Staying Stylish in Suburbia

Foodie Friday - Winter Salad Bowl

Friday, January 31, 2014

There's something about the new year that makes me crave healthy foods more than ever. It's not only the post-holiday regret from overdoing it on sweets. That probably plays into it, but more than anything I think it has to do with my yearning for the spring. It's that time of year again when the hubbub of Christmas is over and my cabin fever begins to set in. I miss the sunshine. I miss the ability to step outside my door without four layers on. And I really miss all the fruits and veggies that are so abundant during the warmer months.

One of the ways I've found to curve my impatience with the lingering cold, is by preparing winter salads to satisfy my fresh food cravings. Sometimes I forget how many delicious and hearty ingredients can be found this time of year as well. This particular salad combo is one of my favorites. It's packed with flavor, texture and deliciousness. Here's the simple recipe. Maybe it will help feed your need for fresh, healthy food too.  xoxo



Ingredients 

Carrots
Brussel sprout
Butternut squash
Sweet potato
Pomegranate
Couscous
Feta cheese
Salad mix

Lemon 
Dijon mustard
Olive oil 
Garlic 
Salt and Pepper
Sugar

Directions

Set oven to 425
Chop preferred amount of carrots, brussel sprouts, sweet potato and butternut squash
Toss vegetables in olive oil and lay out on backing sheet.
Cook for 35-45 min or until tender.

While veggies are cooking follow instructions on box to cook cous cous and make this simple lemon salad dressing.

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 crushed garlic cloves 
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Combine lemon juice, oil, sugar, garlic, and Dijon mustard.
Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. 

Take veggies out of oven and toss in salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange in a bowl with cooked couscous and salad greens. Sprinkle with feta cheese and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with lemon salad dressing.

Too many tabs open- Why my mind won't shut down.

Thursday, January 30, 2014



Re-Centering 

When I saw the saying above it made perfect sense to me. It feels like my mind has been on overdrive, lately. I lay awake at night and try as I might I cannot seem to shut down. When I told my husband about this he asked what was troubling me. A fair question, seeing as though the source of my insomnia is usually some kind of problem I'm wrestling with. That's just it though. There's nothing that I can point to that's keeping me awake. My mind simply darts from one unimportant thought to another, never landing on any one subject long enough for it to even matter. There is no rhyme or reason for my nocturnal disrest. It's literally like I'm flipping channels and whatever pops up stays in my head just long enough for it to lead to the next flippant idea or image. Here's a snippet of my mind at 3am. 

Those airstream campers I saw on Pinterest today were amazing. I totally want one now.  I haven't eaten hush puppies in so long. I LOVE hush puppies. How does that poem by Emily Dickinson go? "Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all." Go to sleep, Juniper... I can't believe Maslyn has two teeth already. Should we have another kid? My car has a headlight out. I've got to remember to get that fixed. Maybe I should try counting sheep. That's so random though. Why sheep? Why not count horses or cows. I'm going to count birds 1,2,3,4, 5....Hopefully I'll have time to do that DIY for the blog tomorrow. The moon is really bright tonight. Moonstruck was such a good movie. I want to go see an Opera with Brent one day. Go the to sleep!... I hope I didn't fuss at Esmae too much this afternoon. I love that girl. She already recognizes the "E" in her name.  I should try to make hush puppies."  

I mean seriously!? Clearly, this is it's own form of anxiety but it's strange since I'm not aware of being anxious about anything in particular. I definitely don't do well without my beauty sleep though and I'd like to get to the bottom of it. 

Honestly, sometimes being a stay at home mom and catering to every one's needs 24/7 while at the same time trying to do my own work, leaves me stretched thin. I think my brain goes into automatic overdrive. I'm not complaining. It's mostly really good and exciting stuff, if not a little overwhelming. Just like the quote above says though, I have too many tabs open. I feel pulled in a lot of different direction and I need to find my center again. It's all about balance and if there's one thing that's missing in this equation it's time to just be still with myself. Not playing with my toddler or telling her for the hundredth to stop putting food in her hair. Not nursing my baby or changing diapers. Not talking to my husband about money or making dinner. Not checking my e-mails or Facebook, or updating twitter or blogging. Not anything but just being alone with my thoughts. Because apparently the only time I get to do that nowadays is laying at bed at night at 3am.

