Wednesday, March 30, 2011

hilary's kitchen adventures

If you've been reading the blog at all (or just any food related posts, of which there have been few thus far), then you know I suck at cooking. Mostly.

Well, I went out on a limb (Figuratively, of course. It would be hard to cook on a limb.) yesterday and made my own fresh bread! I had never done it before, so I was a little wary. I borrowed a recipe from a friend who makes this bread all the time (I once told her she had to make me some monthly. She did not agree to this arrangement. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Marykate.). She adds garlic (making it a perfect complement to a yummy spaghetti dinner) and brushes olive oil on top to add a little extra flavor.

So I followed the recipe, used all supplies provided by my roommate Rachel (to which I owe some flour...and yeast...and salt... okay, you get the idea), and it turned out really well! It really did take about an hour. It may not look so nice, but it tastes delicious -- dense but still fluffy. Unfortunately my loaves did not get quite tall enough to make very good sandwich bread (I may still attempt a very skinny PB&J), but it is nice for snacking with some butter, or as Rachel and I tried last night, with some chocolate almond butter (a less creamy version of Nutella that's maybe a tad healthier for you). YUM.

 Pardon the cell phone pics. Some day I will actually provide decent photos of things I care to share.

The crust was a little hard to cut.. 

Overall, I was so pleased to see some success in the kitchen (via me, not my crazy adventurous cooking roomie), I may just have to try a different recipe!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

pretty things I wish I owned

These beautiful recycled sari blankets.. I saw some at a store on Magazine Street and fell in love. My current comforter (made by my mom) is so pretty, I could never replace it, but if I ever, ever did.. it'd be with one of these!
This GORGEOUS bag that I found on poppytalk handmade by Betsy and Bess. I love the colors, the style, the pattern, that cute braided strap. Sigh.
 This incredibly unique key hole ring from GwenDelicious. I'm not a huge ring person, but I think I'd wear this one!

This oh-so-dreamy photograph of balloons by A Place for Twiggs. I adore the color wash of it. I would just love to frame this and hang it in my new apartment next year. (Also found on poppytalk handmade.)

These dainty wish bracelets by Be Charmed Designs. You can get them together or separate if you have a favorite (I don't think I could decide!). (Also found on poppytalk handmade.)

So there was definitely no over-arching theme for this post. Just pretty things I would love to own! I hope you enjoyed all of these gorgeous items, and perhaps you will visit these shops? Enjoy!

tips on saving money, post one

So I've decided one of my features here on one cluttered life is going to be about saving money. Since I'm soon going to become a graduate student and in serious debt, I figured I'd share the wealth (Disclaimer: This phrase is meant figuratively only. I have no actual wealth to share.) and post when I find some good deals, thrifty schemes, etc.

My first featured program? That's going to be Ebates.

(And yes, you'll be doing me a favor by clicking the button above! It has my referral code. Just keeping transparency alive.)

When you sign up, you'll get to pick between a few different $10 gift cards or $5 Ebates cash (that's what I picked). Then you just go to Ebates any time you're going to buy something online. There are an absolute TON of participating stores, including some really cool ones like ModCloth (you get 3.5% back), Urban Outfitters (2.5%), and Aerie (3%). If you're buying big ticket items or just going on a fashion shopping spree (I wish!), or even getting something you actually NEED (which is advised if you're actually trying to save money..), the rebates really add up! Just make sure you visit the site and click through Ebates to get to the store you're looking for, or you won't get your rebate! And that would be a pity. On occasion, they even double the amount you get back (You can sign up for their email list, and they'll update you when the double discounts change.).

Yesterday I received an envelope from eBates. My "Big Fat Check," as it were, was for $8.50. BUT considering you don't have to do anything in order to get such a rebate, it's a pretty good deal. You should check it out! And if you do, please please please use my referral code -- I'd really appreciate it!

Oh, and did I mention they have coupons too?

Monday, March 21, 2011

blogs we know & love

In case you hadn't heard, dear reader, I will be going to graduate school next year. It is proving to be more financially strenuous than I had originally predicted (most programs like mine offer a tuition waiver and a stipend. Me? I get no stipend, no tuition waiver, but I do "get" to work for 20 hours per week while juggling classes, a masters thesis, clients, etc. Wow, writing that all out makes it a little less exciting and a lot more daunting.)

Anyway, at the moment, I spend the majority of my paycheck on rent and food. I go out to eat an excessive amount. Cooking irks me. I have a hard time multi-tasking in the kitchen, and I wind up burning the chicken while I'm chopping up tomatoes. And then there's cleaning. If I didn't have to clean up after myself, it might be okay. Maybe I could hire a nightly maid. I have a hard time sticking to a recipe plan for the week because I get bored. I spend so much in ingredients and wind up throwing a ton of food away because it goes bad before I can use it. Overall, cooking is quite the enemy of mine. Thus I go out to eat. All. the. time. And it's not usually fast food, which is probably better for my health but definitely worse for my wallet. It's sit-down restaurants, where I pay an extra ~30% including tax and tip. Unfortunately, restaurant eating is not cheap. This is not a lifestyle option I have for next year, when I begin my (hopefully) brief (read: four+ years) of being ridiculously poor and in debt.

So I've started thinking about cooking. Not actually cooking, but thinking is a good first step, right? (Unless that thinking includes 'Wow, you know, Louisiana Pizza Kitchen sure makes a mean bowl of fettucine alfredo, a lot better than I could do...') So next step, I have started looking at recipe sites and food blogs.

And in doing so, I found Can You Stay for Dinner? which is absolutely delightful. You must check it out. The photographs are seriously art. Art in the form of food that sounds relatively healthy and maybe, just maybe Hilary- and fool-proof. One recipe that sounds especially tasty to me is the barbecue chicken rolls. Could I replicate this recipe? Only time will tell. But I will be sure to let you know.

Barbecue Chicken Wraps

Vegetarian Lo Mein

Adorable Rainbow Cupcakes

(All photos from Can You Stay for Dinner?)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

the best shoes I've ever seen

How ridiculous(ly awesome) are these bunny wedges?!

Available from BC Footwear (under the "Special" category) for $40 -- a steal if you ask me ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

inspired fashion : the adjustment bureau

Occasionally during movies and TV shows, I have a bad habit of forgetting to pay attention to whatever is going on in said movie or TV show and just look at what everyone is wearing. At times, this is beneficial, especially when watching semi-crappy TV shows such as Glee -- sorry Gleeks -- or anything on MTV, and also when watching shows such as Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, which actually have some inspired fashion choices.

So during a not particularly enthralling moment in The Adjustment Bureau, I spotted a great outfit on the gorgeous Emily Blunt (Note: She even looks good running! All over this movie! Now that is impressive.). For your enjoyment, I have found some great pieces online, so if you are so inclined, you can replicate it.

As you can see, she's sporting a cute floral tiered dress (which actually looks like it's possibly vintage?), an adorable black leather (hopefully faux but probably not) bomber jacket, and, as you cannot see, a pair of blue, strappy heels.

Adorable floral tiered dress from ModCloth. (Not quite as vibrant as hers, but still great!)

Great little black leather bomber jacket from YesStyle.

Fabulous strappy blue statement heels from  Lulu's.

And now you're all ready for Matt Damon to fall in love with you. Perfect.