November 30, 2012


It was the title of Taylor Swift's most recent chart-topping album, but it is also one of the best holiday accessory colors. The look of red tights can add a bright punch to any winter outfit. Paired with a dark hued dress or neutrals and gold jewelry, it's the perfect touch for a seasonal look. Do you own a pair of red tights? If so, how do you wear them?


November 29, 2012

Pasta alla Vodka

I can remember my mother calling me from the liquor store one morning while I was in college, talking about how she was going to make Pasta alla Vodka for dinner and she was stumped over what type of vodka to buy for the sauce. I gave her a few recommendations, and later that night when I came home for dinner, I realized she had bought the cheapest, worst type of vodka man could purchase: Kamchatka vodka. It was the kind college freshman would call "easy, cheap and quick," and at $5.99 a bottle, you really couldn't beat the price, but you paid for it the next morning with a wicked hangover.

I was surprised, however, that it made a fine addition to the Pasta alla Vodka recipe that night; and no worries, this sauce won't give you a hangover. ;)

Pasta alla Vodka

2T olive oil
4 oz. thick, slab style bacon, chopped and cooked until crisp*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1t crushed red pepper flakes**
1 - 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/4-1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/3 cup vodka
1 - 8 oz. pkg. mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped***
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 -1lb. pkg. rigatoni or other tube-shaped pasta, cooked al dente.

1. Add olive oil and bacon to a large sauce pan and warm over medium heat, Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook one minute, taking care not to brown garlic.
2. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to saucepan. Cook uncovered over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to 2 cups. Add vodka and continue cooking for 2 more minutes.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in mascarpone cheese and bacon until well combined. Add fresh basil and remove from heat.
4. Toss sauce with pasta and serve with parmesan cheese.

* Bacon may be omitted for a vegetarian sauce.
** Additional crushed red pepper flakes may be added for a spicier sauce.
*** If fresh basil isn't available, omit, because dried basil will not taste the same in this dish.

November 28, 2012

Menswear Wednesday: Fair Isle Sweaters

Its namesake is a tiny little island off the coast of Scotland, but to the rest of the world, the term "Fair Isle" refers to warm, cozy sweaters and the knitting technique for which it bears its name. According to the Internet, the knit gained popularity after the then-Price of Wales (also known as Edward VIII, not Prince Charles!) wore Fair Isle tank tops in public in the early 1920s. 

Since then, it's safe to say these sweaters have gone in and out of style throughout the decades, yet remained a classic staple among men of the Northeast coast. Lucky for the rest of us, popular retailers like J.Crew, Banana Republic and the Gap have brought them back for all of us this season, with plenty of styles and colors to choose from. 

To dress it up, match with a colored shirt the same as a color in the knitting detail (similar to how the man in the top right wears his with a baby pink button-down), and a tie/blazer.

To dress it down, pair with matching corduroys or dark-wash jeans, and a relaxed shoe or boot, such as these.


Clockwise from top-left: {1} {2} {3} {4}

November 27, 2012

Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton

For those of you who watched Lifetime's premiere of "Liz and Dick" this past Sunday, I'd love to hear what you thought of Lindsay Lohan's portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor. In my opinion, no actress--no matter how good-- could exemplify the beauty or rigid character of Elizabeth Taylor. 

Lohan's performance was weak; she gave Taylor's accent no attempt and the make-up team did a poor job at disguising Lohan's trademark freckles. I read a book last year based on Taylor and Burton's tumultuous relationship, called A Furious Love, and I highly recommend it if you're interested in learning more about the two. After finishing the book, I can say with certainty that there will never be another Hollywood couple like these two.


November 23, 2012

A Pop of {Cheap} Style: Cap toe pumps

It's one thing to color block dresses, skirts and tops, but when Kate Spade and other designers took it to another level by color blocking pumps last year, I was craving something I knew I couldn't afford. After I discovered Target Does it Again on Instagram, I discovered that you could have all the glam without breaking the bank. Target offers the cap toe pumps in a variety of colors, any of which would go perfect with a simple black dress + tights this holiday season. With a $32.99 price tag (compared to over $200 from KS and YSL!), can you really resist this deal?

November 22, 2012

Happy Turkey Day

Hopefully everyone is taking the day to relax with family and friends, but most importantly, giving thanks for all we have. This year, I am thankful for all of the incredible experiences and opportunities I've had post-graduation, and the people I've met along the way. I hope that you are all enjoying your day off (I know I am!).


PS: This scene from Gossip Girl's Thanksgiving episode gets me every time. If you're a fan of the show, you have probably already seen it, but if not, it's worth a good laugh!

November 21, 2012

Menswear Wednesday: Dressing for Thanksgiving

This Menswear Wednesday "Thanksgiving inspired" post isn't about proper etiquette for cutting a turkey like the picture above may imply. However, if any of you men are taking part in slicing up the bird tomorrow, you'd best do it in style like the Don Draper-esque gentleman above. Thanksgiving with my family is usually very laid back style-wise, but if you come across any of the scenarios below, here are a few tips on how to look your best based on the company.

