Friday, December 31, 2010

Another year goes by...

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind...

Hard to believe it, but New Year's Eve is upon us! Thank you for sharing this year with me and my blog! Ip & Audrey has grown steadily over the past two years, and I have you to thank. Here's a look at my year in blogging, and a visual reminder that, despite my recent lack of outfit posts, I do have some sense of style, and actually do wear clothes! :)





Well, it looks like I'm definitely more of a summer blogger! Winter just isn't my season. ;) In summer, well, the days seem longer, so there's always a little more time to fit blogging in. There's my excuse. But I will strive to do better this winter... and get some new outfits posted, stat!

In these photos, you might have noticed the gradual lightening of my hair. New readers might be surprised to learn that I'm a natural blonde and went brown for a while, not the other way around. I'm slowly getting back to my roots (and believe me, blonde roots look funny with dark hair! I looked like Rogue from "X-Men"!), but it's taken a lot of patience, and quite a few salon visits!

Also, I'm guilty of the common fashion blogger sin: looking down. A lot. Maybe my New Years' resolution should be " make eye contact." I'm not promising anything, though! I like to keep these peepers hidden! Blue eyes are especially sensitive to light, and in outdoor photos, I tend to squint a lot! But I'm happy to note that the same pair of Loft sunglasses appeared in nearly every outfit post this year... talk about getting your money's worth!

Well, that's all for this year! So long, 2010! And thank you for your visits, comments and love! I hope peace and happiness find you and keep you in the New Year.


Erin Cathleen

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You haven't seen the last of me!

Hi, all!

This is definitely not going to be my last post before New Year's. Nope. No way. I plan to squeeze in at least one more update before I take off for my holiday festivities in New York. Wee!

I am shocked and awed that 2010 is already coming to an end. It seems like only yesterday, I was making my 2010 resolutions... whoopsies. :) The year flew by! And a few fun things have happened in the past few weeks to keep me super-busy...

First, I took the LSAT. Madness, sheer madness. I don't know how I did yet, though during the test I felt oddly "calmfident" (calm + confident!). My score comes out next week, so I'm crossing my fingers until then! After that, I'll nose-dive into all those fun law school applications...

Second... I adopted a shelter kitten! I've been dying to share this for the past few weeks, but have been so busy chasing her around! She's quite an active little monkey. Her name is Chloe, and she will make her official debut on my blog... soon!

Next post, I will share some resolutions, and perhaps even recap Ip & Audrey's past year... it's been fun! Also, I'm excited to share a CSN Stores product review! It's the first one I've done for them (though we've hosted a few giveaways before). I ordered a pair of shoes and am so stoked for them to arrive and to share my little test drive! Woo-hoo!

In the meantime, I plan to check out Black Swan (for the costumes by Rodarte, of course), and maybe get a new haircut. Nothing says New Year's like a fresh crop! Here's a look I'm currently considering...

These pics of Olivia Palermo, from January's Spanish Vogue, are downright gorgeous (except for the whole smoking thing), so sixties and mod. She reminds me of my beloved Audrey in her seminal role (you know which one; if you don't, glimpse my blog header!). I love the idea of shoulder length hair, though on me, I don't always like the execution. But this is only a few inches shorter than my current style, so I might be brave and undergo a snip! If I chicken out, I'll probably just wind up cutting bangs. Again.

Till next time, then... Ciao, bellas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Have yourself a vegan little Christmas

If you or someone you love is an animal-lover, you might be tailoring your holiday celebrations to reflect that compassion. My fellow eco-fashionistas could share endless tips for having an “ever-green” holiday, but what if you choose to eschew animal products? Don’t things get a little trickier? Believe it or not, these days, hosting a cruelty-free celebration is easier than ever.

Consider this an informal guide on how to veganize your holiday. For simplicity’s sake, I’m assigning a difficulty level to each task (though nothing mentioned here is that difficult! Promise!): minimum, moderate and maximum. It’s up to you to decide how much time and effort you’re able to devote to these suggestions. With a little time, thoughtfulness and creativity, your festivities are sure to be a blast! Ready to have the most vegan Christmas of all?


Food is, of course, the center of any great event. You want your guests to arrive with their mouths watering and leave with their tummies stuffed. Ideally, you also want them to be raving about the food until next Christmas. So how do you accomplish this, and stay vegan? This guide applies to both vegan hosts puzzling over what to serve their omnivore friends, and omnis who have no idea what to feed the vegans!

