Happy Weekending!

flip
We had a little taste of summer this past week in Charleston, this photo seemed apropos for the way it made me feel.

Hello good people of the world and Happy Weekend to you. We have just returned from a whirlwind week of Spring Breaking in glorious Charleston- what a gem of a city, I can’t wait to round up my favorite spots. We stayed at the beach so we had the best of both worlds- town and country- we got charming city, crazy good food (I mean, really kind of nuts- full report to come), and long empty beaches with summertime breezes. More on all of that later next week.

What are you all up to this weekend? Spring may finally be peeking its head around the corner for us here in the Mid-Atlantic. At least it’s raining these days and not snowing, it can’t come soon enough.

What I’m Drinking: 

This amazing Loire sparkling wine I discovered at the cuter-than-can-be Charleston coffee and wine shop, The Daily. It’s so crisp and delicious- tasting note to follow, this one’s worth seeking out.

In Other News: 

London opens a bar where you can pet owls- I’m there.

I love these photos of Japanese dancer, Mickael Jou.

Big sale at the Gap. Use code FFBEST for 40% off little numbers like this.

I’m attempting a paleo-esque diet for the next month starting tomorrow. After all of that Charleston goodness, something’s got to give. We’ll see how it goes. This book on baking with natural sugars seems like a step in the right direction.

And speaking of books, I just ordered this one to inspire me to dig a little deeper in my spring clean this year. Spotted on my pal Rashmi’s Insta.

And speaking of tidying up, this cleaning guru shares her secrets for a tidy home.

Green fondue for St. Paddy’s Day? Maybe. This white chocolate matcha mix doesn’t quite jive with my paleo ambitions, but it sure looks fun (and yummy).

This springy green floral cape just made it to my wish list.

Cafe Clover- on my NYC list. This little West Village spot looks fab.

“This is what happens when you put your phone away for a week.”

This raw kale caesar with beet microgreens and poached egg reminds me of a transcendent salad I just had at Charleston’s The Macintosh- except their’s had tiny little pieces of fried cauliflower- what the what!

This book looks fun. The difference between the Queen’s English and our English.

“The sulfites give me a headache.” Chances are this is probably not the reason you’re getting a headache, so pop the cork on the bottle of red. Thank you Lettie Teague.

These flared high-waisted jeans are rocking my world. Let’s hope this paleo thing works so I can get back to zippers post-bebes.

This documentary looks amazing- Sailing the Sinking Sea.

Bjork and The Secret to a Pop Tune Hit on this week’s Studio 360- I loved this episode.

Cin Cin ya’ll and Happy Weekending!

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Happy Weekending!

pink house
Pretty in Pink- Charleston

Happy Weekend dear readers. It has been a long week with my grandmother passing. I will head home today and try to get back to “normal” life. It’s been a wonderful week of celebrating our Meme and spending time with family and friends, a great reminder of what is most important in life. Our post-memorial reception turned into an all-night impromptu dance party and there’s not a whole lot in the world that a spontaneous dance party can’t cure- my grandmother would have loved it.

What are you all up to this weekend? We will be packing up the minivan and heading down to Charleston for some R&R, beach time with the kiddos and some serious eating and exploring. I’ll be sure to take copious notes and sketch out a great city guide based on our time there. We’re staying at a little beach house on the Isle of Palms, hopefully we’ll catch a few warm days. We’re looking forward to eating here and renting a bike to properly tour the charming city. We’re taking a Low Country cooking class here and taking the kids here. And if any of you all have any recommendations, please send them my way. I haven’t been in years so am really looking forward to some Southern hospitality.


What I’m Drinking: 

Mint Juleps on our Charleston porch- rocking chairs required. Here’s a classic recipe from New Orleans bartender, Chris McMillian. And apparently Charleston’s The Gin Joint’s got one of the best Mint Juleps in the country. I might have to see for myself.
In Other News: 

This Geico ad is hilarious, I want to be in the room when these things are thought up.

How to get the most out of your cookbook collection- great tips from Lauren Salkeld.

A Secret Weapon Stir Fry Sauce- this is awesome.

The new meaning of luxury (read: why Instagram is flooded with so many photos of delicious cups of coffee).

Yay- a new Tina Fey sitcom.

I love this easy breezy long dress for summer.