As a solution to my nocturnal woes, I've been thinking about getting up earlier before the girls in the wee hours of the morning. I could do a few sun salutations and have my coffee in peace. Yoga, quiet and coffee. The trinity of me time. It's strange to think that the solution to my insomnia might actually be to wake up earlier, but taking a moment to pause and replenish mentally, physically and spiritually might be just the thing. It's worth a try anyways.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Anyone else out there dealing with similar issues? Any advice for me?

Image Source

Premier Design Jewelry Giveaway

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Instructions

In honor of yesterdays stylish suburbanite, we are doing a Premier Design Jewelry Giveaway Contest! Here's how to be entered to win. 

1- Like our Facebook page
2- Leave a comment on our FB page about what type of jewelry you would like to win (necklace, ring, earrings, etc.) - you can be specific!! 
3- (optional) Share the Facebook post to be entered into the raffle twice.

A winner will be announced on Friday. You can also head over to Jackie's website  to receive an AMAZING 40% off any one item using the Code: "Style" through Friday. Good luck! xoxo

Suburban Style 002

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jackie is a teacher turned entrepreneur. She grew up in Chicago, and lived in Northern California before moving to the suburbs of D.C. where she currently lives with her husband and two kids. A lover of accessories and avid thrifter, Jackie enjoys putting together an outfit and decorating her home with her favorite finds. I met up with her at her house to talk to her about her personal style. 



The interview


If you were to name your style what would it be?
I'd say Classic and Comfortable. I like clothes that are simple and timeless. Nothing too fussy. I like pieces that don't require a lot of thought yet still look put together. Classic pieces also have a longer shelf life because they never go out of style. 

How has motherhood influenced your style? 
I have always been low-maintenance in the style department. After having kids, I became NO-maintenance. I wanted to hide my post-pregnancy weight and nursing made me feel like trying to be stylish was pointless. At some point I realized that neglecting myself wasn't the way to go though. I had lost who I was and that wasn't benefiting me or my family. That's when I turned to to my jewelry.  I still hadn't lost all the baby weight so I wasn't ready to go on a shopping spree for clothes. That's the great thing about jewelry though. It always fits. Once I started using jewelry to pull my looks together my mood changed instantly. 

Motherhood gave me a fuller understanding of the saying, looking better to feel better. Whether it's a trip to the store, the library, or pick-ups from preschool. If it's important to my family then it's important to me. I don't need to save my best outfits for some special occasion. I'd rather feel good about myself everyday. 

What are your 3-5 essential clothing staples? 
A great jacket is a must! Whether it is a cute bomber or classic trench. You get a lot of wear out of them and it's a chance to make a first impression since it's worn over your other clothes. I also love boots and a bold purse for the same reason. They tend to  pull an outfit together and bring in a bit of personality to your look. Button down shirts are my everyday go to. They are comfortable, add depth, and are a step up from a t-shirt. Oh! And boyfriend jeans are my newest favorite. They look great with all footwear- flats, booties, sandals, heels. They're also comfy which is always a plus.

Is there any person or character whose style you really Admire?
I'm a fan of Scandal's Olivia Pope's style. She always comes across as so polished, clean, and effortless. I like how she changes up her basic business attire with an interesting collar or neckline. There's no way I could safely wear that much white though. 

Which patterns and colors do you love to wear the most?
I tend to go with a lot of blue and grey as a neutral to get away from so much black. I've always had a sweet spot for florals too. I like the feminine feel it brings to a look. 

You are an avid thrifter. What is it about thrifting that you love so much? What are some of your all time favorite finds.
I love thrifting for the bargains and the aspect of non-commitment. I rarely purchase anything at retail price, and when I do there's a lot of deliberation that goes into it. Going thrifting gives me that shopping thrill and satisfaction without the guilt. I love finding a good deal for clothes, home furnishings, toys, and books. It's great too because when my tastes or needs change, I have no problem getting rid of things I didn't sacrifice financially for.  

Some of my all time favorite finds are our wooden kids table and chair set ($10),  a Radio Flyer ride on ($5), a brand new red handbag ($7), and a lot of vintage blouses! 

Any tips for thrift store shoppers who are new to the game?
Thrifting can take more time than retail shopping and can seem overwhelming. Go in with a target item you are searching for, like black pants, summer dresses, or cardigans. Having a plan will focus you as you start digging and you will likely find some unexpected goodies along the way.  Also think outside of the box when you see something interesting. I've repurposed children's books, old records, and silk scarves for budget wall decor. 

