Monday, November 14, 2011

"Choose life over the other stuff. Get out of your head. Live. Dress up. Eat. Touch people. Help out. Give up. Love people. Give your best away. There’s more. What’s the problem? Relax. You’re going to die. Throw a party. Eat off my plate. Sing to me. Meet me in the bedroom. Get a massage. Give one. Let your amazement out into the room. Pry open the box you hide your joy in. Be a poem."

Sometimes I need to just take a step back.

Monday, October 31, 2011


I've been running around Ann Arbor for the last few weeks - between meetings, a weekend conference and interviews I've been busy. But I've also been baking up storm! Here's two "Italian" receipes -- they're super American but mostly just easy!
Meatball Calzones
My dad and brother love these - I made them once before school and when I offered to make them a few weeks ago when I came back for the weekend I was shocked at how excited my dad got. They're incredibly easy and quick! I always end up doubling the recipe because it only makes 4 calzones. 

1 can (13.8 oz.) refrigerated pizza crust
1 jar 24 oz. pasta sauce
20 frozen turkey meatballs (they come in a bag pre-cooked)
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

1. Heat oven to 425 degees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil. 
2. Heat up meatballs in the microwave until they are defrosted. Cut each meatball in half. 
3. Unroll crust on a cutting board and stretch dough to a 12-in. square. Cut in quarters so that you have four squares. Transfer to the lined baking sheet. 
4. Distribute meatballs evenly in centers of dough squares. Top each with sauce and 1/4 cup cheese. Fold corner to corner to form triangles. 
5. Bake 10-13 minutes until golden. Heat remaining sauce to serve on the side. 

(Recipe adapted from here)
Pizza Bread
The second recipe is much more of an appetizer/snack that is great for parties. I've made it twice now and it's been a huge hit both times. This honestly might be the easiest thing I've ever made, no joke.

1 can store-bought Pillsbury Italian or French bread
1 cup shredded Italian cheese
sliced pepperoni
marinara sauce for dipping

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Unroll the dough so that it makes a large rectangle
2. Sprinkle with cheese (be generous!), top with pepperoni. 
3. Roll the dough jelly roll style and place seam side down on a baking sheet lined with foil. 
4. Bake 18-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown. 

(Recipe adapted from here)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I did a ton of baking this past weekend but I also found time in there to put together care packages for our troops overseas and go see the Michael Jackson Cirque de Soleil show! The show was AWESOME. It was my first Cirque de Soleil show and I definitely wasn't disappointed. Back to volunteering - here are few quick snapshots of the packing party put on by Desert Angels, Inc. It was nice to see so many people come together to support those who have sacrificed so much for us. 


As I said, I did quite a bit of baking - and most of it was dessert, of course. However, I did manage to make a little "real" food, too. This recipe is one that my mom randomly sent me last year. It's cheap and a perfect staple for breakfast entertaining, especially because it looks (and tastes) like you put a lot of time and effort in!

Baked Eggs in Bread Bowls
8 crusty dinner rolls
8 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley and chives
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt, pepper, garlic salt
4 tablespoons grated parmesan
1/4 cup turkey sausage (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice off the top of each roll and remove some of the bread, making a hole large enough for the egg. Arrange on a baking sheet, but save the tops for later.
2. Crack an egg into each roll, top with some of the heavy cream, herbs, and sausage. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Sprinkle each roll with parmesan cheese. 
3. Bake until the eggs are set (but still slightly runny) and the bread is toasted, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. After 20 minutes, place the bread tops on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Place tops on rolls and serve warm!

*A few notes: 

Don't over-bake the eggs - next time I would do mine a little bit less (I ended up leaving mine in about 30 minutes) but the eggs are not supposed to be firm and will jiggle slightly. They were still delicious, but the bread was a little too crunchy at 30 for my preferences. 

These are great for being creative - change up the cheese on top, add different herbs or spices, or even add prosciutto or ham. 

(Recipe adapted from here)

Friday, October 14, 2011


Ohhh man are these brownies good. Today was the first time I ever made brownies from scratch! And it wasn't hard at all. Food legend David Lebovitz concocted these and I've been wanting to make them for about a year, so I took fall break as my chance to do it.

Warning: they are incredibly rich. But so, so delicious.

