Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bang Bang Shrimp from Bonefish Grill


I don't often post recipes, but this one is too good not to share!  On our recent vacation to Florida, we visited Bonefish Grill.  It's a great restaurant that is really popular down there, and is run by the same people that own Outback Steakhouse.  The line was OUT THE DOOR when we went, and we found out it was because of their $5 Bang Bang Shrimp.  I wondered: What was so great about this shrimp?  Well...it was to die for!  It was so good that after eating the appetizer, I ordered more with my dinner!  Actually, addicting is a better word for it.

So here is the actual recipe.  There are a lot of copycats recipes for the sauce out there, but this is the real version (I have an inside source that cooks for the restaurant).  There are two key parts to this recipe: the sauce and the frying technique of the shrimp.

The Sauce
1 cup mayonaise 
3 tbsp Huy Fong chili garlic sauce 
1 tbsp Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce 
1 tsp lemon juice 

I like to do the sauce first, just to get it out of the way.  The shrimp cooks very quickly, and you won't have time to do anything in the mean time.  The Hug Fong Chili Garlic Sauce is the secret ingredient, and it's important you don't make any substitutions.  This can be found in the ethnic aisle at Stop and Shop or ordered on Amazon.com here.   My boyfriend's addicted to the stuff - he puts it on all his foods and uses it as salsa.  The sweet chili sauce is also available in the ethnic aisle or on amazon, but there are many other brands that would probably work too.  

Frying the Shrimp
When you are done, it is time to get to the shrimp.  Peel and devein (I recommend using unpeeled shrimp; they taste better and cost less, but they are time consuming).  Set up your dipping stations, as if you were making cutlets.  In your first bowl, put in some cornstarch (flour would also work, but cornstarch makes them crispier).  In your second bowl, you will need a whisked egg (or milk if you don't have any egg), and in your third bowl you will need about a cup of panko bread crumbs.  Panko bread crumbs are Japanese style bread crumbs, and are what will make these really crispy.  Don't use seasoned panko bread crumbs - they are way too salty and will ruin the taste of the sauce.

In a frying pan, put about an inch of vegetable oil and put the heat on medium-medium high.  You can tell when it's ready by dropping a pinch of corn starch in.  If it bubbles, you are ready to go.  One at a time, coat the shrimp in cornstarch, then egg, then panko.  These babies will cook fast, so as soon as you have put your last shrimp in the pan you will probably need to flip the shrimp you put in first.  When the shrimp are ready, I like to lay them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.  

When you are ready to eat, you can cover them in sauce and serve on a bed of iceberg or romaine lettuce.  The best way to coat is using a Ziploc bag (I didn't do this for the picture, which is why the sauce is not distributed evenly).

You will not be disappointed - this is such a treat and you will be addicted once you try them!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Polished at the Gym


If you are like me, you need all the help you can get to get to the gym.  One big motivator for me to get to the gym (and stay at the gym) is to have clothes that make me feel good.  If my gym wear is flattering and shows off my body in a positive way, it will motivate me to go to the gym and work on looking better.  If my outfit is comfortable and stays put during my workout, I will be more likely to actually finish my workout!

This is one of my favorite outfits.  The top is from Athleta and has a built in bra, flattering straps, and seaming that is SO flattering.  The color is so much fun too.  The pants are Nike Dri-Fit (purchased off ebay).  They are the perfect length, they stay put when I am running, and they suck in my stomach with a wide waistband.  And lastly - my beloved sneakers.  They cuties are so much fun, and actually make me a little excited to go to the gym.    And yes, I do usually "match" when I go to the gym.  I am who I am, and going to the gym won't change that.  :)



Here are 5 Rules I live by when buying gym wear:

1. Know the areas of your body that make you self-conscious, and build your workout wardrobe around it.  And conversely, know the area you feel best about and show it off!  For me, I am very self conscious about my stomach.  So when I buy clothes, I make sure that the pants have a wide waistband that will keep me in and I make sure to buy tops that are long enough to not ride up.

2. Pretend you are shopping for a dress.  Look for all of the things in your gym wear that you would look for in a dress: a flattering shape, straps that complement your body, a flattering neckline, and stratefic seaming.  My favorite tops have an empire waist and strong seaming that floats the shirt away from my torso (my area I dress to flatter).

3. Listen to your gut! (no pun intended).  If you are self conscious before you leave your house, you will be miserable once you start twisting, moving and sweating.  If your shirt is too tight, your shorts are riding up, or your bra is itchy...it's only going to get worse once your on the treadmill.

