Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Favorites: Moments.

It seems appropriate to post my favorite moment of 2012 on the last day of the year. There were a lot of moments that I loved in 2012—ringing in the new year with my friends, celebrating the last year of my 20s (I'm going to be 30 in 2013, yikes!), and discovering little things—like French press coffee and buttered toast with honey—that made, and continue to make, life just that much better. But one moment in particular stands out, late one evening in July, when ACS and I stood on a historic street in downtown St. Augustine, listening to a guitarist and a violinist sing and play their instruments. It was one of those heavy, sultry nights that only make an appearance during summer—there was a dewy sheen over everything—but the music was beautiful, fragile, transfixing. We quickly noticed that other people stopped in their tracks to listen, too, but at the same time—at least to me—it felt like we were the only ones there.

In my original post, I wrote, "Do you ever have moments when you're nostalgic for something even while it's happening?" That describes this experience exactly; it was so perfect it was almost heartbreaking.

Here's to many more of them in 2013.

P.S. My favorite album, book and taste of 2012.

Photo of St. Augustine's Castillo de San Marcos: My own. Talk about a pink moment.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Favorites: Taste.

As this month winds down, I'd like to share some of my favorite things from 2012—things that range from music to books to tastes to those little moments that have stuck with me. Today it's all about taste.

Similar to how I feel about the amount of reading I did this year, I also feel like I baked a bit less than normal, too (or maybe this feeling is just amplified because, thanks to being sick for the past two weeks, I totally neglected my usual Christmas cookie frenzy). But I really liked what I did bake, so there's that, right?

As I was looking back through the archives, though, there was one recipe that I thought about for months after I made it, and that is the pumpkin cinnamon rolls from Smitten Kitchen, pictured above. Dear Deb: I can't thank you enough for posting this recipe; the mere thought of those sticky, pumpkin-y, soft, just-sweet-enough buns is enough to make my mouth start watering. Plus, I've figured out that if you really beat the cream cheese frosting for a good long while, it gets even tastier and creamier—as close to that iconic Cinnabon frosting as the home cook can get, I think.

Here's my original post, which has a link to the recipe; if you make these buns, I think you'll see why they're my favorite taste of 2012 (and why I'll be dreaming up reasons to make them well into 2013).

P.S. My favorite book of 2012, and my favorite album, too.

Friday, December 21, 2012

What are you doing this weekend? + Merry Christmas!

Happy, happy Friday! I'm so happy it's the weekend, aren't you? And even better, it's a four-day weekend for me—I have Monday and Tuesday off—and it's Christmas. I feel like I've finally gotten a bit of my Christmas spirit back, thanks to present-wrapping with some pretty metallic paper I scooped up at TJ Maxx, our annual office potluck lunch and the seriously decked-out decorations in the awesome orchid shop by my office, where I walked around in a winter wonderland-y haze (that, OK, was probably aided by my meds) yesterday when I slipped in to purchase a gift. Plus, my brother gets in from California on Saturday, and it'll be great to all be together for Christmas.

I'm going to take Monday and Tuesday off from blogging, and maybe all of next week, too, we'll see. But if you're looking for some reading over the weekend, here are three things I loved stumbling across this week:

Missed connections, holiday-party edition. (The New York Times)

Zadie Smith on joy. (The New York Review of Books)

Do you sign your emails or letters "xoxo"? (I only sign them that way if they're to friends and family members.) The discussion on this post by Joanna is fascinating, though, and makes me wonder if there is something to the idea that the signature is industry-specific—although I work in a creative field and would never use it in professional correspondence. Hmm. (A Cup of Jo)

And this morning at 9:30 a.m.: A moment of silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy, exactly one week since they took place. (Will it ever be possible to talk or write about what happened without tears?)

Happy holidays, friends—I hope they're filled with love and warmth. xoxo

Photo by Nicole; I just love her sparkly pink tree.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The best lip balm ever.

I am prone to getting really, really chapped lips, especially around this time of year when the air is drier (yes, even down here in Florida!), and honestly, it's kind of gross. The chapping has been especially bad as of late thanks to my stupid bronchitis (oh no, it's not just a cold—thank you, Western medicine, for coming up with the Z-pack), so I've been on the hunt for a really good, ultra-moisturizing balm—and I found it in my own medicine cabinet (yay). Josie Maran's argan lip treatment is amazing—you don't need much, just a swipe, and it's incredibly moisturizing and luxurious but not gooey or thick. Seriously, my lips feel better within seconds of putting it on; I've never had that kind of instant relief with any other product. Highly recommend if you're prone to chapped lips, too, or just need something for the colder winter weather.

