Monday, September 30, 2013
Happy Monday, friends! Did you have a good weekend? I had a great one—full of quality time with ACS, a wonderful Saturday-night dinner date with friends old and new and some time at the beach on Sunday (I even got to take a dip in the ocean—that's gorgeous Longboat Key in the photo above—which is totally one of the perks of living in Florida at this time of year).
I've got a bunch more stuff to share with you this week, including some really good stuff to eat and drink, so I'll see you back here tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope your Mondays are wonderful. xoxo
Friday, September 27, 2013
Happy Friday, friends! I'm playing hooky (with permission) from work today, and after three days of heavy rain, I want to get outside and enjoy the sunshine with ACS, who's here this week. So it's going to be short and sweet today, but I promise I've got some good reads for you:
This profile of writer Elizabeth Gilbert (you know: Eat, Pray, Love) is pretty great.
The habits of supremely happy people.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Stephen Merchant and Jimmy Fallon have a lip sync-off, and it is amazing. (Be sure to John Krasinski's turn at it, too--you'll see the video at the bottom of the post.)
Oh, and speaking of Jimmy Fallon, if you haven't seen his hashtag video with Justin Timberlake, you are doing yourself a disservice.
What are you up to this weekend? Whatever it is, I hope you have a fantastic few days. See you back here on Monday. xoxo
Photo (of Sarasota!) by Tim Gilbreath
Thursday, September 26, 2013
File this one under "random," for sure, but how awesome is this washi-taped Mini Cooper? It's so bright and cheerful and I love those stripes.
I'm not car-obsessed by any means, but I'm actually soon to be in the market for a new vehicle—I like to joke that my current one is held up by "duct tape and wishes," and I am not exaggerating when I say that (it's especially amusing when I have to valet park at the Ritz for an event or something)—and a Mini is at the top of my list. I love them so much. It helps that everyone I know who has one does, too.
What's your dream car?
Photo via ban.do
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Last fall, I had the pleasure of hanging out with the legendary—and lovely—Italian chef Marcella Hazan and her family for an article I was writing for work. We spent most of the day outside, and it was perfect—the weather had just turned from hot to warm, breezy and lovely, and since the article was about Marcella's son Giuliano's newest cookbook, there was tons of delicious food on hand. One of my favorite sound bites from the entire day was Marcella saying, "I don't drink—except Jack Daniels." That is a direct quote. What an awesome lady.
Anyway, I am not Italian—I am 100 percent Irish, in fact—but I am a great lover of Italian food, both the kind that you order at restaurants and the kind you make at home. And Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce is seriously the best, simplest marinara I've ever made. Would you believe me if I told you there's only three ingredients? That's right: Three. And one of them is butter. How can that be bad?
I haven't made this sauce in awhile, for some reason—which is strange, because it keeps beautifully and you can easily freeze it—but I was reminded of it while doing some meal-planning this week. ACS is in town for the week, and one of our favorite things to do is make homemade pizza; we typically use store-bought sauce, but I think homemade sauce would make the pizza way better. I'm also making Ina Garten's fantastic spicy turkey meatballs, which are perfect with tomato sauce and pasta (maybe this homemade pasta, in fact!). So yes, this sauce is a multitasker, as well.
Would you like me to shut up and give you the recipe now? Yes? OK, I will. Here you go:
Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce
1 (28-oz.) can San Marzano tomatoes
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and peeled
Salt, as needed
Combine the tomatoes (including their juices), butter, onion and a pinch of salt in a medium-sized pot over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Continue to cook, uncovered, at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of a pot with a wooden spoon. (I do this quite a bit because I'm not a huge fan of chunky sauces.) Taste and salt as needed. Serve with the dish of your choice and lots of grated parmesan cheese for passing, if you are so inclined (I am).
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Wearing vintage clothing is one of those things I've always wanted to do, but never felt I could pull off (I've written about this here before). For starters, let me just say that all my clothes should probably be tailored: I have broad shoulders, a short torso and big boobs, but I can generally find stuff that works off the rack in regular "modern" bricks-and-mortar and online stores. Not so with vintage clothes; to begin with, the clothes' material and lengths are quite different, and so whenever I trry anything on I'd often end up looking like the queen of Planet Frump. Not great. But I've always loved the shapes and patterns on vintage clothing, and often find myself perusing vintage Etsy shops and wishing I could wear the clothes I see—or purchasing vintage-inspired clothing at stores like Anthropologie.
But then I read Joy's post about making vintage clothing work for your body type, and how she has almost every vintage piece she owns tailored. The "before" and "after" photos are pretty striking—a simple hem makes such a difference—and so many vintage pieces do have such great prints. So I started perusing Etsy shops and actually ended up buying a couple of well-priced skirts with pretty patterns that will probably just need to be hemmed. My tailor lives within walking distance of my house and is really reasonably priced, so I'm excited to see the difference her work makes with my treasures.
