September 29, 2011

Fall Recipes! Version 3

Per my first entry, I love to cook... and I'm easily swayed by seemingly easy recipes and pretty pictures. Throughout this fall season, I have fallen on a couple different recipes that look AMAZING!. Here is the next one on my fall cooking plans:
The idea is you make one... and make the other with left overs! GENIUS for cooking individual portions!
Chicken Soup - to - Chicken Pot Pie

  • 8 cup(s) water
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 medium stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 whole(s) (3 1/2-pound) chicken
  • 3 cup(s) egg noodles, uncooked
  1. In 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl, combine water, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, thyme, 4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place whole chicken on top of vegetables. Cover slow cooker with lid and cook as manufacturer directs on low setting 8 to 10 hours or on high setting 4 to 5 hours.
  2. Transfer chicken to cutting board. Discard bay leaves. Add noodles to slow-cooker bowl; cover with lid and cook (on low or high) 20 minutes.
  3. While noodles cook, remove and discard skin, fat, and bones from chicken; shred meat.
  4. Skim fat from soup and discard. Return chicken to soup to serve.
Chicken Pot Pie (typed because I couldn't find the one I had in the magazine :( )

Preheat oven to 425 F
Transfer 1/2 c. potatoes from reserved vegetable mixture to lg. bowl. With potato masher, mash until crushed. Stir in 1/3 c. heavy cream and mash until well combined.
Remove meat from reserved chicken, shred into lg. chunks, and add to potato mixture. Add reserved vegetables; 1 c. frozen peas, thawed; 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel; 1/4 tsp. salt; and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Stir until well mixed.
Spread mixture, in even layer, into 9 1/2-in (2 1/2-qt) deep-dish pie plate. Center 1 refrigerated piecrust (from 14-oz pkg.) on top. Fold dough overhang under to make edge flush with rim of pie plate. Gently press edge against pie plate. Cut 5 slits on top.
Bake 25 minutes. Cover rim of dough with foil, then bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown on top. Serves 4.

Do you have any recipes I should try? PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

September 28, 2011

New Show Alert: Hart of Dixie

It never fails, I always get sucked into the cheesy shows with zero potential for longevity and then become heart broken when they get canned by the networks.
Well my latest show is Hart of Dixie. It stars Rachel Bilson, from the OC (sorry, had to go way back because I can't remember the last time I saw her in something).

The Synopsis is this, NYC doctor forced to move to Alabama to gain a better 'bed-side manner', realizes she must now learn how to live in an entirely different culture in order to achieve her goals. Overall, I thought it was really cute, love the sound track, and will most likely become addicted as it's cheesy and on the CW... however I think I'm more obsessed with the Southern vibes than the actual story line... more potential for a made for tv movie than a series (sadly). 
I'd also say the same for the new Pan Am show on ABC:

There are quite a few other shows I'm interested in this fall:
ABC's Once Upon a Time has a killer looking cast, and I'm a sucker for anything resembling the 10th Kingdom.

The Playboy club has potential, as it seems to reach a larger audience, however it's based on the standard Chicago Mob storyline, which I'm not sure how long they can play before it gets old.

I'm also a sucker for anything done by Zooey Deschanel, one because she's awesome, and two because her last name is loosely translated from French to 'of Chanel'.... coincidence, I think not! This being said, her new show, New Girl, is actually smartly funny and poignant at the same time. I dig it!

Have y'all found any goods shows I should be filling my DVR up with?  
PS when is DVR going to allow 3 recordings at once?!?! Because I wanted to watch Boardwalk Empire, Drop Dead Diva, & The Good Wife... I missed the first episode of this season's Good Wife and am now forced to catch up... NOT COOL COMCAST!

September 27, 2011

Brand Profile: Southern Dignity

I recently came across a new brand that you (my lovely readers) might find interesting.
Southern Dignity is a new company that launched a little over a year ago. The co-founders, Ben Brundick and Lance Stokes, have begun to build their vision around what they see as the southern perspective and the styles that accompany it.
  The gentlemen picked Lance's great dane Sammy as their mascot and emblem to embody their mission and style. I love great danes! Whenever I see them I can't help remembering the old Marmaduke comics or Disney's The Ugly Dachshund. They're regal, poise, and classic.... just like what Southern Dignity stands for. 
They currently offer a wide range of colorful coozies & croakies:
They also make a baller tie that I think has the ability to rival the VV boys and Mr. Polo themselves!

