Hello Again, Hello

Slim Aarons Ill Pellicano

A swanky speedboat landing at Il Pellicano by Slim Aarons. Yes please. This place is forever on my hit list. For now, I might need to just procure myself a print and dream of this coastal Tuscan wonderland, Speedos and all.

Hi all. It’s me. I’m back from hiatus, or perhaps more appropriately put, the “no time for anything except motherhood and job”. And so it goes, what the hell did I do with all of that time pre-kids. Time is a funny thing, no matter how much of it you may have, you always manage to fill it up- kids, no kids, single, married- whatevs. There’s never enough of that precious commodity, I am constantly running against it, trying to find more, all the while promising myself that I will eventually “slow down” and use more of it to just be present and chill. “After the birthday party, after the show opens, after the company leaves, after after after…” Maybe I should just do it now, but honestly, I don’t know how. Help. Any brilliant time managers out there who know how to save a little time, put it in your pocket, and be sane for part of your day? Do share. Not complaining, just wondering.

I’ve been busy, yes but busy working on a pretty fun project and spending some pretty fun moments with the kiddos for their birthday celebration. I just finished work on “Cabaret”- that masterpiece of a show written by the incomparable duo, Kander & Ebb, is there a better written show? “West Side Story”, “A Little Night Music”? I don’t know, I think “Cabaret” might top my charts, it is masterfully woven together with a terrific book and killer songs that themselves are staples of the ultimate musical theater songbook. I was the Associate Choreographer on the show working with my friend and huge talent, Matthew Gardiner who directed and choreographed. Our cast is aces and the creative team top notch, it was an honor and a thrill the whole way around. If you live in the DC area, come to our Cabaret- it is truly good stuff.

The morning after opening night, we jumped on a plane and fled to DisneyWorld with the kiddos for their 3rd birthdays. It was awesome. More on that later.

For now, we are are settling in to summer- yay- and doing our damndest to eek out every last moment of this too-short season.

What I’m Drinking:

Pink stuff… of course. I’m digging this Corbiéres beauty, brought to us by the one and only Kermit Lynch. In Kermit we trust- the man can do no wrong.

A Few Things: 

I’m making this tonight. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

How cute are these little kid clothes? I know I know, they’re oh so hipster chic but they are pretty darn cute.

After debating whether or not to serve juice (one of the few things I have successfully managed to deny my own kids- it’s for your own good kiddos, I swear), I decided to forego the juice and instead serve fruit-infused water. Yes water. Boring? No way man. It was so good- I forgot just how good something as simple as some fruit thrown in a jug of water can be. I’m hooked and will permanently be leaving out a giant canister of the stuff- I’m liking these Jaime Oliver combos- especially the berries and mints- yum.

What in the world, Shia. I have to admit, I’ve watched this more than a few times. I love his little plié crotch-framing move, I might have to add that one in to my personal repertoire.

Why are you so right, Ina. Her lemon vinaigrette is my salad dressing go-to.

This cocktail from Chaplin’s is making my day. A giant sprig of rosemary lit on fire, a splash of amaro and vodka- come on.

Yum. Just yum. Berries and cheese. Can you tell I’m hungry?

Fourth of July Cupcakes- cute.

We just had a Pirates and Princesses Birthday Party- it was a big hit. Give kids a bunch of foam swords and a backyard and you’re kind of golden. I love the looks of this galactic-themed party- maybe for next year?

20 Design Mistakes You Don’t Even Know You’re Making- or maybe you do.?

If I had $1500 to blow on some barstools, I might have to snag these.

Cin Cin y’all. Hope you are having a lovely June week.

 

 

 

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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!

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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On Location: Roxanne

roxanne

It’s probably been over 25 years since I’ve seen Steve Martin’s Roxanne, I don’t think I’ve seen it since it was first released. I remember seeing it with my parents and little brother at our local AMC, we went to the movies together as a family a lot which I always loved. More recently, I caught this clever comedy on a snowy day last week during my kiddos’ naptime, it was playing on the Retro channel or something, I’m really dating myself here- just all around. A genius idea to rework Cyrano de Bergerac, Martin’s modern day Rostandian characters are living full out in 1987 and as a creature of nostalgia, it really makes me smile. It’s also pretty great. Daryl Hannah has never been better, the script is terrific, tight, funny, and makes me wish Steve Martin would write more adaptations. “I’m afraid of worms, Roxanne, WORMS…”- anyone?

