Takeout Fakeout: Vegetarian General Tso Chicken

DC Girl in Pearls - Takeout Fakeout Vegetarian General Tso Chicken with vegetarian chicken nuggets, roasted brussels sprouts + quinoa

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been craving Chinese like nobody’s business. But with Thanksgiving dinner, birthday cake, holiday parties and lots of Christmas cookies on the horizon, I really shouldn’t be getting takeout. I even deleted Seamless off my iPhone in an attempt to save me from myself. And then I realized the answer to my takeout dilemma was staring at me right from my fridge.

I had all the fixins’ for General Tso Chicken right in my tiny, li’l kitchen. And I whipped up my alternative in less time than it takes for delivery! Next time you get a craving for Chinese, give this “takeout fakeout” a whirl:

DC Girl in Pearls - Takeout Fakeout Vegetarian General Tso's Chicken with vegetarian chicken nuggets, roasted brussels sprouts + quinoa

Ingredients

Brussels sprouts

Vegetarian “chicken” nuggets (I like the Wegman’s and Trader Joe’s kinds)

Quinoa

Wegman’s General Tso sauce

Directions

1. Rinse of the Brussels sprouts, slice each sprout in half. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and sauté the sprouts until browned.

2. Prepare the nuggets and quinoa according to the directions on the package. Tip: rinse the quinoa off before you toss it into the saucepan, it’ll taste a million times better.

3. Once the brussels sprouts, nuggets + quinoa are ready, combine in a bowl and add about 2 tablespoons of the General Tso sauce. Toss to evenly mix and voila!

DC Girl in Pearls - Takeout Fakeout Vegetarian General Tso Chicken with vegetarian chicken nuggets, roasted brussels sprouts + quinoa

DC Girl in Pearls - Takeout Fakeout Vegetarian General Tso Chicken with vegetarian chicken nuggets, roasted brussels sprouts + quinoa

DC Girl in Pearls - Takeout Fakeout Vegetarian General Tso Chicken with vegetarian chicken nuggets, roasted brussels sprouts + quinoa

DC Girl in Pearls - Takeout Fakeout Vegetarian General Tso Chicken with vegetarian chicken nuggets, roasted brussels sprouts + quinoa

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Thirsty Thursday: Hot Toddy with Skinnygirl Bare Naked Vodka

With DC in the grips of an Arctic blast and my own hometown currently buried under six feet of snow, I have to say my main priority this week was staying cozy ‘n toasty. I added extra blankets to my bedding, pulled out my favorite cable knit head wrap and strategized work outfits involving the most layers possible. Not to mention drinking countless cups of tea just so I could wrap my hands around the warm mug.

I’m keeping the general idea of hot beverage + awesome mug = total goldmine on a freezing day or night for this week’s Thirsty Thursday but adding a wee bit of a kick to it!

And because yours truly is prone to winter weight gain, we’re keeping this cocktail light with Skinnygirl Bare Naked Vodka.

P.S. If you’re in WNY, stay warm + safe!

Hot Toddy with Skinnygirl Bare Naked Vodka - DC Girl in Pearls

Ingredients

1 ½ parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka

1 tsp agave nectar

1 part boiling water

3 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 lemon wedge

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Directions

Pour the agave nectar, boiling water and vodka into a mug.

Add cloves, cinnamon and the lemon wedge.

Allow the mixture to steep for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with a pinch of nutmeg before serving.

Cheers + snuggle up with a good book (I’m currently reading Wild)!!

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Skinnygirl Cocktails - DC Girl in Pearls

This post was sponsored by Skinnygirl Cocktails®.  All opinions and product sentiments are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make DC Girl in Pearls possible!