You can feed them all of this. It's veg-friendly!

Minimum effort

Serve up a veggie platter with pretzels and hummus. Simple as that. You can buy platters with raw vegetables already cut, or you can hit up the market, grab a ton of different veggies (lots of colors = healthy!) and slice ‘em up yourself. It’s pretty easy and will be a hit with vegans and omnis alike. Because who doesn’t like to scarf down party veggies and dip?

Moderate effort

Veggie chili! Chili is a major crowd-pleaser, especially in the winter, and is one of the easiest dishes to veganize. If you’re pressed for time, you can buy vegetarian chili just about anywhere… Amy’s makes a canned vegan chili, and even offers a few different flavors (some mild, some super-spicy). Buy several cans, heat ‘em up on the stove, and serve with tortilla chips and vegan shredded “cheese” (also available at most supermarkets). If you have the time, it’s really rewarding (and healthier!) to cook your own. I would make it the day before your fête, so the flavors in the chili have time to marry. You can find awesome vegetarian chili recipes just about anywhere; when in doubt, Google! I like to make black bean chili, and my recipe (if you can call it that; I call it throwing a bunch of ingredients in a big pot and heating it!) is pretty simple. All you need is…

  • Olive oil
  • 2 cans of (sodium-free) crushed tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cans each of (organic, sodium-free) black beans and kidney beans
  • 1 carton organic vegetable broth (or No-Chicken broth; that one has great flavor)
  • 2-3 peppers (it looks fun to do red, yellow and orange!), 1 white onion, 2 cloves garlic, several scallions or chives (for garnish)
  • Chili powder, cumin, black pepper, to taste

Here’s my fuss-free recipe… Dice up your garlic, white onion and peppers, then sautée them in olive oil on medium heat in a separate skillet while you begin to heat your broth in a soup pot. When the broth is warm and the veggies sautéed, add the veggies to the broth. Stir and continue to heat while you add in the cans of tomatoes and tomato paste. Drain 3 of your 4 cans of beans (I save some of the liquid and add it to the soup for flavor) and add them to the pot. Save one can of beans (black or kidney, doesn’t matter) and mash the beans up before adding them (this thickens the brew; you don’t have to blend them perfectly – I just use a fork – but if you want the soup to be super-smooth, you could always throw the beans into a food processor). Keep heating until the veggies are soft (but not soggy) and the soup is hot enough… it takes me less than 30 minutes. Season it up, garnish with green onions or chives, vegan cheese or sour cream, tortilla chips, whatever you like! Done!

Maximum effort

Try your hand at some of the gourmet vegetarian recipes featured on The New York Times online, created by top chefs for Thanksgiving (awesome for Christmas and New Years', too!). Serve up an entire meal of savory vegan dishes, like the Tempeh and Wild Mushroom Fricasse and Maple-Roasted Brussel Sprouts. Your guests will be too busy oohing and ahhing over the beauty of these foods to even notice that they’re missing meat!



Candy in a pretty dish is always a welcome site on your holiday table. Plenty of popular candies are also vegan—check out VegFamily’s “I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan” list, or PETA’s “Accidentally Vegan” page for proof. I would head over to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or the local natural foods store, and grab some organic dark chocolate truffles. Brew some organic, fair-trade espresso to serve with this decadent dessert!


Make vegan s’mores! No baking is required, and you can find all of your ingredients at Whole Foods. If you don’t have a Whole Foods nearby, don’t fret; all of these vegan goodies can be found online, so try to order well ahead of time! I recommend using Whole Food’s 365 graham crackers (yum), but Nabisco’s are also vegan. Grab some bars of organic dark chocolate (I go foodie-crazy and buy gourmet kinds, like raspberry or hazelnut). And don’t forget the – ta da! – vegan marshmallows (non-vegetarian ones contain gelatin). Whole Foods carries Sweet and Sara, and you can find Dandie’s (which most resemble “real” marshmallows) online (right on Amazon! Nice).

Can’t assemble vegan s’more stuff in time? You can make a quick, delicious, nutritious dessert with sliced-up fruit and chocolate fondue… just be sure the melted chocolate doesn’t contain eggs or dairy! Strawberries, raspberries, kiwis or mangoes would all be extra-tasty drizzled in chocolate… Mmm.