Side note to all men: As seen below, Fair Isle sweaters are huge this season. Invest in one! (But more on that in later weeks...)


November 20, 2012

Creamy tomato soup

Tomato soup was something I grew up on, only it was the kind from the Campbell's soup can. I think after I was 15 or 16 I grew to become fed up with it and stopped eating it completely. I'm so glad that I now found a recipe that is simple and somewhat fast. Plus, I always like knowing the contents of what I'm eating, and with this recipe, almost everything is healthy! It's best served with a classic grilled cheese sandwich... I used gouda cheese this time around. 

Creamy Tomato Soup


- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions)
- 2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish
- 3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Croutons, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Add the cream to the soup and pour into a blender/food processor (or you can run it through a food mill) until smooth. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves and/or croutons.

November 16, 2012

A Pop of Style's 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, I decided that getting a head start on A Pop of Style's Christmas Gift Guide would help all of my followers get on the right track for holiday gift shopping! Starting this upcoming Monday, November 19, I will be posting a gift guide every Monday until Christmas Eve. 

That leaves me six weeks to help all of my wonderful followers find the ideal gift (or gifts!) for their special someone(s). Who knows, maybe you'll even see a gift from the guide that you'll want to add to your wishlist. :) I promise to include items in price levels ranging from affordable to lust-worthy, and scour the Web/stores for all of the latest and greatest items for you guys. 

Here's how the weeks will line up:

Week One: Gifts for her
Week Two: Gifts for him
Week Three: Gifts for co-workers
Week Four: Gifts for tech-lovers
Week Five: Gifts for the home
Week Six: Last minute stocking stuffers/DIY gifts

I hope you will join me every Monday, and hopefully I can help you in finding the perfect gifts for everyone this holiday.

November 15, 2012

Pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes

The first time I realized how simple it was to make pesto from scratch, was a year and a half ago. I was a junior in college, babysitting a family with three children. The girl, who was ten years old, opened the freezer one night to make dinner and revealed to me her parent's stash of frozen pesto. When I say stash, I mean there were tons of jars full of the frozen green sauce. I have to admit, I was pretty embarrassed when she explained to me that all it really took was basil, olive oil, walnuts and cheese. I was mad I had gone over halfway through college without knowing this simple and cheap recipe!

Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

- 2 cups packed fresh basil
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 cups of penne pasta, cooked al dente
- salt and pepper to taste

Combine basil, cheese, garlic, olive oil, and walnuts in a food processor (I used my trusty Magic Bullet) and blend. While pasta is cooking, heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a pan and sauté tomatoes. After pasta is done, add to pan and toss in pesto sauce. Serve immediately.

November 14, 2012

Menswear Wednesday: The tie clip

Many years after a little boy retires his clip-on ties, the concept of a clip resurfaces, only in a more sophisticated way. Also called tie bars, tie slides and tie clasps, the tiny accessory serves a simple purpose: to prevent the tie from swinging, and ensure that it hangs straightly. You can get super-creative with the clips, but in my opinion, simplicity trumps creativity here. The best ones I've found so far can be found on Etsy or The Tie Bar, and my favorite looking one is below.

So, now that you've purchased a tie clip, how you wear it is just as important as tying your tie correctly. Here's the rule: It goes between the third and fourth buttons of your dress shirt. See pictures below, along with a few other handy tie clip tips!

1. The rule: Fasten clip between 3rd & 4th buttons.

2. The clip fastens both both parts of tie to the placket of your shirt; it doesn't just keep the two parts of your tie together.                                                             

3. Never wear a tie clip that is wider than your tie. Keep things narrow.

November 13, 2012

Hot hosiery

You can rarely catch me wearing jeans or any kind of pants in the summer, and oddly enough, the same goes for winter as well. I've always been a dress-girl over anything else, so you can probably guess that the number of pairs of tights I own is a little crazy. If I had to estimate, I'd probably guess I have at least 15 pairs, but I really can't help myself if I find a unique pair that no one else is going to have. 

My eyes always go to the pairs with little bow details, but I think polka dots are big this season too. I really don't like polka dots, but I guess if it is part of just a small detail of your outfit, then it's doable for me. :) Here are a few pairs of tights I scoped out that are in stores right now. 


Clockwise from top-left: {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6}

November 12, 2012

Girl to watch: Clare Bowen

It's been a while since I've done a "Girl to watch" post, but with that said, I've found a really great gal to introduce all of my followers to. If you don't watch ABC's Nashville, you're about to start after this! The main, young female character is Hayden Panettiere, but the underdog we'll all be cheering for is Clare Bowen. The 23 year-old is from Australia (which makes you wonder how she nails the Tennessee accent so well!), and has a voice that is dainty yet melodically daunting. If you're not already a fan, you're about to be after listening to her character's cover of The Civil War's If I Didn't Know Better.