P.S. I also love Maran's argan oil for the face...

P.P.S. The argan lip treatment I have came as a sample in a gift box, so it's a smaller size; I know $18 is a lot for a little pot of balm, but trust me, it lasts forever, and I wouldn't recommend it if I didn't think it was amazing. xoxo

Photo via

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 Favorites: Books.

As this month winds down, I'd like to share some of my favorite things from 2012—things that range from music to books to tastes to those little moments that have stuck with me. Today it's all about books.

I didn't read nearly as much as I wanted to in 2012—the samples of books I've downloaded to my iPad but never purchased always stare at me judgingly when I open the bookstore app. Sadness.

But that said, I really enjoyed what I did read: Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, for example, or Julia Child's My Life in France, which I know has been out for years but which I raced through for the first time in November and loved (what a great reminder that pursuing your passion can truly pay off). Even Gone Girl, whose ending I found really disappointing, was engaging.

My favorite book of 2012 sneaked in under the wire, though, and it is The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach. Confession: I actually started reading this book a few months ago and put it down; I guess I wasn't in the right head space to commit to it (does that ever happen to you?). But I picked it back up again and loved it. It's about baseball, yes, but it's also about what happens when you're just about to achieve your dreams, just about to get everything you ever wanted or worked hard for—and then suddenly find it all out of reach and have to figure out what to do, either temporarily or permanently. Certainly something we can all relate to.

I was worried about needing to know a lot about baseball when I started this book, because I don't—but I didn't have to; though I'm sure there are some nuances I missed that an avid fan wouldn't've, I never felt lost or like I didn't understand what was going on. That's due, in great part, to Harbach's writing: It's simple and straightforward, and it makes you feel like you're part of what's going on and emotionally invested in the story without getting too wrapped up in its sentences. I loved it. I loved this book. You should absolutely read it.

What was your favorite book of the year?

P.S. My favorite album of 2012...


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sick day.

Remember that cold-thing I had two weeks ago? Well, it came back with a vengeance this weekend. After Pollyanna-ing that it was "just allergies" for most of Friday night and Saturday afternoon, I finally popped some cold meds on Saturday evening and let myself succumb to the fact that I either have a sinus infection—thanks to the low-grade but consistent throbbing above my eyebrows and between my nose—or something else that needs an antibiotic to banish it. Thank goodness for wonderful ACS, who made me hot tea and the best toast in the world (with the perfect amount of grape jelly), didn't mind that I sneezed on him and rubbed my back when I coughed. The best, truly.

I hate to say it, but between this stupid never-ending cold and especially the heartbreaking events that unfolded in Newtown last Friday—I can't even glance at a headline without crying; did you watch President Obama's speech on Sunday night? It was so moving—I've lost a bit of my Christmas spirit. I never wound up getting a Christmas tree, much as I wanted to, and I haven't done any holiday baking yet, and that makes me kind of sad. But all of that's nothing compared to what others are going through, and you know, I have an always-fun holiday potluck at work on Wednesday (speaking of baking, I need to figure out my dish, eek), my brother is coming home from California on Saturday and I'm going to see most of my favorite people over the Christmas break, so there's that. There's definitely all of that.

And until tomorrow, I leave you with these photos: my sick-day essentials (tons of Kleenex and green tea with honey in a pretty mug) and my two adorable, fluffy felines (just because).

Hope you guys are well. xoxo

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Big Sur wedding.

Kate of For Me, For You tweeted a link to this gorgeous Big Sur wedding on Once Wed last week, and I've been thinking about it ever since. The bride wanted an intimate wedding (just 10 guests!) in a place where the environment was conducive to both ocean and woods, and though she'd never actually been to Big Sur before, she knew that it was the right location and made it all come together. And after the beachside ceremony, everyone headed to an intimate dinner at a local bakery and restaurant—how sweet is that?

Photos by Rad + In Love, via Once Wed

Friday, December 14, 2012

What are you doing this weekend?

