Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A touch of lace.

Friends, I am a girl who loves lace, so I am totally smitten with these looks from Valentino's 2014 resort show—aren't they so pretty and feminine? And while I don't currently have a need for a glamorous pink ballgown, like the one shown in the third photo, I do love the idea of a lacy top with jeans, or lace shorts with a casual T-shirt. Such an easy way to dress up an everyday outfit...

All photos via Style.com 

Monday, June 24, 2013

A trip to Myakka.

Over the weekend, I took a trip out east to Myakka so I could check out the Old Miakka Farmers Market—a new-ish market that I'd heard great things about and had been meaning to get to for a few months. So in spite of the 90-degree-plus temps, I jumped in my car, grabbed my beloved Kilenso flat white from Perq Coffee Bar, and enjoyed every single second of the 30-ish minute drive and my time in Myakka.

Friday, June 21, 2013

What are you doing this weekend?

This past week, a friend reminded me of my old LiveJournal, the web log I kept all throughout college. Reading it was hilarious—a total walk down memory lane that was riddled with both hysterical laughter and cringes (oh, that early-20s angst; oh, song lyrics galore).

It's funny how I remember almost everything I wrote about, though—from the school papers I was working on to the late-night IM conversations with friends; the sad times (my beloved uncle's passing) and the happy ones (graduation and my first "real" job). I also discovered that I tended to be a bit more creative in my writing style back in the day, something I kind of miss. Working at a magazine, particularly as an editor, will certainly force you to write more clearly and succinctly—a good thing—but there's something to be said for a long, semicolon-laden, Virginia Woolfian sentence, too. Hm. Maybe I should start telling more stories here...

Anyway, what are you up to this weekend? I'm finally feeling almost 100 percent back to normal again, and tomorrow I'm planning to take a trip out east to a new-to-me farmer's market I've been wanting to go to for months. The drive out is gorgeous—all green farmland—so I'm going to try to stop and take some pictures, as well. I'll share them here next week if they turn out.

Have a wonderful few days—and enjoy those extra minutes of golden summer sunlight the solstice is giving us tonight!—and I'll see you back here Monday. xoxo

Photo: My own, of a beautiful butterfly that was fluttering at my parents' house last weekend...and we all know how I feel about them.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer reading.

I'm still finishing Sweet Tooth (why is it taking me forever to get through?), but next on my summer reading list is definitely Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland, about psychic twin sisters. Michiko Kakutani reviewed it last weekend for The New York Times and said that Sittenfeld's prose is "so psychologically vivid that the reader easily overlooks the slick storyline," so I'm really looking forward to it. (I've enjoyed all of Sittenfeld's other books, as well, particularly Prep—one of my all-time favorites—and American Wife, which is based on the life of Laura Bush.)

But I'm looking for other good summer reads, too. What have you read and loved lately?

P.S. These all look good!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Humans of New York.

Have you heard of Humans of New York? My coworker Beau introduced me to it, and it's awesome.

Photographer Brandon Stanton set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map, "but somewhere along the way, [the project] took on a much different character," he says. "I started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and began including these snippets alongside the photographs." Now the project has almost million followers on Facebook and Tumblr, and it's no wonder: Stanton's photographs, quotes and observations are thought-provoking, hilarious, moving and—yes—incredibly human. Below are a few favorites; I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

"If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?"

"Take those phones you're on, shove 'em up your arses, and go to work."

"I came to America when I was 14. My mother told me that books were too heavy to bring, and I had this crazy idea that I'd never be able to replace them, so I copied all my favorite Russian poems by hand."

"I'm 92 years old."

"What's your secret?"

"Lots of sex."

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

"A big boy."

All photos by Brandon Stanton

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Recipe for happiness: Cold brew with coconut milk.

I know you don't need me to tell you how to make cold brew—there are thousands of recipes out there (though this one's my favorite). And, like it is for me, a good iced coffee is probably one of your favorite warm-weather drinks (it places very closely after an icy glass of sauvignon blanc or a really great iced chai on my top five list). So that's why I thought I'd write about Raleigh, N.C.-based Slingshot Coffee Co. today, which makes some of the best cold brew I've had, and is the perfect fix for when you don't want to make your own but need an iced coffee, stat.

Slingshot makes a ready-to-drink cold brew and a coffee concentrate; I picked up a bottle of the ready-to-drink stuff at Artisan Cheese Company last week and immediately went home for lunch to try it. You can definitely drink it straight, with just ice, but I'm not a black-coffee kinda girl, so I added a tablespoon of coconut milk (I'd opened a can that morning to make one of these), and a little sweetener. Yum. I'd planned on using almond milk with this, but now I think creamy coconut milk is definitely the way to go. And yes, the coffee is amazing—super smooth and flavorful, with notes of cherry, caramel and chocolate. Go get some.

P.S. Coconut milk whipped cream and strawberry coconut smoothies.

Monday, June 17, 2013

I need a vacation.