November 9, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

Post-Halloween and October, it's usually safe to say that the "pumpkin madness" has died down a bit, but because it's still before Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post my mother's recipe for pumpkin bread. It was a such a huge hit when I brought it into work, my boss thought it was store-bought!


Pumpkin Bread (makes two loaves)
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin purée
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 tsp. soda
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t nutmeg
- 1 cup cooking oil
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 cup nuts (optional)

Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour into three greased and floured 9x5-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes

November 8, 2012

The Kennedy Detail

If you've been reading my blog since it's begun, you probably know about my beyond-normal interest in the Kennedy Administration. After reading Mrs. Kennedy and Me this summer, I decided just to go straight into the book written about all of the Secret Service Agents on the Kennedy Detail, appropriately titled The Kennedy Detail. Whereas the first book was written by Jackie Kennedy's agent, Clint Hill, the second book was compiled by all of the surviving agents from the Secret Service assigned to protect the president and his family.

The book begins about two months before the assasination, and even touches on the years following it, detailing the lives and experiences of several agents. I learned not only more than I could have imagined about the Secret Service, but also about that horrible day in Dallas. After finishing the book, I realized just how different things were back then regarding the safety of the president, and how risky the situations were in comparison to the protection provided the Commander in Chief today. But above all, you get to see how the American people loved President Kennedy, how the agents admired him so greatly, and finally, you come to understand the heartbreak they endured after November 22, 1963.

November 7, 2012

A Pop of {cheap} Style: 'Target does it again'

Something either really amazing, or really horrible recently happened in the world of retail. This week I was introduced to "Target Does it Again," an Instagram account that chronicles all of the latest and greatest Target has to offer. As if we didn't already love this store enough, it's about to become even greater with an Instagram account that shows us items that will have us running to our nearest Target store to snag. If you don't already, follow them on Instagram at @Targetdoesitagain. Happy shopping!


Home decor and kitchenware (I really want that cutting board in the shape of the US!):

Apparel and Shoes:



Tech Accessories:


November 6, 2012

Outdoor Style: Ditch the hats for the headbands

This winter, I want to throw caution to the wind (and cold, snow, rain and sleet for that matter). I know in Ohio we had a mild winter last year, and although I was in Washington, D.C. from January to April, it just didn't seem like winter-- there was no snow! Lately, I've heard every weatherman talking about what a "horrible winter" we're going to have because of last year's mild season. This being said, I thought I'd start a little earlier than December with some stylish tips-- and also because I went outside for my lunch break the other day and was almost frozen to death by the wind and the cold!

I'm usually the type to wear ear muffs, but have always loved the look of headbands too. It's all the style without the messy hat-hair. Here are a few of the best I've scoped out. Do you own any winter headbands?

November 5, 2012

My cup of tea

Cold fall and winter weather usually has my skin screaming for lotion and any ounce of moisture it can get. I usually load up on Aveeno body lotion and Olay body wash for the shower, but another way I like to keep my skin feeling healthy is by staying super-hydrated. It's not fact, but drinking coffee in the morning always makes me feel dehydrated (I usually guzzle down a glass of water after I finish my coffee), so during the colder months I'm prone to drinking excessive amounts of tea. 

Regular consumption of correctly brewed tea has been shown to reduce oxidation of fat, so that's a plus if you're looking at it from a health perspective. Since I've tried many, many types over the past years, I wanted to share my favorites with all of you. Hopefully you are hot tea connoisseurs like myself and can comment with your faves as well!
R.C. Bigelow's Orange & Spice Herb Tea: All of the fall-flavors you desire without the pumpkin taste. This is definitely one you want to drink during the fall/winter months, because it both smells and tastes like the season (if that's even possible).

TAZO China Green Tips: One of my favorite green teas. It has a fresh flavor that is all the better when paired with lemon and honey.

Lipton Green Tea with Pomegranate:  Lipton green tea is top three for me, but I love the added flavor you get with their pomogranate green tea. Similar to how I take my green tea, I simply add lemon and honey to perfect the taste.

Dilmah Passion fruit Pomegranate and Honeysuckle: No one has really heard of Dilmah, because it's not technically sold in the US. It is made in Sri Lanka, and my mom always brings home boxes and boxes of it when she goes to Europe for her business. This flavor is the best mixed with a little bit of lemon. I was first introduced to it when it was served cold, with an orange slice, strawberries and blueberries, but I love it hot as well. If you happen to see it in the US, make sure to try it.

Celestial Seasonings Black Cherry Berry Herbal Tea: I am always so blown away by this brand. Honestly, who thinks of coming up with "Sleepytime Tea?" It's genius! While this isn't one of their "Sleepytime" teas, the flavor in this is phenomenal  it doesn't need anything added to it because the taste of the mixed berries and cherry compliment each other well enough alone.