Friday, August 31, 2012

Thoughts of the Week

I can't speak French, but I can wear it.

I can speak like Jamie Oliver though.

Sometimes just a hint of gold will do.

This is one brave bride. With my luck, I'd fall in.

Maybe every day should include a mimosa.

An examination of illustration.

I like the simple glamour of this pink and gold party.

Mmm ... maybe one more batch of popsicles before fall.

So many herbs, so many possibilities.

What chic looks like.

Happy Friday! Hope you have a fantastic weekend planned, a three-day one if you're lucky!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Key Lime in Cake Form

Icebox cake might just be the easiest, cutest dessert of all time. There are all sorts of possible flavor combinations if you've got wafer cookies and something to fold into whipped cream. Aside from the classic version, I think lemon would be nice, and I'm already thinking about pumpkin icebox cake once fall arrives. But to bask in the fading days of summer, I decided to make a key lime icebox cake with ginger wafers. You could of course make your own key lime curd and wafer cookies, but I think this is a case when it's best to avoid effort. The end result is light and tangy and makes me happy every time I open the fridge. If cakes can be friendly, this one certainly is.

Key Lime Icebox Cake

2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup key lime curd
2 packages ginger wafer cookies [you'll need about 50 cookies, I used Anna's]
1/4 cup key lime curd, for decorating

In a large bowl, beat cream and sugar together with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold in key lime curd until fully incorporated.

On a serving plate or cake stand, arrange cookies, slightly overlapping in a circle, and place 1 cookie in the center. The amount of cookies will determine the diameter of your cake. I used 7 for the outer circle and ended up with a cake 7 inches across and 2 inches tall, which contained 8 layers of cookies and 8 layers of cream.

Cover cookies, almost completely, with whipped cream, spreading evenly. An offset spatula helps, as does rotating the plate while you spread the cream. Repeat, alternating cookies and cream until you run out of cream. Cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Decorate with key lime curd if you like.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Smart Looks


I love all these chic looks featuring blazers, cardigans, blouses and rolled cuffs. This style is just the sort of way I want to transition between summer and fall and makes me wish I had to go shopping for school supplies.

[spotted here: gap school looks; j.crew cardigan; j.crew blazer; kate spade cardigan; ruche study hall look]

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hey Mister

Do you know about plant misters? I think I've seen them in movies with like crazy, old ladies in housecoats misting their plants all day. I don't know what movie this could possibly be, but it sure does sound like a classic, doesn't it? Anyway, they're for gently watering houseplants or things like orchids, succulents and terrariums. They have an old-fashioned charm about them, and they're cute enough to leave out alongside your plants or on a shelf. Much better than the squirt bottle I use ... while wearing a housecoat.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend in Photos

If the weekend begins with pizza and gelato, it's tough for things to get much better, but I got lucky. There was a long anticipated brunch at The Dutch with out-of-control honey butter biscuits and cornmeal flapjacks with blueberry syrup, some reading and trip-planning, late night Indian food and walks around SoHo and Greenwich Village yesterday, which happened to be move-in day for NYU freshmen. And since it was 10 years ago(!) that I moved into an NYU dorm, I thought a lot about my on-again, off-again love affair with this crazy city and all the wonderful people and things it has brought into my life.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy, Little House

This cute and cozy house in Oregon is just 540 square feet but seems so open and welcoming. It must be all that white. It belongs to interior designer Jessica Helgerson and her family and is meant to be an experiment in reducing and reusing. The house itself was built in 1940 and nearly everything inside is made from reclaimed materials. Mom and dad sleep in a loft above all those books, and the kids have built-in bunk beds. Drawers store all their toys, in case you're like me and were wondering, "Where's all their stuff?" There's a green roof, and the rest of the property includes a vegetable garden, fruit trees, chickens, bees and a greenhouse that's actually twice the size of their home. It's like a Portlandia paradise.

