Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Much as I love this holiday (candy! black cats!), I really don't have big plans for it, aside from hanging out and munching on some candy corn, my favorite Halloween guilty pleasure. (Side note: I am pretty sure my favorite candies are the grossest. Mellocreme/candy corn pumpkins and Cadbury creme eggs, anyone? Basically, if you give me something sweet with the word "creme" in its name, I am practically guaranteed to love it.)

Also—I think I forgot to tell you this—my fridge broke last Wednesday and yesterday I finally got my new one. Despite how it's going to sound, considering so many in the Northeast are without power this week, I don't think I need to tell you what a pain it is to live without a fridge for a week (and how sad I was to throw away the half-batch of pumpkin cinnamon rolls I had in the freezer); one can only live without her Fage Greek yogurt for so long.

The fridge thing did make me think, though, about moving to a different space. (I am totally guilty of falling into that "something broke! Must start completely over with something new!" mindset more often than not; it's not good and I try to be as aware of it as I can, but sometimes broken fridges prevail.) I pushed around my furniture on Sunday night and am mostly happy with the result, but too many episodes of Property Brothers on HGTV are making me crave wood floors and more space. So we'll see where that leads.

How are you guys doing? I hope you have a spooky, black-and-orange, candy-filled day. xoxo

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy.

Needless to say, Floridians deal with their fair share of hurricanes (the worst one I've ever been through left my family and me without power for 10 days. Ugh). They are always terrifying, even when you become somewhat accustomed to the idea of them. That said, 'round these parts, we've been known to joke about hoping for a tropical storm or hurricane day so we could have time off work—storm days are the South's version of snow days.

That doesn't seem so funny now.

In some ways, I can empathize with what my friends, family and countless others in the Northeast have to wrap their heads around today—opening your eyes after a night of listening to the wind howl and the rain lash against the walls of your home brings with it a specific kind of trepidation that I've definitely felt before.

But in other ways, I can't even imagine waking up to the kind of destruction and flooding I'm seeing online today. All I can say is that I'm thinking of everyone affected and hoping that they and their families (including their pets) are dry and safe and warm, and if they're not, that they're able to get that way as quickly as possible.

The sun will be out again soon.


P.S. The stories about the nurses and hospital staff who manually ventilated sick babies and carried them to safety are amazing, as are the countless others about firefighters, police and other emergency personnel who braved the storm to help others. Kind of restores your faith in humanity, doesn't it?

Photo by Tim Gilbreath 

Baked! Cheesy, cheesy crackers.

Believe it or not, I don't only make sweet treats in the kitchen. I am actually a semi-decent home cook. Soups and pastas are kind of my thing, but lately I've been getting better with meats, too (I was a total vegetarian for six years, so cooking chicken and fish is still kind of new to me). I mean, sometimes you just want something savory, you know?

That was the case with these crackers. You see, I am also a girl who loves to snack, preferably at 3 p.m. (and preferably with a fresh latte). Usually I'll eat a yogurt or a Luna Bar or something, but sometimes I'll make popcorn for the saltiness factor. And then I saw the recipe for these crackers on Joy the Baker and knew they'd make the perfect mid-afternoon snack. So I made a batch. And you guys, they are tasty.

The crackers couldn't be simpler to whip up: Butter, tons of sharp cheddar cheese and salt and pepper are mixed together, then flour is added until a dough forms. The dough is chilled then rolled out, and little round crackers are cut from it and baked for like 13 minutes. What comes out of the oven is an intensely cheesy little morsel with the perfect amount of salt and crunch. In other words, the ideal 3 p.m. snack.

Here's the recipe if you'd like to make it yourself; the photos above are Joy's, but I promise my crackers looked exactly the same (my kitchen was just way messier, and the light was bad).

P.S. This lentil and chicken sausage soup is also killer; it's one of my favorite soups ever and perfect on a cool(-ish—I live in Florida, come on) October night with a cup of tea.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sarah Seven.

I attended one wedding last weekend and I'm going to another this weekend, so I've got brides on the brain. If you're one who happens to be dress shopping, heads up: Sarah Seven makes some seriously stunning, romantic gowns. Love that styling, too.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy Friday, friends! What are your plans for the weekend?

