Friday, April 29, 2011

Random Thoughts and a Princess Wedding

Lady D,

You read my mind. I was just thinking I have too many daily emails in general... and then promptly signed up for one with Refinery 29. Ooops! Oh, and I added Fab. Gracias!

So first and foremost. A message:

Via: Etsy

Just kidding. What did you think? I.... think... itwasgorgeousandamazingandwowican'tbelieveitwastherealweddingofaprinceandprincess. For serious, the dress was not a surprise! But I thought she looked so, so beautiful!!

Phew. I'd love to say I think the craze is over. But in fact, I think it's just beginning. This is funny, though.

D, thank you so much for the sweet wishes about our anniversary. We had a wonderful day spent mostly on a blanket in Central Park. Then it was off to ABC Kitchen. Wow, so incredibly beautiful... maybe the most beautiful atmosphere I've ever been in to eat dinner. That is, if my chair wasn't getting smacked by a XL throw pillow being carried out by a shopper every 15 minutes.

Via: abckitchennyc.com, Photographer Unknown

Via: nymag.com (Photo: Hannah Whitaker/New York Magazine)

Some of the yummies I ordered included a clementine fizz cocktail, fresh mozzarella, and well, frankly said, the best dessert I've ever had at a restaurant. There, I said it. It's the ABC Kitchen Sundae and is described as: "salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts & popcorn, whipped cream, with dark chocolate sauce". Sounds like something you might make at a 3rd grade sleepover, am I right? Popcorn... on ice cream? CRAY-ZAY!! But, oh, let me tell you, this sundae rendered me speechless. Nick was speechless at my speechless-ness.

Via: thegloss.com, Photographer Unknown.

The only thing that could be better than that dessert was the arrival of a new addition to our little family! No, no, not a baby. Too much responsibility! A meow-meow? No, no. Still. too. much. responsibility. What is less responsibility than a cat? You guessed it! Our very own lil' guy:


We named him in honor of our 10 year anniversary. He's very pretty and a good swimmer. I'm not going let it get to me that he is in a not-so-pretty purple plastic container.

I think that's it for now. What are you up to this weekend? I have a funny feeling mine is going to involve an extra dose of laughter!

Love,


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sale Mail


TEN YEARS! Congrats! I'm so happy for you guys. I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating! How was ABC Kitchen?

I'm so impressed with your spring cleaning. What a great idea to only replace half of what you get rid of. I have so much in my closet that I don't wear because it's old/ugly and even more that I don't wear because it doesn't fit right or has a button missing. I have a huge stack of clothes that need to be donated or consigned, but your system is an inspiration! I feel like the best way to pair down your wardrobe is to just move to Manhattan and get a small closet. Hmmmm.

Speaking of cleaning, I was doing my best to clean out my email last night and realized just how many 'sale' emails I get every day. Remember about two years ago when lots of 'member only' online sales started popping up? Well I signed up for all of them. But now I'm wondering if they are more of a nuisance than anything. Sure, I buy things here and there, but sometimes they just overwhelm my inbox! 

Here's what I currently get: 

Fab: This is brand new and the sales haven't started yet. So I'm not totally familiar with it yet. Thanks Lacy for sending it along!

Rue la la, Haute Look and Gilt: I put these in the same category because they're very similar. They have men, women, home and vacay categories.

One Kings Lane: Delish home goods. Lots are out of my price range but great for ideas and they have accessories and books that can be moderately priced as well.

Shop It To Me: I like this one because you tell them what your favorites stores are and your sizes and they send you customized daily or weekly emails of what's on sale. One stop shopping. They also just added Anthro to their rolls, so obvi I'm hooked.

Whew, that's a lot of daily emails!

I'm sure there are hundreds more that I could sign up for, but I think I'm at my max. Which sale mails do you get? Any other suggestions?




Yours in sales,


PS... THE Wedding is tomorrow! Are you getting up at 4am? I'm gonna record it and watch it when I get home... after trying to avoid coverage of it all day. Oye.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring Cleaning and the Cheesecake Factory

Hey D,

It was such a wonderful day! Thanks so much to you and ESC for thinking of the bib. Also, that Etsy article is fascinating. Ok, so, sorry to do this, but the photos from the weekend and all their cuteness are gonna have to wait a few more days! I know, I'm the worst! But I promise its worth the wait!

While I finish Photo Editing 101, I wanted to update you on Spring Clean Out 2011, since I know you were working on this recently, too. It can be so daunting to switch out closets and go through everything, but the reward is so worth it!

