Blanket Scarves and Coffee

Happy Sunday Everyone! I hope you are enjoying this beautiful fall day wherever you are!
Blanket Scarves

Fall is all about the layers. And one of my favourite additions to any outfit is a scarf! When Janna picked up a few blanket scarves while we were shopping the other day, I initially thought that they would look a tad too big on me. I was wrong. Sometimes a good, cozy blanket scarf is just what you need to finish off a fall outfit. And the bigger the better!! She settled on this fabulous one from Zara, being drawn to the soft fabric and subtle herringbone pattern. And the added stripe detail was just the right amount of colour! I love how she layered it over a neutral outfit, letting that scarf take centre stage. Blanket Scarves

Janna opted for comfort and style with her newly purchased clogs. Perfect for walking the Whyte Ave. streets. Blanket ScarvesBlanket ScarvesBlanket ScarvesAnother thing I love about Janna’s look, is her perfect fall lip color. I was struggling to find that “just right” fall red and hers is absolutely lovely! Head on over to Behind the Blush to see her fall lip tutorial coming soon!

Janna’s look: Forever 21 Hat | Zara Scarf | H&M Long Cardigan | Urban Outfitters Clogs

Blanket Scarves Part II: I had to get one for myself!! And I am loving tartan right now!! Check back soon with “3 Ways to Wear a Blanket Scarf!”
Photo 2014-10-07, 4 34 22 PMPS – Thanks for the cute GIF Party Party APP!! :)

A New York State of Mind

A New York State of MindNormally after I get home from a trip, I love doing a full recap and making some personal recommendations for the city. After visiting New York City, I truthfully feel like I barely scratched the surface and am hardly in a place to give advice. At this point I have a long list of things I want to do and see when I go back; and, even revisit some of the places I did get to venture this go around. I am definitely in a New York state of mind!

Some highlights from the trip were getting to see amazing shows on Broadway – The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder was the most spectacular musical I have seen in a very long time. I would go see it again and again if I could! And the Wayra show by Fuerza Bruta was spectacular. Cirque du Soleil meets Brazilian energy meets party!A New York State of Mind I unfortunately couldn’t get tickets to Cabaret BUT I did get to meet the incredible cast after the show. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to wait at any stage door after a production. Talking to these artists is such a unique experience!

We visited Radio City Musical Hall (go there to see the incredible Art Deco design alone), Broadway Dance Centre, and Rockefellar Plaza. We went shopping in Soho and in the Flatiron district, stopping to relax in Madison Square Park. We had time for a quick stop at FAO Schwarz so I could see the piano…I loved the movie BIG when I was little. Photo 2014-10-11, 11 25 43 AMAnother favourite moment for me was seeing the World Trade centre. I can’t explain the way this memorial affected me…I was a lot more emotional than I expected. It made sense…the water constantly pouring into a vast hole that has no bottom…it was a very powerful image that definitely resonated with all of us.Photo 2014-10-10, 9 33 41 PM

I loved being in Grand Central Station. I felt like I was transported back in time…while at the same time I was desperately wanting to start a flashmob! A New York State of MindA New York State of MindA New York State of Mind A New York State of Mind

Here are some more photos from our walk in Central Park. We started at the memorial to John Lennon and continued through the Strawberry Fields.

A New York State of MindA New York State of MindEverywhere we went, we met vibrant New Yorkers singing and playing instruments! So much talent in one city…A New York State of MindCould I please reenact the scene from the Sex and the City where Carey gets picked up by Big in one of these?!A New York State of MindA New York State of MindA New York State of MindI got to visit the Madewell store in Soho and purchased this cropped sweatshirt that went perfectly with my high rise plaid pants! I could have spent a very long time in the Madewell store but I behaved!A New York State of MindAnd after 5 days of jam packed touring of this city, my feet needed the comfort of my Converse!A New York State of MindA New York State of MindFall in New York…what a dream…A New York State of MindWe then visited the Bethesda Fountain, which is one of the most famous fountains in the world. A New York State of MindWe spent some time listening to buskers underneath the lower terrace – who were absolutely beautiful. A New York State of MindA New York State of MindIt was the perfect Central Park kind of day… #inspiredbyNewYorkA New York State of Mind