Ben & Lance were kind enough to allow me to interview them, and this is what they had to say:

When did you first decide to start your company?
We first decided to start the company a little over a year ago. We felt there was a gap in traditional styling made famous by Ralph Lauren and the direction of Southern brands currently on the market. We put pen to paper, and the rest is history.

What is your inspiration?
Our inspiration comes from the people who support us. We want to be more than a clothing company concerned about the bottom dollar. We want to represent a lifestyle that transcends the dress behind it. We love what we do, and it’s awesome seeing others share in our excitement and passion for the brand.

Where did you first develop your style?
We first developed our styles at a young age, and we refined them as we grew into the young men we are today. We’ve always been classic in our ways, and we think a lot of that comes from our parents and the traditional environments we were raised in.

What do you hope your products will convey about yourself and your style?
We hope that our products will represent all the qualities we think are consistent with a classic style that can appeal to multiple age groups and cater to any occasion. We think the answer to clothing is simple; it should be of the highest quality, functional, and simplistically elegant in design.

What has been the hardest thing about starting your own business?
The hardest thing about starting the business has been finding the right connections in the industry. There’s not a manual or class that leads you in the right direction. It’s been a lot of hit and miss, but eventually it has come together.

What other products do you hope to add to your portfolio?
Our website officially launches in December, and we’ll have men and women’s polos, logo ties and bows, pocket squares, belts, suspenders, and other accessories. We are already working on expanding our tie and bow lines as well as incorporating pocket tees, men and women’s button downs, Gameday dresses, quarter zips, and much more!

Above all these guys are courteous and, for lack of another synonym, gentlemanly! They wanted to pass on the below message to their current and new supporters:
We’d like to thank everyone for their continued support, and we look forward to producing clothing we know you’ll be proud to wear!
Follow us on twitter & Facebook for product announcements, giveaways, and more!

I'm super excited to see what these guys come up with next!
Have you heard of Southern Dignity yet? What's your favorite item? What else would you like to see from them?

As always, if you know of thing you'd like to see, a brand you'd like interviewed, a trend you'd like confirmed, let me know!

September 26, 2011

Weekend Recap - Oktoberfest (Chicago Style)

This past weekend, BF found a groupon for 1/2 off the local Oktoberfest being hosted just blocks north of him in Lincoln Park. 
Nothing better illustrates Chicago than Oktoberfest (celebration of beer) at a Catholic Church. Churches host the best street festivals and alcoholic endeavors. It's slightly ironic.
Anywho, the groupon got us entry for 3 days, a cool glass stein, and $21 in food/drink tickets. Pretty baller! We only ended up going on Saturday evening which worked out fine. Sixteen Candles (a local Chicago 80's cover band) was playing which was pretty spiffy.
Got to hang with my SHC girls!
 I even ran into a gentleman I was planning on interviewing next month for a new brand profile here in the Chicago area... completely random and awesome! Can't wait to learn more about the Chicago Belt Company!
A big group of us then made our way to Uncle Julio's for some late night grub, as one of BF's fraternity brother's works there. I'd never been before and was kind of excited. I had managed to wave down a cab to fit like 10 people... apparently that didn't go over well with the cabbie, and BF and I ended up in a rickshaw, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It was such a nice night out and didn't even start drizzling till we were almost home after grabbing some clutch Mexican at the restaurant.
But I skipped ahead:

BF came out to the burbs on Friday night in the hopes of dropping his car off at the auto center to get looked at (that pesky 'check engine' light has been on... for a while...). Sadly the 'Taurus-guy' (ps how much would it suck to be known as that) wasn't in, so we had to bring in back on Monday. But I had made dinner....
I made BF mini- vegetarian pot-pies 
 and myself a standard home-made chicken pot pie.

I kind of made the recipe from scratch:
- 1 Bag frozen peas
1 Bag frozen corn
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1 can chicken broth
1 small bag new potatoes
generous dusting of pepper and salt

VEGETARIAN SERVINGS: Separate out small portion and add in vegetarian chicken substitute cubed. Stir and place in small bowls. slice sliver of butter and put on top. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 mins, then place 2 Pillsbury rolls on top and bake for another 10 mins. 

