AUTUMN OLIVE

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I know that most people are totally repulsed by this color of green but it one of my absolute favorite shades when made into the just the right article, like this chic wrap-front skirt. It’s definitely a fall staple of mine. I decided to pair it with a blush-toned top and bolero to start experimenting more with using blush as a neutral. Blush tones are becoming another go-to shade for me and I really like the feminine look they can give to any outfit. I have been wearing them with grey, black, camel, and even this olive green and I think they provide just the right pop of color to otherwise neutral-based looks. I really love the gold detail on the belt of the skirt so I wanted to play that up with my versatile gold collar necklace. You may remember it from my previous “Pleather & Gold” look. This is the perfect date night outfit for these last few mild autumn nights.

Emily
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October 2015

I was wearing;

Forever 21 Pale Pink Ruffle Sleeve Shirt; Similar Here

H&M Pale Pink Cropped Bolero ; Similar Here

H&M Olive Green Wrap-Front Skirt; EXACT Here

Shoemint Suede Heels; Similar Here

American Eagle Gold Collar Necklace; Similar Here

“Autumn Olive”  Photographed by Kurt Eslick

2017-04-03T00:30:08+00:00 October 30th, 2015|Fashion|0 Comments

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

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In the age of the internet and social media, we are constantly thinking about photographic documentation. The saying, “pictures or it didn’t happen” is proof that we as a society feel the need to take pictures of not only our everyday lives, but especially to document our travels and highlights. I have been lucky enough to visit Europe, Asia, and the Middle East all before turning 23. Most of my trips abroad were through school which usually meant being in a large group for many of the planned excursions. I had the opportunity to meet amazing people and lifelong friends on all of the study abroad trips that I was able to partake in. However, when you’re like me and you long to develop a deep understanding and respect for other cultures, at times it’s frustrating to be walking around with a group of 20 loud American kids taking tons of photos of the famous sites and monuments. One of the biggest things I have learned about making beautiful travel photographs that tell a story is that you have to look for the little things. There are hundreds of thousands of photos of The Great Wall of China. But how often do you see a photo of a Chinese silk factory worker that tells the story of the reality of thousands of Chinese citizens? That is the photo that you will get more feedback from and it truly does give you a look into a different reality than your own. My favorite aspect of travel photography is that you really get to do it all. You’re a photojournalist when you want to depict the lives of the locals through your lens. You’re a still life photographer when you’re trying to capture the beauty of a simple plate of spaghetti. You’re a landscape photographer when you’re at Sacre Coeur, capturing the entire city of Paris with your camera. Travel is beautiful, unfamiliar cultures are beautiful and when you can capture the amazing freeing feeling that travel brings through your lens, you are truly making magic.

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1. Everyone (even me) wants shots of famous landmarks. The key is to capture a monument in a different way than people are used to seeing it. This could be laying on the ground to shoot up to show people a different view of the Eiffel Tower. It could mean finding a cool reflection of the Great Wall in a metal sign along the path. Always look for unique perspectives.

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2. Don’t be obnoxious. Ok I know I mentioned laying down to get a shot in the last tip, but as long as you’re aware of what is happening around you and you’re not invading anyone’s personal space then it’s fair game. Take less pictures than the average tourist but make the ones that you take count. It doesn’t matter how embarrassed you may feel laying on the ground in public to get a shot. Anything is less annoying than someone walking around and running into people because they can’t take their face off of their iPad to watch where they’re walking because they’re taking pictures. Newsflash – no one (especially your Facebook friends) wants to see 1,000 terrible pictures of the Colosseum. Make your photos count. 

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3. Look for beautiful light. This is more of a general photography tip but it rings true for every photographer. It doesn’t matter how amazing your subject is, if the lighting is terrible then your pictures will be terrible. Many times I will take a photo just because I notice really interesting light. My favorite food shot that I’ve ever taken is of a plate of spaghetti from a resort restaurant in a Tuscan vineyard. Obviously the presentation of the food is a vital aesthetically pleasing component but if I had this exact same plate of spaghetti in a dimly lit romantic restaurant, the two photos wouldn’t even compare. Play around with your camera in different lighting situations to get a feel for how it performs in every scenario.

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4. Be respectful of the customs and religions of other countries and people. If you’re in a museum and there is no flash photography allowed, turn your flash off. If you’re visiting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and you have to wear an abaya and remove your shoes, then do just that. I have missed many photo opportunities in certain situations but at the end of the day, I would rather surprise people with unexpected kindness and willingness to abide by their rules than have the shot. No photo is worth disrespecting anothers’ religion or culture (Reason #462 why I will never be a photojournalist).