Friends, after a week of stress and then a week of sickness, I feel like I am in need of a vacation. And not a staycation, mind you: An actual change-of-scenery, real-live vacation. I was planning a little getaway for my 30th birthday in August, but my brother's getting married in San Diego right around the same time (like, four days beforehand, to be specific), which means that "little getaway" has become "major family travel event." So in September, I'm making ACS take a belated birthday trip with me to some beautiful Southern localeSavannah or Charleston, most likely (although Nashville also has slowly been creeping up both of our respective "must-visit" lists, I think).

Until then, though, I'm wondering if there's a weekend I can sneak away sometime in July. Asheville looks like a fun city, as does New Orleans (though there's no way in hell I'm going there at the height of summer), and I have cousins in Atlanta who, actually, will have just had a new baby that I'd love to meet. Two of my best friends live in Boston and New York, as well, and I'm dying to get up that way to see them, so the options are definitely there—I just need to make the plans. Where have you guys traveled lately? Do you ever feel the need to just get away?

P.S. Savannah and Charleston travel recaps, respectively.
P.P.S. The photos above are from Bruges, Belgium. Let's not even talk about how badly I want to get to Europe. 35th birthday in Paris or bust!

All photos via This is Glamorous

Friday, June 14, 2013

What are you doing this weekend?

Happy Friday, friends! We made it to the weekend, and I, for one, could not be happier, considering I've been sick or getting-sick since last Friday. I woke up today feeling significantly better and am hoping that trend continues through the weekend. I'm heading to Orlando again, and it'll be nice to have a change of scenery.

How were your weeks? What are your plans for the next few days? Are you celebrating Father's Day? (I got my dad a pizza cutter in the shape of the U.S.S. Enterprise, from Star Trek—that's how we roll in my family.) Whatever you're up to, I hope you have a blast--and if you're in the mood for some reading, here are three great links:

"How Not to Be Alone." A beautiful piece by one of my favorite authors.

"Six Changes Hillary Clinton Made to Her Twitter Bio." Everyone needs an editor, people! (P.S. I love you, Hillary.)

The beautiful comments on Grace's moving post on Design*Sponge this week will restore your faith in humanity (as will the post itself).

Oh, and the video above was created by Virgilio Villoresi in response to John Mayer's song "Walt Grace's Submarine Ride." I love it—it's really a work of art—and I hope you do, too. (P.S. If you're a Mayer fan like me, a clip of one of his new songs: "Paper Doll.")

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Strawberry coconut smoothie.

Sorry for the radio silence around here, friends—I am still sick with an obnoxious cold that just won't seem to go away, and yesterday I decided to start popping cold meds to try to alleviate my symptoms. I think they're helping, and I'm hoping to feel better by the weekend, but man, this week has been a doozy.

So in the spirit of health, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite smoothie recipes. I've been really into making smoothies/shakes in the morning lately, and this one always hits the spot—plus it's dairy-free, with only a couple of ingredients. Happy blending!

Strawberry Coconut Smoothie

1 cup organic frozen strawberries
1 banana, sliced
2 Tbsp. organic coconut milk (let's be real: I use the full-fat version and often I use 2.5 tablespoons, but you could totally use light coconut milk, too)
1 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 cup water

Blend strawberries, banana, coconut milk, lemon juice and water until smooth. Drink immediately. Enjoy.

Photo: My own.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stop and smell the roses.

Dear friends,

I am currently recovering from my annual summer cold (boohoo), which means lots of Cold-Eeze, sleep, tea and hand sanitizer. So today, I thought I'd just share some photos of my stop at the Rifle Paper Co. shop this Saturday. Though I can't exactly smell the roses right now thanks to my stuffy nose, I sure do appreciate the sentimentand Anna's gorgeous window decorations. Sometimes you just need a little pretty, ya know?

Happy Tuesday, everyone. xoxo

Photos by me, edited with the new VSCOcam app, which is pretty cool. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Frances Ha.

Have you seen the movie Frances Ha? My mom and I saw it over the weekend; it's quirky and funny and romantic and Greta Gerwig—who stars in it and also cowrote it—is totally charming as Frances, a 27-year-old woman living in New York City and trying to figure out her life. The movie is a classic coming-of-age story, shot in black and white, but it manages to feel both timeless and fresh at the same time. I loved it. (If you're in Sarasota, it's currently playing at Burns Court, one of my favorite places in town to see a movie. It was also one of the Sarasota Film Festival's centerpiece films, but I missed it that time around, sadly.)

What movies have you guys seen and loved lately?

Friday, June 7, 2013

What are you doing this weekend?

Whew, what a week! It definitely has not been all coffee and peonies here, friends, and I'm pretty glad the week is over. I'm doing something really fun on Sunday that I'll tell you about next week, and tonight I'm excited about hunkering down with the cats and some movies and just relaxing.

Until then, here are four links for your enjoyment:

A great post on body image and self-worth by Erin Loechner. Must-read.

Famous lookalikes! Alec Baldwin/Millard Fillmore is uncanny. Queen Latifah/Zora Neale Hurston, too.

Remember when I linked to that New York magazine piece called "I Tried Gwyneth Paltrow's Diet"? Turns out the author writes about other famous celebrity diets, too, and she is hilarious: Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Greta Garbo (thanks, Charla!).

