Thursday, July 30, 2009

In the corners

A reflective evening for me.

This picture, from earlier in the year, encapsulates how it feels to venture off into the recesses of one's thoughts.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Oh Canada

My parents spent four years living and working on Vancouver Island not too long ago. It truly was a heavenly place. 

Having grown up in the suburbs around the American South, cool breezes in late August, fresh fruit on the side of the road and the sound of the ocean at my window at night, were all sounds and experiences unfamiliar to me. 

While Sara and I could never 'go home again,' we gained a vacation in waiting. I feel very grateful for those visits and long to see more of what Canada has to offer. How could you not, when you see pictures as beautiful as these? Celine, blogger from bonjour!-celine, recently took a trip to Prince Edward Island and stayed in this old farm house that faces a salt water lake. You should read her account of their first few nights there. If you're a city person longing for a respite from the hustle and bustle, you'll long for a getaway there.


My husband and I have thrown up our hands and given in. We're just not designers.

The problem? 

Our bedroom.

We've thought of a million little things we could do to improve the sad state of affairs it's in right now (new paint, new shades, new bedspread, new carpet.....) but piecing them altogether is where that part of our creative brains just don't seem to work. So, we're going to hire somebody to figure that out for us.

Thanks to my friend, Megan, who's made a mid-career change from web consulting to interior design, I've been given several awesome home design books, including one by the beloved (and sadly, gone) Domino

Turns out, though, that I think I found my inspiration for our bedroom on Design Sponge this morning. 

These pictures are of the home of Carol Neiley, owner of Basic French, a shop selling lovely French lifestyle items. I love the light, the simple, almost 'country' feel to it. It doesn't feel 'overly designed' or 'overly thought-out,' which I prefer. It should be lovely without looking like a lot of effort went into it.

This is why I adore my design blogs :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Palin's new editing team

After the Governor of Alaska delivered her resignation speech, the pundits and critics had a way with her words, literally. Vanity Fair, however, seemed to have had the most fun with this assignment. The magazine asked its executive literary editor, along with representatives from the copy and research departments, to make her 2,500 garbled words into something presentable.

And what you got, my friends, is (now) a respectable "I QUIT!" speech. Too bad she didn't ask them for help before she "looked North to the future".

(Via OH?)

Monday, July 20, 2009

For the second night in a row...

I made this Smitten Kitchen recipe for Arugula, Potato and Green Bean Salad. Instead, I used mixed greens that I bought at the market on Saturday and left out the walnut oil...seemed like one of those purchases for one meal only. You know those products - they sit in your cabinets for years and years without ever being used again. No longer. I'm committed to make meals with ingredients that exist either in season or are comprised of herbs and seasoning that can be used over and over again.

This salad is fresh, tart and healthy as can be. I actually feel better after I eat it!

(Image via Smitten Kitchen)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy had that sort of timeless elegance that we encounter so rarely in life. She was uniquely beautiful, breathtaking, really. I really can't think of a woman since her that has embodied the same kind of grace, beauty and sense of style.

In fact, when I spent time looking back at what she wore in the mid-90s when she became a household name after dating, and later marrying, JFK Jr, I realized that her closet at that time would be just as "in" today as it was then.

Of course, she was more than just a fashion icon and a beautiful woman, and her early death, along with that of her husband and her sister, was an unbelievable tragedy.

In memory of her life, I wanted to pull some of those memorable photos that recall what I found so mesmerizing about her...that "it" factor...that 'thing' that made her captivating and radiant, whether she was dressed down or out on the town.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

For my sister's birthday lunch

You can tell you're getting older when, as the the birthday girl, you want to make the food for your own party. My sister, Sara, turns 25 today and we're celebrating her birthday as she wished, with a long lunch on Saturday with close friends and family.

She's insisting on making this Lemon Mint Granita recipe (despite the fact that I think she shouldn't do anything but sit and enjoy her day), which I must say, looks divine. The recipe is below but I'll be sure to provide feedback after we've had a taste or two, or three or.... :) You get the picture.

Lemon Mint Granita
(via Smitten Kitchen)

4 lemons
4 cups water
Sugar, to taste (we used 3 tablespoons, like a tart lemonade)
Handful of fresh mint leaves

Clean and wash the lemons. Cut off the top quarter of the lemons and slice a thin bevel off the bottom, so they can stand up straight. (You can skip this step if you don’t want to serve them in frozen lemon cups.) Using a grapefruit knife, carefully remove all of the lemon flesh and juice (working over a bowl ensures you won’t lose any), being careful not to cut through the bottom. Stand the lemons on a plate or cookie sheet and freeze until solid.

