Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I have a tendency to buy an article of clothing, wear it everyday for a few weeks in a row, and then lose interest.

When I first bought this vest, I wore it a lot, but then the weather got colder and I traded in vests and light jackets for heavy winter coats, hats, and gloves. Then, the other day I was looking at pinterest for some outfit inspiration since I am in the process of cleaning out my closet, as a result, feel like I have nothing to wear, but also don't want to spend any money on new clothes. I rediscovered this outfit:

I wasn't sure I could pull off the coolness of this outfit, but I managed to pull off something like it, bun and all, and no one gave me any weird looks or had anything negative to say, so I think I got away with it:

As I wore that outfit, I started thinking about how much I loved my vest and wondered what other combinations I might come up with. I once again search my pinspiration and stumbled upon this tough looking cooke:

I have a leather jacket so may recreate this look when I am in my heavy medal rockstar mode, but decided to use this as inspiration for another opportunity to style my vest. The result:

Perfect for running errands on the weekend and looking cool... or jeggings and the rest of this outfit were the most comfortable option after a 12 mile training run. 

If you have any other vest suggestions for me, please let me know. I thought about adding it to a suit or nice skirt for work, but I am not sure that's going to fly.

Monday, March 4, 2013

New Recipes: Cheese Ravioli with Mushrooms and Spinach and Chipotle Chicken Tacos

The other week I went to Pennsylvania to visit my family and my mom sent me home with three Rachel Ray Everyday magazines. I flipped through them, noticed a few recipes I thought sounded tasty, and put them off to the side until I could spend more time looking through them.

Now, as many of you know, my sister moved back to the DC area and every week, Ilyssa, Jesse, and I have family dinner night. Sometimes we host, and sometimes Ilyssa hosts. Most of the time we know in advance who the host is, but this week's craziness left us making last-minute hosting decisions. I ended up volunteering since I was near the store, but needed a recipe.

This is where Rachel Ray came to the rescue. Thankfully I had jotted down the ingredients to one recipe for later in the week, and had the ingredient/shopping list in my phone. I ran into the store, picked up the few things I would need and headed home. Fifteen minutes later, a gourmet-looking Cheese Ravioli with Mushroom and Spinach was served. The reviews were good and family dinner night was a success.

Well, after the success of the family dinner night ravioli, I started flipping through each of the magazines my mom had given me for more tasty and easy dinner ideas. That's when I came across Chipotle Chicken Tacos.

Jesse is in the middle of studying for finals and I have been running all over the city, so the easier the recipe, the better. If it has a lot of flavor, even better! This recipe has it all. It also made for leftovers that were even tastier the next night (and left me off the hook for coming up with another recipe).

Unfortunately, in my haste to come up with dinner recipes, I didn't take pictures, so the pictures in the post are from Rachel Ray's website, but both tasty recipes can be found on my What's Cookin' page, along with lots of other tasty treats.

Also, I just want to take this opportunity to thank Rachel Ray for all she has done for my family. It is with her recipes that I started cooking and just when I think I have run out of new recipes to make, she comes to the rescue. So, from the bottom of our hearts (and stomachs) thank you.

Stay tunes for more delicious recipes.

Friday, March 1, 2013

New Deal

Hi friends!

Yes, it's been a month since I last wrote, but life keeps getting in the way. So, here's the new deal... I love Messy Jess C. It's my outlet for writing and telling the story of my life and all of its adventures, and I am not ready to give up on it just yet. I also know my current schedule does not allow for detailed and daily posts. So, I pledge that I will continue posting as often as possible and my schedule will dictate the details and content of my posts.

Hope you will continue to follow along! Thanks to you all.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Welcome to my Layer

J.Crew Blazer/ J.Crew Factory Sweater/ Madewell Button-down/ AT pants/ Ideeli.com shoes
When the temperature is 20 degrees, and with the windchill it actually feels like 9 degrees, it becomes a struggle to create a fashionable outfit that protects one from the elements. My solution? Add layer upon layer upon layer. You may look and feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but at least you stay warm.

For example, when I got dressed for my run this morning, I wore my SmartWool socks (can't leave home without them these days), running tights, a long-sleeve base layer shirt, a long-sleeve pullover top, an insulated running jacket, a base layer of gloves, my glovens (also a must in the winter), a gator, and a polar fleece hat.

If it were acceptable to wear the same to work, I would, but unfortunately with back to back meetings, I didn't think it was the direction I should choose, so instead I went with these pants, (Jesse's) wool socks, shoes that cover my entire foot, a silk button-down, a crew neck sweater, and a wool blazer.

