Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pomegranate vinaigrette

Yummm....this is the perfect dressing for this time of year. I'm going to make this for one of our holiday meals.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

3 tbsp pomegranate juice
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Monday, December 20, 2010

Shake-up at French Vogue

A bit of shocking news hit the fashion world last weekend when Carine Roitfeld, editor of French Vogue, announced that she'll be stepping down from her post in January after 10 years at the helm.

Rumors are that French Vogue will bump up Emmanuelle Alt, Fashion Director for the magazine, to the top spot, but that's just speculation at this point.

No matter how this shakes out, it's a big moment in fashion, but a bigger one for Roitfeld who remains undecided about her next move. She was once asked in an interview with New York Magazine what she thought of American fashion editors. Her answer was quite blunt:
"The American editors are very, how you say, slick. Very perfect. Hair is perfect, they have a manicure. They are very clean, they follow fashion. I don't think they take many risks. They do the total look of Prada. Me, I wear a lot of Japanese piece mixed with a bit of classic Hermes and Prada. Even thought jeans suit me, I never wear jeans."
I think there's a lot of truth to what she says about Americans with respect to how we dress. Looking less put-together is tougher to pull off here, or shall I say, less appreciated, than it is in Paris.

To each their own, right? Good luck to Carine. I'm sure her next move will be an interesting one.

Holiday gift tags

Last year I was really good about getting festive holiday wrapping paper and tags for my loved ones' gifts. I have no idea why I was obsessively focused on gift decor, especially given that I worked six weekends straight, right up through Christmas Eve morning. I didn't have time to shop for Christmas gifts, nor give much thought to what to buy online. But tags -- that was top of mind. So strange!

Well, this year some things feel like deja vu all over again.

I've worked several weekends this December and may be at work on Christmas Eve yet again.

Tags, on the other hand, never crossed my mind. Until now. I just spotted Ana Bond's holiday gift tags -- they're absolutely adorable!

Just in the nick of time....

Anna Wintour at work

Doing 'her thing.'

Casual in the city

Too bad snow's on the ground right now so this outfit is totally out of the question. But when next fall comes around, these pants would be perfect.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Zip it up in style

Since I mysteriously misplaced my laptop case I've borrowed my husband's, or I've wrapped it in a sweater and shoved it in my bag, hoping it doesn't get knocked around too much on my Metro ride home.

Lazy, I know. It's high time to buy a new case.

Too bad Celine doesn't make one in my price range.

Kitchen design

Another cool option if I were ever to remodel our kitchen. I like this look -- simple, with the dark, rough wood against all of the white.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The perfect Christmas wreath

We bought a lovely traditional wreath last weekend at Bancroft Elementary, hung it on our front door and adorned it with a pretty red and gold bow. It makes me smile every time I walk up the steps to our house after a long day at work.

As much as I like ours', I must admit, Saipua's version is by far, my favorite. The dark berries are the perfect touch.

Old timey

I spotted these photos on A Continuous Lean and was smitten.

(Photos courtesy of the Detroit Publishing Company)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mario Batali's grocery store

When I was in NYC a few weeks ago, we just so happened to stumble upon Mario Batali's "Italian food hall" called Eataly. I've remarked here before about how much I'd love for Batali's concept to make a second home in D.C.

Everything you've ever associated with Italy -- meat, cheese, pasta, bread, wine -- they have in this 36,500 sq. ft. space, and they have it in abundance. There are dining counters and there are sit-down restaurants, so if you want to just pop in for a glass of wine and some charcuterie, they've got it. If you want a 3-course Italian dinner, there's ample opportunity for that as well.

It's Italy the American way -- choices, choices, choices. And with all of those choices one can feel overwhelmed (I did), but I was also wowed at the concept and reminded yet again, that only NYC pulls off stuff like this.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back to Japan

If I'm ever lucky enough to have a second chance to go back to Japan, this will be my first stop -- Gora Kadan, a traditional Japanese ryokan one hour outside of Tokyo." It made Sophia Coppola's list of favorite it must be great because she's so effortlessly cool.

