Thursday, March 29, 2012

after sunset.

just a photo from my long walk last night. it's amazing what a little fresh air and a warm, salty breeze can do to clear your head, isn't it?

image by me

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

afternoon delight: artisan cheese company.

one of my favorite things about my job is hearing about new shops and things to do. someone is always telling someone else in my office about the clothing store that's opening around the corner or the museum exhibition that's a must-see. it's fun, and for someone who always likes to know what's going on, like me, it certainly satisfies my nosy tendencies.

a tip from a colleague was the case with artisan cheese company, which just opened on main street in downtown sarasota and which my coworker and i wandered into yesterday afternoon. i'm a sucker for lots of light and clean lines and pretty packaging, which this store has in spades -- plus, of course, it's a purveyor of gourmet cheese, specialty honey, handcrafted cutting boards and various charcuterie, which is never a bad thing. my wallet thanks me for not bringing home a delicious, stinky round of cowgirl creamery fromage (i settled for a petite jar of honey and a chocolate-covered pretzel rods from a local chocolatier), but my tastebuds are telling me i'll soon be back.

other notes: the store serves coffee beginning at 6 a.m., has a sandwich of the day (monday's was fontina, prosciutto and jam) and will prepare cheese platters for parties and other gatherings. lately i've been really into giving special little items as gifts -- a succulent in a pretty pot, a beautiful bar of soap -- and artisan cheese company totally fits into that mindset.

yay for sarasota.

photos by me, taken with instagram

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

loving: emerson fry's spring line.

i've been a fan of emerson fry's lovely clothes since she first launched her eponymous brand back in 2010, and my love for the line was rekindled when i took a look at the new spring collection last week. i'd like one of every single piece, please, especially those pink heels.

p.s.: don't you love the company's mission statement? "emerson fry is a company that believes in celebrating the uniqueness of the individual, the joy of being alive and all the smallness that makes up the big beautiful." perfect.

photos: emerson fry

Monday, March 26, 2012

scenes from the weekend + committing to...

what a beautiful weekend. there was sunshine and flowers and lazy mornings and afternoon naps and s'mores cupcakes, and if that wasn't enough, the weather on sunday afternoon was perfect -- to the point where i exclaimed, "i cannot believe this weather!" so many times it probably annoyed the people i was with. i often joke about living in the marshmallow (thanks again to my b.f.f. kate for coining that phrase), but this weekend was really, really lovely -- and a great way to get myself into a positive place for the reset i'd like this week to be.

i wrote on friday that i felt really disorganized for the majority of last week, and i've mentioned before -- numerous times -- that i am notoriously bad at going to bed at a reasonable hour (and therefore, notoriously bad at waking up at a reasonable one). it's something i really need to change, because i don't like that feeling of running out of the house, bleary-eyed with my wet hair thrown up in a bun, bleary-eyed, and then navigating to work in a state that's basically autopilot. and the ironic thing is, i love morning, especially those hours between seven and 10 a.m. they feel different to me; special. i always associate them with good things. and i'm most productive during them.

so this morning i took a big step: i set my alarm for 6:30 a.m., and (with the help of a good morning text from a certain someone) i actually got up early. and yup, i'm a little tired because i didn't go to bed until close to 1 a.m. last night. but i think that tiredness will force me into bed earlier tonight, and that's a good thing.

i had a conversation with one of my closest friends last night about being kind not only to each other, but to ourselves, and for me, respecting my body enough to give it the rest it deserves is a big part of that. part of the reason i stay up so late, i think, is because i'm perpetually afraid i'm going to miss something important, and if i do, it leads to feelings of inadequacy, however irrational they may be. (yes, hello, complicated.) so i'm excited to try to get out of that pattern, and who knows? maybe i'll even become a morning person, and when my friend megan asks me to go to a 6 a.m. spin class with her i'll reply with a big, fat "yes!"

so obviously rethinking my sleep pattern is high on the agenda this week, but here're my other little goals:

+ make this soup, which i've been thinking about ever since i saw it on 101 cookbooks last week. seriously, how good does that look?
+ get a pedicure. i need one. badly. my feet are beyond at-home treatments.
+ start thinking about some summer travel, because i just found out i have the week of july fourth off again.
+ take some nice long walks, because i love them. and that seems like a perfectly delightful reason.