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5. Noticthe little things. One of the highlights of my trip to Italy was touring a small winery just outside Tuscany. Of course I took several pictures but my favorite was one of a feather fan sitting on a side table in one of the bedrooms of the house. There was beautiful light pouring in through the window and I loved how the white feathers stood out against the bright blue wallpaper. Always look for interesting colors, shapes, and juxtapositions in order to take truly great photos. I know this is a much debated topic, but I definitely consider photography a fine art and fine art always requires design elements such as color, shape, texture, etc. to be visually compelling.

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6. Don’t forget to live. Why do we travel? To make us feel alive? To give us a period of rest and relaxation from everyday life? Everyone has their reasons, but I think its a general consensus that we want to forget about many things and minimize our responsibilities while on vacation. Don’t get too caught up in being behind the lens that you miss out on life. Travel allows you to experience so much and some of my fondest memories are nights that I wasn’t wearing my Canon around my neck.

Emily

“Travel Photography Tips” photographed by Emily Davis

© Emily Davis

2017-04-03T00:30:08+00:00 October 26th, 2015|Travel|0 Comments

PLEATS & PUSSY BOWS

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One of the biggest trends on the runways for fall and winter were blouses with “pussy bow” collars… I know, terrible name. It’s actually one of my favorite trends of the season, albeit the name. They’re most definitely a Blair Waldorf closet staple (and we all know Blair was the most stylish Gossip Girl character). This was the closest thing to a pussy bow that I had in my existing closet but I’m hoping to find some with bigger, fuller bows to wear throughout the rest of the fall and winter months. The pussy bow blouse is a very feminine and girly staple but I wanted to toughen it up a bit by accenting it with leather pieces. Jenny Humphrey meets Blair Waldorf, you could say (Just don’t tell Blair).

Emily
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October 2015

I was wearing;

Cream & Black Pussy Bow Blouse; Similar HERE

Victoria’s Secret Black Leather Pleated Accordion Skirt; Similar HERE

Shoemint Black Ankle Booties; Similar HERE

Gold Chain Link Headband: Exact HERE

“Pleats & Pussy Bows” Photographed by Kurt Eslick

2017-04-03T00:30:08+00:00 October 20th, 2015|Fashion|0 Comments

WHITNEY MUSEUM & MoMA

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My latest trip to New York over the summer was significantly longer than any of my previous visits to the city so I was fortunate enough to finally have time to meander around some of the most famous art museums in the world. Prior to my trip, I finalized my list of museums down to three; The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Modern Museum of Art (MoMA), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (read about my MET visit here).

Whitney Museum & MoMA

Whitney Museum of American Art

I had high hopes for the Whitney Museum. The collection just moved to a new location this year (2015) in one of my favorite areas of the city, the Meatpacking District. The building is stunning and has several floors, most with outdoor patios that offer great views of the High Line and New Jersey overlooking the Hudson River. They have an impressive collection, including several pieces by painter Georgia O’Keefe and around fifty photographs by Edward Steichen. The piece that I was most impressed to see up-close and personal was “Phil” by Chuck Close. This canvas piece, created with airbrushed acrylic paint, graphite, and pencil, is the definition of photorealism. You can see every strand of hair and every wrinkle in the subject’s skin. Seeing this piece was the highlight of my visit to the Whitney. The museum does offer a free visit time on Fridays from 6-9 PM. I wasn’t able to go on a Friday so I paid the $22 ticket price. I think it is a neat museum, more-so for the views and the building than the collection, though. If you have the time, it is worth a visit but I would encourage you to go when it is free.

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“Phil” by photorealism artist Chuck Close at the Whitney American Museum of Art in NYC.

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A northern view of The Standard High Line Hotel from a Whitney Museum patio.

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The Whitney Museum’s views were what I was most impressed by. Nearly every level has its own patio and most of the ones that don’t have floor-to-ceiling windows.

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View of the Hudson River and New Jersey from the Whitney Museum.

