Friday, August 23, 2013

Art at Home

 I don't think any house is complete without art.  As we grow up, our taste in art gets a bit more sophisticated (remember covering your room in Backstreet Boys posters?).  However, though we may want to cover our walls in paintings by local artists, art can be very expensive.  I have a ton of art in my house ( know.......I make art) but I like to have something other than my own paintings hanging on my walls.  Here are some ideas I'm considering for my own home (thank you Pinterest for being a girly idea machine):
Framing a great poster.  Anything looks better framed.  This photo of Bob Dylan is perfect.  Choose something classic, but cool.  Black and white is always a nice touch.  (Check out Hobby Lobby for cheap frames).
 Framing fabric or wallpaper.  This makes such a great statement.  Fabric comes in so many great prints; it doesn't have to be girly like this example. You can even wrap a cheap canvas in fabric (once again, check out Hobby Lobby for cheap canvases).

Paint your own!  This little blue painting in this bathroom looks very simple to paint, but how cute is it?!
 Or..........invest.  Yes, art can be expensive, but it really is worth it.  It gives your house so much more personality.  Imagine the room above without the painting........boring!  It's good to support the arts in your community (and you will seem so much cooler than all of your friends).  Go to a local gallery and take a look.  Some of the pieces aren't as pricey as you might think.

Do you have any crafty ideas for adding art to your walls?  Please share!
(all images via Pinterest)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Men's Fashion: An Introduction

As promised, I'm introducing a little men's fashion onto the Starving Artist.  I'm very influenced by men's fashion (I frequently shop in the men's department or in my husband's closet).  And to be honest, is there anything better than a well-dressed man?  Ok, maybe a well dressed-man handing me a donut. So I'll be sharing some of my  husband's awesome outfits.   A big thank you to Olie for modeling (I only talked him into it by allowing him to drink a Sierra Nevada at the same time).

Over the past 7 years I've watched Olie's sense of fashion dramatically change.  I think I can take a bit of credit for that, but I don't think that you can be with someone and not begin to take an interest in what they do and love (for example: I know way too much about medicine and Marvel vs. Capcom).  Here are a couple of tips I have for men who are trying to be stylish (or for girlfriends/wives/sisters who are trying to whip the men in their lives into shape).

1. Buy clothes that fit.  Baggy clothes don't look good on anyone.
2.  Don't be afraid of accessories.  Check out Olie's glasses, watch, and chunky wedding ring.  They completely make this outfit.
3.  Find a store that has good clothes for your body and be loyal to it.  Men don't love shopping like women do (generally) so don't waste your time in a bunch of different stores.  Olie is a loyal J. Crew shopper, which is great.  He knows his size in everything, so now he doesn't even go in the store.  He just picks a few things online when he needs something new.
4.  Stay groomed.  Not really a fashion tip, but keeping your hair, brows, and beard in shape really makes a difference in your look.
5.  Buy good quality classics.  Men's fashion is about quality over quantity.

Shirt: Old Navy, Shorts: J. Crew Factory, Shoes: Calvin Klein, Glasses: Ray Ban, Watch: Movado

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Bit 90's

We've had the most amazing summer here in Memphis.  Last week was so cool that I had to wear a jacket at night.  Normally it's so hot by this time of year that you can't even go swimming; the water is too warm, it just feels like swimming in a large bath.  Not refreshing.

I wore this for a night of grilling in my friend's backyard.  Long skirt for comfort, stripes for awesome-ness, and a button-down around my waste in case I got too cool (so weird).  The whole ensemble was a bit 90's and I loved it.