photo of the sweet-smelling pink roses i encountered this weekend by me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

what are you doing this weekend?

what a crazy week! i kind of can't believe we're already to the end of it (not that i'm complaining). my wonderful mom has been in town for the past few days, and we've been having a great time eating delicious food and soaking up the sarasota sun. mom left today, but i wish she was staying longer.

and now it's friday, and it's time to stop and catch my breath and send out a big yay for a sunny spring weekend.  i'm planning on relaxing, spending time outside in the amazing warm weather, hanging out with some of my favorite people and putting myself in the mindset to get back in a good, solid routine next week. i'm pretty sure the feeling that the week got away from me is related to a total lack of organization on my part over the past few days, and i'll share more about how i'm planning to reset on monday. 

until then, here's to a wonderful, warm march weekend that's filled with sunshine. tell me what you're up to and i'll see you back here on monday!

photo by me. sometimes friday afternoon lunches call for pancakes.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

the things we come back to.

lately i've been feeling a strange combination of nostalgic and optimistic; i'm fairly certain it has something to do with the time of year. but no matter what,  planning for future projects and thinking about the past make for an avalanche of thoughts in this head of mine -- and probably account for why i was having trouble sleeping last week.

then i read this post on roseline's gorgeous, always-inspiring blog, this is glamorous, and was struck by the line in which she mentions the things we come back to time and time again (talk about nostalgia). it got me thinking about my own list of those things; the things that i try to look at or read or do as often as possible because they never fail to bring me comfort.

here are a few of them:
  • the scent of orange blossoms
  • long, meaningful conversations
  • my cats purring
  • the sound of waves crashing against the shore
  • peonies
  • almost famous ("the only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool.")
  • siesta key sand between my toes 
  • yellow
  • salty sea air
  • semicolons 
  • long walks
  • vanilla cupcakes
  • perfectly worn-in flip-flops
  • the sound of my favorite people laughing
  • the well-worn, dog-eared pages of my copies of jane eyre, pride & prejudice, little women, nature, leaves of grass, to the lighthouse and persuasion.
  • pale pink
how about you -- what makes your list?

photo by carrie / alltherage__

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

baked! chocolate-orange cream cheese pound cake (aka "i miss you" cake)

on saturday night -- st. patrick's day -- after a certain someone headed home, i found myself feeling restless. i paced around my apartment, took out the trash and recycling, tried to settle down on the couch with a book. nothing stuck, though. after such a packed few days, i was feeling empty. i needed something to fill the evening.

enter: joy the baker's chocolate-orange cream cheese pound cake.

before i continue, here's the thing about me and baking: like writing, the creative process is, for me, just as important and therapeutic as the end result. i love sifting flour, measuring vanilla, whipping cream, folding egg whites. i love watching cakes rise in the oven, love patting toasted coconut flakes onto cream cheese frosting or topping cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles. i've always felt this way, in fact. it just happens to be that, unlike certain other creative pursuits, the end results of baking projects are something you can eat.

and this pound cake is a perfect example of baking-as-soul soother.

orange-scented sugar meets cream cheese and butter meets eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda and a little salt. after everything is mixed, chocolate chips are folded in. the batter is poured into a loaf pan and baked until the top of the cake is cracked and golden brown. and while it's cooking, the kitchen will be filled with the heady scent of orange and chocolate. it's heaven. especially if your kitchen window is open and a warm spring breeze is blowing through, and especially if you're missing a certain someone and feeling restless.

here's the recipe for the cake -- which i'm now referring to as "i miss you" cake -- if you'd like to try it yourself, and here are a few notes from me:

joy's recipe doesn't list the amount of chocolate morsels needed (at least, it didn't when i was typing up this post); i used about a cup of ghirardelli 60 percent cacao dark chocolate chips (my go-to chip for most recipes).

i added about a tablespoon of fresh orange juice to the batter right after i mixed in the vanilla. (i really love orange, and the orange i had on hand gave me a little less than the two tablespoons of zest the recipe called for, so there you go.)

the instructions say to bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes; i found that i had to bake this cake for closer to 90 minutes (!). this could be a sign that my oven needs recalibrating, but no matter what, keep an eye on the cake as it bakes.

and, finally, this cake is perfect with a cup of chai tea -- either late at night with a movie on tv or first thing in the morning, for breakfast. i promise, a slice of it takes some of the edge off the missing and restlessness.