Dulce de Leche Brownies
8 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 cup dulce de leche (it comes in cans in the baking aisle at the store)
optional: 1 cup toasted pecans or walnut, chopped (I hate nuts so I opted out!)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides. Grease the bottom and sides of the foil with butter or non-stick spray.
3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces, stirring constantly over low heat until it melted and combined. Remove from heat and add the cocoa powder, stirring until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then add the sugar, vanilla and finally the flour. Mix in the nuts, if using.
4. Scrap half of the batter into the pan, then drop half of the dulce de leche, evenly spaced, over the batter and swirl gently with a knife.
5. Spread the remaining batter in the pan and drop spoonfuls of the remaining dulce de leche on the top of the batter, swirly gently again.
6. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.


(adapted from David Lebovitz)


Excuse my boyfriend Brett's roommates' dirty dishes in the background of the picture! We've been together for four years as of last weekend, so we've had a lot of celebratory dinners lately between that and Yom Kippur. Even though Sweetest Day is a totally made up holiday, I still like to celebrate it! We had to do it a few days early though because he's off to New York tomorrow for med school interviews, so we took a break from studying last night to devour giant pieces of cake with berries and custard. I ended up buying it at Whole Foods (I'm ashamed to say I didn't bake anything), but if you ever need a cake I definitely recommend it! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I'd be lying if I said I hadn't missed blogging for the last couple months. I started it in order to get myself out of a rut, but now I'm finding that I need it as more of a stress reliever and an outlet. The thing that I liked the most was that it pushed me to constantly be doing new things and trying new activities. I might be revisiting it now and then and we'll see how it goes. If anything, this will become much less about fashion and much more about my journey through my final year of college (a bit of a love/hate relationship right now!) and pushing myself to try as many new things as I can before I start on the working girl part of my life.

Our fall break is this weekend so I'll be heading home to hang out with this adorable puppy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I'm struggling to decide whether or not to continue writing this blog. I start my internship on Tuesday (I'm starting to get nervous!) and I honestly am disappointed in myself for my lack of commitment to this project. In the beginning I was doing it because I was genuinely so excited for it and I needed something to commit to while I was trying to make myself happier. But now I'm wondering if I even have time to post and I'm trying to figure out what role I want this to have in my life. And to be quite honest, it takes much more work than you would think (and time!), so the lack of readers since I've started school last September has made it really frustrating at times, too. I haven't made a final decision yet, but it's definitely something that I've been thinking about...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


     Earlier this week I made one of the best desserts ever. It is like summer, booze and crepes rolled into one (although pretty light on the booze part). What is this delicious dessert? A strawberry-amaretto dutch baby.
And let me tell you... It's so good with a little bit of cool whip. Or with ice cream. Or by itself. It's great for brunch or dessert, and its so easy. You do need a food processor though, heads up. 

Strawberry Amaretto Dutch Baby
For dutch baby:
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
confectioner's sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix the first five ingredients in a food processor and process until mixture is smooth and larger in volume (about 30 seconds). 

2. Heat a 10-inch bast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pan - but only until it no longer foamy. Remove the pan from heat, pour the batter in and immediately place in the oven. 

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, making sure not to burn the sides (mine was done in about 17). Remove from the oven; the sides will shrink as it cools. 

4. Top with strawberries and dust with confectioner's sugar. Serve immediately.

For strawberries:
2 quarts fresh strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon (or more to taste) sugar
4 tablespoons Amaretto 

1. Place sliced strawberries in large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and stir gentle. Refrigerate for at least a half hour, allowing the sugar to bring out the juices in the strawberries. Add Amaretto. Serve immediately with the dutch baby. 


Monday, May 16, 2011


     This past weekend marked the first birthday of my blog! It seems a little crazy that I've been doing this for a  year, but it's nice to see how far I've come. I originally started this after having a horrible five months and it's nice to see how I've grown in a year. Although I don't devote nearly as much time to this as I'd like, it's still something that I connect with a lot and hope to continue with in the future. So whether you've read this once or every time I post, thank you!
     Tonight I made chicken marsala for my family. I've had a few marsala recipes saved for a while now, so I started with this one. It was pretty good! I'm going to try a creamy pasta version soon but this was definitely a great recipe for a traditional marsala. Although I have to admit, I thought it was a failure at one point because I didn't use "thinly sliced" chicken and had to put it in the oven to cook it more. This is why I should read the recipe before I start...

