Friday, June 29, 2012

friday happy hour

this has been one marathon of a week, and it's not over yet. 
the weekend agenda includes a wedding tomorrow (the third one this month!) and our big move on sunday!

i plan on spending my evening with the boyfriend and lots of boxes - and one very excited cat who loves boxes - trying to pack our belongings so we aren't carrying armfuls of stuff up and down the stairs into the apartment next door.

i am thinking that one of these might be in order:
watermelon basil margaritas!
this gorgeous photo and recipe come from a new-to-me blog called the life styled - i am looking forward to perusing past posts when i get a spare moment, but these look incredibly refreshing for a hectic friday night of packing!

best wishes for a productive day and a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

five alarm spice

i love spicy food: indian, szechuan, mexican... it's all so good! one of my favorite condiments is sriracha, or rooster sauce. its bright red color is a harbinger of the fiery goodness it imparts, and i use it liberally to accent everything from eggs to aioli.

bon appetit did a great piece awhile back with 25 ways to use sriracha - from bloody mary's to shrimp to deviled eggs. check it out here!

also recently seen: a chili lobster dish using sriracha, featuring an amazing illustration by my dear friend and artist extraordinaire, sarah rutherford:
 nytimes article and recipe
[illustration and photo via nytimes]
yum, that looks heavenly. i am thinking this might be a great way to add some red hot to fourth of july menus!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

wrapped up

i love a good scarf. i am usually cold, so for me, between cold breezes and chilly offices, scarves are staples year-round.

this one from anthropologie caught my eye because of its largely neutral color palette accented with a bright splash of pink, not to mention the adorable summery image!

maybe thrown together with these ensembles for play and for work that utilize almost all of the same pieces!
jeans / earrings (similar) / top / shoes / watch / skirt (on sale!)

Monday, June 25, 2012

shelf life

happy monday! we are having some crazy thunderstorms around here! 
as you know, the upcoming move is on the brain. we are gaining a lot of space in general, but it is perhaps most apparent in the kitchen. our current space is, well, petite:

we are practically doubling our amount of cabinet space, and i want to capitalize on using it to store ingredients and pantry items, which are now stacked like jenga blocks and threaten to tumble out whenever we go digging for something!

in order to free up some real estate, we have decided to get a piece of metro shelving (the metal kind used in many restaurants and stores) to store and display our pots, pans, and dishes.
i found options at a few different price points during my research:
ikea / home decorators collection / williams sonoma home
i love the shelf from home decorators collection because of the fact that it's on wheels, and i think the steel is higher quality than the ikea option. even better: shipping from home decorators collection is only $8!

how do you manage storage in your kitchen?

Friday, June 22, 2012

technical difficulties

happy friday, y'all! i am down in north carolina with the iPad but i can't get a blog app because the operating system is too old! alas, you will have to wait until monday to hear all about it, but know that fried chicken and sweet tea are on the agenda!

have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

just call me the craigslist whisperer

i think i might have a gift for craigslist. seriously.
i know i mentioned my newly acquired dyson a few posts ago, and this leather west elm slipper chair was an $80 find sometime last fall:

i am pleased to share my newest - and very exciting! - craigslist find: a vintage brass and glass bar cart.
apologies for the overexposure - the sun was shining brightly through the window to the right of the frame!
and of course titus had to photobomb, but he certainly seems to approve.

this handsome new addition was being sold after having been used on a movie set (film title: that thing with the cat, due out sometime in the next year or so) and was under $200. it's in pristine condition, and the set designer even gave me all of that beautiful vintage glassware "because i look like i enjoy that kind of thing."

why, yes! yes i do!

i have been lusting after a cart of this kind for quite some time, but they are prohibitively expensive. most are priced over $1000, and here's an almost identical one for $1,150!
i have a couple ideas for incorporating this piece into the new apartment, so stay tuned to see where it lands! in the meantime, if you are looking for a piece of furniture, let me know - perhaps i can use my craigslist-whispering gift to your advantage!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

pining for underpinnings

for whatever reason, i can never seem to justify purchasing new underwear.
i have some; it's serviceable; a little faded and threadbare? perhaps, but still serviceable.