4. Less is more. What I mean by this is it's better to have only a few workout outfits that are really good quality rather than a drawer stuffed full of clothes you are not comfortable in.  Spend money on your gym wear, even if that means you can only afford a few key pieces. Cheap "lounge wear", old sweats and your husbands old t-shirts are not meant for working out - they will ride up, chafe, pull, and stretch.  You will be tugging and pulling at yourself, and feeling self-conscious.  Cotton clothing holds on to sweat and will make you feel miserable.  Quality gym wear is made to breathe and keep you dry, and are designed for the specific movements your body will be going through when exercising (Nike running shorts are designed to not ride up).  I went for years struggling through workouts wearing cheap clothing I had bought at Bob's or Victoria's Secret because I didn't want to drop a lot of money on workout clothing, and I never felt comfortable.  Once I finally invested in some good pieces, I kicked myself for all of those years of torture!

5. When you find "the one", buy multiples!  I remember I found THE PERFECT pair of gym pants on Ebay - They were a paid of flared leg Nike Dri-Fit black pants with a wide waistband.  They were comfortable, they looked great, and they stayed put during my workout.  I came home and ordered two more pairs from the same seller.  The same is true of the workout top shown in the picture - I love it so much that I own it in lime green and pink.  It can be hard to find good gym wear, so when you do find something that works for you- stock up!  Gym clothes are the only time that I am a big supporter of buying multiples.

Some of my favorites:
Pants
1. Athleta Revelation Capri: $79

2. Nike Dri-Fit at Bare Necessities: $45





3. Nike Dri-Fit at Ebay: TBD

 4. Nike Dri-Fit at Bare Necessities: $45

Sneakers
Nike Free Run at Nordstrom

Tops
VaVa Tank at Athleta: $55

Achala Tank at Athleta: $35


Chakra Tank at Athleta: $55

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Just Can't Get Enough...



Inspiration Photo: Ashes Into Fashion

Well, I just can't get enough of blazers and especially my coral blazer.  For such a bright color, I have been surprised by what a versatile piece it has become.  I've worn it with neutrals and whites, but never would have thought of this color combination if it weren't for seeing this gorgeous picture of Ashley!  Such fun pops of color, and a great way to color block for work.

What I'm Wearing
Jacket: Banana Republic Coral Blazer - $130
Belt: Ann Taylor LOFT Mustard Belt- $14
White Tee: Ann Taylor LOFT - $9

I recently did a guest post for Amy on one of my favorite blogs, Low Carb High Style - check it out!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sun, Sand and...Air Conditioning???


 

   

Inspiration Photo: Tweed and Toile

We all have tons of cute outfits to wear in the hot summer weather.  But what about when you need to dress in the summer when it's cold?  I went to the movies to see Spiderman, and knew the air conditioning was going to be blasting.  I wanted to stay warm but still look summery.  I knew white pants were my answer, and I couldn't wait to pair them with my comfy chambray shirt from J. Crew.  Next time I will add a cute necklace, like in the inspiration photo.  Can't wait to wear this shirt nonstop in the fall!

What I'm Wearing
Jeans: Ann Taylor LOFT Signature Straight White Jeans: $52.50 on sale
Bracelets: Leather Cuff: Bloom Downtown (Kendi's store!), Others: Ann Taylor LOFT


I have added tons of new clothes to my eBay store - major closet cleaning going on!!! Check it out - lots of J. Crew, Banana Republic, and vintage finds.  Everyday Polished eBay Store


Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Summer!




Happy July!  After a much needed little break from EVERYTHING after the school year ended, I'm back!  This was an outfit I wore for a night out with the girls last week.   Love this top but let me tell you, it is BRIGHT.  But I am a sucker for bright blue....anytime I see a rich colored blue piece of clothing, I buy it.  I feel a little bit neon when I wear this for work...still trying to decide if it's too bright for school, but hey...at least it keeps the kids awake.  

What I'm Wearing
Silk Blouse: Greylin - $97 (available in tons of cute colors now!)
Necklace: J. Crew Starry Nights - $38
Jeans: J. Crew Matchstick High Waisted - $100
Shoes: Calvin Klein
iPhone Case: J. Crew - $25




Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Plum Crazy






Inspiration Outfit: What I Wore



I loved this color combination on Jessica Quirk from the blog What I Wore and immediately wanted to recreate it.  I am not a shorts girl, but that's OK because it was the colors I was after.  I think I nailed her look and added my denim jacket on top because...well...you can't ever go wrong with a denim jacket.  How do you think I did?

