Sunday, March 28, 2010

Losing a job

The economic downturn of 2008 no doubt cast a spell on this country in untold ways, the most direct, of course, has been the sheer loss of jobs.

People who had worked all their lives in jobs or industries they loved, were told to pack up and move out. For those in the retirement bracket, the road ahead can, and has been, brutal. Your age means you cost more. Your age means there's always someone younger with more technology know-how, albeit with far less experience. If you've been an executive, the number of available positions at that level are minimal.

What does the experience of job loss do to one's self esteem and sense of self worth?

The New York Times Sunday Magazine tackled this very subject with a moving piece last weekend, featuring Dominique Browning, the former editor of House and Garden, who lost her job of 12 years after the magazine folded in 2008.

For a glimpse of Browning's story, I pulled some of the most powerful sections:

"The house sold quickly. It struck me that I had lost House & Garden, the job, and was now losing house and garden, the life. What took years to create was about to be undone in a matter of minutes. Come to think of it, kind of like being blasted out of a career."

"Weather — the actual experience of it, not the forecast — is one of the more dramatic discoveries to come with a slower pace of life. There were days at the office when I didn’t know whether it was muggy or cool, or if it had rained. It dawned on me that there was something unsavory about having been so cut off from nature that I was surprised by the golden hue in the slant of light at four in the afternoon — on a weekday, no less."

"I was fighting fear. And what was I so afraid of? Being alone with myself long enough to wonder what is the purpose of my life?"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring into summer

I wish that shorts were more appropriate to wear to work. When it's 95 degrees outside with 100% humidity, your legs feel like they stick together when you're sitting in a skirt. Shorts would really do the trick.

These would be best for casual wear, of course, but if you haven't been able to tell from my last few posts, I'm very, very ready for the weekend :)

One last dream for the night

Take me here with my husband and our dog. Just a few days would be so lovely.

Summer retreat

Looks nothing like the city.

Has nothing of the fast pace of life in an urban environment.

Calls for rest and relaxation.

Let's go. Now.

Pretty in pink

I like exactly the way this young woman wears this hot pink jacket -- with a soft, cotton shirt and beat-up jeans. If you added more "flash" to that outfit, it would drown out the jacket, which should be the centerpiece.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Table for two by the ocean

Let's set aside the day-to-day for just a moment like this one.

My new favorite beer

An old friend of ours' came over last night for beers on the back patio and brought with him a six-pack of a Dogfish rarity called Burton Baton.

Phrases like "life-changing" and "better-than-anything-I've-had-in-years" tumbled out of my mouth after just one sip. I tasted oak, vanilla, citrus and caramel, yet it wasn't sweet, but hearty.

The catch, of course, is that it's 10% ABV so you should hold back or find yourself on the table in no time :)

If this sounds tempting go out and buy a six-pack now before it's too late. Dogfish only brews and releases this beer three times a year.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sonia Rykiel fall 2010

You so rarely see models smiling on the runway. The women who sported Sonia Rykiel's 2010 Fall Collection looked like they were out on the town with their best girl friends.

The pom-pom on the tops of their heads seems silly at first but because of their showmanship, I began to find the hair accessory rather whimsical and endearing towards the end of the show.

And speaking of the conclusion of her collection -- I absolutely adored the ostrich-feather tanks and dresses! I'd love to wear something like that on a fun, momentous occasion such as my 30th birthday. And yes, it will most definitely have to be pink :)

Perfect Saturday dress combo

It was a brilliant weekend.

Friday was my favorite.

The city was alive like I hadn't seen since late last year. It seemed like everyone had left work early and parked themselves at their favorite neighborhood bar or restaurant for an evening outside with friends and loved ones.

With the new warm weather finally here, walking miles around the city -- like we did the past two days - is in high demand. So it's time to use the new season as an excuse to get a few new things for spring. This combo seems perfect for a casual Saturday afternoon stroll around town.

There are times

An ode to thoughtfulness, manners and the like.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Carrots with orange, garlic and herbs

As I mentioned earlier, I tried my hand at a few new side dishes this past weekend, including a ridiculously simple Jamie Oliver recipe.

Slice up some carrots.

Break off a couple of garlic cloves and leave whole.

Snip some thyme from your garden.

Slice up two clementines.

Throw everything together on a baking dish.

Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil over these lovely veggies.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15-10 minutes.

Done and it's brilliant. One of the easiest and most delicious side dishes I've ever made.

Swiss chard, goat cheese and prosciutto tart

I can almost taste the crust of this tart. It's slightly buttery, a little tart with the addition of mustard, but most importantly, crispy. Yummmm....

