Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Extra! Extra!

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J.Crew Blazer (similar)/ AT Button-Down (similar)/ AT Sweater (similar)/ J.Crew Skirt/ Target Tights (similar)/ Me Too Shoes from DSW (similar)

Good morning friends and happy leap day! Doesn't an extra day feel a bit more special than other days? It could be because this is a once every four year thing. It could just be that I am excited that I have one day to go in my Winter 30 for 30 and I am ready to change up my wardrobe a bit. It could be because we have reached the half-way point of the week. It could be because one of my best friends got engaged to one of the greatest guys last night! Whatever the reason, today is going to be a good day. I can feel it (with the exception of the buckets of rain we are getting - hence the fuzzy picture taken as close to outside without actually being in the rain today).

Sadly, I still have to work this leap day and won't be able to take advantage of "One More Disney Day" when Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will be open for a full 24 hours for the first time ever, but maybe next time... in 2016. Still, I am big into holidays, any holiday, and a sucker for romantic comedies, so to celebrate, I am planning on watching Leap Year this evening.

What are you all doing to celebrate the extra day?

Love Messy Jess C? Then don't miss it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Suit Up

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Ann Klein Suit via Current Boutique (similar blazer and pants)/ J.Crew Sweater (similar)/ Ellen Tracy Loafers from DSW (similar)/ Sarah White Jewelry Necklace from

With just a few more days to go in my Winter 30 for 30, I decided to break out one of the two suits I included in my 30 items and suit up.

I haven't been wearing suits much lately because, let's face it, when I am faced with the choice of wearing either bright colors and fun skirts or a plain ol' suit, especially during winter which tends to be gloomier than other seasons, bright colors and skirts win out every time. I also don't own as many suits as I used to, which makes suiting up a bit difficult.

So, my goal when I actually choose to wear a suit, especially in places like DC where suiting up is quite common, is to also incorporate a few pieces that help me break out of the mold of other suit wearers, while still looking professional.

I think I did alright today. What tips do you have for suiting up?

Finally, for all of the How I Met Your Mother watchers out there, Enjoy!

Love Messy Jess C? Then don't miss it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Monday, February 27, 2012


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AT Shirt (similar)/ Target Cardigan (similar)/ J.Crew Skirt/ Target Tights (similar)/ Me Too Shoes from DSW (similar)/ Charming Charlie Necklace (similar)
Do you know what helps you quickly get over a tex-mex food kick? Running a 14-mile training run shortly after eating Rosa Mexicano tortilla chips and breakfast tacos...cures you real quickly.

Still, our Rosa Mexicano breakfast was just one part of our DC area staycation this past weekend, which consisted of more great food, a trip to the movies, a visit to the Peeps store, and a bit of shopping. We had so much fun! You can see some pictures from our staycation on my instagram page. These were taken until my phone died, which I took as a sign to quit worrying about taking pictures and begin fully enjoying our staycation.

What fun things did you all do this weekend?

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Recipe: Spicy Bean Burritos

I have been on a Tex-Mex kick lately. Three out of seven dinners last week were Tex-Mex and there is just something about the combination of spices and flavors that I can't seem to get enough of, so when I saw a recipe for Spicy Bean Burritos on Annie's Eats I couldn't wait to test it out.

I am so glad we did! This was a low-maintenance, but high-flavor meal.

First, we combined all of the spices and garlic...

Then, we sauteed them in a small amount of oil to bring out the flavor...

Added a can of pinto beans and a can of black beans along with chicken stock (you could use veggie stock instead but we had the chicken stock in stock so went with that this time) and let it marinate for about 10 minutes...

Then we prepared our toppings. We only had some sad looking lettuce and cheese, but you could really add anything you'd like to top off your burrito...

After 10 minutes you remove the bean mixture from the heat, add in a few spoonfuls of salsa, and  mash it up a bit (it doesn't make for a pretty picture, but trust me, it's delicious)...

Then you put everything together in a flour tortilla and enjoy!