What I'm Wearing
Pants:  J. Crew Factory Skimmers - $39.50 on sale
Cotton tee: LOFT - $15
Coral Belt: Talbots - old
Denim Jacket: GAP - my favorite and oldest item from high school!!
Necklace: Express - old
Shoes: Calvin Klein Bree peeptoe wedges - $89 (same color as my pumps)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Trial and Error





Today's post is to highlight a blazer I recently purchased at Banana Republic.  It seems to have sold out quickly, and I don't think it was ever available online.  It is comparable to the blazers sold at J. Crew, but for a fraction of the price.  I was hoping to get this on sale, but when I saw how quickly they were selling out I didn't want to risk it.

I'm really loving the look I came out with - I paired it with my new white trouser jeans, a lace top, and nude heels.  Instead chic.  I was going for a look that "didn't look like I was trying too hard", but as you will see that's not at all the case.  

What I'm Wearing
Banana Republic Coral Blazer: $130
Talbots Lace Top: $39
Gap Long and Lean Jeans: $49 on sale
Calvin Klein Nude Heels: $89
J. Crew Starry Nights Locket Necklace
Banana Republic Necklace

Before I wore this for the first time, I wanted to see how other's had worn it.  Below are a few inspiration photo's I found.


A shot of some of the crew from Banana Republic - via Banana Republic's Twitter Page
I'm loving the second girl in line - definitely want to try this blazer over a light orange tee with white boyfriend jeans.

Here's my favorite of all three - this is from the first fashion blog I ever started reading, J's Everyday Fashion.  I'm loving both looks, and this is when I knew I wanted to wear this blazer with white --  J's Everyday Fashion

Loving the in depth comparison over at Fast Food and Fast Fashion, comparing the BR blazer to those offered at J. Crew.  I have a mustard pencil skirt from J. Crew, and never would have thought of piecing these together!


Sooo - here's for all of my fails before finally getting it right.  The first time I wore the blazer, I wore it with khaki capri's, my Tory Burch flats, and a white v-neck tee.  I felt very masculine, and didn't like the look at all.  When wearing a blazer, or any menswear inspired pieces, it's important you balance your look with softer, more feminine pieces.



That night, I had class and decided to change into a flowy top, white skinny jeans, and heels.  I felt much better.  But it still didn't seem quite right for work.  I'm very comfortable wearing white pants to work, but skinny white jeans leave me feeling  a bit too exposed.


Which look do you like the best?  I have a feeling I'll be experimenting with this jacket a lot more!!

This will be my next experiment - how cut is this?  From ashesintofashion.com


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Polished in Pink







I love this image I saw on the Banana Republic website.  I think this is the epitome of polished.  I took some very old items in my closet and recreated a brand new look!  

I started off with a belt that was more similar to the inspiration photo, but ended up wearing another Banana Republic belt I had that was thicker and more of a bendable, basket-weave pattern. I liked the second look better - which do you prefer?

What I'm Wearing
Pink Collared Shirt: Gap - very old
White Pencil Skirt: Christian Dior via eBay - $100
Belt: Banana Republic - very old
Shoes: Calvin Klein - $89

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Prepped Out








I love this preppy look I saw on Pinterest...if only I had her tan too!  I reinvented the look using two items I had in my closet along with a new skirt I found at LOFT.  This outfit was very comfortable.

These Tory Burch flats are a recent splurge of mine.  I have been wanting a pair for about four years now, and I have to say - they are worth it.  They are classic, and I think I will get a ton of wear out of them.

What I'm Wearing
Jacket - J. Crew Factory Schoolboy Blazer - $88
Shirt - Ann Taylor LOFT via Ebay
Skirt - Ann Taylor Seamed Shift Skirt - $39 after 40% off discount
Shoes - Tory Burch Aaden - $250



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blazer Faze




It's that time of year where warm weather is just around the corner.  As excited as I am for that, I am beginning to feel separation anxiety with my beloved blazers.  I am honestly obsessed with blazers - they are professional, flattering, and make any outfit look put together.  I own more than I'd care to admit.  For the next week or two I will most likely be cramming every blazer I own into my daily outfits one last time.  Today was a look that was inspired by a one of the blogging greats, at lovemeagan.com.  I think it is a professional and powerful look, but also very soft and feminine.  Not sure about those shoulder pads though...overkill?

