a simple elegance

October 22, 2014


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first off, can I just say this is my one-hundredth post!? who knew I had so much to say? the other day, I was actually thinking about how back in university, it was like pushing a wheelbarrow up an icy mountain getting me to write my essays and reports ( no matter how long ) and now I do it weekly, sometimes daily. it's kind of nuts. looking back, I feel such a sense of pride and accomplishment looking at some posts and a little bit of embarrassment looking at others. I've even cupped my hands over my eyes at a few. sorry for that, you guys, but we all have to start somewhere. years from now, I think it will be so fun to look back and take that mosey down memory lane and know just what I was thinking because let's face it, we try to keep it pretty real most days.

but right now, let's focus on right now, shall we? and right now, I'm focusing on gorgeous open shelves. you know the ones that are popping up all over pinterest right now? yeah, they're pretty much my favorite thing since netflix. they allow small spaces to feel so open and give us all the opportunity to style another aspect of our lives. and I don't know about you, but I love showing off my cookery books. they really are my kitchen's greatest asset ( aside from my beloved kitchenaid, which is safely packed away in storage breaking my heart ). here, have a gander.

this scandinavian tea kettle. similar here.

this classic cake stand. similar here.

white dipped spoons. similar here.

peter rabbit bookends. for showing off all of your fancy cookbooks.

mason jar canisters. perfect for utensils. 

bright-colored, scandinavian-looking canisters for all of your staples.

what are your favorite open-shelf accessories? I'm all ears. one can never have too many beautiful things showing off on a shelf. okay that's not entirely true. surely, my ocd would kick in eventually!

and so it's hump day! I know, I know. I can scarcely believe it myself. these autumn weeks are flying by all too fast. well, not here in the caribbean, but I feel for you guys, nonetheless ;) I hope your day is one filled with tartan scarves and hot chocolate. enjoy a cup for me.

love, arielle

October 21, 2014


as told by a candy apple ::

"once upon a time, I was just a plain, ol', regular fuji apple. I spent my days in a far away land growing sweeter and sweeter on the branch of my mother apple tree. everyday, the growers would wander around selecting those of us who were considered, in their terms, "ripe and ready." I was passed up time and time again and was beginning to lose hope. until one day, I was picked! out of all of the apples on the tree, they chose me. in an instant, I had lots of responsibility. I had to make the next flight out to an undisclosed tropical location. it was all those transport people could do to keep me cool until I could make my debut in the produce section of a local grocery! and there I sat for about a day until a magical giantess came along and chose me and a few other highly preferred apples, like myself. I could tell she was up to no good when I saw that mischievous twinkle in her giant eyes. and sure enough, what she had planned for me and my buds was horrific. we underwent a chemical concoction, tremendous bubbling, and a high, high temperature. I believe I am now some sort of delicious monster. I don't even feel like myself anymore. I have this new skin made of some sort of sticky, creamy, buttery mixture that I can't get out of. and since you're already reading, I would like to report a missing fruit. the chap who got smothered in sea salt hasn't been seen since the mistresses' last meal of the day, and I'm starting to worry. please accept this as my last living testament. I may be next."

oh man, I am nothing if not a wee bit of a dork. and yes, I do put that much personality into all of my bakery, confectionary treats. it's a little bit embarrassing, but this is the space to embarrass myself, so at least I'm in the right place. always a relief.

anyway, can you believe it's almost halloween?! it kind of seems like a gruel joke ( mean girls fans, anyone? ). regardless, I love this holiday. it's the cutest thing to see littles picking out their halloween costumes and grandmothers buying five pound bags of candy to ship to their grandchildren. in a way, it's sort of the kick off for all of the other holidays to follow, but that doesn't mean it's of any less importance. oh no! we need those halloween treats and all of the justification that comes along with them. now, where to begin...

candy apples


4 apples
( granny smith or fuji work the best )
4 chopsticks
( or popsicle sticks )
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup half & half
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
( I don't keep this on hand, so I mixed 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup water )
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
any toppings you desire


step one :: to begin, ready your apples. they'll holler and protest again and again, but you know what's best for them ;) first, pull out their stems and wash them under hot water. this allows their waxy surface to dull a little, which in turn, will help the caramel stick a little easier. then stick the chopstick through their bottoms. place on a plate and let cool in the fridge.

step two :: next, ready your station. in a large pot, the kind you use for canning, create an ice bath that fills the pot about halfway. then place a sheet of parchment paper out on a cookie sheet. things go super fast once the caramel is onto boil, so I like to get these steps out of the way.

step three :: in a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, half & half, corn syrup, and butter until indistinguishable. then, add the salt.

step four :: let boil at a medium-to-medium-high heat until candy thermometer reads 248 degrees fahrenheit ( about 125 celsius, I believe ). 