photo by me

Monday, March 19, 2012

scenes from the weekend + committing to...

last friday, i took the day off work and went to my first-ever baseball game at mckechnie field in bradenton (about 30 minutes north of sarasota). the pittsburgh pirates were playing the philadelphia phillies, and we had great seats: though we were right by the phillies' dugout (we were rooting for the pirates), we were only a couple of rows away from the field itself and had a prime view of all the action. on top of that, the people seated around us were so friendly, the weather was sunny and in the mid-80s (but we didn't get sunburned at all -- here's to spray-on spf 85!), and the pirates won (yay!). i've never been a baseball fan, mostly because i didn't know anything about it, but i would absolutely go to a game again (in fact, i hope to). oh, and the photos above are pictures from the day.

in other, non-baseball news, there was lots of relaxing, movie-watching, good-food eating and shamrock-shake imbibing this weekend, too. and it was all delightful.

this coming week will be busy, as well: my mom is coming to visit (she works in education and is on spring break this week), so that will be fun, and there're lots of other projects to get done. i'm looking forward to all of it. and speaking of this week, here are my little goals for next few days:

+ practice patience. i made a joke about instant gratification the other day, but the truth is i often expect it and i should work on being better about it.
+ continue to work on the sleeping thing. (i'm hoping the daylight savings adjustment period is over; i could not sleep for the life of me last week, no matter what time i went to bed.)
+ exercise and eat well (shamrock shake season has ended, thank goodness!).
+ last week's flower posts inspired me to pick up some flowers for my apartment, so yes: do that.
+ make time to take in how beautiful sarasota is in the spring. the weather is gorgeous and the sidewalks are literally carpeted with fuchsia, purple and yellow flower petals. it's beautiful and worth slowing down for.

how about you? tell me, and i'll see you back here tomorrow.

photos by me

Friday, March 16, 2012

what are you doing this weekend?

happy friday!

in the spirit of flower week, i wanted to sign off for the weekend by sharing this beautiful headpiece created by sarah of saipua for a martha stewart weddings photoshoot. isn't it lovely? (p.s. check out the model's stunning wedding dress, too.)

today i'm doing something that's especially springlike: taking the day off work and going to my first-ever spring training baseball game. baseball is a sport i've never gotten into -- i'm actually a basketball fan (my dad and i used to go to orlando magic games all the time when i was little) -- so i'm excited to see what going to a game is actually like. and i'm sure i'll take pictures, so expect a full report next week. this weekend is also, of course, st. patrick's day, but i'm eschewing most of the local (read: drunken) festivities for time spent with people i care about, and i couldn't be happier. (ok, ok: a shamrock shake -- my favorite and probably unhealthiest guilty pleasure right now -- might be in the works, too.)

what are your plans for the weekend? tell me, and i'll see you back here on monday! xoxo

p.s. did you know that martha stewart and i are besties? hee!

photos by saipua for martha stewart weddings

Thursday, March 15, 2012

aunt rose's flowered china.

my great-aunt rose o'hara was one of my favorite people on the planet. she was brilliant and kind, and she had a thatch of curly white hair and the type of loud, throaty belly laugh that never failed to make others laugh along with her. when i was little, and spent summers in pennsylvania, she used to take me out for lunch, and it was always such a treat. usually, we'd go to a quirky little diner and she'd tell me silly stories while we shared french fries and i sat across from her in our booth, my legs dangling over the edge of the seat, totally enraptured.

two of my favorite things on earth have come from my aunt rose, who was also a talented seamstress: an old-fashioned christmas stocking she sewed for me when i was a little girl, and a knitted stuffed lamb -- appropriately if not creatively named "lamby" by me -- that moves with me wherever in the world i happen to go. when aunt rose passed away, more than 10 years ago now, my mom told me that she had been making me a sweater, and i like to think of her sitting in her favorite chair in her apartment, knitting and purling, laughing that deep laugh.  

recently, my mom passed on another object that evokes wonderful memories of my lovely aunt, as well: the antique floral-painted china in the photo above. mom had been holding on to it because of the obvious sentimental reasons, but because floral isn't really her style, she'd kept it out of sight, behind the closed doors of her armoire. knowing she wasn't using it but not wanting to give it up, she asked me if i'd like it, and of course i said yes. i keep bracelets, brooches, bottles of perfume and other trinkets on it, and it makes me smile and remember my wonderful aunt every time i look at it. at the risk of sounding like an old lady, there's something so old-fashioned and feminine about it. things just aren't made that way these days.

