Basic Black

I almost never wear black.  I lived in San Francisco for nine years after college and wore it quite a bit.  When I moved to New York I was determined not to be an all black cliche, so I embraced color.  This tuxedo inspired long sleeve t-shirt  comes in navy as well, but I decided to go with a non-basic (for me) and go for the black.  I styled it with my lace pants, glitter heels, blue velvet clutch, Ryan Sunglasses and an Hermes scarf for my son’s school holiday program.

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J. Crew Top

J. Crew Lace Pants

J. Crew Velvet Clutch also available in Black Satin

J. Crew Shoes

J. Crew Ryan Sunglasses (on sale!)

Hermes Scarf similar here and here

Happy Shopping!

XO,

JAE

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Role Play

I’ve taken on a few new roles this year.  One of them is Recording Secretary for the PTA at my son’s school.  Although this blouse is not called a “Secretary Blouse” as many other     J. Crew selections are (such as this one or this one), it has the same feel.  I have styled it with my favorite leopard flats (naturally) and basic black.

As I wrote yesterday in Shoes Tell the Story, my blog had it’s six month anniversary last week, so there was cause for celebration.

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J. Crew Top

J. Crew Toothpick Jeans in Black

J. Crew Ryan Sunglasses in Blush

J. Crew Featherweight Cashmere Cardigan

J. Crew Leopard Gemma Flats

Lipstick Queen Lip Gloss in Big Bang Black Hole

Happy Shopping!

XO,

JAE

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

This week I am baking my chocolate chip cookies for another event.  Since I first posted this five months ago, I have made a couple of changes to ingredients and a couple of the tools and ingredients are on sale.  My blog will have it’s sixth month anniversary on Friday, so it seemed like a good time to update this.

The original post (with updated links):

I love baking chocolate chip cookies for my family and they are my go-to for events and fundraisers at my son’s school.  The challenge in the past was that when I needed to make them, I needed at least three to four dozen.  A certain amount for the fundraiser, my husband’s office, my office and of course the ones we want to eat right out of the oven.

I love Alton Brown’s recipe The Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie. As he states, his recipe is essentially a hack of the Nestle recipe.  You melt the butter, so you don’t have to bring it to room temperature.  You do need to chill the dough for one hour before baking, so it involves some planning and time management.  When I made the cookies after work it was a long night. After some practice with the recipe, I  streamlined a few things and created a few of my own hacks, so that I can make two batches more efficiently.

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My son waiting for the dough to chill
Last Mother’s Day I received a KitchenAid stand mixer in my favorite color of navy blue (the color is called blueberry).  My other stand mixer was on its last legs.  I now have two mixing bowls.  This is key.  You can always buy a second bowl.  This allows me to quickly make two batches at once and not wait for the mixing bowl while the dough is chilling.

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KitchenAid Design Series in Blueberry
I measure all the ingredients ahead of time and do them two at a time.  Two sets of flour, the sugars, and the egg mixture.  That way I can get the first bowl in the refrigerator and start making the next batch immediately.  Both batches can then chill together.

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My favorite Ingredients
I know I am not to first to say this, but it really is all about the quality of the ingredients starting with the vanilla.  I use Nielsen-Massey which is currently 20% off at Williams Sonoma.

For flour, I like Perfect Flour Pastry Blend from Sur La Table.

My favorite chocolate for these cookies is Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet.  You can get them at most supermarkets and they are a larger size chip.

For butter, I use Pulgra unsalted Butter

These cookie sheets from Williams-Sonoma have made all the difference in baking a perfect cookie.  I use them only for cookies along with this ice cream scoop which I have in both small and medium.  Today I am using the small size.

This scale is so easy to use.  You weigh all the ingredients for this recipe.

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Kid approved
Having the right equipment (and enough of it) along with the best ingredients makes these cookies perfect every time.

Happy Baking!

 

XO,

JAE

Fall Colors in Santa Barbara

This summer we visited the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.  It is so well put together with great interactive exhibits for kids.  I highly recommend it.  My son loved it and we visited two weeks in a row.  I also loved the adobe building, so on our second visit I took advantage and shot this fall look.

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J. Crew Margot Top in Silk Foulard

J. Crew Italian Featherweight Cashmere Cardigan

J.Crew Ryan Sunglasses in Blush

J. Crew Toothpick Jeans in Black

J. Crew Leopard Gemma Flats 

J. Crew Signet Bag in Deep Wine

J. Crew Italian Calf Hair Leopard Coin Purse

Happy Shopping!

XO,

JAE

Doggie Stripes at Georgie

When I came home with my J. Crew for NET-A-PORTER purchases my husband said “Another striped long sleeve tee?”.  I am afraid to do an inventory count.  Then he saw the sequined dog and said, “THAT is a keeper”, which is something he rarely says.  His side (or should I say third of a side) of our closet it a carefully curated selection.  He is ruthless when it comes to cleaning out his closet.  If they had a men’s version of this t-shirt, he might be adding one more to his collection.

The tee-shirt is super soft.  I styled it with my J. Crew lookout high rise jeans, Panama hat and, of course, leopard flats.  We headed to a new favorite spot for coffee, tea and pastries, Georgie, in Beverly Hills.  My son says they make the BEST croissants.

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J. Crew for NET-A_PORTER sequin embellished striped jersey top

J. Crew Paulman Panama hat with indigo band (one sale!)

J. Crew Lookout high rise jeans (similar here)

J. Crew leopard Gemma flats

J. Crew bag (last year) this Rider Bag is a beautiful dark navy and a similar shape

Happy Shopping!