When I moved to NYC I made a rule to hopefully help me slowly edit my closet down to just "high quality pieces that fit properly and are in good condition". You know, like the magazines and our mothers tell us to do. I created a system for this project... for every 2 items I donate I can purchase 1 item in return (finances pending). So here are the results this time around:

8 tops, 3 dresses, 4 pairs of pants, 2 bags and a bunch of silly things like cotton t-shirts, scarves, etc. So that translates to roughly 9 new items for this season! Now I just gotta hit up the brand spankin' new Madewell!

I donate most old items to Housing Works, but for the really nice pieces that I simply can't wear any more (no longer fit, etc), I sell them. I've tried ebay and craigslist with mediocre-at-best results. Now I stick to Second Time Around, which L-Love introduced me to. True, you only get 40% of what they sell the garment for, but you drop it off and forget about it until its time to pick up a check! Sa-weet.

The other spring cleaning thing I did is get a new wallet... well a "stand-in" wallet. I've had the same wallet since 2005 (is 6 years a long time for a wallet?). I bought it in Argentina with YOU, and LOVE IT but this year the zipper broke, the plastic over the ID cracked and the leather is so worn my cards slide right out! Sadly, I can't find the brand, Lazaro, available online. BOO. I'd like to take my time and shop for a the perfect wallet, but right now change and my credit cards are falling out to the bottom of my purse. Enter $14.99 stand-in from T.J. Maxx:



I mainly got it cause I like how it looks with my manicure. Oh and its coral (patent leather). Shocking.

In other news, today marks 10 years that Nick and I have been together. Holy smokes! One of the many perks of being together for so long means that there are already lots of baby-faced embarrassing photos of us to laugh at!

Sigh. This photo was taken right around the time we started dating...yes, back when I was just a girl in a boxy jean jacket just wishin' the semester with Nick wouldn't end... and Nick was just dude in a boxy Hawaiian shirt (wait a sec, I think he still has that shirt) just wishin' for a second date. Possibly a repeat occasion at the Cheesecake Factory? Oh yes, that's right. Our first date was at the Cheesecake Factory. Anyone gotta problem with that? If so, then I suggest you warp back to age 19 and try the oreo cheesecake. I'll wait right here for your call to apologize.

Oh, and we're going to ABC Kitchen tonight. A wee step up from the first date. So excited.

Love,








PS: This story kinda relates to my Spring Cleaning. As a massive thrift shopper, this is disappointing... and yet, its Vicky's, so, hmmmmm. Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bibbiness

BLYTHE!

Those feetsies are such a tease! Need more photos to help with my Lil' Miss withdrawal!

I had such a wonderful time at the Baptism this weekend. Total perfection. It was so special to stand up in front of the entire congregation and vow our commitment to our Goddaughter and to Dukester and Sarge. I got chills! Lil' Miss was of course perfect throughout the service especially when the minister sprinkled the water on her forehead. So funny that she was just calmly staring right up at him. I couldn't tell if she was embracing the moment or thinking "Momma, why is the dude in the funny outfit getting me wet, doesn't he know this is a new dress from my Fairy Godmothers?"

I'm so glad that everyone seemed to like the dress we picked out. I think it was a good call that we went with the long cotton option and the matching bonnet was to die for. I love Dukester's idea that we can all use it someday for our children. TEARS! The bib we ordered from Etsy worked out so well too! Thanks to ESC who recommended getting a pretty bib so that Lil' Miss could eat and drool to her heart's content without anyone worrying about the dress.



We'll have to remember the Sew Simple shop for all our embroidery needs. Beth was so easy to work with when I messaged her to see if we could customize the already adorable strawberry bib and on a quick turnaround too! I thought it turned out so well! I added it to our Diggin' page so we don't forget.

Speaking of which, did you see the article about Etsy founder Rob Kalin in Inc. Magazine? Fascinating stuff.

Jorge Colombo

























PS... I met a woman at happy hour last night who had a terrific nail color for summer: Do you think I'm Tex-y? from the Texas collection by OPI. It looks way better in person.

PPS... Also from the happy hour last night: Nemo told me that Anthropologie is coming out with a Tumblr page soon. I don't really get it, but I trust him, because he's from Brooklyn.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Those little feet!!!

Deweeeeeeeeeeese!

I miss you, Dukester, Lil' Miss, and the rest of my family already! What a wonderful weekend. On the car ride home I looked through Nick and Jeff's photography from our visit. Girl, our dudes done good. I had to stop myself from squealing over the incredible cuteness that is our Lil' Miss! Here's a teaser:


Seriously???? GAH!

Many more photos coming later this week!

