Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shoe Love

So, I think I need to have these shoes, spotted at racked.com.  Or more appropriately, my 15 month old needs them.  Are they not the cutest?  Made by Vivienne Westwood Anglomania for Melissa, these jellies are perfect for the well-heeled toddler.

Squeak!  Look at the adult version available here
Must.  Buy.  Shoes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Book Review: Born Round

Wouldn't it be amazing to be a food critic?  To dine at the finest restaurants in New York City with friends and to write about your experiences?  That's exactly the job that Frank Bruni had for the New York Times, and his memoir, Born Round, details this experience and much more. 

Bruni is a fantastic writer, and his lovely command of the English language made up for the self-loathing low points of the book.  My favorite parts were those that described his experiences as a critic, detailing the tedious process of maintaining anonymity under the watchful eye of NYC's top restauranteurs.

This book is an enjoyable read for anyone with a love of good food, or simply a good story.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Belated Father's Day

Happy Belated Father's Day!  I've been a rough blogging-free week for me, as I have been out sick for most of it.  However, we did get to enjoy one picture perfect day at the lake house in celebration of Father's Day.

I am so fortunate to have a wonderful father to honor on this special day, and my kids are equally fortunate to have their amazing dad.  Hope you enjoyed your day!

P.S. - Thanks to our friend and weekend companion CK for taking such a lovely pic of Mr. Dash.  It's my new favorite.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Spring Planting

I planted these beauties underneath our office windows at work.  I used a few of my favorites: Coleus, Celosia, Dahlias and Zinnias, among others.  It's nice to look outside and see a pretty pop of color!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Recipe: Skillet Cookie

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A few weeks ago, we had an impromptu visit from friends, and I found myself without a planned meal or dessert.   Dinner was simple enough to pull together, but I'm not a particularly talented baker, so the prospect of a quick and easy dessert was slightly more daunting.  Rummaging through the cupboards and fridge, I found some chocolate chips, heavy cream and not much else.  From those meager beginnings, the skillet cookie was born.

Recipe:  Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
adapted from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook 

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (I like milk chocolate, but semi-sweet work well also)

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
-Combine butter and both sugars. Add in egg and vanilla and blend in an electric mixer or using a hand mixer.
-Slowly add in flour until mixture is combined. 
-Stir in chocolate chips.
-Press dough into iron skillet (8 or 10" skillet will work).
-Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
-Serve in slices with whipped cream.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Review: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Okay, I'll admit it.  I totally caved in to Twilight Madness.  Last summer, I read all four books in the Twilight series upon urging from my co-workers and friends.  And I LOVED them.  Sure, they weren't literary masterpieces, but they were fun and entertaining. 

Last week, Stephenie Meyer released a novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, told from the point of view of a character that had just a sliver of a part in Eclipse.  This book, was a lightning-fast read, not particularly compelling, but had a few interesting morsels for fans of the series.  You can actually read the book online free for a limited time.

Bottom line, if you're a Twilight fan, you'll probably read it.  If not, it won't make much sense to you or be particularly interesting.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fruit Pops

This summer, fresh fruit popsicles have replaced cupcakes and macarons as the "it" treat.  Enter the Zoku Quick Pop Maker, available exclusively at Williams Sonoma.

{image via Williams Sonoma}

This little gadget allows you to make custom gourmet popsicles using the fresh fruits and juices of your choice.  A fast, healthy treat for your family, and you get to control the ingredients. Perfectly sweet.  Perfectly summer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, Friends!  I have been in a design frame of mind this week, so here are a few fab home decor ideas spotted on some of my favorite blogs and web sites.  Enjoy!

{image via Plush Palate}

-Check out this DIY ottoman tutorial on Three Men and a Lady.  I also love the oversized family photos in the living room!

-Wouldn't it be fun to have a banquette in your house?  Get inspired by a photo gallery on Small Place Style

-More Do-It-Yourself inspiration over at Design Sponge, where they feature a tutorial on roller blinds. 

-Layered curtains spotted at Coco & KelleyBeautiful!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cherry Pitter

{image via Imapix on Flickr}

It's cherry season!

