easy short & chic ponytail

Whether you are growing out your hair or just prefer a shorter length sometimes nothing but a ponytail will do.  And while ponytails are fabulous and all they can feel somewhat boring, especially if there is not much length to them.  Here is a way to jazz up that short pony with little effort!

easy short & chic ponytail | www.prettyplainjanes.com

  1. Start with at least day old dirty hair – it simply works best.
  2. Pull hair back in low ponytail leaving 2″ sections free around both sides of face.
  3. Grab one section and wrap around ponytail pinning into place underneath.
  4. Repeat on the other side and then pin any loose ends sticking out.  Spray with hairspray and rock your pony!
  5. For the knotted version simply grab sections and tie in knot above ponytail.  Wrap and pin ends underneath.

(Thanks to Vicki for lending me her fabulous shorter hair!)


easy short & chic ponytail | www.prettyplainjanes.com



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family fall style board 2

After last week’s style board going over so well I thought why not share another?  This family look would be ideal for a clean background or more urban setting.  It all goes well together without looking forced (in other words, you could go to dinner and it would not be obvious that family pictures just happened).  This family is a little bit tough, a little bit trendy and a whole boat load of fun.  (And ladies, those grey Aldo boots… YES!)

family fall style board 2 | www.prettyplainjanes.com1H&M skinny jeans 2Forever 21 moto jacket 3Forever 21 stripe floral shirt 4Aldo boots 5Forever 21 polka dot men’s shirt 6Forever 21 vest 7Aldo men’s boots 8H&M belt 9Forever 21 men’s jeans 10Old Navy leopard flats 11Ruum girl’s denim shirt 12House of Fraser faux leather skirt 13SO crochet infinity scarf 14teal tights 15Forever 21 headband 16Next Direct hi-tops 17Ruum plaid shirt 18Boden wool blazer 19Old Navy boy’s belt 20H&M boy’s jeans

If you would like to see more of these please let me know!  I do really love putting them together and am contemplating doing some sort of reoccurring feature.  Your feedback is appreciated immensely!


family fall style board 2 | www.prettyplainjanes.com




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these things

One of my favorite simple pleasures of life is jamming in the car on a gorgeous 70 degree day.  You’ve got to have the perfect song though, and lately female artists have been offering up some of the best.  Sia, Taylor and Meghan put me in instant lip sync/dance mode.  (Don’t even try to deny it, you love these songs too!)

these things | www.prettyplainjanes.com(Chandelier Sia/Shake it Off Taylor Swift/All About that Bass Meghan Trainor)

Our friend Lisa is an excellent gift giver.  (She is also far more punctual than me.  Her birthday was in August and our gift to her has been sitting in my dining room since July.)  This past May she sent quite possibly the most perfect gift for our coffee addiction.  These mugs are classy yet homey.  They house both iced and hot brew fabulously.  And everyone will ask where you got them.  Thanks Lisa!

these things | www.prettyplainjanes.com(Red Envelope Personalized Ceramic Jar Mugs)

For whatever reason some people are just plain fun to scare.  My dad falls victim quite often because he is ridiculously jumpy.  (I am fairly certain my niece and nephew have taken years off his life with their antics.)  This clip of Ellen scaring Eric Stonestreet over the years is so mean, yet so funny.  Undoubtedly the clowns are the worst.  (Carrie Bradshaw said it best…”Nothing is scarier than a clown!”)


Lastly I am going to brag on this 3 month old because well, I am his mom and I can.  He has met and been held by scads of new faces in the last month and almost every single one has made the comment “He’s such a good baby”.  Not that I would love him any less if he wasn’t but it sure is nice that he is.  So thank you Bing for putting up with all of us.  Your big sister in particular is so happy that you do.

these things | www.prettyplainjanes.comHave a fantastic weekend everyone!


these things | www.prettyplainjanes.com




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vegetable parmesan

vegetable parmesan | www.prettyplainjanes.comThere are many many reasons I can think of to ALWAYS have marinara on hand.  (Specifically this marinara which will change your life.)  But this dish is the only reason I need to justify my freezer full of tomato sauce.  It. Is. Fantastic.

