Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A woman to admire

In a country and age in which advertising and societal pressures have a powerful influence on an array of women's issues, including career success, work/life balance, motherhood and aging, I am relieved to read Michelle Obama's words of wisdom in this month's Prevention magazine.

"Throughout my life, I've learned to make choices that make me happy and make sense for me. Even my husband is happier when I'm happy," Mrs. Obama said in her first interview with the women's health monthly. "So I have freed myself to put me on the priority list and say, yes, I can make choices that make me happy, and it will ripple and benefit my kids, my husband and my physical health."

"That's hard for women to own. We're not taught to do that," she added. "It's a lesson that I want to teach my girls."

"To me, with age, everything has gotten better," the first lady said.

(Via Mrs. O)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Strolling through the past

We had the pleasure of visiting Acadia a few weeks ago and took up the slightly nutty idea of hiking the Precipice Trail in sneakers. Um, never follow our lead when it comes to outdoors activities.

Don't get me wrong - the trail was absolutely stunning, but let's just say that an exposed, nearly 1,000 ft climb up the east face of Champlain Mountain requires proper footwear :)

On Sunday, Ken Burns' National Parks series aired on PBS and we've since organized our evenings this week around each episode because it's just that good. In fact, after last night's showing, I think our next stop is Crater Lake. If you've been, I'd love to hear about your experience.

Oh, and I promise to buy hiking boots for this trip or we'll have to stay in the car.

(Image via Ken Burns' National Parks)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ms. Eggbeater

Slow down.


Take a breath.



That's what I wanted to say to Shuna Fish Lydon, blogger at Eggbeater, after I read her post Silence Does Not Make The Heart Grow Fonder.

Shuna is a fabulous pastry chef, writer and thinker.

She blogs with the kind of heart and soul reserved for one of those fantaLinksticly romantic, and even tragic, 19th century English novels.

Having recently moved to London, everything's new, everything's a fresh challenge. Her readers haven't heard much from her since she left California and that's why I have just spotted her Silence post from August.

You know those times when you've been bad about keeping in touch, when you're normally so good at it? You know when you've failed to exercise, cook or clean with some regularity? When asked, "Why?," you have so many excuses that you have none.

Such is Shuna's predicament.

And I love her for her honesty about this period in her life and why it's become such an impossibility for her to blog right now.

Because I so adored her candid list regarding her online silence I've reposted them here. Enjoy.

By: Shuna Fish Lydon

The Why I Have Been Ignoring Eggbeater. A List.
Of Reasons. Possible and Accurate and Ridiculous All.

~out of tune drumroll please

working too many hours.
feeling heartbroken.
spending too much time dispelling wantonly on twitter.
needing sleep.
cleaning the house. thoroughly.
having a houseguest from oakland.
working too many shifts.
not cooking at home.
not taking a lot of photos.
feeling blue. and cerulean.
making long phone calls to the states.
not making enough phone calls to the states.
taking care of best friends falling apart.
feeling like i live in legal/illegal limbo.
having to hide the names of the places i work/have worked.
thinking that eggbeater doesn't give you what other food blogs give you.
moving to a new country.
wishing i knew more about technology and feeling behind the times.
wanting to re-design eggbeater and not feeling like i have the time or know-how.
not eating enough fruit and vegetables in season.
not understanding how British seasons work.
having a secret relationship as i was losing my first job.
having extreme difficulty navigating the personal-political-managerial egos of my new workplace.
having constant foot-in-mouth disease.
believing the things recent ex said about americans.
being caught up in inordinate drama with the ex and his profound narcissism. (self procalimed: i'm not saying anything he didn't say about himself)
feeling pressure to give recipes recipes recipes.
not feeling like recipes mean much.
being terrified friends of mine here and in states were going to kill themselves.
feeling as though food blogs are ridiculous in the scheme of world and personal affairs.
not feeling like i belong to the clique of london food bloggers.
feeling lonely.
turning into a girl.
trying my hand at dating for the first time in a long time.
only eating tea for breakfast and cheese for supper.
angry that i don't know where home is.
feeling the pressure from friends in the states to 'come home.'
feeling betwixt & between.
worrying that my life is moving backwards or staying stagnant.
moving someplace where 'my past is erased.' who i am is an unknown. how i work is questioned.
traveling between confident & low self esteem. as if the border were impossibly thin; permeable.
feeling like the odd man out at work.
promoting my workplace on social media venues.
financial worries.
lack of inspiration.
not having time or gumption to read other people's blogs.
being overwhelmed by my email inbox.
noticing how few personal emails i get. and write.
wanting to write about really big subjects and not knowing where to start.
having few people to share my food thoughts with.
feeling unrequited love with an old love.
marking 4 years since the day she died.
turning 17. amongst people who constantly offer me a drink/give me hangover advice.
living in a new city which is both familiar and foreign.
missing and being missed.
missing having chefs/cooks/pastry chefs as friends.
missing family.
missing california fruit and one farmer and two dogs.
missing portland oregon.
feeling old.
feeling tired, physically & emotionally, from time at work & worry about friends.
not seeing enough nature.
feeling like summer passed me by because i never went swimming or did anything 'summery.'
wondering why i'm here.
wondering where else i should be.
spending too much time alone & without structured plans with friends.
spending too much time at work or working.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spotted for a friend

