Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You Look Very Familiar...Have I Seen You Some Place Before?

Hello Everyone! It's time for another edition of *You Look Very Familiar...Have I Seen You Some Place Before*?

This is an ongoing series of posts in which I share less expensive 'look-a-like' alternatives to pricier clothing items from J.Crew, Madewell, and high-end designers/retailers, allowing you to get their look for less...let's get started, shall we? :)




*Long Sleeve Pattern Shirt in merlot paisley






































Michael Kors Runway watch









Anthropologie Lace medallions tank







***If you have a 'Familiar Find' you would like to share, please feel free to email it to me: allthingssimplified.me@gmail.com.

That's it for this week's edition...I hope you've enjoyed it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: GAP Military Parka

GAP Military Parka

Earlier this month I featured the GAP Military Parka in one of my 'Yes Please!!!' posts, which can be seen here. As I shared in that post, I have been looking for an alternative to the Boyfriend Fatigue Jacket from J.Crew, which I wore on a daily basis earlier this year before the weather started to warm up here in Montana. I've had it since last summer, but moving out west gave me the opportunity to finally put it to good use.

Well, I absolutely love the jacket and would like to purchase it in another color (or two). The problem with that is that J.Crew only makes it in one color right now, which happens to be a real bummer, IMO. However, I believed I had found a promising alternative in the Military Parka from GAP in the 'clean coal' colorway, and ordered it a couple days after my post. Well, it finally arrived this past weekend, and here is the review with pics that I had promised to my reader {L}...

GAP Military Parka

From the GAP website...

Fabric & Care:

100% Cotton.
Machine wash.
Imported.

Overview:

Soft twill weave with quilted lining.
Long sleeves with elasticized cuffs.
Packable hood, stand collar.
Angled pockets with snap-flap closures, welt pockets.
Front button placket with hidden zip closure.
Drawcord ties at waist and hem.

Fit & Sizing:

Straight silhouette with an easy, slight oversized fit.
Hits at mid-thigh.


The parka arrived rolled up in one of the plastic packing bags, and was shipped in the grey poly bag that GAP always uses. I really wish they would send jackets, coats, and dresses in a box, but I doubt that will ever happen, especially since they ship for free on orders of $50+. Anyways, the parka did arrive a bit wrinkled, but I imagine with time as it hangs in the closet the wrinkles will start to fall out, or else it could be steamed if they are too bothersome.



My initial thoughts on the parka upon pulling it out of the bag were...a good heavy weight, quality construction, nice color and fabric. I ordered the parka in a size small, even though my 'normal' size at GAP is an xsmall, because I wanted to make sure I would have room to layer underneath it once the temps get colder. This was a mistake, as the parka seems to run on the large side, and it is too big on me in the size small. Is it doable? Yes, but I plan to exchange for an xsmall, as I think the smaller size will not only look better, but will also feel more comfortable. I will still be able to layer underneath the smaller size, as I am able to layer a thick hoodie under the size small with room to spare.





The parka has a detachable hood...



There is a zipper, as well as buttons up the front of the jacket, along with ties at the waist (they are actually just above hip-level on me), angled pockets, and welt pockets...



The parka has a quilted lining, which makes it quite warm worn on it's own, without the need for extra layering...



Overall, I think the GAP Military Parka is a well-constructed, quality garment that is worth the retail price, and even more so with the extra % off discounts that GAP offers on a daily basis. I do think the sizing runs to the large side, so stick with your regular GAP size, or size down one if you do not plan on layering underneath it, or simply for a more fitted look.



That's it for now...what are your thoughts on the GAP Military Parka? Do you own it, or have you tried it on in the store? Are you thinking about purchasing one for your self? Please do share...I always love to hear from you!

Have a lovely day! :)

P.S. The jacket is an Extra 40% off right now with code DEAL at checkout, plus shipping is free on orders of $50+. Click HERE to shop.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cooking Simplified: Cranberry Oat Bread

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend so far! We have spent this one at home working on projects as we continue to settle into our new home. I do plan on sharing another 'Life Lately' post in the near future to tell you more about our new place, and what we've been up to. It's been several months since my last one, and a lot has happened that I want to share with you. So stay tuned for my update in the near future. :)

Now on to today's post...since we are finally in our own home, and my kitchen boxes have all been unpacked, I have once again started baking my own bread. Not only is homemade bread extremely delicious, but it is also free from added preservatives, and a lot less expensive than buying it from the store, especially if you have a large family like I do.

It used to be that I would make my bread by hand, kneading it myself, letting it rise, kneading it again, and then baking it in the oven. However, as of late I have started using a bread machine, as it saves me a lot of time in the kitchen, and the bread has been turning out just as delicious as oven-baked bread. I have been using the Oster Expressbake Breadmaker, and have been very pleased with it. If you're looking for a machine with a 1 - 2 lb. loaf capacity for a decent price, this is a really great option.