*if you're without a candy thermometer, mixture should form a firm ball when placed in a glass of ice cold water.

step five :: when the caramel is ready, remove from heat and immediately move to ice bath. let sit until the boiling stops. then, mix the caramel thoroughly so that the cold candy on bottom is mixed into the melted candy on top.

step six :: dip your apples. I had to tip my saucepan at a 45 degree angle in order to cover all the way around. and don't worry, the apples don't feel a thing. I imagine that it feels a bit like a warm hug. let excess caramel drip from the apple. this could take anywhere from 20-30 seconds. then, place on parchment paper. repeat for following four apples. when finished, place in the fridge.

step seven :: before caramel has completely set, top those babies off! I used m&m minis, white chocolate crumbles, almonds, and salt. roll your apple bottoms through topping and return to the fridge.

*if the caramel on your apples has slid a little bit causing a little solidified puddle to pool around your apple, take the back of a butter knife to smooth it out.

step eight :: cut into eighths and enjoy with friends or just hog that little guy all to yourself! but hurry, after about a day or so, those fruits start to get a mind about them and it'll be all out mutiny from there.

before whipping these up, I had no idea mitch had never had one before! I couldn't even believe it, so I let him lick and chomp on one all his own. I, on the other, cut mine up into dainty little pieces like a lady. pinkies up and all. what halloween treats are you guys cooking up this season? I'd love to know. just leave it in the comments. and if you do give these a go, let me know how it goes with #bakewithelegance and tag me on instagram or twitter. have an amazing tuesday!

love, arielle

October 20, 2014


 ...were ginormous! by far, the biggest waves I ever saw. a product of hurricane gonzalo's aftermath, I'm sure. there was something about those waves that made mitch and me start using words like "stoked" and "gnarly," which so isn't us, but I think I understand the west coast a little bit better now. 

admittedly, I was a little overconfident as I was stepping into the water with the sole intention of getting my hair wet. I grew up on the gulf of mexico--fighting off strong rip currents and body surfing my way back home--so I really, truly thought I could handle myself. but those waves? they were kind of intense. of course, mitch was like a kid in a very salty candy shop. as for me, I was getting thrashed around like a jelly fish losing all of its tentacles in my quest for land. and later, after the sea had spit me out with scrapes ( yes, scrapes ) all down my legs and two pounds of sand in my swimsuit bottoms ( tmi? ), I laid down and took a nice, long, deserved nap on the seashore.

as for the rest of our weekend, the only way to describe it is easy. we finished one series on netflix, mourned its loss, and started a new one. speaking of which, have any of you guys seen scandal? it's pretty intense. we are already through the first season, which is sort of embarrassing now that I think about it. and what would a true lazyish weekend be without a night of homemade pizza and caramel apples? not a very good one, that's for sure. and the best part was that mitch sort of ignored studying and played all weekend long. 

kind of amazing. and unheard of. it's like we get to know each other all over again.

I hope all of your weekends were just as exciting and easy as ours was. and I apologize if you're so over beach views. truthfully, this is what we look at everyday and there isn't much else to choose from. have an amazing monday. oddly enough, I'm pretty excited about it.

love, arielle

October 17, 2014


monday, mitch and I celebrated our halfway point here on the island! we celebrated with a hurricane, but at least we celebrated. it's crazy to think that we have been occupants of this beautiful island for ten months already. I feel like I have learned and grown so much in such a ( relatively ) short period of time. like, no matter where you are, there are good people all around. people who do what is right no matter what. people who go out of their way to brighten your day. people who inspire you. I feel so blessed to be a part of this great, big world. it really is wonderful, isn't it? 

this week was an interesting one. mitch had two days of class canceled because there was that little hurricane at the beginning of the week. I've scrubbed the apartment top to bottom because there was that flood in our living room due to said hurricane. and we got a whole day to decompress after it was all over. we headed out to the beach for some much needed catching up. mitch reminded me that he really is a little boy at heart by digging holes in the sand just for the sake of digging holes. it was really rather adorable and I am seriously considering getting him a tonka truck for christmas. what say you? you can get back to me on that. in the meantime, let's knock out this week's ten simple things...