Using a food processor (a blender will work as well), toss a handful of washed and dried fresh mint leaves into the work bowl. (I used about 25 to 30 leaves from 6 to 9 sprigs.) Add the scooped out lemon flesh and juice, and pulse until mostly pureed. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes, so the mint releases its flavor, then press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. You’ll end up with approximately one cup of lemon-mint juice.

Stir in the water, then sugar, one tablespoon at a time until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is to your desire level of sweetness. Pour the mixture into a large roasting pan or baking dish, large enough that the liquid isn’t more than one-inch deep. (Otherwise it takes forever to freeze, trust me. A 9×13-inch pan worked great here.)

Freeze for one hour, then remove the mixture and scrape with two forks to break up the ice. (Your freezing time will vary, depending on the temperature and muscle of your freezer.) Return to the freezer and freeze until solid, about 2 to 3 hours, scraping it again with forks every hour or so.

When the granita is frozen, rake until glittery. Scoop into frozen lemon shells (or, you know, plain old dishes).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

For the guest bedroom

I've heard from numerous friends what a pain wallpaper can be. The more I talked to people, the more I realized that if you don't like it, you really don't like it.

Well, I haven't had any experience with it, and thus, I'm intrigued.

I love this blue and white pattern from Lena Corwin. She's also one of my favorite design bloggers :)

(Via ~>O<~)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fight outside of Real World DC house

As much as I'm not keen on DC (belatedly) finding the Real World MTV in our District, I fully admit that I'm following the day-to-day drama on Twitter and in the blogging world.

The crew that blogs at The Anti-Real World DC live right next to the cast and crew and are soaking up every bit of gossip and sighting they can. If I lived next to them, I too, would likely do the same. But this morning's post actually alarmed me...

Anti-Real World bloggers reported around 3am this morning that a fight between two women (non-cast members) was taking place outside the house. They reported, "One woman beat another woman senseless on the ground for a full ten minutes as their friends let them's actually still going on as I write this."

So what do I immediately wonder? "Ummm...why are they sitting at the computer blogging about a violent altercation between two people when they should be calling the cops?" It's tough not to assume that they decided that it was more important to get coverage of the fight down first before attempting to call for help.

Of course, someone asked just that in the comments and Berg, one of the bloggers, said that he had in fact called. Rule #1: don't make yourself sound like a selfish, attention-hungry blogger. The community will call you on it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wrong time for a scarf but...

I love this Tolani scarf. It's a little pricey ($86) but if it were the winter and I was at the beginning of my paycheck, I'd splurge for it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ridding DC of plastic bags

Mayor Adrian Fenty signed into law on July 7th a bill that will establish a 5 cent charge to customers for every plastic or paper bag they take from a retailer. According to DCist, this won't go into effect until January, but the really great news it that 4 out of every 5 cents will go to the Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Fund.

Way to go Fenty! Small acts can lead to great changes.

(Via DCist)

On Italian turf

After nearly three weeks in Japan, I've had a distinct craving for pizza and pasta, my favorite comfort foods in life. Thus, Roni and I made a trip to Ristorante Posto for a much needed catch-up and an opportunity to finally explore their much-lauded Italian cuisine.

Posto, as it turns out, is really the Italian food I've been waiting for since moving to DC in 2004. Some people want to go out to eat to enjoy food they either would never attempt to make at home or just know they could never get right. I do too. But I also appreciate the experience of simple, homey, well-made comfort cooking. I yearn to walk away from the meal feeling inspired and having the confidence to repeat the dishes in my own kitchen. Posto did just that for me.

Tom Sietsema from The Washington Post has said, "If there's one course you shouldn't miss, it's pasta. Venini [the Chef de Cuisine] makes all but the spaghetti himself, and whatever shape of pasta you choose is filled or topped with something lovely and cooked as it should be, al dente. Spinach ravioli filled with three kinds of finely ground meat and brushed with thyme butter are delicate treats. Tender cavatelli show up with diced potatoes, sharp olives and a breezy pesto. As for that spaghetti, it's dressed with fresh-tasting seafood, artichokes and a tangy tomato sauce."

As Roni and I peered over the menu I knew that pasta was what I was looking for, but as a sign of good things to come, it took us much deliberation to determine the courses for the evening, but here they are in all of their simple, but beautiful glory:

Bufalina— romaine salad, buffalo mozzarella, grape tomatoes, quail egg, basil breadcrumbs, balsamic dressing

Estiva— endive salad, blood orange, gorgonzola cheese, organic radish, spicy walnut, trevisian radicchio, orange dressing

Tagliatelle— local farm raised goat ragu, sunchokes

Capesante— roasted scallops, yellow tomato sauce, snow pea, fried leek

Go, and please let me know what you have and love!

