• Style-Crazed: Museum Ball 2.0

    Last weekend, I had the extreme pleasure of dressing to the nines [once again] for the Oceanside Museum of Art‘s Annual Museum Ball.

    As its largest fundraiser each year, the Museum Ball attracts OMA’s very finest for an evening outside with good music, great food, and adult libations galore. This year was my second time serving on the ball committee and I am happy to report that we definitely raised the bar from last year. In fact, I have heard nothing but rave reviews about the night’s experience, and even though the jury’s still out as to how much we actually raised, I am positive it will be a proud number :)

    Now, let’s talk “black tie” fashion, shall we?!

    Style Crazed: Museum Ball 2.0

    Glasses: Dior / Earrings & Bracelet: Love Tatum / Dress: Alice + Olivia

    Clutch: Kate Spade New York / Shoes: DSW

    I ADORE events like this one, because as an adult, this is about as close to a prom as you can get. I mean what lady doesn’t want to get all doll-ed up, see her handsome husband in a tux, and dance her way into twilight with some of her dearest friends!? That’s right = this Lucky Little Mustardseed is an über fan of a formal affair! So much so that when an occasion like this beckons, I usually like to try to one up myself with my wardrobe. I know it’s silly, BUT it’s something I strangely live for!

    For this year’s ball, I had the most difficult time finding a dress. Why? Well, for starters, I’m a firm believer in quality and not quantity. Cocktail dresses and evening gowns are NOT an inexpensive endeavor, so for me to personally spend x-amount of dollars on a dress, it sure better be sewn right, fit right, and have that unique WOW factor I’m always looking for. Secondly, I won’t wear anything that doesn’t scream #justjenna, because frankly, I have absolutely no desire to fit in. I also believe that there is nothing more beautiful [or stylish] than being your true self. For example, I don’t do long dresses. I am all limbs, no torso, and frankly, am somewhat of a klutz. It’s true! At my junior prom, I actually ripped the back of my dress on the dance floor. Can you believe that??? EMBARRASSING! That’s why I opted for a short dress for my senior prom AND haven’t really looked for or cared about a long dress ever since ;) SO, after I sent back . . . oh, I don’t know ten or more dresses [thank goodness for free shipping & returns] I was feeling quite deflated. THEN suddenly, I remembered about this sequins/beaded number from Alice + Olivia. I just LOVE Stacey Bendet‘s designs, don’t you? It, of course, was no longer available on her site. #FAIL. But luck luckily wouldn’t have it end that way. Thanks to good ole Google, I was happily able to not only secure one in my exact size but MAJORLY on-sale.

    Winner-winner, chicken dinner!

    From there, the rest was pretty easy-peasy. I opted to re-wear my white Dior glasses from our our February elopement, my BCBGeneration [I-could-pass-as-real-Valentino] pumps from this year’s Fashion Week San Diego Spring Showcase, and one of my beloved Kate Spade “book” clutches. The only real purchase I made for the night [besides these classic french tips] were these gorgeous earrings and matching bracelet from La Jolla-based, jewelry artist, Love Tatum – a.k.a. my latest obsession! Aren’t they fun? My friend and fellow fashion blogger, Vanessa Balli, is the one that actually introduced me to her designs. You should totally checkout Tatum’s jewelry too. The stones in my purchase totally remind me of my graphic designer’s two Dalmatian furbabies [yes, that’s how my brain works sometimes] PLUS, their quality is out of this world!

    “As I grew up, I learned what worked for me. That’s where the short dresses came from. And you can’t dance in a long dress.”Tina Turner

    Style Crazed: Museum Ball 2.0

    SO, what do you think of my fancy ensemble? Not to toot my own horn here or anything, but I truly think this is the best look I’ve put together thus far in the history of LLM :) I’m delighted that both its classy and unique with a side of quirk. OH, and P.S. I may or may not have had too many glasses of wine at the event, got on stage, and sang a little Pat Benatar LIVE with the band. Whoopsy-daisy!

  • Style Crazed: DMTC 3.0

    Yesterday, I attended Opening Day at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for the third year in a row – an event I personally look forward to now each year in all of its entirety: watching the horses race, seeing the sea of hats, betting on the races, spending time with friends, AND [of course] planning my “race day” outfit!