MEAT SERVINGS: Take remaining portion and shred cooked chicken (I used one whole roasted chicken from the grocery store) and stir. Take a greased pie pan and place one pie crust in it. Fill with bowl contents. Sliver butter sporadically on top. Cover with pie crust and slit for air. Bake at 425 degrees for 40-50 mins, until crust is golden brown.
The above content made 2 pies (I froze one) and 4 small pies.
It was super easy, fast and delicious.

Flash forward to Sunday:
BF and I spent a lazy day watching football before heading back to the burbs to make dinner and do laundry. 
All in all, it was a great weekend!
It's finally starting to feel like fall.
Have you tried any new recipes yet? Care to share?

September 24, 2011

Fall Recipes! Version 2

I recently came across the below recipe on Tumblr (duh). I just couldn't resist! 

Bourbon Pumpkin Milkshake
makes 2 shakes
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cream or half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2-3 ounces of bourbon
frosting + sprinkles (or cinnamon sugar) for glasses
Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until combined. Rim glasses with a light coating of frosting then dip in sprinkles. Pour in shake and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Top with whipped cream if desired. Serve!

The Pumpkin Pie Spice recipe:

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
a pinch of cardamom
Combine all spices together and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container.

The milkshake was pretty good. You can't really taste the alcohol (which is fine, because Pumpkin Pie is so tasty), but I will warn not to add too much of the Pumpkin pie spice or as much cardamom as it's easy to over power everything. I'd recommend using 1/4 tablespoon instead of a half.

Additionally, I made coffee this morning and thought to myself... mmm this would be amazing to have a pumpkin spice coffee (less the calories). So I added about a 1/2 teaspoon into a mug of regular medium blend coffee and my usual 2-3 tablespoons half & half... TASTY!! Highly recommend!

Do you have any recipes I should be trying this fall?? DO SHARE!

September 23, 2011

A Southern Accent: Pinnable Me: Blessing Bag

I recently came across a blog posting of a Durham blogger I follow (I try to keep in touch with my southern roots). It just seemed to resonate with me. I don't typically give money to the many homeless people I see begging at every Highway exit, mainly because I don't carry cash, but also because I worry about where it goes. The idea outlined in the post below just seems like such a great idea. I wish I had the couponing skills of Extreme Couponers or the extra income to be able to carry these in my car to pass out to those that I see in and around town. In the words of the new HBO show Game of Thrones.. 'Winter's Coming'...

Local community charity and philanthropic organizations need your help year round. If you don't have the funds, sometimes the most precious thing you can give is your time and energy!

A Southern Accent: Pinnable Me: Blessing Bag: I drive by the same homeless people every morning and every evening, filled with guilt if I don't give them something. Of course, most of th...

Fall Recipes! Version 1

With all the Fall stuff going around, I've come across a bunch of new recipes I really want to try! I'll post them one at a time... and this is the first!

Roasted Sweets & Greens
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lb. sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 2 cups arugula

directions 1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut in wedges. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Roast sweet potatoes for 15 minutes,. Toss, then roast 15 minutes longer or until tender. Sprinkle with chopped garlic and hazelnuts, then return to oven for 4 to 5 minutes, until nuts are toasted and garlic is softened. Remove from oven; sprinkle with arugula and vinegar.
nutrition facts

Servings Per Recipe 4 servings
Total Fat (g)9
Saturated Fat (g)1,
Monounsaturated Fat (g)6,
Polyunsaturated Fat (g)1,
Sodium (mg)387,
Carbohydrate (g)37,
Total Sugar (g)8,
Fiber (g)6,
Protein (g)4,
Vitamin C (DV%)10,
Calcium (DV%)7,
Iron (DV%)9,
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Do you have any recipes I should try? PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

September 22, 2011

Renegade Craft Fair & new crafty finds!

A couple weekends ago, BF found a local Art Fair out in Wicker Park.
We haven't done a ton of exploring out that way (although I'm sure BF has been there more than me). 
Wicker Park is this really mixed up area of Chicago. It seems to be growing among the mid-to-late 20's set with several bars and restaurants, but lots of boutique like shops and moving towards a family. There were lots of organic shops and restaurants, and some really cool looking jewelry stores.
During the fair I came across a couple fun booths I wanted to share!

***Material Movement***
The Artist, Heather Kraft, start her jewelry after breaking a favorite porcelain piece. The jewelry is unique and bright, while maintaining a sophisticated and classic feel. From her bio you learn that she has a background in art and design and she's amazing at it!
You can check out her website here and her etsy page here.