Sophia Coppola at work

The director of one of my favorite films, Lost in Translation, gives an interview to Nowness after her upcoming film Somewhere. She looks cool and stylish as ever on set.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas trees at Bancroft Elementary

Good news neighbors -- Bancroft Elementary School's Christmas tree sale is returning to Mt. Pleasant this weekend, Saturday and Sunday from 10am - 4pm. All proceeds will directly benefit the school, so if you're looking for a tree or just need something simple like a wreath, please consider making a trip to Bancroft while you're out and about running errands.

(via The 42)

Winter reading

Thanks to a recommendation from some friends, I picked up Born to Run and consequently learned more about the human foot than I ever needed to know. Think your running injuries can be cured with pills, yoga or better footwear? -- think again (according to the author at least). It's the shoes that are to blame. An intriguing thought for sure, but I don't think folks are going to put down their Nikes just yet, especially if you live in an urban concrete jungle.

After consuming so much information about running and podiatry, it was high time for something completely different. Thanks to Kramerbooks -- D.C.'s best independent bookstore (IMO) -- I picked up one of their monthly favorites, Look Me In The Eyes: My Life With Asperger's, by John Robison, Augusten Burroughs' brother.

I tore through it.

It's the story of a man's struggle living with Asperger's and his efforts to understand how and why he was always considered "different" from everyone else.

It was both a dark comedy and one of the more painful, but poignant memoirs I've ever read. Go get it.

Pasta with speck & baby peas

It's not exactly what I'd think of when dreaming up a winter dish but that's exactly why I crave it --- it's something different. A little bit of spring, a little bit of summer, a little bit of fall. Feel free to swap the speck for bacon or prosciutto. And maybe throw in a little parmesan to the pecorino, if you'd like.

Happy cooking.

PS: If you can't read the recipe image above, just click on the link below.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Eggs sunny-side up & good handwriting

"I can teach anybody how to properly grill a steak but cooking an egg properly -- now THAT takes a lot of practice," -- Ben Horgan, chef, restaurant manager & friend
A good egg is indeed hard to come by. It seems like such a simple thing to make and yet my friend Ben is right -- cooking one well is an art form few have mastered. This explains my adoration of the brunch I had at an American bistro in the West Village called The New French.

I ordered 2 sunny-side eggs, potatoes, salad and duck leg. Out came eggs of a gorgeous, vibrant color and remarkable flavor. They were so good in fact that while I remarked on how much I enjoyed the meal to my friends it wasn't until I was on the bus ride home to D.C. that I began to realize just how perfect those eggs were. I'm craving them as I type. Is it nostalgia for a brunch gone by and our delightfully long chat with old and new friends? Or is it both -- good people and delicious eggs -- that I miss?

Either way, I adored The New French, which isn't really a French restaurant at all -- more American bistro or cafe. New York Magazine deemed the ambience and food "a blend of homey welcome and adventurous spirit." Agreed.
PS: The bistro's logo was done in quirky handwriting, which I obviously love (see The District Sleeps' logo). Maria Kalman, the illustrator and writer, lent her handwriting as the font for the menu, logo and paper place mats, giving the place its own unique, but simple look and feel.

J. Crew spring collection

If you really hate the cold and already find yourself counting the days until the leaves turn green again and you're throwing on strappy sandals, then please, spare yourself the torture of looking through J. Crew's Spring Collection. It's absolutely charming -- nearly all of it, actually. But again, don't do it if you're going to get in a huff that you can't wear it for 4-5 months.

(Why all of the caution? Well, I, in fact, dislike winter immensely so...I wouldn't want to impart the same frustration that I feel, on others :) Neurotic? Maybe.)