These fleshy, sweet little bites are perfect for snacking, baking and for use in salads and sauces as well.  Their season is short, so I like to have them on hand and use them whenever possible. 

But I'm tired of pitting them.  Let's shop for a new pitter, shall we?

How about this one, courtesy of Williams Sonoma?

It's made by OXO, retails for $13 and pits olives too. 

Then there's the Cherry Chomper. 

Cute, kid-friendly, affordable at $9.99, and confines the mess to a small area. 

Or, there's the Cadillac of cherry pitters, the Cherry-It Pitter.

This one pits four cherries at a time, and captures the pits in a handy little compartment below.  It even comes with a fancy colander!  It'll set you back $15 but save you loads of time.

If that was the Cadillac, then this one from Sur La Table is the Bentley.  Made for high-volume use, the Leifheit pits 26 pounds of cherries in one hour.  I'm speechless.  At $29.95, it's sort of a bargain.

So many choices.  Or, I could just use a knife.  But where's the fun in that?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rice Cooker Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast foods.  I'm not talking about the mushy, drippy, done in thirty seconds oatmeal.  Steel cut, slow cooking, ridiculously chewy oats please. Unfortunately, what makes slow cooking oats taste good is a little something I can't seem to find enough of...time.  Until, that is, a friend suggested I put them in my rice cooker.
So I did.  And...voila!

Rice Cooker Oatmeal (serves 4)

2 cups steel cut Irish oats (I prefer McCann's)
4 cups water

Put oats and water in your rice cooker.  I put mine in the night before and let everything soak.  The next morning, I press "cook"and walk away for about 30 minutes.  Rice cooker will switch to "warm" setting when done.  Seriously, could it be any easier?  No crazy stirring or waiting involved.

Serve with your choice of toppings, including brown sugar, nuts and dried or fresh fruit.
I like to portion the oats in small Tupperware containers and save them for a week of breakfasts. I also like to serve them with a fresh bouquet of peonies on the table, courtesy of my garden.  But that part is totally optional. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

P.S. - I Made This

Okay, so I didn't make anything...today at least.  But I do want to share with you one of my most favorite web sites.  It's P.S. - I Made This, the brain child of uber-talented lifestyle expert Erica Domesek.  She transforms everyday items into fabulous articles of clothing and design, drawing from inspirations around her.  She even features a how-to collage with all of her posts, so you can duplicate the fabulousness at home.

Check out the one-shoulder ruffle t-shirt that she made with a pack of white t-shirts.  LOVE it!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Packing for a weekend at the lake house, I threw together a stack of reading materials that a speed reader couldn't possibly get through in just two short days.  Glossy design magazines, a few sad-looking New Yorkers begging to be read, every potty training how-to guide published in the last decade, and a new book called Commencement, by J. Courtney Sullivan.

I am often overwhelmed when searching for a new book to read, digging through old NYT book reviews that I've set aside to signal a future read, scrolling through my Amazon wishlist and considering their recommendations based on my reading history (seriously? some of their choices make me seem insane.), and poring over online reviews in hopes of hitting the proverbial literary jackpot.  After reading a handful of glowing reviews, I ordered Commencement with little internal debate.

Unfortunately, I didn't hit the jackpot with Commencement, which turned out to be a frustrating coming of age story chronicling the lives of four women at Smith College, during and after their graduation.  While the writing was compelling at points, Perhaps my college experience at a massive, co-ed Big 10 school was so vastly different from one at a private women's college that it was impossible to identify with the characters enough to invest in them.  Their incessant rehashing of feelings, strange tales of women's college antics, and endless pages of alcohol-filled bad behavior had me threatening (to nobody in particular) to put the book down and move on to something else. 

I did eventually finish the entire thing, thanks in part to a plot twist later in the story and part to a stubborn hope that the reviewers knew something I didn't, but in the end I was left wishing for my $20 and 9 hours back.  I have a great appreciation for authors and complete respect for a difficult craft that a good writer can make seem easy.  Commencement was not a bad book, but it didn't live up to its reviews and it wasn't the book for me.