(Her website is, seriously, who can't love that name?!?!)
I Heart Georgia Necklace - $55
The artist, Stevie, doesn't give much background information about themselves other than that they're originally from Michigan but now living in Chicago. The pieces are made out of sheet metal and wood with realistic price points. Plus, as an avid geo-native-lover (a made up word I just created to mean a love of geography and where you're from), I was instantly drawn to several of the states with little hearts cut out of them. The jewelry is creative, simple, and I love it!
You can check out her website here and her etsy page here.

Ok, the next item is less creative... and more just plain fun...
LuLu B is a wine based out of the south of France, but is making it's way to America specifically to a Whole Foods near you! Let me tell you, this stuff is mi-ghty tasty (extended 'i' intended). LOVE LOVE LOVE the sparkling Pink Moscato! Check out their full list of wines here.
Additional Social Media Links to the Companies mentioned above:


Lulu B:

September 20, 2011

Weekend Recap - Chili Cookoff!

This past weekend was jam packed.. filled with pearls, football, beer, football, beer, Tiffany's... you get the idea.
The first ever Preppy Southern Tailgate was AMAZING!
BF and I got into town early (a first, maybe partially due to my lead foot; although I thought we were late because of my Pumpkin Spice Latte fix). We had to stop by the PayLess any way to grab utensils for our Chili Cookoff on Sunday, coke for sober drivers, and Angel Food Cake to go with BF's Bourbon Peaches. Along one of the aisles I found the above little gems... WINNING! One can for Mom, one can for me! 
Love my Block P!
 Charis & Ryan my Half-Time buddies. We ended up back at the tailgate for half time and Ryan gave our Satelite dish one more shot...
Quite the view... so much so... that we stayed there for the rest of the game and half of the Notre Dame game... well played... minus my (painful) sunburn...
Surviving... I managed to drive back to the city and grab Thai with BF. After mucho Pad Thai, I got some much needed lotion and rest.
The next day, BF and I got up ubber early to create our master chili creations. BF made what he called 'the 10 Levels of Hell' which entailed 10 different chilies. 
He also made his world famous meaty chili.
I made my Uncle Don's Turkey chili... if you are interested, please inquire within :)
BF and his BFF live in the same building... for lack of a better initial collection, DJ, or DJB. DJ brought his TV upstairs so they could have 2 massive screens next to one another.
 Huff (BF's 2nd Little Bro, via Kappa Sig) showed up first, and brought an AMAZING white chicken chili.
 Huff, DJ, Sarah, & Cook (BF's Kappa Sig Big Bro.. although they use this creepy Father/Son thing... ) Sarah's amazing and brought a BBQ Chicken dip!
Some more of the amazing party... I swear we ended up with 5 crock pots, and 5 regular pots... maybe more, not to mentioned at least 2 corn breads, 1 mac & cheese, and tons of toppings!
I hope we can do this again next year (but maybe have ppl register chili... we had a lot.... there's a lot of left overs).
What'd y'all do this weekend? Do you have a favorite Chili recipe?

September 18, 2011

My Bedroom Project

This past summer, I came across this idea on Tumblr (where I find the coolest things!):

For the last few years, I've had a broken head board that I just leaned up against the wall behind my bed. I only kept it because it matched my dresser and a vanity I got from my Nana... I was mistakenly under the impression that it was a family heirloom, but turns out that wasn't the case... and therefore it's in the dumpster.
In it's place is the project below:
 The middle M is modeled after Lily Pulitzer's First Impression:

I got the little sticker tree from I really like it and think it adds a little something extra.
I am pleased with how everything turned out.
Have you done any projects lately? Do share.
Check me out on Tumblr. It's where I find most of my inspiration these days!

September 16, 2011

Southern Preppy Tailgate 2011

BF & I belong to a wonderful tailgate group made up of a few of BF's older fraternity brothers and their student newspaper alumni friends.This is the first year in a while we haven't gotten season tickets. But we do still like to go down and scalp (sadly Purdue isn't good enough that the tickets are all that expensive). Well each game they pick a theme for the tailgate. The first game was 'All American cookout', and this game is 'Preppy Southern cocktail Party'. Honestly, I had nothing to do with it! I'm super excited though!
The sad news is, because Purdue's so bad, our game's super early. Which doesn't leave time for BBQ (good BBQ)... so we'll be grilling out with southern sides. I'm making Pimento Cheese Spread and crackers! Just like good ole South Carolina!
I'm using Mrs. Paula Deen's recipe (duh):


  • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pimentos, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon grated onion
  • Cracked black pepper


Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended. It can be used as a dip for crudite or as a sandwich filling.