Also, one thing I've discovered in just the little while I've been Etsy vintage shopping: While there are really delightful pieces out there, not all vintage is pretty. Remember the '80s and '90s, people? I do, and with a few exceptions, I don't have a whole ton of desire to revisit that clothing. Vintage shopping, even online, requires sifting. I'm not great at that, but the results seem to be worth it.
Do you guys wear vintage? More important, do you get your clothes altered? Do you love the difference it makes?
Photos from the sweet vintage shop This Vintage Girl.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Last week ACS sent me a link to a Buzzfeed piece about the old Cincinnati public library. The library's current iteration, which was built after its predecessor was torn down in 1955, is a nondescript, regular-looking building, but you guys—the photos from its heyday are take-your-breath-away beautiful. Just look at them. I mean...there are no words. Well, except one: love.
P.S. How to write letters.
Photos from Buzzfeed via wonderful ACS.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Happy Friday, friends! I don't know about you, but I am so incredibly happy the weekend is here. Not sure if it was the full moon or what, but this week felt kind of insane, and I'm looking forward to two days that are 100 percent wide open and unplanned (well, with the exception of an apartment deep-clean, but I've been preparing for that for a little while).
In the meantime, there was a lot of good stuff on the Internet this week, so here are
Surviving Whole Foods. This made me laugh so hard.
Louis C.K. is my favorite.
Read this piece about Gen Y and then read this response to it.
Have an excellent weekend, everyone, and I'll see you here next week. xoxo
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Some pretty for your Monday: Loving these looks (and the hair, makeup and overall styling) from Joie's 2014 spring ready-to-wear collection. (So weird to think about spring fashion when it's almost fall but still feels like summer here!)
Photos via style.com
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Peonies. My favorite flower in the world, and yes, maybe a bit of a blogger cliche, but seriously: When these flowers make their appearance at local markets for just a few weeks each spring, I buy as many bouquets of them as I can and they make me so happy. I wish I could have them in my house year-round.
Kinfolk magazine currently has a piece on its website about how to grow peonies, with gorgeous pictures of Salem, OR's Adelman Peony Gardens. How much do you want to go run through those fields right now? If you're like me, the answer is "a lot."
Photos by James Fitzgerald III for Kinfolk.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Have you guys seen For a Good Time, Call...? Ari Graynor and Lauren Anne Miller play Katie and Lauren, college-enemies-turned-roommates-10-years-later, who decide to start a phone sex business together after Lauren loses her job and the rent on Katie's NYC is raised. I caught it when it was on TV the other night and found myself giggling for a good chunk of it; both the script and Graynor and Miller are legitimately funny and hilariously potty-mouthed. Don't watch if you're easily offended, but if you're in the mood for a funny, fizzy film, I'd highly recommend this one. If you watch it, let me know what you think!
P.S. Two other movies I've enjoyed lately: Celeste and Jesse Forever and Ruby Sparks.
Monday, September 16, 2013
File this one under the "love" category: How to Write Letters is a “manual of correspondence, showing the correct structure, composition, punctuation, formalities, and uses of the various kinds of Letters, Notes and Cards,” penned by J. Willis Westlake in 1876. I discovered this via the wonderful Brain Pickings, which is a site you should totally bookmark if you haven't already. There are tons of great excerpts from the book in Maria Popova's article on Brain Pickings, but here's my favorite:
"Take pains; write as plainly and neatly as possible—rapidly if you can, slowly if you must. Good writing affects us sympathetically, giving us a higher appreciation both of what is written and of the person who wrote it. Don’t say, I haven’t time to be so particular. Take time; or else write fewer letters and shorter ones. A neat well-worded letter of one page once a month is better than a slovenly scrawl of four pages once a week. In fact, bad letters are like store bills: the fewer and the shorter they are, the better pleased is the recipient."In an era where we fire off emails, tweets, texts and Facebook posts without a second thought, this makes me want to sit down with some of my favorite notecards and pen a handwritten note to all my friends. In fact, I just might do that. And I think that's a good thing.
Photo: My own. A few weeks ago, when I was at my parents', we were going through some old papers of my grandparents' and found a bunch of my grandfather's—my mom's dad's—old letters. I love them.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Friends, I need your advice: What are your favorite ways to stay organized? I've got a couple of new projects going on and I'm wondering if I'm working as efficiently as I could be. So far, Google Docs, phone reminders, Dropbox and my trusty (and beautiful) Rifle Paper Co. notebooks have been my saving graces, but I'm wondering: What are your favorite organizational apps, tips and tricks? I'd really, really love to know.
P.S. Remember this article, about how productive people get up insanely early? I am wondering if there's something to that. Can any of you who do freelance projects while also working a full-time job chime in?
Photo by Victoria
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday:
"On September 10, I am always reminded that you never know when today is the day before everything changes. Find your happy and live it hard. Be grateful for the good in those around you."