You guys, I am not going to lie: I have been a ball of stress this week, and I am exceptionally glad it's Friday. That week before the week before Christmas is always hard, isn't it? I mean, next week I'll have met my deadlines, I'll have a couple of holiday parties to look forward to, and on Friday night I'll be heading home to see my parents and brother for the long weekend (especially delightful now because the Great Christmas Travel Nightmare of 2012 is over—don't ask). But for now, I'm just really glad it's the weekend.

Speaking of, what are you guys up to for the next few days? I'm heading north to spend some time with ACS in his natural habitat, so that will be fun, and I'm making a pit stop at my parents', too.

And if you're in the mood for some reading this weekend, here are three fun links:

36 hours in Sarasota. Decent picks (C'est La Vie: yes! Some others: so-so); reminds me, too, that one day I need to publish my little city guide for this blog... (The New York Times)

Anne Hathaway's Excited Red Carpet Face: Pretty amusing. (Vulture)

I love Louis C.K., and I thought his Proust questionnaire was funny. ("You hips need to get it together.") (Vanity Fair)

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend. See you Monday. xoxo

Update: I wrote this post last night, before I heard the terrible news about what happened in Connecticut this morning. I feel like a jerk for complaining about being stressed out when it could be so, so, so much worse. Hug your loved ones a little tighter this weekend. I know I will. 

Photo: Oscar and me. Did you know that petting cats relieves stress? That's a fun fact I learned this week thanks to this gal.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 Favorites: Music.

As this month winds down, I'd like to share some of my favorite things from 2012—things that range from music to books to tastes to those little moments that have stuck with me.

First up: music. I wrote about The Lumineers in June after hearing their song "Ho Hey" in a Bing commercial, of all things. As I recall, I Shazam-ed the song on my phone, hunted down the album on iTunes, listened to the whole thing one night while driving to my parents' house in Orlando and immediately declared it the soundtrack of my summer. Turns out it's the soundtrack of my year, because I haven't been able to stop listening to it (and this is saying something, since John Mayer also released a new album this year and we all know how I feel about him). The band is getting more and more popular these days, too, which is great because they deserve all their success—"Ho Hey" is on the radio, and I heard the opening track, "Flowers in Your Hair," on Parenthood the other night.

Anyway, The Lumineers' self-titled album is definitely one of my 2012 favorites, and if you're thinking of downloading it, I can't recommend it highly enough. My top three favorite songs from the album are "Ho Hey," "Flowers in Your Hair" and "The Candidate" (lots of hand clapping, which is awesome), but really, it's all so good.

What's your favorite album of the year?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sweetness and light.

For the past six months or so, I've been doing a lot of wedding coverage for work, which means I've been looking at a lot of wedding photos, and I have to say: Binary Flips takes some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. There's just something about the way the photos are composed...and then there's the light. Stunning.

See more here.

P.S. How to plan a Sarasota beach wedding.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Salted caramel sauce.

I don't know about you, but salted caramel and I have a very intense relationship. As in, I make it, I use it for baking (salted caramel brownies, for example, or a doomed salted caramel banana cream pie), and then I slowly, over the course of several days, eat the rest of it by sneaking into the fridge, spoon in hand, and dipping into the jar. I'm planning on making an apple pie with salted caramel for Christmas dinner this year (my first apple pie ever; I'm a little scared!), and I already can't wait to make the caramel sauce.

If you're looking for a great recipe, I use Deb's, and it is perfect. Melt sugar until it's copper-colored, add good-quality salted butter (Kerrygold works well, I find), whisk in cream and stir until smooth. Oh, man. Yum

P.S. Salted caramel—poured into a Ball jar and packaged with pretty gift tag tied with baker's twine, maybe?—would make a great gift, too, for the holidays or for anytime. Also, for the next week or two, I'll tag posts like these—that would double as fun gifts—as "gift guide 2012," in case you're looking for ideas.

P.P.S. This post was totally an excuse to talk about salted caramel sauce.

Photo credit 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hair apparent.

I am really bad when it comes to my hair. I can do a pretty decent blowout, and I'm OK with a flatiron, but other than that, nope. I picked up a curling iron for the first time this year—seriously—and I've only recently figured out what products actually work for my long, wavy, fine locks.