    Style-Crazed-DMTC-3.0

    Hat: And They Loved Hats / Glasses: Miu Miu / Earrings: Target / Pearls: Vintage

    Romper: Black Halo / Purse: Kate Spade New York / Shoes: DSW

    When planning any ensemble, it’s always important to dress for you and no one else; meaning wear what works for you, your taste, and your body type. For example, I tend to wear fascinators for this particular event. Why? Well, it’s not only because they are so adorably cute, BUT also because they work very nicely in my hair and do not dominate my thin stature. Large hats can have a tendency to look overbearing and give off a “bobble head” effect on certain body types. Plus, they can be tricky to take a selfie with! Lol. The key is to try on multiple styles, figure out what works best for you, and stick with it. That’s why this year I sprung for a fascinator once again. Only this time, it was a mini version of that stiff-straw-styled, turn-of-the-century hat = the boater! A fairly formal accessory often still worn by traditional barbershop quartets. It had that right amount of charming flair, SO I quite simply had to have it.

    For the rest of my look, I pretty much based the entire thing around my shoes. Yes, I KNOW I have done that for more #stylecrazed posts than I care to count. Can you really blame me though?! Look at these gorgeously floral pumps! With them, I was easily able pull from their beautiful array of colors to dress myself from head-to-toe :) my glasses and fascinator for the black, my pearls for the white, my romper for the red, and my snail purse for both the green and to help with the garden-esque feel I was going for. That’s also why I glued the vintage lady bug brooch to my hat as well; to bring everything full circle. You can see entire fascinator via my Instagram account [@jennapilant] later today!

    Now, let’s quickly touch upon rompers, ladies! I’m going to be blunt here. There is a VERY fine line in fashion between classy and trying-to-hard . . . and by trying-to-hard, I mean allowing your butt cheeks to hang out the bottom of your shorts [same goes for “under boob” but that’s another discussion for different day] if you’re like me, Long Legs McGee, you more than know how difficult it is to wear shorts that are tasteful. Ever since this whole “romper” trend came about, I have shopped high and low for the most flattering rompers and after many summers with this fad, I am happy to report that I have a whopping two of them. Both are comfy and show just the right amount of leg. I cannot even begin to tell you how many women I saw yesterday running around with the most unflattering wardrobes when all they really needed was a romper with an extra inch or two of fabric! I mean we are at the races [a dressier event] but then again, we all know how money cannot buy class.

    “Cock your hat – angles are attitudes.” – Frank Sinatra

    Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now ;) what do you think about my quirky get-up? I think it’s a good mix of my own style with little hints of vintage history. Do you agree? Either way, I hope you have a very FASHIONABLE Fri-YAY and a stupendous weekend!

  • Before & After: “Mix Tape”

    When I first learned that Darling Magazine wanted to do an article on me and my furniture, I was [of course] elated . . . but the pressure of this fun reality quickly sat in and my mind was soon reeling with a ton of artistic ideas that went in about fifty million-billion-gazillion different directions furniture-wise [yes, I am really great at stressing myself out] the good news is, however, I knew what I wanted this feature to do: 1) start to reveal my work to the world AND 2) give credit to my roots for cultivating my creativity. I think it’s safe to say “it” accomplished both, but I’ll let you decide once you’ve read the article :)

    Before & After: "Mix Tape"

    (“Mix Tape” – Copyright Pending)

    It was also personally important for me to refinish this mid-century modern, industrial-esque loveseat with its unusual arm for the magazine’s shoot. Why? Well, mostly because my Dad went to the trouble to purchased it at a Nebraska farm sale, completely disassembled it for me, and then shipped it, clear out to California [via Greyhound] just so his imaginative daughter would have another piece to work on. He also took the time to draw up an “assembly” diagram so I could easily put it back together! How sweet is he?! Plus, since I was paging homage to my Midwest upbringings in the article, I only thought it appropriate for my Dad’s stellar find to grace the pages of Darling as well. Now I’ve been asked a lot lately as to how I come up with my designs AND truthfully one of two things happen. I either buy furniture and almost immediately know what I am going to do with it OR I acquire a textile that inspires an idea that then forces me to hunt for the perfect “canvas”. A little weird, yes, but that’s #justjenna ;) and in this particular #beforeandafter instance, the 80s-tastic fabric you see in the picture above dictated my entire concept – even its name! I also pulled from the material’s multiple accent colors for the loveseat’s accessories, using glittery vinyl for its welting and peridot Swarowski crystals for its legs, creating what I believe to be a very rad piece of #functionalart.