Thanksgiving Plaid

Thanksgiving Day Outfit ft. J. Crew + Enzo Riding Boots - DC Girl in Pearls

Top: J.Crew Swiss Dot Tuxedo Shirt (also seen here) // Skirt: J.Crew (similar: J.Crew Factory Pleated Mini in Plaid) // Necklace: Greenbeads (similar: Greenbeads Small Cluster Necklace) // Belt: J.Crew (old, similar: Ann Taylor Tortoise Shell Patent Leather Perfect Skinny Belt) // Riding Boots: Enzo Angiolini Ellerby Riding Boots 

As far back as I can remember, Thanksgiving is always an incredibly hectic day full of pies and hustle for my family. It’s no easy feat to prep, cook, serve and entertain approximately 25 people in one day! I typically spend the entire day in my favorite XL tee du jour and running shorts with my hair piled on top of my head. And most likely flour spilled somewhere on me. That just goes with the territory. But Thanksgiving remains one of my very favorite holidays because all the prep work involved. It helps that Thanksgiving means my birthday is just a few short days away! And for birthday cake, I am truly thankful.

Typically, I get about 20 minute to get ready for Thanksgiving before our pie and side dish-laden car hits the road to Grandma’s house. I’m inevitably bolting out of my house 21 minutes later armed with a pie in my oven-mitted hands and a stray curler still in my hair. So my Thanksgiving uniform relies very heavily on basic pieces with a pop or two of festive holiday joy. This year, it’s plaid and sparkle’s turn at bat to bring on the Thanksgiving cornucopia of cheer. And a bottle of cranberry prosecco, my new boyfriend. We’ll chat about that later.

Thanksgiving Day Outfit ft. J. Crew + Enzo Riding Boots - DC Girl in Pearls

My favorite tuxedo shirt (told ya I’m obsessed) is already making another outfit cameo because well, my willpower is weak. I needed another neutral in my Thanksgiving ensemble and before I knew what was happening, I was wearing the tuxedo shirt. It’s just so cute + comfortable!! The tried and true J.Crew plaid mini brings the Thanksgiving cheer and bonus: the elastic waistband is clutch because you know I’ll have a third helping of mashed potatoes. And I still have to make a gravy pool each time. I’m turning 25 next year, why do you ask?

Tie the look together with a sparkle collar necklace for a hint of glam and belt the skirt with a tortoise shell belt, you get extra points if you go with leopard!

Thanksgiving Day Outfit ft. J. Crew + Enzo Riding Boots - DC Girl in Pearls

Thanksgiving Day Outfit ft. J. Crew + Enzo Riding Boots - DC Girl in Pearls

With the basics and a couple of holiday accents, you’ll be ready to go in under 20 minutes. Just enough time to practice responses to family members asking if you’re dating anyone, if you and your significant other have talked about marriage, how your job search is going…Pass the cranberry prosecco, please + thanks.

Thanksgiving Day Outfit ft. J. Crew + Enzo Riding Boots - DC Girl in Pearls

Thanksgiving Day Outfit ft. J. Crew + Enzo Riding Boots - DC Girl in Pearls

Thanksgiving Day Outfit ft. J. Crew + Enzo Riding Boots - DC Girl in Pearls

Photos by Dana of Something Good 

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The Shopping Bag Selections

The Shopping Bag is a must-bookmark for us girls on a budget. From cozy capes to glamorous baubles and home decor, this site has it all at solid prices. Most of my paycheck goes toward rent, utilities, savings + groceries so when I go shopping, I want to make sure my purchases are both cute and within my price range. Check out my favorite picks from The Shopping Bag and check back next week, the Chloe Two Tone Jewel Bracelet is making an appearance in my Thanksgiving outfit!