Headed to South Beach but can’t spring for The Raleigh (my personal fave- that pool!)? Park it at this chic hostel- I promise this is not your momma’s hostel. There’s one coming to Chicago too.

My friend Anna wrote a Food & Wine piece on this mother daughter duo last year. Here they are again, their Burgundy Cook’s Atelier’s is on my list! I’d love to go with my mom.

Tom, Katie and Suri- a Scientology Story. I read the book that this new documentary is based on, it is unbelievable. Can’t wait to see what the filmmakers have done with it.

The Keurig cup inventor feels bad that he ever did it. :-(

Vince Vaughn and pals pose for cheesy stock photos that can be all yours for free- hilarious.

Andrew Knowlton spends 24 hours straight at the Waffle House working as a line cook.

Cin Cin ya’ll and Happy Weekending!

{photo by Doug Hickock}

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Her Last Dance

Frances Thomson
Frances Chapman Thomson 1924-2015

We said goodbye to our dear Meme this past Sunday. I will forever feel grateful and fortunate that I was present to share in her passing, it was truly one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I have never been witness to someone leaving our world, a true blessing.

Surrounded and literally enveloped by her children and grandchildren, our dearest Meme went on to her next adventure this past Sunday, March 1st. She had been terribly ill trying her dammdest to recover from major surgery and was not ready to give up until that very last day. She looked me right in the eye, just the day before, recognizing me and calling me by my name, then pin-pointedly letting me know that she wasn’t able to do it. I have to love and cherish that maybe more than anything about my grandmother. She had such a fierce determination, will and spirit, she needed us to know that she tried as hard as she could and this one wasn’t going to take. If it was left to her, in strong and sound mind, there would be no contest. I don’t believe I know a soul as strong as my grandmother but at 90, her body was ready for another adventure. I truly believe that seeing us all there with her helped her come to terms with that reality so that she may move on.

The power of music however, cannot be denied. My cousins had the brilliant idea of playing her a little Frank Sinatra at her bedside, on the last day of her life as she struggled with each labored breath. The minute she heard the music, she opened her eyes for the last time, and soon began to ease into her last breaths. Always a fan of dancing to her favorite Big Band Era tunes, I think this was just what she needed. We immediately enveloped her in words of love, kisses and hugs, sending her off to her next dance. I’ll never be ready to really let go of her, she was our matriarch, our fearless leader, but I know we all take great peace and are grateful for her loving sendoff and the 90 years that she graced our world. Thank you for your love, dear grandmother. Thank you for teaching me to look at the world with an artist’s eye and thank you for showing us the importance of living life with a heart full of happiness, love, energy, excitement and a wild spirit. I love you.

Meme and Me
Meme and Me at my mother’s 60th birthday party, 2009

Frances Chapman Thomson’s Obit, as printed in the Abilene News Reporter:

Frances Thomson 1924-2015

Frances Chapman Thomson, a longtime Abilene resident, local artist and beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother passed away on Sunday March 1st. She was 90 years old.

Born on October 10, 1924 in her family’s farmhouse in Haskell, Texas to parents Hallie Elmer and Tillie Pearl Chapman, she grew up with her sister Mildred in the West Texas town. As a child, Fran, as her loved ones and friends called her, loved riding her horse Dolly the two miles everyday to and from grade school, and sang alto alongside her father in a local Gospel singing group. Frances went on to become Lead Majorette and Halloween Queen at Haskell High- where as a sophomore, she met the love of her life, Joseph Edward Thomson. She and Joe married in Duncan, Oklahoma on July 2, 1944.

Frances and Joseph traveled across the States during Joe’s service in the U.S. Navy, her favorite spots being Jacksonville Beach and Hollywood, where they loved to dance and dine at Ciro’s and The Brown Derby. After the war, they moved to Abilene where they settled to have a family and run their business. Frances later worked as the Secretary to the Principal at Cooper High School, and in her retirement years enjoyed life as an accomplished painter, traveler, avid bridge player and lover of life, family and friends.

Frances is survived by her children Craig Thomson, Cheryl Huey, Carol Davis and Charles Thomson, her grandchildren Brian, Kelly, Tracy, Ashleigh, Mandy, Ben, Brett, Colby and Paxton, and great-grandchildren Bradlee, Peysley, Taylor, Kalia, Kai, Jake, Georgina and Thomson.