flower-painted china from aunt rose: i'm so happy to own it, and i'm not sure there's ever been a more perfect, appropriate gift.

photo by me

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

after the rain.

with the official start of spring just a few days away, it's really no surprise that lately i've had flowers on the brain. on monday i shared some bright, cheery ones i stumbled upon while driving around town on sunday; today i thought i'd share one i took after all the rain that same evening. take from this what you will, but it kind of mirrors how i've been feeling lately, and i love its moodiness -- that time of night is my favorite, especially after rainfall: no longer light, but not quite dark.

photo by me, taken with instagram

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

loving: floral bridesmaid dresses from whitney deal.

more flowers? why not? (i am officially anointing this "flower week," y'all.)

this time, they come in clothing form -- specifically, lovely bridesmaids dresses from whitney deal. wouldn't these be perfect for a spring wedding in a garden?

Monday, March 12, 2012

scenes from the weekend + committing to...

happy monday! how were your weekends?

mine was exactly what i hoped it would be: a quiet friday night made way for a raucous saturday evening downtown with some of my favorite people. chillounge night was a blast, proving once again why it's one of my favorite annual events: there was amazing live music, champagne, a fashion show and just a general feeling of festivity, despite a random downpour in the middle of the event.

after saturday's shenanigans, sunday was a low-key day, as well. i slept in (way in), got my grocery shopping and erranding for the week done, had dinner with a favorite friend and ended the evening in my apartment listening to the rain outside while lighting candles and watching movies inside. this week is a short one for me -- i took friday off -- but there's lots to get done before then, so it feels nice to be organized as i head into it all.

and speaking of, here are my little goals for the week:

+ stay organized.
+ get enough sleep. (i've been really bad about this lately.)
+ spend time outside. (maybe a trip to the beach, since the weather's been in the 80s and doesn't seem likely to change.)
+ continue to embrace color in my wardrobe and my life in general. it makes me happy.
+ try to remember one of my favorite things to say: everyone has a story. (i find that thinking about that leads to fewer snap judgments and more tolerance and patience.)

how about you? what are your goals for the week? tell me, and i'll see you back here tomorrow.

p.s. lots more flowers coming this week...

photo by me, snapped before sunday's rainshowers.

Friday, March 9, 2012

what are you doing this weekend?

what's the old saying about march? it comes in like a lion?

i spent more than one night this week laying in bed way past my bedtime thinking big thoughts about relationships and career and the future. in fact, i fell asleep with the light on several nights in a row and woke up, bleary-eyed, hours later, to find that the thoughts were still swirling, almost as if i'd never gone to sleep.

but sometimes you need that kind of introspection, even if the circumstances that brought you to it weren't the most pleasant, and when you finally untangle -- or, i guess, in this case, begin to untangle -- the issues, there is a certain sense of peace that comes with it.

and there were fun, less-serious punctuation marks to this week, as well: john mayer's new single, "shadow days," was released on tuesday and the timing could not have been better. (laugh if you want, but you can read about my decade-long love affair with mayer right here.) i made a perfect loaf of bread and some delicious pea soup. i'm heading to a really fun downtown event -- chillounge night -- with friends on saturday. and the rest of the time, i plan on exercising, sleeping, spending time with the fluffs and getting organized for next week, which is actually a short one for me (more on that in a few days).

oh! and in case you'd like to read them, here are my travel-themed guest blogs from this week on wouldn't stop if i could (thanks again to kim for having me!):
so that was my week and those are my plans for the weekend -- i'd love to know how things are going for you, too. let me know, and i'll see you back here on monday.

photos: the floor of florist nicolette camille's studio, photographed by odette, spotted on all the mountains. these photos have stuck with me since i first saw them on sunday night; aren't they gorgeous? (p.s. nicolette's apartment.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

baked! buttermilk chocolate-chip scones.

you guys, i love breakfast. it's my favorite meal of the day, and why shouldn't it be? it can be sweet or savory, and the possibilities for customization are endless.