Classic Structured Bag - The Shopping Bag

Classic Structured Bag

Houndstooth Cardigan Cape - The Shopping Bag

Houndstooth Cardigan Cape

Chloe Two Tone Jewel Bracelet - The Shopping Bag

 Chloe Two Tone Jewel Bracelet

Haley Pearl Dome Studs - The Shopping Bag

Haley Pearl Dome Studs

Silk Leopard Print Scarf - The Shopping Bag

Silk Leopard Print Scarf

Stripe Print Burgundy Colorblock Dress - The Shopping Bag

Stripe Print Burgundy Colorblock Dress

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Popchips x Gilt City

Pop-up shopping Gilt City snacking on PopChips - DC Girl in Pearls

In less than a month, I’ve clocked two warehouse sales. Count ‘em, two. And have yet to see a single fight break out over a top. Or someone lose a limb desperately clinging to a hanger. Basically, my warehouse sale preconceptions based off The Nanny and Friends were false. Or I’ve managed to go to two of the most civilized warehouse sales in history.

On Friday, my friend Hollis and I headed to Union Market for the Gilt City warehouse sale, neither of us had ever gone so we didn’t really know what to expect. But there were PopChips + cocktails on top of reduced-price couture so hey, you didn’t have to twist our arms to go.

PopChips x Gilt City - DC Girl in PearlsAround the back of Union Market, rows and rows of tops, dresses, pants, shoes and purses were just waiting to be pored over. I’ll be honest, I’m not up on high fashion so some of the pieces went over my head but my god, the prices couldn’t be beat. We’re talking $600 pieces for $175. If you walked out with one piece you loved, you could call the night a wild success.

I did snag an adorable plaid top from Kate Spade because well, I got caught up in the excitement of reduced price shopping, delicious BBQ chips and oh yeah, delicious Skinnygirl cocktails. Brilliant stroke of genius, by the way. Put a bunch of women in a room with crazy-reduced clothes and ply them with cocktails. Hats off to the evil genius who thought of this.

I’ll be honest, I think I’ve bought one, maybe two things from Gilt City ever but this warehouse sale was a blast! Grab some girlfriends and even if you don’t walk out with anything, you still can have a fun time sipping cocktails and dancing to the DJ. On Friday, the DJ was on point with his game despite not having Space Jams as requested. You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.

And what we needed was more PopChips and Skinnygirl Greyhounds. Don’t worry, I snapped a picture of what went into the Skinnygirl cocktails so I’ll be sharing them with you!

Did you go to the Gilt City Warehouse sale? What’d you score?

PopChips x Gilt City - DC Girl in Pearls

PopChips x Gilt City - DC Girl in Pearls

PopChips x Gilt City - DC Girl in Pearls

PopChips x Gilt City - DC Girl in Pearls

Beep beep from Kate Spade! (RIP missing wheel spokes – still super cute)

PopChips x Gilt City - DC Girl in Pearls

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Thirsty Thursday: Apple Pie Martini

Apple Pie Martini in Minutes - DC Girl in Pearls

Pumpkin pie gets all the credit at Thanksgiving, year after year. But to me, apple pie is the unsung hero of the Thanksgiving dessert world. I’ll take a slice of apple pie and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream any day of the week. You can keep your pumpkin pie, you can even keep your pecan pie, I’m happy as a clam with my apple. I mean, the expression is “As American as apple pie” after all…

And as a wise man once said, “If you love something…turn it into a cocktail.” I might be paraphrasing just a teeny bit but you get the gist. Apple pie martinis will get you where you need to be to handle your crazy relatives this Thanksgiving and the best part is you can multiple the recipe to create a big batch for all your family members. Or serve it up at Friendsgiving!

Thanks to Tervis’ Shaker Top, crafting cocktails at home has never been easier. I measure the ounces along the size of the tumbler and then shake shake shake shake it off. Simply remove the top and pour into a glass. The best part is that the shaker top transforms any 16 oz Tervis tumbler into a cocktail shaker. Perfect for cocktails at home or at the tailgate party!

You can do this one-handed as you stuff your face with apple pie. Multitasking at its most delicious.

P.S. Check out Tervis Entertaining Collection, their rocks glasses are adorable with their crisp, clear design and durable to survive even the clumsiest of guests (we’ve all been there)!