 

Meme's Art Studio Desk

Meme’s art studio desk just as she left it. I wonder what she was mixing her palette for next? 

My father-in-law, Jacques d’Amboise, wrote a beautiful little poem in memoriam to her passing:

 

                                                                         Going

                                                             Life flows, Leaves fall,
                                                     And you know its time to say,
                                                               “I love all of you.
                                                                         And go. 

 

We will never really be ready to let her go and we don’t have to. She lives on in our hearts, so much to celebrate and remember. It has been one of the great honors of my life to celebrate her this past week with my dearest family. I love you all.

Cheers Meme- to a life well lived.

 

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Happy Weekending!

citrus scents

Happy Weekend dear readers. What are you up to this winter weekend? I am off to visit my dear grandmother in Texas (if I can get there, seems the winter weather is worse there than on the East Coast). She is fighting the good fight after a long and tedious surgery to remove an aneurysm. She is 90 and my hero. I wrote about her here and feel so lucky to have her as my darling grandmother and source of constant inspiration. My Meme is a woman who fully embraces life and lives with an artful and interested eye- she manages to find interest in just about everything and is the quintessential observer of all things great and small. She inspires me to pay more attention to the world and move at a slower, more interested and engaged pace. She is a painter who works wonders with watercolors and is always effortlessly chic- a woman to love and cherish. Please send well wishes that she may start to feel better soon as she is in a tough place.


What I’m Drinking: 

Whatever my mom’s got in her Texas fridge.

A Few Things:

This just made my day- the definition of true sportsmanship in a Texas high school gym.

One couple’s idea of a retirement plan- hopping the globe one AirBnB house at a time. Sounds like my kind of couple.

He lived long and prospered. RIP Leonard Nimoy.

Life lessons from Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

10 Perfect Parisian Food Experiences by Chocolate and Zucchini’s Clotilde Dusoulier.

‘Tis the season to spritz up your home and bring on the scents of spring. DIY Home Lavender Spray anyone?

And while we’re on that topic- these natural DIY home scents seem pretty great and easy to drum up too.

And why have I never thought of this before? My long shower is my down time, this just upped my game.

Spicy crab linguine with mustard, creme fraiche and herbs- doesn’t this look delish!

The Farmer’s Almanac nails it once again.

Want to sound smart, read this- “39 Incorrectly Used Words That Can Make You Look Bad.”

Want to sound smart in a corporate meeting, read this. Hilarious- I love the fractions.

High impact home updates in an hour or less- clutter-free countertops- my daily goal (it never happens).

“Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert on failure and lightening up already.

Conan Goes to Cuba- is he our next Charles Kuralt?

Coconut macaroons- not to be confused with macarons, now these I can make! Thanks Rashmi!

When you’re in 50 Shades of Grey and your mom’s Melanie Griffith, it’s all just so embarrassing.

20 minute Teriyaki Salmon- why not.

This is a fun way to hang art.

Happy Weekending to you and Cin Cin!
{Photo by: Alpha Smoot Photography}

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Happy Valentines Day!

happy v day

Happy Valentines Day dear readers- I know I know, it’s a Hallmark holiday but I have to admit that I’ve always had a fondness for this lovey dove-ful day. I have such nostalgia (there’s that word again) for the warm and fuzzy memories of opening those little paper Valentines we used to get from classmates at school, and going home with Elmer’s glue-encrusted hands after cutting and gluing those silly doilies to the backs of red construction paper hearts.  This year we made crayon heart necklaces for our classmates and friends. I love paper Valentines but we opted to just melt some crayons, it took some time but we love how they came out.

Yep, St. Valentine’s Day- it’s a good excuse to share some love- true, we should just be sharing such love on a daily basis, but Valentine’s Day for me, is just another reminder. It’s a bright and shiny heart-shaped beacon of light in the doldrums of winter, so I’ll take it. What do you all do for Valentines Day? This year, I think C and I may just go to the movies. We try to do something slightly offbeat and different each year, but this year, we’re a bit overworked (read: tired) and a bit understudied for the Oscars, so we’ll probably just head to the local movie theater to catch Birdman or The Theory of Everything. Have you all seen either? Do tell.


