Friday, April 27, 2012

Working for the Weekend

As you've probably gleaned from Renee's recent posts, she's off to Florida for the next week. So I, The Boyfriend, will be filling in from time to time with random musings on everything and anything that happens to be tickling my fancy.

As Renee may (or may not) have mentioned, I'm a teacher, and we're nearing the end of the year. What, pray tell, does this mean? It means that I have stack upon stack of essays. And while I love pretty much everything about my job, grading can get a little redundant. So, with that in mind, I plan on punching my time card around 3:00 tomorrow and getting right to cooking and spending time with friends.

On the menu, you ask?

Well, I plan on starting with these...

...And (hopefully) turning them into these...

I'm also planning on making some homemade onion rings, homemade baked beans, and perhaps throwing in a salad (you know, to look at).

Happy Weekend, folks!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

sunny side up

i love breakfast food. i think it must be the marriage of savory and sweet elements, coupled with the fact that when you are eating it you are in your most comfortable clothes! i also love breakfast for dinner: it's my idea of a heavenly quiet night at home.

my favorite breakfast dish to make is frittata: it's hearty, it's quick, it's delicious, and there are endless ingredient combinations. it's a great brunch-for-a-crowd option, too - people LOVE frittata. 

as you saw from my post earlier this week, i made one on sunday morning with caramelized onions, arugula, and mozzarella. here's the recipe:

1. crack your eggs into a bowl. 
i use 2-3 eggs per person, and you can choose to use the whole egg, only whites, or mostly whites.
add a quarter cup of milk; whisk until smooth.
preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. dice your onion.
i prefer red onion for color.
heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat 
(you can select a pan that suits the size of your frittata - on sunday i used a 10" pan and 5 eggs.) 
add olive oil or butter and then cook the onion until it's soft (5 minutes or so.)

3. pour your egg mixture into the pan with the onions.
cook for 3-4 minutes. season with salt and pepper, then add your arugula to the top.

4. sprinkle the frittata with mozzarella (don't be shy, you can use a lot!)
remove the pan from heat and place it in the preheated oven. 
cook until the cheese is melted and the top is no longer runny (about 6-8 minutes.)

remove the frittata from the oven, cut with a knife/spatula, and serve! i like to add sriracha for a little kick.
yummmmmmy. just add coffee... or a mimosa :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

it's in the bag

welcome to part two of the packing chronicles!

cosmetics are set, now for fitting everything in a carry-on bag!

1. check the weather. 
for me, this is easy: 80s and sunny, still warm in the evenings.

2. assess what your days and nights have in store for you, and whether there are any special dress code situations.

my trip looks like this:
day: beach
night: cocktails, dinner, more cocktails

for daytime, i'm thinking a bathing suit with a cover-up. at night, white jeans and a top one night and a dress the second night, although i will throw in an extra top in case i change my mind!

one key idea that i try to stick to is limiting your color palette to one solid neutral, like black or navy. if you start mixing things around too much (black AND navy AND brown) you end up with more items and a very full bag.

i also like to limit shoes since they're bulky. 
for a beach getaway, this is easy: sandals!
add some underwear, some pajamas, and my cosmetic bag and this is what i'm packing!
the overnight bag pictured is not part of my repertoire, but i love the simplicity of it, and it's monogrammed!

obviously, it's easier to pack for a long weekend at the beach than for a week-long business trip, but i do think the secret lies in eliminating multiple neutrals in favor of choosing one to accent with color/metallics.

do you have any packing secrets?

UPDATE: i had just washed my white jeans and they were too damp to put in the bag last night. i realized on the train to work this morning that i forgot them! NO PANTS! looks like i need to make an emergency trip to j.crew...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


this weekend i'm off to florida for my friend mk's bachelorette party! we are all looking forward to celebrating in the sun, and we have some great plans in store!

i am also taking all of next week off before starting the new job, and what better place to recharge than the beach?

i am starting to think about packing for my week away and i thought i would do a couple posts on that subject this week. packing can be tricky, and i know a few people (ahem, my mother!) who have serious packing anxiety, and understandably so! what if the weather changes? what if you don't like what you brought?

personally, i always start with cosmetics: the combinations are finite and you usually need both daytime and nighttime products.

since i am a carry-on traveler, the liquids/gels/creams rule is an issue so i try to use powder whenever possible. for a trip like this, i also have to take into account that i am pale now and will not be pale after a day or two in the sun, so i need my winter AND summer makeup.
not tan.
there you have it. i am even wearing the same dress in the photos!

here's what i'm taking:
mascara / mineral foundation / perfume / concealer / bronzer (mine is old chanel) / lip balm / eyeliner / blush
(i'm bringing the mineral foundation in two colors to accommodate my tan!)

now, a question for you: any suggestions for a neutral eyeshadow? i'm hoping for a little shimmer, but nothing too crazy. i have been using the same quad for years and it is almost gone, and of course they don't make it anymore!