For the past few seasons I've loved the "looks" J. Crew has designed but I don't find them nearly as alluring when I head to the store and try them on. There's all of these "combinations" of things in one outfit. My sister is a pro at pulling a million different things together and looking great in it. I fail miserably at this. I realize time and again I don't know how to layer without looking like a bag lady. I need it paired back and simple.

Ok now that I'm done venting I can explain that this is precisely why I'm very happy with this new collection. You can see pieces that will work perfectly on their own, shoes that look right with dozens of outfits and some very fine stand-alones -- like these gorgeous cream-colored trousers above.

Well done. Bravo J. Crew.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wedding flowers

My sister's boyfriend's cousin (sorry, that's a mouth full!) recently got married at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden's Palm House. My sis said the bride was gorgeous (as is clearly evident in these photos) and the food and reception were so much fun.

What I didn't know until this week, was that my favorite florist, Sarah Ryhanen, designed the flower arrangements for her wedding. How cool! The yellows, grays and creams suit the scenery and time of year so perfectly for their big day.

(via Saipua)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Butternut squash soup

I've been making this recipe every other week since fall swept into town. It's my new favorite soup for 2010.

Butternut Squash Soup


1-2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled
1 yellow onion
1 apple (McIntosh or Gala are good options)
2 cups chicken stock
handful of chopped scallions
couple of pinches of shredded coconut
handful of chopped pecans or cashews (toasted in the oven)
1 tbsp heavy cream
*optional: 3-4 fresh sage leaves OR 1/4 tsp. curry powder (depends on the flavor you're in the mood for; both are delicious)


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut squash, onions and apples into 1 inch pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes.

2. Heat chicken stock on medium-high heat.

3. When veggies are done roasting, add them to the chicken stock, and pour in the heavy cream. Blend with a hand-blender. (If using sage leaves, saute them with olive oil for 1 minute in a saute pan and then add to the veggies and blend.)

4. If using curry powder instead of sage leaves, add it now to the soup.

5. Check seasoning -- more salt? more curry? more fresh sage?

6. Serve warm in bowls with coconut, scallions and nuts as garnish.

Korean BBQ

While we were on our honeymoon in Kyoto, Japan two summers ago, we met several locals who highly recommended a Korean BBQ restaurant easily missed among the back alleys of Kyoto's bustling dining district.

Upon arrival, we were seated on the floor next to a wood charcoal grill that was already crackling and burning, awaiting the beef and seafood we would soon order. To our left and right sat groups of 20-somethings, devouring their grilled food and gobs (and gobs, and gobs) of local beer.

The food was great but the atmosphere was truly the best part. Given the crowd, the loud music and the endlessly flowing beer, this BBQ restaurant could have been my go-to place in college (instead of the shitty corner bar I went to for bad BBQ wings and caesar salads), except that I went to school in a small Ohio town, not an urban center like Kyoto.

These memories from our trip came back to me after reading The New York Times' piece on "36 Hours in Seoul." Tadak, a Korean barbeque restaurant, was high on the author's list of "must see places." This article came out at just the right time -- I've been giving a lot of thought to where I'd like to travel next if I could go anywhere, and Korea has made the (long) list. Ethiopia, Vietnam, Madagascar, Montana, Kuala Lumpur.....they all made it on there as well. But I have to say, maybe this article was a sign??

Glittery skirts

Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama's ensemble at her dinner with the Indian Prime Minister and his wife, I'm now swooning for a long sparkly skirt.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Simple meals

I know that some of you are loyal GOOP readers (Gwyneth Paltrow's semi-weekly newsletter), so you would have seen her issue today about Jessica Seinfeld's new cookbook and cooking videos. I was a bit skeptical -- another celebrity attempting to take over the home-cooking world? Please. We're already drowning in enough of that craze. That being said, I'm always on the hunt for new recipes so I took a look at what she has to offer.