My Valentine Mood
:

André Lanskoy is my new favorite artist. Why have I never seen his work before? If only I could afford to buy one of his prints. The one above is from 1959, I can’t get enough of it.

Chocolate Velvet Beet Cupcakes- seems about right for V day. I might need to make these.

Pink Fiats always make me smile.

Paul and Linda do too. Their expressions are kind of hilarious here.

Plum and Brandy Gelato- yeah, alright, twist my arm.

And Sangria Granita Snow Cones- yes please.


What I’m Drinking:

Rosé Sparkling- was there any doubt? It’s pink, it’s fizzy, enough said. I don’t know, I drink this stuff year round but this saccharine sweet holiday is yet another good reason to pop this pink bubbly’s cork, like we really need one. A few go to’s:

Domaine Jousset “rosé a lies” NV- the great Gamay grape that is way too underrated gets its juicy spritz on in this refined and racy (loads of food-friendly acid) bottle. Always a winner. $21

Domaine Regnier David Cremant de Loire NV- Cremant is a thin-in-the-wallet Champagne lover’s best friend. Made in the traditional method that Champagne uses to produce its wondrous bubbles, you get the same technique from a different part of the world, still imparting those brioche-y, creamy notes but at half (or less than half ) the price. This one’s quite beautiful and finessed with hints of toasted almond, brioche and ripe red fruit, made from the super food friendly and acidic grape, Cabernet Franc. Yum and yum. $23

Graham Beck Brut Rosé Sparkling- a happy little sparkler from South Africa with notes of red cherries, raspberries, wild lavender, and an earthy minerality to boot. $15

Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé NV- Billy Rose, if you want to be a baller. $75

What to Pair With your Pink Bubbly: Chocolate Velvet Beet Cupcakes, of course- duh. Or almost anything really, provided it’s not stick-to-your-ribs meat and potatoes.


In Other News: 

Have you seen this? A documentary about a lost documentary made by Alfred Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein about German concentration camps in 1945. I stumbled upon it as it is currently playing on HBO, very good.

“The chalky anthropology of candy hearts.”- an interesting little bit of sweet tooth history.

The World’s Most Romantic Hotels- have you been to any of these? Fogo Island Inn- you just went on my list. You too, Hotel Les Roches Rouges.

Kiss-proof lipstick. Is there really such a thing- 9 long-lasting lipsticks put to the test.

How to make a heart-shaped pizza. Be careful with this one. In college, my friend Kristen received one as a Valentine from an admirer which pretty much sealed the deal, but not in the way you might think. Because of that heart-shaped pizza, she decided that that first date would never happen. Know your audience.

My pal Tracy Lynn Olivera is a badass and a fantastic talent. She has a CD. You should buy it because it’s awesome.

Inside the stylish homes of 11 comedians.

The top 5 places to cry in NYC. I’ve done my fair share of late night crying at the local Greek diner circa the late 90s. I might also add the Rose Planetarium and any corner on a rainy day where you might get a tidal wave-sized taxi splash- you’re good to just start crying right there on the spot and it’s perfectly acceptable, just as long as you don’t cry for too long- gotta get back on your game and hail your ass a cab.

Shirley Manson (where have you been Shirley!) steps in and pens an open letter to Kanye.

Speaking of Kanye (and who isn’t- I guess his inappropriate behavior really is working on his ego-boosting behalf), this is hilarious- the hidden texts between Kanye and Beck post-Grammys.

The best and worst first date spots in NYC.

My talented cousin just launched her jewelry collection and it is fabulous. Inspired by her time as an expat in Amsterdam, her pieces are beautiful- this Gwen necklace is calling my name. Use the code EClaunch10 through February 15th.

Staying in on Valentines? Make Duck a Deux if you dare (duck is hard, right!)- a lovely Valentines dinner for two.

If duck’s not your thing (or like me, you’ve just messed it up too many times), look to Julia for inspiration. I always think of Julia Child and her husband Paul on Valentines because they loved celebrating the holiday together and with friends. I had the big idea to throw and Julia and Paul dinner party this Valentines Day, but we just had a Top Chef Challenge birthday party for C and I thought that we were probably good for the month of February. Maybe next month. Anyway- here is a Julia-inspired Quick Coq au Vin Blanc c/o Martha.

