June 24, 2011

LSL {Foodie Friday} - Lucile's Kitchen

Miss Kim of my favorite new segment, Foodie Friday, is out for a few weeks for some work travel.  So, I am excited to take this Friday to share some very charming prints that I discovered on etsy.com (remember my fav addiction site).  However, if you are looking for something yummy to make, go here, here, or here for some past Foodie Friday inspirations.

Lucile of Lucile's Kitchen makes these wonderful watercolor prints from her home in Paris, France. All the ingredients for each recipe is sweetly painted and labeled in french. 

Fresh birthday cake
La soupe au pistou
The Strawberry Pie recipe
Spring fruits

La salade Niçoise

The authentic "madeleines" recipe

And my favorite...

You can find her artwork at etsy or on her website.

Au Revoir!

June 21, 2011

Summertime Spaces

Happy official first day of summer! 

I'm stuck at the office on this beautiful day. I guess I can't complain too much, I do have air conditioning at the very least. However, I seem to be daydreaming about anywhere else I rather be.  So for a little inspiration (and a little vicarious living) here are some daydream worthy porches, patios, and outside spaces. I'm just going to imagine that I have my feet up, sun in my eyes, and spiked lemonade in hand.
Via Apartment Therapy via Domino Magazine via Maison Marigold
Zen garden
Via Apartment Therapy, photo - Thomas J. Story via Silive
Beachy paradise
via Costal Living, photo - J. Savage Gibson

Girly & retro
Coastal Living, photo - Victoria Pearson
Rooftop escape
via Coastal Living, photo - Ken Hayden

Swoon worthy stripes
via BHG
Cool feeling retreat
Coastal Living, photo - Don Freeman
What a view!
Coastal Living, photo - Karyn R. Millet

Garden oasis
via BHG
via Southern Accents, photo - Tria Giovan

And, since it is officially summer, I'll leave you with my favorite summertime song to get you in the mood.

via YouTube


June 17, 2011

LSL {Foodie Friday} - Oreo Buttercream Chocolate filled Cupcakes

As the self-appointed chef among my group of friends, the pressure was on to come up with something visually and palatably impressive for my friend's zombie-inspired "creeping to the grave" birthday bash. Borrowing visual inspiration from Bake it Pretty I set out to find zombie hand cupcake toppers and put together the below recipe. It was a hit and definitely worth repeating at Halloween.

Oreo Buttercream Chocolate filled Cupcakes...an utterly decadent dessert.

{Very loosely adapted from For the Love of Cooking}
Makes 24 cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:
1/2 C butter, melted
100 gms bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 C butter, softened
1 and 1/4 C sugar
2 eggs
2 T cocoa powder
1 t vanilla
1 and 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 C milk
1 bag of Oreo cookies

For the chocolate cream filling:
1/2 C all-purpose cream
1 C chopped bittersweet chocolate

1. Prepare the chocolate filling first. Heat the cream in low fire until very hot but not boiling. Turn off heat and add in the chopped chocolate pieces. Stir until all the chocolate pieces are melted and everything is mixed thoroughly. Cool in refrigerator. When chilled and firm enough to be handled, scoop out chocolate and form into small balls. Arrange on a baking tray and return to the refrigerator until ready to use.

2. To make the cupcake, melt the butter in a small pan. Turn off heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Whisk until blended and set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare muffin pans by adding cupcake liners.

4. In a mixing bowl, with electric mixer, cream together the softened butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat until creamy. Stir in cocoa powder and vanilla.

5. Add the melted chocolate (we prepared in step 2).

6. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir this dry ingredients into the creamed mixture alternately with milk. Blend until smooth. (Do not overbeat.)

7. After mixed well put 1 spoonful of batter in cupcake holder and then add 1 Oreo cookie and fill the cupcake holder ONLY 3/5ths full. Repeat the process with the rest. Make sure there is enough room between the bottom of the cupcake tins and the Oreo.

8. Put in a chocolate cream ball (we prepared in step 1) in the middle. Then add some more cupcake batter until 3/4 full.

9. Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool before frosting.

Cocoa Buttercream Frosting:
1/3 C softened butter
3 1/2 C of powdered sugar
2 t vanilla
1/4 C milk
2 T cocoa powder

Beat the butter in a bowl until creamy; gradually pour in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Once the frosting is well combined, add cocoa powder then beat with the mixer until you reach your desired consistency.

Frost the cooled cupcakes, sprinkle with crushed Oreo cookie and top with zombie hands.


Finished product
Inside gooey-ness
Extreme close-up!

June 14, 2011

LSL's Gone Mobile!

That's right, you can now enjoy this fabulous blog on your mobile device. You are probably wondering why this such big deal?!  Well, if you go to the usually blog web address (looksolovely.blogspot.com) on your phone, you will see:

*it's so much faster and easier to maneuver
*it simplifies the blog into an easy reading format (edits everything but the posts) yet you are still able to read entire posts and see all the pretty pictures
*it recognizes right away that you are using a mobile device
*you can still make lovely comments to me right from your phone
*and is compatible with most phones

Now, it looks a little different than the web version, but I promise it is the same (very high quality) content. So check it out, become a follower, make comments.  Here at LSL I love and appreciate the feedback.