Also, my hair is pretty much always in a ponytail, but I've realized that if I wash it and blow it dry at night, then sleep on it, I get a pretty nice wave, even if I'm just wearing it up. But the other night we had our office holiday party and I figured I should try and do something with it, so I came home from work, changed into a sparkly sweater, and then—using this Everygirl hair tutorial as inspiration—pulled some front pieces back, bobby-pinned it all (admittedly kind of randomly) and then hairsprayed the you-know-what out of it. And I thought it came out pretty well, so I'm doing it again for a dinner I'm going to this week. (Here's a photo of how it turned out the first time, if you'd like to see.)

Do you have a go-to hairstyle?

Photo via The Everygirl

Friday, December 7, 2012

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy Friday, friends! The first week of December is over—can you believe it? (I can't.) Though I've spent most of this week trying to fight off a really annoying cold, there were some highlights, the sparkliest of which was our office holiday party last night, which is always fun. This year it was a held in a space that I kept describing as "like a library—but instead of library books on the shelves, there's wine!" Not bad.

This weekend I'm hoping to finally kick the damn cold, spending some quality time with ACS, hopefully getting my oil changed (ugh) and maybe, finally, picking up my little tabletop Christmas tree, which I planned to do last weekend but which fell sadly by the wayside thanks to the aforementioned cold (wah, wah). What are you guys up to?

Oh, and if you're in the mood for some reading:

An oral history of Freaks and Geeks. (Vanity Fair)

I love Chris Messina and The Mindy Project. (Did you know he had a small part in You've Got Mail, my favorite romantic comedy ever?) (NY Mag)

Not an article, but this video—of Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, Mariah Carey and some adorable kids singing "All I Want for Christmas is You"—is pretty much guaranteed to make you smile.

And in case you missed it, here's a link to my first-ever holiday gift guide (so fun to put together).

Have a great December weekend, and I'll see you back here on Monday. xoxo

Photo: Audrey, via

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Great Fridge Debacle of 2012.

I've told you about the Great Refrigerator Debacle of 2012, right? That week back in October when my fridge decided to die and my lovely landlord didn't get me a replacement for a full week? Those were seven dark days, and I'm fairly certain I went through several stages of grief: Denial (that the fridge was dead), anger (that I had to throw everything away, and then later that the fridge was so delayed in its arrival and I had to spend so much money on takeout), depression (that I couldn't keep basic items, like my beloved almond milk, in the house) was not fun. And I complained a lot, as my friends and family can attest. (Sorry, guys.)

Anyway, I now have a new fridge and it works perfectly. But for that awful week that I was fridge-less, I was thinking about refrigerators so frequently that I spent a lot of time on the Internet doing research on them (no, really). That's when I was reminded of my love for Smegs. In my dream house, there is not a stainless steel refrigerator or one that is designed to match the cabinets or walls—no, there is a Smeg. (Probably a pastel green one to match my beloved KitchenAid stand mixer.) I love the fridges' vintage-y feel, their rounded edges, their everything. Now if only I had an extra $2,000 laying around...

P.S. I've typed the word "fridge" seven—now eight!—times in this post, in case you're keeping track.

P.P.S. I was thisclose to titling this post "A Smeg for Meg." You're welcome.

All photos via West Elm.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Buttered toast with honey.

Sadly, there was no brioche or orange gingerbread with cream cheese frosting to be made this weekend. No, after attending a fun benefit on Friday night (to which I got to wear a black sparkly dress I'd been hoarding for a year), I came home and discovered that my ears and throat were in a lot of pain, and I spent Saturday morning feeling super-congested, nauseated for a period of time and then, finally, just exhausted. The idea of trying to leave the house was totally overwhelming, so I didn't; instead, I let my little cat Zadie snuggle with me (she's a good nurse), slept for hours and ate a lot of toast and tea.

I love toast when I'm sick because it reminds me of my mom; whenever my brother and I weren't feeling well growing up, she'd stick a couple slices of bread in the toaster, let them get brown, then lightly butter them, cut them into strips and serve them to us. Comfort food at its best, I say.

So I did much the same this weekend, only at some point I was inspired to add a drizzle of honey to the buttered toast, and I don't know if it's just my fuzzy head talking or what, but you guys, it was so delicious. The crunchiness of the toasted bread, the creaminess of the butter and the sweet smoothness of the honey are perfect together, and I know the last thing you need is a recipe for toast, of all things, but you should try this. Really. And not just when you're sick.

Photo: Dimity Jones for Simply Breakfast

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Pink O'Clock 2012 Holiday Gift Guide.

