Friday, October 31, 2014

What Farah Wore 10.28.14

Fall Wreath - DIY

So I have been dying to buy a fall wreath but realized how expensive it is with shipping on Etsy. Instead, I decided to make one myself. I wouldn't say it was the best first attempt but I'm satisfied overall.


1 Grapevine wreath - I got mine from Amazon. It's much better quality than some of the craft store ones. Incredibly sturdy. You can find it here

2. A bouquet of fake flowers (one's where you can take the actual flowers off the stem)

3. Some extra floral arrangements (I used some vines, straw, etc... optional)

4. Bow - You can make yours following this tutorial I will admit, I had to get help from this bow expert at Michaels with mine. It takes a lot of practice and I just got frustrated. If you do have the time, I would recommend learning how to make a bow...It comes in very handy during the holidays with wrapping gifts.

5. Glue gun - You can get those at any craft stores but I am such an Amazon fan that I bought mine from there. It was also cheaper because it included the glue with it. You can find it here

You arrange your flowers with a glue gun to the wreath. You can tuck the vines, straw and extra stuff in the grapevines itself. Tie the bow on top to cover your wreath holder with floral wire.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunday Night - Beef Chili

I love a good Chili! With the cold approaching, chili is the perfect weeknight meal. It's hearty and incredibly easy to make (I just dump mine in a crock pot) My recipe is an amalgamation of a bunch of different recipes I have found throughout the years, but this is just amazing! I add a ton of spices for flavor. You can add more or less if you would like. I just love a ton of different spices!


1 lb of Grass Fed Ground Beef (for red meat, I try my hardest to be organic) - brown the beef on a pan for starters with 1 tbs of olive oil

1/2 can of white kidney beans
1/2 can of dark kidney beans
1 1/2 can of tomato sauce
1 can of diced tomato
3 garlic cloves, diced fine
1 small green pepper, diced small
1 large onion, diced small
1/4 cup water
3 bay leaves
2 tbs chili powder
1 tsp salt (add more if  desire)
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 tbs paprika
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cocoa powder (trust me)
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp red pepper flakes (add more or less, depends how spicy you want it)
2 tsp worchestershire sauce
2 tsp hot sauce
1/8 tsp habanero chili powder (can be purchased at Whole Spice - see post below -- it's optional but add a great smoky flavor)

Add the ground beef and the remaining ingredient. Slow cook on high for 4 hrs or low for 8 hrs.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Brand Spotlight: Whole Spice (Napa Valley)

I recently had a fantastic trip up to Napa Valley. Of course the wine and amazing food stands out to most people... for me.. it was the spices at the renowned Oxbow Market!

The market itself is just amazing and offers everything from Michelin Nodded Restaurants, to juices bars, olive oil and the most divine cream puffs I have ever encountered! Although, around the corner and across from a gelato shop was Whole Spice. Whole Spice is a spice shop with tons of organic spices in various large containers. I literally spent about $50 getting an ounce of everything I could. I went overboard knowing I may not be back again. However, at the checkout line, a very nice lady told me that they had an online presence and you can purchase these spices on there. I about died from excitement.

Anyways, this weekend I ventured onto their website and she was right! Regretfully you can't really buy an ounce of spice like I could at the market, but the prices are still just as reasonable as the grocery store. Right now, you get 20% off you order and free shipping over $75. EXCELLENT deal. I imagine a lot of my Christmas gifts will come from here.

Above are some photos of the market and the spice shop. The amazing taco at C Casa (Michelin Nodded Restaurant) and my cream puff as well! Please visit the website to purchase! A few of my favorites are as follows:

1. Organic Roasted Chicken Rub
2. Napa Valley Rub
3. Chipotle Honey Rub
4. Zhug Spice Blend
5. Turkey Brining Blend

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Quick Weeknight Dinner: Rotini Pasta with Pesto & Chicken

I love an easy weeknight dinner. My work had some pesto from Dean and Deluca that they were going to throw away, so I decided to snatch it to make pasta. (see pesto photo on the right)


1/2 box of gluten free rotini - Let water,1 1/2 cup of broth, dash of salt and olive oil to boil and add rotini for approximately 9 minutes

4 thin sliced chicken tenderloins chopped length-wise

Use good olive oil and cook your chicken in 2 tbs of the sun-dried tomato pesto (here is a recipe in case you don't have a Dean and Deluca store nearby) and one 1 tbs of regular pesto.