I know I’m real late to this party, but I am finally reading Unbroken and wow- it is unbelievable what one human being is capable of enduring while holding strong to one’s will to live. “Inspiring” does not even begin to describe this story.

This should be entertaining- “Who wore it best” on the NYC private school playgrounds?

And can someone please explain to me why The Vermont Teddy Bear Company would put out a 50 Shades of Grey Teddy Bear? What is happening? This has got to be the creepiest teddy bear ever.

Cin Cin all and Happy Valentines Day!

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Happy Weekend

The Crooked House of Windsor

Happy Weekend dear readers. Don’t you love this tea shop? The Crooked House of Windsor, one of the oldest still-standing tea houses in England, and that’s old. It’s on the list. I hope you are off to a tea-sipping, enjoyable weekend. As of Sunday, January 2015 will be forever over and done with- it’s so crazy how fast time flies. I’m not necessarily sad to say goodbye to January as a month but I am unnerved but how quickly this time thing operates. (take a breath, enjoy the moment- these are the mantras on continuous loop in my head). I never felt this way, at least not so intensely before I had children, now I am all too aware. What do you all do to combat the flying of our time?

What I’m Drinking:

Those of you who read my blog know I enjoy a glass of rosé throughout the year and especially in the winter, so I’m back on the pink juice. I’m currently sipping a rosé of grenache made by Elizabeth Spencer from the prettiest little town of Mendocino and it is killer. It’s juicy and chock full of bright cherry and strawberry fruit flavors- like a luscious strawberry jolly rancher without the sugar rush with a dry and finessed finish. If you don’t spot this one in your local shop, look for anything from Provence, rosés from Tavel and Bandol (my all-time favorite rosé region) will not disappoint. A little pink pickup is just what the dr. ordered during the dog days of winter.

A Few Things:

Ha.

These little scrapbooky photo journal books are awesome and can all be made via apps on your phone. I never print photos anymore and I certainly don’t make any albums, much less from our traveling adventures. I love this- so easy.

Mindy Kaling on Happiness- always happy to read or hear anything that comes out of her mouth.

For the love of Goop- steam your hoo-ha? Oh Gwyneth…

For all the Super Non-Fans: “How to Act During the Super Bowl”.

According to Gabrielle Hamilton, author and chef of NYC’s famed Prune, and all around badass, we should all be sipping savory teas. If she recommends it, I’m doing it. Have you read her book, Blood, Bones, and Butter?- so good.

Ha. A great follow up to The New Yorker’s How To Fall In Love with Anyone- this is funny.

Hilarious. A mom of two boys moonlights on Pinterest as a hipster mom with a sickeningly hip daughter named Quinoa basically making fun of people who dress their kids in jeans like this.

The awkward moment when Rashida Jones had to remind a reporter that she is black. Oy.

How Bogdanovich shot The Last Picture Show- one of my favorite movies. P.S.: Larry McMurtry was my dad’s college English professor- how awesome is that.

This will brighten your day. Take a minute and watch Ashley Bouder kick the shit out of Jerome Robbins’ “Fall” Four Seasons solo.

This escape to the Ojai Valley Inn is pretty swoonful. Girls trip?

The Blueprint for the best basic and go-to Viniagrette recipes. Never buy salad dressing again.

Good stuff for all of you 40ish year-olds- thanks for posting, Rashmi.

10 Foods to Boost Your Brainpower. I feel like there’s nothing new on this list , but it’s always ajeze good reminder.

Cocktails with DeNiro. I like how he rolls.

This pretty little fringe necklace is on my wish list.

Reno floor plans, if you’re into this sort of thing.

Fancy cheese plates for kids.

How to book a flight on the WAY cheap- because seriously, we can never have enough of these tips, right?

Drinking coffee before you work out? You may be on to something.

What Lies Beneath? Rare shots of a flipped iceberg.

Gold Cash Gold- the name of this new restaurant in Detroit is reason enough to make me want to plan a trip to the Motor City.

Making the most out of your Rotisserie Roast.

Alright Buzzfeed, you win- I’ll bite. If Disney princesses had realistic hair.

Paleo Schmaleo, I’m liking this a whole (grain) lot- ha.