Yes, this is vegetarian dish.  But not just any veggies.  There’s peppers in three colors, eggplant and……………fennel.  Wait, you don’t like fennel?  Did you hear it tastes like licorice and thought “yuck, not for me”?  Well I am not going to be a fibber and tell you it doesn’t taste like licorice because it does, especially in the raw form.  Grilled or roasted however it tastes like nutty, smokey licorice which believe you me is OUT OF THIS WORLD.  You can omit it if you really want to (but I promise you will be missing out on something special).

vegetable parmesan | www.prettyplainjanes.comThe veggies are layered with cheese and marinara and then topped with more cheese and breadcrumbs which is then placed in an oven to become a glorious shade of golden brown.  The crust is my favorite (duh).  But that combination of smokey veggies intertwined with ooey gooey cheese and tangy sauce is hard to beat as well.

vegetable parmesan | www.prettyplainjanes.com vegetable parmesan | www.prettyplainjanes.comDespite it’s vegetarian status I vouch this is a satisfying dish, even for the carnivores.  It also makes excellent leftovers (one time I threw a fried egg on top – heaven!).  This is one to put on your “must try” list, believe me!


vegetable parmesan | www.prettyplainjanes.com



vegetable parmesan

vegetable parmesan | www.prettyplainjanes.com


  • Butter, for greasing
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thirds
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thirds
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into thirds
  • 1 26oz marinara sauce (jar or homemade)
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs (3 wheat bread slices ground in food processor)


  1. Put a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish.
  2. Drizzle the eggplant slices, fennel slices and peppers with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables for 3 to 4 minutes each side until softened.
  3. Place 3/4 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of baking dish. Arrange the eggplant slices on top and sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Next layer the peppers followed be 3/4 cup of marinara and 1 cup mozzarella. Layer the fennel on top and cover with the remaining sauce and cheese. Evenly scatter scatter the bread crumbs on top and drizzle liberally with oil. Bake until the top is golden and forms a crust, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Vegetables may also be roasted on a baking sheet in a 375 degree F over for 15 to 20 minutes.

vegetable parmesan | www.prettyplainjanes.com

recipe from Giada de Laurentiis

Posted in recipes, vegetarian, what's cooking | Tagged | 1 Comment

caramel apple coffee cake

caramel apple coffee cake  | www.prettyplainjanes.com
What a crazy two weeks we have had.  As many of you know, Locke decided to make an early arrival nearly two weeks ago, and like any household with a newborn our lives have flipped upside down.  The first time I left the house I drove through our neighborhood feeling so strange.  The world is still spinning?  I had no idea.

With the birth of a new baby things always feel that way for awhile, but with Locke we are really feeling that surreal life-halting jolt.  Every day has been a complete miracle, and we are truly soaking in every second.  Life is suddenly more precious, sleep is not important, and snuggling on the couch is better than a trip to any destination I can think of.

On top of the blessings this little boy has showered us with simply by being here, our family and friends have been taking very good care of our fragile hearts.  Our home has been filled with warm meals, happy tears and blue gift bags filled with tiny onsies and soft blankets.  These two weeks will always be a cherished memory, and our hearts will forever be grateful for the gift of loving friends.

caramel apple coffee cake  | www.prettyplainjanes.com
Before our lives flipped in another full house (that was watching football), this caramel apple coffee cake was made.  It was only a few weeks ago, but it certainly feels like a lifetime has passed.  Coffee cakes are among my favorite breakfast sweets, and this one did not disappoint.  After all, ’tis the season for crumb tops and apples. (Caramel is always in season.)

caramel apple coffee cake  | www.prettyplainjanes.com
caramel apple coffee cake  | www.prettyplainjanes.com
We can’t thank you enough for the warm wishes and prayers you have showered over our family. We have felt your love through each and every message.
caramel apple coffee cake  | www.prettyplainjanes.com


caramel apple coffee cake

caramel apple coffee cake  | www.prettyplainjanes.com


  • For the apples:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
  • For the caramel sauce:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • For the streusel topping:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • For the cake:
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk (any kind!)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add apples and saute about 5 minutes until softened. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Prepare your streusel topping by adding all ingredients and cutting in the butter until a crumb-texture is achieved. Set aside.
  4. Prepare caramel sauce by adding all ingredients to a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, and then remove from heat.
  5. Prepare cake batter by beating the butter at a medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, followed by the eggs, one at a time. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  6. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in vanilla.
  7. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan. Top with apples, and half a cup of the caramel sauce. Sprinkle on the streusel topping.
  8. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  9. Cool in pan for 30 minutes once done, and then allow another hour to finish cooling removed from the pan. Top with the remaining caramel sauce, and enjoy.
caramel apple coffee cake  | www.prettyplainjanes.com

Posted in Baby Maxey Updates, breakfast, recipes, something sweet | Tagged | 4 Comments