I really like the super simple Sweet Cherry Tomato & Ricotta Pasta and the 10-minute Halibut Over Spinach. In fact, both recipes made me realize how much I "overdo it" when we have a large group over. I have that common desire of many home cooks to put together something rather elaborate for guests, when in fact, something easy and quick like Seinfeld's two dishes would make nearly any group happy. So, I think it's time to try a new approach to entertaining -- something much more paired down but equally as pleasing.

D.C. as a poptart?

Oh yes, sign me up for this poster! You can't get more deliciously creative (yes, the pun was intended) than this about my city.

(via DCist)

A different kind of workout

I'll always be devoted to swimming as my workout of choice, but over the years I've tried my hand at different forms of exercise, including spinning and biking, to mix things up. I'm now intrigued by studio's (located at 14th St & Rhode Island Ave NW) new fitness class called "barre."

Barre is based on the Lotte Berk method, which concentrates on targeting specific areas for strength and flexibility training. The "core" is the focus of everything in this workout.

Local blog, Borderstan, caught up with's owner, Linda Bachrak, who offered more detail on how the barre classes work.
Class starts with a 10-minute warm-up focusing on the upper body. The center warm-up involves some light weight training, as well as push-ups, planks and pilates. The warm-up is followed by exercises at the barre targeting the quads. Each exercise isolates the muscle, working it to the point of exhaustion. Glutes and hamstrings are also worked at the barre, and then the class moves to the center for an intense ab workout.
This sounds like a great combination of yoga, pilates and dance. I want to give it a try. If you already have, let me know what you thought of it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Michelle in India

Rachel Roy designed what might be my favorite ensemble this year for Mrs. Obama. At a state dinner with the President and First Lady of India, Obama wore a silver, floor-length skirt, bronze top and gold belt at the waist. She looked absolutely stunning!

But truth be told, she usually does -- just look at these photos from some of her outings in and around India. Her love of prints and interesting accessories makes me want to branch out a little more.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Opting out of YellowBook delivery

This week I finally threw several Yellow Books in the recycling bin. They'd been stacked in our bookshelf collecting dust for who knows how long becoming the worst eye sore on the first floor.

As soon as I heard that "thud" sound when they hit the bottom of the bin, I was surprised at my lack of satisfaction after getting rid of these directories. It's probably because I know that another set would arrive in the mail any day now -- just in time to piss me off again. But some things in life just suck, right? So I assumed that receiving pointless mail that no one needs anymore and that's bad for the environment is just one of them.


In comes, Clay Johnson, blogger at ---

"The Yellow Page Integrated Media Association is the trade association of yellow-page makers. They actually run a little known website called Launched in 2009, you just plug in your zip code and find the opt-out pages for your local phone book providers. I did it here in DC, and was able to opt out, online from both of the big yellow book providers in just minutes."


I checked out the site and low and behold its a simple opt-out form requiring your name, address and a few other details. Then I ran into a speed bump. D.C. wasn't listed as a state in the drop down menu. Huh? So I call 1-800-YBYELLOW, give the nice lady on the phone my information and BAM! I'm done. No more Yellow Books ever again!

Hurry, do it yourself regardless of whether you live in an apartment or a house. It saves you from clutter and the city some money.

PS: Thanks Clay!

Celine Spring 2010

Rarely do I make a point of posting about fashion I don't like. What's the point? There's so much else out there that is gorgeous, unique and never-been-done-before that should be talked about. No need to dwell on the negative.

Today is an exception.

Because I'm an avid follower of all that designer Phoebe Philo touches, I must mention my disappointment with her Spring 2010 collection for Celine. The show, overall, received good reviews (see here, here and here). Known for her minimalist look, which I adore, was maintained this season but this time around Philo left us with tops, trousers and dresses that hid a woman's figure, or in many cases, shaped it into 90 degree angles. Lacking curves to begin with, many of the models looked even more like very lean rectangles gliding across the runway.

Now, I prefer paired down and simple but I don't like looking like a box. No thanks. I had those years as a year-round swimmer, complete with the huge shoulders. Structure is good but turning a woman's shape into a geometric shape is not.