XO,

JAE

All of the Stripes

J. Crew launched a capsule collection with NET-A-PORTER last week.  It is available in only a few stores and on NET-A-PORTER.  Once again they issued a challenge and I just could not resist.  The collection is centered around blue and white stripes and has some amazing pieces.  I love this silk crepe de chine shirt together with the reversible scarf.

My son came in mid-photo shoot and decided it needed something more.  I absolutely love this faux fur blue and white striped scarf.  The only question is who wore it best?

 

Thankfully it was a bit foggy in Los Angeles during the shoot.  The scarf is so cozy.

 

The collection is really fantastic.  You can purchase it on NET-A-PORTER and I have linked the pieces below.  Quantities are limited.

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J. Crew for NET-A-PORTER Striped silk crepe de chine shirt

J. Crew for NET-A-PORTER Reversible printed silk-twill scarf

J. Crew for NET-A-PORTER Mariner faux fur scarf

J. Crew Jane Sunglasses in Pink

J. Crew Toothpick Jean in Black (25% off with code SHOPNOW)

J. Crew Navy Sequined Flats (older style) these would look great (25% off with code SHOPNOW)

Happy Shopping!

XO,

JAE

 

 

Dinner and Sunset in Montecito

Our end of the Summer mini-vacation included an amazing meal at Plow and Angel at the San Ysidro Ranch.  It is just so beautiful there.  I wore a J. Crew dress that I featured in Stripes and Paisley on the Vineyard.  This time swapping the pops of pink for my favorite leopard print.  The dress is so easy to wear and is a great neutral shirting stripe that can be styled so many ways.

Enjoying the beautiful grounds after dinner.

Dinner at or absolute favorite restaurant.  It is rare to find a place with such amazing food for adults and healthy options that are appealing to kids too.

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Plow and Angel at the San Ysidro Ranch

Then we headed back to Butterfly Beach and The Biltmore for sunset.

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My outfit details:

J. Crew Dress

J. Crew Featherweight Italian Cashmere Cardigan (on sale!)

J. Crew Ryan Sunglasses in Blush

J. Crew Leopard Printed Calf Hair Belt

J. Crew Sandals (similar here and 25% off with the code SHOPNOW)

Calf Hair Clutch from last year.  Similar here, here and here

My husband and son are twinning (of course) in their favorite striped Johnnie-O Shirts (men’s and boy’s) and J. Crew Shorts (men’s and boy’s).

Happy Shopping!

XO,

JAE

 

 

Margaritas and Old Adobes

On our recent trip to Santa Barbara we explored the El Presidio real de Santa Barbara after a delicious dinner (and margaritas) at nearby  Playa AzulPlaya Azul.  The Presidio contains an original adobe structure called El Cuartel,  that is the second oldest surviving building in California and was built by Spain in 1782, with the mission of defending the Second Military District in California. The chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano, known as “Father Serra’s Church”, is the only surviign building in California that is older.

I went to college in Santa Barbara at UCSB and did not spend that much time exploring touristy spots.  It has been fun to explore with my son.  There are so many great sites to see and if  you like Mexican food, Playa Azul is a must.

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J. Crew Short Sleeve Popover Shirt in Navy (25% off with code SHOPSALE)

J. Crew Frayed Denim Pencil Skirt in White (25% off with code SHOPSALE)

J. Crew Ryan Sunglasses in Blush

J. Crew Signet Bag in Deep Wine

J. Crew Coin Purse in Italian Calf Hair

J. Crew Sandals (similar here and 25% off with code SHOPSALE)

Happy Shopping!

XO,

JAE

In the Pink at The Biltmore

It is nearly impossible not to feel “in the pink” in Santa Barbara, especially at The Biltmore, overlooking Butterfly Beach.  The Biltmore was built in 1928 and epitomized Southern California glamour and was a favorite retreat of old Hollywood.  The grounds are just so beautiful and Butterfly Beach is a favorite of ours.  The butterflies actually left soon after the construction and care was put it to the landscaping and trees so that they would return.  We learned about this in the beautiful children’s book “Butterfly Beach” by Polly Caldwell Bookwalter that we purchased in the gift shop for vacation bedtime reading.  We spotted a few butterflies on one of our morning walks. The beach walks were so beautiful that I even managed to win my weekly Fitbit step contest against several competitive New Yorkers.

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J. Crew Margot Top in French Blue Airy Cotton Pique

J. Crew Jane Sunglasses in Pink

J. Crew Cashmere Cardigan in Neon Hibiscus (on sale plus 30% off with code SHOPSALE)

J. Crew Paisley Gemma Flats (25% off with code SHOPSALE)

J. Crew Signet Bag in Deep Wine

J. Crew Coin Purse in Italian Calf Hair

J. Crew Lookout Jeans (25% off with code SHOPSALE)

Happy Shopping!

XO,

JAE

An Afternoon at The Getty

This summer we did a fair amount of traveling and also made an effort to explore our home town. We managed to hit a lot of museums in Los Angeles.  One of my all-time favorites is The Getty Center.  We spent a great Sunday afternoon there a couple of weeks ago. The views are spectacular.  My son especially loves The Family Room where he can have a hands on experience (I managed to do so, as well). We all enjoyed the “London Calling” exhibit and had a fun lunch there as well.

 

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J. Crew Shirt

J. Crew Necklace

J. Crew Ryan Sunglasses

J. Crew Gemma Flats

J. Crew Lookout High Rise Cropped Jeans in White

J. Crew Hat (on sale!)

XO,

JAE