001 :: gilmore girls hitting netflix. and boy, was it about time? I remember watching it on abc family after school growing up and it is seriously taking me back to the days of doing homework in front of the tv whilst recovering from a most likely very troublesome bus ride.

002 :: the new issue of porter out in stands. I get it delivered straight to my ipad and cannot wait to delve into it this upcoming weekend.

003 :: a full freezer. I was attempting to eat everything in our cupboard before I made my way back to the store, but finally caved when a certain husband complained that soup three days in a row was a little much. and I have to say, it is quite nice to go and have a look at all those freezables. it's a gentle reminder that we won't starve for at least another week.

004 :: a super delicious chocolate cake in the fridge. late at night. because that is my all time midnight-snack wish come true.

005 :: mitch rearranging the furniture. it's funny, but I was 100% positive that the way I had the couch with the chairs and the coffee table was the coziest possible layout for our comes-with-rental furniture. turns out, I was wrong.  mitch's way is much better. it's not something I admit very often, so  it's a good thing he got it in writing.

006 :: finishing the fifth harry potter book. I know what you're thinking--wasn't she supposed to do that in, like, july? why, yes. yes I was. however, that book sort of depressed me there in the middle, so I'm just happy to be moving onto to book number six.

007 :: cooler temps. after the hurricane blew its way to puerto rico, it left cooler temperatures in its wake and I, for one, am not complaining. it was about time. it is october, after all.

008 :: walking > driving. because the weather has been substantially more mild, mitch and I have begun walking again and it has been so nice to spend a little more time with him going here and there.

009 :: a seriously intense workout. it felt so great to say, "ummm, I think I can do more." however, I am also feeling the brevity of that decision all the way down to my fingers which are also sore for some reason. it's tough being buff.

010 :: a salad full of spinach, feta, apples, and couscous. topped with the most amazing poppyseed dressing. even mitch went back for seconds, which is unheard of where salad is concerned. he even stopped a few bites from being finished to announce that he was full. whoa.

I hope all of you have a festive weekend planned. I've set a goal to go to the beach every single day, which I realize is not very festive, but still kind of amazing. thanks so much for reading!

definitely give these a read :: 

cozy in the mountains by pink peonies ( because I'm an enormous ugg australia fan )
setting the fall table by camille styles

love, arielle

October 15, 2014


the generator is running. the internet is streaming. the water is flowing clearly and freely from the faucets. and I can't help but feel so grateful for how well we fared before, during, and after hurricane gonzalo's brief residence on our tiny island. it wasn't without some difficulty, mind you. monday night, we were thinking of hitting head to pillow a little early out of respect for mitch's upcoming tests. mitch got up to turn on the air conditioning and came back into the bedroom asking for help sweeping the water out of our living room. this seemed really odd considering we live on the third floor of a concrete building, but sure enough, there was water flowing into our living room rather rapidly. turns out, the drain on our balcony was clogged with debris causing our tiny porch to act as a somewhat dirty, tepid jacuzzi. the next three hours of our lives consisted of moving the furniture back...and then back again, repeatedly unclogging the drain outside, sweeping the water out with dustpans, and a very inventive little contraption honed by the husband, himself--two swiffers with a towel tied in between, so as to achieve maximum sweeping capacity. this was then minorly thwarted by the man upstairs' own flooding coming down through our electrical, which was both scary and exciting. all while a hurricane blew through the trees making those palms dance like they were stuck on an episode of soultrain and the sky followed suit with some of the funkiest back-lightening you've ever seen. all I've got to say is, gonzalo has moves.

throughout the panicking, sweeping, draining, and later, cleaning process, mitch and I felt this immense sense of camaraderie and teamwork. he even commented, later, that that is what it means to be husband and wife. not that you have to stand outside, soaking wet, in three inches of water, while leaves pelt you in the face and lightening flashes all around to prove yourselves as a team, but that overcoming obstacles together is what being married is all about, isn't it? and it definitely makes life a little more exciting. we're already laughing about it, actually.

because of the storm, mitch's tests were put off for two days, so we'll be celebrating later tonight with some dorky movie marathon, no doubt. and I'll be scavenging the island for candy corn because, a) what is october without it? and b) I'm a determined one when it comes to celebrating things the right way. I hope all of you are having a wonderful week. it's good to be communicating with the outside world, once again!

also, we are in desperate need of new movie-marathon suggestions. any thoughts?

love, arielle