Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Long Weekend: 36 hours in Texas

Texas, travel, photography, clouds, blue sky, houston, Catie BeattyTexas, Houston, travel, photography, Fleur d'Elise, Catie Beatty

We touched down at George Bush Intercontinental and all I could think about was Liz Lemon yelling "It's not my airport!" on 30 Rock last week. Until I looked outside. Sun; glorious, warm Sun! How I've missed you!
It was 80 the whole time. My husband whined, but my brother-in-law and I were in heaven.

starbucks, coffee, catie beatty, fleur d'elise
 "Ketty"... that's a new one.

Texas, Houston, travel, photography, Fleur d'Elise, Catie Beatty
Houston skyline taking from one of their terrifying freeways.

taxidermy, bbq, houston, catie beatty, goode company
 An armadillo at Goode Company BBQ

bbq, houston, travel, catie beatty

bumper sticker, catie beatty, liberal
I feel right at home in Texas, which was rather unexpected at first. My husband's family and all their friends make up, what I believe to be, a somewhat rare pocket of liberal Texans. They also make me feel welcome by always having a pecan pie waiting for me.

cake, wedding, catie beatty
We were in Houston for a family wedding. The cake was delicious and, unfortunately, the leftovers were in the same house we were staying at. I ate far too much.

thick as thieves, suit, menswear, vintage, tie
 Trevor wore a tie that once belonged to his great-grandfather, Sully. He was the only welder on Key West in the 1930's. It sounds like he was a pretty neat guy. Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway is dedicated to him (along with 2 other people).

Florsheim by Duckie Brown

menswear, Fleur d'Elise
 Trevor and his uncle

travel, photography, Denver, Fleur d'Elise
 Homeward bound: we had a short layover in Denver where I ran into a girl I went to high school with. Small world.

And now, here I am, back in Seattle. My pecan pie is waning and I'm already planning what I will do when I  am finally able to visit Houston with a little more time on my hands.

Trevor's outfits: Thick As Thieves Suit - vintage tie - J.Crew button down - Florsheim by Duckie Brown shoes - Shuron frames 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Look of the Day: Leopard print + flatforms

winter, fashion, red lipstick, fur hat, leopard print, forever 21, catie beatty, fleur d'elise
I'm writing to you from the past. As you read this, I'm most likely on a plane coming back from Houston. We flew down, just for the weekend, to take part in the wedding celebrations of my husband's aunt. I'm sure it was all lovely, but as I am writing to you from the past, I don't know for sure yet.

winter, fashion, red lipstick, fur hat, leopard print, forever 21, catie beatty, fleur d'elise
I do know, for certain, that I will not be wearing this fur hat. It's supposed to be in the upper 70's and most likely quite humid. The Weather Underground says a chance of thunderstorms!

winter, fashion, red lipstick, fur hat, leopard print, forever 21, catie beatty, fleur d'elise
Maybe I will bring these shoes, though. They're better suited for warm weather. I traded in my Forever21 flatforms at Buffalo Exchange for these sweet Gee WaWa flatforms. They're way more comfortable and are made of the softest leather. I wore them out dancing in England, at Heathrow and Keflavic airports, and to my friend's birthday party last weekend. On top of that, I have bad feet, so I can certainly attest to them being comfortable and pretty easy to walk in! I only paid $22, but would happily pay full price for another pair. Preferably, a close-toed version, like these.

Update: I nearly forgot to mention the Thrift Love Link-Up I'm part of! Visit, check out Lindsay's great blog, and see what great thrift store finds other bloggers have styled.

Fur hat (similar)- Forever21 coat - thrifted sweatshirt (similar)- thrifted oxford shirt (similar) - Forever21 leopard print pants (similar) - GeeWaWa Flatforms (similar)

Friday, January 25, 2013

In Photos: Seattle Up-Close

Fleur d'Elise, Seattle, Pike Place Market, pomegranate, food photography
On Monday, my boss and I played tour guide to a lovely couple visiting from Washington D.C. and on their way to Hawaii. They had a long layover here, so we took them round Seattle and out to lunch in Bellevue. After a quick driving tour of the International District, we stopped at Pike Place.