What is a favorite trend of yours?
I love the mixing of feminine with masculine. The contrasting look of wearing something edgy and hard with a softer more girly piece is fun because it's unexpected. I like doing it in small ways like wearing pearls with a flannel shirt or pairing a sparkly necklace with a basic tee.

What is your favorite season to dress for?
I love Fall. Cardigans, boots, and layers! 

You sell jewelry. What is it about accessories that you love so much? 
I love the power of accessories. They can bring new life to your old clothes and make an outfit look more polished. Larger earrings can be slimming and a long necklace or scarf is a great way to create vertical lines. I also love that jewelry can add a bit of your personality to your look. It's easy to update a basic look with jewelry and much cheaper than buying trendy clothes all the time. 

Why do you love fashion?

Once I realized that fashion didn't have to be fussy, expensive or intimidating, it became fun. Fashion is a simple way to make a statement, show your personality and affect your mood in general










Thrift store finds


This mirror, brass swan, and unicorn corkscrew are a few of Jackie's latest thrift store discoveries.


These repurposed vintage record covers work as great wall art for her kids playroom area.




Cures for Cabin Fever

Monday, January 27, 2014

As most of you know, this is my first winter back on the East coast in seven years. Southern California had its good and bad points. I missed the changing seasons while we were there but one thing that I didn't miss was the winter blahs. San Diego is sunny year round, and returning to the cold and gray of D.C. has been quite the adjustment. Growing up in North Carolina I often suffered from cabin fever, aka seasonal depression, during the colder months. It wasn't anything too dramatic, just an overall feeling of lethargy coupled with restlessness. I know that sound like a contradictory combination but it's the best way I know how to explain it. I want to be able to get out and do stuff but I lack the motivation to make it happen.

I've been thinking about the best ways to battle the blahs lately. I did a little research and came up with the list below. If you're feeling the same way then these suggestions might help lift your spirit as well. It's definitely worth a try.

Stay Active'

Just because the cold keeps us mostly indoors doesn't mean we have to become total couch potatoes. Exercise, whether light or intense, has been proven to boost serotonin levels, leading to a more balanced and happier mental state. Get the blood flowing with some yoga or have a dance party with your kids in the living room. It will definitely help battle the blues. 

Eat Good Mood Foods 

Just like exercise, there are certain foods that have been found to help lift our mood. Here's a list of some of those good mood foods.

Vitamin C
Pinapple, orange juice, broccoli, brussel sprouts, red and green peppers and strawberries.

Folic Acid
Asparagus, chickpeas, lentils, oatmeal, dark leafy greens

Magnesium
Almonds, spinach, sunflower seeds, tofu, wild rice

Vitamin B12
Clams, milk, yogurt, salmon, sardines, chicken

Vitamin B6
Avocados, baked potatoes (with skin), bananas, yellow fin tuna, steamed green beans

Brave the Great Outdoors

Even though it can seem daunting, taking a hike through the snow (or even walking around the block) can make a world of difference when you've been cooped up inside for too long. When I was growing up we would go swimming in the river long before the summer sun had warmed it up to a reasonable degree. It was icy cold and I couldn't stay in for more than a minute but once I jumped out, talk about feeling alive! Let the fresh air work that same kind of magic on you. Even if you freeze your ass, at least you'll feel a renewed sense of energy. 

Start a hobby or home project

Having a project to work on is another great way to avoid getting bogged down during the winter months. Take up knitting or learn to play an instrument. The process will make the time go by faster and the outcome is super rewarding. 

Stay Social

Although it is tempting to switch into bear mode and completely hibernate during the colder months, resist the urge to hide-away from others. Staying social can save your sanity. Host a dinner party or meet up with friends at a cafe. The periodic contact with others will make you feel less alone and disconnected.

Find the right scent

It might sound silly but certain scents are said to have a profound affect on our moods. Lemongrass, for example, always lifts my spirit. Here are a few other scents you might want to consider trying.