Cin Cin ya’ll and enjoy your weekend! Bring on February, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, The Academy Awards and all that jazz.

(Photo by: Phil Wiley)

 

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8 Groovy Things

8 Groovy Things

Just a few things that are floatin’ my boat these days:

1. An outdoor canvas painting free for all. Maybe the cold weather is making me love this but it does looks so fun, doesn’t it?

2. Julia’s always on my groovy list, her preserved Cambridge kitchen at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum is one of my official Happy Places. This article from The New Yorker archives, passed along by my friend Rashmi (follow her Insta- so fun and inspiring), made me smile. Have you read “My Life in France“? -one of my favorites.  I vow to get to Le Pitchoune one of these days for cooking classes in Julia’s Provencal home.

3. My new favorite bauble. I can’t justify the splurge but I’d like to. The designer, Moorea Seal, designed ye olde blog as well, with yours truly. I’m a fan.

4. A Loch Ness Ladle. Just because. (not available until Feb. but you bet I’ll have that little Nessie swimming in my soup pot)

5. A Cheese shirt. Because it’s awesome.

6. An oversized wool blend stripey car coat. Just like a Pendleton only minus the primary colors and pricey price tag.

7. Ahh yes, the Nike Pre Montreal. Why are you not in my closet?

8. Stowe, Vt.  Maybe because the VonTrapp Family has their own lodge there or White Christmas was inspired by the pretty Vermont town and I’m always a sucker for Rosemary Clooney and that silly ass song, “Snow”- I don’t know, I just want to go.

What’s on your groovy list?

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10 Groovy Gifts Under $55

Spoiler Alert: If you belong in my family, read no further as one or two of your gifts will undoubtedly be revealed. Scroll at your own risk- that means you, mom!

Nothing like waiting until the last minute to post this last minute gift guide, but that’s the way I roll, and I have a feeling some of you may roll that procrastinating way too. Well, this is it folks, we’ve got a few days left to finish off our lists. Here are a few of my favorite little things for under $55 (I know, $55 is weird but for some reason, retailers like that extra $5 bucks- go figure). I picked out a few fun things for Red Barn Mercantile’s Gift Guide this season which was a huge thrill as it is one of my favorite favorite little shops in all the land. Here are my picks, a few of which I have included below as well. All of these goodies hail from small, local retailers- both brick and mortar and online.  I finally got out and about again this year to do my Christmas shopping in the flesh and so loved getting back to the local shopping experience. I say “getting back” because for the past two years with my little ones, I guiltily admit that I pretty much used my laptop to shop and wasn’t patronizing local business as much as I’d have liked. Now that the kiddos are in preschool (albeit 2 days a week for a few hours), I ventured out into the world of small business shopping again and found some super fun things.

Here goes:

10 Groovy Gifts for Under $55

Linen Apron: for the stylish cook who’s more French country chic than Betty Crocker ruffled. Can’t lose with a linen apron.  $41

Fleur de Lis Tea Towels by Pehr: Pick up a couple of these for someone’s stocking and punch up their kitchen lickety split. Tea towels are such a great gift because they’re something I don’t think to buy myself but love having a stylish one in my home. I love everything these guys do. Pick up Pehr goods at Boston’s Hudson or Alexandria’s Red Barn Merc. I’m a big fan of their placemats, napkins, cotton bins- all of it- just good. $15

Groceries & Shit Tote: My favorite gift this year, I picked up at least 5 of these totes from Red Barn. They are currently sold out but get them here from designer Emily McDowell’s Etsy shop. $20

Driftwood Bracelet: a fringey tassle and some driftwood. Done and done. $14

Navajo Woven Textile: because who doesn’t one of these lying around. Use it as a throw, a picnic blanket or a tablecloth- I love this thing. $55

Circle Horn Servers: because they’re awesome. $55

Produce Candles: I’m partial to both the Kale and Rosemary scents and before you even think it- yeah yeah I know, we’ve all gone Kale crazy and enough is enough already, but the fresh, clean aroma from this clean burning Kale candle will rock your world, or your kitchen, or both. $28

I’m a Grown Ass Lady Print: because it’s true. $28

Dope Lucite Box: it’s dope and it’s lucite- how can you go wrong? Your bestie can stash her best baubles and feel cool all at once. Win. Win. $30

The Yellow Table Cookbook: I saved the best for last- my pal Anna Watson Carl’s self-published cookbook. We’ve been cooking from this book since we received it about a month ago and its recipes are both insanely good and delightfully foolproof. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- Anna is our next Ina- she rocks ya’ll. I love everything about her Yellow Table story- the food, the gatherings, it’s all so so good. Get it for the person in your life that loves to sit around the table, eat good fresh-cooked food and have a blast and honestly, who do you know that doesn’t like to do that? $30

Happy Shopping!