Apple Pie Martini in Minutes - DC Girl in Pearls

Ingredients

Apple Cider, 4 ounces

Vanilla Vodka, 2 ounces

Apple Slice, for garnish

Apple Pie Martini in Minutes - DC Girl in Pearls

Directions

In the Tervis Shaker Top, pour the apple cider and then the vodka. Place the top on the tumbler and shake well.

Remove the top and strain into a glass.

If you want to get all fancy on me, you can also use caramel vodka and perhaps line the rim of the glass with cinnamon-sugar. Let me know what you think!

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Tervis-Logo

This post was sponsored by Tervis®.  All opinions and product sentiments are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make DC Girl in Pearls possible!

Tuxedo Shirt + Tassel Necklace

DC Girl in Pearls - Tuxedo Shirt + Tassel Necklace ft. J.Crew, Loren Hope + LOFT

Top: J.Crew Swiss-Dot Tuxedo Shirt // Pants: LOFT leggings // Shoes: J.Crew Janey Flats (similar: Sole Society Aasha) // Necklace: Loren Hope (similar: Charter Club Gold-Tone Long Tassel Necklace) // Mani: Essie Size Matters // Bangles: Loren Hope Zoe Bow Cuff + Kate Spade

A couple of weeks ago, I ventured to Lynchburg for the J.Crew warehouse sale. It was an early morning (read: 3am wake up call) and one would think that’d mean I’d go to bed at a reasonable hour to wake up fresh as a daisy. Well, one would be wrong.

My dear friend Kendall who had the nerve to move to California because of a fabulous job came into town to run the Marine Corp. Marathon, a concept I have yet to fully grasp. We hadn’t seen each other in a year so naturally we had to meet at Cactus Cantina, our favorite college haunt, to gab over swirl margarita pitchers. It was like gchat but you know, real! We couldn’t break up the lovefest so we decided to hang out at my apartment. All too soon, it was midnight and neither of us could keep our eyes open.

DC Girl in Pearls - Tuxedo Shirt + Tassel Necklace ft. J.Crew, Loren Hope + LOFT

So on about 3 hours’ worth of sleep, I pulled on leggings + warm layers and tried to mask my bleary-eyes with some semblance of eyeliner. And I was off to Lynchburg!

My friends and I arrived at the warehouse around 7 am and were inside by 8. Inside the warehouse are boxes and boxes and boxes of clothes to dig through. And when I say dig, I mean dig. The first couple of boxes produced nothing in my size or style so I felt a twinge disheartened, not going to lie. I questioned if it was worth it and fantasized about climbing back into bed and hitting snooze. Then, I spied this J.Crew tuxedo shirt and that’s how I got my groove back.

DC Girl in Pearls - Tuxedo Shirt + Tassel Necklace ft. J.Crew, Loren Hope + LOFTSince the warehouse sale, I have reached for this beauty more times than I care to share. I wore the tuxedo shirt with leggings, which I have to cuff because #shortgirlproblems, and flats for a weekend romping around the city. Switch the leggings to my favorite pleated mini and add tights and riding boots for a casual Friday work look. Or if you need a more sophisticated 9-5 outfit, tuck the shirt into a pencil skirt with chunky heels, perhaps of the leopard persuasion? The sky’s the limit and I’ll keep you posted on my new favorite top stylings.

DC Girl in Pearls - Tuxedo Shirt + Tassel Necklace ft. J.Crew, Loren Hope + LOFT

DC Girl in Pearls - Tuxedo Shirt + Tassel Necklace ft. J.Crew, Loren Hope + LOFT

DC Girl in Pearls - Tuxedo Shirt + Tassel Necklace ft. J.Crew, Loren Hope + LOFT

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Skincare Update

My skin has been through the ringer lately. If DC’s rollercoaster weather was Regina George, my skin would be personally victimized. I went to sleep one night and the next day woke up without a trace of moisture. Zilch. Nada. It was bad.