Saw this dress on Jak & Jil and immediately thought of my colleague, Kara. Like my sister, Sara, she has a fantastic sense of style, walks to her own beat and is creative in her choices.

We don't have jobs that resemble anything as glamorous as the day-to-day witnessed at Fashion Week in London or New York, but that doesn't keep us from dreaming about beautiful pieces like this, right?

Preparing for fall

I was looking at my basic color block work outfit this morning and thought, "I really need to spice things up." I wear white, black, beige, red and pink. A splash of purple every now and then, but honestly, those colors cover most of my wardrobe.

Nothing wrong with knowing what you like, but if I'm less inclined to branch out with a new, bold color for my clothes, why not with an accessory?

So, I took a quick look during breakfast at the site,, and found my new scarf for fall. Now, this will definitely give my dressing a bit of variety!Link

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm awake

It was a lonely morning in my neighborhood. The streets were virtually empty and with summer officially coming to an end, the sky was still midnight blue at that early hour.

If I could look out on a view like this as I toss and turn when my alarm clock goes off, life might be easier :)

(Via 20x200)

Saturday, September 19, 2009


My friend, Erjona, has traveled home to Shokder, Albania for three weeks, and while I'll miss her very much while she's away, it's been three years since she's had a chance to return to her birthplace - it's more than time to go back.

I had the chance to visit Shkoder, the town that she grew up in, on her last trip back and along the way I discovered that Albania is one of those hidden European gems still untouched by tourists. The country has a gorgeous coastline, abundant seafood and a rich and fascinating history.

It can be tough to get around if you don't speak Albanian, but if you don't mind that kind of challenge when you travel, and you're up for a bit of adventure in Eastern Europe, this is a great place to go.
(Photos via Lonely Planet, Rapsak, hestragon)

From the runways

Sara and I have a sister date planned for tomorrow that I'm so excited about - we're off to see The September Issue together!

I have so much fun discussing fashion with my sister, who is, by the way, one of the most stylish women I know. We both take a different sort of interest in clothes - mine is, in Sara's words, almost a "scholarly pursuit" and hers' is far whimsical and playful. The two balance one another and always make for interesting conversations. I'm sure we'll have lots to stay about Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington after tomorrow's showing!

As New York Fashion Week has come to a close, I've been scouring for my favorite pieces and ensembles. These are some of my favorites. From top to bottom, I adore the jacket, the pants and the shoes - and in that order :)

(Oscar de la Renta, Rachel Roy, Costello Tagliapetra)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back to Maine

I promised a few pictures from our trip to Bar Harbor and Portland, ME and here are some of my favorites.