You can check out the recipe for Spicy Bean Burritos and other meals on my What's Cookin' page.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Red Liebster

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Madewell Sweater/ J.Crew Skirt (similar)/ Me Too Shoes from DSW (similar)

Good morning friends and happy Friday to you all! What a week it has been! Between Paczkis for Fat Tuesday, getting the four boxes of girl scout cookies I ordered, meeting up with friends for dinner, cooking, working out, Messy Jess C.'s face lift, and everything else, including being awarded my first blogger award (see below), it has been one great week.

Part of this excitement also comes from Preethi of Lace, etc. awarding me the Liebster Blog Award! Writing Messy Jess C. for just two months, this is my first award and I am very honored. Thank you Preethi!

I am also excited to now have the privilege of choosing five up and coming blogs to award the Liebster Blog Award to. So, without further adieu the winners of the Liebster Blog Award are...

Lifestyles by I&A Design
Ok, I must confess that this blog belongs to my sister Ilyssa and her business partner, Alicia, but in all seriousness, these ladies are amazing interior designers. They have a lot of experience in the business and a great eye for design. They are based in Bucks County Pennsylvania, but have worked on projects throughout the country. Show their blog some love!

Aspiring Chic
Let me tell you about Rachel. She is stylish, crafty, and her weekly High Five for Friday posts can pull anyone out of a funk. Check out her blog and follow her folks!

Cookin' and Kickin'
Because one of my goals of the year is to become a better cook, in addition to reading a ton of fashion blogs, I also love reading food blogs and finding new and amazing (and easy) recipes. Kaela over at Cookin' and Kickin' has lots of great recipes and fun food ideas. Be sure to check her blog out!

Diary of a Modern-Day Lady
Sarah B.C. has great fashion tips and styles. You can tell she works hard to come up with the perfect post. This is definitely a blog to follow.

Fit, Crafty, Stylish and Happy
Cassidy's blog encompasses lots of things I love - fashion, fitness, and, of course, food. She gives other bloggers a chance to link up healthy recipes each Thursday, posts videos of workouts I promise you will want to follow after seeing how fit she is, and has some cute outfit combinations. Be sure to pay her a visit over at Fit, Crafty, Stylish and Happy.

Now, if you've been awarded the Liebster Blog Award below are the rules:
  • Choose 5 up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers to award.
  • Give thanks to the blogger that awarded you by linking back to them. Follow them too for extra appreciation.
  • Post the award on your blog along with the links to the 5 bloggers you chose. (it's also nice to leave them a comment letting them know!). 
Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Love Messy Jess C? Then don't miss it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


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J.Crew Dress (similar)/ J.Crew Belt (similar)/ Charming Charlie Necklace (similar)/ Target tights (similar)/ Black Heels c/o Ilyssa (similar)

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Do you notice anything different about Messy Jess C.?

It has had a facelift thanks to Becky and the team at The Cutest Blog on the Block! These ladies are seriously amazing designers and so great to work with. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to update their blog, twitter background, Facebook timelines and other web-related items. AND they didn't ask me to say any of this stuff. I just like them that much!

So, let me officially welcome you to the new and improved Messy Jess C.! Hope you like it!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Recipes: Cibo Italiano

Jesse and I went to Italy for our honeymoon.

Up until our honeymoon I had never taken an international flight, the closest place to Italy I had visited was the Venetian in Las Vegas, and the only Italian I heard or had spoken was from what I learned in the bathroom of Buca di Beppo. Before our trip, I also considered the Olive Garden and Domino's Pizza fine Italian dining (ok, this might be a slight exaggeration, and I love both of these places for the record, but you get the point).

We spent two amazing weeks touring Rome, Florence, and Monterosso in the Italian Riviera.

I fell in love with Italy the minute we landed  in Rome - the language, the history, the people, and especially the food.

All of the food we ate was fresh and flavorful, and made with only a few simple ingredients that when combined tasted magical.