I am always on the lookout for new sweet bread recipes, as my family enjoys having a slice at breakfast or as a snack, and I enjoy a slice toasted with my cup of tea for a special treat or pick me up during the day. During one of my searches, I came across this recipe for Cranberry Oat Bread. I made a few minor changes to the recipe, and I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. Honestly, it is so delicious I think I could just about eat the whole loaf myself. My boys practically devoured the entire loaf before I was even able to snap a pic of it, or try a piece myself...yes, it's that good!

Here is my personal version of the recipe:

Cranberry Oat Bread

Ingredients:

1 cup water (70° to 80°) + 1 Tbsp.
2 tablespoon butter, softened
4 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2-1/2 cups bread flour
1-3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins

Directions:

1. In bread machine pan, mix the yeast, honey, and 1 cup water. Let sit for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.

2. Add the butter, cinnamon, oats, flour, and salt.

3. Select basic bread setting. Choose crust color and loaf size if available. (I set mine for a 1.5 lb. loaf with light crust.)

4. Bake according to bread machine directions. Check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed. (I added 1 Tbsp. water at this point, as my dough seemed a bit dry.)

5. Just before final kneading (your machine may audibly signal this, like mine does), add the cranberries.

6. Wait patiently for the loaf to finish kneading and baking, while enjoying the wonderful smell wafting through your home.

7. Remove from pan, place on a rack to cool a bit, then slice and enjoy...try not to eat the entire loaf all at once. ;)

8. Yield: 1 loaf (1-1/2 pounds).

**You can substitute raisins for the cranberries, or add raisins with the cranberries. You can also completely omit the dried fruit altogether. I have not yet made the bread without the cranberries, but read a review that said it turns out as a simply delicious loaf of oat bread. I personally will be giving it a try soon.

***A couple more tidbits...I have found that slicing bread made in the bread machine with an electric knife is definitely the way to go. I use THIS ONE from Hamilton Beach and it works like a charm. I have also invested in THIS foldable bread slicer with 3 sizes of thickness, which really helps to get the perfect size slice for sandwiches, toast, or a thick slice of bread to go with soup or chili. I have been storing my freshly baked bread in the Progressive International Adjustable Bread Keeper with very pleasing results, and plan to get a second one in the near future. If you are looking for a way to store your bread so that it remains fresh for more than a day or two, give this keeper a try. It's not overly pricey and it works well...that's a win - win, IMHO. :)

That's it for now...I hope you enjoy this bread as much as my family and I do. Let me know what you think if you decide to give it a try! :)

Have a lovely day!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Now at Madewell: The Summer to Fall Sale - 20% Off Select Styles & Free Shipping on All Orders - HOTANDCOOL!!!

Madewell is offering an Extra 20% Off Select In-Between-Season Styles with code HOTANDCOOL at checkout until 8.25.14. Shipping is FREE on ALL Orders, too...YAY!

I absolutely love Madewell. The casual-vibe of their clothing works well with my lifestyle, the styling on the website stays more to the understated side, the prices are often more affordable than a lot of the retailers offering similar styles, and I love that they always offer Free Shipping on ALL orders, too. The quality has been good on all the items I have ordered, and the pieces are all holding up very well so far. (I've shared pics of me wearing a couple of the jackets on my Instagram.)

If you haven't ever ordered from Madewell, you should definitely consider giving them a try...I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you like them, too. :)

Click HERE to shop the styles eligible for the extra 20% off, and be sure to take a peek at my personal picks below.

So many pieces to love...

*Collarless Tunic in Pure White - understated and chic

*Tomboy Workshirt - can't go wrong with either color

*The Perfect Chambray Shirt in Wilder Wash - looks perfect, just like the name says...


*Raw-Edge Tee - simple and effortless chic...beautiful colors, too

*Rowhouse Sweater - especially love the hthr flannel colorway


*Silk Embroidered Tunic Dress - I would wear this as a tunic over leggings or jeans since the length is a touch shorter than I prefer...love the embroidery detail

*Fortune Dress - such pretty embroiderey! the pic of the model does not make the dress look overly flattering, but I think with the proper fit, and perhaps a belt at the waist it would be lovely on

*Skinny Skinny Jeans in Madewell Rinse - even though I do not wear a lot of skinny jeans, I think these would be great this fall and winter tucked into knee or even ankle boots

*The Boyjean in Afternoon Wash - don't these look incredibly comfortable?


*The Gladiator Sightseer Sandal - love all three colors

*The Crisscross Sightseer Sandal - especially love it in 'warm sand'

*The Kensington Satchel - how gorgeous in both colors...I would have to say the english saddle colorway is my fave, though. It can also be monogrammed...love it!

*Folkyard Scarf - yes please!!!


*Wooden Bangle - especially love the equestrian brown colorway


*Metalset Stacking Rings - I own a couple sets of the stacking rings, and always look forward to adding more to my collection

What are your thoughts on this sale? Do you own any of the items currently on promo? Is there any item you would recommend? Please do share...I always love hearing from you! :)