I'm going to a wedding tomorrow night and I'm super-excited—not only to wear my beautiful Camilyn Beth dress (pictured above), which is so pretty and sparkly and well-made, but also because I just love weddings. I do. They're beautiful and fun and celebratory, and I know some people are not the biggest fans of them, but I am not one of them. Which is good, because I'm going to another one next weekend.

Anyway, aside from the wedding, I'm looking forward to a weekend that's pretty much exactly the same as last one: filled with time outside, time with friends, time in the kitchen and time spent sleeping in. After a busy, busy week, it should be a good few days off. And by the way, can you believe it's almost November? When did that happen?

If you're in the mood for some reading, here are three interesting links from around the web:

This post about pinkwashing and Etsy's involvement in it is a must-read (warning: you will cry).  It's infuriating, and I've been thinking about it since I read it. For me, it was a very, very poignant reminder that I need to be more aware of where the money I spend is going and how it's getting there. Hila and Jane wrote excellent posts about this, as well. (Pink Goose)

If nothing else, read this story about Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan for the format. It's fantastic. (ESPN has also done some similarly awesome layouts.)  I'd love to see other magazines doing more like it. (Pitchfork)

This is an older article, but I loved re-reading it the other night, especially as a person who bakes to decompress, as much as for the process as the end result: "These days when I wake, inexplicably, between 4 and 5, which is most mornings, I read, I worry, but if that does not work, I bake. The kitchen is a changed place in the wee hours, its clicks and hummings are louder, the pots and pans make a deafening clatter when I pull them out of the cupboard. But, as before, I am relaxed, my sense of smell is sharper. As I measure and weigh, I am more patient than during waking hours. I’ve always turned to flour and butter when I can’t sleep." (The New York Times)

See you Monday. xo

Photo: My own.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pardon my French.

Have you been watching Garance Dore's awesome web series "Pardon My French"? I love this interview with Jenna Lyons, creative director of J.Crew. Lyons has amazing style, of course, but it also seems like she has a great personality and would be really fun to have a drink with, too.

P.S. I also love Garance's lovely French accent, don't you?

Top photo: Todd Selby for British Vogue.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Have you seen the movie Argo? I saw it the weekend before last and loved it. I have to say, I knew embarrassingly little about the Iranian hostage crisis in the late '70s and early '80s, and specifically the Argo operation, so not only was this movie gripping (seriously—it's fast-paced and jittery and suspenseful; the protest scenes at the very beginning are pretty terrifying), it was also educational. And even though I knew how it ended, I was completely engaged the entire way through. Well done, Ben Affleck (who, by the way, I find rather attractive with the beard and shaggy hair).

If you've seen Argo, what did you think of it?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Baked! Pumpkin cinnamon rolls with vanilla cream cheese glaze.

Today I was going to tell you about the cupcakes with maple frosting I made a few weeks ago, a recipe that's not particularly groundbreaking but that is consistently delicious. But then, this weekend, I got bitten by the cooking-and-baking bug and whipped up two recipes from Smitten Kitchen: This baked orzo with eggplant and mozzarella and these pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

The baked pasta dish was delicious and it's going to make for a lot of leftovers, which is awesome because suddenly my after-work schedule has picked up and it's way too easy for me to resort to cereal or scrambled eggs for dinner when I get home in the evenings. But it's the cinnamon rolls that are really noteworthy. They're amazing: A pumpkin-flavored dough is spiked with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, then stuffed with classic cinnamon-roll filling and smothered in a vanilla cream cheese glaze. The consistency is that of your regular cinnamon roll, but the flavor is pure fall. They may very well be the greatest thing I've ever baked. Here's the recipe if you'd like to try them, too

P.S. My favorite classic cinnamon roll recipe, and a quickie phyllo-dough version, too. (Seriously, isn't a fresh-from-the-oven homemade cinnamon roll one of life's great pleasures?)

Monday, October 22, 2012

A few favorites.