i wandered into the madewell store friday evening for the first time and of all the items to catch my eye, i fell in love with a table piled high with gorgeous underpinnings!

frothy lace, bright colors as well as neutrals - i might have to break tradition and scoop up a set or two!
honeydew intimates flower lace bralette and boyshort

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

any excuse for a party: clambake edition

you all know that i love essie's clambake nail polish, but there is nothing i love more than an edible clambake in the summer!

i would love to throw one this summer once our move is complete, but first i need a few essentials:
tiki torches / coasters / beverage tub / beach boys sounds of summer / apron / lobster crackers / lobster pot

throw some beers on ice, light the tiki torches, and put the beach boys on with the volume up! 
this kind of lobster pot is great because you can do steamers in the bottom and then the lobsters in the top - here's a great basic recipe for both. i like to serve my feast with drawn butter and clam broth for dipping, along with corn and tomato salad (recipe here) and plenty of napkins!

on a multi-tasking note, i am thinking that the galvanized beverage tub could double as a storage place for my magazines, making it a multi-purpose purchase!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

flag day and other celebrations

happy june 14!
today is flag day, but it is also my parents' 37th wedding anniversary so i wanted to take a moment to honor an incredible couple who have taught me everything i know about life and love.
happy anniversary, you crazy kids!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

making waves

a little visual pairing for you:
anthropologie maxi dress ($168 - online only!)
madagascar exhibit entrance, bronx zoo

this missoni-esque dress is perfect for summer, and i love the swirled mosaic map in the entrance of the madagascar exhibit - not to mention all of the great animal friends that are through those doors!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

the very best meatballs

meatballs and sauce are part of my family comfort food canon. a close friend of my parents comes from a big italian family from providence, and my brothers and i grew up on her family meatball recipe. i have made these meatballs in every place i have ever lived, including my off-campus apartment senior year of college, my tiny london flat, and the apartment i shared with my swiss roommate in venice. 
meatballs and sauce in my venetian kitchen, stilo americano
the problem with meatballs in the traditional method is that they aren't particularly healthy; they get fried in oil, and sometimes can be quite dense.

my mother stumbled upon this recipe from ron suhanosky, formerly of sfoglia in new york city and author of the italian table. after making meatballs the same way for almost 30 years, i was shocked and curious when she told me that these were the best meatballs she had ever tasted, and would now be the only meatballs she would be making!

i don't own the cookbook, so my mom gave me the recipe over the phone. there may be some minor differences from what is printed in the book (there was a glass of wine on each end of the phone...) but the overall effect is a light, fluffy, flavorful meatball that leaves you satisfied but not overly full.

the very best meatballs
3 lbs ground beef (i used 90% lean)
2 cups of ricotta (i used part skim)
2 eggs
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of parsley, finely chopped
red pepper flakes 
salt and pepper

1.  preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. in a large bowl, add all ingredients (red pepper flakes/salt and pepper should be adjusted for your taste.)
3.  mix well with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated.
4.  using an ice cream scoop (or your hands) make meatballs (mine were slightly larger than a golf ball.)
5.  place meatballs on a baking sheet (they can be close together since they won't expand in the oven.)
6. bake for 20-25 minutes until browned on the outside.
that's it! easy, right? 

i added the meatballs to sauce i was already simmering on the stove. 

here's what you need for sauce:
2-3 cans of peeled whole tomatoes (the big cans)
1 clove of garlic, minced
olive oil

optional, but delicious:
1 stick of pepperoni, cut into 1 inch slices
1 package of italian sausage (cook this for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees first, then cut links in half)

1. in a large pot, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat (2 tbsp)
2.  add garlic and cook until golden.
3. add tomatoes; crush them with a wooden spoon (or your hands if you're careful and won't burn yourself!)
4. add pepperoni slices and cooked italian sausage (if you're using them.)
5. add the meatballs once they're cooked.
6. simmer the whole thing for up to 3 hours on medium low heat (but you can serve after an hour.)
* i don't cover the pot because i like to evaporate the water to make sauce nice and thick.

voila! served with garlic crostini to get all of the great sauce, caesar salad, and a glass of red wine :)

ps - apologies for the photo quality; the steam from the kitchen made these a little blurry!

