Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
I'm feeling pretty under the weather today thanks to a cold that crept up on me over the weekend and sent me home early from work today. So in lieu of a weekend recap and my list of goals for the week, here's a pretty picture of a green canopy road that I snapped on one of my few outings this past weekend. Isn't it pretty?
Photo by me, taken with Instagram. You can follow me there at pinkoclock, if you'd like.
Friday, May 25, 2012
We made it to the weekends, friends! I don't know about you, but I am so looking forward to a three-day weekend. Memorial Day always feels like the official start of summer to me, and the rather warm May weather we're having is definitely bolstering that sentiment. I don't have much planned this weekend -- I'm going to kind of see where the days lead me -- but some sort of beach action and a splash in the ocean is certainly in order, and hopefully there'll be some ice-cold cocktails, too. What are your plans?
Oh, and as always, here are some fun links from around the web:
+ John Mayer's new album, Born and Raised, came out Tuesday, and I love it. But that's no surprise. (Favorite songs: "Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967" and "Love is a Verb." But it's all wonderful.)
+ The hair tutorials on A Cup of Jo are so beautifully photographed. I know everyone's probably seen them already, but they're genius.
+ For summer: Bobbi Brown Beach Shimmering Fragrance Oil. Yum.
+ A new Sarasota nonprofit -- Brides Against Breast Cancer -- sells gently used wedding dresses (often couture), and the proceeds go to cancer support programs.
+ Polka dot sandals.
+ This dress is a stunner.
+ My coworker is reading this book -- The Art of Fielding -- and says it's great; I'm adding it to my list. Have you read it?
+ Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream is now available in Sarasota at Morton's Market. I'm in trouble. (P.S. the lemon frozen yogurt is amazing. Best I've had since scarfing down Leopold's lemon custard in Savannah last summer.)
+ Speaking of the South, my mom and I are thinking of going to Charleston for a few days this summer, and Olivia's blog is making me wish July would hurry up and get here.
Happy Friday, friends! See you back here on Tuesday. xoxo
Photo: Snapped outside my favorite Sarasota restaurant, Owen's Fish Camp.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I am not a particularly crafty person. I wish I was -- and I will read about and admire craft projects and DIYs until the cows come home -- but I'm just not. So the fact that this weekend I created something pretty for my home -- something that began life as an object totally different from what it ended up as -- is a coup for me.
That being said, this is literally the easiest DIY in the whole world, and it cost me a whopping $7. Here's the back story: I spotted this gilded bookends project in Martha Stewart Living awhile back and bookmarked it as something I'd love to make someday because it was so pretty and functional. But in typical Megan fashion, it got pushed to the bottom of my to-do list until this past weekend, when I was at my parents' house and knew I could scrounge up some stray bricks and a can of gold spray paint.
And that's pretty much the gist of it, honestly: Get your hands on a pair of bricks (I found four, so I made two sets of bookends) and coat them with metallic gold spray paint. Let dry, and then arrange on your bookshelves or nightstands as desired. Easy!
Photo: My own.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Happy Monday, friends--how were your weekends? I hope they were relaxing and sunny and spring-y.
I did pretty much exactly what I'd planned: Go-karting, The Avengers, a nice dinner out on Saturday night, a long walk, a trip to the farmer's market near my parents' house. Oh! And I actually did a little DIY project that I'll share with you tomorrow -- it was ridiculously simple, but I'm so happy with the results and I can't wait for you to see them. (Surprising, right, especially after my claim that I am the least crafty person alive? I think sharing that "things I'm afraid to tell you" list actually gave me a little push to work on the things I'm afraid of or things that I've told myself I'm not good at. Which is pretty great if you think about it.)
Something else I've been thinking about is what I wrote in that same post about being afraid of gaining weight back. So my big commitment this week is to raze how I've been eating/exercising for the past few months and start from scratch. Part of that is writing down what I eat in a little notebook -- not calorie counting, just tracking so I can be more aware of what I'm putting inside me -- and part of it is making healthier choices, like getting back into an exercise routine, starting the day with lemon water, incorporating more vegetables into my diet, cutting out diet soda completely (I've been bad about this recently) and cutting back on sugar. It may sound like a lot, but all of these steps are not really a leap for me: I function best when I make sure to follow them, and I'm thinking of the whole project as getting back to basics. Writing it all down here just makes me feel more accountable. Also, like many people I know, I'd like to lose some weight, so I'm interested to see how these changes affect that goal. I'll let you know how it goes.