Add salt and pepper to taste

Once the pasta is done, add it into the chicken mixture. Add 4 tbs of the pesto (mix and match) and mix. Top it off with some smoked mozzarella or shredded mozzarella.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Design Monday: Cubicle Decorating

I have been looking at a bunch of different ideas and ways to decorate my cube. I surfed Pinterest and Google and tried to mix and match various styles. I knew I wanted to have a white, gold and pink theme since I live with my boyfriend and I'm not allowed to decorate our home that way. (sad.. I know)

All in all, I had a bunch of the items and required quick trips to Michaels and Ikea to finish my decor Just a note: spray paint goes a long way!

I started this by buying one wooden crate and a wooden tray. I quickly spray painted those white and then repainted them with craft paint after the spray paint dried (the spray paint just didn't do the best job). I bought scrapbook paper and used wood glue to use as a backing for my crate and a lining for my tray. I ending up using a leopard piece of paper for my tray and glitter gold paper for my crate.  got the whole crate idea from an article I saw on Buzzfeed about decorating cubicles (hence my inspiration).

My mug was purchased at Anthropologie. The jars were purchased 60% off from Michaels. They ended up being about $5.00 for both the big and little jar. It originally had blue and green tops but I just ended spray painting those antique gold. I wanted to keep the gold color consistent throughout so everything matched accordingly.

The owl was also from Michaels (60% off) and cost maybe $4. The flowers were from IKEA and are in one of my empty Nest Candle Jar that I painted. The utensil holder is actually from an edible arrangement I received from a friend during my birthday. I took the gold spray paint and just went for it! I think it served its function well. The frames were from IKEA and I just found prints I liked online and printed them. A lot of the prints are Lily Pulitzer Patterns. You can really locate them through a quick google image search. The coasters were on sale for $3.95 at Anthropologie (still available) and all the candles were extra ones I had lying around my house (I got candle crazy at one point and had to replace them all to de-clutter).

Lastly, the book. I got these for $1 each when I went to my local antique consignment store on Saturday. They appear to be old law school textbooks that I took home and spray painted gold to heighten my phone (and to match my theme)

Well folks this is how I decorated my cube. It's pretty simple how a few key pieces and spray paint can do for decor purposes. It was actually very easy and cost me only $40-50 in total. On top of that, all these items can be re-used for other projects if need be. I am listing some links below to some of the items but most of these were just around my house or can be found during a quick trip to Michaels. I got these over the weekend, so I am sure a lot of these are still available.

Monogram Mug
Spray Paint

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Time to Invest: Ceramic Pans

I feel like a great pan can you take you a long way with cooking. I have been cooking with cast iron, non stick and even stainless steel pans...but nothing compares to the ceramic ones. I kept seeing it on Food Network Competition shows and I knew I had to buy one. I got mine from Gilt and Home Goods (as it's just cheaper to get the pans from places like that). But you can really purchase them anywhere.

I am not going to post any links to these pans because it's just a quick google search. I do recommend checking out your local Home Goods and Marshalls before purchasing these retail somewhere else. My large pan cost be $20 and I just got a two pack (medium and small pan) for $25. The deal are there, just keep looking!

Friday, October 10, 2014

What Farah Wore (Leopard/Leather/Green) 10.10.14

                        Earrings Tory Burch: Circle Earrings  Heels Nine West: Leopard Flax

So it's still not yet fall. This outfit was a great idea around 8AM this morning but I was struggling by the end of the day. A quick way to make this outfit more "summery" is to tuck in the blouse with high-waisted black shorts. Equally stylish and just cooler during this "indian summer" .... I'm still waiting for fall (if you can't tell already from my numerous "wishing it was fall" posts)

Anyways, there isn't anything too special with this outfit... just incorporating styles that I love to wear: hunter green, leopard and leather. I also mixed two lipsticks to get that darker fall look (but also not looking too "vampy")

Hope you guys can find some inspiration from my outfit today and can create your own! Mix and Match with leopard booties and a chunky hunter green sweater (if you live in a colder area) Happy Styling!

Side Dishes - Bombay Potatoes


15 small red potatoes, sliced in half
2 tbs of cilantro, chopped
1 tbs garam masala
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of Shan Tandoori Chicken Spice
2 tbs of tomato paste
1 tsp of ginger paste (can use fresh as well)
1 tsp of garlic paste (can use fresh as well)
1/2 of a small lemon, juiced
1 tbs of canola oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Toss these ingredients in a mixing bowl. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and spread evenly amongst the baking sheet. 

Preheat the oven to 400 and bake for 50 minutes. Toss on the 25 minute mark.

Add some extra lemon juice, salt and cilantro as garnish.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mad for Plaid!

