mardi gras style, part 1

Last week, I visited two Baton Rouge boutiques in search of stylish yet comfortable wears for the parade-going gal. The jacket and sweater presented in today’s post come from Posh Boutique. Pair either with your favorite pair of skinnies and booties, and you’re set for comfy cuteness during the carnival season.

Mardi Gras style

Free People black combo jacket, $158

Mardi Gras style 2

Mardi Gras style 3

Mardi Gras style 5

Free People citron sweater, $104

Mardi Gras style 6

Mardi Gras style 7

So what do you think? If the weather gets a bit colder, could you see yourself wearing a lightweight jacket or cozy sweater? A big thank you to Posh Boutique for letting me play dress up!

Quote of the day: 

“Find your passion and do it totally. The more life experience you get, the better you’ll be at whatever you want to do.” –Jessica Alba

mardi gras style

Mardi Gras style

Mardi Gras is soon upon us, so I decided to visit two Baton Rouge boutiques in search of stylish yet comfortable wears for the parade-going gal. The above photo is merely a sneak peek. Check back next week to see what I found at Tomato and Posh Boutique. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Quote of the day:

“Youth ages. Immaturity can be outgrown. Ignorance can be educated. Drunkenness sobered. But stupid lasts forever.” –Aristophanes, famous Greek comic playwright

hump day treat: bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese ingredients

Spaghetti Bolognese ingredients

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

Bolognese sauce =  delicious, comforting yummyness. The taste is complex and impressive enough to serve to guests, but it also hearkens to the spaghetti sauce of your childhood. I really hope you enjoy this hump day treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chuck or lean ground beef (lean ground beef is the lighter option)
  • ½ pound bulk Italian sausage
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • ½ cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 can whole tomatoes (28 ounces)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • ½ cup mascarpone
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Brown the ground meat and sausage in oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat

Drain the fat and return to pan

Mince the onion, celery, carrot and garlic in a food processor.

Add to browned meat and cook until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes

Stir in the tomatoes, wine, milk, tomato paste, vinegar and seasonings; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

If you are serving the Bolognese over pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta (pasta of your preference) according to package directions while sauce simmers.

If you are serving the Bolognese over spaghetti squash (like I did), click here for directions on how to cook spaghetti squash.

Finish the sauce with mascarpone, parsley, salt and pepper.

Serve over cooked pasta or spaghetti squash.

Quote of the day:

“We are what we repeatedly do.” – Aristotle

iphone 5 cases

iPhone 5 Cases

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

The iPhone 5, with its sleeker shape, creates a necessity for new iPhone cases. Unless, of course, you are one of those super diligent people who handles your phone/gadgets with caution and delicacy at all times (whoever you are, wherever you are…I salute you). With my track record, however, I can’t afford to keep my new iPhone unprotected for much longer. I’m going on almost two months sans case and I feel like I’m playing fate.

So I combed through sassy cases online because I’m more of a cute-over-utility kind of gal when it comes to tech accessories (watch me eat those words someday); and I ordered one of the cases pictured above. Can you guess which one? Not to worry, I’ll be sure to model a pic of it once it comes in. Hope your week is shaping up nicely. Can’t wait to share Wednesday’s hump day treat with you!

stationery from the keeping room

Crane & Co. hand-bordered card in beach glass with gold pinstripe-lined envelope

Crane & Co. hand-bordered card in beach glass with gold pinstripe-lined envelope

Crane & Co. hand-bordered card in beach glass with gold pinstripe-lined envelope.

Crane & Co. hand-bordered card in beach glass with gold pinstripe-lined envelope.

Thanks to The Keeping Room, I finally have less generic, more personalized stationery. Shop owner Amanda Alexander (yes, we’re related, but neither of us is exactly sure how haha), was instrumental in helping me pick it out. She also just received Crane & Co.’s latest book of prints, and the custom stationery options featured above are still offered.

So the silly question remains: Why does this new, personalized stationery make me feel like I’m honing my southern ladydom? Perhaps Nashville native and genuine belle Reese Witherspoon said it best: “My rule is, if it’s not moving, monogram it.” I believe many gals south of the Mason-Dixon would agree with that statement on some level.