That's a lot for one week already, but some other little commitments are to cross some nagging household tasks off my to-do list (like, hello, filling my glasses prescription), making a big pot of soup or similar that I can eat throughout the week and cracking down on a few extracurricular projects so I don't have to worry about a single thing over the three-day weekend. How about you--what are your goals for the next few days?
See you back here tomorrow with my craft (I'm really too excited about this)!
Photo: The farmer's market near my parents' house.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to the weekend! I don't know about you, but this week kind of crawled for me -- on Wednesday, I had convinced myself that it was Thursday -- so I'm especially glad we're finally to the end of it. I'm heading north after work tonight for the weekend and I'm looking forward to it -- especially since I think more go-karting (or maybe swan paddleboating?!) and a movie (The Avengers -- have you seen it?) are on the agenda. Oh, and a cupcake, too. Always a cupcake.
And in keeping with the last couple of Fridays, here are some lovely links from around the web this week:
A Sarasota stuntman -- Nik Wallenda -- is going to walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope!
I'm madly in love with these shoes.
I would like a cupcake ATM in Sarasota, please.
"Made with love" canning labels. Love these.
Falconwright clutches are so pretty.
I love the NYT's One Page Magazine, especially the "That Should Be a Word" feature.
Binary Flips' wedding photography is gorgeous.
We've talked about HBO's Girls before, but are you watching VEEP? Julia Louis-Dreyfus is brilliant.
The new Lonny is beautiful. I want a Moroccan wedding blanket so badly.
A wonderful Imaginary Outfit -- and blog post -- from Stephanie.
What are your plans for the weekend? Let me know, and I'll see you back here on Monday.
P.S. Thanks for all your helpful comments/tweets re: bangs and on the new blog design. You're the best, truly.
P.P.S. The title of the bangs post was almost "She Bangs," but I refrained. You're welcome.
Photo: My dad and me, 1984.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
First things first: If you're reading this post in Google Reader or some other RSS service, might I suggest you click over to my blog? It got a little facelift yesterday and I'm super happy with it.Yay!
Second of all: Do you mind if we talk about hair for a minute? I am in the midst of a bit of a conundrum. Every summer, I think about doing something different with my locks -- two years ago they were super long; last year I chopped them off. In the winter, I added ombre highlights, and I still like them, but I want something a little different. So I'm thinking: bangs.
Here's the thing: I have a round face and hair that is not straight, not curly, and tends to frizz in the Florida humidity. I am also not someone who can go for several days without washing her hair; I wash my hair daily -- and sometimes twice daily, depending on whether it's hot outside/I sweat, etc. So I'm thinking longer, side-swept bangs might work (kind of like these that Lauren from Walnut Animal Society is sporting, and yes, I realize it is slightly stalkery to link to that Instagram photo!), because I can clip them back if needed, and also, if I decide to grow them out, they'll kind of blend into my hair.
But I also know myself in the morning, and I know that sometimes I just have no desire to do anything with my hair other than pull it back into a ponytail. Will bangs make that ponytail look nicer, though? Or will they just be a hassle?
I'm curious: Where do you stand on the subject?
Photo credit: Unknown. Please let me know if you know it and I'll add it immediately.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
How funny does next fall's The Mindy Project look? I've loved Mindy Kaling for a long time -- she's great on The Office, and her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns, made me laugh out loud -- so I'm excited to see that she's getting her own show. Plus: yay for the sparkly clothes.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
...to my wonderful mother, who is the kindest, fairest, smartest, strongest, most generous person I know, as well as the woman from whom I clearly get my love of polka dots.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Happy Friday, friends! How have your weeks been? Mine's been great: my company's annual bash was Tuesday night and it was a blast; I played hooky (with permission!) on Wednesday and got a little R&R, including taking in an afternoon movie (The Five-Year Engagement; have you seen it?) and eating the best eggplant parmesan sub in Sarasota, both with some truly wonderful company; and I'm heading up to my parents' house this weekend to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom. It should be a nice weekend.