Gift guides are a funny thing. On the one hand, I think they promote materialism in a way that I'm not very comfortable with during a time of year when I (maybe naively) think the focus should be on spending time with friends and family. And the really cynical part of me thinks that they're a way for advertisers and the not-so-ethical bloggers out there to make money via affiliate links and sponsored posts. (There are, of course, plenty of responsible bloggers who create sponsored posts and use affiliate links and are transparent about all of it, and they're absolutely excluded from that statement.)

But on the other hand, I really love picking out treats for people I love, and as I've been clicking through my favorite online shops and websites these days, I've found myself mentally cataloging items that would make perfect gifts for specific friends and family members. So I thought I'd share that catalog with you here today, as promised. The following 11 items are things I'd buy in two shakes of a lamb's tail for the people on my shopping list, and I hope you enjoy reading about what I picked. And hey, if gift guides aren't your thing, come back tomorrow, when we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A piglet for Monday.

Just because.

(She is so overwhelmingly cute it makes me want to cry. Do you ever feel like that? Please say yes.)

Friday, November 30, 2012

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy Friday, friends! How were your weeks? As is the case after any holiday, mine was busy but also productive, which is always a nice way to feel as the weekend approaches. And while I don't have any firm plans for the next few days yet—aside from picking up a little (live!) tabletop Christmas tree and getting the majority of my gift shopping done—I'm really looking forward to spending time here in Sarasota, enjoying the perfect weather we've been having lately. Oh, and I'm totally baking something this weekend, too, whether it's the brioche I was salivating over in this post or this orange gingerbread with cream cheese frosting from Joy the Baker (hello, holiday-appropriate dessert). I promise to report back on what I made next week.

In the meantime, if you're looking for some fun reads, here are three links:

I love Paul Rudd (he used to be a bat mitzvah DJ!). (T magazine)

Did Robert Burchfield, former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, "covertly delete thousands because of their foreign origin" from the dictionary—or was he just a good editor? Regardless, it's pretty fascinating. (The New Yorker)

Ann M. Martin's 10 favorite Baby-Sitters Club books (!!). I was obsessed with the BSC when I was younger; I most identified with Mary Anne (take from that what you will). (EW via the Fug Girls)

Have a great weekend (the first one in December! Eek!), and I'll see you back here on Monday! xoxo

Photo: My new cake stand (with scalloped edges!), which I am in love with. Thank you, thrift store.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Animal prints.

I don't know what it is about me and animals on articles of clothing (or accessories) lately, but I've suddenly become obsessed. I bought that black-and-white bunny tee from Anthropologie above a few weeks ago and it's my current favorite shirt; if I can get my hands on that Madewell sheep sweater, it'll likely become a go-to top on cooler days, as well. Here are a few of my other favorite animal-inspired picks (how adorable is that little Scottie dog?).

Anthropologie penguin cardigan; Madewell sheep sweater (sold out online, but maybe available in stores); Anthropologie bunny T-shirt; C. Wonder Scottie dog sweater; Kate Spade iPhone case.

P.S. This year I put together a little holiday gift guide (which was a learning experience with Photoshop, if nothing else!). It was really fun to create and I tried to make it personal and not let the products overtake it, so if you're looking for some fun gift ideas, it'll be up next Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Have you seen Lincoln yet? I'm probably way late to this party, but we saw it on Sunday and it was so great—beautiful and moving and so well done. I love 19th-century American literature and history, so I had a soft spot for the film going in, but Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln is superb, and so are Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones and Lee Pace (who I've had a crush on since Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Pushing Daisies).

What movies have you seen lately? The last one I saw was Argo, which I also loved.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I'm sure you all read Mimi Thorisson's beautiful blog, Manger, already, but I only recently discovered it and feel like I've fallen down a rabbit hole. The lovely writing, the delicious recipes (brioche with orange blossom water!), the beautiful, moody's all just so good (and French!).

All photographs by Mimi Thorisson for Manger

Monday, November 26, 2012

A breath of fresh air.

I don't know about you, but even though I love my job, the idea of crawling out of bed this morning was kind of awful to consider after four days of—at least for me—pretty much pure relaxation. I ate (my cheesecake was a hit!), I read, I shopped, I slept, I snuggled, I spent time outside (I highly recommend long Black Friday Bike Rides, by the way), I spent time inside, I watched was glorious. So if you're feeling a little...underwhelmed...about getting back to the grind today, too, I present you with this photo, which I snapped at my parents' house on Thanksgiving morning, as a sort of visual breath of fresh air. Here's to a new week.