Lavender Oil 
This oil relaxes you, producing a restful, peaceful sensation.
Lemon Oil
Lemon's pungent scent awakens and refreshes your senses. It can also lift your mood and help you concentrate.
Lemongrass Oil 
Used as an antidepressant, lemongrass oil will fortify the nerves and uplift the mood. (I like adding a few drops to my bath water.) 
Orange Oil
In addition to its invigorating scent, orange oil is a great antidote for feeling sluggish. It has also been used to reduce stress.
Bergamot Oil 
This spicy and somewhat sweet smelling oil is used to help lift depression and calm fear and anxiety. 
Myrrh 
Myrrh has an earthy yet spicy quality to it. It's rich, dark scent can be used as a stimulant. 
Ginger
This zippy scent energizes the spirit and can also be used to combat loneliness and depression.
Marjoram
This comforting scent is oh so cozy. Reminiscent of nutmeg, it is perfect for warming you up on those chilly days. It also encourages a restful sleep. 

Take a Vacay


When all else fails, try to get away for a while. Book a trip to somewhere warm in the hopes that upon your return you'll have enough sunshine in your reserves to get you through to spring. 

Cue the Mood Lighting

I haven't used one of these before but I've heard great things about therapy sunlamps. Supposedly they do a great job of mimicking the sunshine and can severely reduce seasonal depression

Set a goal


Staying motivated is key to feeling good. Whether your goal is to write everyday or to clean out your closet. Figure out what it is you want to do and follow through. It will give you a sense of accomplishment which is the perfect antidote for feeling down.


If you found these suggestions to be helpful then head on over to our Facebook page. Like us and keep up to date on all our other posts as well. xoxo








Foodie Friday- Kitchen Prints

Friday, January 24, 2014

I'm completely smitten with these food prints by Anek. The simple designs coupled with bold color choices are the perfect ingredients for a beautiful piece of art. You can tell how much the artist enjoys her subject matter. I would love to hang one of these in our kitchen. The only trouble would be deciding which one. I've narrowed my favorites down to the Indigo Pomegranate, The Radicchio, and The Lettuce in the Colander. Which one would you pick? 

 
 

More Kitchen Prints

Here are a few more kitchen prints by other artist that I'm liking at the moment.









If you enjoyed this artwork, don't forget to "like" us on Facebook to keep up to date on similar posts. xo

Fascinating Folk Interview 001

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'm pleased as punch to announce a new feature called, Fascinating Folk, over here at Superb in the Burbs. We're kicking it off with a mouthwatering interview with freelance food photographer, Mary Britton Senseney. If you're as obsessed with food blogs and cookbooks as I am, then you are going to love this insiders look at what goes into the creative process of styling a food photo shoot. The right image can make even the simplest of ingredients look like a delectable work of art. Case and point the whipped cream below. Let's find out more about how it's done shall we...


About Mary Britton Senseney


Mary Britton studied at Savannah College of Art and Design. Since graduating, her career as a freelance food photographer has led her to work with clients such as Cooking Light, Southern Living, Weight Watchers, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, just to name a few. She currently resides in Savannah, GA with her husband and adorable little boy. You can learn more about her work by visiting her website.

Interview


1- What drew you to food photography? Did you know that was the career path you would take?
I began experimenting with food photography in my first studio course because honestly it was the most affordable subject to shoot. I didn’t have to hire models, hair stylists, or makeup artists…I could just go grocery shopping and photograph it.

When I left SCAD, my plan was to be a photojournalist. After working for a small newspaper for a year, I quickly realized I didn’t like having only one chance to get the shot. I missed being in the studio where I was able to control every aspect of my shoot. I got an internship with Cooking Light Magazine and it reignited my excitement for food photography again.

2- Savannah is such a great city. How would you describe the culinary scene there? Do you find that it inspires your work in any way?
Actually, as great as Savannah is, the culinary scene is really lacking. We have a lot of decent restaurants, but nothing that is amazing which is disappointing. However, every time I go out to eat, whether it’s in Savannah or not, it inspires me to think about food combinations and how it would look through a lens.


3- What is a typical shoot like for you?  Can you give us a quick idea of a day in the life of a food photographer?
I mostly shoot cookbooks so a typical shoot lasts 14 days from start to finish. I’ve assembled a team here in Savannah; the food stylist comes from Florida and the prop stylist is local. Our process involves getting all the information for the shoot from the publisher. They send a style guide for the project along with all the recipes we’ll be shooting. The food stylist looks over the recipes, makes her shopping list, and gives the prop stylist and myself notes about how it would be best served and photographed. Once we’ve all gotten this information, we’re ready to start our shoot.

We tend to shoot about 8 recipes a day, which is pretty fast paced. The prop stylist pulls all her dishes, utensils, and linens before each day. The food stylist starts prepping food early in the morning and we just shoot as each dish is ready. For our projects, we have to email images to the editor and designer on the project for approval. This is usually the longest part of our process.