I always get a kick out of reading what beauty products other bloggers swear by (Anna at Door Sixteen puts together some particularly good round-ups), so I thought I'd share a few items I'm loving these days, too. (Please excuse the randomly numbered items in the image above, as they really are kind of, um, scattered. And please also share some of your favorite beauty products, as well—seriously, I love reading and talking about this stuff.)

1. Fekkai Brilliant Glossing shampoo and conditioner. Real talk: I generally cannot afford this stuff, but a few weeks ago I saw an offer from Saks that was too good to pass up: If you brought in a bottle of shampoo (any brand), they'd give you a free, full-size bottle of Fekkai. I was sold. (And I did end up buying the conditioner since that lasts me much, much longer.) It smells amazing and it works really well on my long, fine-but-thick hair. Two thumbs up.

2. Clarisonic brush. I've had this for a few months and I love it—my skin has never felt cleaner or smoother. It's an investment, for sure, but I use mine twice a day, so it more than works out (at least in my opinion). Plus, it's waterproof so I can cart it into the shower, which is awesome. And as far as keeping it clean, I just wash the brush with baby shampoo once a week and replace the head every three months or so.

3. Josie Maran argan oil. This stuff is a great natural moisturizer, and a little goes a long way; I put a dab on before makeup in the morning. It's also really nice for soothing chapped skin. Also: It lasts forever. 

4. Bare Minerals makeup. I've written about how much I love Bare Minerals before (here and here), and I'm happy to say that I still do. It's one of the few foundations that really works with my skin and my skin tone (which is super, super, super fair).

5. Nars blush in Orgasm. There's a reason people rave about this; the color is warm and it wakes up the face without being overpowering.

6. Bare Minerals eyeshadow in Pussycat. I don't wear eyeshadow every day, but when I do this is my go-to. It's a perfect color—an olive-gold-brown mix—it's shimmery without being overpowering and it's easy to apply. Yay!

7. CoverGirl Last Blash mascara (orange tube). I've tried a lot of other mascaras, and this is hands-down my favorite. It's volumizing and lengthening and I love it; a quick swipe does the job for daytime, and you can layer as needed for a more dramatic nighttime look. I usually buy it in black, but last time I bought it I grabbed a tube of brown and that's great, too.

8. My glasses, which I just raved about here. If I want to switch up my look, this is the easiest way to do it (again, the helps-me-to-see factor is a big bonus, as well.).

Friday, October 19, 2012

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy Friday! What are your plans for the weekend?

This weekend is one of the few that I've been in Sarasota since, like, early September—between my brother being home, my work trip and spending a few Saturdays and Sundays out of town with ACS, I've not been home much—and I'm really looking forward to it. Tomorrow I'm trying Zumba for the first time (wish me luck!) and Sunday I'm going to a photo shoot for work that should be really fun, especially with this nicer weather we're having. It seems like it'll be the perfect mix of relaxation and action, and I'm looking forward to all of it.

In the meantime, here are three great—and very different!—articles if you're looking to do some reading this weekend:

This makes me want to go to Paris so badly: "The city’s true lifeblood of luxury can be found in the small neighborhood shops—some of them virtually unknown even among Parisians—owned by members of an elite group of professionals called the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, or Best Craftsmen of France." (The New York Times)

Bill and Hillary forever: How the Clintons might have saved Obama's campaign. (I love that the writer refers to Bill as "the Y-chromosome Clinton" at one point in this piece.) (NY Mag)

"An Intimate Portrait of Innovation, Risk and Failure Through Hisptamatic's Lens." A fascinating piece on the people and ideas behind the Hipstamatic iPhone app. (Fast Company)

Have a great one and I'll see you Monday. xo

Photo by the lovely Sarah Tucker

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dear Creatures.

As I think about fall clothing, I keep coming back to these pretty, pretty things from Dear Creatures. I love the styling—tights!—and the clothes are feminine with a bit of quirk. It's all so good.

P.S. Zooey is apparently a fan of this line. Makes sense, right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The best soap in all the land.