In the meantime, a few quick observations:

  • My nephew introduced me to this game called MindFlex over the weekend. I mean, sure its a gimmick and all that, but it's WILD! (also, the videos on the above link are hilarious and worth watching, IMHO!)

  • My 85-year-old Grandma was looking through my nephew's super hero toys over the weekend and commented on how much "Storm" from Xmen looks like "that Lady Gaga". Note: Lady Gaga is now more famous than anyone on the planet.

  • I got a kindle! You have to teach me the ways, mmkay? But let's be real. I'll still only get to every 5th book you breeze through! I finally finished "Loving Frank" (so it takes me a while, whatevs, I like reading NYMag more!). As soon as I finish Bossypants (already love it), it's all kindle all the time!

  • Ehhh, I kinda want to see Bridesmaids. Horrible I know.

  • It was beyond great to see you after so long, Bestie!!!

More to come,







PS: Deweese, I think you and Buffalo District are exactly right. The wrinkly waves in the otomi runner have got to go! Update with extra dowel rod at the bottom to weigh it down coming ASAP!

PPS: The Derby Party food sounds so delicious. I might throw a party myself just so I can make Derby Pie.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Derby Planning: Part II

B-
Love the hallway. Love everything in it. I especially love that those three items are all related to your wedding in some way: your engagement, your invites, your honeymoon. Super cool. And they look fantastic on the subtle wall color. Obsessed. I feel so privileged to be hanging on your wall! One small note... and I'm sure this is because I grew up in a household where my father ironed his already dry-cleaned shirts... I kinda want to iron the otomi runner. Will the wrinkles eventually fall out because of the way it's hanging? You're welcome to tell me I'm being ridiculous.

On to party planning!

Learn more about Secretariat here.






#2: FOOD

In my book there aren't too many rules when it comes to food at Derby parties. Fix and eat what you like. BUT, here are some suggestions based on what my parents serve at their Derby parties. Now, Sara is gluten-free (hence, Breaking Up With Bread) so I leave it to her to alter these options as needed.

Beverages:
You'll already be serving mint juleps, but along with the rest of the states below the Mason-Dixon Line, people in Louisville love their iced-tea.  Sweet or not, with mint or lemonade or raspberry, doesn't matter. Just brew it! If your night ends at my  parents house, you'll probably wind up up drinking lemoncello too, but that's neither here nor there.

Main Course:
I love a good ham or tenderloin with Camelot Butter Buns (I can't find where to buy these online, I'll keep looking) and some Henry Bain's sauce. Totally delicious and totally Louisville.

Sides:
Benedictine is a Louisville special and a personal fave (you should totally add the food coloring). I also love deviled-eggs, they are like crack. Or what I image crack to be like. Cornbread biscuits and cheese grits are always crowd-pleasers too.

Sweets:
There is a little known (outside Kentucky) pie appropriately called: Derby Pie. Oddly enough it's trademarked and the real deal is only made by Kern's Kitchen, but can be purchased over the phone and mailed to you. OR... I can't lie... make a pecan pie and throw some chocolate and bourbon in, just google 'Kentucky Chocolate Nut Pie'. Either way you won't be disappointed. Also try bourbon balls (these are my favorite because I have a 7th grade sense of humor) and pulled candy.



So hungry now!





PS... CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU AND DUKESTER THIS WEEKEND! LIL' MISS HERE WE COME!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Itty Bitty Hallway

Hi Deweese,

Derby Party?! I want to come! Remember back at Derby '04 when I dropped my cell phone directly into my mint julep? Luckily it still worked, and (bonus) smelled minty fresh even after I washed it off! I really can't wait to hear more about the party... mainly the FOOD.

So Deweese, I wanted to update you on the art in my hallway, since it's basically the only place I've hung anything in the apartment (minus the lime, that is):


I don't know about you, but I find it's so much easier to hang things in small spaces vs. big, long, walls. Things just seem to fit better on smaller walls. Case in point, Young House Love's gorgeous gallery wall in their hallway. Yeah, ah, I love that gallery wall so much this definitely won't be the last time I blog about that!

Ok, so first up. Your housewarming gift. The original sketch you did for our wedding invites, website and even save the dates. Framed. Deweese, this is (just one reason) why you are my bestie. This. Is. Awesome.



Second. The otomi runner that Nick and I got on our honeymoon in Tulum, Mexico. The coral and thread work is seriously gorgeous and I decided I need it to be in a place where I can see it multiple times a day. The high traffic hallway seems like a good bet so far!