Shot in the small ski town of Nelson, B.C., watching this movie really kicks up my quixotic tendencies. I have this thing about small towns. I probably need to wind up in one at some point. Maybe it’s because I’ve never lived in one but they always make me swoon, those darling little Main Streets, the Cheers effect-what with everyone knowing your name and such, the volunteer fire departments, the community bingo- I’m in for it, all of it. On the reality side of my brain (appropriately nicknamed Sancho), I know these darling small towns cannot possibly be so perfectly picturesque and quaint and are sure to be riddled with the same problems that my big cities boast, but a gal can dream. Quiet down Sancho, I’m waxing poetic here.

The forest green pines that fill the screen and serve as Roxane’s nature-made backdrop are so beautiful, I feel like I can almost smell the fresh mountain air- or maybe it’s just Steve Martin’s giant nostrils in the movie that are igniting my olfactories to an inanimate image. Oh Steve Martin, why are you so awesome? The Insults to a Nose scene at the local bar- genius. I always wish I had that kind of a comeback.

In case you’re like me and you’re pining (no pun intended) for a small mountain town escape, here are a few to chew on. Bend, Oregon- I’m looking at you.

But back to this inspiration. Imagining myself in this quaint little mountain town in the midst of this old love story turned anew (well 80′s anew anyway), we go on location, here’s what we may look like in pretty Nelson:

On location- Roxanne

Crossbody Leather Bag- just like the one Daryl effortlessly sports throughout town. Not dated, just cool.

Boyfriend Jeans- just like in the 80s without those awful pleats.

Rib-Collar Cardigan- Daryl wears it around town and in her house, wear this little number year-round and it goes with everything.

Couple Hiking in an Alpine Meadow atop Whistler Mountian, B.C.- by Chris Cheadle at Getty Images- it’s nice to look at and a little retro too, goes quite nicely with our theme.

Red Plaid Rancher Cap- remember when Chris shows up on Roxanne’s porch wearing this hat while C.D. feeds him his lines through a wire? I  had to include it, plus it’s cute.

All Weather Booties- stylish and warm to boot because we’re not trying to wear platform heels in our dreamy mountain town.

If you haven’t seen this movie in a while (or ever), do yourself a favor and give it a watch. I think it might make you happy too.

P.S.: Do you remember Damon Wayans and a tanned Fred Willard being in this movie? I love the 80s.

Here’s the original trailer.

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The Power of Pure Joy

Robin Williams

Rehearsal for the 2000 Academy Awards with the great Robin Williams and my pal Dani Parish Rubin

As the news of Robin Williams’ devastating passing continues to flood our social media feeds and international news outlets, I can’t help but think it seems silly to post a popsicle recipe when all I really want to do is be sad and think on this.

Hands down, one of the best, most joyous and gleeful days of my life was the day I spent in rehearsal with him for the 2000 Academy Awards. That look on my face above- I pretty much looked like for the duration of the rehearsal. He had a way, and I’ve never seen anything like it. I was absolutely awestruck and filled with childlike amazement. Only a spirited, wise, and enigmatic soul like his could take us (the entire cast and crew working on the “Blame Canada” production number) from a rehearsed kickline directly into an impromptu evangelical sermon that literally had us on our knees yelling Amen at the top of our lungs only to find ourselves following along in a Conga line around the rehearsal studio. I smiled continuously for so long that my cheeks literally stung with pain. But I didn’t care- it was one of the most wonderful moments I have experienced- all and entirely induced by the infectious power of his beautiful and joyous soul. A true treasure, we will never know a spirit quite like his, he is and was a thing to behold. I love the words that Jason Alexander wrote, “Ah Robin, I’m so sorry the earth couldn’t stay worthy of you. Hope happiness awaits you.” 

The way in which he left us will forever be sad and confusing to many. It is a subject close to my heart as I lost a dear friend the same way. Depression is such a messy and tragic disease as it so often leaves us with loose ends while taking our loved ones away- not just from us but from the world. Their gifts, their joy can no longer exist but for in our memories, hearts, photos, videos and of course in celluloid (thank God for that) in Robin Williams’ case. But for the world to be deprived of these souls here that produce so much life force, exuberance, love and laughter- that is the true loss. That and that precious life- gone. It’s hard to wrap your head around. Especially hard when faced with the facts that these souls have “chosen” to take their own lives.

I use “chosen” in quotes here because while I’m no psychiatrist, I don’t think it’s quite as easy as that. For those that commit that final act, I believe it’s not that it’s a choice as much as it’s a necessity. I am thankful that I have never suffered from severe depression so I cannot begin to truly understand or empathize with those that do but I have had first hand experiences with people in my life that I love dearly having taken their own lives and have spent much of my life reading about and trying to understand this disease.