Striped Shirt: Old Navy, Skirt: Old Navy, Button-down: Zara, Shoes: Anna via HauteLook

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pickled Nectarine and Mozzarella Salad

I did something the other night that I had not done in a long time: I made dinner.  Like.....a real dinner.  Not tacos, not pizza.......... a real meat and two veg dinner.  I was very proud of myself.  Since I started working full time, I have really slacked off in the cooking department.  Also, I think I have mentioned my recent cooking rut.  I just haven't felt creative lately.  I literally can't think of anything to make for dinner.  So, to motivate myself, I decided to start subscribing to Bon Appetit.  I thought a new magazine would get my cooking brain working again.  That's where I came across this tasty little salad.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I'm not much of a salad person.  They are yummy, but they take a lot of effort.  It's all the chopping; it just drives me nuts.  But this one was very simple.  I only had to chop the nectarines and the onion, which took about 2 minutes, and then I just tossed it all together.  That's my kind of salad.

I paired this with some bar-b-q chicken legs and corn on the cob.  The bar-b-q sauce was homemade and, frankly, pretty amazing.  I'll share it with you soon, I want to tweak it just a little bit before I post it.
This salad calls for burrata, which is a very soft, fresh mozzarella, but I couldn't find it.  To be fair, I only looked at one grocery store, but I'm not driving all over town for cheese (wow, I sound really lazy.  I hate chopping and I won't check more than one store for cheese.  I need to get my life in order).  But it was perfectly delicious with the fresh mozzarella.  Also, my husband (the weird cheese-hater) ate it sans-cheese and he practically licked his plate clean.  So, don't stress over the cheese.

(Speaking of Bon Appetit, has everyone seen their list of top 50 best new restaurants in the U.S?  Shout out to Hog and Hominy for making the list!  What a well-deserved honor!  Memphis pride, what what!)

Click here for a link to the original recipe.  Here is what I did:

Pickled Nectarines and Mozzarella Salad (adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 nectarines, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups fresh arugula
1 cup fresh mint leaves
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size peices (use burrata if you can find it)
salt and pepper
Olive oil

Combine nectarines, onion, vinegar and sugar in a bowl.  Let sit for ten minutes.  Toss with spinach, arugula, mint, and mozzarella.  Place salad on plates.  Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

That's it.  Seriously.  So easy and so yummy.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Smarty Pants

 Don't I look smart in my glasses!  I've actually had this pair since the 10th might be time for an upgrade.  I'm thinking I'm just going to suck it up and get a pair of Ray-Bans.  They are pricey but they look great.  And I obviously keep glasses forever.  

Shirt: Gap, Dress: New York and Company, Shoes; Bucco via Hautelook, Assorted Jewels

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Salty, Chocolatey, Nutty, Protein-y Granola Bars

I'm a bit of a snacker.  I need a lot of food to keep me going throughout the day.  At my job, they keep all of these snacks in the back (Cheetos, Oreos, Oatmeal Cream Pies, etc.) and I find myself eating those all the time.  Especially the Cheetos.  I love Cheetos.  Buy anyway, I realized I needed a healthier snack to keep me from diving into salt and high-fructose corn syrup land (aka the snack table).  So I came up with these little babies.

I've always wanted to make granola bars.  Mainly because they are so expensive when you buy them prepackaged.  And the cheap ones are really just candy bars that trick you into thinking they are good for you.  I think some of the expensive ones may be that way too.  These are great to make at home because you save a ton of money and you know exactly what goes in them.  Not that you can't read the label on the back of the packaged granola bars, but sometimes I don't know what that stuff is.  I prefer my ingredients to contain less than 4 syllables.

I kind of made this recipe up based on what was in my pantry and I was surprised by how well they turned out.  They are the perfect ratio of salty and sweet, which is my weakness.  Feel free to get creative: dried fruit, white chocolate, pistachios, almond butter, pretzels, etc.  Just make sure you add enough of the sticky stuff (I used maple syrup, but honey would work as well.  You could use corn syrup, but why would you do something like that?).  I only added 2 scoops of protein to these, because I thought it might make the bars gritty, but you couldn't even tell it was there.  So I will probably double that next time.  Just have fun with it!

Oh, and did I mention this is the simplest thing I've made in a long time?  These are ridiculously easy.  Which is always a plus in my book.