How were your Thanksgivings, if you celebrated? (And if you didn't, how were your weekends?)

P.S. The holidays are officially upon us now, huh? Eep!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

American tintype photography.

My friend Megan posted link to this video, American Tintype, on Facebook last week and I just knew I had to share it here. It's a beautifully shot and edited short film about a subject that I'm suddenly eager to learn more about.

And truly, how stunning are those photographs?

P.S. I'll be taking the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving; I hope you guys have a wonderful holiday (and a happy rest of the week), and I'll see you back here on Monday. xo

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving baking.

Last week, I sent out a worried tweet:

"Fretting over whether I have time to make Thanksgiving dessert Thurs. morning if I go to my parents' then instead of Wed. #firstworldproblem"

(When I called my mom to vocalize this thought, she replied, "That's so funny; I was just thinking about that." The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.)

Anyway, you'll be happy to know that I've decided to bake my dessert—a pumpkin cheesecake featured on the cover of November's Saveur, which will satisfy the pumpkin lovers in my family (my mom and me) and the cheesecake lovers (my dad)—on Wednesday night, then cart it to my parents' house on Thursday morning, along with a chocolate cream pie from Yoder's (remind me to blog about the pie lines sometime soon). I'm really excited for Thanksgiving; we're having a super-small one this year, since my brother will be in California, but with all that's been happening lately, it'll be nice to unplug, relax and eat a lot of really good food. 

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

P.S. These Parker House rolls from the November Bon Appetit will also be making an appearance. Yum.

Photo by Beth Rooney for Saveur.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Red lips.

One of my favorite ways to add interest to any outfit—be it super-casual or super-formal—is to apply red lipstick. I'd been hesitant to do this in the past because I was always afraid of looking like a clown, but I've found that the right shade and some good blending make all the difference, and now I apply a coat at least a couple of times a week. My current favorite is Revlon's good old "Ravish Me Red," available at most drugstores for less than $10, but I'm dying to try Ilia's "Wild Child,"  which is made from organic ingredients and looks like it would be so pretty.

Photo: Martha Stewart

Friday, November 16, 2012

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy Friday, friends! How were your weeks? Things seem to be picking up around here lately, and while I'm excited for the holidays, I find myself making tons of lists and programming a lot of reminders into my phone in an effort to make sure things don't slip through the cracks. (Excitingly, I think the next list I'll be making is my holiday cookie master plan. It may be time for those nutella-stuffed chocolate chip cookies to make their debut in my kitchen.)

In other news, I am in desperate need of some new clothes (ACS has started to referring to my favorite striped Gap top as my "Sunday shirt," as in I wear it every weekend), so I think a trip to the store is in order. It's been a little cooler here, so I'm looking forward to picking up a few pretty things that aren't T-shirts. What are your plans for the next few days?

Oh, and if you're in the mood for some reading, here are three fun links:

I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, but I love Stacy London (I met her earlier this year and she was wonderful), so I really enjoyed reading her feature on The Coveteur. (The Coveteur)

I want to see Anna Karenina (the movie), which stars Keira Knightley. Here's the New York Times review.  Will you be seeing it? (The New York Times)

No more Twinkies: 16 vintage Hostess commercials. (New York Magazine)

And bonus: I know you've probably all seen it, but here's Pete Wells' scathing review of Guy Fieri's new Times Square restaurant. Eep. ("Why does the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?") (The New York Times)

Have a great weekend (the last one before Thanksgiving!) and I'll see you on Monday. xoxo

Photo: Kari Herer

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dress your desk.

I guess it's time to begin thinking about 2013 calendars, huh? (Seriously, where does the time go?) This desk calendar from Rifle Paper Co., with a stand designed by Makr, is at the tip-top of my super-official (ahem) Calendar Consideration List. So pretty, right?

P.S. Thanksgiving is one week away. Yikes!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Signature scent.

Do you guys have a favorite perfume? For the past few months, I've been wearing J'Adore (by Dior), and although it smells good, it just doesn't feel like me. Before that, I wore Jo Malone's Orange Blossom (it smelled amazing but faded super quickly), and before that I was in love with Miss Dior Cherie, but that feels too sweet these days. I also keep a tube of Long Winter Farm's Orange Blossom roll-on perfume in my purse, but I want something I can spritz.  I've been thinking of trying Kai (gardenias!), but I'd love to know what you guys are wearing and loving, too.

