Recession Chic

a down economy does not = ugly shoes

Dining In: Bowtie with Summer Cilantro Pesto May 26, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 3:54 PM
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I truly believe that leftover ingredients can be the best dinner inspiration. No recipe needed, just some extra cilantro from a lime-cilantro rice I made for our Mother’s Day cookout. I love pesto during the warmer months, but it’s great to have a little variety. Simple and tasty, enjoy!


1 clove garlic

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 tbs. olive oil

1/4 cup shredded parmeasan cheese

Juice of one lime

1 tbs. cream

1 Italian sausage (Morningstar for veggies)


1. Boil bowtie pasts according to the directions, but leave it a bit aldente

2. Combine garlic, chopped cilantro, Parmesan, lime juice and olive oil in a food processor (or mini chopper). Blend until all cilantro is finely minced.

3. Heat pesto and cream in a medium saucepan until well-combined. Add aldente pasta to the pesto-cream until pasta is covered.

4. Heat ‘sausage’ according to package directions and add to pasta. Plate and serve!

summer pesto


Recession Chic Birthday: Outdoor Living Space May 18, 2009

Filed under: Home Decor — karakrautter @ 4:23 PM
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This year for my birthday, I told my parents I would love to finally have some outdoor seating for my patio. Since I moved into the condo, I’ve only used my patio as a place to wash paint brushes and as a work space for staining and spray painting. The other week my mother and I decided to paint the concrete pad to cover up the stain and paint residue and create a clean canvas for the outdoor living space. Below is what the patio looked like before.


My mom did give me a heads up that she planned to recover some chairs she no longer used, but I was very, pleasantly surprised when I arrived at my condo after work on my birthday. The following sign was posted on my door.


Over lunch that day, my parents and brother put together my beautiful new patio, complete with citronella candle and lights. Check out the photos below 🙂







Tax Rebate Home Redo: ‘New’ Light Fixtures May 14, 2009

Filed under: Home Decor — karakrautter @ 2:58 PM
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Since moving into my condo, I’ve made it clear to all that would listen how unimpressed I was with the light fixtures. Several months ago I invaded IKEA to solve most of the lighting issues, but not the ones in the bathroom.

I looked into replacing the lighting in all three of my bathrooms but ran into two issues. #1 It would be quite pricey to replace the lights in the showers and above each sink. #2 I hadn’t seen a new fixture that would be worth the expense. The solution?

Spray paint and new glass covers! By spending just $64.68, the ambiance of my bathrooms has completely changed.

spray cans

We found spray paint that also provides a textured finish, a nice touch.

new fixtures

Check out the new fixtures installed below!

half bath lights

I just changed the glass light covers to a colored glass design from the flocked-looking white ones.

shower lights

The cover used to just be white, now it’s brushed nickel like the rest of the bathroom hardware.

bathroom lights

Spray paint and more modern light covers transformed this fixture in no time!


Dining In: Shell Pasta with Crab, Pistou and Peas May 10, 2009

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 7:41 PM
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French food isn’t something I normally get excited about. But, when I saw this recipe with crab and sweet peas…I decided this might be the summer for starting to dabble in French cuisine. Paired with a recession-friendly white wine, this was the perfect Sunday dinner on a hot day.

dinner is served


1 pound whole wheat sea shell pasta
1 clove garlic
2 ounces basil, the leaves of which will equal about 1 cup packed
The leaves from 4 stems tarragon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Pecorino cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup thawed frozen petite peas
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it, and add in the pasta shells. Stir, and cook until al dente. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, make the pistou. Obliterate the garlic clove in the food processor, and then add the basil and tarragon leaves. Pulse to chop. Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, pepper, and a good amount of salt. Run the machine and drizzle in the olive oil. Decant the pistou to a bowl, and stir in the cheese.

3. Once you’ve drained the pasta, put the pot back on the stove on low heat. Add in the cream, pistou, peas, and crab meat. Make sure you go through the crab meat to make sure there are no shells, and to break it up a bit. Toss and heat through.

4. Add the pasta back into the pot, and toss to combine. Serve immediately. *We ended up serving it at room temperature and it actually worked really well on that hot evening.

crabby pasta


Tax Rebate Home Redo: Updated Hardware May 7, 2009

Filed under: Home Decor — karakrautter @ 3:11 PM
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So, I finally starting spending my rebate money…on condo improvements. After being away almost every weekend for a 6 weeks, I decided it was time to get serious about updating things I’ve been complaining about since I bought the condo.

Even though my condo was built less than 10 years ago, it had that nasty, brassy hardware on every single door. Obviously, the builder wanted to cut costs with the cheapest option, contractor grade. Ok, the cheapest option would be no door knobs…so it could have been worse.

After two weekends, three trips to the Home Depot, buying out all the hinges, caving and getting a Home Depot credit card ($50 off my purchase and no interest for 6 months!) and $193.51 of rebate cash, the brassy, dated look of the hardware is out!

closet false door knobs


door knobs


Bargin Shop Online May 4, 2009

Filed under: Fashion — karakrautter @ 11:56 AM
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Here’s a great list of places to get some recession shopping done without spending money on gas, compliments of Recessionwire.

Gilt Groupe

Gilt Groupe offers daily sales on the best men’s and women’s designer merchandise at incredible savings—think Zac Posen, Alvin Valley, Jack Spade.

Look up your favorite store at this free site, and it pops up available codes.

Sign up for Ebates and when you buy at participating stores online, they will credit your account, typically for 1 to 10 percent of each purchase. Every three months, Ebates will mail you a check. Sound too good to be true? Check it out yourself. You can also have the money sent to a Paypal account or have it donated to your favorite charity. Sephora, DSW, Bluefly and Victoria’s Secret all participate.

Shop It To Me

Don’t have time to scour websites for the best deals—especially when that sexy dress you want might not be available in your size? Select your favorite brands at Shop It To Me, and it will automatically search top retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Bluefly, and send you daily or weekly updates about pieces you might want that just went on sale.
Have a little fun and save an average of 50% off retail prices with this quick-as-lightning website.  Every two to three hours a new item is posted, with an in-depth description of the piece and it’s designer.  The selection is great, the pace is fast and the savings can add up.

Heavenly Couture

At Heavenly, everything is $17.95 or less. Choose from drapey dresses and colorful camisoles, denim shorts, and even jackets and hoodies. Stock up on multiple pieces and get free shipping. Shoes and accessories are coming soon.