The only downside is that if I continue piling on clothes at this rate, I am going to run out of layers pretty quickly if the temperatures stay this low.

How do you dress to face the elements?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Runner Girls

Hi Friends! What did you do over the MLK/Inaugural weekend? I am excited to share that this weekend I went to South Carolina to run the Charleston Marathon with my friends and I successfully completed the marathon, making it my 20th and 15th state (my goal is to run one in each state). Combined the four of us ran 104.8 miles this weekend and have 65 marathons under our belts. Not too shabby.

We also successfully ate our way through Charleston (an upside to running 26.2 miles) and enjoyed seeing Lowcountry. The people were amazing and the town had tons of charm. I hope to make it back there again soon.

Next up on the running front? The National Indoor track meet in March, followed by a 10 miler, a half marathon, the NJ Marathon with my sister (her first!), the North Face Endurance 50K, and the Seattle Marathon (yes, ladies, you were able to twist my arm this weekend).

In addition to running, this weekend included a fun dinner and movie date night with Jesse, loosening up my muscles at the gym, a trip to Ikea with my sister, and family dinner night with Jesse and Ilyssa, our new Monday night tradition. Oh, and there was that little thing we call inauguration, and of course MLK day and the National Day of Service. What a big weekend!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend too! Talk with you all tomorrow. XO

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Puddle Jumping

I'm beginning to forget what sunshine looks like. It's going on day five of fog and/or rain here on the East Coast and I don't like it at all. Precipitation and I just don't get along...never have. Today it messed with my workout schedule because it's so darn hard for me to get out of a cozy bed when it's gray and rainy outside to run. It also messed with my hair, and outfit photos. 

So, I apologize my friends. I had good intentions and picked out a super cute outfit to share with you, but since our backyard turns into a lake when it rains and our apartment needs some TLC and I was too embarrassed to show it off in any photos, iPhone self-portraits are the best I can offer. At least the shoes offer a spot of sunshine. My shoes, the friendly folks at Starbucks this morning, and the first ladies TV night of 2013 with the girls this evening.

Oh well, we'll try again tomorrow. Until then, let's go make it a good one!

Hi Friends!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Recipe: Cheesy Broccoli and Chicken Quinoa Casserole

You know you are tired when you attempt to use your phone calculator for a simple math problem and it takes you five minutes of wondering where the division key is before you realize its the phone keypad. Oy. AND it's only Monday.

Anyhow, I haven't posted any recipes for you lately, so I wanted to make the first recipe of the year a good one. A meal that is tasty, but healthy, and of course, following Jess rules, easy to make during the week, especially on days when using a calculator is difficult.

Please allow me to present the delicious, and fairly nutritious, Cheesy Broccoli and Chicken Quinoa Casserole. Here's what you'll need:

1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets (or frozen florets if you want to move things along)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 shallots, diced
2 cups milk (we used low-fat)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works well for this recipe)

Once you have all of your ingredients cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. While the quinoa is cooking, steam the broccoli until it is crisp-tender and set it aside.

Next preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and get ready to make the best part - the cheese sauce. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, shallots, garlic powder, dry mustard and cayenne. Continue whisking until the mixture is a light golden color (1-2 minutes). Next whisk in the milk and allow the sauce to simmer, stirring frequently until the mixture bubbles and thickens (about 5 minutes).

After the sauce thickens, remove from the heat and whisk in the cheddar cheese until it is melted asnd smooth. Add in some salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, combined the cooked quinoa, broccoli florets, shredded chicken and the cheese sauce until it is evenly combined.

Next transfer the mixture to a lightly greased casserole dish. Bake the dish for about 20-25 minutes until the top is lightly browned and serve warm.


Find this and other tasty recipes on my What's Cookin' page.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fire Hazard

First, the outfit...
Banana Sweater (similar)/ Gap Top (similar)/ J.Crew Factory Skirt (similar)/ Target Tights/ Me Too Shoes from DSW (similar)/ J.Crew Necklace

Now, on to more important things, like birthdays.

For those of you who don't know, birthdays and holidays are a big deal in my family. We even have a set of unspoken rules - each person gives the guest of honor no less than two cards each and each card and envelope must be decorated and include a thoughtful note. We also go all out with birthday meals. They are excessive and delicious, and always include dessert, usually more than one. So, when my dad turned 65 last week, we followed our family tradition and went all out to celebrate his big day. This included my sister and I getting him a black forest cake, his favorite.

When someone turns 65, however, birthday cakes start becoming fire hazards and eyebrows have the potential to get singed. As was almost the case this year. Thankfully no one was hurt in the process of this celebration, but you can see by the look on my sister's face, she was rethinking the number of candles she had put on the cake.