And because I had fun compiling last week's list, here a few fun links from around the web:
These hand-stamped pillows and tea towels from Row of Letters are so pretty (and inexpensive). (via Design*Sponge)
Jane's coral round-up is just lovely; what a happy color. (I'm wearing coral lipstick today, in fact!)
Don't these strawberry-lime-yogurt popsicles sound delicious?
Speaking of popsicles, PopCraft Pops in Sarasota makes great ones. (Try the salted caramel, the coconut cream or the strawberry-basil; get them at the downtown Sarasota farmer's market on Saturday mornings or at The Lollicake Queen on Hillview Street).
Also at the farmer's market: Jennifer Meyer of The Blue Peony sells bright, beautiful organic-cotton textiles (I've got my eye on an apron and some oven mitts).
I tweeted about these awesome Alkemie elephant earrings -- available locally at Juno and Jove -- last week and am still thinking about them. Love.
My dear friend Amie and her husband, Chris, are doing a "52 in 52" challenge -- they're reading 52 books in 52 weeks, and I love the way Ame's approaching the whole thing.
It's really no surprise that I love this blouse. (via All The Mountains)
More good advice from Bri.
And finally, some of the lovely local ladies I posted about last week have an awesome feature -- a backyard bridal shower -- on The Everygirl as part of the site's Wedding Week. Check it out (and be inspired!) here.
What are you up to this weekend? Tell me, and I'll see you back here on Monday. xo
P.S. Thanks for all your sweet comments on this post. You guys make sharing easy.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
I think the thing that initially drew me to these scones was the fact that they sounded so springlike. I mean, just the words "lavender scones" make you think of a Southern brunch on someone's front porch, don't they?
And I love lavender. I love its scent most of all -- so soothing -- but I also really enjoy the taste. That being said, it is so easy to overwhelm a dish with these little purple buds, and I'm always afraid I'm going to put too many of them into whatever recipe I'm making and end up with something that tastes like a bar of soap. Yuck.
Luckily, these scones have the perfect lavender balance. The flavor is distinct, but not overwhelming, and the scones are tender and moist with a perfect golden brown crust thanks to a coating of buttermilk and a sprinkle of sugar. Plus, they come together so easily -- you don't even have to wait for the butter that's called for to come to room temperature (the secret to a scone's buttery, flaky crumb.)
P.S. I bought lavender buds at my local Penzey's Spices.
P.P.S. I have now typed the word "scone" so many times that it's lost all meaning.
OK, so that's the scone part. The lemon cream part is kind of a funny story.
Part of the thing that drew me to this recipe was that the author suggested that these scones be served with lemon curd -- storebought, specifically. But I wondered how hard it would be to make my own curd, and found a recipe that looked super-easy. Basically, you heat lemon juice, sugar and eggs over simmering water while whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, then pour the whole thing into a blender and add pieces of cold butter one at a time.
Alas -- and I kind of can't believe I'm admitting this -- I don't have a blender (or an immersion blender, at that -- mine broke). No, I have a Magic Bullet knockoff. So I ended up having to add a piece of butter, blend, remove the lid of my psuedo-Bullet, add another piece of butter, blend, etc., etc. And instead of lemon curd, I got lemon cream.
But guess what? The lemon cream is delicious. It's light and tart and sweet and decadent, and while it tastes amazing on these scones, it's also super delicious with fresh strawberries. Don't you just love happy accidents?
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
By now you've probably all seen the "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" posts floating around the blogosphere. They began last week; I've seen iterations of them all over the place over the past few days and I can't tell you how much I love reading each one. They're beautiful, but even moreso, they're comforting.