Third. I think everyone knows that Hither and Thither is one of my favorite blogs. The authors/photographers, Ashley and Aron, take their readers on incredible photographic journeys of their many adventures... big and small. So inspiring! A few months back I saw this post and my heart nearly skipped a beat. Ashley had photographed Central Park on a day that looked exactly like the day Nick proposed to me two years ago! We spent the entire day in CP walking in the snow and just beaming from the excitement of it all. Evidence here:


I decided hanging one of Ashley's beautiful photographs in our home would be the perfect "engagement day anniversary" present for Nick. So I emailed her to see if they ever sell their digital files for people to print. Turns out, it was my lucky day! Check it out:


Now we can remember one of our favorite days every time we walk through our itty bitty hallway. Also, FYI, that frame is made of recycled barn wood by Jim Alberts on Etsy. I definitely recommend Jim for his beautiful and efficient work!

Sigh. All of these things make me very, very happy. That's all!

Love,







PS: D, so much great stuff to dig on Etsy right now, am I right? Our Diggin' Page is blowin' up! I want those chunky booties I "favorite-ed" right now. Mmmkay?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Derby Planning: Part I

Blythe-

Shut the front door. Are you telling me that you watched Bethenney Ever After? On purpose and not against your will? I knew you'd come around! Also hysterical that your memory of Monday's episode is humor and mine is of me crying on the sofa when Nanny Gina announced she had to leave the family for personal issues. TEARS!

In other news we are T minus 17 days until the Run for the Roses, my favorite day of the year. In my family Derby Day is bigger than Christmas. There, I said it. Derby Day then baby Jesus. It gives me chills just thinking about it! Of course, as you know, this year  I'm not going because my lil' cousin is graduating from our dear alma mater. Who does that!? So Jefe and I are throwing our very first Derby party for the out-of-town guests.



Sara from Breaking Up With Bread emailed me the other day because as it turns out, she's a Derby Baby and has decided to host a Derby themed birthday party on her roof deck in San Francisco. Perfection! She asked for some tips on all the Derby trimmings and putting together a list has been a great exercise for our own party planning.

I'm gonna break it down over several posts...

#1: BOOZE



You can have a horse racing party on the first Saturday in May, but unless you include mint juleps, it's not a Derby Party. Here's the recipe I like:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup mint leaves
Crushed ice
Bourbon
Mint sprigs

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and cook without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Place the mint leaves in a bowl and bruise the mint with the back of a wooden spoon. Place the mint in a jar and add the sugar syrup. Cover and chill for 12 to 25 hours. Strain the mixture and discard the mint when ready to use. Fill frosted silver mint julep glasses or old-fashioned glasses with crushed ice to serve. Add 1 tablespoon of the syrup and one ounce of the bourbon for each serving. Stir, garnish with a mint sprig and serve with a half-sized straw. Makes 20 servings. Derby Entertaining, McClanahan Publishing 2008

There are a ton of mint julep recipes online too. Find one that suits you and go with it. Pick a bourbon that suits you too. Like most liquors, there is a wide variety and price range from Louisville native Hunter S. Thompson's favorite Wild Turkey ($) to Maker's Mark ($$) to my favorite Woodford Reserve ($$$) to  Pappy Van Winkle ($$$$).

The recipe above calls for frosted silver mint julep cups. And if you have 'em girl, use 'em. But for the rest of us, I recommend scoring some new or vintage track glasses. When you buy a mint julep at Churchill Downs on Derby Day for around $10 it comes in one of these lovely glasses. After the last race of the day you can see thousands of race fans leaving the track carrying stacks of glasses to take home as collectors items. There is a different glass every year and the names of all of the previous Derby winners are listed on the back. Very cool.

Next up: FOOD.

xo,

PS... On Pregnant in Heels last night, a pregnant bride got married at your venue: Battery Gardens! So pretty. Oh, and the dog peed on her dress.

PPS... I LOVE your lime! Can we take a shadow box picture of a mint julep and blow it up HUGE to hang in our kitchen? Just a thought.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

DIY Light Box + Art for the Kitchen

Hi Deweese!