I am really annoyed by the weather in Charlotte these days. It ranges from 63-85 degrees. I never know what to wear and I just want it to be fall already. Is that too much to ask for? Don't get me wrong, I love summer but I'm just over it. It's October. Mentally, I am already in fall mode. I love a great pair of boots, leggings and cable knit sweater. I like being cozied up with tea, a blanket and listening to wood crackle during a nice fire. Of course, this is probably because I am mentally 45 yrs old and enjoy things like that now... but it's just nice and relaxing. Anyways, enough of my ramble and on to my new craze: PLAID (with/and flannel).

I am seriously addicted to all types of plaid. I can't wait to wear them with my fall skirts, over jeans and leggings. I wanted to try to borrow some of my boyfriends' button-down shirts but I'm sure that would just really freak him out... so I had to buy my own (I'm still going to secretly borrow his gingham prints though -- random note: you also can wear your boyfriends' work shirt, just wear a blazer over them to keep the form - I always buy men sweaters for a great over-sized look)

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite prints and where to buy them. It's been hard for me to capture that great holiday plaid to wear with my navy puffer vest ... but surprisingly... LL Bean carries some great plaid prints. They have a 10% off your entire order now with code: FALL10 which puts their shirts at $35.95. I just purchased the "Prince Charles of Edward" and "Kennedy" shirts. They are back ordered till November... but it's not like its cold here anyways *side eye* Hope you all try to get your hand on some plaid this fall (whenever that will be), you won't regret it!

LL Bean Scotch Plaid Shirts
J Crew Factory Plaid Flannel

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Current Obsession: Dinner Party China

I'm currently really into dinner parties. Having friends over, having wine, a great meal and nice cup of tea to end the evening is just so delightful. I have been recently looking at some nice china to have a more authentic, adult dinner party. My boyfriend built this amazing rustic over-sized table and it's just a shame for me not to have great dinnerware to compliment. I have realized that when it says $200...I means for ONE place setting. What a blow. So I am still researching for a great bargain.

I started my hunt at Bloomingdale (basically my to go for everything and anything). They have this amazing dinnerware link where you can select a dinnerware and it will show you how it will look on a table. I just love it. However, before I commit to anything, I usually try to find the china I want elsewhere to make sure I am getting the best deal. Word of advice: paying retail is just stupid.

I am currently going back in forth with having a six place setting set, having one setting of the same design and switching it up with other different settings to get me to my six, or just buying random consignment place settings and have it look really cottage chic and rustic. The latter seems more along my price range right now but I thought I would post some amazing dinnerware selections in case any of you have a registry that needs to be filled.

Just a word of advice, my tastes maybe not be for everyone but I will try to be as eclectic as possible. I love a good white plate as it really makes any dish pop. If simplicity if your thing, add a nice gold or silver trim for that elegance you may be seeking. If you're in to color, mix and match, or use something floral. Newsflash, floral isn't "grandma like" anymore. Very in and very timeless. Most of these link to Bloomingdale but be sure to Google these elsewhere. There may be some sales and coupons you are missing out on.

Links to browse and purchase below:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What Farah Wore: Black & Hot Pink Edition (10.6.14)

Necklace Jcrew Factory and Bloomingdales (sold out - but other options)
Purse Tory Burch: City Messenger (similar)  
Shirt KS Saturday: Black and White Tee (similar)
Skirt Jcrew Factory: Double Serge Pencil Skirt (black)
Lipstick YSL: Le Fuchsia 

I love mixing hot pinks and black. I posted a small picture of my outfit. I will try my best to do that more often to verify the authenticity of what I post, but single-handedly trying to take a photo by myself, with my Iphone, is challenging. Also, I would like to give a shoutout to my friend Courtney who led me to this fuchsia and hot pink trend by introducing me to the YSL Lipstick. ADORE! LIFE CHANGED!

What Farah Wore: It's My Birthday --- Edition (10.7.14)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Copycat Mondays: Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza

So I am obsessed with Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza. I used to eat it about three times a week in grad school. With age though, came my lack of handling processed food.... and I just couldn't take all the other "ingredients" in the Taco Bell version. I decided to create my own. It's a little healthier.... but I did have to swipe some Taco Bell Fire Sauce today because you just can't eat this without it. Gotta keep it somewhat authentic!

Recipe (for 2)

1 pack of ground beef
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
2 jalapeños, finely diced
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/4 packet of Taco Seasoning Mix
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tbs tomato paste

Add all the ingredients except the seasoning to a ceramic frying pan. After 2 minutes add all the seasonings and cook. Should take 20 minutes. If it becomes soggy, amp up the heat and let the water soak up. Add more seasoning if you would like. As I usually preface on my blog, you can always add more but you cant take any away.

