Men's Fashion: The Summer Work Shirt

Whether they wear jeans and tennis shoes or a full-on suit to work, I've noticed most men in Baton Rouge need to step it up a little in the attire department. I completely understand that most guys have their favorite pair of jeans (hopefully without a Skoal ring on the back pocket - deplorable) or pants from which they refuse to deviate. Don't even try. Other guys, in a more professional environment, have their three suits that they interchange relentlessly throughout the year. (Often times, the costs involved in the purchase of new suits is simply not even an option) The good news is that there's an easy solution to stepping up your game without breaking the bank OR giving up your precious jeans/pants/slacks...

Update your shirts, guys! Summer is here, and with it you should burn put away your mock turtlenecks and celebrate with a little gingham, pastel, tattersall...and occasionally the simple stripe. J.Crew in particular has some great options, especially since many of their shirts come in a lightweight material - perfect for the Louisiana temperatures. Another great benefit to J.Crew is that they have a little-known online Factory Store on the weekends! This is a great opportunity to get these great looks at a discounted price. (Oh please - it's not that much. Skip going out to eat ONCE, and you already have enough to buy a shirt that you can wear for years...unless those patterns go out of style. Then we're all screwed!)

The best thing about these shirts is that they can be dressed up or down:
   Option 1: Throw on a blue/white gingham shirt (unironed) with a pair of jeans and canvas Sperry's in a navy or "Olive 2". That's it! You're good to go.
   Option 2: Just as easily, press a light pink and white tattersall option and match it with a navy suit, brown (yes - BROWN) shoes, and gingham tie. Done!


Slipcover Save

So this is how I found Cooper this morning: curled up on the worst possible spot - our stark white armchair! After the dogs had taken over the sofa at the last house making it smell worse than an animal clinic with no a/c, Beau and I made it a point to not let any animals on any furniture at the new house. Therefore, I almost did a double-take when I saw Cooper on the armchair this morning acting as if it was completely normal for him to be up there. Normally, I would just tell him to get down and wouldn't really care, but of course he had muddy feet as he had just been let out to use the bathroom. Seriously?!

With two Great Danes and a cat that sheds so much I'm surprised it even has hair anymore, I'm sure you're wondering why we would EVER own any white furniture in the first place. Well I have one thing to say to that: SLIPCOVERS! I cannot recommend slipcovers enough - especially for pet owners. (I'm not talking about throwing a sheet over your sofa - I think we've all moved on past our college freshman apartment days). Opting for a good-fitting slipcover is smart because if anything spills/sheds on it (like this morning), you can fairly easily remove and wash it. Note: I'd recommend a white slipcover because you can bleach the crap out of it. Also, being able to wash it will help eliminate pet odors that build up over time. Trust me, your guests will appreciate that!
Side Note: Another great benefit to slipcovers is that they are a cheaper solution than replacing an outdated sofa when the time comes (you should see the groovyness underneath our armchair's slip cover).


Ribbon Reinvention

This is a ridiculously simple DIY "project", and my goal to start dedicating more posts to individual ideas like this, because I'm afraid they would be overlooked if I throw a bunch at you at one time.

Recently, I was given a present from PotteryBarn that had a ribbon tied around the box in which it came. Like my mom, Jeri, I find it difficult to throw things like this away, knowing that I can reuse it in one way or another in the future. (I'm not as bad as her, though. I've literally seen her save used wrapping paper because it was "so cute") After having the ribbon sitting on my counter for - oh - 3 weeks, I finally found the perfect place for it! Jeri gave me the little silver container a while back that I've been using to store keys, loose change, and wallets. I do love the container as it is, but I wanted add a little something to it, so literally all I did was tie the ribbon around it, finishing it off with a bow. Easy, but it make such a big difference. To be honest, whenever I go to other people's houses, it's usually the little things like that that make me say, "What a good idea! I wish I was creative like y'all".


Menu: New Orleans

This weekend, Beau and I hired a dog-sitter for the Danes...and Oliver, and we went down to the "Big Easy" to celebrate our friend, Johnny's  birthday. One of our favorite things to do in life New Orleans is eat, so clearly that's what we did ALL weekend! While mostly staying Uptown and in Garden District (I refuse to talk about the Bourbon St. pizza we had at two in the morning) Beau and I came across some new dining discoveries - so why not share?

Our first stop after arriving in New Orleans (NOLA) was to 
StyleLab, an upscale men's clothing store on Magazine St. owned by our old roommate and good friend, Mark Warner. After we exhausted ourselves from a little retail therapy, Beau and I (along with friends, Johnny and Patrick) walked down the street to our first fun food find of the trip: Sucré.

I do not exaggerate when I tell you that this is literally the best pastry boutique I've ever experienced - including those we've visited in Chicago and LA. With executive pastry chef (and top 10 pastry chef in the country), Tariq Hanna, this place offers some serious eats. Since we had all just eaten not too long before, the four of us opted for the lighter dessert option: gelato! Coconut Fudge, Pistachio, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Watermelon Sorbet where the flavors we chose while I (and only I - typical) also enjoyed a refreshing glass of homemade sangria. Insane! The staff was extremely kind and helpful, the shop was so well put together, and the desserts...? Well, all I can say is that they speak for themselves.

After a little R&R at our friend, Amy's, the now five of us were off again to yet another delicious food find - La Thai. While staying true to authentic Thai roots, this restaurant manages to infuse a unique New Orleans twist into the menu. For example, I ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and the "Thai-Coon". This dish included jumbo shrimp, Louisiana crawfish, and a vegetable medley which was sauteed in a spicy garlic basil sauce topped off with fried eggplant and served with jasmine rice. Need I say more? 