Try your hand at vegan cupcakes! It will take you longer than it would to simply buy a dessert, but think of the fun you’ll have trying something new. Your super cookbook? Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!


‘Tis the season, after all. Holiday gift-giving is all about showing how much you care. Show the vegan in your life that you care about her causes and convictions by giving her something meaningful… and if you’re the vegan gift-giver, what better way to inform your family and friends than with thoughtful, compassionate gifts?


Sponsor an animal! This is easier than ever, thanks to the internet. Dozens of organizations offer animal sponsorships on their websites, from Defenders of Wildlife to Farm Sanctuary to the World Wildlife Fund… your options are endless. You can spend a lot or spend a little, and rest assured knowing that your gift is making a difference and a positive impact on the life of an animal. Plus… you’ll get a cute stuffed toy!


I think one of the sweetest, most thoughtful gifts you can give is a basket full of your loved one’s favorite things. Like the option above, you can spend a little or a lot, and still find a way to make the gift recipient smile. For the vegan in your life, how about filling a gift basket up with yummy vegan treats, like dark chocolate, coffee, and more of those marshmallows? You could also include a vegan guide or cookbook (lately, I’m loving “The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life”), and maybe some sweet little lotions, soaps and lip balm (just be sure to read the ingredients first! If you have any worries about beauty products, check out for a list of just about any and every cosmetic that’s cruelty-free).


Indulge in vegan fashion! If you’ve got a big budget, give the gift of warmth with a coat by Vaute Couture. These eco-, animal-friendly coats are arguably the most fashion-savvy in the green garment industry. Yes, they cost a pretty penny, but are no more expensive than a quality wool coat. Like a designer garment, they’ll last a lifetime; unlike mainstream designer coats, no animals are harmed in the making! Vaute Couture also makes their coats in the U.S.A., without child labor or other sketchy manufacturing practices.

If a coat proves too pricey, check out these brands of vegan, eco-friendly handbags (some of which I’ve shared before): Susan Nichole, Matt & Nat, Nahui Ollin. All three of these companies use recycled materials in their designs… the latter uses recycled candy wrappers! And even though this gift is listed under “maximum” effort, it couldn’t be easier to snap one of these up… all are available online. And if price is an issue, try a vegan wallet! They’re less expensive, but the sentiment is still the same.

Feel free to try any (or all) of these tips and report back to me! I’d love to know how you like to spend your holidays. I’ll try to save you some yummy vegan treats! ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas is coming?!?

My, but where did the time go? Oh, I know. I've been cramming studying vigilantly for the December LSAT. The test is this Saturday, and even though I've been prepping since September, I don't feel nearly as ready as I should. This is because I've been attempting to balance prep time with a full-time job and other stressors. But hey, that's life. There's never going to be an easy or convenient time to do everything, so I just need to get on with it! It's just one of those things... I know it's a big, important test and could seriously impact my future. Or not. I could always do something else. So I'm trying not to take it too seriously. It's like this one time in high school, when I accidentally signed up for the ASVAB instead of the pre-SAT, so I wound up sitting for it... and found out that, apparently, I have an aptitude for engineering. Which was hilarious to me, since I've always been your quintessential writer-y type. Needless to say, with my poor track record in math and science, I did not wind up pursuing an engineering degree! Anyway, no big deal; it was just a test. I've never been a strong test-taker but have always been a good student, so we'll see what happens. Even though it's been a good four, five years since I've taken any kind of exam (the perks of being a writing major!), I'm just going to chill out and do my best to rock that LSAT. In the face.

But goodness, I feel woefully unprepared for the holiday season! Time to start that Christmas shopping and making some serious holly and jolly. Ha. These elfin booties from Modcloth should help!They're adorably impractical and whimsical. But wouldn't they be sweet for opening presents around the tree? Or waiting under the mistletoe for that special someone? Or, heck, just running amok around the mall, pretending you're a Christmas elf? Want!

And, hey, Santa, this floral dress is pretty sweet, too. Just saying.

Totally not meaning to be a billboard for Modcloth here; their stuff is just too cute. And we bloggers all lurve them to pieces.

And Santa? While you're at it, you can absolutely come trim my Christmas tree with some decorations from Tiffany. And what not. Yeah.

So tell me! The holidays are HERE, people. Crazy. How do you deal?