House Seasoning:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
 There are some HUGE difference between Northern & Southern Tailgating, which I've always found have best been portrayed below.
Stadium Size:
NORTH:  College football stadiums hold 20,000 people.
SOUTH:  High school football stadiums hold 20,000 people.
Campus Decor:
NORTH:  Statues of founding fathers.
SOUTH:  Statues of Heisman trophy winners.
Homecoming Queen:
NORTH:  Also a physics major.
SOUTH:  Also Miss America..
NORTH:  If you are slightly coordinated, you make the varsity squad.
SOUTH:  You begin cheer camp at age two, complete with ballet, dance, & gymnastic training.
Getting Tickets:
NORTH:  5 days before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus and purchase tickets.
SOUTH:  5 months before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus & put name on the waiting list.
Women's Accessories:
NORTH:  ChapStick in back pocket and a $20 bill in the front pocket.
SOUTH:  Louis Vuitton duffel with two lipsticks, waterproof mascara, and a fifth of Jack Daniels/Crown. Money is not necessary -- That's what dates are for.
Friday Classes After a Thursday Night Game:
NORTH:  Students and teachers not sure they're going to the game, Because they have classes on Friday.
SOUTH:  Teachers cancel Friday classes because they don't want to see The few hung-over students that might actually make it to class and throw up on their floor.
NORTH:  An hour before game time, the University opens the campus for game parking.
SOUTH:  RVs sporting their school flags begin arriving on Wednesday for The weekend festivities. The really faithful arrive on Tuesday.
Game Day:
NORTH:  A few students party in the dorm and watch ESPN on TV.
SOUTH:  Every student wakes up, has a beer for breakfast, and rushes over to where ESPN is broadcasting "Game Day Live" to get on camera  and wave to the folks up north.
NORTH:  Raw meat on a grill, beer with lime in it, listening to local radio station with truck tailgate down.
SOUTH:  30-foot custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at dawn. Cooking accompanied by live performance by "Dave Matthews' Band," who come over during breaks and ask for a hit off bottle of bourbon.
Getting to the Stadium:
NORTH:  You ask "Where's the stadium?" When you find it, you walk right in.
SOUTH:  When you're near it, you'll hear it. On game day it becomes the state's third largest city.
NORTH:  Drinks served in a paper cup, filled to the top with soda.
SOUTH:  Drinks served in a plastic cup with the home team's mascot on it, filled less than halfway with soda, to ensure enough room for Jack Daniels/Crown.
When National Anthem is Played:
NORTH:  Stands are still less than half full.
SOUTH:  100,000 fans, all standing, sing along in perfect four-part harmony.
Smell in the Air After the First Score:
NORTH:  Nothing changes.
SOUTH:  Fireworks, with a touch of Jack Daniels/Crown.
Commentary (Male):
NORTH:  "Nice play."
SOUTH:  "*#@&@, you slow *&%$@#! - tackle him and break his legs."
Commentary (Female):

NORTH:  "My, this certainly is a violent sport."
SOUTH:  "*#@&@, you slow *&%$@#! - tackle him and break his legs."
NORTH:  Neutral and paid.
SOUTH:  Announcer harmonizes with the crowd in the fight song, with a tear in his eye because he is so proud of his team.
After the Game:
NORTH:  The stadium is emptying out.
SOUTH:  Another rack of ribs goes on the smoker while somebody goes to The nearest package store for more bourbon. Planning begins for next week's game.

I fully intend to wear pearls, khaki, gold on Saturday... possibly including my Vineyard Vines hat :).
I'm also going to introduce my tailgating friends to my AWESOME cooler!
While looking for some examples to give you, my friends, I cam across the gem: Southern Living's Tailgate Cooler Packing Trips... Seriously... amazing!
Do you have any tailgating traditions? What do you make for food and refreshments? Do share! We've got a long Football season ahead!

September 14, 2011

Brand Profile: Starboard Clothing Co.