June 11, 2011

LSL {Thoughts & Quotes} - Friendship

This weekend I am going to a good ol' fashioned slumber party. I think the last time I uttered those words, I was in middle school?! Well, I couldn't be more excited. The plan is to have some wine, a dinner somewhere fab, more wine, check out the movie Bridesmaids (I, not so patiently have been waiting to see it with the ladies I have been bridesmaids with, a few times over) even more wine, braid each other's hair and then have pillow fights. Okay, so the last two will most likely not happen, sorry to disappoint, fellas. When I get together with these two lovelies it's like I'm back in the college dorms living with them again. I. cannot. wait.

While reading my daily fix of my favorite LSL blogs, I saw this watercolor print by Caitlin McGauley on The Lonny Blog.

via The Lonny Blog via Caitlin McGauley

I remember spending hours making friendship bracelets for my school friends, begging my mom to take me to Michael's to get bright colors of embroidery thread.  As a kid I was very fortunate to have a great group of neighborhood friends that were just steps from my house.  And as an adult, I am again fortunate to have a strong group of friends. As I have gotten older I realize just how important friends are in your life, and such support they bring. I am lucky, I have an amazing group of ladies that I feel very blessed to know, and more than a decade later we still remain close. So, thank you, this "friendship bracelet" print is for you. The ladies that I call my favorite friends, the ones that I feel fortunate in being able to share big moments of their lives, the weddings (and upcoming weddings), the starting of families, the new homes, and the weekend get-a-ways. I just wanted to take a minute to let you know how much I appreciate all of you.  


June 10, 2011

LSL {Foodie Friday} - Zucchini Cakes

So, I know I have been a little MIA this week, but I’m back and want to wish you all a Happy Foodie Friday!  I am excited for this recipe because 1.) it sounds delicious (I do have a soft spot for zucchini) and 2.) it’s easy to make. I mean I could even conquer this one. 

Thank you Kim for this recipe, I can’t wait to put the apron on and test it out this weekend. Bon appétit!

Do you have leftover bread crumbs and Old Bay Seasoning after making those to-die-for crab cakes? If so, put those ingredients to good use with this quick and delicious side dish.

Zucchini Cakes {adapted from All Recipes website}

Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time:
40 Min
Ready In:
55 Min
Serves: 7 cakes

2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (Omitted this because mustard can take over the other flavors)
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
Optional ingredients:
1 shredded red bell pepper (for color)...carrots would be good too
1 clove garlic
Sprinkle of Italian seasoning (if you are using plain bread crumbs)
1 more egg to help hold the ingredients together

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl combine shredded zucchini (bring out that food processor!), bread crumbs, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, and Old Bay Seasoning. Mix well and form into patties. (It's ok, get your hands dirty.) 

3. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and turn patties. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until golden brown. (You could fry these patties, if you prefer.)

Do you have any recipes that you’ve cooked up with left over ingredients that you would like to share?  Any favorite zucchini recipes that you could share with L? 


June 3, 2011

LSL {Foodie Friday} - Crab Cakes

I was so thrilled when I learned what Kim was making for this week. Crab cakes have to be one of my favorite appetizers, like, ever. They are just so tiny and delicious. And who knew they were that simple? Thank you Kim, I might have to get Mr. W to make these for with me. Bon appétit!

Crab Cake Appetizer {adapted from Cuisinart Original Recipes}
Serving: makes about eight crab cakes

16 ounces lump crab meat
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into small dice 

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

3 green onions, chopped (approximately 1/3- 1/2 cup)

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs plus extra for dredging

½ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 ½ teaspoons homemade crab seasoning (e.g. Old Bay)
hot sauce (optional)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Look through crabmeat to make sure there are no shells. Reserve in refrigerator.

2. Place the olive oil in a 10” skillet and place over medium heat. Add the peppers and onion and sweat for at least 5 minutes until the vegetables soften slightly. Stir in the garlic and salt and cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Remove the vegetables from the heat and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Once the vegetables are cool to the touch add them to the crabmeat. To the mixture add the egg, panko mayonnaise, Worcestershire, Dijon, and crab seasoning, and dash or two of hot sauce if desired. Very gently mix all ingredients together. The best way to mix the crab mixture is with clean hands however you can mix with a spoon. It is important to mix carefully to keep the crabmeat in tact.

4. From the mixture form ¼ cup oval cakes with your hands and place them on a clean plate, separating the layers of patties with wax paper. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour before sautéing.

5. Place a Cuisinart non-stick skillet over medium high heat and add the oil. Dredge the crab cakes in remaining panko crumbs. When oil is hot, sauté crab cakes in batches, approximately 3 to 5 minutes per side. Crab cakes should be a deep golden brown on each side.

6. Serve immediately. Lemon wedges make a nice accompaniment.

Delicious after
What are your favorite appetizers to make? 