This recipe is definitely next up on my list of things to make this week. I tried my hand at a few new, simple side veggie dishes last weekend and succeeded with a pork and veal lasagna. I'm feeling back in the groove in the kitchen after a few "off weeks" of no inspiration. Watch out Julia Child! I'll be turning to you again shortly.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

DC's beer connoisseur

Food and Wine has released its annual Sommeliers of the Year list, and DC represents two of the seven nominees. Say goodbye to the Big Apple, say hello to the District!

The most interesting choice of their list isn't actually a wine expert, he's a beer connoisseur.

Greg Enbert is the beer director of Churchkey and Birch & Barley -- two fantastic new establishments located in the same building on 14th Street in the Logan Circle neighborhood. He sources more than 555 artisanal brews, including 500 bottles.

Go, if you haven't. It's one of the best things that's happened to DC's beer scene.

Why not live here?

Do you ever have one of those moments when you're reading a magazine article about a faraway land or come across a Travel Channel show about a never-heard-of place and think, "Why do I live here?" Don't get me wrong -- I love DC and I love the city, but a peek at a tropical island when it's pouring down rain and chilly outside is enough to make me wonderlust.

I'm actually standing at the airport right now typing this, having booked a flight to Mykonos, Greece as soon as I saw this photo.

(Joking. But I can dream can't I?)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Riding a rickshaw across India

My friend Brad and two of his best buddies will soon be standing in the hot Indian sun two weeks from now, setting off to compete in a 3,000 km rickshaw run across the country.

They start off in the southwestern town of Cochin and head north along the coast into the hills of the Himalayas. They'll end their trip with a visit to Bhutan -- the only country in the world that puts happiness at the heart of government policy.

If you want a glimpse into what this insane adventure might be like -- and the risks they're taking -- fast forward this video from National Geographic to 1:30. You'll wonder if Brad's lost his marbles or not. (He has)

The Obamas in their element

Despite all of the stress, despite living their lives under a microscope, despite a tough first year in office, the Obamas still know how to enjoy one another and the gifts -- like a live concert with Harry Connick, Jr. -- the White House affords them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The brilliance of Stella

I like it paired down and simple. Give me clean lines and a little structure. A nice rich red or cream or heather gray and I'm a happy gal.

Thank you, Ms. McCartney, for keeping all of this in mind for Fall 2010.


Lamington cupcakes

"Real" lamingtons, according to O Pistachio, are cubes of sponge cake decorated with chocolate and coconut shavings. For an easier rendition of this classic dessert, cupcakes are the perfect alternative.

I'm going to make these this weekend....if not tonight....they look absolutely divine, don't they?

Bathroom inspiration

One day down the road we'll renovate our upstairs bathroom with penny tile on the floors and, if I'm lucky, a new bath tub like the one you see here. I'm usually opposed to a two-toned paint job, but I do love the mix of the creamy white and the rich sea green in this photo. Feels like the perfect bathroom for a beach house or a low key bungalow in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The loveliest actress of all

You can still be the most beautiful girl in the room when you're 60 years old.



For the past three years, one of my dearest friends has lived only a short drive away from DC. We've been able to witness some important milestones in each other's lives by virtue of our close proximity -- the beginning and end of major relationships, new jobs, new homes, world travels. Living so close to one another has also allowed us a chance to re-meet after years apart. Now with my old pal set to start fresh in a new city with a new gig, I've been thinking a lot about the nature of good friends.

The other day I came across something about how friendships are often "situational" -- they spring from common ground or interests. As circumstances change or your life's journey takes you in a different direction that common ground can fade and so, too, can the connection.

But as this particular expert that I was reading pointed out, "true" friends generally have three characteristics: They have a capacity to grow with you - and you with them - through life's changes; They are low-maintenance, rarely imposing their expectations on you; and contact with them, whenever it occurs, is never a duty but always a chance for a "heart to heart," even if its been three months or three years.

I've known my friend longer than anyone else I'm close with now. Like any friendship, it's had its ups and downs. We've had periods of little contact and encountered stretches when our lives were headed in different directions but those characteristics that I mentioned earlier, have always been a part of our bond. I hope they always will be.

(via Le Love)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

San Francisco

Next time we visit my husband's sister, we should pay a vist to Outerlands in San Francisco. It looks like the kind of homey, simple food I prefer these days. Nothing too fancy; just a commitment to making food with the best ingredients around.

Clean, simple lines

I couldn't live in an all-white house, but I wouldn't mind it for a hotel room. I'd feel clean and fresh.

Back to our roots

I was standing on our back patio one morning this week before work and couldn't help but notice the beating our small yard (if you can call it that!) has taken because of DC's record snowfall. It's been a brutal winter here which is why I am more than ready for 70 degree spring days.

Please spring, don't delay! Come quick! I've found some fun new gardening accessories to make your arrival all the more exciting.