MoMA

The MoMA contains many famous pieces, which is why it is a “must-see” on everyone’s list (kind of like the primary reason most people know about the Louvre in Paris is that it is the home of DaVinci’s “Mona Lisa”). The Modern Museum of Art is home to Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Time and Memory”, Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies”, and several works by Pablo Picasso, including one of my favorites “Girl Before A Mirror”. I think one thing that is kind of unique to the MoMA is that their collection is mostly made up of artists that you’ve heard of, even if you’re not an art nerd in the slightest. And I think that’s incredible because, in theory, it’s a way to engage visitors and get them to start a conversation about modern art. I visited on the free day (Fridays from 4-8) and if I could do it again, I would pay to see the MoMA’s collection at a less crowded time and go to the Whitney Museum when it’s free instead. There were gobs of people at the MoMA when I visited and unfortunately when it’s free, you get lots of large groups and people who just aren’t all that interested in art. It kills me that people go to a museum just so they can get a selfie with “Starry Night”. I’m not opposed to taking photos (respectfully) in a museum. My minion Dave and I got a photo with Roy Lictenstein’s “Drowning Girl”, which I was absolutely geeking out over. Maybe, as a blogger, I am being contradicting when I say this but I just wish people would live life without feeling the need to document every moment. This art is so historic and incredible and many of us only care about it because we’re told to. So my advice here is that if you’re genuinely interested in spending time viewing these pieces, pay to avoid the crowd – and hopefully most of the selfie queens. If you just want to walk around and get photos of the “highlights”, there’s no need to pay the $25 ticket price. To the latter, I would also advise you to do some research about the pieces you want to see prior to your visit, or at least read the information on the plaques on the museum wall. All famous artwork has either an incredible story that it was inspired by, or incredible pieces and conversations that it has inspired.

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Dave and I geeking out over “Drowning Girl” by Roy Lichtenstein, one of my favorite artists.

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“Girl Before A Mirror” by Pablo Picasso on display at the Modern Museum of Art in New York City.

As an art nerd, visiting art museums and galleries is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. There are so many, especially in New York City, that it is usually difficult to narrow it down to the ones you have time for. I was in NYC for two weeks on this trip and still didn’t have time for the Guggenheim or the Frick Collection (Next on my list!). I really hope that this post is informative and helpful to anyone planning an upcoming New York trip and if you have any questions that weren’t answered, just comment below! For more information visit the museums’ websites;

Whitney Museum of American Art

Museum of Modern Art

Emily
2017-04-03T00:30:08+00:00 October 14th, 2015|Travel|0 Comments

CAMO CHIC

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I consider myself pretty adventurous in fashion and don’t normally pay mind to the “rules”. However, when you’re a born-and-raised Tennessee girl with a New York state of mind and a passion for fashion there are two things you never, EVER wear – camouflage and that repulsive shade of UT orange. Sometimes though, hillbilly goes high-fashion as the military trend was seen all over the FW15 runways. I saw this romper at Forever 21 and my heart skipped a beat. It’s such a statement piece and can be worn in every season. I wore the long sleeve crop top underneath to keep the October chill off my arms. I paired with a heeled lace-up combat boot to keep it feminine while still tying into the camo print. Now all that’s left to do is to conquer my fear of orange! Are there any patterns or colors that you refuse to wear because of what you associate them with?

Emily
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October 2015

I was wearing;

Forever 21 Zipper Front Camo Romper; EXACT HERE

Victoria’s Secret PINK Oxblood Long Sleeve Crop Top: Similar HERE

Ray-Ban Black Aviator Sunglasses: Similar HERE

Shoemint Lace-Up Combat Boots: Similar HERE

“Camo Chic” Photographed by Kurt Eslick

2017-04-03T00:30:09+00:00 October 8th, 2015|Fashion|0 Comments

CHICKEN CHIPOTLE STUFFED SQUASH WITH HONEY ROASTED CARROTS

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Since it is now officially fall, I have been dying to play around in the kitchen and whip up something using my favorite autumn ingredient – squash! I’m not picky when it comes to squash. I will eat any and all kinds. Although I am a pasta girl, sometimes I enjoy a nicely cooked spaghetti squash more than a bowl of regular spaghetti which is out of character for me because in my mind pasta > anything and everything else. I found this recipe from www.halfbakedharvest.com on Pinterest but made a few tweaks. Because this is my first recipe I will throw in this disclaimer; I am very creative in almost every facet of my life, except when it comes to food. To clarify, I really enjoy making unique recipes but I am not super adventurous when it comes to creating my own recipes. When I take time to plan a special meal, buy all the needed ingredients, and it turns out disastrous I get frustrated and, even worse, hangry. Hangry Emily is bad. Just ask Luke. 😉 I have to have some sort of guideline to go by when cooking and I tend to go a little off track here and there, but I’m usually very satisfied with the finished product.