Chicken Marsala
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. marjoram leaves
1 tsp. minced onions
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. basil leaves
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1/3 cup flour
6 THINLY SLICED boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp. butter, divided
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 package (8 oz.) sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup marsala wine

1. Mix flour, minced garlic, marjoram, minced onions, salt and pepper in shallow dish. Reserve 1 tablespoon flour mixture for later. Coat chicken with remaining flour mixture.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Cook several of the chicken pieces 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from skillet. Keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken. Add mushrooms to skillet; cook and stir five minutes or until tender.
3. Mix broth and reserved flour mixture. Add to skillet along with wine. Bring to a boil, stirring. Stir in remaining tablespoon of butter and basil; cook for 2 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Spoon sauce over chicken to serve, sprinkle with parsley.

Friday, May 13, 2011


     I spent today at a place that I've been to many times in the past, but mostly during my childhood. The Detroit Zoo was one of my favorite places when I was younger, and I even fed the giraffes a few years back. Between me living at home for a few weeks and my boyfriend studying for the MCAT, we haven't been able to see each other a lot since school ended, so we took a trip to the zoo this morning. Luckily, we avoided thunderstorms and the clouds ended up working out - it was much cooler than expected but so nice. The only animal we missed out on were the lions - their area was under construction. In honor of the zoo, I wore my full-length, semi-see through cheetah skirt - but really I was just dying to wear it!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011


     Last week I went to Leon and Lulu - an eclectic furniture/accessories/gift store that just so happens to be in an old roller rink. Employees wear roller skates and offer you popcorn while you shop. Leon, one of the dogs the store is named after, can be found wandering around too. I didn't end up buying anything (although I definitely see myself coming back when it comes time to redecorate), it was still fun to check out - a lot of it looked like things you would see on Etsy.
This is kind of weird but the bathrooms had toilets with real fish in them!
     That afternoon I went to Ginger's Cafe in Farmington with my mom. We both love to go to tea - it was our first time at Ginger's and although we both agreed it lacked a little in atmosphere, but the cinnamon chip scones were AMAZING. It was totally worth it just for those!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


1. KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer in Komen Pink, $288
2. OPI Havana Nights Mini Nail Polish Collection, $18
3. My Mom, My Style Icon, $19
4. Somerset Disc Earrings, $70
5. Magnetic Vases, $39
6. La Pochette by Clare Vivier, $104

Monday, May 2, 2011


     I've been in a rut lately. So I've started to force myself to do things, and one of those things is cooking something other than dessert, which we all know is my weakness. I'm incredibly picky (my hatred for most vegetables makes cooking a little difficult), so when I found this recipe for creamy chicken taquitos I got really excited. And they're not all that bad for you since they're baked. I skipped the cayenne pepper because I couldn't find it at the store, but next time I'd be sure to add it - they needed a little more of a kick. A few alternatives I might try: salsa verde (or just spicier salsa), cilantro instead of parsley, or pepperjack cheese. Overall, very good though. My brother gave them an 8/10 and requested I add the cayenne pepper next time, so definitely don't skip it!

Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos
3 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup salsa
juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the salsa, lime juice, cumin, chile powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic, parsley, scallions, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Fold in the chicken and cheeses. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
3. Warm the tortillas according to package directions until soft.
4. Spoon 3 tablespoons of chicken filling onto the lower third of each tortilla and roll tightly. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
5. Spray the taquitos lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt. Bake 15 minutes, or until the tortillas are golden brown. Serve with salsa, sour cream, or guacamole!

Source: Sweat Pea's Kitchen

Thursday, April 28, 2011


      This morning I went to the International Women's Show. AKA one of the best things Michigan has to offer if you're a girl. It's a HUGE showplace filled with over a thousand exhibitors - ranging from health, fashion, food, massages (!), and beauty. Typically, there's a few celebrity guests - this year's being Jenna Bush. I saw Jenna speak, had her sign my copy of her book about a young woman living with HIV/AIDS (It's called Ana's Story - I highly recommend it) and got my hair done for free... Making friends with the hairdresser was the highlight of my day! One of my favorite trends that I saw was rhinestones that you can flat iron into your hair that last up to three weeks. I know feathers are the thing right now, but the rhinestones look a little more sophisticated.
     If you're in Michigan this weekend, I highly suggest you check the show out! It costs $9 at the door, but you can go to Kroger and get discount tickets for $7. It's a lot of fun and there's a ton of stuff to see!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


     Happy spring! I've been MIA for awhile, but sometimes life just gets in the way. I'm officially a senior in college (which is a huge wake up call) and I've moved back home for a month before my internship starts. I've been working a lot, eating a lot, and sleeping a lot. I hope everyone had a great Easter! Mine was quite nice - all of my family came to our house, except my lack of self control resulted in a major stomach ache after too much dessert. Typical!