As we were walking out of La Thai, we visited a very unique shop named
St. James Cheese Company. Oh. My. God. This place is cheese heaven, and since we were too full to eat again, I've made it a promise to myself that I will return with an empty stomach! The store offers a plethora of fine cheeses from America, England, Australia, Norway, Portugal,Netherlands, Switzerland, and many more as well as fruits, crackers, and wines for in-house dining. Inside is also a grocery offering homemade fruit spreads, other fun finds, and of course - cheese! As soon as we can get back to NOLA, I'll try it out and let y'all know just how amazing it is.

After a fun night out, starting a Mark's (owner - StyleLab) urban loft located in New Orleans' Warehouse District and ending with bar hopping Downtown, we ended this food frenzy on Sunday morning with nothing less than my all-time favorite thing in the world...wine BRUNCH! We met up with David, one of our best "Baton Rouge moved to NOLA" friends. Residing in a very chic and "New Orleansy" Garden
District apartment, he knows the best local eateries in the area, and he has not let us down yet - this time was definitely no exception. He introduced us to a local brunch spot named Surrey's Cafe and Brunch Bar. Surrey's for short. Like many restaurants in New Orleans, the structure was an old New Orleans home converted into brunch utopia. 
Unfortunately, we don't have any images for you, but let me leave you with this: Homemade iced coffee and notorious fresh squeezed OJ, Louisiana Crab Cakes Benedict and Avocado and Brie Omelet, all served with mouthwatering fluffy biscuits, butter, and jelly. Let's just say that the two hour work out after was totally worth it!


Wine About It!

What do you say we discuss wine? I'm thinking it's the warmer Louisiana weather (aka 97 degrees...at night), but I've had a major craving for white wines. I have some favorites like La Crema's Chardonnay or Nappa Cellars' Chardonnay, but I want to dedicate this post to more reasonably priced white wines to accommodate the avid drinker...on a budget.

I should mention now that I absolutely despise don't care for sweet white wines like Rieslings or flavored/sparkling wines. Or anything in a box. Or jug. Even Pinot Grigios are a little sweet for me, although I'd never turn down a glass. Either way, I tend to stick to Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. If you're like us and go through more than two, but usually less than ten bottles of wine a week, I think you'll be able to get something out of this post.

What I recommend is Woodbridge's Chardonnay, Lightly Oaked Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. They are surprisingly smoothe and crisp, and go well with so many dishes. There are cheaper wines in this price point like Yellowtail or Sutter Home, but don't be fooled! They are not as good and will give you the most insane headache the next morning! Please don't try to save an extra dollar when you're already spending so little in the first place. The other's may be a little cheaper, but you'll pay for it in other ways the next morning. My ONLY problem with this wine is that it does't come with a traditional cork which I collect to reuse later to make DIY gifts and decor (I'll explain later). Instead, it has that new synthetic corks. Hate 'em.

Note: I suggest serving these with lighter foods like poultry, fish, seafood, or cheeses.


Split Pea...Decor?

Ridiculous, right?! Not at all. I got this idea from my mom, Jeri (many more posts inspired by her to come in "Jeri's Corner". Cheesy name - AMAZING ideas). She loves to entertain and is exceptionally good at it, and while hosting an engagement party for a family friend, she decided to try something new - split peas as a decoration. Strategically placed on her kitchen island in a sea of appetizers, the dried spit peas, which were poured into vases topped off with white, unscented candles, proved to be the perfect centerpiece. Let the compliments begin! Beau and I loved it so much that we decided to use this as our centerpiece for our dining room table (minus the candles). How could we not? I mean, who doesn't love DIY decorations that cost less that ten dollars (INCLUDING the two vases from Target)?? My goal is to eventually purchase a simple linen table runner for the two vases with the spilt peas to sit on top of. Simple. Elegant. Perfect.


Merci, Krystal B.!

Last night, Beau and I had our good friends Jami S. and fellow blogger, Krystal B. (apinchoflovely) over for baked chicken, sauteed green beans, and a fresh spring salad, and can I just say we had the best time ever! However, I have to admit - I did have an alterior motive for inviting them over...


The Awful Beginning...

Our first tour of the home with our Realtor; the "Before"

So this is our house…well…sort of. After being on the market for one day, Beau and I emailed our Real Estate agent and said that we wanted to view the house the very next day. I’ll give the owner the benefit of the doubt and say that it is so messy because of the short notice (notice the opened Miller Lite bottles and dirty clothes strewn across the house, the box of strawberries on the counter, random crap everywhere ), but somehow I think this is not necessarily the case. I’m excited for you to experience exactly what we saw when we walked into our soon-to-be home for the first time. Tell me you wouldn’t be scared! Periwinkle, lavender, and deer heads - OH MY!


Dinner Party Etiquette

Tonight, Beau and I are having our favorite couple (Johnny and Patrick) over for dinner. They’re fun, have a great sense of humor, easy-going, and (of course) wine drinkers. What else could you ask for in a dinner party guest?! I have to say, they really do exemplify the perfect dinner party couple, and have inspired me to create the following list of etiquette “musts” for when you are invited into someone’s home for a dinner party.


Welcome Home!

Welcome to the Mended Nest! While mostly focusing on all matters of the home, this blog is meant to share our experiences, interests, creative endeavors, DIY projects, and perspective on music, food, fashion, and fun. As very green, first-time home owners, we’re looking forward to sharing all of our lagniappe adventures, surprises, and blunders along the way, documenting our every step as we, our two great danes, Duke and Cooper, and our cat, Oliver navigate through on this voyage!