We need to talk about Swedish Dream sea salt soap, because I am pretty sure it actually is the stuff dreams are made of. I'd seen pictures of the soap on numerous design blogs but had never thought about buying it until I walked into a little store up the street from my office*, picked it up and took a whiff. I left without purchasing it that day, but thought about it so much afterward that I went back not 24 hours later to buy it, and I'm so glad I did. I don't know how to describe the scent other than that it's the perfect mix of salty and soapy; it smells like the ocean but it also smells clean, like how you'd expect to smell if you took a shower after a couple of hours of swimming in the sea. Man, I love soap

*The little store up the street from my office is called Tortoise & Pearl, and it is filled with awesomeness--everything from gorgeous handmade jewelry to home goods to vintage clothes and shoes. If you're local (or planning to visit Sarasota), it's a must-visit. Here's the shop's Facebook page, if you'd like to take a peek (though it's not updated too often).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

S'mores with pumpkin pie (!) marshmallows.

Even with the weather getting a little cooler, it's still pretty hot here during the day. But that doesn't stop me from making big pots of fall-like soup for dinners during the week, or drinking steamy mugs of hot tea and coffee whenever the mood strikes. Sometimes, though, I want a hot drink that's a little more indulgent, and that's where this hot chocolate with pumpkin marshmallows comes into play.

A little back story on the marshmallows: I'd read about the Orlando-based artisan marshmallow company, Wondermade, months ago, but had never tried any of their goodies until this past weekend, when I was picking up cupcakes for some friends at my favorite bakery and saw the pumpkin-pie flavored ones practically begging me to take them home. So I did. And then I wondered what the heck I was going to do with pumpkin-flavored marshmallows. I mean, they're delicious on their own (they taste like fall), but it seemed a waste not to use them in some other way.

So what did I do?

I made s'mores. Gooey, melty, rich s'mores with a kicked-up autumnal flavor thanks to the pumpkin-pie marshmallows. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how to make a s'more, but here's what I did: I placed a couple of squares of Valrohna milk chocolate on top of half a honey graham cracker, then placed three pumpkin marshmallows (they were small) on top of the chocolate. The other half of the graham cracker went on top of that, and then I put the whole thing in a foil packet and into the oven at 400 degrees for a couple of minutes. (Watch it carefully at that point; the line between "melted" and "burned" is very thin.) Remove from the oven, let cool for a minute and enjoy! There's something about the combination of pumpkin and chocolate that's so just good.

P.S. You can make your own pumpkin pie marshmallows really easily: Just make a batch of marshmallows and roll them in pre-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice.

P.P.S. If you really wanted to get decadent, a drizzle of salted caramel sauce would probably be amazing on these. And hot chocolate with pumpkin-pie marshmallows would be fantastic, too.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I've long been a fan of glasses on both men and women. I think guys look adorable in them, and I personally love them as an accessory. (It doesn't hurt that, you know, they help you see.) A couple of months ago I needed a new pair so I could pass my driver's license test—send me an email if you want to hear a really funny story about that; I probably shouldn't post it here—so I ordered a pair of Webb frames from Warby Parker. I don't wear them all the time, but I love them when I do (and often pair them with red lipstick). They make me feel more professional, if that makes any sense (sometimes I still feel like a kid masquerading as a grown-up).

Do you wear glasses?

P.S. Joanna's cute frames, which were the inspiration for this post.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy Friday, everyone! What are you doing this weekend? It's finally cooling off here in Sarasota—when I woke up this morning, it was crisp 70 degrees, and the humidity was at a glorious zero percent. I took a walk to get a pumpkin muffin from a little cafe up the street from my office and loved every single moment of it. There's just something about the fall air that makes me indescribably happy.

This weekend I'm taking a trip north to visit ACS and I'm so looking forward to it. I think you'll agree that it's rare to have a weekend where you can go completely off the radar; I think of them as a total luxury: no tweets, no Facebook posts, no Instagrams—just quiet time. That's what this one has in store for me, and I can't wait.