     I always love spring and summer because I feel like it's a time when I can just focus on making myself happy rather than worrying about school. Today was my first yoga class in almost seven months and oh man I was struggling. I'm looking forward to getting back into it and, of course, riding my bike. I hope everyone is having a happy spring and I'll be posting much more now that I'm finished with school for the year. I also have decided to stop doing daily wishlists, although there may be a weekly one!

One last thing - tinsel*'s first birthday is coming up in May! Look out for a special giveaway :)

♥ j. nicole

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I would just like to say THANK YOU to everyone who helped me raise money for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen over the last week. My class raised over $26,000! 

P.S. I'll be finished with finals on Tuesday so I'll be back in a few days!

Monday, April 11, 2011


    Bows get me every time.

P.S. This bag is on sale from $80, what a deal. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011


As many of you know, I'm a student at the University of Michigan and for one of my classes our class has a group project where
we are trying to raise $30,000 for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in ONE week, meaning I'm responsible for $500. Detroit has been struggling for years, the soup kitchen has been a source of hope and opportunity for the people of Detroit. 

Some services provided include:

  • 2,000 hot meals a day
  • 300,000 pounds of food distributed per month to families
  • 30,000 articles of clothing per month
  • Over 500 pieces of furniture and appliances to families per month
  • Showers and a change of clothing for the homeless and poorly housed individuals
  • A 25,000 square foot urban farm project
  • A children’s library and art therapy studio serving up to 800 children per month

If you can help me out in any way, please click here to donate. All I ask if that you email me a copy of your receipt at because otherwise I have no way of knowing how much I've raised so far! 

Thank you all so much, I appreciate it! 

Monday, April 4, 2011


    Finally something cheap, right? I went off to the mall Saturday night for some retail therapy, but ended up just getting this dress, but in white and neon yellow. Pretty much highlighter yellow (you can't miss me) but it's cute. And ten bucks. But hurry, it was in the clearance!


     This weekend I skipped out of my fraternity's banquet for the semester and went to the Lupe Fiasco concert instead, which ended up being awesome. It was a benefit concert for the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps (which was announced in Ann Arbor at Michigan!) The show was sold out, I finally made it in Hill Auditorium, and it was nice to do something other than homework. 
I haven't been posting very many recipes lately, but next on my list are cinnamon ice cream and lemon meringue cupcakes! 

Friday, April 1, 2011


     I love a good online magazine and Matchbook Magazine has yet to disappoint. Started in January of this year, Matchbook boasts of being the ultimate lifestyle publication, almost daring you to read it -- "From lipstick to letterpress, gelato to grosgrain, and Paris to Peru, consider us your field guide to a charmed life." Well, sign me up. I usually have a hard time reading some of the articles in magazines - half the time they're honestly just things I've already heard or don't interest me, but Matchbook features chic illustrations that accompany columns such as "ten things to do under ten dollars" (what's up, poor college students) and "encyclopedia: pearls" that chronicles a staple accessory for a charmed life - and gives helpful style advice along the way. It's sophisticated without being elitist and the perfect way to spend an afternoon not studying.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Hello, fashionable friends. One of my favorite times in fashion every year is when J.Crew debuts their latest ready-to-wear collection, meaning that yesterday was a great day. Here is the full collection, and some of my favorite looks are below.

I love the fact that the collection features color! I'm tired of neutrals and I can't wait to see some of these pieces in the stores... especially the pants. Other highlights: structured coats, boyfriend jeans, capes, and leopard shoes. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


manolo blahnik
    It was actually my mom who introduced me to yellow shoes a few months back, and I'll admit - they're surprisingly versatile. I bought mine to go with work clothes and they were unsurprisingly much cheaper (although vaguely similar to these - holes and all), but Manolo Blahnik does no wrong. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Today's daily wishlist is kind of ridiculous. I can't find a source for this that's actually legit, but I'm unfortunately drawn to these like my life depends on it...
They're supposedly made by Maria Escot, and as tacky as they are (and undoubtedly uncomfortable when sitting), I want them!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011