Mad for Plaid

Mad for Plaid I confess that besides living in stripes, I also love me some plaid. Especially darker coloured plaid at this time of the year. I find that plaid can go with just about anything…it’s perfect for a casual day or a night out. This particular plaid shirt I found is uber comfortable and is going to be great when I need to layer up in the winter. Mad for PlaidMad for Plaid

I also have another confession. If it was allowed, I would live in boyfriend jeans. I love them!Mad for PlaidBooties + boyfriend jeans = a great pairing

Mad for Plaid Mad for PlaidTo switch up my look, I tried adding a wide brimmed hat – especially since the wind was a bit nasty this day. I am not a huge hat person, but I have to admit, I loved it with the outfit!Mad for Plaid

So what do you think? Will you be adding some plaid to your fall wardrobe this year?

Hat from H&M | Urban Outfitters plaid shirt | Gap Boyfriend Jeans | Winners purse | Urban Outfitters black booties | Vintage Sunglasses | Workhall Rose Gold Ring | Lip Rouge by MakeUp for Forever 

Mad for Plaid

My NYC Packing List

I am trying something new this trip!! Yay, me!! I have travelled a lot over the years, which I am incredibly grateful for. However, this marks my FIRST official trip to Manhattan (I spent one night in Brooklyn like a million years ago) and the FIRST time I am actually planning my outfits in advance! Crazy, I know! I wanted to see if I could cut down on the amount of stuff I take with me, leaving me more room to bring things back…hehe.

Last year when we escaped to Mexico, I posted about an epic packing list. I am definitely still using this! And, I will of course still need a few extra things in case the weather turns. But here I have put together “looks” for the weekend, essentially showing you my NYC packing list.

NYC Packing List

Look 1: It’s fall in New York. I have to bring my plaid pants!! So for this look, I will pair plaid, a soft grey tank and a gorgeous burgundy sweater I recently picked up from Workhall here in Edmonton. It’s supposed to be fairly nice, so this lightweight material won’t be too hot. My converse are the way to go when many miles need to be walked and they make the outfit look more casual. Bonus packing points: I can re-wear my Converse with just about any outfit I pack! Lipstick choice: Mac Rebel.

NYC Packing List

Look 2: Striped shirt, black midi skirt with a brown leather belt. For this look, I will be layering it over top of leggings, ready to change quickly for a dance class or two! My black booties are not too high – I can still be comfortable walking those busy NYC streets! And if the weather starts to shift, I have my blanket, tartan scarf ready to wrap up in. I only ever bring my Naked Basics palette on trips – it’s really all I need!

NYC Packing ListLook 3: I love a casual dress layered over black leggings. It’s comfortable, practical and still stylish. I spotted this one at Noul the other day and couldn’t resist bringing it along. I’ll add layers with a linen scarf and soft blush belt. One of my fave new lip colours is this Tarte Lip Stain in Fearless.

NYC Packing List

Look 4: Most nights I won’t get to change to go to the theatre, but if I get the opportunity, I am going to wear this dress paired with my chunky, gold J Crew necklace. Now, I may not end up bringing my nude heels (I think that’s wishful thinking!) so I can always recycle my shoes from another outfit. This would look adorable during the day with a cropped sweater and sneakers or even at night with my black booties. Coming along with me is my favourite perfume Ryan bought me – Alien.

NYC Packing ListAnd finally, some other necessities will find their way into my carry on. I can’t wait to dive into Lena Dunham’s new book of essays!! She rocks! It may rain so my umbrella will be handy too! I usually try to buy a few travel sized toiletries and this time I opted for Sephora’s makeup remover/cleansing wipes. Small package to pack! All other lip balms and lotions fit nicely into my Chapters makeup bag – which is so easy to find in a pinch!

Thanks for letting me share my outfits and packing list! I doubt I will sleep over the next couple of nights…eek!!! NYC, here I come!!!!!

Have questions about any of the outfits? Leave a comment below! :)

BBQ Brisket with Baked Beans

I am a Canadian girl married to a Southern gentleman. My handsome hubby hails from Oklahoma so I knew that I had to have a mean bbq brisket with baked beans recipe in my bag of tricks to keep this BBQ fan happy. Brisket is becoming more popular in Canada and is easier to find at your local butcher or market. I buy mine from an organic vendor at my local farmers market. I was curious if I would lose that smoky taste by doing my brisket in the slow cooker and was thrilled (though not as thrilled as my Okie) to discover the deep, smoky flavour profile that this recipe produced. As with all of my recipes, these recipes are sugar free, gluten free and dairy free. I have included a traditional side for your brisket in the baked beans and a tangy, lively side in the pickled red onions. Throw together your favourite green salad to pair with this meal to cut the heaviness of the brisket and you are ready to impress!!

