November 2016 | Natalie in the City - A Chicago Plus Size Fashion Blog, by Natalie Craig
Natalie in the City - A Chicago Plus Size Fashion Blog, by Natalie Craig

A PLUS SIZE LIFE + STYLE BLOG

November 29, 2016

MY FLORIDA GETAWAY


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It's been getting pretty chilly in Chicago, so I was really looking forward to a break from freezing my socks off every day with a trip to sunny Orlando, Florida. My boyfriend and I booked the trip in September, and figured that it would be the perfect time to make a break for it. We were both feeling drained and ready for a vacation. It was our first time traveling together and we didn't kill each other—so that's a plus. I am usually a solo traveler, so traveling with someone else always makes me worry what the outcome will be.

When we got to Orlando, we almost instantly felt relaxed as we walked the streets in search of Cubano sandwiches—we are obsessed with the movie Chef. We knew if we didn't enjoy some authentic Latin flavors while we were in Florida, we would regret it. So that was the first thing we did. We found Cuba Libre, an upscale Latin restaurant, and totally over indulged from drinks to desserts.

We stayed on International Drive, which proved to be so much cooler than Downtown Orlando. We designated a couple of days of our vacation to do nothing but lay out by the pool. We visited Universal Studios, the Florida Mall, and the Orlando Eye. And I got to break out some of my favorite summer pieces to sport, naturally. This outfit was one of my favorites!

Both the black maxi skirt with a slit and the lace up blouse are from Forever 21. I bought them last summer, but Forever 21 still sells variations of both styles. I will include shopable items at the bottom of the post!

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Photography: Ghaffar Gbenro

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November 23, 2016

LONGLINE BOMBERS AND WOOLLY MAMMOTHS

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I'm a huge fan of bombers, but as the temps drop, I need a little more coverage than my go-to cropped bomber jackets. Which is why I scooped up this Rita Longline Bomber from Pink Clove, a U.K.-based plus size retailer. I like to keep my outfits simply-colored, so the nude tone with black trim really appealed to me. I also love that I could throw the bomber over an all black outfit to break up the dark tones.

And now, I am going to contradict my previous statement about "simply-colored ensembles" with this Beasts Small Wristlet from Coach above. I lived life on the edge—in my terms, at least—by choosing this mustard-colored wristlet over the black version of it. While my outfit falls in line perfectly with what I usually wear, I love that this wristlet is so unexpected. I mean, it has a freaking Woolly Mammoth on the front of it! The wristlet is from Coach's new Rexy line, and I have to say it has become my new favorite thing.

I'm wearing a U.K. size 20 (U.S. 16). The bomber fits true to size. 

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November 19, 2016

MY THANKSGIVING RECIPE HACKS


Since the holidays are just around the corner, I am partnering with Meijer to share my favorite Thanksgiving recipe hacks, and the kitchen gadgets that make them possible!

Thanksgiving can be stressful time that even has top chefs scrambling to cook, craft, and perfect their version of a holiday feast. But this Thanksgiving, I am going to make sure that nothing stands in the way of enjoying the holiday, while putting my own personal touch and twist on some traditional Thanksgiving side dishes and deserts.

But every accomplishment starts off with a good plan. So I took a trip to Meijer to stock up on ingredients, kitchen gadgets, and appliances to put me on the right track. Some of my must grab items were Kitchen Aid mixing bowls, measuring cups and sppons, a whisk, a potato peeler, and a wire masher. I also picked up a Nordic Ware baking pan, a Farberware pairing knife, Pyrex bowls, an adorable kitchen timer, and a sillicon basting brush. 

Find out how these kitchen gadgets play a main role in my favorite recipes and desserts on Meijer Style!  
 