Since we got back from Italy (six months ago), I ask Jesse at least once a week when we can go back. Since his response seems to indicate that we probably won't be going back any time in the near future, the best I can do is try to incorporate Italy into our life here. The easiest way to do that is through cooking.

This past weekend, I made two simple and delicious Italian dishes - Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino and Spinach Lasagna Rolls. I found both recipes on Pinterest.

Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

You know those weeks when you keep meaning to get to the grocery store and you never seem to get there? Well this Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino recipe is the perfect recipe for that kind of week. Most of the ingredients are staple items you would probably have on hand anyhow and they come together perfectly in this dish. Check out the recipe for Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino on my What's Cookin' Page.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

For all of the lasagna lovers out there, the following Spinach Lasagna Rolls recipe is for you! It's a tasty combination of cheese, sauce (we used Rao's Tomato Basil sauce and trust me, it is worth the $9 for the jar), and spinach. It's also easy to portion out this lasagna because of how the dish is prepared.

We made this recipe, along with a Caesar salad and garlic bread (and of course the coconut chocolate pie) when our friends Amy and Cliff came over for dinner on Presidents' Day and it seemed to go over well. You can pick up the recipe for Spinach Lasagna Rolls on my What's Cookin' page.

Ciao Bellos e Bellas!

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Charming Charlie Necklace/ Target Sweater (similar)/ J.Crew Flair Skirt/ Target Tights (similar)/ Me Too Shoes from DSW (similar)
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Is it just me, or do the short weeks seem busier than regular five day workweeks? My theory is that it feels that way because we all have to squeeze more work in to fewer days. Even so, I am not sure I would trade a three day weekend for a five day workweek.

Anyhow, enough of my crazy theories and on to more important things, like clothing and accessories.

Today I am debuting one of my three Charming Charlie purchases as part of my 22nd outfit of my 30 for 30. If you have never heard of Charming Charlie before, like me prior to this past weekend, check it out. It's accessory heaven and perfect for those of us on a budget.

Hope you all have a happy hump day!

Love Messy Jess C? Then don't miss it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Maroon 3

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AT Sweater (similar)/ Thrifted Skirt (similar)/ Target Tights (similar)/ Me Too Shoes from DSW (similar)

The Facts:

I love Maroon 5. I listened to Maroon 5 before they were Maroon 5 (the Kara's Flowers days). In 2003 I listened to Songs About Jane and watched the video for "This Love" on repeat for months. I have seen the band in concert several times - almost getting asked to leave before one concert after dealing with a grumpy ticket employee (please believe me that it was his fault and if still don't want to believe me, ask my friend Amanda. She will back me up.) but then instead getting tickets closer to the stage (thanks to Amanda). I am a loyal watcher of The Voice, in part because of Adam Levine. I believed, before meeting Jesse of course, that Adam Levine and I would make an adorable couple.

You get the point. I am a big fan. So, with all of the maroon I am wearing today, it only seemed logical that I title this post Maroon 3 (Since I only have three articles of Maroon clothing - the sweater, tights, and shoes) and dedicate this post to one of the best bands out there.

Have a great Tuesday everybody!

Love Messy Jess C? Then don't miss it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Lady

Happy Presidents' Day! Today I thought I would pay tribute to our first President. After all, I am a GW alumnus and my dad graduated from George Washington High School. How could he not be my favorite?

I thought about dressing up like George, but sadly, I didn't have any articles of clothing in my 30 for 30 mix that would make this work, so instead I decided to make a coconut chocolate pie. I know you are wondering how this fits in with Presidents' Day but stick with me... (and ignore the poor photo quality - it was a busy day)

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Cardigan - thrifted/ J.Crew T-Shirt/ Target Necklace/ Joe's Jeans Corduroys/ Gap Flats
George was married to Martha Dandridge Custis and once they married, according to Wikipedia, his property holdings and social standing greatly increased. You might say he became richer. So, on this Presidents' Day to honor our first President and Martha I made a RICH coconut chocolate pie from a MARTHA Stewart recipe. Am I stretching it?