(Image of Posto from

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stella, will you dress me?

Stella McCartney can do no wrong in my book. As a designer, she's carved out a niche with 20 and 30-something women. Her clothes can be light and flirty or edgy and dark. But what stands out is that the models, celebrities and regular women who wear them look like they own it when they're in them. Great clothes often 'own' women, which is such a shame. You never want someone's memory to be of your dress; you want it to be of the way YOU looked in that dress.

While I can't afford her clothes, I don't mind spending my free time gazing at her new Resort 2010 collection. I want practically every piece from it so I've shared some of my favorites. Enjoy :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

One of the best meals of all time

I had cheese, blueberries and Tangysweet for lunch today. It's like I simply didn't know what to eat for lunch after three weeks of fresh fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Where was the soba and tempura? What happened to the sashimi that made my mouth water? Will I ever have nigiri like that again?

I don't want to be a cynic but the answer is likely "not until you return to Japan, Erin." Sad, but it's likely true.

In memory of one of the best meals of my life, I had to post a picture of our first meal in Japan, at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Tuna sashimi, nori and rice. Perfection.

Thief caught at Washington Sports Club in Columbia Heights

After returning from the Washington Sports Club on Sunday morning, my husband urged me to read Prince of Petworth's post about a disturbing locker robbery that occurred on the afternoon of the 4th. A guy entered the WSC's male locker room and began cutting locks off the lockers with a pair of bolt cutters. Unbelievable. I mean, seriously, doesn't that sound made-up??

The unfortunate truth is that it's not and to make matters worse, is that the only person who attempted to stop the thief was an off-duty police officer in the area. Read below for full details, and if you have time, I encourage you to read through the comments. There's amazing dissatisfaction with this particular WSC that goes beyond Saturday's incident.

From Prince of Petworth:

"Thanks to a reader for sending:

“I wanted to alert you to what the police activity was about this afternoon around 2:45 p.m. in the Target Mall in Columbia Heights.

I caught a guy opening lockers with bolt cutters in the men’s lockerroom. I had seen him when I was changing and he was looking very shifty and had bolt cutters. The staff there has a pair in case people can’t open their locks, but in this case there was no staff member present. After locking my stuff in a locker with my padlock, I went out and stretched for a few minutes. I couldn’t get the weirdness of the guy out of my mind so I decided to go back and get my wallet and phone to put in the little key lockers they have near the refreshment stand.

When I went back the man was still there and fiddling with his black messenger bag. I immediately noticed that my lock was no longer on the locker and had been replaced with another one. I stopped the guy and said, “Hey you took things from lockers, didn’t you. Let me look in your bag.” He said no. Then he told me to leave him alone and stop bothering him. Then I grabbed at the bag, and he pushed me away and there was a scuffle. Something fell out of his bag and the guy seemed really worried. He pushed me away and ran off. I told the towel attendant to stop him, and he did nothing. I chased the thief as he was leaving and shouted, “This man is a thief, he has stolen people’s wallets from the locker room.” Again the WSC staff couldn’t have been more bored. The young woman at the reception desk let him go out. I chased him out, still calling “THIEF” and an off-duty metro policeman, bless his heart, chased the guy, who by this time was running. I went to the landing to shout to the security guy at the front door of the mall, “Stop that man in the white shirt and black pants, and demand to look in his bag. He has robbed me and others.” The security person saw who I was referring to but did nothing. The thief ran out the door.

Fortunately the off duty Metro transit cop chased after him and tackled him to the ground, which I did not see or know about for a while. I was busy trying to find out who the person was, i.e. if his ID had been checked (of course it hadn’t) on entering. I went out trying to find head or tail of the guy but of course he was nowhere to be found.

Later the off-duty policeman came and said they’d caught him and that he was in custody, and that they’d found two wallets (later brought down to one: mine) and a pair of bolt cutters in his possession. At that point I realized that during the scuffle in the lockerroom had dropped the bag containing my computer and phone. Fortunately it was still where he had dropped it.

What I found most appalling was the fact that a) WSC staff are not doing ID checks on people going into the lockerrooms or entering the gym b) the staff seemed a little blase about the incident, and seemed to think this was an all’s well that end’s well affair c) the supposed “Security” people at the door of the mall are just there for decoration. I gave 30 seconds advance notice, shouting, of the thief’s approach, and security did everything but hold the door for him d) off-duty cops can be very brave and e) the MPD’s protocol for taking notes and filing reports appears, for now, efficient. The thief is to be charged with Theft (1) “if the case goes forward.”

Anyway, sorry if this is too much information but I thought your readers might want an explanation of what went down, particularly since I was yelling Thief! from the landing.”

(Via Prince of Petworth, Image via Google Image Search)