[spotted on: Sunset; photos by Lincoln Barbour]

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vegetarian Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Summer rolls may be my new favorite way to celebrate summer. They're fresh, light and full of so many flavors, and peanut sauce is a nice compliment, sweet and a little spicy. Plus, it's a great way to avoid your oven in the summer. They make a tasty appetizer or even a light dinner. The rolls are sort of tedious to build, but boy are they good and so pretty too. Rachel made a wonderful little film, which helped me with the assembly process. Of course, you can use any sliceable veggie you like, as well as tofu, shrimp, chicken or fish. But these had so much going on, we didn't even miss the meat, which is saying a lot around here.

Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons of water
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth. If you'd like a thinner sauce, just add more water. Serve at room temperature.

Summer Rolls
12 (6 and 1/2-inch) round rice paper wrappers
2 ounces mung bean threads (cellophane noodles)
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cucumber, cut into strips
1 mango, cut into strips
1 large carrot, grated
12 mint leaves
12 basil leaves

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain and set aside. Slice all of the ingredients and place in separate containers, so you can assemble the summer rolls quickly. Slice the avocado last and squeeze a little lime juice over it. Fill a large dish with hot tap water. Working with one rice paper wrapper at a time, submerge completely until it is soft and pliable. Remove the wrapper from the water, place flat on a plate or work surface and dab off excess water with a towel. Arrange noodles, vegetables, mangos and 1 mint leaf and 1 basil leaf in the bottom third of the wrap, leaving about an inch of each side. Roll halfway, fold in the sides and continue rolling, all while pressing firmly. Serve immediately, or if storing, place a wet paper towel at the bottom of a tupperware container with a lid and keep summer rolls refrigerated. Makes approximately 12.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Better at the Basics: Flying High-Maintenance

There are lots of tips out there for flying with babies and kids, but I need a little help too. Flying is a pretty lousy experience for everyone, right? I legitimately fear for those around me when the day arrives that children are involved. There have been times on cross-country flights when I was pretty sure I was losing my mind. It usually happens somewhere over Montana. My flight from NYC to LA a couple weeks ago inspired some tips. If you get a little whiny while traveling, these might help ease your pain.

1) Just relax. I'm the kind of person who gets all worked up over delays, cancellations, annoying people and all the rest. But the last time I flew, Louis C.K.'s rant about flying/"everything is amazing and nobody is happy" kept replaying in my head. Flying through the sky is amazing and when I'm flying it usually means I'm on vacation, so I'm trying to stop complaining (and tweeting) about my airport woes. This mindset helped me cope with a 4-hour delay the last time I flew.

2) Investigate. I want to know why I'm delayed and for how long, and I always think, "What aren't they telling us?" There are some apps and websites that allow you to track your aircraft's status like This way you don't feel so powerless when it comes to information, and it gives you something to do.

3) Beauty and comfort. I try to wear less makeup than usual, bring moisturizer, lip balm and wear my glasses instead of contacts on long flights since plane air is the enemy of all things good. Another tip I heard recently, the side pony. It gets your hair out of the way without leaving it all smashed. I always bring a pair of socks and a cardigan with me for layering, and on my last flight, I wore a long jersey dress, possibly the most comfortable flying outfit ever, and I didn't look like a slob.

4) Listen up. I'm a secret fan of eavesdropping in general, but airport and airplane eavesdropping can be pretty great. I recently overhead a conversation about the club scene in Jerusalem and a girl force her older brother to pick his favorite One Direction member. I also love listening to accents and trying to figure out whether people are going, coming or just visiting.

5) Entertain me. I love when planes have TVs. If I'm flying JetBlue, it's pretty much a guarantee that I will end up watching some version of The Real Housewives. If you have a personal DVD player or an iPad, it's a great time to catch up on Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey or whatever else. A few episodes of television, especially those 1-hour dramas, kills a lot of time. I usually mix in a good book and This American Life podcasts to get some variety.

6) Treats! I like to bring real food on flights so I can avoid airplane food and airport food. Fruit, unsalted nuts and a favorite chocolate bar will seem like such a treat when you're starting to get bored, hungry and stir-crazy ... somewhere over Montana.

Any tips that make flying more bearable for you?


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