And until Monday, here are links to three interesting reads:

Stylized quotes are a Big Thing on Pinterest (and I'm guilty of pinning them, too): "The Gospel According to Pinterest" explores their popularity. (The New York Times)

This falls under the category of photo essay, for sure, but Alice Temperley's English home (complete with pet alpacas and giant apple "props") is really fun and lovely. (Vanity Fair)

Women who've "transcended a single career" and become "multiplatform dispensers of wisdom" (a response to Lena Dunham's $3.6 million book deal). (NY Mag)

See you Monday. xo

Photo: My own. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Shoogie Boogies.

I've written about Shoogie Boogies before (here), but I'm sad to say that until Tuesday of this week, I hadn't been back for more than a year. It's not that I'd forgotten about the little cafe and shop; it's more like when I remembered it, it was always at an inconvenient time. My aunt has been visiting from Pennsylvania for the last few days, though, so when she asked where we should go to lunch yesterday, I immediately replied, "Shoogie Boogies!" (Not in the least because that name is just so fun to say.)

And guess what? The food is just as delicious and the decor and service just as delightful as I remembered. Don't you love when that happens? Eating there was like a big breath of fresh air in the middle of a very busy week. It was perfect.

P.S. Shoogie Boogies owner Kathryn Kittinger's story is really inspiring—she left her Silicon Valley corporate job after realizing she wanted to pursue her dream of being a photographer. The rest is history, but you can read more about Kittinger and Shoogie Boogies here, if you'd like.

Photos: My own. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


My brilliant friend Amie posted a quote on Facebook the other day that I just love: "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." (It's from Anne of Green Gables, one of my all-time favorites.) Honestly, I could not agree more with that sentiment. Even though the temperature still tops out around 90 degrees here for most of the month, there's always a bit of a change in the air come October: The evenings are slightly cooler and less humid, the days are slightly shorter, the air smells slightly different. I love it.

October's also one of those months during which I like to recalibrateto figure out what I want to accomplish before the end of the year, to revisit old goals, to try to clean up whatever messiness currently exists in my life. So in the spirit of mental renovation, here are some things I'm hoping to do this fall:

+ Revisit my financial goals—i.e., paying off my car before the end of the year. (This is thanks in large part to my amazing friend and should-be financial advisor, Jenn, and the awesome Brittney Castro, whose Financially Wise Women website is a must-visit.)

+ Give my apartment a facelift. I can't stop looking to this beautiful home for inspiration.

+ Start running again. And by running I mean "running," because who am I kidding? I will probably always be a walker/jogger. That said, there is no better time to be outside in Florida than October-March, which means that if I'm going to start using my trusty Couch-to-5K app again, now's the time to do it. (Motivational comments appreciated!)

+ Make as many pumpkin-flavored things as possible, starting with these pumpkin doughnuts with buttermilk spiced glaze. (Antithetical to the running goal? Yes. Amazing-sounding? Also yes.)

How about you—any fall goals of your own?

Photo: Karin Mathilda 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The best grilled cheese ever.

I'm a big fan of the grilled cheese sandwich. It's pretty much the perfect comfort food: Buttery, toasty bread plus gooey, melty cheese...yum. And I'm a grilled cheese purist, too—I generally won't add any toppings. No bacon, no tomato, no avocado. Just bread and cheese. 

Then, awhile back, I read Ruth Reichl's piece on Gilt Taste about how adding a swipe of mayonnaise to the inside of a grilled cheese sandwich adds a delicious tang. And as she is about most food-related things, she was right. I was a mayo-on-grilled-cheese convert (it didn't hurt that I love mayonnaise). 

I thought that was the pinnacle of grilled cheesiness until I saw Ina Garten making her version of a grilled cheese sandwich on Barefoot Contessa a few weeks ago. Ina takes Ruth's mayonnaise trick a few steps farther: She butters the outside of her bread, then mixes mayonnaise with Dijon mustard and grated Parmesan and slathers that on the inside of the bread. Atop that she places a mixture of grated Gruyere and extra-sharp cheddar, and then she slaps it all together, throws it in a hot pan and toasts it to perfection. (She also adds crispy, crumbled bacon, but I opted not to.) The result is grilled cheese nirvana. Seriously. The mayo-Dijon-Parmesan mixture is genius. Here's the recipe if you'd like to make it yourself.

Photo: Food Network

Monday, October 8, 2012

Camilyn Beth.