It leaves one rudderless, confused and heartbroken. But ultimately, it’s not about us and anyone with a brain knows that suicide is not a selfish act. Depression is a disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s. I liken it more to alcoholism though which is also a disease but is rarely treated as such. Sure there is a “choice” made here when those die of alcoholism or suicide but it’s not so cut and dry. Brain chemistry and emotion can be a tricky combo. When the elements align themselves just so, it can be a recipe for tragedy but I don’t believe it’s ever selfish. It’s just not that simple.

I don’t mean to harp on this matter, but it is something that deeply bothers me when people comment that “suicide is cowardly” or they “can’t understand how anyone could do that”, etc. That’s just it. We CAN’T understand it because we are not at this moment in our lives severely depressed and battling emotions and brain chemistry that are not on our life’s side.

So what now? Awareness. Awareness and appreciation and memory of our dear ones. Let their big and beautiful spirits help us dictate the way we walk through life and let’s put our efforts towards not losing another to this awful disease. I’ll never live down that I was not there for my dear friend who took his life, that I wasn’t more involved and more in the know. We didn’t live in the same state and had busy lives sure, but isn’t that always the case? Everybody’s busy. I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Were there warning signs? I don’t know. Maybe. I won’t ever know but his death taught me to take depression seriously and to pay close attention to those we love and that whether we fully understand it or not is really besides the point.

Live and let live and in Robin William’s case, we now live and let die- peacefully, beautifully and with endless inspiration. He filled our worlds with hope, love and laughter, taught us to seize the day, pay attention to the world and care with an acute sensibility. The power of his joy and light is an incredible gift. Let us be worthy and do the same.

Rest in Peace great soul.

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Happy Weekend!

 

Dad and I

Happy long weekend dear readers. It’s my Dad’s birthday today. He would have been 72. There we are above circa 1976 in that amazing wood paneled den. Love you Dad, you will always be the coolest. Miss you and your generosity, humor, big love, wisdom and sense of adventure every day.

I hope you are all off to some fun and adventure in the spirit of this holiday weekend. We’re hanging around these parts trying to gussy up this joint. It is taking for-evah. I failed to properly estimate the time it would take me to fully unpack and semi-organzie with 2 toddlers in tow. It’ll get done one of these days… or not. In the meantime, we continue to navigate through our basement and garage like we are the All-Stars of the last season of Hoarders. We’ll throw in a bbq somewhere this weekend amidst the constant disarray. That’s sort of what life is though isn’t it. Throwing in the fun stuff amidst the chaos- something like that.

What I’m Drinking:

Le P’tit Rouqin from Olivier Lemasson. This fantastic gamay is brought to me by Ian Cauble’s new venture, Somm Select. From one of my favorite importers, Louis/Dressner, comes this terrifically acidic and food friendly but still fruitalicious Loire gamay. Strawberries, lots of flinty and clay minerality and a hint of tobacco and spice pepper this beauty. A light-to-medium bodied red that is so so good. Check out your local wine shop for Louis/Dressner imports as this bottle has already peaced-out from Somm Select and can be a bit elusive. It’s only about $20- a steal, as much of the Loire Valley can be.

A Few Things:

This cool new wine business (as mentioned above). A Master Somm’s picks straight from his palate to your front door. Well, something like that anyway. I’m a fan. I was cheering for Mr. Cauble in the recent smart vino doc, Somm and think this is a bright new venture for the now lettered MS. He’s got a beautiful Bandol up at the moment.

3 Great Foodie Memoirs- I can never get enough of these things (if I ever have time to read that is, which is never- so strike that whole comment but these do look interesting).

This fun little feature on my girl Jessica Pariseau. I just saw her in Cabaret and she is on fire kids. Go girl- one of my favorite people.

Katie Parla’s Proust-inspired Questionnaire- the subject: food writer Alec Lobrano. I’m always in the mood for a Prousty questionnaire especially when it involves food and musings upon it.

Who needs a bar cart anyway? Not me with these little ones running around, that’s for sure. This looks pretty good.

How NYC’s neighborhoods got their names. Hmm.

This terrific article written by my good pal, John Carroll. He never disappoints- one of the funniest and sharpest dudes I know.

For bougie bohemians, Mara Hoffman launches her first home collection at Anthropologie. Eyeballs and feathers and arrows, oh my. This is a little too blogtastic for me, but I do like a random eyeball here and again.