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Happy Weekend!

Stella Maria Baer

Happy Weekend dear readers. I love this shot of Stella Maria Baer’s work in progress above. The paint and colors are so chomp-worthy, I seriously just want to eat that entire composition. She’s a Southwest artist living in the Northeast and her work is genius (and P.S., her instagram feed is moody and dreamily delicious, I look forward to her gorgeous posts every day). But back to that work in progress thing- it’s sort of what life’s all about isn’t it. Some food (or paint) for thought.

Well folks, it’s been a hectic week over here in good ole VA., the apex being a full-on attack by the residents of an underground Yellow Jacket nest in our background. After my son stepped on said nest, my husband sprung into survival mode as the wasps swarmed and chased them all around the backyard. He managed to get the kiddos into the house with only a few stings, but those few stings were some humdingers. I was not here when the nest was rattled but saw the aftermath- clothes strewn everywhere and my poor daughter’s eyes nearly swollen shut. But all is well and on we go. Just another day in the Virginia suburbs. Who knew suburbia could be so action-packed?

In any case, we are gearing up for a restful (well, as restful as we can get here with toddlers) weekend. My niece is blowing into the ‘burbs later this afternoon, straight from her high powered internship with a New Mexican senator on Capitol Hill. I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of Washington. What must such an adulterated town to do such a mildly adulterated young adult? She went to high school in NYC so she can’t be too scandalized, we’ll see.

What I’m Drinking:

I’m digging Loire reds for this time of year. The Loire Valley is such a steal and some of my all-time favorites come from its flinty terroir. This is my new favorite. We carry a more recent vintage at Waterfront and it’s killer- lots of zippy acid and nice fruit on the palate. Lean and mean and perfect for a hot summer night. Drink it with seared salmon, mushroom and goat cheese pizza or turkey burgers- it’s not picky and goes great with almost anything provided your dish is not too terribly heavy or too dainty and light.

A Few Things:

I cannot wait for this. Meryl Streep as The Witch in the movie version of Sondheim’s Into the Woods? Musicals into movies are tricky but with Rob Marshall at the helm, my hopes are high.

I left my car lights on all night and had to figure out how to jump start the car the next morning. This came in pretty handy- gotta love the interweb.

In this day in Instagram age, I can’t believe it’s so hard to find simple 4×4 frames. If anyone has an answer, do tell. I’m at a loss.

My friend Amy just turned me on to the legendary Betty Fussell and I just ordered her memoir, Kitchen Wars. I cannot wait to dig in.

And ok, I finally gave in to this Magic Bullet contraption that’s sweeping our smoothie-crazed nation and you know what? I love it. It’s so easy and I don’t have to fret about my kids getting their greens, they love these smoothies. Especially when I freeze them and make Green Pops. They love a popsicle (who doesn’t) even if it is laden with kale and baby spinach. My concoctions actually look kind of like these- they are so pretty and taste so nice. It’s not cheap but you literally just throw stuff in a cup, blend it up and go. I’m kind of in love. This is the one I have- totally worth the dough.

I love these portraits. Luis Conejo’s work is sort of like John Currin meets Disney animator. Awesome.

A cute (and easy!) idea for a photo backdrop at my next dinner party from the designlovefest team.

10 Cute Kids’ Rooms. It helps if you live in a loft space with 20 foot walls and giant windows but still…

And these Hockney-inspired children’s portraits are pretty great too.

5 Easy No-Bake Meals- ok, I’ll bite.

And how cute is this- a great way to wrap small gifts.

Nice words to live by.

Cin Cin good people and Enjoy.