now, a disclaimer: i do not make myself a beautiful, gourmet breakfast every morning, mainly because -- as regular readers of this blog know -- i'm not a morning person and i'm usually running late. typically, i eat a fage greek yogurt with honey and drink a big, hot thermos of chai tea (with a splash of almond milk and a little agave nectar) at my desk, and that's totally fine -- i'd even go so far as to say that i love that little meal. it's simple and it fills me up until lunchtime. still, occasionally i want something more.

enter: chocolate-chip buttermilk scones.

i saw a photo of this recipe on pinterest a few weeks ago and immediately clicked through to the recipe on when i did, i was delighted to find that these scones are actually called skinny chocolate-chip buttermilk scones. they incorporate a mix of all-purpose flour and whole-wheat flower, buttermilk, a healthy serving of chocolate chips (i used ghirardelli milk chocolate morsels), vanilla and a little sugar, and they come together so easily.

and friends, they are delicious. they're chocolate-chip studded and moist and thick, and the whole-wheat flour lends a nice depth of flavor. whip up a batch if you're looking to switch up your breakfast routine; i think you just might like them, too.

photo: skinnytaste

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

loving: paula mills' australian home.


i don't know what exactly it is about illustrator paula mills' lovely australian home -- featured on design*sponge last week -- that's stayed with me, but i can't stop thinking about it. really, it's probably everything: the attention to detail, the color, the styling -- it's all just perfect, and creates such character in the space. file this one under inspiration, for sure.

photos of paula mills' home by tigs macallen, via design*sponge

Monday, March 5, 2012

scenes from the weekend + committing to... + guest blogging!

happy monday, friends! how were your weekends?

i spent friday night drinking wine and eating soup with kate, as planned -- always fun. then, saturday, i spent most of the late morning/early afternoon walking around the downtown sarasota farmer's market (for work) and then the burns court neighborhood (for play). one of my favorite stops was the sarasota trading company, which is chock full of antique pieces like the bottles, copper pots and furniture pictured above. and best of all, the weather was absolutely beautiful, so it made for a really nice few hours.

sunday was errand/get-organized-for-the-week-ahead day -- there was grocery shopping, talking, laughing, a little baking (more on that on wednesday) and cleaning. it all felt very natural and productive, which was great.

so yes: a good and decidedly sarasota-centric weekend, indeed.

oh! and before i get into this week's commitments, just a quick note: i'll be guest posting at my blog-friend kim's place all this week while she's gallivanting around europe with her boyfriend (hello, i'm jealous!). kim emailed me a couple of weeks ago asking if i'd write some travel-themed posts while she's on vacation, and of course i said yes. so for the next few days, i'll be posting about my dream vacation, my favorite travel accessories and more. if you're interested in reading, you can click here to read the posts on kim's blog, wouldn't stop if i could. i'll put links to the posts on facebook and twitter, too. yay!

so that's that, and now -- without further ado -- here're my little commitments for this week:

+ spin, spin, spin. i miss spin. i must spin!
+ pick a date for a yoga class with my friend t. (also, i've been kind of curious about hot yoga lately. do any of you do it?)
+ make this soup. (can we talk about how much i love peas? so much.) oh, and maybe this bread, too.
+ actually confirm some talked-about dates to see old friends. 
+ let go. just...let go.

and you? what are your goals for the week? let me know, and i'll see you back here tomorrow.

photos by me, snapped at sarasota trading company.

Friday, March 2, 2012

what are you doing this weekend?

happy friday, friends! we made it to a new month, and -- more importantly -- to the weekend. yay!

what are your plans for the next few days? mine include a bottle of wine and homemade chicken-noodle soup with my best friend kate tonight, a trip to the farmer's market for a work project tomorrow and relaxation in general -- who knows, maybe i'll even make it out to the beach at some point (it would be a crime not to take advantage of the 80-degree weather we've been having lately).

tell me your plans, and i'll see you back here monday. in the meantime, i leave you with a photo of the newest addition to my collection of succulents. this little plant and its sweet ceramic pot (from awesome orchids, here in sarasota) is making me so happy.

have a great weekend!

photo by me

Thursday, March 1, 2012

loving: blackline stoneware from schoolhouse electric.

(i seem to be on a home-decor kick this week, so i might as well go with it, right?)

these blackline stoneware pieces from schoolhouse electric are pretty much perfection. that striped teapot needs to be mine immediately.