And bonus, in honor of the image above: If you haven't watched this video of a baby elephant frolicking in the ocean, you must. It will make your day.

Have a great weekend and stay dry if you're in the Northeast...I am so glad we put that rain behind us here!

Photo by Sharon Montrose

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Perq Coffee Bar.

These days, the perks of living in Sarasota include Perq Coffee Bar (see what I did there?), whose buzz (pun! Again!) began last year and which finally—finally!—opened its doors to the public last month. It's safe to say I'm obsessed, and here's why: Gorgeous space, made-from-scratch baked goods, sandwiches from a favorite local shop, and, oh yeah, the best coffee and tea in town. We're talking fair-trade, single-origin beans roasted in-house, local dairy options, the option to order a drink with almond milk (hallelujah!), tea offerings that are brewed just as carefully as their coffee counterparts, and a bright green Slayer espresso machine that is totally awesome.

Perq's lingo is different than the "small/medium/large/tall/grande/venti" you'll find at most coffee shops, and it's a little confusing at first, but you'll pick it up after a few orders. Also, take it from me: You will leave the shop with good vibrations (literally). I ordered a dirty chai—chai tea with a shot of espresso—a few weeks ago and it was insanely, awesomely strong. Totally worth it. If you're local, you must go.

P.S. My friend Megan also wrote a great post about Perq a few days ago; read it and see her pictures right here. She's convinced me to order a matcha latte next time I'm in, for sure.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Martha Stewart's fields of peonies.

This is such a cliche, but peonies are 100 percent, without a doubt my favorite flowers. They are just so incredibly beautiful, and I'm always giddy when I see them in local markets. (If you're in Sarasota, you can still find them at Whole Foods.)

Sadly, they don't grow well here, so it's always fun for me to look at them in nature, and I just want to stare at these photos from Martha Stewart's peony fields all day long. Between the pink and white and fuchsia flowers, the fog and the gorgeous morning light, the images are like a breath of fresh air, yes?

P.S. Long Winter Farm makes a fantastic peony-scented roll-on perfume that's a little too strong for everyday wear but that I love regardless. And LWF's honeysuckle and orange blossom perfumes are amazing, too. (They also have a scent called "Unicorn Farts," which makes me laugh. Oh, and the roll-ons are $9 a pop. Total steal.)

P.P.S. That time I met Martha.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

(Un)Baked! Strawberries with coconut milk whipped cream.

So, if you follow me on Instagram you've probably already seen this picture, and heard (well, read) my exclamations about the joys of coconut milk whipped cream, but I hope you'll indulge me this post, anyway.

I've been trying really hard to work on my diet lately—I'm watching what I eat, yes, but more importantly, I'm trying to cut back on the not-so-great stuff for me—refined sugar*, white flour and the like—and eat way more fruits, veggies, fish, etc. It's an ongoing process, but so far it's working pretty well, and I feel much better than I have in a long time.

One of the benefits of eating more fruit is that I definitely crave way less sweet stuff, but hello—you've seen the Baked! archives; you know I'm a sweet tooth at heart and will never say no to a good dessert. So last week, I got the idea to cut up some fresh strawberries and make a small batch of whipped cream with leftover cream from when I last made this insane cake.

Well, turns out the cream had spoiled (gross—I tasted it to make sure and that's an experience I never care to relive), but I still had a hankering for berries and cream. So after a little Googling, I ended up pulling out a can of coconut milk (I always have tons of it on hand for curry and the like), stuck it in the fridge until it was completely chilled, skimmed off the cream top, and put it in my mixer with a little sugar and vanilla extract. And you guys, it was so good. There's a definite coconut flavor to it—not super strong, but it's there—so if you don't like coconut, I wouldn't recommend making this. And actually, because of that flavor, I'd personally stick to serving this with fruit-based dishes. But if you want a non-dairy, vegan whipped cream replacement, this is an amazing one. In fact, I'll probably make coconut milk whipped cream way more than I will the dairy version from now on.

Here's how I made it—barely adapted from The Kitchn:

1 can full-fat organic coconut milk (I use Whole Foods' brand or Thai Kitchen)
1 Tbsp. sugar or sweetener of your choice, or more to taste (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

Put your can of coconut milk in the fridge and keep it there until it's thoroughly chilled, a few hours or even overnight. (Real talk: I was impatient and stuck mine in the freezer for awhile. Everything worked fine.) When it's cool, open the can and skim off the firm, almost waxy layer of cream on top. Do not include the watery liquid below it; you can save that for smoothies or drink it straight from the can, though. Place cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat, gradually increasing the speed, until soft peaks form. Add sweetener and vanilla to taste and mix in thoroughly; serve immediately atop fresh berries or the dessert of your choice.

*Yes, it's true: After my spiel about cutting back on white sugar, I totally used some for this recipe. But I bet coconut sugar—which is totally a thing!—would be fantastic here, and enhance the flavor of the coconut milk. If I try that, I'll let you know how it goes.

P.S. Before I made this, I was going to use my strawberries to make a version of these berry crumb bars; don't they look good?