 Recently I had the opportunity to talk to the co-author of Bowties & Boatshoes and the founder of the newly launched Starboard Clothing Company, Ben Meredith.
Ben, a recent law school grad, first started blogging with a friend out of a mutual love for the East Cost Preppy Style.
A true entrepreneur, he started creating his bowties off of a sewing machine he got for $30 on ebay and learning to sew in his 20's from his grandma (something I can relate to, and wish more people did!). 
Some of my favorites from his current collection are:
Any good southern girl can appreciate the look and feel of a colorful bowtie against a crisp oxford paired with khaki's and boat shoes; but most especially on gameday! I love the fact that Ben call's his ties 'beau' ties like the southern name. These products are personalized with great patterns and a handmade touch that's hard to find in this day and age.
Check out what Ben had to say to some of the questions I threw his way:

Where did you first develop your style?
This is probably the most complicated of all of the questions. I've always thought that the "Prep" style was attractive just in general. When I was a little kid, my mom put me in madras shorts and polo shirts. To be honest though, I probably didn't start putting in enough effort to be called a "prep" until law school. I had always worn boatshoes and had always had polos and nice looking button downs etc., but I didn't always tuck them in or take good care of them. In retrospect, my love for the style that I now pursue developed through growing up in Severna Park, MD (about 10 miles from Annapolis) and all of the nautical influences that go with growing up in the Annapolis area and the general desire to present a better image to the people I interacted with both on a daily basis and just occasionally.

What do you hope your products will convey about yourself and your style?
I don't know that I hope to convey anything specific with the products other than it's possible to dress nicely and still have fun. You don't have to conform to the 4" wide power necktie or the once again popular "mad men look," you can dress nicely and enjoy doing it because you get to express your personality in what you choose to wear.

What has been the hardest thing about starting your own business?
For me personally, the two hardest things were and are the amount of time that running a business properly (including but not limited to customer service and creating quality products) and finding a way to fund the business on a small budget of someone who just recently finished undergrad and lawschool.

What other products do you hope to add to your portfolio?
Ideally, we'll be adding Koozies sooner than later so that people can rep Starboard at tailgates and elsewhere. We are planning on adding a "premium packaging" option soon for bows intended as gifts, or just as a nice addition to any order. Additionally, eventually we would like to do neckties for those out there who like our style, but simply don't like the bowtie. Finally, we're looking at adding both a t-shirt and a few polos, as well as a hat or two. All of these are in varying degrees of research and development and we don't have a firm timeline for any of them, but we certainly intend on expanding the product line beyond bowties and croakies in the near future.
I can't wait to see what else Starboard Clothing comes out with. You can be sure I'll be telling BF about this... or maybe something will just pop up in his Christmas Stocking ;).

September 9, 2011

NYC's Fashion's Night Out 2011

This week was the 2011 New York City Fashion's Night Out.
This is an annual event that allows the commoners of the fashion world to be entered into the inner perimeters of the fashion high court.
Basically different retail stores host a boat load of designers to show off new books, fashion, and accessories.
I've never had the opportunity to go to this, but I've heard a lot about it.
It's basically a night of partying with designers and some amazing SWAG!
There were a couple events that looked especially appealing this year:
Alexander McQueen: Collect one of a limited number of FNO2011 keys containing a special code for the chance to win an Alexander McQueen Folk Tote. Enter your code online to see if you’ve unlocked the gift. A limited-edition Crystal Skull Keyring will be sold and window installations will feature looks from the AW11 2011 collection. Learn more:
Alice + Olivia: “Fashion’s Night Out will bring a carnival of amusement into the boutiques of alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet on September 8, 2011. Led by our ‘ringmaster,’ Stacey Bendet, Alice + Olivia will host a fun and fantastical carnival providing popcorn and cotton candy while customers can engage in quirky carnival games - a classic throw back to our youth. Shoppers will have the opportunity to enter to win fabulous raffle prizes, and have their hair styled by Sebastian. A fun-filled night to be had by all, and as with all carnivals, full of surprises!”
 Betsey Johnson: (A fellow Alpha Xi Delta) music from DJ Kalkutta, makeup by Stila Cosmetics, hair from Cutler Salon, a parfait bar from Yoplait, live models, cupcakes, champagne and a chance to win your very own Betsey tote!!
Additionally, all the major department stores are did what they do best: bring multiple designers together for a big party!
A consistent tip that I've heard when it comes to these city wide celebrations is to stick to one area or you'll end up in multiple lines. Personally, I'd kill just to make it to one event! But I digress....
I realize that NYC was founded well before, but I wonder why Chicago doesn't seem to have events like this. We have quite a few designers located out of this fair city as well as a good size Merchandise Mart... But I guess that's how it will always be.
My mom used to be a buyer for Macy's back when they still traveled to purchase their goods; to NYC and to Hong Kong. Growing up she and a fellow former buyer promised their girls that they'd take them to the city for their 16th Birthday...
Mom got us in to the showrooms of SoHo designers for sneak peaks of new fall & winter lines, they even loaded our bags with SWAG! And the cherry on the cake was being on the today show (picture above)... It was just such an unbelievable, memorable weekend.
But as much as I like to visit, there's no way i could live there. In contrast, Chicago is greener, cleaner, and mid-westerners are, quite frankly, NICER!
I'll have to do a whole other segment of what I enjoy to do when I visit NYC.
Have you been to NYC? What fashion designers were your not-to-be-missed events? Have you gotten to go to Fashion's Night Out?