I'm totally one of the people who -- after clicking through a Google Reader filled with gorgeous outfits and perfectly styled interiors -- wonders how others hold it all together so well (see more on this below). And I know that we choose to showcase the things that we want others to see on our blogs and various social media outlets: the pretty clothes, the blooming flowers, the adorable kittens and puppies, etc. I'm totally guilty of this myself; I've mentioned many times that my friend Kate likes to tell me I live in "the marshmallow." And usually I like surrounding myself with the pretty, because who doesn't want to look at at a gorgeous room or a cascade of flowers after a hard day in the real world? But sometimes it does make me feel inadequate, and that's why I was so glad to see these posts pop up.
That said, reading the posts and relating to them is quite different than sharing my own list of "afraids," and I hesitated to click the publish button this post for a long, long time. Still, in an effort to be authentic, I want to share.
Here are (some of!) the Things I'm Afraid to Tell You:
Three years ago, I lost a lot of weight and I'm constantly terrified I'll gain it all back. (And ironically, I've been pretty unstructured with my eating habits lately, and haven't seemed to be able to work up the motivation to get them and my exercise routine back into the place I like and where I feel best. It freaks me out a little and I'm trying to work on it.)
Even though I love Sarasota and my life here, I think about moving all the time. Really. All the time.
I'm trying hard to get my finances in order after making a mess of them a few years ago. It's not easy.
I'm really messy. Like, I constantly have to remind myself to clean up, there's generally cat hair everywhere, and I tend to wait until I run out of underwear to do my laundry. And while I'm super motivated to do things I'm passionate about, I can be preeeetttyyyy lazy about the things I'm not.
I can carry 10 bags of groceries up the stairs, cook a delicious meal, go to a movie by myself, take care of two cats and maintain an independent lifestyle, but until about six months ago I had trouble uncorking a wine bottle and I'm pretty hopeless at home-improvement projects.
Sometimes I feel jealous of others' seemingly perfect lives. I am not the girl who is decked out in Kate Spade with blown-out hair that doesn't ever frizz and the perfect shade of J.Crew-red lipstick on my lips. My hair is often frizzy (and sometimes, let's be honest, wet when I leave the house in the morning), I forget to put on lipstick all the time, I never (OK, rarely) wear fingernail polish, and I sweat. I'm usually OK with it and don't really worry about it, but sometimes that kind of thing catches up with you, especially when you saturate yourself with the kinds of perfect posts I mentioned above.
I am judgmental about poor grammar and punctuation.
Eeeek! That was scary, but it felt cathartic to share.
P.S. Related and intereseting reading: This Guardian article, about Facebook's link to socially aggressive narcissism, and the paragraph in this post by Jane in which she talks about the ways we sometimes deliberately structure our days when we live alone. Certainly food for thought.
Photo by nirrimi
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
A trip to an ice cream shop on Anna Maria Island in the middle of the afternoon with the Gulf as a backdrop: maybe one of the best things ever. It took everything in me not to run across the street and jump right into the water; swimming just jumped to the top of my list of weekend plans.
Photo: my own.
Monday, May 7, 2012
The farmer's market this weekend was full of sunflowers: Huge and golden and overflowing from their pots and paper wrappers. It was fun to see people toting bunches (sometimes multiple bunches) of them down the street; they were the perfect spring accessory, brightening up everyone's outfit.
The rest of the weekend was equally bright and cheery, too: I got to meet some new people, hang out with some of my oldest friends, drink a margarita (yum!), bake the lavender scones I mentioned on Friday and get prepared for a week that's going to be full of awesomeness (including my company's biggest function of the year -- more on that later.)
And because I often think of this blog as a love letter to Sarasota, I'm working on a little guide to the city that I'll (hopefully) share with you later this week and that I'll update periodically -- if you're planning a visit here, I'll hope you'll find it helpful.
There's lots going on right now, isn't there?
And in light of that last statement, my commitment for the week is simple: Just relax and enjoy it all. (Easier said than done, I know, but so worth it.)
How about you--what are your goals for the week? Tell me, and I'll see you back here soon!
Photo, snapped at Worden Farms' booth at the downtown Sarasota farmer's market, by me.