Monday, April 23, 2012

weekend recap

happy monday, everyone! 

i had a lovely, productive weekend - here are some highlights!

the non-photographed events: 
- went to the gym both days! i am very sore today...
- took some shoes to the cobbler for rejuvenation. 
- raided t.j. maxx and marshalls for work items; emerged with new sandals and some workout gear. oops.
- saw the boyfriend's school production of thornton wilder's "our town": the kids did an amazing job, and it was the perfect way to spend a rainy sunday afternoon.

and now for some photos:
post-gym yesterday i made a delicious frittata with arugula, caramelized onions and mozzarella, topped with some sriracha for a kick! recipe coming later this week.
finally splurged on the west elm duvet the boyfriend and i have been eyeing for MONTHS: an earth day discount on organic bedding pushed us over the edge :)
made smitten kitchen's garlicky broccoli rabe pasta for dinner, but added crumbled sausage for good measure. the salad is arugula, toasted pine nuts, and slivers of fennel and avocado with a sherry vinaigrette, as inspired by this recipe from yummy supper.

now it's time to contend with my last monday at my current job - have a great day!

Friday, April 20, 2012

making it work


there was a great article in the nytimes yesterday about outgrowing your clothes in a figurative sense: how certain brands and styles gradually no longer fit your lifestyle, and the idea of "breaking up" with your clothes or a favorite brand.

the article felt very timely for me because i am embarking on a significant change in my life: next week is my last week at my current job, and i have accepted another fundraising job at a cultural institution/organization in new york! i am beyond thrilled about this new opportunity, though it is bittersweet because the museum is a great place and i will miss both the institution and all of my wonderful colleagues.

as i make this change, i am also going to need to make adjustments to my wardrobe. from my interviews, i noticed that the dress code at my new job is more businessy than previous work environments.

my first job after college was teaching at a boarding school, so i basically wore the same things i wore in college: printed skirts and dresses with sweaters, or black pants and blouses. then came grad school, so more of the same. the museum environment has a laid-back, creative feel, so my standard uniform has worked well here, too, though i have one suit for more formal events.

the first step in this process was spring cleaning my closet (read about my approach here
then, i re-sorted my closet into weekend wear on one side and work wear on the other, with the pieces that can do double-duty in the middle. many of my skirts and dresses that previously qualified as work wear will now live on the weekend side, so i need to fill in the gaps.

to best tackle this, i started a pinterest board aptly titled "office lady wardrobe updates" for looks i like and pieces that would work well alongside things i already own.

of course, the key to all of this is to update as economically as possible without sacrificing quality.
here are a few items i have already snapped up:
j.crew telegraph skirt: fits like a glove, love the long and lean silhouette! plus it's their 120s suiting fabric so it matches my blazer... might need one in navy and gray, too... and at $128, the price isn't too bad!
kate spade lever back earrings and portola valley blaine bag (both scored on sale!)

this weekend, my plans include hitting my usual spots (hello, marshalls and t.j. maxx!) for office-worthy pieces, as well as dropping my work shoes at the cobbler for a little rejuvenation.

have a happy friday and weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

[no] running in the kitchen

my dream home has a fabulous, spacious kitchen complete with a gigantic island, plenty of storage, and top-of-the-line appliances. 

this fabulous kitchen also features an oriental runner. now, i am not sure how practical it is to have a carpet right in the middle of a food prep area where things drop, spill, and splatter, but i love the aesthetic.

many thanks to pinterest for indulging my design fantasy:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

leafy goodness

as promised, i am bringing you the recipe for the most delicious kale salad in the world.

before i tell you how to make this vegetable delight, i have to tell you that this is my interpretation of the kale salad from fat cat pie.

for those of you who are not familiar, fat cat pie is an amazing pizza place in norwalk that literally only does pizza, salad, cheese plates, and dessert. oh, and they have a full bar and incredible wines.

their pizzas all feature a super thin, crispy crust with a long list organic toppings to choose from (my fave? housemade sausage with caramelized onions and broccoli rabe. YUM.) then there's the kale salad, which i will get into later, and a honey-lavender ice cream sandwich. as an added bonus, the owners also have a wine shop so they have amazing bottles at great prices, including a list of "sappers" for under $20/bottle!

i could go on and on about how amazing this place is, but just trust me - it is the ONLY place the boyfriend and i go when we decide to eat out. 

getting to the main point: the kale salad
fat cat makes theirs with very finely chopped kale, toasted pumpkin seeds, red currants, quinoa, and parmesan all tossed with olive oil.

here's mine:
 1. chop your kale 
remove leaves from stems and chop finely.
or, you can cheat like i do and buy it pre-chopped! it's available at stew leonard's, and perhaps elsewhere, with the other boxed lettuces.

2. toast pine nuts
in a skillet, toast pine nuts over medium-high heat until they turn golden brown.