I love living in the city, but Maine's vast outdoors left an indelible impression on me. I wondered if I could live such a different life, away from the hustle and bustle of an urban environment. Could I picture myself on a Friday night just sitting outside, drinking a glass of wine and staring out at the water? Sounds really nice, right? Would I be ok with no spontaneous trips to new restaurants or bars? What would I do for work? Would my husband go crazy having to drive everywhere? Yes. Definitely yes.

So I doubt we'll see a move anytime soon, but it's great to have a spot to long for.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our kitchen - in my dreams

I just love the cabinets. Brilliant, right? I love seeing my dishes even when they're stacked and stored. They're some of the best accessories in the kitchen so why not show them off?

(Via Dwell)

The jewels of NY Fashion Week

The older I get, the more I'm drawn to Donna Karan's designs. They compliment, rather than hug. They're lovely, not flashy. I'd love them when I'm 35, 45 and on.

In her Spring 2010 collection this week in New York, she was inspired "by the elements," and clearly wind - as was evidenced by the weightless wrapping and draping she so effortlessly pulled off - was her primary influence.

I'd just die and go to heaven if I could wear the white suit to work....minus the hat, of course. It's just flawless.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Something simple

I've been sporting a Banana Republic, rain-proof bag for some time. It's fine. Nothing to write home about. Just gets the job done for the trek to and from work.

Seems like since I changed jobs and my commute's grown, I feel the need to add more things to my bag, thus, necessitating a larger one than I previously owned.

I love this option from Etsy. It's not too pricey ($49) and plenty spacious.

(Via Mustard and Sage)

To be Grace

These pictures of Grace Kelly explain why she was, and remains, one of the most beautiful women of all time.

Here she is in her natural, unadorned state, and is just as flawless and stunning as ever.

(Via Starbucks and Jane Austen)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Maine, how I love thee

I wish I had some photos to share with you but my husband's off on a work trip this whole week and needed the camera. I promise to share some of them very soon.

In short, it was absolutely wonderful.

One of my favorite trips of all time.

There's just something so special and cleansing about going somewhere so different in both geography and pace of life than where I live every day. I left a bustling, busy, often times, stressful city to a state covered in pine trees, devoid of many chains and brimming with fresh seafood and blueberries everywhere you turn.

I had a moment. Ok, several moments.

"Babe, I want to move here," I said to my husband.

He gave me a "I-agree-with-you-but-it-ain't-gonna-happen" look, and that's fine. I understand. I love DC, I do. But every now and then I long for something really remote like Wheeler Bay, Maine.

But as soon as I started to dwell on these thoughts, we headed to Portland, Maine for one night before departing for DC the next morning.

And that's when I found New England's version of Brickskeller - Novare Res Bier Garden.

Think about this -- a beer garden in the middle of the city, stocked with 25 drafts and 250 bottles from all over the world. Oh! And a fantastic meat and cheese menu.

Foaming at the mouth yet?

Just look at the deck from this picture. Definitely head straight there next time you're in the city. A few beers in on a crisp night and you might wonder when you'll be moving there too :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Off to Maine

We're off to Bar Harbor and Portland, ME today for the holiday weekend.

I can't wait to drink a cold glass of Shipyard beer, go for a long hike with my husband in Acadia National Park and spot a whale!

Oh, and of course, seafood, seafood, seafood!!

(Images via Etsy)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

When I wake-up

I had to stay home today because we're installing hardwoods on the second floor of our house. So, in honor of such a rare treat, I made myself a delicious breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggs with goat cheese, red onion and red pepper, a bowl of fresh raspberries and a glass of OJ. Yummmmm.....

The meal put me in such a good mood for the rest of the work day.

I know that a lot of my friends say that they can't concentrate on work when they're at home, but I actually find the peace and solitude inspiring.

In honor of this morning's breakfast, I just had to post some of these shots of absolutely divine breakfasts. Enjoy :)

(Via Lovelorn Unicorn and Lost)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Obama hooks a fish

I love this photo.

Obama has a plate chocked full of responsibility and stress like no other person I can think of, which is why I love seeing this look of pure joy and excitement on his face after nearly hooking a trout. I'm sure he doesn't get a lot of carefree moments like this in his daily life.

(Via Talking Points Memo)