Hot off the {virtual} press

To rearrirm my love affair with online Shelter Magazines, The New York Times just wrote an article, by Steven Kurutz, featuring four of my absolute favorites: Lonny, Rue, High Gloss and Matchbook Magazines.

I recommend that you 1.) read this article. It gives a good overview of these featured four and what they are bringing to this new way of publishing magazines. However, to be honest (and a little soapbox-y), I was a tad disappointed that part of this article came off a bit snarky and competitive. I understand that in this type of industry one needs some level of competition, but I didn't love how the author seemed to pit the women against each other, when it shouldn't be about that. It should focus on how there is a very relevant need for shelter mags, much like the much missed Domino Magazine, and each have a lot to gain from each other.  As a reader and a blogger, I don't just stick to one online reading for my content. The very opposite would be true. I believe in the more the merrier, I know I have a lot to learn but I appreciate the different approaches of multiple (brilliant) women to get that from. (okay off said soapbox now)

But back to 2.) you really should subscribe to each magazine! (see past blog posts for info and/or each are linked above) There are fabulous. Chalk full of great articles, inspiring interiors, recommended products, just to name a few things.  But more than that, to me, they are a huge source of knowledge and inspiration. I know my day is going to be a good one when I see a new issue in my inbox. 

The founders of new online shelter publications include, clockwise from top left, Patrick Cline and Michelle Adams of Lonny; Paloma Contreras of High Gloss; Anne Sage and Crystal Gentilello of Rue; and Katie Armour of Matchbook
Clockwise from top left: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times; Megan Thompson Lovoi for The New York Times; Drew Kelly for The New York Times

And, not to be forgotten, Adore, TRADhome, Anthology, and Styled are also fab online reads! What are your favorite online magazines that you look forward to reading every month? Please share so that my online library can grow.


*Credits - The New York Times Home & Garden Section 

June 1, 2011

Nate Berkus Rules!

Yep, it's true.  Nate Berkus, you are my interior designer hero. Whenever I watch the show or see spaces he (and his team) have created, I know I will always like it. He is smart with small spaces and I like his approach, a little bit of modern mixed with function mixed with style. You know I like pretty pictures so I'll let some of his work speak for itself.
Rich wall color filled with a gallery of frames
via - Elle Decor, photo: William Waldron
Dream closet
via - Elle Decor, photo: William Waldron
Those lamps! Wowza!
via - Elle Decor, photo: Roger Davies
via - Elle Decor, photo: Simon Upton
via - Elle Decor, photo: Simon Upton
Love this bold area rug
via - Elle Decor, photo: Pieter Estersohn

What a beautiful sunroom
via - Elle Decor, photo: Roger Davies

Such pretty light
via - Elle Decor, photo: William Waldron
via - Elle Decor, photo: William Waldron
What an amazing dining area
via - Nate Berkus Associates

Why you ask am I having a Nate-fest?  Well, he complied a list of his Top Ten Design Tips and I thought they were good for someone new and very interested in interior design (me) and maybe for anyone who wanted some new ideas for decorating the home (you). 

10: Go Vertical

Living in a small area? Don't waste your precious space! Use an over-the-door organizer to maximize storage and closet space.

9: Make Storage Space

Get creative when creating storage space for a small area. Use bed risers for additional storage room beneath your bed. Visit your local home goods store for under-the-bed storage chests, preferably with wheels for easy maneuvering.

8: Dim the Lights

Showcase the beautiful design in your home with the right lighting! Lighting is one of the easiest ways to set the mood in your space. Create the right ambiance by installing dimmer units, which will allow you some versatility AND save you money!

7: Use Wallpaper in New Ways

Wallpaper isn't just for walls. Learn to use wallpaper in unexpected ways! Add it to the back of a bookshelf, use it to decorate the risers of stairs, or put it on a section of the wall behind an architectural piece to add drama to your space.

6: Add Area Rugs

Use area rugs to divide and identify a large space! If you can't install a physical barrier to section off a large room, area rugs are an affordable alternative that can help add distinction to a room with multiple functions.

5: Create Room Dividers

Create a bit of privacy in a large room with a makeshift room divider. Put up a collapsible screen, push bookcases back to back, or add a large dresser. When creating functional zones in a room, remember, a divider doesn't have to go all the way to the ceiling.

4: Float the Furniture

One of the easiest ways to make a small space feel bigger, or to create zones in a large space, is to float the furniture. Move your furniture away from the walls and put pieces on angles to add interest to your home.

3: Use Carpet Floor Tiles

Instantly update a space with carpet floor tiles. Carpet floor tiles are easy to install, and easy to replace when stained!

2: Use Double Duty Furniture

Invest in multipurpose furniture. A tufted ottoman can be used as additional seating space or a coffee table.

1: Your Home Should Tell Your Story

Your home should tell your story! Add layers, textures, and photos to personalize your space. Make your home a beautiful reflection of who you are, and what you love!

I hope this inspires you to think about your space in a new way.


*Credits - Elle Decor, Nate Berkus Associates and Top Ten via The Nate Show
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