Salty, Chocolatey, Nutty, Protein-y Granola Bars

2 cups oats
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup chia seeds
a handful of coconut (feel free to use more, I just wanted to trick my husband into thinking it wasn't there)
1/4 cup olive oil
a big handful of chocolate chips
a spoonful of peanut butter
a spoonful of Nutella
half of a stick of butter, melted
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of maple syrup
2 scoops of protein powder (I used chocolate flavored)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine oats, walnuts, chia seeds, coconut and olive oil.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  I roasted mine in a glass casserole dish.  If you have one, use it.  It was really great for this recipe.

Remove the oat mixture.  In a large bowl, combine oat mixture with remaining ingredients.  Mix well to combine.

Add mixture to glass casserole pan (it should be a little oily from when you roasted the oats, so no need for parchment paper or baking spray).  Smoosh all of the ingredients together with the back of your spoon.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes and then slice into 12 or 16 pieces.  Now get yo' snack on!  These keep for up to a week in a sealed, airtight container.

Any ideas for future granola bar ingredients?  I'm hooked on these, but I need some ideas for my next batch!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Olsen Mania

Olsen Mania

Olsen Mania by meredith-austin on Polyvore

What is it about the Olsen twins?  Their hair is always filthy, they wear clothes that are way to big for them, and they look so much cooler than everyone else.  Here are a few things we can all learn from Mary Kate and Ashley:

1.  There is nothing better than a classic white button-down.
2.  Big, dark sunglasses will always be the perfect accessory.
3.  Find a great bag and wear the heck out of it.
4.  All black everything.  
5.  Wash your hair.  It works when you are an Olsen twin, but it just doesn't work in real life.  

MKA are the inspiration for my closet makeover.  I love how they wear classic pieces in unusual cuts, great accessories, and rock monochromatic looks.  The last one is a bit hard for me cuz I'm a color freak, but it sure looks great on them.  

Who's your style icon?  Check out my pinterest board Style Icons for a few of mine.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Who Wears Short Shorts?

Not me, usually.  Shorts just seem so........short.  And knees are weird.  And I have a lot of leg.  And I am neurotic, apparently.  This was an uncharacteristically un-modest look for me.  Shorts and a flash of midriff?  What!?  But it was perfect for lunch with friends and then some tax-free shopping (last weekend was tax-free weekend in Tennessee).

Shirt: Urban Outfitters, Shorts: Thrifted Wranglers that I cut into shorts, Shoes: Bucco via Hautelook, Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ham and Egg Spaghetti

I've been feeling very uninspired in the kitchen.  Lately, the only thing I cook are tacos, pizza, and ham and cheese sandwiches.  Today is my day off, and I wanted to cook myself something really yummy for breakfast, but my cooking brain just wasn't working.  Finally, after listening to my stomach grown for about 45 minutes, I realized I had to eat something.  I almost just went ahead and ate my usual morning oatmeal, until I suddenly remembered this delicious little dish.

Ok, I know, it looks humble.  It's not exotic, but it is delicious.

Here's how it's done:

Cook enough pasta for one person.  Drain and place in a saute pan on low heat.  Add two beaten eggs, a little bit of sliced ham, some peas, a pat of butter, and a little sharp cheddar cheese.  Mix this with a spatula until the eggs have cooked.  Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

A lot of people make this with bacon, but as I've mentioned before, I'm not a huge bacon person.  Ham on the other hand? Bring it on.  This is a tasty little dish.  It's kind of like mac and cheese.  The eggs make a silky sauce that coats the noodles and is very addicting.  I'm actually kind of sad that I remembered this one.  I will probably start eating it way too much.

You can also make this without cheese.  But why would you want to do that?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Work-day Wear

This is kind of my work uniform: a button-down, cute pants, and a comfortable pair of shoes.  It may seem strange to be so covered up in the height of summer, but it's freezing where I work.  I just got this new button-down (on sale at Zara!).  I'm loving the embroidery on the front.  Check out the Zara sale before it's too late!

Shirt: Zara, Pants: Forever 21, Shoes: Bucco via HauteLook, Assorted Jewels