Style: Cowboy Hats

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys —Willie Nelson  

Jane Fonda pulls off the cowgirl look as only she can – with natural style & grace.

How about cowgirls?

If you don’t reside in places like Tennessee or Texas, you seldom see cowboy hats worn except as a fashion statement.  But they’re back!  As a fashion statement or otherwise.

Cowboy boots are among the top spring/summer 2018 shoe trends, but to fully embrace your cowgirl spirit, you definitely also need a cowboy hat. I’ve been anxiously waiting for this Western style to reappear on the scene.  That’s why I didn’t let go of a few pairs of cowboy boots that sat dormant at the back of my closet.  And maybe that’s why I recently bought another pair of cute cowboy inspired ankle books.

Madonna has worn many hats — both literally and figuratively.
Back then: Montgomery Clift, Marilyn Monroe, and Clark Gable – The Misfits, 1960 Photo: Getty Images

They’re strong & sexy and have major attitude.

Photos: Getty Images

 

 

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Quick ‘n Easy Coq au Vin

Hearty dishes aren’t usually described as elegant, but this classic French recipe is the very definition.

This is something I would usually reserve for ordering in a good French restaurant, and even then, it’s not something I readily crave.  But I had chicken and I had white wine on hand.  Actually I had everything except the bacon so it made sense to find a recipe.

PHOTO: Liz Andrew.  STYLING: Erin McDowell

The only problem? You need Julia Child levels of patience and skill to pull it off. Enter this foolproof version, which is ready in under an hour. Plus, it’s made with dry white wine instead of red for an elegant twist.

What you need:

3 pounds chicken (8 pieces total—thighs, breasts and drumsticks)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 strips bacon, diced

1 large sweet onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 cups dry white wine

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until it’s well browned, about 4 minutes per side.
  2. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until the fat begins to render, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and sauté until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and sauté until the mushrooms are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Add the browned chicken back to the skillet. Pour the wine into the skillet, stir in the mustard and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  5. Cover the skillet and simmer until the chicken is almost fully cooked, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Uncover the skillet and add the cream. Simmer until the sauce thickens and the chicken is fully cooked, 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

de rien

 

Monday Mood Board #16

Academy Awards turned 90 last night.   Here are the winning dresses of the evening in my opinion based on elegance, fit and one thrown in for her ability to carry it off with sheer style.

Allison Janney, Best Supporting Actress winner for I, Tonya,  wrapped up her award season dream run wearing Reem Acra.
Mira Sorvino in ROMONA KEVEŽA
Viola Davis in a sequined hot pink Michael Kors collection and a matching clutch.
Helen Mirren in a deep blue long sleeved column gown.
Laura Dern in a Calvin Klein By Appointment white gown with asymmetrical sleevees.
Jennifer Garner in ATELIER VERSACE
Kristin Cavallar in a soft cream Pamela Rolland chiffon grown paired with Neil J. Rodgers heels and an Edie Parker clutch. Also wearing H Stern jewels.
Taraji P. Henson in a black custom Vera Wang gown.  I wasn’t sure about this one but she managed to carry it off.  Sexy + elegant.  And the legs….

Photos: Getty Images

 

 

 

Self Care: Words from the Wise

Six months, when looking ahead seems like an eternity, but when looking back, it’s a blink of an eye.  It really is.

One of my best friends gifted me with a book entitled when thing fall apart when things fell apart after losing my husband.  Unknowingly, my sister gifted me with the very same book.  They both believed the book would help guide me to some understanding or at least a place of acceptance.  It was an interestingly thoughtful read and it did help to some degree.  At the very end there was a website where you could enter your e-mail address to receive weekly mindful insights to your inbox.  Reassuring insights are always encouraging, especially when they come from an American woman who became a Tibetan Buddhist.

Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it. -Pema Chödrön

Just wanted to share one which I feel to be thought provoking and true.  Let me know if you agree.

THE UNIVERSAL DILEMMA

The source of our unease is the unfulfillable longing for a lasting certainty and security, for something solid to hold on to. Unconsciously we expect that if we could just get the right job, the right partner, the right something, our lives would run smoothly. When anything unexpected or not to our liking happens, we think something has gone wrong. I believe this is not an exaggeration of where we find ourselves. Even at the most mundane level, we get so easily triggered—someone cuts in front of us, we get seasonal allergies, our favorite restaurant is closed when we arrive for dinner. We are never encouraged to experience the ebb and flow of our moods, of our health, of the weather, of outer events—pleasant and unpleasant—in their fullness. Instead we stay caught in a fearful, narrow holding pattern of avoiding any pain and continually seeking comfort. This is the universal dilemma.

When we pause, allow a gap, and breathe deeply, we can experience instant refreshment. Suddenly we slow down, look out, and there’s the world. It can feel like briefly standing in the eye of the tornado or the still point of a turning wheel. Our mood may be agitated or cheerful. What we see and hear may be chaos or it may be the ocean, the mountains, or birds flying across a clear blue sky. Either way, momentarily our mind is still and we are not pulled in or pushed away by what we are experiencing. – Excerpted from: Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears – by Pema Chödrön

Why do people look for outside help or answers, and in doing so discover spirituality?  It’s a survival mechanism to deal with life’s challenges which hits you in the face.  I found out Pema came to explore her spirituality as an attempt to cope with the emotional trauma of her failed marriages. 

About Pema:

One of the most beloved of American Buddhist teachers, Pema Chödrön has devoted her life to inspiring people to awaken and has changed many lives in the process. She is the author of many influential books, such as When Things Fall ApartLiving Beautifully, and The Places that Scare You. Her writing, which explores Buddhist concepts and offers paths to conquering subjects such as suffering, fear, and difficult times, has inspired people worldwide.

My advice: You take sound advice from the wise until you’re wise enough to offer your own.

Any advice?

 

Feel-good Friday: MARCHing right along

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” – Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

Making any March Resolutions?  Lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, drink less, become vegan, meditate more, stress less,  give more, motivate yourself……food for thought.  More, Less, More, Less.  Less is More.

Because time marches on and maybe New Year’s came and went so fast that you have to catch up with your resolutions which you’ll have a hard time resolving if you put too much pressure on yourself  intending to fulfill all of them at once.  You can only try to do your best.

Best of the weekend to you!

No Pressure.

Design – seeing everything in black + white

I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to perusing open houses.

Mostly because I end up loving a lot of them and hate the fact that I can’t move right in or more likely, cannot afford to. But it’s fun to look.  I realize how many different styles of homes I’ve come to appreciate. From Mid-Century Modern easily influenced by where I’m at, to old world Spanish hacienda and country cottage chic but in a Cape Cod sort of way.  I like furnishings that are modern, vintage, collectible and contemporary but comfortable.  Mixed with vibrant colour or plain neutral.  I don’t like too stark.  I prefer warmth. But then I saw this:

I literally stumbled upon this unassuming ranch style home for sale in my neighborhood when out walking the dogs.  It’s not quite finished being updated (at least on the outside) but I was curious so I wandered inside.

It was not showy; actually kind of simple in a bold statement kind of way. What I like is how clean and elegant black and white looks.  Very parisienne.  Very timeless.  Very me. at the very moment  Could it be I’m suffering from  homestyle schitzophrenia? 

Jia Jia on our walk.

Seeing something opposite to what you already have gives fresh perspective to how you can decorate.  It doesn’t make it better, it just gives it a different personality.  It’s always fun to see what others are doing when it comes to home decor or anything else for that matter.

Do you agree?

Photos: d. king