Monday, June 11, 2012

weekend recap

happy monday! i am coming off of a busy weekend: my friend mk's wedding was on saturday! the ceremony was beautiful, the party was fabulous, and both bride and groom looked incandescently happy (and gorgeous/handsome, of course!)

here's a snapshot of the boyfriend and me:

other exciting news: we got a new vacuum!
we were in desperate need of a new one: we had been using a hand-me-down from my parents and the carpet attachment stopped working in the mid-2000s, there is a hole in the hose that we had to duct tape, and overall it took about 3 times longer to get the floors clean than it should have! 
i have long coveted a dyson rollerball (and who hasn't?) but they are so pricey. 
nevertheless, i would get dreamy-eyed watching their ads on tv, and i was forbidden from going down the vacuum aisle at costco because i got too sidetracked!

last week, i found one on craigslist for $75. yes, you read that right. 
3 years old, lightly used, and all i had to do was wash the filters!
i deep-cleaned the apartment yesterday and, well, let's just say that the dyson people are not exaggerating about the suction power! the place is spotless :)

lastly, i made meatballs and sauce for dinner last night but tried a new recipe for the meatballs that my mom raved about:
i can't wait to share the details with you tomorrow - stay tuned! until then, hope your week is off to a great start!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

ingredient of the moment: grape tomatoes

grape tomatoes are such an ideal way to get your tomato fix: tiny, juicy, and sweet, these little guys pack a flavor punch without all of the mess that can come from slicing larger tomatoes.

lately i seem to be incorporating grape tomatoes into as many dishes as i can, and if possible i love to use both the red and yellow varieties!

this past weekend i made a riff on my trusty shrimp and israeli couscous dish:
i added both yellow and red grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and capers for a summery mediterranean flavor!

a few weekends ago i debuted a tomato and fennel salad that became a fast favorite:
i sliced red and yellow grape tomatoes in half, added slivers of fennel, and tossed everything in a vinaigrette made with lemon juice and olive oil - fresh and light!

up next: my mom's corn and tomato salad - a summer staple in our house! usually we use normal-sized tomatoes, but i am going to sub grape tomatoes :)

here's what you'll need:

1. slice your grape tomatoes in half.
2. slice red onion into slivers.
3. cook corn (i don't have a microwave so i steam mine) and cut it off the cob.
4. chiffonade the basil (click here for a chiffonade how-to.)

add all of your ingredients (except the basil) into a bowl.
whisk together olive oil and red wine vinegar (or balsamic works, too!)
toss the vinaigrette over the salad, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with the basil.

you can see the finished result in the blue bowl on the left from a summer BBQ last year!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

asian influence

i have noticed chinese garden stools popping up everywhere, and it makes me wonder if i need one for the new digs!

from living rooms:


to bathrooms:

they can be seating or tables, and the wide range of styles and finishes make them a possible fit for any space.

here are a few i love:

1. west elm $129           2. overstock $109.99         3. wisteria $129

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

seeing green

pinterest is one of my favorite spots for inspiration, whether it's for personal style or personal space. i saw this picture months ago and i fell in love with the color/pattern combo:
emerald and ivory, accented with leopard print - love.

here's my spin on it, with an office-chic slant:
dress / blazer (old - anthropologie) / belt (old - j.crew)

that subtle pop of coral from the cocktail ring is a great addition, as well! 
bright nails would be a frugal and effective way to get the effect :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

covered up

happy monday! so sorry for the radio silence last week - i am still getting used to my new work schedule! hopefully i will be more consistent from here on out, but bear with me if i only have a couple posts a week here and there!

the boyfriend came home last week and gleefully announced that he was getting a new ipad through work. i smiled and was secondhand-excited for him (and maybe a little jealous since i don't even have one ipad, much less two!) until he added, "now you can have my old one!"

they are such cool tools, and i feel like everyone has one except me (including my parents.)

now, the caveat with inheriting the old ipad is that it needs a new case. i am trying to decide between these two:

polka dots would be the obvious renée choice, but perhaps the out of office is quippy and cute?