What I Wore
Blazer: Ann Taylor Winter White Jacket - $148 after 30% discount
Top: Ann Taylor LOFT - $19.50
Skirt: Ann Taylor Cotton Blend Pencil Skirt in Chalk - $75 after 30% discount
Shoes: Calvin Klein Olive - $89
Necklace: Arden B - very old...like 2002 old...
Watch: Michael Kors Large Gold Runway Watch - Christmas Gift

Monday, May 14, 2012

Just Do It...




I thought this outfit was an appropriate one for today's post.  This outfit is one that I have been putting together for months.  Might sound kind of crazy, but I saw it and loved it right away.  It started with the necklace....way out of my price range, but I loved it.  Then on to the skirt...over the last few months I have purchased several lace skirts, and returned them because they didn't work.  I finally found the one I was looking for on Ebay.  It was one I had wanted from Garnett Hill, but I waited too long and it sold out.  It's the perfect fit, long enough to wear for work, and the perfect color cream.  I then went searching for the J. Crew Herringbone jacket, which was also sold out.  I usually wear a 4 or a 6.  I purchased it in a 4...it was way too small, so then bought an 8 (all off of Ebay).  I finally had this outfit put together.

I had to kind of chuckle at this four month fiasco....all for an outfit.  It kind of sums up one of my biggest faults: putting my energy into all of the wrong places.  I started this blog a couple of months ago, and after three posts...I stopped blogging.  Why?  Who knows....laziness, fear of it not being successful, not having enough energy at the end of the day to get to it...maybe all three?  I started this blog because I felt like my career was missing something.  I love what I do, but there is a certain craving that still remains.  I thought this blog would be an outlet for that.  Maybe this blog would  be the thing that I need to be satisfied overall, or maybe it would lead to something else that would.  Or worst case scenario...I just have fun doing it.  Maybe this blog would eventually give me the financial freedom to make it my full time job, or maybe it would fill the gap I am feeling enough to leave me more satisfied with my current career.  I would never know what this blog would lead to if I didn't just do it.  I think of the hours and energy I put into putting this outfit together....imagine if I had put that energy into blogging?  If I can't stick to a commitment as small as this, how can I possibly think I'll be able to achieve my bigger goals?

Maybe I'm being hard on myself - I have a full time teaching career, a part-time job and I'm getting my MBA at night.  But to me, those are all excuses.  There will always be a reason not to work out, not to eat well, or to have that extra glass of wine.  There will always be a reason to say "Oh, I'll just post to my blog tomorrow...".

I love the slogan 'just do it'.  So simple and so powerful.  So today, I just did it.  I posted.  Not a big deal, but maybe it is.

Outfit:
Inspiration Photo: Polyvore
Blazer: J. Crew Herringbone in Heather Acorn - $140 via Ebay
Red Tee: Banana Republic (super old!)
Lace Skirt: Garnett Hill - $50 via Ebay
Shoes: Calvin Klein Olive - $89
Necklace: Kendra Scott Harlow Necklace - $149 via Zappos (available here)

Additionally - check out my outfit on my fellow teacher's blog: Mix and Match Fashion



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Copy Cat


Love this inspiration piece I found on Polyvore - the royal blue and fuschia look so elegant together.  I love the color blocking trend, and this is one of the more toned down color combinations I have tried.  I just happened to have this skirt that I bought on sale from J. Crew with a gift card, and my favorite bright blue cardigan I snagged at TJ Maxx.  This scarf is not the sold out J. Crew version from the inspiration set, but is pretty darn close to it.  You may recognize the pattern from the other color that I wore two posts ago.  One of my favorite spring ensembles yet!  Elegant and comfy....hope you enjoy!

Royal Blue Cardigan: TJ Maxx, $29.99
White Blouse: Ann Taylor Loft, $19.99
Scarf: Halogen Impressionistic Scarf, $38
Skirt: J. Crew Liquid Silk Skirt, $48.99 on sale (sold out, but available on ebay)
Shoes: Nine West Punchy, $43.45 on sale 







Sunday, April 1, 2012

Here we go!


Welcome to my blog!  This is an outfit I wore for casual Friday.  This is my "go-to" casual uniform - skinny jeans, knee high boots, and a long, loose cardigan with a scarf.  So easy to put together, and always looks polished.

Cardigan: J. Crew Eden Cardigan, $59.99 on sale
Jeans: J. Crew High Waisted Skinny Jeans, $125
Scarf: Halogen Impressionistic Scarf, $38
Necklace: J. Crew Starry Night Locket Necklace, $55
Boots: Aqua Straightup Tall Boots from Bloomingdales, $199