Photo: Anthropologie

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homemade hot chocolate.

There are just some things that are perfect for cool fall nights. Hot chocolate is one of them.

I don't generally keep cow's milk in my fridge unless I need it for baking (long story), but when my wonderful friend and college roommate, Mel, came to stay with me for a couple of days last week, I bought a carton of milk with the clear intent of using it for one thing and one thing only: Homemade hot chocolate.

The way I make hot chocolate isn't groundbreaking, and I'm sure I could fancy up the recipe by chopping up a good-quality chocolate bar and adding some spices (cinnamon or maybe even chipotle would be amazing) instead of using cocoa powder, but it is delicious and rich and comforting and creamy and everything you want in a cup of cocoa. All I do is heat a cup of whole milk on the stovetop and then pour it over a mixture of 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Stir everything together (make sure to mix well, as it'll get clumpy if you don't), add about a quarter teaspoon of vanilla (maybe a little more; just eyeball it) and then top the whole thing with generous clouds of homemade whipped cream. (The more whipped cream you add, the creamier the cocoa will be because the whipped cream will melt right into it.)

And seriously, that's it. Serve it in a pretty teacup with a little garnish—we had salty-sweet chocolate-covered pretzels from Sirard's here in Sarasota that I got at an event—and enjoy. Yum.

Photo: A la mode*

Monday, November 12, 2012

How to plan a Sarasota beach wedding.

I know I say this all the time, but seriously: meeting new people is a huge perk of my job. A few months ago, I met and had a brainstorming session about local weddings with the amazing, lovely and talented Naomi Chokr and Sarah Tucker, and the result is a stunning  feature that the two of them concepted, produced and shot for the magazine I work for. Above are just a few of my favorite images; you can see the rest—and a list of vendors—by clicking here.

All photographs by Naomi Chokr

Friday, November 9, 2012

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy weekend, everyone. It's been quite a week, hasn't it, what with the election and, at least for me, the realization that Thanksgiving is only two weeks away?

Tonight I'm having dinner with friends (including my college roomie, Mel, who's staying with me through tomorrow morning) and then heading to Orlando to see family on Saturday. It should be a busy weekend, but with the weather being insanely beautiful lately and a plethora (yes, a plethora!) of people I love around, it should be a pretty good one, too.

And if you're looking for something to read, here are three fun links:

How the photographer behind New York magazine's amazing Hurricane Sandy cover got that shot. (Poynter)

The many beverages of James Bond. (Bon Appetit)

Huffington Postmodern: Creating haikus using only HuffPo headlines. Awesome. ("Meanwhile, in Florida...") (Vanity Fair)

See you guys Monday. xoxo

Photo: My sweet Oscar, mid-flop.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kate Spade for Keds.

Kate Spade for Keds: Cute.

(I wore Keds all the time as a little girl—specifically white ones paired with my grade-school school uniform, which consisted of oh-so-attractive plaid culottes and a white sailor shirt with a plaid tie. Memories...)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life lately, in Instagrams.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I love Instagram. While I admit that it probably makes my life look unrealistically charmed (you won't ever see a photo of my messy apartment on there, you can count on that—also, no lie, the filters are excellent for faking glowy, flawless skin), I enjoy that it often makes me stop and capture a sweet moment that I might otherwise have missed.

Here's a snapshot of what's been going on in my life lately, according to my Instagram feed: A new bag (thanks, Mom). Leopard heels. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a cookbook I'd been coveting for ages. My favorite bookstore ever (in Jacksonville), where said cookbook was procured. Dinner on the water with friends at Mar Vista. Chickens in Sarasota! Pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting. A wedding at the beautiful Ribault Club (also in Jacksonville). My all-time favorite shoes: hot-pink heels. An old bag: my grandmother's vintage beaded clutch, which has the loveliest silk lining. Burgundy and polka dots. A happy mail day (including my first Birchbox, Whole Living magazine and a Rifle Paper Co. card).

Do you guys love Instagram like I do? You can find me there at "pinkoclock" if you want to follow along, or click here to see my most recent photos.

Yes, we did.