3. add dried cranberries

4. sprinkle generously with grated parmesan cheese

drizzle the whole thing with olive oil to taste, and add a little pepper if you like. 
*if you have time, feel free to cook quinoa and add this to the mix, too! 

voila! a tasty, easy, healthy salad - in fact, here is the one i made for lunch that i am going to eat right now:

bon appetit!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

flower power

between my gardening this weekend (okay, the boyfriend's gardening and my watching...) and the explosion of spring in the northeast, i have all things floral on the brain.

peonies have long been my favorite bloom, and i am very excited that the season for them is almost upon us! 

ranunculus (ranunculi??) are a close second, probably because they look like adorable miniature peonies! they also come in an array of vibrant colors:
gorgeous. i'll take a fragrant bouquet in every room, please!

now, when it comes to incorporating flowers into my personal style, i prefer a more minimal approach
(it's hard to look like you mean business when there's a full-on garden party on your dress/skirt!)
for a flowery accent on the go, look no further:
i love these pom pom flowers from - at $15 each, they are totally affordable and come in six great colors! they also have a multi-back, so they work as pins or in your hair.  

[images via pinterest]

Monday, April 16, 2012

scenes from the weekend

happy monday!

i hope everyone had a great weekend! mine was equal parts fun and restful, and here are some snapshots:
friday night dinner: bistecca alla fiorentina over arugula salad
my dear friend mk's bridal shower: her sister, jen, is an event planner extraordinaire, and it was absolutely perfect in every way.
the beautiful bride! (i am obsessed with her dress...)
spring garden overhaul! from left to right: cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, and hyacinths. that's horus, the owl, keeping an eye on things.
baby's first catnip - note the manic facial expression.
sunday dinner: southwestern spice-rubbed pork chop with dirty rice and cilantro-lime slaw.

not pictured: a 6 mile run/walk to the beach in norwalk (not pictured for good reason!)
in other news, the grocery store near me now sells chopped kale, so stay tuned for an amazing salad recipe later this week!

Friday, April 13, 2012


it is an absolutely gorgeous day in nyc today. all of the funny "doorways" that most restaurants put on to avoid wintery drafts are gone, and outdoor seating is laid out in full force! 

there is nothing better than happy hour in the sun. here's one of my favorite places to grab a cocktail and a quick bite:

the mermaid inn on amsterdam between 87th and 88th. 

this spot is the complete package: $1 oysters, great cocktails, adorable decor, cute touches - i love the bowls of goldfish crackers on the bar and the fortune teller fish with your check (remember those?)

my picks: 
spritz cocktail (so i can pretend i'm back in campo in venezia!)
$1 oysters
old bay fries
brussels sprouts with bacon and marcona almonds (DO IT. it will change your life!) 

best wishes for a glorious weekend - i hope you spend some time outside!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

happy birthday...


our little fuzzy friend is a year old today, and he couldn't be more excited!

actually, he probably has no idea.
maybe if we put a hat on him and present him with a kitty cake?
much better.
it has been a fun year of watching him grow from an under-two-pound micro-kitten into the handsome, crazy cat he is today.

there he is the day we got him! little muffin. also, i was very tan!

happy birthday, titus!

(i know i have crossed the thin line into crazy cat lady behavior. sorry i'm not sorry.) 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

in the clear

i have always loved a good coffee table. it's such a versatile piece of furniture, and, especially in a small space, it serves as the nerve center of your living area. 

ours certainly gets a lot of use: we eat dinner on it almost every night; we do work on it; we gather around it with friends for cocktails.
our coffee table in situ: it belonged to the boyfriend's grandfather!

as a complete departure from the above photograph, lucite coffee tables are having a moment. they add such a whimsical, modern flair, and they seem fit in seamlessly with just about any other aesthetic. 

two ways to get the look:

 1 / 2
my only concern: is the see-through factor a hazard? have there been any documented lucite table injuries? 
the perils of design!

[images via pinterest]

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

polished peplum

of course kate spade greeted me with a new arrivals email first thing this morning. and of course i had to go check it out. 

while there were a couple of cute things, this perfectly polished peplum number caught my eye:
everything about this is amazing. i want it for summer in the office. with a pair of bright pumps. 
now i just have to wait for it to go on sale :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

weekend food recap

i hope everyone had a great weekend! mine was lovely - drinks with friends on friday night at a new restaurant i have been dying to try, and then delicious easter dinner on sunday!

now for a confession: i am a great baker. i am not trying to sound full of myself - i really know my way around a cake/cookie/scone! that said, every easter i have a baking catastrophe. last year, i used an ina garten carrot cupcake recipe and they came out hard as a rock and i threw them out. this year, my coconut cake recipe from the hummingbird bakery cookbook seemed off. the batter was more like a thick dough, and while the cake layers did puff up in the pans, they were too dense to work as cake (at least in my book!)

i was about to throw them out when the boyfriend suggested that we chop one in half and try it. i begrudgingly agreed, and actually the flavor was great! paired with plain cream cheese, it was like a lovely coconut bread! perfect breakfast fare!

anyway, silver lining: sometimes you try to make cake and you end up with bread. that is still delicious. just not how you thought it would be. a bit of an easter miracle for my type A personality, but there it is!
the fact that i also made a flawless carrot cake may have cushioned the blow :)

now for some snapshots from the weekend:
jacob's pickles (84th and amsterdam - soooo good!)
rosemary vodka lemonade. amazing.
elephant sculpture photo-op
grandnana's deviled eggs (which titus loves, btw)
our easter dinner!
the most beautiful (and most delicious!) carrot cake