I’m loving every aspect of my new Mrs. status — including housekeeping and homemaking and all the trials and tribulations involved therein. (To my feminist-minded readership: don’t despair of my slightly I’m-down-with-1950s-era-female-repression opener — there is an equal distribution of power in our little Magpie nest. And Mr. Magpie cooks me dinner. A lot.) Mr. Magpie complains that I’m going to make him fat because I just cannot stop baking — first it was a peach-and-raspberry cobbler (both fruits are so cheap right now!), then it was bread pudding (we had leftover Italian bread and eggs quickly approaching expiration)…
Bread Pudding — image courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
and I just pored over my Nigella Lawson cookbook and am dying to try a few of her dessert recipes. Of course, I cannot do anything without wondering how to do it in style. I’m drawing inspiration from an unlikely coupling: the one and only Charlotte York of “Sex and the City,” paradigm of domestic goddess-hood, and Louis Vuitton’s 2010 season (both ad campaign and runway alike), which was brimming with uberfeminine shapes and ladylike separates hailing straight from the 1950s.
Let’s start with some shirt dresses. I’m in love with this navy classic (dubbed “The Jackie” — likely after everyone’s favorite Jackie O. — on sale for $112, TheOutnet), paired with uber-high, unexpectedly sexy Louboutins ($865, ShopSavannah’s):
I’d likely mix it up a bit by swapping out the tone-on-tone belt and subbing in a fitted black bow-front belt ($29.50, The Limited):
Black-on-navy just feels more modern, and the texture contrast is a welcome switch-up. I like a chunky enorma-stud as the solo accent ($34.50, White House Black Market), with the exception of my wedding band and engagement ring:
If you’d prefer something a bit lighter in hue (you wouldn’t guess it from my past few posts, but we’re still more than a stone’s throw away from fall…), I just picked up an amazing oxford blue shirtdress from H&M ($29, thankyouverymuch) and am still tempted to snag this flutter-sleeve shirt-dress (the flutter just gets me — so feminine! — $29, Old Navy):
Don’t forget a vintage-styled apron in coordinating red ($42, Carolyn’s Kitchen):
(Secretly obsessed with the way the flutter sleeve of the shirt dress echoes the flutter of the apron trim. Loser over here.) If, like me, you’re considering trying some of Nigella’s dessert recipes ($19.95, Chefs):
…might as well go the extra yard (i.e. channel Betty Crocker / Martha Stewart / June Cleaver / other fab homemaker) and pick up some pretty cupcake liners (from $3.75, Bake It Pretty):
Love a stylishly presented baked good. (But don’t get me started on the Georgetown Cupcake craze. If you live in D.C., you know what I’m talking about. If you’re out of town: consider yourself lucky. The uproar is baffling and slightly sad. Mr. Magpie and I drive by the Gtown Cupcake shop all the time on our way into/out of the District and our eyes nearly pop out of our heads when we see the bajillion and three out-of-towners patiently waiting in line for a cupcake. Que? P.S.: Insiders know that the cupcakes at Baked and Wired are way better. And cut.) Other options for hostessing and/or just feeling good while primping the home? How darling and feminine and oh-so-chic is this updated housedress by Vanessa Bruno Athe ($123, TheOutnet):
Add this mixed media pearl-chain-and-fabric necklace ($185, Rachel Roy) — adore the pastel peach of the dress against the pastel lavender of the necklace fabric:
The perfect topper? This “Lady Cake” apron ($32, Anthropologie):
Charlotte York wore a similar style in “Sex and the City” (it was also from Anthropologie):
Speaking of Anthro — what an amazing spot to hit that slightly vintage, slightly fashion forward, slightly unkempt balance. I’m particularly into this Jackie O-esque LBD ($98, Anthropologie):
The folded collar interests me. As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m on the lookout for slightly left-of-center shapes and styles this season: eye-catching folding, draping, pleats. Throw it into the mix! I’d probably go for a super bright patent to pair with this staid dress, but…I’m also dying over these updated Ferragamo pumps (I’m impressed — the somewhat stodgy label managed to update its styling, hoisting its shoe styles out of grandma-only zone! — $584, Zappos):
Don’t forget a feminine wrist watch — this engraved Burberry option is luxe and ladylike in all the right ways ($475, Nordstrom):
And don’t forget the Domestic Goddess’s secret weapon: Benefit’s Bathina body balm ($28, Sephora):
I’ve been using this stuff for years, and it lasts forever and works like a charm. It has a subtle musky-floral scent, glides on legs and arms, and leaves you looking glimmering and glamorous in the prettiest of ways. When I need a little pick-me-up (especially when I’m feeling pale), I’ll smooth on some of my other secret weapon (LORAC’s TanTalizer firming body mousse — $28, Sephora) and then some Bathina — and feel instantly recharged.
This odd-print dress (retro-chic if I ever saw a fabric — $161, ModCloth) would also be an enticing pick:
You’ve got to wear some serious black pumps with this get-up — either the Ferragamos above, or these beyond perfect (and sorta throwback-to-Carrie-Bradshaw-circa-2000) Miu Miu pumps ($595, Barney’s):
These TopShop enorma-studs are the perfect addition ($25, TopShop):
And, finally, it just doesn’t get better than this precious “candy striper” ruffle-front dress by Mel en Stel ($350, Sunday Brunch Dress Shop — the second image below is a close-up of the darling print of the fabric) and a pair of glossy red Valentino heels ($695, Foot Candy Shoes):
For those of you wondering about the impromptu bread pudding whipped up late Sunday night after our trip to Charlottesville to visit my sister, who is currently starting graduate school at my alma mater, UVA — here is a modified recipe from Paula Deen’s collection. I know, I know. Not the most figure-friendly. But delicious — and can be eaten hot or cold, for breakfast or dessert. I also had all the ingredients on hand for this little dish (no grocery trips required!), which was an extra bonus!
Impromptu Bread Pudding
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with butter. Cube day-old Italian bread and place in baking dish (Paula Deen advises for 3 cups of cubed bread, but I probably put more like 4.5 cups in there — I think it’d be too soupy otherwise. Essentially, make sure the entire dish is covered with a layer or two of cubes.) Whisk together 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 2 cups milk, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Pour over the cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, mix/crumble together 1/2 stick butter with 1 cup light brown sugar. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the bread cubes just before popping it in the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until pudding is “set” and top appears crusty and brown.
Deen includes a vanilla-and-brandy sauce for serving, but this seems over-the-top. I just made some whipped cream — I always add a healthy dose of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla for depth of flavor as I’m whipping.