    “My mom passed on her obsession of all things antique or vintage. I love to go thrift store shopping or explore any sort of garage sale. Treasure hunting is a family passion.” – Zoey Deutch

    So what do you think about this particular creation of mine = Beautiful? Funky? Too much to handle? Art is what you make it, so I already expect that people will either love or hate my stuff AND I happily welcome the discussion. Comment away!

  • My Office

    For the second time in almost a year [exactly] I am revealing to you a room I decorated in our home; only this time it is not our master bedroom but my office – a.k.a. Lucky Little Mustardseed headquarters! This is the place where I do most of my business-related work = make phone calls, shop for fabric, scroll Craiglist for furniture finds, return emails, and [of course] write my blog.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 1

    When “dressing-up” any space, I am a firm believer that a room should be a true reflection of its inhabitants.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 2

    SO, since that’s ME [lol] my office’s personality had to be fun, bright, and quirky . . .

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 3

    With uniquely-curated items that would cause your eyes to take a second glance and to smile.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 4

    I mean look at the wall art above my desk :) it just simply gives you a chuckle.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 5

    Okay, so this is by far the best accessory in my office. My little Nella Sue. Whenever I sit down to work [even if it’s only for a few minutes] she is right there in my lap. Her two siblings could care less :)

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 6

    For me, good interior design embodies a nice combination of both old and new. Take my desk lamp for example. I acquired it from an old farm house my parents purchase in the late 90s/early 2000s. All it needed was a little rewiring, a fresh lamp shade, and BAM! You got yourself a one-of-a-kind piece that cannot be found anywhere else.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 7

    I also adore to have decor items that reflect an individual’s other interests. Like this baseball memento for my boys in blue ;) GO ROYALS!

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 8

    And to have unconventional organizational tools.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 9

    I love it when you can look at a space from any angle and be stimulated.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 10

    Personal touches help make a room feel cozy and real. I keep this “senior” picture of my late grandma on my desk at all times. It helps to remind me that life is way too short AND that being classy is always in style.

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 11

    “By reshaping or decorating our outer selves, we express our inner sense of self: ‘I like that’ becomes ‘I’m like that.” – Virginia Postrel

    LLM Headquarters: Picture 12

    My office is definitely “Jenna” and helps make my work enjoyable every single day :)

  • Cheesy Shrimp Risotto

    As a newlywed, one of my main goals for our first year of marriage was to nail down about five to ten “go-to” supper recipes = ones that were easy to shop for and simple to make. Thus, most weeknights, I’ve been cooking up a storm in our kitchen, and through my experimentation, have luckily added some pretty tasty dishes to my recipe repertoire. [Yes, I am TOTALLY tooting my own horn over here!] One of those yummy concoctions is my take on risotto. It’s tried and true and has very much evolved over the past few blissful months. I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband has!

    Cheesy Shrimp Risotto

    Ingredients:

    3 cups water

    3 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Organic Vegetable Base [I adore ALL their products!]

    1 red onion, quartered

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    1 cup uncooked arborio rice

    1/2 cup white cooking wine

    1 cup frozen peas

    2 cups frozen shrimp, thawed

    1 container Trader Joe’s Freshly Shaved Parmesan, Romano, & Asiago Cheese

    Directions: In a saucepan, bring the water, Better Than Boullion, and red onion to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and continue to simmer the broth. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice. Cook about 5 minutes until the rice is golden in color. This is an important step. Do NOT skip. The toasting prepares the rice for absorbing the hot broth. It may seem minor, but [again] do NOT skip. After toasting, carefully add the wine, stirring constantly until absorbed. Next, return to your saucepan to remove the red onion with a slotted spoon; discard in the trash. Then with a ladle, stir in 1/4 cup of broth into the rice mixture. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue this step of adding broth about 1/4 cup at a time. As soon as you reach your last 1/4 cup, add it along with the peas into the sauté pan and stirring frequently once more. The mixture should be creamy and the rice should be tender but slightly firm. Now stir in your shrimp and cook until they have turned pink in color and have skunk a little in size, about 1/8. Be careful. It’s VERY easy to overcook shrimp. AND, last but not least, stir in the cheese and serve warm in large pasta dishes.

    “I eat a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything. Everything in moderation. I know that’s really hard for people to understand, but I grew up in an Italian family where we didn’t overdo anything. We ate pasta, yes, but not a lot of it.” – Giada De Laurentiis

    Bon aptit!