4- How closely do you work with the actual chefs? Do you style the shoot yourself?
On most of my shoots, I don’t work with a chef. I work with a food stylist who shops for the recipes, makes the food, and styles the dish on set. When the book is about a particular chef, we still use a freelance food stylist.


5- What does food styling consist of?
I think it takes a very special person to be a food stylist. You have to be very technical in the kitchen yet very creative on set. For example, you need to know that even though a recipe has you sautéing vegetables for a long amount of time for a dish, you probably don’t want to cook them the full time for photo since they lose their color.

Although the ad world uses lots of food styling tricks, cookbooks don’t. You want the reader to look at the photo and look at their dish, and see that it’s similar.

6- What kinds of things do you have to take into consideration when composing and framing a certain shot?
It basically all comes down to what angle will best serve the food. The whole team weighs in on if the food would good at a low angle, high angle, or overhead. From there, it’s normally just what feels right to me and looks good compositionally.

7- Do you have favorite foods to shoot?
For me it’s not so much about the kind of food but more about the color and ingredients.


8- How has being a food photographer changed what you eat? What is your favorite food?
I would say it’s made me a little more adventurous, mostly because I’ve learned a lot more about different foods. I love Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican.

9- Do you have certain props that you like to use in your shoots?
I work with a prop stylist and she usually has seniority when it comes to props J BUT, I’m really into simple, rustic propping…using sheet pans as a surface, layering wax paper or parchment over wood, and nubby linens. What I think about most is just letting the props support the food, not distract.

10- What advice do you have for aspiring food photographers, bloggers like myself (or instagrammers) out there? If you had to choose three important tips what would they be?
My advice would be to practice, practice, practice. The only way you’ll get better is to perfect your craft. Collaborate with others whenever possible; you’ll learn so much from working with people in the field. Always use natural light. Be aware of what else is in your picture other than the food and ask yourself if it's supporting or distracting. Think of a unique ways to show a food that we see over and over again.


Thanks for stopping by. If you enjoyed this interview, be sure to "like" us Facebook to keep up with more fascinating folk features. xoxo

DIY Gold Animal Decor

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I keep working on Esmae's "big girl" room bit by bit. It's been a slow process and I can't wait until all the pieces finally come together, and I can do the big reveal. Until then, I'll share my latest little project. Honestly, this one was so easy it hardly needs explanation. 

Materials


DIY Gold Animals

Directions

Lay plastic animals out on a ground cover. I always prefer to spray outside but you can do it wherever works best for you. Shake spray paint well and cover animals completely with paint on one side. Allow to dry. Flip over and spray completely on opposite side. Hang cube shelving. Arrange painted animals on shelves however you like. That's about it!
 




Pretty little corner





Buy similar pieces here 


A "BANG" up job...or not.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ever tried hair extensions before? Curious? I'm not ashamed to admit that I was. Here's why. I tried having bangs two years ago. I even went back and got them trimmed a couple times before calling it quits. Because here's the thing. As much as I like the idea of having bangs, the reality is that they're way too high maintenance for me. My hair is naturally wavy. The shorter you cut it the curlier it gets, meaning that my bangs had to be tamed daily. I may enjoy picking out an outfit and slapping on some lipstick, but I am far from high maintenance in the hair department. Pulling out the straightening iron every single day is simply not for me. I can't even blame it on motherhood. I've never been that committed to styling my hair. Anything I do has to be simple and quick. Which leads me back to hair extensions. While perusing the blogesphere the other day, I ran across a post from another blogger who was trying out different hair extensions, including this clip on bang by Ken Paves. It got good reviews and was said to be simple to use so I decided to give it a try and ordered the bangs off of amazon.

When they arrived they were too long. Luckily I was due for a regular hair trim anyways and took them along with me to the salon. I felt a bit silly whipping a hair piece out of my purse and asking my hairdresser for her help. She didn't even blink. I had them trimmed down a bit and they were ready to wear.

I'm still on the fence about this whole experiment. I like the idea of being able to switch up my look so quickly but I can't decide if they look natural enough, and I haven't worked up the guts to wear them out and about. It doesn't help that my husband, who is always complimentary of me, isn't really a fan.

That being said, here are the before and after shots...

.






Voila! It's a new look for Spring without the commitment.  What do you think? Would you ever give these a try?