I've said it many times before, but one of my favorite things about my job is that I get to meet talented local creatives that I might not otherwise. Such is the case with Sarasota-based clothing designer Camilyn Beth: Though I haven't officially met her in person yet, I was introduced to her line through a work project (more on that later) and immediately swooned. The photos above are of her latest collection, which she's named The Toast Master in reference to a Swedish tradition that assigns one person at every party the toast master role; the toast master is then supposed to make sure each guest at the soiree feels comfortable and welcome.

"That's my idea with this collection," Cami says. "I want you to put on one of these dresses and feel like you own the room. I want you to be confident and radiant at any special occasion. I believe every person has a toast master inside; they just need the right dress to let it come out."

I love that. And wouldn't any of these be perfect for a wedding or a holiday party?

P.S. If you don't believe that Josephine dress is coming home to live with me, then we do not know each other very well at all.

P.P.S. I love the word "toast."

Photos by Shannon Kirsten 

Friday, October 5, 2012

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy Friday, friends! What are you doing this weekend? I'm packing up and heading north to see ACS and visit my college roomie, Mel, and her husband, Joe. Mel and I lived together for two-and-a-half years; she is one of the best people I know and one of my closest friends. We always have a blast when we get together and I cannot wait to see her.

What about you? What are you up to? If you're in the mood for some weekend reading, here're some links that might strike your fancy:

As someone who works in media, I found this piece about editorial salariesand the discrepancies between what male and female editors make (yup, still; ugh)pretty interesting. (Refinery29)

I have several family members who suffer from bipolar disorder. Sandy Doyle's piece about her own diagnosis for Rookie is a great, moving read. (Rookie)

This is a bit of a cheat, because it's actually a collection of articles, but The New York Times Magazine's "Inspiration Issue" is cool. Of particular note: "Junot Diaz Hates Writing Short Stories" (Diaz is one of my favorite authors; his The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is one of the best books I've ever read). (The New York Times)

Photo above: My cat Oscar. Would also like to copy what he's doing quite a bit this weekend. Would not like to copy the fact that he rubbed his head in something green last night and now has highlighter-green face fur. Alas.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Her name was Lola...

I've got weddings on the brain lately since I'll be attending five of them within the next eight months (!).  Isn't this Lola wedding dress from Whitney Deal so sweet and pretty? I'd pair it with a bright lip, a colorful shoe and a braid just like the one in the photos.

Do you love weddings of all kinds (like me) or would you rather avoid all the hubbub?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The secret life of bees.

We need to talk about the fact that, if it wasn't incredibly creepy, I would pack up the cats and move right into Rebekka Seale's adorable Nashville home without looking back. Looking at these photos makes me so happyRebekka's aesthetic is so close to my ownand I'm totally copying that stamped bee DIY project (I've been saying I want to give my apartment a makeover for months now, and gold bees and a chalkboard wall are, I think, how that project is going to start).

Photos by Melanie Watson, via Design*Sponge 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dandelion Chocolate.

I am sucker not only for good food (obvs) but also beautiful packaging, so when I come across something that combines the two, my little pink heart feels especially joyful. Enter Dandelion Chocolate, a small-batch chocolate company based in San Francisco that's available here in Sarasota at Artisan Cheese Company. Dandelion Chocolate uses only two ingredients in its bars—cacao and cane sugar—and the result is an intensely rich chocolate in which you can actually taste all the flavors of the cacao bean. Plus, hello, check out that gorgeous wrapper—there’s no way I can throw that away.

P.S. Louise at Artisan Cheese Company told me that she has a customer who mixes a small square of the chocolate into her coffee every morning—yum.

Photo: My own. 

Monday, October 1, 2012


It's been a little while since the last time I changed up my hair, so I'm itching to do something new with it, and the idea that keeps coming back to me these days is bangs. I'm not even really sure I can pull them off, but I think if I'm going to get them, they'd look best with the length my hair is now (that is, long). And after all, it's just hair, right? It grows out.

P.S. Don't you just love this photo of Zooey Deschanel (and her iconic bangs) getting ready for the Emmys? It's from her Instagram feed.