Holy Smoky Flavors- 10 Brilliant Grilling Secrets from the latest of issue of Food & Wine. A newbie convert to the wonders of the grill- I can’t believe what I’ve been missing- I was thrilled to get this latest issue in the mail as it is pretty much entirely devoted to the good sport of grilling.

A behind-the-scenes look at book cover design from the bookish folks at Chronicle.

Funny. I especially like June Squibb and Gary Oldham’s reactions.

Cin Cin ya’ll and Enjoy.

 

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Six Groovy Things

Just some stuff I’m liking…

Like Narwhals. Yep- let’s start with those.

6 Groovy Things

1. Narwhals- because they’re ridiculously awesome. No wonder the hipsters have claimed the Narwhal as their un-official mascot. Has anybody noticed the sudden influx of their likeness, I don’t know… everywhere? The unicorns of the sea are donning the likes of bloggy branding and Pinterest-approved marks everywhere. Please hipsters- don’t overexpose the dear Narwhal- she is a true creature of creatures, I mean how cool looking are these things. I’d like to see one in the wild one day. For now, I just check in with the WWF’s Narwhal Satellite Tracking Map. They do face manmade dangers like oil leaks, climate change and above all- noise pollution, a problem that I had no idea was such a harmful thing to sealife until recently. Check out how you can make a difference here.

2. These wabi-sabi oak cutting boards made by a dude in New York’s Hudson River Valley, namely one John Corcoran- because they’re imperfectly perfect and because he also bakes cakes, keeps bees and makes maple syrup- a modern day Renaissance man.

3. This Chenin Blanc from Xavier Weiskoppf of the Loire Valley- because it is a true treasure to behold. Funky enough to satiate a wine geek’s love of naturally made Chenin and chalky and citrusy enough to please anyone’s palate. A terrific food wine and lots of interesting things going on in this glass. (shameless plug: currently found at Waterfront Market)

4. This gold and leggy lucite table- because why not be stylish when dining TV-side? Not that I’m a big proponent of TV dinners, but let’s face it, sometimes you do have to multitask. And also, if you’re anything like me and you’re home alone with the kiddos in bed, sometimes you just want to saddle up to some good old-fashioned TCM with your piping hot bowl of carbalicious pasta- am I right? Not your momma’s tray table. Or maybe it is, if your momma was hip and could be found with a tv tray in the early 70s- Gen X’ers, I’m talkin’ to you.

5. This 1967 navy blue Volvo station wagon- because, well, because I want one. Practical, mmmm… probably not. But she’s a looker- she’s both awkward and gorgeous at the same time- my kind of gal. I’d love to cart my little brood around in this baby.

6. The current Andrew Wyeth exhibit at The National Gallery of Art- because it truly is a thing of beauty, words don’t much do it justice. If you’re in the area, just go see it. And let me know what you think.

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Happy Weekend!

tasting notes

{writing up tasting notes at Alexandria’s new Waterfront Market}

Happy weekend dear readers. What adventures are you all up to? We had a quick visit from Papa Jacques, the bebes’ grandpa and my mom is in town so it’s been lots of fun family time. George Mason Dance presented its annual Gala performance last night. I watched our students grace the stage and fearlessly tackle the spectacular works of choreographers Karen Reedy, Kyle Abraham, Mark Morris and Robert Battle. Kudos to the department and its impressive program, I was blown away by their work.

I’ve also taken on a really fun new project that involves my spending lots of time writing up tasting notes and tasting through wines at the brand new Alexandria eatery, Waterfront Market, smack dab on Old Town’s pier- what could be more fun? In the last few years the only restaurant to take up residence on the waterfront proper is The Chart House which is great- we all know and love it from vacations past on piers across the country- but let’s face it, locals don’t exactly flock to the pricey chain. Jody Manor of Alexandria’s Bittersweet Cafe (a personal fave) has spearheaded this new spot, setting out to make Old Town’s Pier a destination for visitors and locals alike. My talented friend Rashmi Pappu rang me up to see if I would come in as their Wine Consultant and help them design their wine program, list and market. I jumped at the opportunity to work with them, this great new spot and let’s face it, designing a wine list is one of my all time favorite things to do.

If you’re in our neck of the woods, pop in and see us. Jody has done a great job designing the Market exposing its industrial and raw roots, bringing a local and organic feel back to the space. The restaurant sits adjacent to the Torpedo Factory, a industrial space that houses local artists and their works. Three Cheers for revamping the pier and making it a go-to destination. Come in and sip some of our yummy vino (the sushi and sandwiches are aces too).