Friday, May 4, 2012
What are you doing this weekend? It's been a busy week for me, and next week is gearing up to be just as packed, so I'm looking forward to a few days off to read, relax, get my house in order (what a mess it is right now) and spend time with friends. I'm not particularly into Cinco de Mayo or the Kentucky Derby, but if you're celebrating either of those events, I hope you have a grand old time with a margarita and/or mint julep in hand.
And I know I don't usually do link lists, but here are a few things from around the web this week that I just can't help wanting to catalogue and share:
Gorgeous Longboat Key sunrise.
Have you ever lived alone? (I have for the past seven years, and I mostly love it.)
Bri's freelance advice column is an honest, helpful read for anyone who does freelance work.
I'd love to attend a Kinfolk magazine brunch, wouldn't you?
Lavender scones with lemon curd. Making this weekend (yum).
My current favorite place in Sarasota to have lunch/take meetings: Cafe Posh.
Hila's post on Midnight in Paris, one of my favorite recent movies, is a wonderful read, and the stills from the movie are beautiful.
"Lovely does not mean everything an adjective can. Young ladies, especially, should give other words a chance." (via Rachel)
And some local ladies who are making a big splash in the blogosphere: Sarah Tucker, Naomi Chokr, Camilyn Beth and Leigh Growney (aka The Short Giraffe) -- check out this feature they produced for The Everygirl; it's wonderful.
What are your plans for the weekend, friends? Tell me, and I'll see you back here on Monday!
Photo of another Sarasota sunrise by Lewis Golburn. Isn't it dreamy?
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
For years -- years! -- I've stuck to one chocolate-chip cookie recipe: my mother's. It's delicious and failproof and the addition of one secret ingredient makes it totally unique. I make Mom's cookies for friends, for coworkers, for birthdays, for holidays.
Then, a few years ago, that famous New York Times article about chocolate-chip cookies came out, with its even-more-famous cookie recipe. Everyone went nuts for it; I remember seeing it on a bunch of food blogs, and this year, my mother -- who'd clipped and saved it -- made the cookies for Christmas, and guess what? Turns out everyone was right: They were delicious.
Mom admitted, however, that she didn't let the dough set for the 36 hours that the recipe strongly suggests. So when I got it into my head to make these cookies this past weekend -- thanks to a reminder about the recipe on Emily's blog (via Kate's) -- I made a mental note to make sure to do just that.
So I did.
And the results were spectacular.
This is a bold statement, but: These are seriously the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made (or eaten).
Here's the thing: The 36 hours in the fridge help the flavor in these cookies really develop; there's a depth of flavor to them that's remarkable. You could definitely bake them after 24 -- or probably even eight -- hours in the fridge and still have a fantastic cookie, but trust me: They are worth the wait (and, hey, you can always sneak a few pieces of dough, like I did).
Here's the other thing: Don't substitute regular all-purpose flour for the bread and cake flours. I mean, I'm sure you could, but the cake and bread flours come together to create a cookie that's crisp around the edges and perfectly cake-like in the middle.
Also: this recipe, which was adapted by David Leite from famed chocolatier Jacques Torres, calls for chocolate discs, or fèves, but I wasn't about to go searching for those, especially since I was baking at 10 p.m. on a Friday night. So I used my go-to chocolate chip -- Ghirardelli 60 percent, readily available at grocery stores -- and the cookies were perfect.
And finally, if you're in the mood for something truly decadent -- and a complete diet buster -- you can do what I did, which is to make ice cream sandwiches out of them. I used coffee ice cream, but a really good vanilla or strawberry, or even mint-chocolate-chip, would be excellent, too. Yum.
Here's to the simple perfection of a warm chocolate chip cookie. Sometimes there's nothing better.
Photos by me; my heart-shaped cutting board is from Out of the Woods of Oregon.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Like everyone else in the world (or so it seems), I've been watching the new HBO series Girls and really enjoying it. Episode two featured this song -- "Overdrawn" by White Sea -- at the end, and I've found myself playing it and humming it and bopping around the house to it a lot over the past week or so. So I thought I'd share it here today, just in case you were looking for a little new music.
What have you been listening to lately?