Fleur d'Elise, Seattle, Pike Place Market
 As much as I love my Chloes, they're horrendously uncomfortable in the cold. I was glad I wore them anyway, because my boss hadn't told me our guests were Chinese diplomats! Gotta look your best when entertaining foreign dignitaries! I am sworn to secrecy... ok, not really, but I will be polite and professional and only refer to the couple as Mr. and Mrs. Z.

starbucks coffee, seattle, pike place market, fleur d'elise
Our guests were so excited to go to the very first Starbucks. When we walked in, Mr. Z turned to me and said "This is where the empire started." He kept saying "This is a special place for us." We're blessed with many quality coffee roasters in Seattle, and even though Starbucks may not be my favorite among them, I'm going to have to agree with Mr. Z. It's a pretty big deal.

pain au chocolat, seattle, la panier, pike place market, bakery, croissant, pastries, french
 La Panier still smells exactly the same way as it did when I was a kid. Like croissants, bien sûr. I have very early memories of my mom taking us down to Pike Place just to get a couple pains au chocolat. Well, I had one yesterday and am happy to report that they are just as good as they were when I was little.

seattle, la panier, pike place market, bakery, macarons, pastries, french
It took a lot of will power, but I managed not to order any macarons on top of my chocolate croissant order. I'm trying to limit myself to one pastry a week, which is hard.

nature, wildlife, green lake park, seattle, ducks, photography
Ducks at Green Lake play it pretty cool. They'll start swimming up to you, but if you don't have food they'll just continue on going, all nonchalant, like they weren't expecting anything anyway.

After Green Lake, we showed Mr. and Mrs. Z our office building across the street, made a quick stop at my apartment so I could take my dog out, then headed to Alki Beach in West Seattle. We only stayed a short time at Alki so they could take photos of the city from across the water. I took some too, which I published in this post. After that, it was off to the airport so our guests could catch their flight to a much warmer, less foggy, destination.

I could get used to days like this.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Look of the Day: Double Coated

winter fashion, seattle, street style, denim jacket, fleur d'elise
For the past few months my husband and I have been shaking our heads at J.Crew's styling in regards to denim jackets. Under a coat? That's just silly. Under a blazer? That's down-right ridiculous. Until, the other day, when I realized they might actually be onto something. I was lamenting the fact that it was too cold to wear my denim jacket, when I finally made the connection. Maybe J.Crew was just being J.Crew and layering things in weird ways, but a denim jacket under an outer coat actually makes sense to me now!

winter fashion, seattle, street style, denim jacket, fleur d'elise
However, a denim jacket under a blazer will never make sense. It would be so lumpy and uncomfortable!

winter fashion, seattle, street style, fleur d'elise, chloe flats
Sometimes I forget about my little Chloes; my babies. I hide them away like treasure, and then forget about them like a squirrel. Despite the cold, though, I've worn them two days in a row this week.

winter fashion, seattle, street style, denim jacket, fleur d'elise, chloe flats

denim, forever 21, seattle, street style, winter, 2013, fleur d'elise
Forever 21 coat (similar) - GAP denim jacket (similar) - GAP t-shirt - BDG cropped pants - Top Shop skater rib beanieAmerican Apparel tote bag -Chloe flats (similar)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

In Photos: Winter in Seattle

I always think of winter as a barren, dark time, but really it isn't. Winter sparkles, winter renews, and even though the trees are bare, the natural world is anything but dead. The absence of the leaves just makes for a different view of the world.

seattle, winter, nature, photography, robins, traveler's joy
I think the berries, in this tree full of robins, are Mountain Ash. The fluffy bits are the seeds of a vine called Traveler's Joy. It seems to be taking over the tree in the best way.

winter, nature, photography, seattle, hawthorne, robin, fleur d'elise
 The birds here are very busy during the winter. The ones that stick around are always clamoring for food. When it gets really cold, some of the chickadees are gutsy enough to land in your hand for a few seeds.

winter, photography, nature, fleur d'elise, seattle
 I love days when everything is frosted over.

winter in seattle, ice crystals, winter, photography, nature, fleur d'elise, seattle
 Ice crystals

photography, seattle, winter, lake washington
 A dock down on Lake Washington

winter, photography, nature, fleur d'elise, seattle, pomes, hawes
The pomes of some species of hawthorn

seattle, nature, photography, lichen

Green Lake, Seattle, foggy, winter, photography
 A foggy view at Green Lake

Elliot Bay, Seattle, photography, sea, Puget Sound, marine life, Alki
 The snow pack hasn't started to melt yet, so Elliot Bay is crystal clear. It looks almost tropical, but, man it does not feel tropical!

Elliot Bay, Alki, Seattle, sunset, photography
Fog and sunset at Alki Beach

seattle, lifestyle, art, diy, craft, watercolors
 I've been working on Valentine's and there are quite a few January birthdays, so some birthday cards are in order, too. I was just using this catalog as a work surface, but this printed lady might find herself as part of an art project...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Filson Sale: Might as well have the best at a discount!

Filson, Might as well have the best
My husband and I are getting old. You know how I can tell? We're both in agreement on the sensibility of investing in "some good luggage." Also, we've been travelling so much lately, it makes sense. Since November, I've been gone for at least 23 days. This coming weekend we'll be in Houston for a wedding and in March my husband is going to D.C. for a week; a trip on which I may be lucky enough to accompany him. Which brings me back to luggage. As much as I love my thrifted floral canvas duffle bag, we're tired of big, awkward bags that may or may not make it through another handling at the airport. 