6 whole wheat tortillas (3 for each pizza layer)
1 pack mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 can of Trader Joe's refried black beans
1/4 a lime, juiced (optional)
1 tbs of taco seasoning (optional)
Taco Bell Hot Sauce
1 small tomato, diced
2 green onions, diced

Put the canned bean in a sauce pan with the lime and taco seasoning. Toss till warm (about 2-3 minutes) and set aside. All optional ingredients but it adds another dimension of flavor.

Meanwhile, cook the tortilla on another frying pan until both sides are crispy.

Preheat the oven to 350. Add one layer of beans with beef and continue on. On the final layer, add the cheese. Cook for 10-15 minutes and top off with tomatoes, green onions and guacamole.


Recipe can be found here

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Weekend Soup: Roasted Red Pepper & Smoked Mozzarella Soup

My current obsession is making soup with my hand blender. I love it. It's such a quick process and I have a gourmet meal within minutes. I found this roasted red pepper soup recipe on Taste of Home and modified to make it healthier and my own.

Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Mozzarella Soup

4 red peppers, charred on the grill
1 32 oz of chicken broth
1 medium onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 tbs coconut oil
1 cup of fresh basil
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 jalapeño, de-seeded and diced
1 tbs herb de provence
1 tsp pepper
2 tbs of heavy cream (optional)
1/2 cup smoked mozzarella, shredded fine with a grater (add more if you want)


With a tbs of coconut oil, cook the shallots and onions till browned.

Add the the herb the provence, pepper and jalapeño.

Mix in the broth and simmer for about 1-2 minute then add the can of tomatoes and basil. Let cook for 5 minutes.

Once you have the red pepper charred on the grilled, chop in half and add to the soup. Use a hand blender (or transfer soup to any blender) till smooth. Then mix in the cream and mozzarella. Let the soup sit for 1-2 minutes so the the mozzarella will melt and garnish with sliced basil leaves.

Sunday Dinner: Giada's Potato Crusted Tilapia, Japanese Ginger Dressing Salad & Green Beans

It's Sunday Dinner! I decided to try something I saw on Giada's show (Everyday Italian) on Food Network. It's her purple potato crusted tilapia. Healthy eating is incredibly costly sometimes, which is why I love tilapia filets. Super inexpensive, healthy and delicious! Now I didn't have purple potatoes, so I just used regular Russet Potatoes and it tasted great! For a side I had a Japanese Ginger dressing salad and oven baked green beans.

Green Beans

Toss green beans in olive oil, garlic, sea salt and pepper. Baked on 350 for about 10-15 minutes.

Japanese Ginger Dressing Salad

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 roma tomatoes sliced length-wise
1/2 english cucumber sliced length-wise
1/2 carrot grated
3 tbs of TonTon Japanese Dressing - Can be bought at Costco (amazing) - add more if you like!

Potato Crusted Tilapia

Recipe link: Giada's Potato Crusted Tilapia

Friday, October 3, 2014

What Farah Wore: Mixing Patterns & Prices Edition 10.3.14

Earrings  Tory Burch: Studs

I love mixing patterns and prices! For a lot of trendier items and just certain clothing in general, I sometimes can't find what I am really looking for at department stores or Zara. Forever 21 is a great inexpensive brand that carries all top trends before other places you may usually search. The shirt itself was $20 and the vest was on sale for $39.95. This just goes to show that you can be trendy and not be a designer snob. True fashionistas purchase clothing from everywhere and anywhere. Mixing high and low end pieces is trendy and affordable.

On another note, mixing patterns (plaid and leopard) may seem odd but actually works really well and in line with current fashion week trends for Spring 2014. Lets start early!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Grilling: Tandoori Chicken Platter


1 pack of naan
1 white onion
1 banana pepper


3 chicken breasts, diced evenly
1 entire Fage greek yogurt
3 tbs Shaan Tandoori Chicken Spice
1 tbs garam masala
1/2 tbs cumin
1.5 tbs of tomato paste
1/2 cup cilantro
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Mix all ingredients and marinade for 1-2 hrs in the fridge. Once marinated, put chicken on the grill for 4-5 minutes (each side).

Meanwhile, slice the white onion thick and grill in a basket until translucent and charred

Add the naan on the grill till warm and until you can see the char lines.

Slice the banana peppers on top of the chicken and serve with salad and sauce.

1/2 english cucumber, diced
1 tbs of red onions, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Toss all ingredients and refrigerate


1 tbs Coleman's Mint Sauce 
2 tbs Fage greek yogurt

Mix ingredients and refrigerate