Skincare Update - DC Girl in Pearls

I toss moisturizer on in the morning before the rest of my makeup but it was time to bring out the big guns. Joanna Vargas Daily Serum is incredible, plain and simple. Think of it as a green juice for your skin. Packed with vitamins, the daily serum creates a long-lasting moisture shield and I noticed a huge difference in my skin after just a couple of days. My complexion went from dry patches (told you it wasn’t a picnic) to refreshed and hydrated. The price tag can be a bit daunting but trust me, a little bit goes a long way.

Joanna Vargas Daily Serum - DC Girl in Pearls

As for the rest of my skin, I had my work cut out for me on my elbows + knees. Trader Joe’s to the rescue! I tossed their coconut body butter into my basket as a Hail Mary and let me tell you, at only $4.99, the body butter was a major steal. Even with daily uses in the morning and before bed, this bad boy will probably last me well into spring. The other bonus? The coconut scent is light enough not to be distracting yet strong enough that I received several compliments on my perfume. Fooled ya ; )

Moisturizing is fantastic but what about getting that dry skin outta here? Hello, exfoliation time. I’ve sworn by Kate Somerville skin products for a couple of years now since I found myself in Sephora desperate to find a cure to zap those pimples that rear their ugly heads around a certain week of the month. Like clockwork, my pores. Kate Somerville Eradikate doesn’t prevent pimples but my god, does it speed along their demise. I know that was a little detour but I had to share my pimple knowledge with you! Because sadly zits didn’t end with high school.

I have pretty sensitive facial skin (I can’t get my eyebrows waxed because of that, I can only thread or pluck) so I only exfoliate once every 2 weeks and I try to rub the exfoliation cream gently in circles. Otherwise, I look like a lobster, which isn’t a look I can pull off. Kate Somerville Exfolikate is perfect for sensitive skin because it doesn’t have those large, harsh exfoliating beads that just rub your sensitive skin raw. There are exfoliating beads but they are microscopic and don’t grate your skin. Again, lobster face isn’t a look I can work with.

For more of my feelings on beauty products, check out my Kabinet! Think of it as Pinterest for all things beauty products. Share tips on your beauty routines and virtually peek into other people’s powder room cabinets.

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Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Picks for Thanksgiving

Yikes, I finally got a really good look at my calendar and it hit me: Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away. And then I turn a quarter of a century two days later. So there’s that. Between the turkey and a looming life crisis, it’s going to be a crazy month. Throw in hosting my family and preparing the feast in my teeny tiny kitchen that comfortably fits one cook and I’m going to be one cranberry away from a full turkey dinner if you know what I mean.

Is anybody else hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas this year? Any tips + advice greatly appreciated! Double goes for quarter-life crises : )

Keeping guests happy is no easy feat but thankfully, good food seems to do the trick each time. After all, they can’t complain with their mouths full, right? Now, I like pumpkin spice and pumpkin pie just fine but I’m a solid Team Apple Pie all the way. That being said, Trader Joe’s does pumpkin so right. Here are my favorite Trader Joe’s pumpkin picks to have on hand to keep the relatives happy + full.

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Picks - DC Girl in Pearls

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread: Like I said, I’m not the girl who counts down the days until PSL season. I had my pumpkin “steamer” since I don’t drink coffee. I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats. And then I moved on. But this cream cheese spread. Oh my god, now this is worth marking the calendar for. I didn’t think it was possible for me to love bagels more than I already do but I was so so wrong. In the best way imaginable. I wouldn’t judge you in the slightest for eating this with a spoon. Because I certainly have (I regret nothing).

Pumpkin Rolls: Oh, breakfast rolls in a tube. A sure sign of a Saturday morning curled up on the couch growing up in New York. Even though I manage to shriek every single time the tube POPS. Aside from that, I like to keep these rolls on hand for a quick but festive breakfast with the family.