From now on, we may begin using those candles that say a number instead of trying to put that number of candles on a cake, making it easier to light, blow out, and less of a liability...but it may not be as fun, so maybe we won't.

Anyhow, what a great weekend at home! What did you all do this weekend?

Check out the rest of the pictures from this past weekend and many more on my instagram page here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mad Dash

Forever XXI Blazer (similar)/ AT Blouse (similar)/ J.Crew Factory Pants/ Guess Shoes from Ideeli.com
Starting anything new can be extremely overwhelming and stressful, no matter how exciting whatever that new thing is. I began a new job a little over a month ago and since then have been working around the clock to learn lots of new things like the responsibilities of my new position and the culture of my new work environment, along with meeting tons of new people and learning new names all while attempting to maintain some sort of work-blog-life balance. Let me tell you friends, all of these things together makes for one tired and overwhelmed person and when people are sleep deprived and overwhelmed, they can do strange things like deciding to race someone they don't know up a long hill at full speed in the middle of a run just because that person happened to pass them, and with everything else on their plate they felt they needed some small victory. Not my finest moment. What strange things has stress caused you to do?

In other news, today is my dad's 65th birthday. Happy Birthday Dad! Love you. XO

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fame and Fortune

J.Crew Factory Sweater/ Forever XXI Blouse (similar)/ AT Pants (similar)/ Bandolino Shoes via TJ Maxx (similar)
Jesse and I have been saving up for a house for quite some time now and let me tell you friends, saving for a big purchase like a house is no easy task. We have discussed ways we might make money for a down payment on a house quickly like winning the lottery, or inventing something everybody will need to have, but both of those plans haven't panned out for us yet. We have a new plan though and it seems anybody can do it these days. What is it you ask? It's simple. We just have to write a catchy song and put it on You Tube. The idea is foolproof.

We should have picked up on this strategy sooner. After all, the "Macarena" came on the scene in 1994, along with every other song played at my Bat Mitzvah. Then, late last year, "Gangnam Style" seemed to be playing everywhere. Even my mom learned the dance moves. And today, a new hit song created by a Pakistani fishmonger from London is giving "Gangnam Style" a run for its money. The song, "One Pound Fish," was written to get people to buy, what else? Fish.

So, if people can write about pretty ladies, trendy and hip people, and selling fish for one pound, I am positive Jesse and I can write a song, put it on You Tube, and be able to buy a house by the end of the month. Like I said, foolproof, right? Who's with me?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Coffee Talk

My Coffee Shop Outfit: J.Crew Dress/ Target Tights/ Target Shoes
I recently started doing some of my work from various Starbucks around the city. I am learning coffee houses are interesting places. They are filled with all kinds of people - the staff, people heading to work, people about to take a long road trip, parents with their kids, the people who are working on the next big idea, and the random person watching movie after movie on their computer. 

Occasionally I am lucky enough to eavesdrop on witness, and, in rare instances, be a part of an entertaining conversation. This may make me sound like a terrible person, but really it's a good thing because I can pass these conversations along to you, and hopefully put a smile on your lovely faces.

Story #1: Heated -

A few weeks ago I was waiting for my gingerbread latte. A woman who had ordered before me picked up her coffee at the bar and walked out of the store. Two minutes later she came storming back in and began yelling at the barista. The reason? Her coffee wasn't exactly 140 degrees.

Story #2: Arnold - 

Another time, I was furiously typing on my computer and minding my own business until I heard one man say to another, "you know, I could be a body builder if I wanted to." Mind you, the man who was talking maybe weighed 145 lbs. soaking wet.

Story #3: Betty Crocker - 

And these gems of conversations don't just happen between customers. Earlier in the winter, DC was in the middle of a wave of warm weather. I decided it was too nice for a hot coffee so I decided to get a chocolate smoothie instead. I ordered my drink and the barista said "umm...ok...hold on." She walked to the back of the store and came back a few minutes later with the Starbucks recipe book - yep, that's a real thing. I asked her if she had ever made a chocolate smoothie before as she held the book an inch from her face, closely examining recipe. She peered over the book and said "can you tell?" Ummm...yes, yes I can.

It's turning out to be fun spending some time out of the office and working in environments where I am surrounded by many different kinds of people. It also makes for much more exciting blog posts. I wonder what other inspirational mid-day sites I will stumble upon.

Oh, and what does the content of this post have to do with the outfit pictures? Very little actually, except that I wore this outfit to Starbucks.