What I’m Drinking: 

I’m sipping on a Cabernet from our list. The ’12 Camp Cabernet is an easy-going cab crafted by a former pro-skateboarder. Kenny Likitprakong set out to make a Cab blend from the Sonoma Coast that would speak to the laid back vibe of the surf and skate culture. Success. He sources his grapes from a few different choice vineyards and has concocted a fleshy and food-friendly wine that smacks of boysenberry pie, coffee beans and cassis. Likitprakong threw in a bit of Merlot and Cabernet Franc for good measure. Pick up a bottle at Waterfront Market or here. The ’12 vintage has largely sold out, so get it while it’s hot (or between 62-68 degrees).
*Hobo Wines makes a few more of my current favorites- check out their Folk Machine labels- delish.

A Few Things: 

The bowels of NYC’s Balthazar are like being backstage at a Broadway show. This is a great article on the inner-workings of McNally’s masterpiece and now NY institution. Working in the wine cellar there, I always felt like the way its underbelly operated was akin to the backstage choreography of a show: well-oiled, specific and highly executed.

Why fiction makes us more empathetic.  P.S.: How much do you love Diane Rehm.

I Love Lucy- good or bad for women? I say good, Lucille Ball- always good. This story on Studio 360 is an interesting analysis of the show featuring a few scholars’ two cents and Mindy Kaling too.

Framing your art on the cheap- always helpful.

Inside the Pixar Braintrust- always fascinating.

The Best Cheap Trader’s Joe’s wines to drink with Italian food- when both your table and your wallet are “rustic”.

And lastly, did you guys see this? I recently watched a re-run of the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Awards and could not believe this acceptance speech. I didn’t quite what to make of it while watching it- but honestly, I think it’s kind of awesome. An entire speech in blah blahs? Now that’s commitment.

Cin Cin all and enjoy the weekend!

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Happy Weekend!

Moving Day!

So long Old Town! One last photo op on our way out the door. Old Town Alexandria was so good to us and we had a blast living there. We brought our babies home to that tiny and loved apartment and I loved all of our long stroller walks through the Colonial streets of that charming town. Our move to the ‘burbs was a bittersweet one. We were so sad to say goodbye to Old Town but happy to have some real space and a small patch of green to call our own. More Progress Reports on our ongoing reno to come- now I know why people say that home improvement is ongoing, there is an absolute endless lists of things to tackle, but that’s what makes it fun right? We’ll be making various trips to Lowe’s and the hardware store this weekend amidst attempting to unpack boatloads of boxes- what is even in these things is beyond me. How in the world is it possible to accumulate so much when you live in 700 square feet? First world problems to be sure. I don’t mean to complain about “stuff” but it does get to be a bit much. I mean really, how much do we really need in our lives? I’d like to just give everything away but I know I would just end up buying most of it all over again. Here’s to a life more simplified, that’s always a good goal.

What I’m Drinking: 

Our refrigerator isn’t working yet (long reno sob story), so it’ll be a warm Blue Moon with a slice of orange for me on a plastic cup (until we can find that elusive box of glassware). I’ll put a 6-pack outside to cool overnight- cool weather can be a blessing. Ha.

A Few Things:

“What Facebook is doing to your brain is kind of shocking.”

What a cute ad campaign.  I love those black doors.

You may have heard, but there’s been a big breakthrough in the Big Bang Theory- I can’t even fathom figuring this out. Fascinating.

Hip Hip Hooray- my friend Anna Watson Carl has finished her “Cookbook Diaries” and will be self-publishing her Yellow Table cookbook this year! Three Cheers for realizing a dream!

L’Wren Scott’s passing this week was so sad. She was such a gifted artist and designer. I remember L’Wren Scott as she was the costume designer for the 2000 Academy Awards that I was lucky enough to perform in. I’ll never forget my fitting with her, she had yet to propel to the fast track in the fashion world and was in the beginning stages of her work as a rock star designer but it was clear that she had the goods. I’ve never felt better, she knew how to make a gal look and feel great.  I posted a small photo of our Blame Canada kickline in our Royal Mountie garb here on the blog.

For all you DIY’ers out there, a super cute pennant pillow. I can’t sew to save my life but for those that possess that seamstress-y thing, I think this would be so great in a little one’s room.

Happy Weekend Dear Readers! Cin Cin all and Enjoy the first weekend of Spring!

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