a ladylike winter

if you don’t already know, this isn’t my favorite season. my attempts to bundle up usually consists of lots of layers and a pouty face. apart from christmas, i haven’t had the opportunity to play dress-up this winter. i keep on saying i’m going to have a date night with the hubs, but we usually just end up staying in. which i’m totally okay with most of the time, but my dresses might have cobwebs by now. if you’re a girly-girl like me, then you’d understand too. heck, if you’re a mom then i’m just preaching to the choir right about now.

the whole dressing up/date night situation is one of my new years resolutions. i’ll quote #8 down the list of things i wish to accomplish in 2013: “go out on hot dates night with my mani haven’t used my heels in…umm, yeah i can’t even remember the last time.” <— gosh, that’s sad!

i toke the woolite dream winter outfit challenge, ’cause i’m getting psyched for going out on the town. hopefully, sooner than later. i could use some practice and a little inspiration. people who know about fashion, know that woolite is a trusted detergent. it promises to take care of your favorite clothes so you can continue making great memories and great fashion statements. with that in mind, i put together this outfit that i would want to keep looking its best.

a ladylike winter

Poem print top
$87 – oliverbonas.com

Moschino wool shirt
stylebop.com

Military fashion
yumidirect.co.uk

Wool mini skirt
chicwish.com

Tulle clothing
modcloth.com

Rag & bone high heels
mytheresa.com

Jigsaw knit beret
$62 – jigsaw-online.com




this pretty combination is a  little bit classy and a little bit fun too. there’s no need for a necklace with this moschino wool shirt.  it’s the epitome of femininity, which features an elegant bow. the a-line floral skirt gives the assemble a retro 50’s look, which i love. in order to avoid it being too matchy-matchy, i added a second pattern with the use of cardigan. delicate birds add that perfect touch of whimsy, which also gives this outfit an avant-garde edge. the mustard yellow military coat balances the girly elements with a touch of masculine detailing in the buttons. each of the accessories picks up a rich color and completes this very ladylike attire. it’s a perfect for dressing up while still keeping warm during this cold weather.

what are your thoughts?

raquel

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one delicious gift idea

christmas is approaching…

while some may default to picking something up from the mall, others are getting more creative this year. whether you’re frugal, eco-conscious or crafty, being meaningful is what sets apart an awesome gift-giver. nothing says “I’m thoughtful” more than a present made by your own two hands.

If it’s festive and scrumptious, you’ve gained even more brownie points (says i–the self-proclaimed foodie)

take for example this gorgeous red pepper marmalade. i mean seriously, it looks like it was purchased from an expensive gourmet food store, right?

red pepper marmalade

save your self some major moolah, and try this recipe . i would suggest making a small batch first. if you’ve mastered it, then why not cook enough for those on your list? your neighbors, co-workers, family and friends would be delighted.

pretty jars, decorative ribbon, and homemade labels transforms this spread into lovely gifts.

Ingredients

1 cup bell pepper, finely diced (no stem and seeds)

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon dried chili flakes

Directions

Place all ingredients in a pot together on medium high heat. When it starts boiling, bring the heat down to low stirring regularly. Cook for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates and becomes a thick syrup

img_2942

*for more ideas especially those with latin flair, i highly recommend hungry food love. not only is melissa a rockstar in the kitchen, but she’s also dominican ;-)

happy cooking and gifting!

raquel

//

beet soup (otherwise known as borscht)

as a wife to a polish man, i’m quite familiar with this traditional eastern european staple.

it’s a soup made of beets. yes, you read correctly–beets. i remember the first time i was introduced to it. i thought it was strange yet very interesting. in my hispanic culture, beets are eaten on their own with a vinaigrette dressing or sometimes incorporated into potato salads. then i tasted this, and i instantly fell in love. my perspective of beets was turned upside down. my entire life, i had missed out on this incredible ruby red bowl of warm deliciousness.

there are so many variations to this soup. i’ve enjoyed all of them thus far. i came across this recipe from a fellow inspiring blogger, Shira. it instantly caught my eye, because it consists of chunky root veggies, compared to the  pureed ones i’ve tasted in the past. i know my hubby isn’t the only one who will appreciate this.

mmm, mmm good! (and definitely not the campbell’s kind of good)

copyright @shira from the pursuit of more

  • (2) small-medium red beets for roasting, or one larger one
  • (3) tbsp olive oil
  • (1) tbsp salt
  • (2) cups yellow onion, chopped small (2 small or one large)
  • (3-4) medium carrots, peeled or unpeeled & chopped small (2 cups chopped)
  • (3) medium yellow fleshed potatoes, peeled and chopped small (3 cups chopped)
  • (3) cups canned tomatoes (1 796 ml can)
  • (4-5) cups water
  • (4+) cups chopped green or savoy cabbage, washed & chopped small
  • (4) tbsp honey
  • (1) tsp salt
  • (1/2) tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • (2-3) tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • (1) bunch fresh dill, or (2) tbsp dried dill

To start, heat the oven to 350 degrees. To roast beets, simply wrap them in foil one layer thick (no washing required) and prick them with a fork several times. Put the in the heated oven for 45-60 minutes or until tender when pushed. This step can be done days in advance of making this soup and the beets will keep well in the foil or in a container for up to a week or more.

Once the beets are done, put them in a bowl in the sink, unwrap each as you go and one by one with cold water running, rub the skins off the beets with your hands. They will simply slide right off under the water! Chop the beets into a 1/2 to on 1 inch dice and set aside.

To prepare the vegetables, peel and chop each veggie before starting, taking care to chop into a small dice, about 1/2 inch if possible, or bigger as your patience, skill, and desire dictates.

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onions and (3) tbsp salt and cook the onions until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes & (4) cups water and turn the heat to high. Bring the water to a boil and turn the heat down. Simmer the soup for 8-10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are just tender. Add the cabbage and cook a further 6-8 minutes, until all of the veggies are soft and starting to meld together.

To finish, add the chopped beets, honey, black pepper & remaining salt to taste. Stir and cook a few more minutes on medium heat until well blended and tasting amazing.

Next, using a blender, blend up to half of the soup to a smooth consistency (feel free to add up to a cup more of extra water to get the blending going), leaving the rest in its chunky form. Pour the blended soup into the pot and stir all to combine.

Stir in the chopped dill & cider vinegar at the end and taste to correct seasonings, reserving some to sprinkle on each bowl.

To serve, scoop into bowls and garnish with dill and more freshly ground black pepper & a small drop or two of cider vinegar. To me, the zing of the vinegar adds the most wonderful flavor boosting acidity and I highly recommend trying it this way.

please visit in pursuit of more for other great recipes with amazing, drool-worthy, food photography

happy cooking!

R