Ok, wow. So I'm definitely getting some Sseko's. So cute and what an awesome cause. Thanks, Christina! The birthday weekend was wonderful. A couple of dinners at really yummy places with lots of really great friends! What could be better? Nick and I also hosted a springtime brunch with our cousins/NYC besties....Mom, if you are reading this, we used the good stuff:So, Deweese. I've been meaning to tell you all about this super easy photography DIY that Nick and I completed a few weeks ago. It all started last year when Nick and I were frequently meeting at Pret A Manger to wedding plan over lunch. I was always gushing over the the huge, bright photographs of food that they have on the walls:
Original source unknown, image via: Cassie-Dee.Blogspot.com

So I had the idea to copy it by taking and blowing up some photographs of food to hang in our very white on white on white kitchen. Luckily, Nick and I already had a homemade light box to work with! We found super easy instructions on how to make it here a few months back. Check out this shot of Nick using it to photograph a very familiar face on this blog:


I wanted to photograph something with a big pop of color, so we decided to start with a lime. After a little bit of Photoshop work (gotta be honest, we don't have the right lights yet to get it as crisp and contrast-y as we want), here is the final product:

Nick kept calling the lime "the talent" and was telling me we should make sure "the talent" is happy before we shoot. Hilarious! Once we got the photograph exactly how we wanted it, we ordered a 16x20 inch print from shutterfly.com, bought a cheap modern frame, and presto! New art for the kitchen:

I'd love to make more and print them even larger. Got any ideas for other foods? I'm thinking an artichoke could be really pretty.

Love,







PS: I am laughing out loud watching Bethenny After Ever. There, I said it. Hysterical.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sseko

Blythe,

So glad you had such a great birthday! It sounds truly perfect and I'm glad you had some sunny weather. How was the rest of your birthday weekend?

My weekend in a nutshell: Lil' Q came over with friends to prepare for a bridal shower/bachelorette party they threw on Saturday. They made the Martha Stewart pom poms which were a breeze and totally gorgeous. Saturday was rainy and cold but I managed to dodge some protests, check out the downtown Zara (still nothing in my size) and get my nails done in a delish teal. After watching Jake and Michelle, (which I really liked) we went to an old college stomping ground and stomped with some old college friends, a total blast. On Sunday Jefe and I took a beginners yoga class which we both really liked (Dee always says: "It's amazing how much you can sweat and never leave a tiny little mat!") and then spent the afternoon on the rooftop bar of our favorite neighborhood watering whole. And then... laundry. SEVEN Loads.

I keep forgetting to tell you about some cool new kicks I learned about recently. I was chatting with my ole' roomie Christina the other day and she was telling me about these new sandals that I think you would like. They are called Ssekos and similar to TOMS, each pair has a story. You can read the whole story here, but the jest is that Ssekos help Ugandan women attend University. Totally something I can get behind. The bonus? The sandals are SUPER cute. Christina is on the board of a fair trade shop called Mustard Seed and they can't keep the Ssekos in stock!




And they do weddings. Brilliant! What do you think? They're totally going on my must-have list for summer.

xo,


PS... How amazing that The Kathmanudo honored us with a "Stylish Blogger Award". I feel so cool! The Kathmanduo is one of my favorite blogs which makes this award even more special!


PPS... I finished the book I was reading The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup (only two stars) and started The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar that Lucy Actually suggested.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Best Day Ever!

Thank you so much, Deweese!

You know guacamole is the way to my heart. And, let's just say... mission accomplished:


Super delicioso. Nick and I went to Barrio Chino for what many people on the interwebs call the "best margarita in NYC":

Gotta say, I agree. I had one with fresh grapefruit and another (yikes) with jalapeno infused lime. YUM.

After that we went to Milk Bar for dessert. I wanted one of my all-time faves, Grasshopper Pie, and I heard they have it there. Well, instead we got tempted by the "soft serve sampler"... which allows you taste all of the soft serve flavors in one sitting (aka this indecisive girl's dream menu item)!


So so, so, good. So good. One of the flavors is called "cereal milk" and it tastes just like exactly that. Weird.

Then we walked all the way home. It was a beautiful night in NYC!

It really was the most perfect day EVER! All thanks to the aforementioned yummies, lots of lovely notes from my near and dears, your sweet post, and this lil' e-card that I'll never forget from lil' miss:


Like, really. C'mon, really? Bestest e-card, ever. Ever!

xo,






PS: I gotta get Tina Fey's new book. Read this and tell me you're not laughing!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

They Say It's YOUR Birthday!

Blythe-

On my birthday, you sent me the sweetest wishes and it was a terrific birthday (and I'm not really in to birthdays). For YOUR birthday however, I only have one wish for you:

Photo: FoodPeopleWant
I hear Nicky is taking you out for Mexican and I hope you dive head first into your all time fave. After all, it's the simple things.

Welcome to 29 sista!

All my love Bestie,

PS... It looks like you guys had such a nice time in Hudson, what a great town! Maine is at the top of my list for our first anniversary, but Upstate New York is lookin' pretty nice too!

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