Well, I cannot tell a lie (another bad joke?). Our friends Amy and Cliff came over tonight for dinner and I thought this would be the perfect dessert.

Anyhow, I hope you had a great day and that you have a chance to check out the super easy and delicious recipe for Martha Stewart's Crisp Coconut Chocolate Pie on my What's Cookin' page. More delicious recipes coming soon!

Finally, Congrats to all of the ABC Style Challenge participants and a huge thanks to Kayla for hosting this fun challenge! Today the challenge ended with Z for Zebra. Check out all of today's looks and other styles from throughout the challenge on My Greatest Hits blog.

Love Messy Jess C? Then don't miss it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

New Recipe: Spicy Smoky Kale Chips

Remember the huge bag of kale Ilyssa bought last weekend?

Well, it gave me a good reason to test out a kale chip recipe I had my eye on for a while and it did not disappoint.

If I had known kale could taste this good, I would have starting making kale chips sooner. Seriously, once you pop, you can't stop. It's a nice healthy alternative to salty snack foods like potato chips, which I crave often - especially after working out. Thankfully for us, we are still only 1/32 of the way through our ginormous bag of kale so I can make many, many more batches of chips.

Check out the recipe for Spicy Smoky Kale Chips on my What's Cookin' page.

Taking kale from this:


This. Voila!

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Fun Day!

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J.Crew Scarf (similar)/ J.Crew Chambray Shirt (similar)/ Target Belt (similar)/ Gap Jeans (similar)/ Gap Shoes (similar)
Happy Sunday!

Love Messy Jess C? Then don't miss it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

State of the Running

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Ulta Flower (similar)/ Target Cardigan (similar)/ Gap Jeans (similar)/ Gap Shoes (similar)
A few weeks ago, the President gave his annual State of the Union Address to update us all on the state of our nation, and although I may not pick up quite as many views as the Commander in Chief, today, I give you my State of the Running.

Fellow runners, bloggers, Messy Jess C. readers, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

It has been over a month since I updated you on my training and since then I have signed up for three very different races - a sprint, running a leg in the 4x800m as part of the 2012 USA Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships, the Kentucky Derby Marathon, and the 50K as part of the North Face Endurance Challenge.

I am pleased to report that the state of my running and training is getting stronger. As you may recall, last month I ran struggled through my first track workout in nine years. It was painful, difficult, and frustrating. I made the decision, however, to keep up with the training.

In the past month and a half, I have stumbled a few times. During a ladder workout, the only portion I forgot to run was the 800m. After running 200m 16 times I could barely walk and needed to take off from workouts for a week. My times haven't been consistent. Still, I make myself head to the track once a week and complete each workout. Our team has its uniforms and will be getting pink ribbons to wear in our hair (who says you can't be fashionable during a race?). Finally, I signed up for the relay and booked my airfare so there is no turning back now. Look out Indiana. We will see you on March 17th!

To complicate things a bit, I also began training for the Kentucky Derby Marathon which will take place on Saturday, April 28. I am following the Runner's World training calendar for intermediate runners to hopefully successfully complete marathon number 17 and add another state to my list (my ultimate goal is to run in all 50 states). I am also signed up to run the 50K race in the DC North Face Endurance Challenge for the second time on June 2.

The complication comes from training for a sprint, while at the same time getting in enough mileage for a marathon and 50K, as well as training on trails for the endurance race. I have my strong running weeks, but my legs are a bit confused which makes for some tough runs.

So in the next few weeks this journey moves forward. I know with your support and encouragement, however, the future is hopeful and the state of my running will always be strong.

Thank you and good night.

Love Messy Jess C? Then don't miss it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

There is nothing nicer than coming home at the end of a long day to the best homemade turkey chili this side of the Potomac, made by the best husband anywhere.

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This chili is seriously delicious, and the perfect winter meal, especially topped with cheese and crushed up tortilla chips. It is also super easy to make. Basically, after cooking the turkey the slow cooker does all of the work.

To get the recipe, visit my What's Cookin' page. Enjoy!