Prompted by Reese’s vein of thinking, I selected stationery featuring my monogram–RAR. Let me just say that I friggin’ love my monogram for two reasons: 1) I think the R’s act as beautiful bookends, balancing the strong-standing legs of the A; and 2) when you look at it, it makes you want to roar or make some sort of feline noise…how cool is that? You may be laughing (at me), but you have no idea how many people have actually seen my monogram and then proceeded to exclaim, “Rarrr!” Ok so I’m exaggerating. It doesn’t happen that often. But I would say that that happens about five to six times a year…and my reaction is always joyous (and slightly childish).

Anyway, what do you think of it? Constructive criticism is welcome. Besides, I can’t hit it out of the park on my first try at picking out monogrammed stationery. If I did, what would we southern women have to strive for? Kidding, kidding (but really tell me what you think).  Are you pro-monogram?

baton rouge restaurant week

Baton Rouge Restaurant Week brought to you by DIG Magazine

Baton Rouge Restaurant Week brought to you by DIG Magazine

Baton Rouge Restaurant Week begins today, giving residents and visitors an opportunity to enjoy some of the Capital City’s tastiest offerings at irresistible price points. A uniquely crafted, three-course menu begins at $15 per person, with $35 per person as the top billing (Seriously?! I paid more than that for two martinis when living in NYC…literally. And yes, I understand that that confession may be a poor reflection on me).

To see a full list of participating restaurants and their pre-set menus, visit eatbr.com.

So which restaurants look most tempting? Well you cannot go wrong at Bistro Byronz, in my opinion. Their blue cheese chips really are that good; and the French-style bistro, with its quaint yet charming atmosphere, is always a go-to for date night. Other than that, I’m thinking I may splurge at one of the top-billed restaurants. After all, when else can you get an app, your choice of steak, fish or duck, and dessert at a place like Stroubes,  Doe’s Eat Place or Le Creole?  I’ve also been dying to try Nino’s Italian. Owners Elton Hyndman and wife Randee are known for their avid support of the local farm-to-table movement, and I hear their hand-rolled pasta is unsurpassable.

So which restaurants/menus look most appealing to you? If you have a delicious meal at any of Restaurant Week’s 25 participating restaurants, please leave a comment below or tweet me a photo. It may help this indecisive betch determine where to go.

Hope your week is off to a great start! I’ll see you back here Wednesday with a hump day treat.

Baton Rouge’s best king cake

Baton Rouge king cake: Who makes the best one? (Photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE)

Baton Rouge king cake: Who makes the best one? (Photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE)

Carnival season, better known by the day it culminates in–Mardi Gras–is upon us. And what does that mean? KING CAKE! Sure, throws from parade floats and court presentations at balls are neat, but I’m most interested in the season’s tastiest treat (rhyme intended).

So who makes the best king cake in Baton Rouge? NOLA.com/baton-rouge entertainment writer Chelsea Brasted and I are determined to find out, so much so that we’re conducting a blind taste test this Monday in the lobby of One American Place (our office building). If you’re in the area, you should stop by, taste some king cake and cast your ballot. But first, click here to vote in the Baton Rouge king cake poll I  created and learn more about the blind taste test. Your votes will help determine which bakeries we include in the taste test.

I hope you find yourself eating king cake this weekend! See you back here Monday.

Quote of the day:

“Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people. It does for me.” –Audrey Hepburn

Lady Grantham-isms

Lady Grantham, with her sharp sense of propriety and even sharper wit, did not disappoint in last night’s season three premiere of “Downton Abbey.”

I’ve never seen nor read any interviews with Julian Fellowes regarding his inspiration for the Countess Violet’s character, but in my mind, there is an unmistakable resemblance between her and Oscar Wilde’s Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. If you enjoy (or are obsessed with) “Downton Abbey,” I would highly suggest reading The Importance of Being Earnest or seeing a film adaptation of it. Actually, you’d probably enjoy any of Oscar Wilde’s comedies for that matter.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic. My apologies. I just wanted to present you with three of my favorite Lady Grantham-isms from the “Downton Abbey” season three premiere. Hope you enjoy! Can’t wait to see how the season unfolds.