Filson, luggage, might as well have the best, portland, seattle, hotel monaco
 A Filson, on the other hand, will last a lifetime and possibly longer. Their outdoors gear was originally designed to outlast the tough conditions of Alaska and the north during the Klondike Gold Rush, so an airport luggage carousel is nothing to worry about. Even if our bags do get a little roughed up, it will just look better. Like the Filson website says, "Comfort, protection, and durability never go out of style." 

Filson, luggage, might as well have the best, seattle
 Like most stores, Filson had a post-holiday sale, so we jumped at the chance to get this carry-on bag at over 40% off the original price. The carry-on bags are unfortunately out of stock now, but their all-leather tote bag is still in stock, 43% off and, my goodness, is it gorgeous! I have my heart set on this classic Filson Duffle Bag in Otter Green, though. Too bad it's not on sale!

What are things you feel are a good investment, even if they are a bit boring and "grown up"?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Recipe: Buttermilk-Pear Bread Pudding

When was the last time you saw fruit for $.69 a pound? Yeah, I can't remember either, so when I drove past a fruit stand the other day with a sign that read "Pears $.69/pound" I had to stop. I had planned to make most of the pears into jelly or pear butter, but I had some buttermilk and lots of old bread to use up, so I decided to make a bread pudding as well. And of course I'll share the recipe with you!

About 5 cups stale bread
2 cups buttermilk
¾ cup sugar
1 Tbsp brandy or mead
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp honey
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
5 eggs
¼ cup cranberries
2 pears


1. Cut up the bread into cubes and place in an oven set to 200º. This will dry the bread out so it doesn't fall apart when soaked in eggs. Alternatively, you can cut it up and leave it to dry for a couple days.

2. Whisk together the buttermilk, sugar, brandy/mead, vanilla, honey, spices, and eggs in a large bowl.

3. Add in the dry bread and mix until completely coated. Place in the fridge and let sit for up to 2 hours.

4. Chop up the pear into small chunks, reserving 2 or 3 slices if you want to decorate the top of your pudding like I did.

5. When the bread has soaked for an hour or two, mix in the chopped pears and cranberries.

6. Heat the oven to 375º and thoroughly grease a baking dish.

7. Pour the bread mixture into the baking dish and place in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes.

8. When the timer goes off, remove the pudding from the oven, but don't turn the heat off just yet! At this point you're going to butter the top of the pudding and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Put back in the oven for another 25 or 30 minutes.

9. When the timer goes off, cut into the middle of the pudding to make sure it's cooked all the way. There may be a little liquid from the pears, but this will be clear-ish. If it still looks too gooey, put it back in, but make sure it doesn't burn!

10. Serve with buttermilk and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Look of the Day: Madewell dress & Fair Isle mittens

fleur d'elise, fair isle, winter, fashion, seattle, madewell dress, uniqlo
 It's only January, but I'm already sick of layers. They take so much work. You have to make sure you're warm enough and, at the same time, make sure they match well enough. It's easy to look crazy. That's why in the winter I usually end up wearing a lot more blue. It's a good color on me and goes with well with neutrals.  My look is obviously lacking a coat, but I sacrificed my comfort for the photos.

fleur d'elise, fair isle, winter, fashion, seattle, madewell dress, uniqlo

What are some of your tricks for layering?

rivet & sway, spitfire, fair isle, winter, fashion, seattle, madewell dress, uniqlo
I can't tell you how happy I am that I spent all that money on Uniqlo heat tech in London. That stuff is a godsend. I wear my t-shirt every day (wish I woulda bought a couple of those!). The leggings I'm wearing are also heat tech, which if you haven't heard, keeps you warm by both preventing heat loss and creating heat. It's pretty amazing stuff.

fleur d'elise, fair isle, winter, fashion, seattle, madewell dress, uniqlo
 Now that I think about it, almost everything in this outfit is new. The fair isle mittens were a lucky find at Value Village. The dress was aquired during a nerve racking purchase at Madewell last week (I wish their stuff wasn't so expensive!) Lastly, even though I've had the glasses for a while, I don't think I've featured them in an outfit until now. You may remember this post where I asked which frames my readers preferred. Well, I ended up with the Spitfires. They were my favorite from the beginning, and seem to be pretty popular with a lot of Rivet & Sway's customers.

fleur d'elise, fair isle, winter, fashion, seattle, madewell dress, uniqlo, vintage coach

Madewell sweatshirt dress - H&M cardigan (similar) - Primark infinity scarf (similar) - Vintage Coach purse - Uniqlo stirrup leggings (similar) - MIA flats - fair isle mittens (similar) - Rivet & Sway Spitfire frames
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