Pumpkin Ice Cream: I was skeptical when I picked up a carton of this Trader Joe’s legend. But I did it because, you know, research. It was for the children, guys. This ice cream is awesome for those of us not in the Pumpkin Pie Camp. Add a dollop of whipped cream and we’re in business.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee: Love the aroma of coffee, detest the taste. That’s my alibi but if your guests are big coffee drinkers, have this coffee on hand for all their morning caffeination needs. They get their java fix, you get a wonderful aroma in your kitchen. It’s a win-win all around.

Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s: I didn’t think it was possible for Trader Joe’s seasonal Joe-Joe’s to be better than their holiday Joe-Joe’s with the peppermint cream filling. But they did a number with the pumpkin filling. The only downside is they’re way too easy to just pop into your mouth. Too too easy. Again, I did the research.

Pumpkin Waffles: Like the pumpkin rolls, toaster waffles are an easy crowd-pleaser. Whether you’re enjoying them on a plate topped with whipped cream or even a schmear of that pumpkin cream cheese spread…or my scenario: holding a waffle wrapped in a paper towel as you run around like a crazy person and hope that you don’t accidentally take a bite of paper towel.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins: Okay, I’ll admit. My name is Lauren and I have a cream cheese addiction. My favorite frostings are cream cheese-based, I just cannot help how perfect and holy cream cheese is. I could probably write a sonnet on the subject. So another portable breakfast with cream cheese to boot? Sign me up!

Pumpkin Biscotti: Coffee drinkers of the world, rejoice! Give your cup o’ jo a little pumpkin pizzazz by lazily swirling your pumpkin biscotti around the mug. Or tea, if that’s more your style. Chai tea? You’re a human being after my own heart.

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Scratch DC

Korean Tacos from Scratch DC - DC Girl in Pearls

The best laid dinner plans oft go awry. There are Saturdays where I get this huge boost of productivity and look up a fancy recipe to give a whirl and decide to go to the grocery store armed with my canvas totes (because 5 cents per bag? Psh, I’m not a millionaire). But then I open up my laptop and decide to watch “just one more episode of Gossip Girl” on Netflix. And then I realize it’s too late to head to Trader Joe’s and my images of a fancy dinner slip away. And then I spend my week night dinners sailing through Gossip Girl and convincing myself that tortilla chips and guacamole with a glass of wine totally counts as a dinner and hits all the necessary food groups. Because we all know avocadoes are a healthy fat. And wine counts as fruit.

Thankfully, Scratch DC has come to my rescue several times when I want a “grown up” dinner but didn’t quite manage to go to the grocery store in time. Between friends, brunches, errands and everything in between, grocery shopping sometimes takes a backseat on the priority list. Scratch DC is also wonderful for when you want to try a funky new recipe but you don’t want to spend the day going to several stores to get all the ingredients. Without a car in DC, I feel like just jumping into the car to pick up a few items is a luxury. And I’m jealous. Last time I ordered Scratch DC, I had a tastebud-blowing delicious meal of lamb eggplant-gyros that I still talk about to this day.

When I eat out at restaurants, I try to pick meals that I can’t replicate at home to make the whole experience more special. So when I ordered Scratch DC the other week, I saw Korean tacos and it was game over. There’s Sriracha sour cream and then regular Sriracha so yeah, that was going to happen.

Korean Tacos from Scratch DC - DC Girl in Pearls

In under 20 minutes, I had an awesome dish to eat while continuing to work my way through Gossip Girl (I’m halfway through the final season). All I had to do was cook the chicken, which arrived marinated, and then assemble my tacos with diced cucumber, kimchi, Sriracha sour cream and cilantro. I drizzled the Sriracha on it, added a squeeze of fresh lime and my masterpiece was complete. The meal said it could serve 2 but since there’s only one o’ me, I had Korean tacos for dinner and then leftovers the next day. Winner winner Korean taco dinner.

Korean Tacos from Scratch DC - DC Girl in Pearls

Korean Tacos from Scratch DC - DC Girl in Pearls

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