What You’ll Need for the Slow Cooker BBQ Brisket

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups organic sugar free ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp good quality apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

 Brisket Rub:

  • ¼ cup paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 5 lb beef brisket

BBQ Brisket with Baked Beans

  1. Put all ingredients for BBQ sauce in slow cooker and stir.
  2. Split brisket in half widthwise (to form two long pieces) and coat with the rub.
  3. Place brisket carefully in slow cooker (there is no need to submerge the brisket…in fact, if you do submerge it you lose the chance to get the nice ‘bark’ on it.) Cook on low for 10 hours or until fork tender.
  4. Remove meat to board and shred with two forks (discard the fat from the meat.) Skim the fat from the BBQ sauce and pour into a bowl.
  5. Place meat on platter and pour sauce over top. Garnish with cilantro.

BBQ Brisket with Baked BeansI usually let this cook overnight, shred it in the morning, refrigerate and reheat before dinner. If you have time and have made this in advance, I recommend refrigerating the BBQ sauce to make for easy removal of the fat. To reheat, simply pour the sauce over the brisket on a platter, cover with foil and heat 20 to 30 minutes in a 350 oven. I sometimes serve this as brisket tacos in warmed corn tortillas with cilantro and pickled onions. Yum!BBQ Brisket with Baked Beans

Baked Beans

BBQ Brisket with Baked BeansI always find that I have too much BBQ sauce left over from the brisket and have lots of time to use it when I have cooked the brisket overnight. What to do with all of this yummy flavour?? Baked beans are a common side dish to brisket at my southern mother-in-law’s dinner table. I don’t buy commercial beans as I find that they have too much added sugar. This recipe is super easy to pull together as a side but it requires that you do a bit of tasting and adjusting as you go. Use this recipe as a suggestion…feel free to tap into your creative side here.

I usually cook my brisket overnight. In the morning I pull the meat using two forks and I set in a sealed container in the fridge. I skim as much fat as I can from the BBQ sauce and pour the remainder into a sealed container and put in the fridge. By the afternoon, the fat has hardened and is easy to remove. I use some of this fat to get my flavour base for my beans going. I also use whatever beans I have on hand in the pantry. I find any soft bean will work in this fast cook recipe. Do not use dried beans.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 cup reserved BBQ sauce from brisket
  • 2 tbsp reserved fat from BBQ sauce from brisket
  • 1 large finely chopped red onion
  • 2-3 tbsp yellow mustard (I use a good quality organic brand)
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 tbsp agave (or honey)
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 cans pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can navy beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)

In a large skillet cook your onion in the reserved fat. Once softened, add the BBQ sauce. Bring to a low simmer. Add the mustard, molasses, agave, turmeric and salt. Once well combined, add the beans. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. You may also add more BBQ sauce if needed. If you are lucky enough to have a potter in the family like I do, put your bean mixture into a bean pot. (Alternately, use an oven-safe casserole dish.) Bake 1 hour at 350 (45 minutes covered, 15 minutes uncovered.)BBQ Brisket with Baked BeansBBQ Brisket with Baked Beans

(Note: In place of the reserved fat, feel free to use bacon fat. Simply fry some bacon, remove from pan, skim excess fat and cook your onion in the remaining fat. Follow the recipe as below remembering to add your crumbled bacon into the bean mixture before baking.)BBQ Brisket with Baked Beans

Quick Pickled Red Onion

A quick pickle tames the bite of the onion. The acidic nature of these pickles provides an excellent foil to the richness of the beans and brisket.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 red onion, sliced fine
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave (or honey)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Combine in a container with a lid. Shake around to mix well. Give the onions an occasional shake and let sit for at least an hour. Leftovers can be used for up to 5 days.BBQ Brisket with Baked Beans

My southern family enjoys its BBQ from a place called (believe it or not) Dink’s BBQ in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Only in the south! I hope you use this recipe to bring a little of the south into your home.

Enjoy. J xx

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