. So overpriced. More on this next week.

What were your favorite things this week?

xo,
Elle

Amrita Singh Sale On Now!

I had to do a special evening post to tell you all that Beyond The Rack has a Amrita Singh jewelry sale right now, which includes bangles! (Like the ones you see in this pic and almost every one of my outfit posts. They are the best. Really good quality and look like real Indian gold.)

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Sign up for Beyond The Rack here and stock up on bangles for summer!

xo,
Elle

Childhood Memories (Or “Do These Still Exist?”)

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Alright, so I know that kids now have iPads, Leap Frogs, and other high tech stuff I don’t even know about because I’m single and have no children and spend all my time concerned with sample sales and glasses of Cabernet… But I’m just going to throw it out there that if I had a child, he or she would be playing with wooden blocks and paper dolls. I had so much fun with paper dolls as a child and I’m pretty sure that this is at least part of the reason why I have so much fun putting outfits together as an adult.

My children are going to grow up to be poor artists, aren’t they? At least they’ll have active imaginations.

Now, onto the. Best. Paper. Dolls. Ever. Made.

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Did any of you guys have these? They had all of Princess Di’s best outfits, including her ginormous puff-sleeved wedding dress. The best part though? The last page had a cutout wedding tiara. That fit on a child’s head. I wore the crap out of that tiara.

Are any parents out there into retro toys like these or are you all high tech?

xo,
Elle

My Summer DIY Mission

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What you see pictured above is this adorbs little Missoni ribbon necklace that I almost bought in Loehmann’s. When faced with a table full of jewelry, my eye naturally pulls to the most expensive item, without fail (even when prices aren’t showing– it’s a gift and a curse). So I snatched up this cute little ribbon and sequin necklace figuring it would be a sure thing.

Thennnnn I saw the tag. $129 (let’s not even get into the ridiculousness of the regular price) for a ribbon with a few sequins hanging off of it. I get it. It’s Missoni. It is still robbery to charge hundreds of dollars for something that cost pennies to make and is not immediately recognizable as Missoni. No deal. Down it went back on Loehmann’s table of baubles.

And then a brainstorm occurred. As I pondered this item I thought, “I could totally make this.” And then, “I should totally make this. And other jewelry stuffs.” And my summer mission was born. This is the summer of jewelry making (and utilizing some of what I learned in the four years I spent in art school). Now that I put my plans into writing on the world wide web, I’ll have to follow through.

My goals are threefold:
— first fold is to make enough jewelry to wear.
— second fold is to make enough jewelry to sell at a flea market or craft fair.
— third fold is to make enough jewelry to open an etsy shop.

And through it all, I’ll be sharing my fab DIY’s and horrible failures (which I’m sure will occur) with you.

xo,
Elle

Quinoa Salad

I love quinoa. To me, it’s like rice but better. In addition to being healthier (quinoa is a complete protein containing all eight essential amino acids), quinoa is also more versatile, being just as delicious cold as it is hot.

This quinoa salad is loosely inspired by a traditional dish from Naples called Zucchini A Scapece, which my grandfather made over and over every summer by frying zucchini from his garden, then dousing it in red wine vinegar, fresh mint and raw garlic. (I have a healthy version of this recipe that I’ll be sharing soon.)

This is a really fresh, clean, and light salad. This amount serves two as a side.

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xo,
Elle

Elle’s Almost Nicoise Salad

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This salad was so delicious. The only thing missing was olives. It seriously needed some fabulous pitted olives. The salty brininess would have completed the dish. Unfortch, I was out of olives. Including dressing, this salad comes in at only 424 calories, so in addition to being super easy and tasting great, it is guiltless. (I’d say serves two as a side or starter, one as an entree.)

I topped it off with my homemade Light White Balsamic Vinaigrette and a generous grinding of Trader Joe’s Flower Pepper (black peppercorns and dried flowers– so different and yummy).

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…but seriously, it needs olives…

xo,
Elle

Trickle Down Inspiration: Peach and Red

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This look was inspired by my friend Catalina (check out her blog City and Burbs, it is fabulous) who was inspired by Cece on The New Girl. I’m always looking at what my friends (as well as random girls on the street) are wearing as inspiration for new looks for myself. I wore this peach and red ensem for casual day at work and then to a family party after.

Are you guys loving all the unusual color combos that are popping up everywhere? I am.

xo,
Elle