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Yellow Pages

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Old Navy Sweater/ Ulta Flower Pin (similar)/ Thrifted Pencil Skirt (similar)/ Target Tights (similar)/ Black Pumps c/o Ilyssa (similar)

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I can't get enough of this pin.

I have a funny story for you.

Remember how in yesterday's post I told you I was having an off week? Well, apparently as part of my off week I forgot the alphabet also because I thought that for yesterday's ABC Style Challenge, X for X2, we were already at Y for Yellow. I missed a whole letter (either that or I just love the color yellow and my pencil skirt so much that I jumped the gun). Sorry letter X!  Anyhow, lucky for me, I chose two yellow items of clothing as part of my Winter 30 for 30 so I am still able to follow today's challenge, Y for Yellow... for real this time.

I have linked up today's outfit to My Greatest Hits blog. Hope you have a chance to check out all of the Y for Yellow outfits, Kayla's blog, and post your photos also!

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mellow Yellow

You know those weeks when everything feels a bit askew? I had that kind of week this week and it's not even Friday yet. Today's pictures capture the craziness of the week pretty well.

I started with this photo. It's not terrible but I didn't like my hair or weird smile so after heading back inside so my photographer could eat his breakfast, I asked him to come back outside with me for a "better" picture...

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Sarah White Jewelry Pearl Necklace on Dior Earrings (similar)/ J.Crew Chambray Shirt (similar)/ J.Crew Belt (similar)/ J.Crew Skirt/ Me Too Shoes via DSW (similar)

This was the result. It was worse!  The hair is fine, but I ended up with a droopy belt.

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Oh well. On the flip side, I am wearing my yellow pencil skirt which always brightens my day. I also went sans tights, probably too early in the year, which resulted in being chilly, but my legs are happy to be free.

Also, today's ABC Style Challenge is X for X2, or times two - basically showing two different ways to wear one article of clothing. You can check out how I styled one blazer for two different occasions - one for work and one for play - below. I have also linked up to the challenge at My Greatest Hits blog. Hope you have a chance to check it out and post your photos also!

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Happy Thursday!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Half and Half

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J.Crew Blazer (similar)/Gap Turtleneck (similar)/AT skirt (similar)/ Target Tights (similar)/ Thrifted Nine West Shoes (similar)

Well my friends, we have made it to the half way point of my Winter 30 for 30. At this point in the challenge a few things begin running through my mind:

  1. I am half way through!
  2. Only 15 more days until I get to purchase some of the items on my shopping list... I am really going to stick to the list this time.
  3. I still have 15 days to go...
  4. Are my outfits going to start getting weird since I feel like I have already mixed and matched most of my items?
  5. Will my 30 for 30 be negatively impacted if I take a few items to the dry cleaner? 
I guess the answers to my questions remain to be seen, but thank you for helping me stay motivated this far into the challenge. Also, please feel free to pass along outfit suggestions using items in my 30 for 30 repertoire.

Also, I will be linking up this post to Fashion's Greatest Hits for today's ABC Style Challenge. Today is W for Wide Leg. Hope you have a chance to check it out and post your favorite take on wide leg too! 

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Brunch Recipes!

Since I became a gourmet cook... last month, I have been testing out a lot of dinner recipes so I was looking forward to hosting a brunch and testing out some breakfast dishes. Valentine's Day was the perfect occasion, so we rounded up some of our friends, located some recipes, and put everything together this past Sunday.

I was a bit nervous about making three recipes I had never tested out before for nine people, but I figured the worst that would happen was we would be forced to eat the donuts, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, and candy that were also part of brunch, and sweets for breakfast don't sound all that bad to me. I am pleased, however, to report that all of the dishes turned out to be pretty tasty (the French Toast casserole was my favorite).

So, now that they have been Jess-tested and friend-approved, I am happy to share recipes for Country Strata with Sausage, Fontina, and Rosemary; Overnight French Toast; and Martha's Breakfast Casserole with you on my What's Cookin' page.

Bon Appetit!

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