PUMPKIN BISCUITS 
(Serves six)

Ingredients:
  • 1 can Pillsbury biscuits
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bag pecans 

Gadgets:
  • Basting brush
  • Baking sheet
  • Pairing knife

Instructions:
  1. Remove biscuits from can and place on a greased baking sheet. 
  2. Cut six slices around the dough leaving the center of the biscuit intact and uncut. Repeat with all biscuits.
  3. Poke one pecan deep into the center of each biscuit.
  4. Melt butter in microwave for 15 seconds or more. Then, brush each biscuit with the melted butter. 
  5. Sprinkle each biscuit with a little bit of salt. 
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. 



SWEET POTATO MASH
with cinnamon pecan maple syrup 
(Serves four)


Ingredients:
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 can whipped cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup 
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar


Gadgets:
  • Potato masher
  • Whisk
  • Potato peeler
  • Mixing bowl

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and rub with olive oil.
  3. Bake sweet potatoes for an hour, or until sweet potatoes are soft inside. 
  4. Put both potatoes, butter, and brown sugar into a mixing bowl and mash while hot. 
  5. Heat a small skillet on low heat, add maple syrup into the pan, and bring to a light boil. 
  6. Add pecans and cinnamon to the skillet and whisk sauce together. 
  7. Add sauce onto each individual serving of mashed potatoes, or serve on the side. Top mashed potatoes with a dash of whipped cream.

MINI CHICKEN POT PIES
(Serves two)


Ingredients:
  • Refrigerated pie crust 
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 can cream of potato
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package mixed frozen vegetables

Gadgets:
  • Two medium ramekins
  • Basting brush
  • Baking sheet
  • Mixing bowl
  • Fork

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 
  2. Grill, bake, or boil chicken until fully cooked. 
  3. Shred or pull apart chicken and set aside.
  4. Roll out the refrigerated pie crust into a circle. 
  5. Melt butter in the microwave for 15 seconds or until completely melted. 
  6. Brush ramekins with melted butter, and line them with pie crust. 
  7. Prepare the filling by combining cheese, cream of potato, chicken, vegetables, garlic, and salt into a mixing bowl and stir. 
  8. Pour mixture evenly into pie crust-lined ramekins. 
  9. Roll out more pie crust into a circle and layer it onto of the pie. 
  10. Press a fork on the top edges of the pie crust to join. 
  11. Poke four small holes in the center of the pie. 
  12. Brush the top of the pie with butter. 
  13. Bake for 45 minutes or until crust is golden.



PUMPKIN PIE BITES
(Serves eight)


Ingredients:
  • 1 Pumpkin pie 
  • 1 can of whipped cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 

Gadgets:
  • Small- to medium-sized cookie cutter 

Instructions:
  1. Use cookie cutter to create mini pumpkin pie bites.
  2. Top the bites with a dash of whipped cream and cinnamon.

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November 14, 2016

MAKE A SCENE

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Would you believe me if I told you that a company that made tractors and rugged work boots also made a trendy line of lifestyle shoes? Well, prepare to believe me.

Many of you may or may not be familiar with the brand Caterpillar. Growing up in Idaho, I saw the brand and its products across many cornfields, farms, and wide-open land. But I never thought I would be sitting down for brunch and endless mimosas at one of Chicago’s hottest locations with a tractor manufacturer. But here I was.

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Cat Footwear—Caterpillar’s shoe line—is hitting the road this season with the Make A Scene Tour to celebrate the launch of its Fall/Winter 2016 collection.

The Cat Footwear team invited me and other Chicago bloggers to the Chicago stop of their tour at SoHo House for brunch. I also got an exclusive look at Cat’s rugged boots for fall and lightened up textures and styles for spring that offer protection from unpredictable elements. 

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I scooped up these Cat Coax boots at the event, and I fell in love with the unexpected comfort of the high wedge and the durability of the boots in rainy conditions. The fold down ankle also makes this boot versatile as it offers a two different looks in one shoe. See how I styled them below!

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Cat Footwear will also be making stops in Los Angeles, California and Grand Rapids, Michigan, and everyone has a chance to join in the fun with the Make A Scene Weekend Getaway contest. The trip includes a $1000 flight voucher, $1000 hotel voucher, $500 Visa Gift Card for spending money, and a pair of Cat Boots. Enter to win HERE.

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