Photo: designsponge

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Summertime To-Do’s

 

Summertime To-Do's

We are in it kids- deep in the thick of hot fun in the summertime. A few of my favorite things to do during these dog days:

1. Toast: Everyday. Because why not? Every day is a gift especially these lazy and fun summer days. I’m currently digging my pink Txakolina direct from Spain’s Basque Country. A sip of this stuff is like a run through the summertime sprinklers- just fun, zippy, fruit-filled, and effervescent goodness. It’s hard to find and may be worth ordering online. I think it’s fun to serve this as a cocktail or an aperitif at your dinner party or just as a glass on your back porch whenever. We sell a killer white Txakolina at Waterfront and I just had this one at Asheville’s Cúrate- holy deliciousness.

2. Surf: Or at least something like it. I’m no surfer girl, but I sure wish I was. I probably need to tackle my early 80s too-many-viewings-of-Jaws-induced shark phobia first, but this Costa Rica Surf Camp is calling my name- doesn’t it seem awesome (read the tripadvisor reviews and you will soon be socking away $ for this trip just like me- I smell a girl’s trip). I’d like to tackle a wave or two sooner than later in any case but for now, I’m pretty happy boogie boarding in the shallow end of the Atlantic and channeling my inner 12 year-old. There’s nothing like catching a wave to make you feel like a tween again. Wheeeeee!

3. Travel: As much as humanly possible. Hitting the road during the summertime is not as easy as it once was what with the Pack ‘n Plays, booster seats, bibs and things and other assorted toddler accouterments, it’s more like a moon launch than a quick pop in the car, but it’s still worth it. We’ve been on the road now for 3 weeks and are loving every minute of it. We’re working some, relaxing some and trying to soak all of it in.

4. Throw: Al Fresco Dinner Parties- lots of them. What better excuse to have your pals over, pop a bottle of bubbly and nosh on over-ripe juicilicious produce and grilled everythings. I’ve taken lots of cues from my girl Anna Watson Carl- the queen of the simple and stylish dinner party. She just trucked it cross-country hosting swoon-worthy dinner parties with the tastiest of the bloggy blog tastemakers. Check out her adventures here, steal some of her simple styling tricks (not to mention recipes) and pre-order her sure-to-be fab self-published The Yellow Table cookbook here (I just did). Kudos Anna- you are killing it.

5. Read: A novel, a great cookbook and a killer autobiography. I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like to, but oh that lost art of the lazy read- I’m hoping to one day figure out life so that it leaves more time for this great joy. Reading is so good for you, like a shot of wheat grass in the morning- it cleans you out, refuels and energizes in one shot. I recently read a great article about how reading fiction makes one more empathetic, our society could use a bit more of that stuff. Reading is so crucial to our psyche I think, and there’s nothing like the joy of being sucked in to a riveting page-turner, romanced by great language and epic characters- the good stuff indeed. I’m currently reading The Yonahlosse Riding Camp for Girls (how nice to read a good novel), perusing Vefa’s Kitchen (if I can’t spend the summer on a Greek Isle, I can at least cook like it) and Ava Gardner’s biography (which I wish lasted my entire lifetime)- I can never get enough of that diva- what a wild one.

6. Grill: Peaches and put them in everything. I’m seriously nuts about grilled peaches. It’s like I can’t believe what I’ve been missing my whole life. Summertime in a bite- I throw them in salads (lovely with arugula and gorgonzola) and great as a sub for tomatoes in your fresh Caprese salads. Stick ‘em on kabobs, serve them for dessert with a dollop of gelato- they’re pretty much great with everything and make for a happy Riesling partner- it is The Summer of Riesling afterall, if you’re a Paul Grieco follower that is, and who in their right wino-mind isn’t?

7. Make: Pinot Noir Popsicles and Espresso Granita. Pinot Pops for the grown ups and Blackberry Lemonade Pops for the kiddos- so simple and perfectly summer. A freshly made Espresso Granita puts me right in that Piazza in front of the Parthenon- a little Roman Holiday on my Virginia deck. I love this recipe.

What are some of your Summertime To-Dos?

Photos: Dinner Party and Peaches: Jack Mathews and Jeanine Donofrio of Love and LemonsPinot Pop: Bon Appétit,  Granita: Sisboomblog, VW Van Road Trip: Smitten Studio

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Happy Weekend!
Happy Weekend and Happy Spring!
Happy Weekend!