Friday, May 24, 2013

fathers day gift ideas

Father's Day is fast approaching and for some of us, gift shopping can be a real daunting task. In an attempt to lighten the burden, I've picked out 16 great choices for your father, the father of your children or both!

1. Leather IPad Case Stand (here) - a fancy business accessory
2. Isolar back up portable battery for the iphone (here) - for the fancy green man
3. Polar FA20 Black heart rate monitor (here) -  the fitness enthusiast
4. Whiskey Stones and Gift Set (here) - for both new and old dads
5. Boston Red Sox distressed Cap (here) - sports fan
6. Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses (here) - a classic
7. Frye "Harvey" Messeger Bag (here) - man on the go
8. Paul Smith Accessories Skull Bar  (here) - a fashionable man
9. Goorin Brothers Fedora (here) - just fancy
10. Ticket Stub Diary (here) - music man
11. Rainbow Sandal (here) - beach comber
12. Sperry boat shoes (here) - boat man
13. Pick Punch (here) - musician
14. Michael Kors Large Lexington Chronograph Bracelet Watch (here) - every guy (and gal) should own a fancy watch
15. Banana Republic Non-Iron Shirt (here) - unoriginal but he can never have too many
16. A bottle of Liquor - when all else fails... 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

stacked roasted vegetable enchiladas

Pinterest is my favorite cookbook. I've discovered quite a few great recipes and the number of ones to try are endless.

This recipe is from Perry's Plate and turned out really good. It's loaded with fresh veggies and can be made even healthier by using less cheese and forgoing the sour cream. Chopping and roasting the veggies was a bit labor intensive but totally worth it for a delicious healthy meal. 

vegetables chopped 
 vegetables roasted
 stacking the enchiladas
ready for the oven

Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas


1 poblano chile, cut into matchsticks
2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, halved and slivered
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
3T Olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and black pepper

1 15oz  can of black or pinto beans
2 cups homemade or store bought salsa/pico de gallo
2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)
3-4 large flour tortillas, halved
1.5 cups shredded cheese (I used a cheddar-Monterey Jack blend)
sour cream and thinly sliced scallions (green onions) for garnish, if desired


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a large shallow roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet.
Place poblanos, red bell peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, and corn kernels onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the cumin and minced garlic over top. Add a generous pinch or two of salt and black pepper, then use your hands to mix everything together. After everything is coated well, spread the vegetables evenly in the pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting. Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Prepare an 8x8x2 or 9x9x2-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. Spread 1/3 of salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, to completely cover the salsa. Top with 1/2 of the vegetables, half the beans  a handful of spinach, and 1/2 of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, salsa, vegetables, beans,  spinach, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.
Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of sliced scallions.

Adapted from Perry's Plate Recipe (here)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Birchbox - Must or Bust

The day I receive my Birchbox each month is quite possibly my favorite day of the month. If you're not familiar with this service, it's a monthly subscription and for $10/month you receive a little pink box once a month with great beauty samples (sometimes full size) to try. Last week I received my May Birchbox and below is a list of the products I received and my personal review for each of them. 

Pilot Acrobat Pen - really?? really!? I mean, this pen writes well but I think this was a filler. In fact I know it was a filler since I can't even find the link to buy it on the birchbox website. BUST.

Marvis Toothpaste - I've never been too picky about toothpaste (except the time it was irritating my skin) but this has a nice fresh taste and made my teeth feel great after brushing with it. If you're the kind of person who prefers luxury toothpaste then this is a must otherwise $10.50 for a tube of toothpaste is a BUST.

Coola Classic SPF 30 Moisturizer for Face - This stuff is very lightweight and smells like cucumbers (or better.) As a bonus it's made with 70% certified organic ingredients. I'm going to finish using my skinceuticals sunscreen and then I MUST buy this.

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner - I received the liner in black and it's fantastic. It goes on smooth and bold and has ridiculous staying power so you have to work quickly if you need to fix any mistakes - This is definitely a MUST especially given its $11.00 price tag.

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk - Birchbox must have known that I've been on the hunt for a decent dry shampoo. I've tried out at least a dozen in the past year...and I'll be buying this one! It has a mild smell that is unoffensive and did not make my hair feel sticky or dirty - just clean. Thank you birchbox! ... this is a MUST.

xo Ellen

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

on the verge of a splurge

Sergio Rossi

Okay, unless we win the lottery, I will only ever see these shoes in my dreams but Sergio Rossi is officially my favorite shoe designer! I'm drooling. If I had to pick just one I'd go with the center pair. Which is your favorite?

xo Ellen

peplum perfect

Eva Franco Top (Blush Boutique)/Gap Legging jeans (similar here)/Vince Camuto Shoes (similar here)/Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac (love this one here)/Ann Taylor Necklace (love this one here)/Bracelets were gifts from long ago

I came across this black peplum top on the sale rack at Blush boutique a few weeks ago and snatched it right up. I'm loving all things peplum recently and this top is no exception especially given it's fabulous mesh detailing. I plan to dress it up with a black pencil skirt and also wear it more casual with jeans as I've done here.

xo Ellen

ps. I'm linking up to Two Thirty-Five Designs. Check it out!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

mixing prints

Hazel2Blue top (here)/Limited Skirt (here on sale now)/Aldo shoes/Rebecca Minkoff Mab mini/D&G Glasses 
I was going to title this post "Trunk Show" but then decided that was a little too much of a play on words after looking at my pictures so instead I went with mixing prints since that is what I've done here.

This past weekend I had the great fortune of attending a Hazel 2 Blue trunk show. I had never heard of Hazel 2 Blue prior to this but I'm always game for a fashion trunk show and this one did not disappoint.  I walked away with two great items including this floral top which I paired with a striped pencil skirt. Simple stripes are a great starting point when you are looking to mix prints but don't know how to go about it. 

Check out Hazel 2 Blue's online boutique (here) and get in line to wait for their new store coming soon near St. Louis!

xo Ellen