In 2008, I blogged about watching Barack Obama win the presidential election and wrote that one thought ran through my mind: "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite." (It's a quote from the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and it sure felt apt.)

Last night, I felt that same pure, unbridled sense of joy, and that same quote came back to me again. I can't even tell you how proud, relieved and happy I feel this morning. Those tears of joy, they sure are sweet.

We did it.

Now: forward.

Photo via the Obama campaign's Instagram. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This election.

Dear friends,

Today is election day, and I don't know about you, but tonight I plan on coming home from work, doing a little exercise, and then hunkering down on my couch in front of the TV with a big bowl of soup, a cup of tea and a body full of nerves. On this night in 2008, I felt incredibly optimistic about the outcome of the presidential race; this time around, with so much at stake, the prevailing feeling is anxiety. I really hope the right candidate wins.

This will likely be my last political post for the next four years—I try to reserve this space for lighthearted things, like cupcakes and silly stories about my life—but I read the below last week and it's stuck with me ever since. It's specifically about gay rights, but the sentiment applies to so much else that's so important in this election, including women's rights. I hope that if you're still undecided, it'll make you think a little bit harder about who you'll vote for today, and that if you're a Romney/Ryan supporter, you double-check your gut and consider the social issues at stake here as well as the economic ones. (Keep in mind that, as Hila brilliantly and eloquently said in a comment on this post, where I also commented with the following quote, the economy exists to serve people; without people, there wouldn't be an economy.)

"I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they're voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level, clear voice and say, 'My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood.' 

"It's like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movements and apologizing for his racism. You're still complicit. You're still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don't get to walk away clean, because you say you 'disagree' with your candidate on these issues." —Pulitzer- and Tony-award winning playwright Doug Wright (via

I'm done now, except for one last thing: Please, please, please, whatever you do, go vote today.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Found: The perfect fall boot.

As you know, we don't have much temperature variation here in Florida—the weather flip-flops between face-meltingly hot (May-October) and totally gorgeous (November-April). That's why the second the barometer drops below 70, even for a few hours, I break out my boots. Boots are such a quintessentially fall item, and fall is my favorite season, so it makes sense, right? Even if my feet get sweaty?

Anyway, I have a pair of Frye boots and a cheapie pair from Target (I love Target) currently in rotation, but these cognac-colored Loeffler Randall beauties are currently at the top of my wishlist, as much for the fall feelings they evoke as how gorgeous they are. A girl can dream...

P.S. These polka-dot heels are also on that wishlist.

Friday, November 2, 2012

What are you doing this weekend?

Last weekend, I went to one of the loveliest weddings I've ever attended at a place in Sarasota that I never knew existed. My friend Charla got married at The Oaks at Windsong, a tract of green land that's framed by a gorgeous field (where cows happily graze) on one side and thick woods on the other. It was the most beautiful night; the weather was a cool 70 degrees, white cafe lights were strung up everywhere and the whole evening had a comfortable yet elegant country-rustic feel to it, as you can see from the photos above. The simple ceremony took place near a pond—Charla and Harrison got married on a dock hovering over it, and the guests sat in a semi-circle around the perimeter of the water—and then we moved over to the adjacent reception area for a delicious family-style dinner. (And speaking of, we need to talk about gorgeous carrot cake and the homemade Amish pies that were served for dessert, because I am still thinking about them, days later.)

But my favorite thing about the venue was that it didn't even feel like we were in Florida. I think people automatically think of Siesta Key Beach when they hear the word "Sarasota," and this was totally the opposite of that. After living here for more than six years, I love that this city still surprises me with places like The Oaks at Windsong; I'm thinking that many drives out east are in my future this autumn.

No links this week, but I'll see you guys back here on Monday. Have a great weekend.

1. The reception area. 2. That carrot cake. 3. Me and my friend Cindy (I'm wearing my Camilyn Beth dress!). 4. Menu"pie, pie, pie." 5. Said piesglorious. 6. The head table with a sparkling chandelier. All photos by me, taken with Instagram.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Glitter feathers.

Anabela, of Fieldguided, posted this glitter feather DIY last week and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Isn't it beautiful? I think I'm going to make some glitter feathers myself; I'm not sure what I'll use them for, but they're so pretty that they'd look nice even in a simple glass vase.

P.S. Another super-easy DIY: gold brick bookends.

Photo by Anabela