Amen. Take care of yourselves today, friends. Remember the good.
Art by Christopher David Ryan.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
I love weekends that feel long and stretched out, don't you? After a packed week, I left Sarasota behind for the third weekend in a row and headed north to spend some much-needed quality time with ACS. Even though it was only a 24-hour visit, we filled it with long walks, antique-store browsing, great food and lots of laughter. Add to that a fun dinner from the Orlando Food Truck Bazaar with my parents on Sunday night and you have what I'd consider a pretty perfect few days. Here's a look at them in photos.
We walked down pretty side streets swooned over the flowers in bloom everywhere...
...daydreamed about living in this house...
...declared pink and mint the color palette o' the weekend...
...sat in a community garden, basking in the golden late-afternoon light (my favorite time of day)...
...had an amazing dinner at this adorable restaurant...
...decided we're staying in a B&B next time because, hello, how cute...
...made friends with a kitty (when does this not happen with me?)...
...came across a trio of butterflies that let us get very close (you know how I feel about butterflies)...
...and ended the weekend with lobster rolls, Korean barbecue, shrimp and grits and cupcakes.
I hope your weekend was equally as lovely, and that your weeks have started out on a high note. xoxo
Monday, September 9, 2013
A few weeks ago, while browsing Instagram, I stumbled across a photo of this gorgeous white ceramic casserole dish with gold polka dots. Though I'm often loathe to ask people where they get things (those kinds of questions seem to take over a lot of the bigger Instagram feeds I follow, and while I get that it's meant to be flattering, it's mostly just really off-putting to me), I totally dismounted my high horse and asked the user where she got the dish. She very kindly let me know that it was vintage—an eBay find—and I very quickly began obsessively scouring the Internet to find something similar.
Turns out the dish was made by Hall, a pottery company, and their ceramic pieces aren't hard to find on Etsy or eBay. I quickly found the exact casserole dish I'd been coveting and scooped it up, and last week I also found a white-and-gold-polka-dotted coffeepot that I couldn't resist—turns out I got it for a steal, because it's enormous (the photo doesn't do it justice). Both the coffeepot and the casserole are really heavy and well-made, and while I don't think I'll be using them much for actual cooking, they'll absolutely make gorgeous display pieces. If you were ever asked to describe a "Megan" item, these would be it.
Any great eBay/thrifting scores of your own to share?
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Fried chicken is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods—for me, it's right up there with a grilled cheese sandwich and macaroni and cheese. But until this weekend, I'd never actually made it myself.
Leave it to Ina Garten to change that.
Ina was cooking with Tyler Florence—another chef whose recipes never seem to lead me astray—on her Food Network show the other weekend, and they were making chicken fried in herb-scented oil. The recipe couldn't have been simpler: Brine the chicken in saltwater for a few hours, dredge it in a mixture of buttermilk and Sriracha, then dip it in seasoned flour. Fry the chicken, three or four pieces at a time, in peanut oil that's flavored with thyme, sage, rosemary and garlic...and then eat until you can't eat anymore. Seriously, this is really good fried chicken, you guys. We served it with corn on the cob and my mom's potato salad and it was the perfect Labor Day meal. If you want to make it, here's the recipe. I hope you love it.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
So much amazing color, texture and pattern in actress Lake Bell's Brooklyn backyard, as featured in Lonny magazine. Love. Adding to the must-have list for my next place: Outdoor space.
Photo by Melanie Acevedo for Lonny
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Every so often, I think that I want to leave Sarasota and go live somewhere completely different (like, hello, San Diego). I've lived in Florida my entire life and sometimes the urge for a change of scenery is so strong that I actually start to research other cities, trying to figure out what it would be like to live in one of them.
But then Sarasota surprises me with something like a stunning sunset, a perfect 75-degree day or an experience that you can't have anywhere else. Case in point: The Lemur Conservation Foundation lemur reserve in Myakka City, just a short drive from where I live. A few months ago, my boss and I were invited to take a tour of the facility and meet the lemurs living there, who are are in serious danger of going extinct thanks to the turmoil in their native Madagascar. It was one of the most unique (and uniquely Sarasota) experiences I've ever had, and really special since the reserve isn't open to the public. And surprise: Turns out, I love lemurs. They're laid-back but curious little creatures, and when we ventured out into the woods where they live, many of them came right up to us and some of them even tried to paw through our purses.
The entire experience was unforgettable, and it led to this story in our September issue, written by one of our regular contributors (who, side note, is also the author of a great book about coming of age in New York called The Frog King). The piece is a must-read, and if the last few paragraphs don't make you cry—or at least well up—well, then, you're dead to me. Also, the photography, by Kim Longstreet, is amazing; the little lemurs and their personalities are captured so vividly. I'm really proud of the quality of work our magazine produces and I think this piece is a fine example of it. If you read it, I hope you really enjoy it.
Photography by Kim Longstreet for Sarasota magazine