This dish was amazing, although quite time consuming. I would recommend either making the filling for the squash ahead of time and refrigerating until use or cooking this recipe on your next day off because it’s not a quick dinner recipe. You can grate the cheese ahead of time, although I would not do that any more than 24 hours prior to cooking. The carrots could be washed, chopped (if you prefer), and seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil in a plastic bag until you’re ready to cook. For more flavorful quinoa, I like to boil it in broth. I used chicken broth for this recipe but when I want a vegetarian option, I’ll use vegetable broth. You could also make this recipe vegetarian friendly by omitting the chicken or subbing tofu. I wanted to roast some veggies as a side but was planning on having carrots, onions, and brussel sprouts until I found these multi-colored carrots at Trader Joes that were perfectly photogenic. You can use regular carrots though without altering the outcome.

Chicken Chipotle Stuffed Squash with Honey Roasted Carrots
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Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened to room temp or melted
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 whole canned chipotle chilies in adobo, minced (use 3-4 for more heat)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (may sub rice or cous cous)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 lb whole carrots
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse 1/2 cup quinoa in sieve. Pour 1 cup broth or water in pot and then dump the rinsed quinoa into the pot. Bring to a boil and then turn down to low heat and cover with lid. It will continue expanding for about 15 minutes but you will need to stir it about every 3 minutes to prevent burning it on the bottom of the pan. Once there is no more liquid in the pot, remove from heat and cover and let cool until ready to make filling.

Cut the squash lengthwise and seed. Place skin side down in oven-safe dish. Use the 2 tbs of softened butter to coat the flesh of the squash. Sprinkle on brown sugar, salt, and pepper and pat down into butter. Bake for 45 minutes or until flesh is fork tender.

Wash and trim chicken. If you want it to cook quickly, I would recommend tenderizing it so that each breast is about half an inch thick. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides and coat both sides in olive oil. Place in baking pan and cook alongside squash at 425 degrees. If chicken was tenderized it will be cooked in 10 to 15 minutes. It will be between 20 and 30 minutes for thicker pieces. Chop 1 cup of spinach and toss in a drizzle of olive oil and place in oven safe ramekin and put in the oven until wilted (7-10 minutes).

  • If you have a smaller oven, some options to cut down on oven usage would be to; Boil the chicken by bringing water to a boil, then turning down to low and covering the pot with a lid and cooking for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle (Still rub salt & pepper on chicken prior to boiling). You can also sautée spinach in a skillet with a dash of olive oil on medium-high heat. It will cook in less than 5 minutes when using this method, but you will need to continually be moving the spinach around in the skillet.

Toss the washed and cut (if preferred) carrots around in 2-3 tbs of olive oil, salt, and pepper and place on baking sheet. Save bowl. Once the chicken is finished, place the carrots in the oven (still at 425) for 15 minutes, which is about when the squash should be timing out.

While carrots and squash are cooking and chicken is cooling, mix up; 2 tbs olive oil, 2 tbs lime juice, 2 minced garlic cloves and 2-4 (depending on your heat preference) minced chipotle chilies, 2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix well and set aside. Shred chicken with hands or a fork. Place shredded chicken and quinoa in chipotle sauce and mix until well combined. Grate cheese.

Remove squash and carrots from oven. Swirl the liquid that has formed inside the squash around until well coated and discard remaining. Place carrots back in bowl used to coat in olive oil. Drizzle 1/4 cup honey in bowl and toss until carrots are well coated. Place back on baking sheet. Fill squash halves with quinoa mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Place dish of squash and carrots back in the oven and cook 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. You can top with fresh cilantro if you’re feeling fancy.

Emily
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2017-04-03T00:30:09+00:00 October 6th, 2015|Food|0 Comments

RED ROSE ROMPER

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I’m feeling major Dolce & Gabbana FW15 vibes in this romper. I really love this piece because I love bright, bold floral prints. I don’t have too many floral pieces in my closet because most are too busy and bland for me. However, the D&G FW15 show gave me a new-found appreciation for floral and how it can exude femininity with ease. I chose to bring out all of the tones of the print with my accessories; a bright red lip for the primary color of the print, an oxblood jacket for the shadows in the flowers, and my favorite DKNY bag to correlate with the color of the leaves. I wish I could have this print on some pieces that I could wear as the weather gets colder because I’m not ready to put it in the back of my closet until next summer.

Emily
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September 2015

I was wearing;

H&M Black Floral Sunglasses

H&M Floral Romper

Victoria’s Secret PINK Oxblood Lace Bralette

Forever 21 Oxblood Faux Leather Jacket

Target Mossimo Lace-Up Heels

DKNY Kelly Green Bowler Bag

“Red Rose Romper” photographed by Kurt Eslick

2017-04-03T00:30:09+00:00 October 1st, 2015|Fashion|0 Comments