Lady Grantham-ism

Photo courtesy BT Vision

Lady Grantham-ism

Photo courtesy Vermont Public TV

Lady Grantham-ism

Photo Courtesy The Guardian

top 10 of 2012

Dear B&B readers,

With 2013 now upon us, I want drop you a little thank you note for your dedication in 2012. Since Bitsy & Boo’s launch five months ago, it has accrued more than 10,000 page views. In terms of blog metrics, that doesn’t amount to much, especially when you consider the fact that some of the major lifestyle blogs out there receive over 100,000 page views each day.

But in terms of Rebecca Alexander, 10,000 page views amounts to a lot. A lot of excitement for B&B’s future, a lot of determination to continue bringing you compelling content, and, most of all, a lot of gratitude. To those friends, family members and readers I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, I’m so grateful for you. Taking precious time out of your day to check out Bitsy & Boo’s latest offerings means more than you know.

With that said, I’d like to present you with a recap of Bitsy & Boo’s ten most popular posts in 2012.

1. Remembering Amanda Judice

Amanda Judice & Rebecca Alexander

2. Best Dressed: Beaux Arts Ball

Best-Dressed-Beaux-Arts

3. Southern Weddings Feature

southern-wedding-rose-petal-toss-exit

4. Bachelorette Questionnaire

Bachelorette party game questions

5. LSU Gameday Shirts

LSU Gameday Shirts :: http://www.bitsyandboo.com/

6. I Do Bridal Couture

I Do Bridal :: bitsyandboo.com

7. BUST

BUST Hartley/Vey Theatre

8. Gameday Chic

Gameday Apparel 5 :: http://www.bitsyandboo.com/

9. Nisolo Shoes

Nisolo Shoe Company

10. La Marquise Week, day 2

Elizabeth and James Bridgitte Dress // Rachel Zoe Marianna Jacket // Joie Bright Fire Boots // Hoss orange clutch // Elizabeth and James Crescent Sunglasses

Thank you again B&B readers! I can’t wait to highlight effortlessly chic style, sensational recipes, thought-provoking profiles and more in 2013.

Best wishes and happy new year,

Rebecca Alexander

Quote of the day:

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier…'” –Alfred Tennyson

hump day treat: zucchini, squash & feta fritters

In this hump day treat, zucchini and squash are paired with feta (and all of its tangy-creamy goodness) as well as fresh dill. You can shred the zucchini and squash using the shredder attachment on a food processor, or a cheese grater will do a fine job as well.

To keep these fritters from falling apart while cooking, and to ensure they develop an attractive brown crust, I rid the zucchini and squash of excess moisture by salting them, putting them in a colander to drain, and then wringing them out with clean paper towels.

These fritters, which can be eaten warm or at room temperature, pair well with a light salad.

Combine zucchini, squash, cheese, scallions, dill, eggs, garlic and pepper in bowl.

Combine zucchini, squash, cheese, scallions, dill, eggs, garlic and pepper in bowl.

Using your hands, form golf-ball-sized portions of the zucchini-squash batter. Then roll balls in flour-breadcrumb mixture until coated.

Using your hands, form golf-ball-sized portions of the zucchini-squash batter. Then roll balls in flour-breadcrumb mixture until coated.

Zucchini, squash & feta fritters

Ingredients:

Makes 8 to 9 fritters

  • 1 pound zucchini, trimmed and shredded
  • ½ pound yellow squash, trimmed and shredded
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges for serving

Directions

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat over to 200°F

Toss zucchini and squash with salt and let drain in strainer or colander for 30 minutes. Then place zucchini and squash on clean paper towels and wring out excess moisture.

Combine zucchini, squash, cheese, scallions, dill, eggs, garlic and pepper in bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, breadcrumbs and lemon zest.

Using your hands, form golf-ball-sized portions of the zucchini-squash batter. Then roll balls in flour-breadcrumb mixture until coated.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. To know when the oil is ready for cooking, simply splash it with a few droplets of water to see if it sizzles.

Drop four balls of batter into skillet and reduce heat to medium.

Using the back of a spoon, press balls into 3-inch-wide fritters. Fry until golden brown (about 2 to 3 minutes per side).

Transfer fritters to paper towel-lined baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.

Repeat 2 more times with remaining oil and batter. Serve with lemon wedges.

*Fritters were served over Bibb lettuce tossed in a soy-mayo dressing (Michael’s concoction. He suggests you start with 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part mayonnaise, and adjust from there to your liking).

*Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.

Quote of the day:

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” –Tom Peters