September 6, 2011

Weekend Recap - Labor day 2011

 This past weekend was our last summer-hours Friday and a long 3-day holiday.
It was overall kind of a lazy weekend. BF's brother (DM) was in town from Wyoming and the two of them helped their mom with a garage sale. I got introduced to the new Purdue bar in Wrigleyville (Red Ivy). I headed up that way with BF's BFF who lives below him, DJ. We met up with a bunch of the other Kappa Sigma's for pizza and beer. I was originally extremely disappointed that no one would drive down to Purdue with me for the game, however it ended up being a very good thing. They were reporting heat indexes of 116 in the stadium, plus there were torrential down pours that swept the region in the late afternoon.
After the game, DJ and I grabbed 5 Guys before meeting BF back at the apartment for a lazy movie night. BF's brother came in and got to spend some good time with his old college buddies. 
Sunday morning we introduced DM to the Twisted Spoke and this:
Because I can't remember what it's actually called, I'll just go with the 'Baconator'..
I'm sad to report that my diet went WAY down hill this weekend...We also took DM to BF's favorite Italian bakery - Superior Bakery. It re-opened a few years ago, but it's an old neighborhood bakery that his grand parents used to use growing up in the Italian village in South Chicago.
That afternoon we kind of just bummed around after DM let to head up to Rockford to hang out with friends. DJ, BF, and I then decided we were going to grill out and proceed to make a menu and head to the grocery store:
They were really excited...
I made Tyler Florence's potato salad, and we had sausage and corn on the cob. PS that potato salad is super easy, and very tastey (highly recommend it!)
A lot of the guys came over and we enjoyed the cold front that came through.
Monday was spent cleaning and doing laundry out at BF's parents house in Naperville.
All in all, it was a very relaxing weekend.... and some how I always end up more tired than when we started.
What did y'all do for the holiday weekend? Did anyone go to their team's season opener? Do you have any tailgating traditions that you're continuing (that I might be able to copy ;) )?

September 1, 2011

Falling in Love with Fall - 2011 ed.

Fall brings the fresh smells of crisp fall weather, beautiful multi-color leaves, football... and FASHION!
Never fails, whenever I start to anticipate fall, I think of that scene in 'You've Got Mail' where Meg Ryan is imagining bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils and the leaves are falling on oddly quiet NYC streets.
When Mom was here a couple weeks ago, she treated me to her standard leave behind... MAGAZINES! But with this batch came the fall style books!
I'm not a HUGE Bey-woolf fan, but I DO love me some gold!
After working in fashion for a year and scavenging fashion look-books, I've compiled a helpful cheat-sheet of this fall's major fashion trends:
This is being driven by the return to a chic-er period. Additionally, although I'm not her biggest fan (or the Runway to the streets for obscure 'High' fashion), but Lady GaGa did appear on the View in head-to-toe houndstooth.
Feathers in your hair
I think this is driven by some rebelling societal structures (for every yin you need a yang, and if the yin is chic houndstooth, the yang is the hippy feathers). Also, in all her grungy, disgustingness Ke$ha seems to embody the entire hippy mentality.
Thick Gold bangles... I swear it's not just for my love and loyalty to Purdue...
I can't really pull these off because my arms aren't the tiniest.
I'm going to be frank... the Kardashians are trying to bring back trailer park chic with all the leopard print and play it off as Marilyn and it's coming off as Snooki. Some of their collection looks interesting, some nice black dresses.
Do you know of any other fun trends I should include? Let me know!